7 Sights to Fall in Love with in Sarajevo
For me, it is an instantaneous feeling. My heart starts beating just a bit faster when I peek out through the airplane window as we begin to approach the city of Sarajevo. It is a true European gem within the Balkans. And it is most certainly deserving of more than the mere 24 hours that some give it while on the way to another destination in nearby Croatia or Montenegro.
Sarajevo is a city with so much soul that you can feel it in the food, the sights, and most of all in the interaction with its people. You could easily spend at least a week exploring Sarajevo. Here are some top suggestions if you had just 24 hours in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
The Historical Sites
Vijecnica: This is Sarajevo’s City Hall, beautifully built during the Astro-Hungarian empire in 1891. It has been restored only in the last few years, after being burned to the ground during the war in the 90’s. It now offers gorgeous views, exhibits of the city and serves as a great spot for gorgeous photo opportunities.
Vjecna Vatra (Eternal Flame): The Eternal Flame is a memorial to the military and civilian victims of the Second World War in Bosnia. This is a must-visit stop and another great photo opportunity.
Sebilj: In the heart of Bascarsija, the old, historical part of Sarajevo, Sebilj is a beautiful, Ottoman-inspired wooden water fountain and a great spot to sit and people watch during the day or at nighttime before deciding on where to hit the town next.
Where to Dine
Zeljo Cevabdzinica: If you are going to try any one authentic Bosnian dish while in Sarajevo, cevapcici are a must! There are plenty of spots that sell these delicious plates of minced meat, but few that specialize in them. There is no doubt that every Sarajevo native will have their own opinion on which is best. Zeljo, which is named after one of the two city soccer teams, is one of the top spots in the old part of the city, Bascarsija.
Zlatna Ribica: On any given night in Sarajevo, any time of the year, this spot is filled with locals, expats, artists and world travelers looking for a unique and speakeasy vibe in the heart of the city. Zlatna Ribica offers creative cocktails, coffee and pretty much anything else you might desire—if you can find the menu. After you discover that the drink menus are hidden in books, you will be captured by eclectic and abundant décor. Instead of people watching, you might be more intrigued by the knickknacks lying around this cocktail bar.
Cajdzinica Dzirlo: This is one of the best teahouses in Europe, offering a diverse and varied mix of teas, with hundreds of combinations and options to enjoy. Hopefully, you are good at making decisions! Grab a seat indoors and enjoy the colorful interior, decorated with teacups, books and antiques and make sure to chat with the owner and his wife, who make sure to introduce themselves to all guests.
Get Ready to Shop
Bascarsija (old town) offers some of the most unique finds in the city—from custom-made leather goods to Ottoman-dated vintage jewelry finds, this is a must stop in Sarajevo. The best part is that there are plenty of Bosnian coffee stops in the area when you need a boost during your shopping spree. A strong Bosnian espresso to keep your day moving won’t cost you more than 2 marks (about $1 USD).
For more inspired ideas while in Sarajevo, please leave a comment or feel free to reach out on Twitter via @HiltonSuggests.