I loved Sarajevo and I wish I stayed longer than three days. There is so much to see and do. Here are my top 15 things I did and loved in Sarajevo.
1- Get the train or the bus to Sarajevo
I started my Bosnian adventure in Mostar and I really wanted to get the train from there to Sarajevo, but it was under construction, so I got the bus instead. It was ok because I still got to see the picturesque nature.
2- Go on the free walking tour
I think going on the free tour (on tip bases) is the best way to see any city and get the main highlights. The tour lasted for two hours and we learnt so much about the city, culture and the painful war history. There were lots of laughs and fun still. The group was full of young travellers, so it's a good way to find travel buddies too.
3- Drink from the Sebilj Brunnen (Fountain)
The local legend says if you drink from the Sebilji (pronounced Sabeel (سبيل), Arabic for public fountain) you are destined to return to Sarajevo. I wouldn't recommend the touristy restaurants directly around it though.
4- Pray in the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque
This is the most popular mosque they have. It was built in the 16th century and it represents the Ottoman style. It is located in the old town
Note: There aren't available spaces for women to pray on Fridays.
5- Explore the Austro-Hungarian architecture
The Austro-Hungarian period came after the Ottomans and you can clearly see that in the motifs and the style. It is interesting to see the mix of styles in the city hall. The city hall was rebuilt and reopened in May 2014.
"On 25 August 1992, Serbian shelling during the Siege of Sarajevo caused the complete destruction of the library; among the losses were about 700 manuscripts and incunabula and a unique collection of Bosnian serial publications, some from the middle of the 19th century Bosnian cultural revival. Before the attack, the library held 1.5 million volumes and over 155,000 rare books and manuscripts. Some citizens and librarians tried to save some books while they were under sniper fire, at least one person died. The majority of the books could not be saved from the flames."
6- Visit the heartbreaking Gallery 11/07/95.
I don't think I ever cried that much in a gallery before. It was just really heartbreaking and implacably done. If you want to just do one related war activity I would highly recommend this one. I even bought the printed book of it.
7. Spin & Go
The great thing about Sarajevo is the culture mix it houses. This is a sign to represent that. If you stand there you can see the Muslim, Christian and Jewish heritage. I really hope they stay in peace and harmoney.
8. Walk through the War Memorial and Cemetery Kovaci
The soldiers of Sarajevo and the late president Aljia are buried there.
9. Hike up to the yellow fortress
You can get to the yellow fortress by going through Cemetery Kovaci. The hike is only 20 minutes. You can see the city from there. There is a really cute cafe just 50 meters from there called Cafe Kamarija. It's a nice way to relax with a drink and the beautiful view. The decor is done in the old style of Sarajevo. I love the glass walls with the nature around it. I wish we have a cafe like this in London.
10. Make friends
I loved unplanned surprises. When I arrived to Sarajevo I got the sweetest message from Bedrijaa on Instagram. She offered to take me around and I am so happy that I said yes! How crazy is it that I have an insta follower from Bosnia? Another lovely lady also approached me, but sadly timing and wifi didn't work.
If you get the opportunity to make friends then go for it (PS. use your common sense and be careful who you say yes to).
11. Get on the tram and explore the rest of Sarajevo
The tram between the city centre and the old city is easy and quick. It was five stops from the sbijl. It wasn't bad and the driver was helpful. It's not that far to walk, but why not try this anyway.
12. Go up the Avaz Twist Tower
The elevator goes pretty quickly to the top and it's part of the fun. You can get a nice view of the whole city. The bars ruin the photo though if you want to take one of you with the view, but photos of the view itself through the bars are really good.
You can go down to caffè 35 on the 35th floor. The cafe has so much potential, but everyone there was smoking and there was no ventilation so it was difficult to breath.
13. Check the Sarajevo Memorial for Children
This is a memorial for the children who were killed during the siege of Sarajevo. The names of all the children that were lost is written there. This sculpture represents the mother and her shielding her child.
14. Vječna Vatra (Eternal Flame)
This memorial is for those who liberated Sarajevo during World War II.
"This simple yet beautiful monument is the work of architect, Juraj Neidhardt. It was installed at the front of one building in the heart of Sarajevo’s walking zone, at the junction of Mula Mustafa Bašeskije, Titova and Ferhadija Streets." source
15. Explore the many cafes around the city
I really loved the Franz Sophie teahouse. The owner was a medical doctor, but his love for tea made him start this teahouse. There are so many delicious tea options and adorable tea accessories
Try their house blend: Sarajevo tea.