Best Time of Year: Autumn or Spring
Fun Fact: Hosted the 1984 Olympic Games. Although the war (1992-1995) destroyed many of the structures you can still see remnants such as the torch and the bobsled track in the capital, which is definitely worth driving up to see.
Language: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian
- Hello – Zdravo/Cao
- Bye – Cao
- Thank You – Hvala
The Capital: SARAJEVO
Sarajevo is a city surrounded by the Dinaric Alps with the Miljacka River running through the center. As you can see above there is over a dozen bridges with some famous ones, including the Vrbanja Bridge which is famous for a documentary about a couple who was shot and killed by snipers while crossing the bridge during the war. It is now a developing city full of high end malls, resturants, and fancy apartments with costs similar to the U.S. The average citizen has an income of around $350-$500 a month, with apartment costs ranging from $150 USD to thousands in a high rise. Due to the corrupt political system, there’re is little opportunity which has led to many Bosnians dispersing around the world since the war.
Recommended Malls: BBI Center, Sarajevo City Center, Old Town District
Rental Car: Rent a car with insurance, crime is low but car theft is somewhat common. Rentals are not too expense and are necessary if you want to see more of the country. Public transportation is not as efficient or reliable.
1. Sarajevo Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track (pictured above)- This now graffiti filled track is located atop the Trebovic mountain overlooking the city. Due to the war there is estimated to be nearly 120,000 land mines left throughout the countries hills. For the past twenty years government agencies, NGO’s, and NATO military units have been working to clear the country of the explosives. The goal is to be landmine free by 2019 so be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to signs warning pedestrians to stay on paved trails. On a happier note, a resort near the Olympic Track is building a bobsled rollercoaster on the side of the mountain which will be a fun attraction.
2. Bijela Tabija/White Fortress – This national monument overlooks the city of Sarajevo, as the natural entrance to Sarajevo, it is now more of a bombed fortress that has an incredible view of the city. Do your best to get over a fear of heights and go walk around the border of the fort (pictured twice to the left).
3. Vrelo Bosne (pictured below) – This Public Park springs from the River Bosna right outside Sarajevo. This is a peaceful escape from the busy city with swans, bridges, cafes and fresh running water (although drinking is not recommended).4. Skakavac Waterfall – This is quite a drive up the hills and you may have to ask locals but it is worth it. Along with the 321 foot waterfall, there is a ton of wildlife along the way. In winter the waterfall is a stunning icy drip but when the weather warms up it flows beautifully down the mountain.
4. Skakavac Waterfall – This is quite a drive up the hills and you may have to ask locals but it is worth it. Along with the 321 foot waterfall, there is a ton of wildlife along the way. In winter the waterfall is a stunning icy drip but when the weather warms up it flows beautifully down the mountain.
Coffee Lovers: Take time out of your day to grab a cup of espresso at a local cafe and chat. Also the hot chocolate is more of a hot pudding with whipped cream and it is delicious but very rich. Try it! You may be pleasantly surprised.
Recomendations: Caffe 35 at Avaz Twist Tower & viewing deck (located atop tallest building in the city), Zlatna Ribica (antique and upbeat), Hotel Hecco Deluxe (beautiful 360 view of Sarajevo atop hotel), Dom Faletici (in the Sarajevo hills). Many of these are restuarants as well.
My Fellow Foodies: Bread comes with everything. Main dishes include, Chevapi (meat in pita bread), Burek (meat in doughy bread), Fish (grilled whole), Lamb, Potatoes and a dipping sauce called Ajvar.
Recommendations: Toplik Fish Restaurant (locally grown food and fish pond), Avlija (indoor garden, yummy bread), Zeljo (famous for cevapi)
I hope you are able to enjoy Sarajevo’s city and hillside as I have been able to over the last year. More on Bosnia to come!