Paris is the most beautiful city in the world,
and nothing in Sarajevo can be compared to Paris,
but my heart never trembles in Paris
llike it does here in Sarajevo,
when I wait in line at the post office.
Out of all the places we visited during 2019, Sarajevo won a special place in our hearts.
From bustling Bascarsija to Novi Sarajevo’s glistening skyscrapers, from the Yellow Bastion to Skenderija, even though we left 3 months ago, we still dream ourselves to back to the “Jerusalem of the Balkans” where the scent of coffee and Cevapi joins you every corner you turn. ♥
Here's what we miss the most!
1. Strolling through Bascarsija + feeding the pigeons
(have you even been to Sarajevo if you didn’t?)
We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again -
Leave some room in your luggage for souvenirs!
The basar area will tempt you with everything you could possibly want to take home, sweets, art, traditional coffee sets, all at very reasonable prices.
2. Waking up to this view!
Walking only 5 minutes from the bus station, we arrived in what can only be described as Airbnb – heaven. The elevator (thank goodness for that) took us up to floor 9 where we got to sit down and admire this spectacular view.
Especially during the early morning hours and after sunset when its entire glory unraveles, we felt so extremely blessed just gazing out the window. It’s the simply things, guys..
3. Bosnian coffee!
Apart from the occasional brew to bring us back to life our way to an early, we're not that much into coffee.
Way before we made it to Bosnia we saw everyone raving about their amazing passionate way of serving it and it did not disappoint!
Bosnian coffee comes steaming hot, strong and sweet, what's not to love about that?
Take a seat in one of the many cafés (highly recommend “Aksaraj”), and be prepared to get a whole new appreciation for coffee!
How to drink Bosnian Coffee:
(as explained by an especially kind waiter)
Sarajevo certainly has a coffee culture – everywhere you stroll, the sidewalk cafes are packed with locals enjoying their coffee.
Your Bosnian coffee will be served on a small plate which will hold the coffee-filled dzezva
(a copper coffee pot with a long handle), an empty cup, a glass of water with sugar cubes or a Bosnian candy which is similar to Turkish delight.
Don’t just pour the coffee into the cup and drink it – all the coffee grounds are at the bottom of the dzerva!
First, spoon off the foam from the coffee in your dzerva, and then pour some coffee into your empty cup before topping your coffee with the foam.
Next, dip your sugar cube into the coffee to soften it, then take a bite of the sugar cube and take a sip of the coffee.
When you reach the coffee near the bottom of your dzerva, use your spoon to hold back the coffee grounds muck on the bottom.
4. Imagining moments in history happening.
It’s insane to wrap your head around WWI starting in Sarajevo and standing at this exact spot truly touched us. Sarajevo for us felt somewhat like a living museum. Between all the new buildings and the houses still scared with huge bullet holes, our respect for all the people enduring so much pain and loss during this dark time in history increased with every second of our stay.
5. The hospitality and warmth of the locals!
From our hosts to strangers we shared seats with on the tram, everyone was happy to help out with directions whenever needed. We learned so much over the course of our stay, all thanks to these lovely, warm – hearted people we were lucky enough to meet.
• May to September is the perfect time for a visit, as the weather will be most favorable.
• Bosnia isn’t part of the EU or Schengen. For German cities (please look up the regulations for your country of origin beforehand!) you are required to register with local police within the first 24 of you arriving in the country. Within the process (expect to pay about 10KM for your registration), you’ll be given a document stating you are officially registered as a tourist in Bosnia. Everytime you change your “residence” within the country (you staying at different city / lodging establishment) you are required to go up to the police station again to get another form for you to keep on you until you leave the country. At the border simply hand over your passport together with your forms for the border official to be able to backtrace your trip end – to – end. When you decide on staying in a hotel, the registration will be done for you. Not following the rules of registration can cause serious trouble when leaving the country. It’s also super important to pay attention to your passport being stamped: When arriving in Bosnia over a land border, you may or may not get an entrance or exit stamp. Immigration officers collect the documents on the bus before returning them to the driver. Passengers usually don’t get off. Border officials are sometimes careless because the locals only need to show their ID cards. You may not get your passport back until the bus has long since departed from the border. Not getting a stamp is worrying but rarely causes problems. If you’re concerned, insist on getting off the bus.
• Stroll around Old Town. Walk over the Latin Bridge towards Bascarsija Square (also known as Pigeon Square), which is a great starting point for exploring Sarajevo’s Old Town.
The historic Old Town is welcoming and charming, you’ll love it!
• Tramway tickets are 1,6KM per person / ride, we always felt entirely safe using it, also at nighttime. Try to avoid taxis as their services come at a dear price.
• Don’t forget to tip, the amount commonly reaches 10% of the cost of the rendered service.
• Central streets of the city are safe for walking even in the late evening meanwhile the remote areas of the city should better be explored with a guide.
• Stick to the basic safety rules and keep an eye on private things in crowded public areas, especially within the narrow paths of Baščaršija.
• Changing money is very straightforward and with the country being strongly cash based, carrying local currency on you will be necessary. Several exchange offices are along Ferhadija Street.
• Head up Avaz Twist Tower for the best view! The elevator to the 35th floor is 1KM and the view will blow your mind! Just a little heads up – you’ll have to walk about 30 steps from the exit of the elevator to the viewing platform, that’s why it might be harder to do for travelers in need of a wheelchair.
• Expect to witness plenty of beggars. From our experience, some are roaming the bus stations as they are usually busy with tourists and locals waiting for their ride. Sometimes beggars can get rather aggravating when not given any money, a firm “no” will do the job most of the time.
• Indulge in Ćevapi. Ćevapi is minced meat formed into cylinder sausage shapes served with fresh bread, raw onions and kajmak (similar to sour cream).
Do not leave Bosnia & Herzegovina without trying this local delight! It comes fairly cheap, too!
• Visit the Place where WWI Started. In 1914, Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were shot dead in Sarajevo. The assassination, which began the First World War, is marked with a stone plaque.
• Find the Sarajevo Rose marking the spot someone died in the Siege of Sarajevo
• For the most amazing apartment with the perfect view, check out Emina and Almir will go above and beyond to make your trip extra memorable!
And most importantly:
"Tell your friends that Bosnia isn’t a war zone anymore,”
like an elderly local lady asked us to.