We really enjoyed our time in Sarajevo. It was exactly what we wanted for fall – a cool-not-cold climate, lots of trees changing colors, opportunities for hiking, cultural activities, and a low cost of living to allow us to have a high quality of life. Here are some of the highlights of our time in Sarajevo.
We enjoyed a fabulous breakfast in Mostar our first morning there and so decided to create a tradition of weekly breakfast out. I love breakfast, so it was especially a treat for me. And, it was a good excuse to get us out of the apartment at least one morning a week rather than getting straight into work. This gave us a different look at the city than our typical afternoons or nights out. I’m so glad we added this tradition – all four Sarajevo breakfasts were amazing.
A Picnic in Vrelo Bosne
One sunny weekday we took a picnic out to Vrelo Bosne park, which is just outside the historic town of Ilidza near Sarajevo. We were able to take Sarajevo’s tram all the way to Ilidza and then waited for a bus that took us up the road to the park. It was our first experience with the Sarajevo public transportation system, so it took some figuring out (for example, the trams take different tickets than the busses and the bus to the park wouldn’t take Sarajevo bus tickets).
The bus actually let us off at an intersection about a mile from the park and we had a lovely walk in through a rural neighborhood at the foot of some hills. There’s a small charge to enter the park (2 marks each), but it was worth it. The park was lovely. We found a bench by the little lake to eat our picnic and then wandered all over the park. It is not large, so it took maybe an hour. There were more people on the end of the park closer to the town of Ilidza and at that entrance we saw horsedrawn carriages that for 20 marks (about $10) would take us the three kilometers to the outskirts of Ilidza. It was a really fun way to travel and faster than walking!
Ilidza itself was charming – lots of resort hotels and apparently it has a thermal spa. We wound our way back to the tram station and headed back to Sarajevo. It was a really fun day made extra special by the carriage ride.
The Bob Staza
When Sarajevo was part of Yugoslavia, it hosted the 1984 winter Olympics. Plenty of remnants from the festivities remain, including the abandoned bobsled track in the mountains about the city.
A couple of years ago, Sarajevo installed a very nice cable car to take people up to the top of this small mountain, which features a very nice park and a great view out over the city. Then you follow the road down to the track and can actually walk down the bobsled track back toward town. As you near the end of the track, there are paths down the final bit into town. It was a little steep, but we had our hiking sticks and was a wonderful, memorable walk, which we capped with a visit to the bar at Sarajevo Brewery. There was something so beautiful about the graffiti-covered concrete in the midst of all the trees, and fun to imagine seeing a bobsled race. We’d really like to attend an Olympics sometime in the future.
Movies and Ballet
We were excited to discover that Sarajevo has an arthouse movie theater and were able to attend a couple of US movies there – The Joker and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. It is attached to a really great bar, just like our arthouse movie theater at home! We enjoyed both movies we went to see. It is nice in countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina that most US movies are presented in their original form with Bosnian subtitles.
We also had a great night out at the Bosnia National Theater seeing a ballet performance of The Lady of the Camelias. This was our first time watching a ballet and it was really great. The dancers were so impressive. Tickets were very cheap – just 10, 15, or 20 marks – so we got the best possible seats, front and center in row three. We loved it and were a little disappointed there were no other performances before we left.
Summing up Summary
There was so much to like about our time in Sarajevo. We enjoyed daily walks, usually just heading west along the river from our neighborhood, enjoying watching the ducks and the changing of the trees. We got the hang of the bus system and used it frequently to take us to Baščaršija, the oldest part of the city that reflects the time of Ottoman occupation and feels very much like Istanbul with its tight streets and mosques and markets. Nearer to our neighborhood, there is a 36-story tower with a cafe bar on top that we enjoyed. There were plenty of interesting and enjoyable bars and restaurants throughout the city and we enjoyed several nice nights out.
Sarajevo proved to be a great choice for us to enjoy a long stay and I’m so glad we stayed long enough to really get to know the city. It is a very special place.
My husband and I spent four weeks in this apartment and it was so nice for a long stay. The view is great, the kitchen has everything you need, the bed is very comfortable. The hosts, Velid and Amila, were very helpful to us and communicated well throughout our stay. Yes, there are a lot of stairs, but that didn’t bother us a bit since we only went out one or two times per day. We really liked being in this area of the city – it is near the part of the river that is nicest for walking or jogging. Good stores and restaurants in this neighborhood too. The wifi was good – fast enough to stream, although the upload speed was on the slow side (we understand this is common in Sarajevo). We definitely recommend!