Are you looking for a unique place to visit? Somewhere slightly off the beaten path but totally worth your time? Then you should definitely consider booking a trip to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo has so much to offer and I fell head-over-heels in love with the city as soon as we arrived.

Here are a few reasons you will love Sarajevo:

The Architecture

One of several mosques in the city
One of several mosques in the city

Here east meets west in an incredibly unique way, unlike anyplace else I’ve ever been. Walk one direction and you will see buildings reminiscent of the Hapsburgs of Austria, turn the corner and you might feel like you’ve arrived in Turkey. Turn yet another corner and you will see flashy, modern buildings and bridges rising up around you. Walk a bit farther and you will see old Soviet-style buildings reminiscent of communist Russia. You will see old Catholic churches, ancient mosques, and crumbling, fading, deserted structures left over from the war in the 90’s. You will find cobblestone alleyways filled with tiny shops crammed with knick knacks and pastries and teacups for sale around every bend. The blend of cultures is simply fascinating.

  1. The food. The food is to die for. And it’s cheap. We literally ate our way around the Old Town and wished we had more room in our stomachs just so we could buy more food.

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    Just one of the many colorful offerings to be found in Sarajevo
  2. Shopping. You can buy fashionable clothing and accessories and so much more for very affordable prices. I wished I had room in my bag to do much more shopping than I actually did.

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    One of many shops that were selling beautiful things
  3. The history. The history of Sarajevo is fascinating, if not a bit depressing. You can see the bridge where the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated, sparking WWI. You can visit the Tunel (Tunnel) Museum just outside the city and walk through part of the tunnel that was built during the Bosnian War of 1992-1996, thus helping thousands of people who were trapped inside the city survive as food and supplies were smuggled in.  Everywhere you go around town you see remnants of the war in the form of shrapnel-studded and war-torn buildings crumbling all around you. It does give a somber and sobering mood to the city, and the haunting presence of war does seem to lurk in the air around you, reminding you of what evil man is truly capable of. But I still found the city incredibly fascinating and beautiful.

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    Plaque on the wall near where Ferdinand’s assassination took place

Tips:

  • To ride the light rail around town you must buy a ticket from the conductor.
  • Eat everything! There is so much good food to be had in this city. Try it all!
  • Visit the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Even if the electricity is off and the building is freezing cold. It’s a sad reminder of the war, and the troubles that the country still faces, but it’s worth the experience.
  • There is no public transportation that goes to the Tunel Museum, so you will need to negotiate a taxi fare to get there. Don’t let the distance dissuade you from going, it’s definitely worth visiting!You can see visible reminders of the war everywhere you look.

If you want a great European destination at a fraction of the cost of other cities, go to Sarajevo. I promise you won’t regret it!

Have you been to Sarajevo? What would you add to this list?

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