Day One

9am: Begin your day like a local by sipping a strong Bosnian coffee from a tiny cup in one of the city’s 1,300 cafes.

10am: Visit the spot where the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot at Latinska Cuprija (Latin Bridge), an Ottoman bridge crossing the Milijacka river. The assassinations of the Archduke and his pregnant wife, Sophie, by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip in 1914 prompted Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia, and is believed to have sparked World War I.

11am: Head to nearby main shopping drag Ferhadija where you’ll find shiny boutiques and pedestrianised paved streets dotted with Sarajevo Roses – flower-like scars in the concrete caused by motor shells explosion and painted blood-red. These are anonymous memorials to the civilians tragically killed by Serbian criminals during the four-year siege.

1pm: Wander over to the city’s atmospheric warren of narrow streets that make up the Turkish Quarter to grab a traditional lunch. Bosnian House is a good option, decked out in antique furniture and 19th century Balkan paintings. The eatery serves up local favourites, from Sogan dolma (stuffed vine leaves) to cevapcici (sausage in pitta). Dishes from £3.

2.30pm: Follow the clink-clink of the coppersmiths at work in  Kazandziluk (Coppersmith Street) where you’ll find shop shelves loaded with Turkish-style coffee pots sitting alongside bomb cartridge shells and deactivated bullets that have been beautifully engraved and transformed into umbrella stands, vases and pens that make for novel souvenirs.

Mosques and minarets spike the sky in this part of town, and streets are lined with coffee shops, where your drink is served in a copper pot with a Turkish delight.

3pm: Enjoy a gloriously gloopy hot chocolate, a cup of tea or something stronger at Zlatna Ribica (5 Kaptol) – meaning ‘goldfish’ – an intimate cafe decorated with antique mirrors, lamps and the eponymous goldfish that swims around a glowing vase-shaped bowl. Menus are contained within books attached to the ceiling via telephone cords. Don’t leave without visiting the glamorous toilet, which is tarted up like a ladies’ powder room. You’ll find a mind-boggling array of toiletries and a tiny television to entertain punters when on the throne.

9pm:  After enjoying dinner in the Turkish Quarter, drop into cool haunt Kino Bosna, a cinema-turned-hip-bar and live music venue where punters sit in the former movie seats, drinking beer in a smog-filled room while dogs roam about.


Day Two

9am: Chow down on a pastry at 24-hour bakery Pekara Edin (Mula Mustafe Baseskije 69, Bascarsija).

10am:  If you’re visiting in the searing heat of summer, cool off at Terme Ilidza, a water park with a clutch of geothermally heated indoor and outdoor pools, and water slides. It’s open from May to September.

12pm: Soak up the city’s multicultural side by visiting its myriad religious places of worship. The medieval Orthodox Church (Mula Mustafe Baseskije 59) contains tapestries and old manuscripts, and is in the same road as the neo-Gothic Catholic Church and the Jewish Museum, once a synagogue, which dates back to 1581.

2pm: School up on Bosnia-Herzegovina’s history by dropping into the National Museum for displays on Bosnian music and natural history.

3pm:  Within spitting distance of the National Museum is Tito’s Cafe, which is full of memorabilia of Yugoslavia’s popular former leader and easy to find thanks to the World War I tanks standing proudly outside.

4pm: Just outside Sarajevo is the Tunnel Museum (Tuneli 1 Ilidza), which showcases the surviving 25-metre section of the 800-metre tunnel dug under the airport by besieged citizens to allow food, weapons, manpower and aid to come into the city during the 1992-95 siege of Sarajevo.

Besides two rooms filled with war memorabilia, you can walk through the section of the tunnel that helped Bosnians survive the attack from Serbian nationalists.

8pm: For sweeping views of the city at night, walk up steep and winding streets to locals’ favourite Kod Bibana, a bar/ restaurant set on top of a hill. In summer, sit in the garden and order a beer and ustipci – massive doughballs served up with a big dollop of sour cream.

Janine Kelso travelled to Sarajevo with Balkan Road Trip.

This article was originally published in 2011, and is taken from the TNT Archives.

Image credit: Thinkstock