Sarajevo is a very popular tourist destination for Turks, probably because of the cultural and historical connections and there are no visa requirements. As a result, it is extremely easy and cheap to do a short break to Sarajevo. We flew with Fly Pegasus and with a change in Istanbul, it only took us 3 hours or so to get to Bosnia’s capital Sarajevo.
We decided as we were going to go to Mostar and wanted to make the most of the area that we would hire a car. Car hire was not cheap, but it did allow us to make the most of our trip. In Sarajevo we opted to stay in a small guesthouse called Casa United which was located within walking distance of the old town – with parking. We were very happy with our choice as the room was fine, the staff were friendly. My only comment would be that the bathroom was tiny.
Day 1 – We spent our first day wandering around the old city known as Stari Grad and Başcarşı. The old town is like an old Turkish bazaar with shops, cafés, restaurants, and mosques. We visited the old medrese – school, tried the local Turkish coffee and the famous Bosnian pastry known as Boşnak Burek. We also found that Sarajevo was a happening place – the whole place came to life at night as everyone goes for an evening stroll and visits a cafe, bar, restaurant or night club.
Day 2 – You will notice as you wander around the city constant reminders of the war- bullet holes, shell holes and empty buildings. With this in mind, we visited the Memorial Gallery – a photo/video gallery about the massacre in Srebrenica (located near the cathedral). You cannot leave the city without seeing this exhibition – a reminder to us all of the horrors of the Bosnian war. In the late morning, we visited the Tunnel museum – the tunnel of life. This place is a bit tricky to find, especially if you are relying on public transport. If you look at the map, it is very confusing so go out of the city towards the airport to the town Ilidza (named after Ilica in Turkey). From there just follow the signs.The Tunnel Museum is located in the house that was one of the entry/exit points to the tunnel. You will get some idea of how people managed to flee the city during the blockade and how supplies were brought to the city, hence the name, the tunnel of life. After visiting the museum, we decided to head for the parks of Ilidza. Ilidza is full of natural beauty – it is lush green and full of trees, streams and flowers. It is actually famous for its thermal springs but we did not visit any of these. The long tree-lined aleja – is a 6km avenue closed to traffic. People jog, cycle, walk or for a moderate fee take a horse-drawn carriage to the major park in the area known as Vrelo Bosna. We decided to walk one way and have an early dinner in the main park restaurant located by a beautiful waterfall. Feeling tired after our long day, we treated ourselves to being driven back in style in an old carriage from the Austro- Hungarian era.