Sarajevo 2 Day Itinerary

Itinerary

Day 1Drive to Sarajevo
(Stop at Jablanica)
Tunnel Museum
Hotel Lula
Baščaršija (Pigeon Square)
Cathedral
Dinner at Bosanska Kuca
Day 2Yellow Bastion
Kovaci Graveyard
City Hall
Latin Bridge (assassination spot of Franz Ferdinand)
Sarajevo 1878-1918 Museum
Walk along Miljacka River
(1984 Winter Olympic Stadium)
Eternal Flame
Dinner at Cevabdzinica Hodzic

Attractions

1Tunnel Museum
2Baščaršija (Pigeon Square)
3Cathedral
4Yellow Bastion
5Kovaci Graveyard
6City Hall
7Latin Bridge (Assassination Spot of Franz Ferdinand)
8Sarajevo 1878-1918 Museum
9Walk along Miljacka River (to 1984 Winter Olympic Stadium)
10Eternal Flame

Sarajevo Day 1

Drive to Sarajevo

Today is going to be smelly. We have run out of clean clothes and yesterday’s car troubles put paid to our laundry plans. So we will be driving to Sarajevo with the windows open.

Three things I know about Sarajevo; (1) Franz Ferdinand was assassinated here, the event which sparked World War I, (2) during the Bosnian War the city was under siege for several years and (3) it hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics.

Drive to Sarajevo
Drive to Sarajevo

Jablanica

This morning entails another scenic mountain drive, much of it along the valley of the beautiful blue-green Neretva River. We stop in Jablanica, site of a WW2 battle, where Tito’s Partisan forces took out a railway bridge to thwart the advancing Germans. The bridge still lies upended in the river as a monument to those who fought.

Jablanica
Jablanica

Tunnel Museum

On the outskirts of Sarajevo we stop at the Tunnel Museum. During the Siege of Sarajevo, when the city was cut off from the rest of Bosnia, a tunnel was built under the airport to smuggle supplies in and the wounded out of the city.

Tunnel Museum
Tunnel Museum

Now, the ‘Tunnel of Hope’ is a tourist attraction and you can go into the tunnel to see how it operated. Rails were laid through the tunnel, and then trollies, wheelchairs, stretchers etc were adapted to fit the rails.

Tunnel of Hope
Tunnel of Hope

Hotel Lula

After this fascinating insight into the horrors of the war and the resilience of the people of Bosnia, we continue into the city of Sarajevo. Once we have dealt with our laundry, we check into our hotel. The tiny (7 room hotel) is Hotel Lula is a unique place. I can’t quite decide if the décor is shabby chic or just shabby. The stains on the carpet have almost sold me on shabby, until we descend into the basement dining area. More of that later… One thing is certain, it’s very conveniently located, just a stone’s throw from Pigeon Square.

Baščaršija (Pigeon Square)

Once we have donned clean clothes, we take a wander round Sarajevo. We walk through the Baščaršija, nicknamed Pigeon Square. This cobbled pedestrian area in the heart of the old city, lined with restaurants and souvenir shops. And of course, pigeons.

Pigeon Square

Cathedral

We return to our hotel via the cathedral, with its rather unflattering sculpture of Pope Francis, who visited in 2015. Sarajevo isn’t what I expected of a capital city. It’s somewhat down at heel and still has a rather war torn look. I’m surprised how many of the buildings are still peppered with bullet holes almost a quarter of a century later.

Sarajevo Cathedral
Sarajevo Cathedral
Pope Statue
Pope Statue

Dinner at Bosanska Kuca

We round the evening off with beer and kebabs at Bosanska Kuca, sitting outside to enable us to watch the world go by the Baščaršija as we dine. Then retire pending a full tourist onslaught on Sarajevo in the morning.

Beer and Kebabs

Sarajevo Day 2

We get up and go for breakfast at the Hotel Lula. In the dining room, one wall is the breakfast buffet. The other 3 walls consist of a fake cottage, a fake woodpile and a fake forest. Running right through the middle; a fake tree.

Breakfast in the Hotel Lula forest

Yellow Bastion

After breakfast, we set off to explore Sarajevo. We head for the Yellow Bastion, which offers a great view of the city (i.e. involves a long uphill walk).

View from the Yellow Fortress
View from the Yellow Bastion

Kovaci Graveyard

The hill leading to the Yellow Bastion is largely covered by the Kovaci Graveyard, filed with line upon line of war graves. It’s a very visual reminder of the loss this city has suffered. The graveyard is also the final resting place of Bosnia’s first president.

Sarajevo War Graves
War Graves in Kovaci Graveyard

City Hall

Next we visit the beautifully restored neo-Moorish City Hall with its ornate interior and stained glass ceiling.

Sarajevo City Hall
City Hall

The basement contains a museum with interesting displays covering the key events of the city’s history.

Interior of City Hall
Interior of City Hall

Latin Bridge (Assassination Spot of Franz Ferdinand)

We continue along the river to the corner of the Latin Bridge. This is assassination spot of Franz Ferdinand. Here, somewhat bizarrely, you can find a plaque and an illustration of the monument which once marked the spot.

Latin Bridge
Latin Bridge

I studied European History at University. So, standing on the spot where the act which triggered the start of World War I, ultimately shaping the world we live in today, took place is strangely exciting.

Assassination Spot of Franz Ferdinand

Assassination Spot of Franz Ferdinand

Sarajevo 1878-1918 Museum

Across the road is a (very small) museum which tells the story in more detail. The Sarajevo 1878-1918 Museum includes wax figures of the archduke and his wife, who you can join for a bizarre photo op.

Franz Ferdinand mannequin
Hanging out with the Ferdinands

Walk along the Miljacka River

We continue along the banks of the Miljacka River towards the 1984 Olympic Stadium. The river is lined by grand buildings, many still bearing bullet holes, and criss-crossed with bridges. My favourite is the Festina Lente, which has a loop in the middle.

Festina Lente

1984 Winter Olympic Stadium

For a British person of a certain age, the Sarajevo Olympics is synonymous with scenes of Torvill and Dean’s gold winning ice dance Bolero. It’s a bit forlorn nowadays and not much to see, but it was a nice walk!

Sarajevo Winter Olympic Stadium
1984 Winter Olympic Stadium

Eternal Flame

We walk back along the river, past the Eternal Flame (a memorial to those who fought in WW2) and stop for a beer in a bar where a surly waiter seems quite angry that people are ruining his afternoon of drinking and smoking by wanting stuff.

Eternal Flame
Eternal Flame

Dinner at Cevabdzinica Hodzic

We round the day off with dinner; the local favourite; Cevapcici – mini kebabs in a flatbread with onions) and shop for souvenirs amongst the myriad of stalls.

Cevapcici
Cevapcici

After blowing our last few Marks on beer, it’s time to pack ready for tomorrow’s long drive to Split.

Trip taken: September 2019

Updated: September 2022

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