Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital, combines a 15th-century Ottoman centre with elegant Austro-Hungarian facades lining the Miljacka River. A modern city centre, along with drab socialist-era apartment blocks juxtapose against the historical core and craggy mountains that encapsulate the city. Traditional food, such as cevapi (a Bosnian kebab), is cheap and ubiquitous. And the Sarajevo accommodation is both affordable and comfortable.
Fans of history will love the capital. First, World War I started because of Franz Ferdinand’s assassination near Latin Bridge. The horrors we’re familiar with from the Bosnian War, and more specifically, the 44-month Siege of Sarajevo also took place here. Join the Free Walking Tour to learn more.
Backpackers also enjoy the week-long Sarajevo Film Festival, one of the largest in Europe, taking place every August. And if you’re staying here for a few days, take a day trip to the Bosnian Pyramids in nearby Visoko.
A trip to Sarajevo shouldn’t cost more than $40 per day, excluding long-distance transport. You can find a bed in a hostel for less than $20 a night or a budget hotel for $25. Snacking on a Bosnian burek from the bakery and a plate of traditional food shouldn’t cost more than $15 to $20 per person.
Tourists visit Mostar on a day trip from Croatia or when travelling from Sarajevo. Most arrive late morning and leave the same day. Mostar has Bosnia’s most famous attraction: Stari Most (“Old Bridge”). Stari Most, commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th-century, arches 29 metres (95 feet) over the River Neretva, 20 metres (66 feet) below.
Mostar’s Kujundziluk, the Ottoman centre, lies to the east of Stari Most. You’ll find souvenir shops, restaurants and Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque on this side of the river. Head to the other side and countless restaurants serve fresh Bosnian beer, traditional food and coffee. The western part of Mostar feels very Croatian.