A WEEK IN THE OLD YUGOSLAVIA: SARAJEVO, BOSNIA

We got on a bus from Mostar at 11 in the morning. The bus service to Sarajevo is frequent and tickets cost about £8.

The trip was supposed to take two hours but again it took longer than expected, nearly three hours. But this is forgiven because the views are amazing, passing through sunny valleys and snowy mountains.

The bus station in Sarajevo looked a bit rough, but most people were helpful and spoke a little English, so we managed to find our way around alright anyway.

Tram n.1 departs from the railway station (next to the bus station), and gets to the city centre in about 10 minutes.

sarajevo5_for web

Although we had been enjoying the sun at the beginning of our trip, we were greeted by snow and rain in Sarajevo. I’m not sure what I expected from Sarajevo, but somehow the bad weather seemed to fit with the place, despite making it a bit offputting for tourism.

Similarly to Mostar, in Sarajevo the war still seems very recent. Many landmarks (such as the yellow Holiday Inn where journalists reported the war) have something to do with war. But this is also the place of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, which triggered the start of WWI.

The Old Town (Stari Grad) is very nice and picturesque, with nice bars and cafes around. At its heart is the Baščaršija, the old market with stalls selling souvenirs and all sorts of things.

The bad weather definitely had an impact on how much we were able to see, so we preferred to stay close to the hostel. We went for Cheers Bar for drinks, and then were were on the road again.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Getting there: Sarajevo is often visited by tourists on their way to and from other places in the region, but there are some options for flying in as well.
  • Travelling by bus: We travelled by bus a lot on this trip. We had no problem buying tickets one or two days in advance, as it’s not possible to book anything online. The routes we travelled were all common, but sometimes we only had one option of departure time (often a very early start). Buses depart on time but somehow always end up taking longer en route, possibly because of the local landscape – which is beautiful, but doesn’t make for fast journeys.
  • Stay: Thee are many options from Hostelworld – we stayed in a place which I don’t really recommend. Staying close to the Old Town is the best options, as everything is nearby.
  • Money: Euros are commonly accepted in Bosnia, especially in hotels, shops and businesses around touristy areas.
  • Read: I started reading ‘Twice Born’ by Margaret Mazzantini after we came back from the trip. The novel is set in Sarajevo during the war, and it’s a great read – definitely captures the spirit of the place.
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