The perfect place to seek shelter from the gloomy weather is Franz & Sophie Tea Shop, where you can sample some of the finest teas from around the world. This café is located in the center of town and BiH’s first tea sommelier will be happy to suggest an ideal blend. These teas bear the FAIRTRADE Mark, which helps make customers socially responsible consumers.
You can make your way from the center to the old part of town on foot and within the short distance, there are many attractive buildings which tell the story of Sarajevo, as well as major places of worship and a large number of museums which can all testify to the city’s history.
Become familiar with the city’s history
The Cathedral of Jesus’ Sacred Heart was built in 1889 in the Neo-Gothic style and across from it is Gallery 11/07/95, which provides visitors with a detailed look at the tragedy for both Srebrenica and Bosnia. This gallery-museum has a permanent exhibit with multimedia presentations which serve as a testimony to the tragic events depicted in the war diaries of those who experienced it.
By exploring the exhibits in the various annexes of the Museum of Sarajevo, you can become familiar with the inhabitants of old Sarajevo and their way of life. The interior of Svrzo House shows how a wealthy urban Muslim family lived during the 18th and 19th centuries and the displays inside Despić House paint a picture of the life of a wealthy urban Serbian family from the 17th century all the way up to the 20th century. You’re sure to be taken with the appearance and spirit of the renovated City Hall – Vijećnica – as well as the exhibit, “Sarajevo 1914-2014”.
The National Museum is the largest museum in BiH and its vast collection of priceless artifacts awaits you, from the original Sarajevo Haggadah brought by the Sephardic Jews when they fled Spain, to the great collections of butterflies, minerals and rocks and exhibits featuring displays related to archeology, prehistory and numismatics. Touring the entire facility can take most of the day.
Right next to the National Museum is the Historical Museum, where you can see many permanent exhibits, including “Sarajevo Under Siege”, as well as items that offer a glimpse of how Sarajevans lived during the war. Local residents continue to bring such articles to the museum from their own collections.
Right behind the Historical Museum is Tito Café, whose interior and exterior is decorated with posters, photos and heavy artillery, all of which tell the story of Josip Broz Tito, WWII and the battles fought during that time. Many movies were made about these battles, featuring stars like Richard Burton, Orson Welles and Yul Brynner.
You can reach any of the aforementioned places by taking a tram or trolley bus, by walking or even by hiring a taxi, which is quite cheap in Sarajevo. If the rain doesn’t bother you while you ride your beloved bike, then you can simply leave it at one of the bicycle parking spots in town.
Choose foods that suit your taste
As far as food is concerned, the selection in Sarajevo, even aside from the domestic cuisine, is pretty impressive.
The restaurant, Mala Kuhinja, doesn’t have a regular menu, but its daily specials certainly won’t disappoint. Barhana offers a wide selection of brandies, as well as several specialties and an intimate atmosphere. In Baščaršija there is the international restaurant, Dveri – a must-visit spot for stars who grace the red carpet during the SFF.
Near Vijećnica is the Emperor’s Mosque, and if you make your way over to Bistrik, you’ll come to Sarajevska Pivara (Brewery), which have a restaurant Pivnica HS where you can have dinner and sample some original Sarajevo beers that have been produced here since 1864. The brewery also has a museum on site, where you can find souvenirs, as well as view some items on display, including beer bottles from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and labels that have been used throughout the ages, from the Ottoman period to more recent times.
If you prefer light food, drop by Sushi San, whose owner, Darko Poljak, is not only a sushi master, but also a saxophonist. You can hear his jazz tunes at Mash and Jazzbina.
At the rooftop terrace at Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, you can enjoy at the S-One Sky Bar, which is unique, not just for its unforgettable view of the city, but also because you can enjoy a wide range of drinks and cocktails and sample some snacks.
Suggestions for those who love music and shopping
Even when it’s time to make a break there’s still something to learn in Sarajevo. The best place for learning more about sevdalinka, traditional lyric songs, is Sevdah Art House. There is an enclosed garden and Sevdah Kahva (Café) in the center of this historical object, known collectively as Veliki Daire, where you can rest, have some coffee and enjoy the loveliest sevdalinka melodies. CDs, books and many other items related to sevdah are available for purchase at the souvenir shop in the museum section.
It’s ideal to spend a rainy day in a spa or wellness center, so we recommend that you visit Termal Riviera in Ilidža, with its enclosed thermal pool and Tropski Vrt, a restaurant that serves both local and international specialties. There’s also Radon Plaza Hotel, which has its own wellness center, bowling lanes and billiards hall.
If nightlife is more your thing, we suggest Coloseum, Monument, Cinemas Club, Silver and Smoke, Aquarius Vils or Mash, where you’ll find jazz and blues, local and international DJs, live gigs and concerts.
Shopaholics are spoiled for choice with BBI Center and Sarajevo City Center, not to mention the souvenirs and authentic products from the local artisans in Baščaršija. While you’re there, be sure to check that the shops you do business with display the Sarajevo Original Quality seal, a sign of authentic Sarajevo quality.
BH Crafts is a project that involves the production of hand-made clothing and decorative items made by Bosnian women. It unites creativity, humanism, business and psychotherapeutic activities, and every item comes with its own certificate by the lady who made it.
If you'd really like to treat someone to a gift, and you prefer simple, unique and beautiful things, then the shop, Maksuz, in the heart of Baščaršija, is the perfect place for you, and you shouldn't miss Egoist Gallery, which offers original Sarajevo Dingbats items by the well-known BiH designer, Aleksandra Nina Knežević.
Those who love old trades can visit the coppersmith shop run by Nermina Alić – the only lady in Čaršija who does a “man’s job” – and purchase some authentic souvenirs for your dear ones back home.