City Guide

Known as 'Jerusalem of Europe' for it's diversity, Sarajevo is a city rich in history, bathed in natural and architectural beauty, and filled with a population content to pursue a good, simple life.

As you plan your trip, soak up this list of top sight-seeing recommendations, historical tidbits, quirky stories, and off-the-beaten path ideas from our staff at The Doctor's House. We've fallen head over heels in love with this city and it's a highly contagious condition.

Via Dinarica
Via Dinarca was rated by Outside Magazine as 2014 "Best New Trail" and it's easy to see why. Following the Dinaric Alps from Slovenia to Albania, the trail covers over 2000km oof the Western Balkans. Superb hiking links a network of local farm stays so you can experience an outdoor paradise while also returning to a simpler lifestyle that has long since left the rest of Europe. Don't have 3 months to hike from beginning to end? Contact Via Dinarica to learn about section hiking and mountain biking near wherever you are in the Balkans!
City Map
Point your feet in the right direction by downloading and printing this Sarajevo city map before arrival. These recommendations and others are listed for easy access.
Free Walking Tour
Free Walking Tour
Neno's Free Sarajevo Walking Tour is hand's down the best introduction to the city. Neno's tip-based tour covers Bosnian history from the Bosnian kingdom to personal accounts of life during the Siege to struggles of modern day life. You'll find no limit to his enthusiasm and walk away with a very balanced glimpse into the rich history of Sarajevo. Shoot him a email via his site to get the tour time for your day of choice.
Das ist Valter!
Vladimir 'Valter' Perić was a real Yugoslav partisan military commander in the 1940's. His name was committed to legend when Hajrudin Krvavac named his lead character in Partisan war film "Valter Brani Sarajevo" after him. The movie is a cult classic in these parts, ending with an inspiring scene where the failed German special forces looks over Sarajevo to proclaim "Das ist Valter!"

In the 1970's, China got a hold of the movie and liked along the lines of over 1.5 billion views, putting it down in history as one of the "one of the most-watched war films of all time." Don't be surprised in your future visits to China to find a beer, streets, and people named after Valter.
The horror of the Srebrenica massacre that took place on July 11th, 1995 cannot be summed up in just a few words or even in volumes of them. The day is now marked as a day of silence in Bosnia and many places around the world to honor the over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys of Srebrenica who were systematically murdered and deposited into mass graves by the Army of Replublika Srpska under the watchful eye of a Dutch contingent of UNPROFOR.

Visit the Galerija 11/07/95 beside the Sarajevo Cathedral from Mon-Sun 09-20hr to further understand the genocide by becoming an active witness to the atrocity and, in so doing, to honor the lives lost.
Jewish Cemetery
Jewish Cemetery
Opened in 1630 after the Sephardic Jews moved to Sarajevo by the thousands during the Spanish Inquisition, the Jewish Cemetery in the center of Sarajevo is now known as the second largest in Europe, second only to the one in Prague. Easily accessible via a path behind Skenderija for a lazy stroll through history. Contains a memorial to victims of Fascism.
Ko to tamo peva
Slobodan Šijan
Do yourself a favor and watch any movie directed by Slobodan Šijan. I would go so far to say he's the brainchild of Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick, but both could call him father. "Ko to tamo peva" or "Maratonci trče počasni krug" are good ones to start with.
Fine Art Academy
Academy of Fine Arts
The Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo was originally a Evangelical church built during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and then converted to the Sarajevo Arts Academy after a big decline in the Protestant population during the 1900's. The aptly named Festina Lenta ('Make haste slowly') bridge was designed and built by 3 students of the school to connect the Academy across the Miljacka River in 2012. Local rumor has it that the students only built it so as to get to the then-famous student bar 'Marquee' opposite the school faster.
Hotel Promaja
Few places enjoy so much local lore and love as Dragan's little restaurant on the way to Skakavac Waterfall. Think homemade meals from a seasonal stock of goods, home-blended rakija from mountain pine and honey, dirt cheap beer, warm fire place, and breathtaking views. Slip away to visit the 98 meter waterfall an hour further up the hill. Not to be missed.

Ask cab drivers to take you up the mountain to 'Dragan's' near Skakavac. Most know the place though getting one willing to take you can be a bit of a trick at times, as the roads get bad toward the end. Expect to pay about 15KM. Sound too iffy? Our staff are happy to call a reliable cab for you.
Panoramic View
Panoramic Views
Hike up around in Vratnik or Alifakovac neighborhood for stunning panoramic views of the city. Sarajevo's golden hour hits right at sunset.
Hand-made Souvenirs
There's no better way to spend money than to directly support locals preserving hand-made Bosnian craft traditions. Our friends at Bosnian Connect help connect you to individuals from Sarajevo and the surrounding cities to make it easy to purchase hand-crafted gifts. Purchase items at reception.
Artfully translated as 'meat fingers', ćevapi represents all that you've ever known about Bosnian food: "Meat meat meat!" Unless you are a vegetarian, bee-line for a ćevabdžinica as soon as you get in town to try Sarajevo's finest dish. The sausages are grilled on an open fire and served with chopped onion and somun bread for as little as 3KM (1.5€).

PS. I dare you to click the music video above to hear how the Austrian's reacted when they met the dish.
Abandoned Olympic Bobsleigh
Abandoned Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track
If you've got a penchant for exploring abandoned sites while traveling, make sure to visit the 1984 Winter Olympic bobsleigh track on Trebević Mountain. The track fell into ruin during the Siege of Sarajevo when it was used as an artillery position by the Bosnian Serb forces. Today it's a popular hiking spot and being increasingly developed into a trail for extreme biking and roller blading.

Take a cab from the center or walk about 2 hours uphill through quaint mountain house and sheep-covered pastures starting from Inat Kuća.
Goat's Bridge
Kozija Ćuprija
Kozija Ćuprija is a historic Ottoman bridge over the Miljacka river a few kilometers up the river from Baščaršija. Built by Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha in the 1500's along with the more famous sister bridges in Mostar and Višegrad. Historically the city officials would go to this bridge to meet ambassadors visiting the city, youths often jumping from the bridge into the shallow water as a show of bravado. That tradition is lost in Sarajevo, but the path to the bridge makes a lovely stroll or bike ride out of town.

If rock climbing is your thing, join the local climbers on the rock faces on the left of this path.
Kino Bosna
Kino Bosna
There is literally nowhere in the world like this old cinema turned bar. The life-blood of the alternative scene in Sarajevo. Monday is the night to go. Local troop plays 'sevdah' traditional music to a house full of young people. The one place you'll never want to leave waits at Alapasina 19.
The Jews of Sarajevo
During the Spanish Inquisition, fleeing Jews from Europe were welcomed into the Ottoman Empire so openly that by the 16th century, Sarajevo became one of the largest centers for Sephardic Jews in the world at that time. By 1941 an estimated 14,000 Jews lived in the city, but the end of WWII only about 4,000 remained. During the Bosnian War and the Siege of Sarajevo, numbers reduced even smaller as Israel welcomed all Jewish refugees forced to flee. Remnants of their presence still dot the Sarajevan architecture around town, though there are only an estimated 1,000 Jews now living in Sarajevo and only one active synagog.
Flea Market
Sunday Flea Market
Find everything or nothing at the Sunday flea market in on the outskirts of Sarajevo - we're talking everything from Tito memorabilia to second hand clothes to Chinese import product and the occasional antique mixed in with over a kilometer of junk. Whether this sounds like heaven or hell to you, holds true that the early bird gets the best bargains. Open from 7:00 to 12:00ish. Take the tram #3 to the Stup stop (about 30 minutes from Baščaršija). Exit the tram and head right over the cross walk. You can't miss it!
Children's Memorial
The Children's Memorial
Roughly 12,000 people were killed during the Siege of Sarajevo. 1500 of those were children.

This memorial fountain stands quietly at the foot of the big park across from BBI Center and is well worth a few minutes pause for reflection. The base of the glass memorial is cast from melted shell casings and covered with the foot prints of the surviving brothers and sisters of those killed. The name of each child is written to the left of the memorial.
Often referred to as a 'Bosnian donut', these little fried dough-lets of bliss and joy are traditionally served savory with a complementing cheese and meat plate. Seek them out while you are here for the perfect appetizer to share with old or new friends.
The Tiger's Wife
The Tiger's Wife
by Téa Obreht
This is the debut book from 25-year-old Bosnian novelist about the relationship between a girl and her grandfather. Obreht masterfully weaves in true threads of Bosnian history from Ottoman-era superstitions to the struggles of medical students during the recent war in this fictional novel. Highly recommended, relaxing, and fascinating read.

Pick up a copy locally at Sarajevo's English bookstore BuyBook on Radićeva 4.
Adventure Tours and Excursions
Green Visions is the fore-runner in sustainable tourism development in Bosnia's highlands and villages. Their tours take you out of town to get a real look at the breath-taking nature and age-old village life in Bosnia i Herzegovina. They are not the cheapest tours but you travel easy knowing every penny spent goes to rebuilding lives and natural resources. Regularly scheduled tours include Lukomir Highland Village, Sutjeska National Park, and snow-shoeing in winter.
It's worth booking at least 2 nights in Mostar at Hostel Nina. The famous Unesco World Heritage bridge is just one of the breath-taking sites of the city. It's war-history against Bosnian-Croat forces and landscape in the dry wine-producing region of Hercegovina provides a uniquely different experience in BiH from Sarajevo.

If you are short on time, the antique train has good schedules and great views to visit Mostar on a day-trip from Sarajevo. The train departs Sarajevo at 07:15 in the morning and you can return from Mostar on the train that leaves for Sarajevo at 19:12.
Sushi San
If you need a break from the local cuisine, the San Francisco-trained chef at Sushi San is ready to refresh your palette with classic, affordable sushi, home-pickled ginger, and soul-warming miso soup. You'll find this cozy sushi bar is just down the street from The Doctor's House on Musa Ćazim Ćatić 33.
Sounds of Sarajevo
Sounds of Sarajevo
On the stroll into the city from The Doctor's House, enjoy catching this trio of sounds: Get serenaded by the students practicing at the Sarajevo Music Academy, hear cathedral bells on the hours, and listen to the Muezzins Ezan cry resound around the hills five times a day.
Pita Burek
Pita pita bo bi ta!
As a foreigner I've been informed that I can only get married to a Bosnian man when (and only when!) I master the art of making Bosnian pita. Well if you are short on time for the cooking lesson and the laborious hours of practicing to get the perfect pita and the perfect man, just skip it and try these glorious baked pies by sampling them at the ubiquitous buregdžinica's around town. Here's a tip on the terminology:

Pita with minced meat: Burek
Pita with spinach: Zeljanica
Pita with cheese: Sirnica
Pita with potato, squash, apple, etc: Krompiru...Oh come on, just give it the classic point & smile and you'll do just fine. ;)
Skakavac Waterfall
Skakavac Waterfall
Just a few hours of hiking can get you to the Skakavac Waterfall in Nahorevo Mountain just to the north side of the city. The name means 'grasshopper' and you'll see why when you watch the water skip and jump 98 meters down the rock face.

Take the Nahorevo bus from Sutjeska stop to the beginning of the hiking path. The waterfall is about 2hrs up from there. Alternatively, we can arrange a cab to get you within an hour's hike of the base of the waterfall at Dragan's famous Hotel Promaja Hiking Station.
Vijećnica, the Austro-Hungarian City Hall that Archduke Franz Ferdinand visited minutes before his assassination, was given over to house the National Library in the 1940's. Sadly it then burned during the recent war, along with the books inside it. In 2014, as Sarajevo commemorated the 100 year anniversary of the shot that started WWI, the Library was rededicated and reopened to the city. You can now visit a photo exhibition inside.
National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s crowning jewel is the Sarajevo Haggadah, one of the oldest Sephardic Jewish documents in the world, brought and preserved by Jews displaced from Spain by the Alhambra Decree in 1492. Also on display is an exceptional collection of archeology and artifacts from the Roman era. In it’s Natural History Department, over 2,000,000 specimens of flora, fauna and geography from the Bosnia and Herzegovina region are showcased... if you are into that kind of thing. ;)

Visit on Tuesday to Friday from 10:00-19:00 or weekends from 10:00-14:00. A visit will put you out 6KM.
Čajdžinica Džirlo
The coziest little teahouse in Sarajevo, Čajdžinica Džirlo, is the perfect escape no matter the moment. Its inviting atmosphere is spiced with the warm aromas of teas from around the world and the friendly chatter of owner and patrons enjoying life at the perfect pace. The must-try house beverage is a traditional Turkish Salep, made from orchid roots.
Vukov Konak
Vukov Konak is a charming traditional Bosnian inn with a famous Finnish Sauna. Find them just 30 minutes outside of Sarajevo to disconnect from city life for a spell... Read a book by the open fire, play with the goats, relax in the saunda or or have the staff plan a custom outdoor adventure for you and your group. No matter what you choose, you will enjoy locally sourced food, friendly locals, and a serene mountain environment.
Zlatna Ribica
Zlatna Ribica
Stepping into Zlatna Ribica is like dropping down a rabbit hole. The antique eccentrics that adorn the walls from floor to ceiling give the Goldfish a quirky atmosphere. Grab a local favorite, the Sangria, and journey into a 19th century wonderland.
Balkan Expres
With its laid back vibe, Balkan Expres, attracts many of the cities locals... and us alike! It's hand's down our staff's favorite bar. With old relics and posters adorning the walls, the decor pays homage to former Yugoslavia without the kitsch. The music is always just right with ex-Yu rock and evergreen hits from ages past. Pull up a seat at the bar and get cozy - you won't be going anywhere else soon!
Franz & Sophie
To enter a world of tea in a “kafa” city is a true rarity. Franz & Sophie do it all right though a tea to satisfy any aromatic preference and the expert knowledge to lead you to it. The aroma and décor create the perfect ambiance to appreciate the incredible selection of loose teas which can be bought for later.
BiH & The World Cup 2014
Needless to say, it caused a good bit of stir locally that Bosnia qualified for the World Cup in 2014 - their first representation as an independent country ever in a world sporting event of this scale. Everyone got in on the hype and enjoyed being in some limelight that had nothing to do with the war.

Check out this video above by a famous local band Divanhana to catch the spirit. See if you can catch a Doctor's House representative cameo! ;)
© Copyright 2013 The Doctor's House with images by Cat Norman Photography