I lived in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina for three months in late 2022 and early 2023. Here are my notes:
- Sarajevo is very affordable. We stayed next to the old Ottoman bazaar, just around the corner from where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot, and the rent was half as much as anything else we paid in Europe.
- The bazaar and Ferhadija make the city center pleasantly walkable.
- The mountains around the city are remarkable. They seemingly go straight up, surrounding the city with massive natural walls.
- The downside to the surrounding mountains is that they trap smog. They still burn coal in Sarajevo, so the city turns grey and bleak during the winter.
- Mostar is worth a visit. It’s a small and charming place. The countryside on the drive over is gorgeous.
- Eat cevapi. Drink Sarajevsko beer.
- When we visited, smoking was still legal in restaurants. Only a few places with indoor seating did not allow smoking. This led to us mostly ordering takeaway during our stay.
- Many popular European destinations get overrun with tourists. This can lead to tourist fatigue for locals. Sometimes that fatigue can manifest into a mild display of annoyance towards visitors. Bosnia is nothing like that. I never felt anything but welcome. Bosnians seem genuinely appreciative of tourists visiting their country.
- On New Year’s Eve, Sarajevo throws a free concert in the city streets. Thousands flock to the city. It’s a blast.