24 Hours in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

SarajevoWith its extraordinary cultural and religious mix and rich Ottoman heritage, Sarajevo is a city that merits a visit at any time. Surrounded by green hills and bisected by a river, it is a place of spectacular beauty, and though the scars of the siege of the 1990s are still evident, Bosnians display heartening resilience and vitality.

THURSDAY
4PM McDonalds

Oh, the things you do for your kids and the places you stop after driving over five hours to get to Sarajevo. Yes, this American establishment was the first place we visited when we arrived in Sarajevo. The kids were sooo excited because we don’t have a McDonald’s in Montenegro. They ordered their Happy Meals with the “Cut the Rope” toy and enjoyed every bite. Note: you pay for everything when you are at McDonald’s in Bosnia, even the dipping sauce, so use them sparingly. The interesting thing about visiting McDonald’s outside of the US is studying its various menus and facilities. This one had a McCafe that included coffee, desserts and alcoholic beverages.

6PM Window Shopping
Along Sarajevo’s main pedestrian promenade called Ferhadija, we enjoyed a walk under the Christmas lights and brisk air. We found clothing stores, toy stores and many more, along with street vendors selling freshly-pressed pomegranate juice.Ferhadija7PM Dining in Old Town
We headed for Baščaršija – the heart of Ottoman Sarajevo – and enjoy cevapcici (che-VAHP-chee-chee), minced beef sausage-style kebabs served with pita-style bread, raw onions and kajmak – a Bosnian national dish. We stopped at Ćevabdžinica Željo 1, where you order in increments of five. Be prepared to sit close together, as this place is always packed.Zeljo8PM Coffee Talk
For Bosnians, drinking coffee is a ritual for relaxing, not quickening the pulse. Inside the rustic, wood-planked Miris Dunja, we unwounded and drank thick, frothy, slow-brewed Bosnian coffee served in copper pots.BosnianCoffee9PM Rest & Relaxation
We stayed at Marriott’s brand new Residence Inn Sarajevo. Read more about it here and why you should stay here when you visit Sarajevo.ResidenceInn

FRIDAY
9AM Hospitable Breakfast

We love continental breakfasts in Europe. It is not just cereal, processed scrambled eggs and pre-made “Belgium waffles” mix that you make in the waffle maker in the lobby. The breakfast includes cold meats and cheese, freshly cut fruit, muffins and breads, freshly scrambled eggs or hardboiled, if you like, and hot meats. The Residence Inn Sarajevo also had an espresso maker where you could make up to 8 varieties of coffee from freshly grounded beans.RIBreakfast12PM Street Lunch
No one is ambivalent about Sarajevo’s rich street food. One of my family’s favorite is burek, pastry dough filled with beef and potato, cheese or spinach. We headed back to the Baščaršija, Sarajevo’s old bazaar and the historical and cultural center of the city. We ate at Buregdžinica Sač, where we paired these savory pie portions with a glass of yogurt. We walked off our lunch and picked up a bag of freshly grounded coffee, by a man who was pounding it in a large mortar. Who needs an electric grinder when you can do it by hand?! 😉 We completed our lunch at the Cream Shop, a sweet shop with baklava, kadaif and more.BurekIgda1PM Street Shopping
One of the oldest streets of the Baščaršija is Kazandžilu, or the Coppersmith Street. We found an ornately decorated Bosnian coffee set and platter. It was a unique piece because it was hand hammered and decorated.CopperShop

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