A Travel Guide to Sarajevo’s Best Local Spots
In the recent years, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has gained traction as the new travel destination in Europe. It’s a city where you can find remnants of the Ottoman Empire in the Bascarsija (Old Town), the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the city, and the heart and soul of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian people throughout both. Simply, it is a place that must be visited if you are in the Balkans.
Wherever I travel, I always look for recommendations from locals for places to eat, drink, and party. What better way to immerse yourself in the local culture? For those who have never been, this article will provide you with some must-visit ideas and new places to discover!
Best Food Spots in the City
Sarajevo could very well have the tastiest food I’ve ever eaten. Not only that, it is extremely cheap too! Talk about bang for your buck. Here are a few must try food destinations.
Here you will try the local specialty known as “Cevapi”. These are small beef/lamb combination kebabs, served on a homemade bread known as “somun” and fresh onions. Locals often ask for “kajmak” which is a homemade spread made of milk fat, or will ask for a yogurt – this is served in a drinking glass and is much more liquid than breakfast yogurt from the grocery store. If you find yourself at “Zeljo 2”, don’t fret! It’s owned by the same people has just expanded. Expect some delicious food!
Burek, another specialty of the region, is a savoury pie made of minced beef and potatoes. Other varieties of “pita” (pie) include: spinach; cheese; potato; and pumpkin. For 1kg of these savoury pies, you’re looking at spending no more than 12 KM (the Bosnian convertible mark).
Located within the tiny streets of the Old Town is a hole-in-the-wall fast food eatery. It is owned and operated by one guy, who makes the most delicious burgers and chicken sandwiches in the city. I highly recommend it if you are on a budget – made fresh in front of you, and costs approximately 3KM per sandwich, and 2KM per burger.
If you’re into having a chef serve you a meal (you get to tell them what you DON’T want on the plate) this place is for you. Mala Kuhinja specializes in a unique asian-fusion food style and their chef has wowed me every single time. I would recommend going to this place with a group and taking your time to enjoy it all – it is a 3 course meal that is shared, plus dessert and drinks. It is definitely not a cheap restaurant, but well worth it!
Last, but not least, is another local eatery named Dzenita (pronounced Jenny-ta). This restaurant offers many local meals often made at home and by families. It will give you a real glimpse of the traditional dishes of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which I promise are delicious!
Though I’ve only mentioned 5, this is one list that could go on and on. Sincerely, I wouldn’t be able to choose my favourite place to eat in Sarajevo. I will give mention to these restaurants as great choices as well: Kibe, Avlija, and Klopa!
Where to Get Drinks
Located near the Eternal Flame, Zlatna Ribica (aka Gold Fish) is one of the most unique bars in Sarajevo. Comprised of hundreds of tiny trinkets from around the world, it offers a cozy environment for drinking as a couple or with friends. The vibe is mellow, even though the place is rarely empty!
Whether you want a coffee or a beer, Aquarius provides an awesome patio alongside the river Miljacka, and is known as a trendy spot for locals.
Great pub, great location (and patio) and great beer (ask for a Tomislav on tap)! The location of City Pub is, quite literally, in the centre of the city, and is surrounded by many other pubs and bars. If you are wanting a night out on the town, this would be a great place to start, and bar hop from there.
A cocktail bar with great music and patio, always packed! Incredible cocktails and also some local IPAs.
If you’re looking for a bit of a mellow and classier vibe, head to Dekanter. Another great place with a patio, music, and a selection of over 60 wines.
Once again, there are so many different places to try that it’s hard to list only a few. I’ll mention a few more more: Vucko, Kino Bosna and Sloga – three places you should go to experience the nightlife of Sarajevo. Vucko is a great bar with an incredible array of beer choices. Kino Bosna was formerly a theatre, now remodelled to host the biggest student parties on Monday nights, featuring live music and a lot of rakija! And I am mentioning Sloga, because heck, if you’re down to dance and go to a club, this is the closest thing you’re gonna find.
Discover Local Desserts
Located outside of the city centre, one of the most iconic dessert cafes is Palma. Check out its (daily fresh) cakes and desserts, and enjoy a cup of coffee by the fountain on their backside patio. Worth visiting!
A hip dessert cafe, boasting several locations throughout the city. So delicious!
This is a tiny dessert store alongside the main walking street in Sarajevo (Ferhadija) which has one of the most delicious ice creams I have ever tasted. If you go, try out the Egipat Vanilla – it won’t disappoint.
Simply the best cheesecakes in the country. Period.
The “Sweets Corner” where East meets West. You’ll notice that at this point in the city is where the structure of the buildings change, and you can see the stark contrast between the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian designs. Also a great place to try local sweets and cakes.
I hope I have given you some helpful insight into this wonderful city. It’s charm, however, can only fully be realized by taking your time and wandering through its streets, exploring the various shops and restaurants available, and experiencing it all for yourself.