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Bosnia: The unknown gem in the Balkans

For many people around the world, the names “Bosnia” and “Sarajevo” invoke memories of war, conflict, and suffering; it is a real and great misconception as Bosnia is one of the most authentic and hospitable countries in Europe, blessed by natural beauty and rich heritage from many cultures. For us, who have spent a part of our lives in the old Yugoslavia, Bosnia is a home of cordial and jovial people proud of their heritage and ready to extend their hospitality to any visitors, domestic and foreign. The country has a very rich history and has been at the center of European events on many occasions. It is known as the “melting pot of Europe” where the western and eastern cultures and religions have met, sublimated, and left their marks in an extraordinary fashion.

sarajevo latin bridge

City of Sarajevo, the Latin Bridge, at night

Any visit to Bosnia must start with the capital Sarajevo. The city called “The Jerusalem of the Balkans” is one of the very few cities in Europe that has a church, a mosque, a synagogue and a cathedral in the same neighborhood. Dating from prehistoric times, this city has become a regional center in 15th century under Ottoman rule – indeed, its name in Turkish is “Saray Bosna” meaning “The Palace of Bosnia”. It has flourished and accumulated both the oriental characteristics from the Ottomans and the western characteristics from the Austro-Hungarian influence, and after the 2nd World War became a modern multicultural city. In 1984, Sarajevo was hosting the Winter Olympic games; it was the 2014 European Capital of Culture and since 2019 it is designated as a UNESCO Creative City.

Sarajevo and the Old Bazaar

Walking through this amazing city is like passing through time. The modern buildings mix with medieval walls and mosques, many of which still bear the wounds of the recent war. If you come from the Turkish or Arabic world, you will feel at home in the old, bustling city market “Bash Charshiya” (The Main Bazaar) which is still a center of a lot of day-to-day activities of Sarajevo’s citizens. The old trades and crafts have almost perished and remain a rarity, most of them being replaced by shops, souvenir kiosks and restaurants – but the enterprising and welcoming spirit of the locals remains intact and thoroughly pervades the atmosphere.

old bazaar

Typical scene from Sarajevo Old Bazaar


Dish of "cevapi" with condiments

You are beckoned to sit in a traditional restaurant and enjoy a portion of the famous Sarajevo kebab (“chevap”) - 5 or 10 finger-sized grilled minced meat, for which every restaurant has its own special, secret recipe, and placed inside a warm pita bread with “kajmak” (salted milk cream) and spices. And after a long and fulfilling walk through the city, it is a joy to relax with some hand-prepared turkish coffee or tea, served with “ratluk” (a local version of the turkish delight).

old bazaar craft

Bosnian craftsman in the Old Bazaar


Our CEO, Natalia, in Sarajevo


Coffee with "ratluk"

Besides the bazaar, there are many other places to visit in Sarajevo: from the ancient forts White Fort and City Fort, numerous mosques, churches and cultural amenities, to the modern Olympic structures and museums. And although the city alone is a wonderful place, its surroundings should not be discounted; the mountains, villages and parks around Sarajevo are well worth a visit.

City of Mostar

Another city in Bosnia that is well worth a visit is Mostar – an ancient, medieval town on the banks of river Neretva. A relatively small city of around 100.000 residents, it lives and breathes with the air of traditional, old town. It also flourished under Ottoman rule, whose architects have built one of the most well-known bridges – the Old Bridge – which is rightfully its biggest attraction. Built originally in 16th century, it spans with a single arch across the river on a height of 21 meters, with two towers on each side, it is now listed in UNESCO World Heritage sites. This breathtaking sight alone makes it worth visiting Mostar, but the rest of the town will not leave you wanting.


Panorama of the Mostar Bridge

It is not that often that I visit Bosnia nowadays, but each time is a wonderful experience. Unfortunately a blog post is too small to adequately convey the richness of feelings and experiences one gets from visiting a place – all I can do is invite you to make a visit yourself, and experience this wonderful country through your own senses.

Perun Tours is proud to offer a set of travel packages to Bosnia ranging from 4 to 13 nights, with possible visits to multiple cities including Sarajevo and Mostar. For more information, head to this link to see and book our packages, or just ask for a trip quotation.