Sarajevo has so much to offer, particularly if you’re interested in history and culture. We spent three days exploring the city during our Bosnia-Croatia trip in May, but we’re already making plans to return to see more of this incredible city.

If you’re visiting and not quite sure where to start; here’s a list of 10 things to do in Sarajevo!

Step back in time and walk the length of the main road connecting the airport to the old city

One of the best ways to understand the city of Sarajevo, and it’s history, is to walk it. Through a single road you can relive the various eras that has made this city into the melting pot it is.

From the traditional Ottoman architecture adorning the streets, to the grand Austro-Hungarian inspired buildings, and the very spot where Franz Ferdinand was assisinated; an act that led to the start of World War 1. Sarajevo’s history as part of Yugoslavia is perhaps the most visible, followed by an era of hope and rebuilding ; modern day Sarajevo.

sarajevo library
miljacka river sarajevo

 Explore the cobbled streets of the old town Baščaršija

The old town of Baščaršija possesses an air of magic. Despite it being a tourist spot, it feels much more authentic than ones you would find in Istanbul or even Mostar. The old town in Sarajevo is simple and still very much populated by locals. The Ottoman influence in Sarajevo is most evident here, through the mosques and little coffee shops dotted about, and it’s the place to go for souvenirs, trinkets and traditional Bosnian copper goods.

Visit the 16th Century Gazi Husarev Mosque

Located in the old town, the Gazi Husarev mosque is one of the most important Ottoman structures in the Balkans, and the most important Ottoman monument in Sarajevo. Built in the 16th century, the mosque has served as a place of worship and community hub for centuries. It was the first mosque in the world to get electricity – how cool is that?

Gazi Husarev Mosque Sarajevo

Learn about the Screbenica genocide at Galerija 11/07/95 

You cannot visit Sarajevo without noticing the very visible scars left behind by the Bosnian war of the early 90’s. Whilst Sarajevo was famous for it’s siege, the city of Srebenica was the scene of the worst genocide in Europe since WW2. Over 8000+ Muslim men and women were massacred and buried in mass graves. With thousands of people still missing and bodies yet to be found, recovery efforts are ongoing until today, 22 years later.

Galerija 11/07/95 documents the genocide and the efforts of families to find their loved ones two decades on through photos and short films. I highly recommend getting the audio tour ( I think it was something silly like 3 marks only!) to gain a better understanding. If you don’t manage to finish the Gallery in a single day, you can reuse your ticket for entry the next day – just hold on to it.











Visit the “tunnel of hope” that kept the city alive during the siege

Built during the siege on Sarajevo, the Tunel spasa, also known as “The Tunnel of Hope” is an underground tunnel connecting Sarajevo with the neighbouring towns of Butmir and Dobrinja. The tunnel was built under a civilian home by the Bosnian army and runs under the runway of Sarajevo airport!

It was a lifeline for the besieged city, and was used to transport soldiers, civilians, UN staff, weapons, supplies and food in and out of the city. In the museum you can even enter and walk part of the original tunnel.

tunel spasa tunnel of hope

Have coffee in a tree house!

The hills surrounding Sarajevo lend themselves to excellent vantage points over the city, you just need to be ready for the hike!

If you’re looking for somewhere to give you a great vantage point of the Miljacka river and some of the tourist spots, be sure to visit the Viewpoint cafe. Located close to the old town, this basic cafe allows you to sit in a glass-fronted room between trees overlooking the city.

Walk the Olympic Bobsleigh/Luge tracks

In 1984, Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics for the first time, and Mount Trebević was home to the new Bobsleigh/luge tracks. It was a period of hope for Sarajevo, nothing could ever prepare Sarajevans for what would happen less than 10 years later. During the siege on Sarajevo, the abandoned Olympic tracks became an artillery position for the Serbian army because of their vantage point overlooking the city.

Today, the bobsleigh tracks are a canvas for the local art scene, covered in bright graffiti. We walked part of the length of the tracks in awe, this was definitely one the highlights of our visit to Sarajevo!

Sarajevo olympics luge bobsleigh tracks

Sample some Cevapi

Arguably Bosnia’s most famous dish; Cevapi consists of small kofta fingers served alongside bread and finely chopped onion. You’ll find this dish everywhere in Sarajevo – in fact you may struggle to find restaurants that don’t serve it! Averaging at around 7 marks a generous portion, this dish is both filling and cheap to fuel you for long days of exploring. There’s a lot of talk about the best Cevapi place (plenty of online debates about this) but the best of the three places we tried was Cevabdzinica Zeljo located in the old town.

See the best views of the city from atop Mount Trebević

If you’re after good aerial views, Mount Trebević is the place to go. We stopped by an abandoned military hotel that had the most incredible views of the city, enabling us to get our bearings and see all the sights from above.

Sarajevo Mont Tribevic

Relax with some Bosnian Coffee!

When you’re obsessed with coffee, trying it in all the countries you visit is obligatory right?

Well, you’re in luck in Sarajevo, because they’re obsessed with their coffee and super proud of it! Traditional Bosnian coffee is quite similar to Turkish coffee, served in tiny brass cased cups with Turkish delight and sugar cubes. If you like sugar in your coffee in Bosnia you dip the sugar cube directly into your coffee, and suck on the cube rather than stirring it into your coffee!

Some info on Tours…

I highly recommend booking a tour to visit some of the places listed above to save yourself the hassle of figuring out routes, and to gain a better understanding of the city of Sarajevo and the historical context of some of the places listed.

We booked the “Sarajevo Total Siege tour” with with Sarajevo Funky Tours, that enabled us to see the Olympic bobsleigh/luge tracks, Mount Trebević and Tunel Spasa in half a day.

The tour included a pick up from our hotel, transport and two excellent local guides who painted a very personal image of life under siege in Sarajevo. Our main tour guide was in her early 20’s when the siege broke out and she recounted vivid stories of the struggles through starvation and war. Our driver was just a teenager at the time, and was shot by a sniper in “sniper alley”, it was surreal watching him point out the exact location of the shooting as he drove through it some twenty years later. This is a tour not to be missed.


If you’re booking a British Airways flight through a travel site (other than directly through BA’s website) you might want to read this first.

I was recently searching for a British Airways flight through Sky Scanner and noticed that the cheapest price listed was through Travel Up. In fact, the 5 cheapest prices quoted for this particular flight were all through travel agencies. They were selling exactly the same flights for considerably less than British Airways. The price quoted by Travel Up was coming in at almost £50 less than the flight price listed on the BA website.

Naturally a £100 saving (over two tickets) seemed like a no-brainer, that was until I did a little digging on Travel Up – and with many mixed reviews and horror stories of flight date changes, additional fees, price increases & unconfirmed bookings, I decided not to chance it. Instead, I started researching if BA would do a price-match on BA flights offered cheaper elsewhere, and sure enough, they do!

The British Airways Best Price Guaranteepage states: “We believe that if you book flights directly with us, you deserve the very best deal. Which is exactly what you’ll get with our Best Price Guarantee. If you book with us, but find a qualifying British Airways flight for less elsewhere and let us know on the same day as you book, we’ll refund the difference”

Almost sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it isn’t!

There are restrictions on what British Airways will consider a “qualifying flight” – essentially they need to be identical flights (fare class, dates, times etc) operated by British Airways. You will need to book your flights through British Airways first, then fill in the claim form with details of your booking and the cheaper prices you found, then submit further evidence if requested. You do run the risk of British Airways refusing to match your flight; but if you read the instructions carefully and follow them I don’t see any reason why they would refuse to pay up.

Not many people seem to know about the BPG offered by BA so it was hard to find out how it panned out for others, but the few threads I have read about this where overwhelmingly negative.

I decided to chance it and book my tickets through British Airways directly, even if I didn’t get the £100 saving back through the Best Price Guarantee – at least I wouldn’t be laden with the stress of worrying that the alternative booking sites would mess with my booking. I filled in the claim form the same day, and just two days later, British Airways got in touch to confirm they would be refunding me the £100 price difference. I didn’t even have to submit the screen-shots. Hallelujah!

If you’re wary of booking through third parties this is a great way to save on your travels. I’m surprised it’s not more commonly advertised, which is why I am so keen to share this with you all!

How It Works

Here’s how to make use of the British Airways Best Price Guarantee when you’ve found the flight cheaper elsewhere. Here’s a random BA flight to Amman found through Sky Scanner:

The cheapest flight price listed through Sky Scanner is priced at £474 via Omega Flight Store. The British Airways website offers the exact same flight for £524 – exactly £50 more than Omega Flight Store. It ranked as the 6th most expensive price for the flight.

To take advantage of the Best Price Guarantee you will need to:

– Book your flight through the British Airways website
– Read the instructions set out on the Best Price Guarantee page
– Take a screen-shot of the competing price that includes all the flight details & additional fees on the sellers website. Ensure that the flight number/details/class match up with your British Airways reservation and are all visible in your screen shot (or take multiples). You will also need to show the time and date the screen shot was taken (the time/date on your browser bar should help)
– Make sure you include details of any additional booking fees/credit/debit card fees on top of the ticket price
– Fill in the form on the same day you have booked your BA flight – any later and it won’t be valid

One of the common complaints I’ve read about the BPG is British Airways refusing to honour it when additional card charges/booking fees are not indicated or clearly shown. Some travel sites make it difficult to get a final price (including card processing fees) without actually booking/signing up – but this is essential to taking advantage of the BPG. With Travel Up, I had to create an account to allow me to calculate the cost of the credit card fees, but I did not have to fill in any credit card details.

All in all, it’s a pretty straightforward process that could save you a fair amount of money and stress in the long run. If you’ve taken advantage of the BPG let me know how it went for you. I’m also interested in hearing about your experiences in booking through third party sites such as Travel Up – are they worth it?


There’s an age-old misconception still floating about that a person needs to be rich or have lots of money to be able to afford to travel. Sure, if you fly suites class, only stay in 5*+ hotels and enjoy 6-course meals each meal time, that might make sense – but your average traveller doesn’t do that.

One of the many reasons I was so keen to set up this blog was to show people that travel doesn’t have to be expensive; it’s not something reserved for the rich anymore. A few simple changes here and there, a bit of flexibility and some self-initiative can save you a lot of money when you’re planning your travels. I call it travelling smart; but more on that another time!

For now, let’s jump straight into 6 ways I’ve saved myself £1000’s on my travels, and how you can too!

1. Let your hotel know about your special occasions

If you’re visiting for a special occasion (birthday, honeymoon, anniversary) be sure to let your hotel know in advance. Chances are, they’ll want to do something nice for you! Drop them an email explaining how excited you are to stay in their hotel and let them know about your special occasion. 99% of the time I’ve done this, we’ve been rewarded with a special surprise – from room decorations to cakes and upgrades and it costs you nothing!

Most resorts offer honeymoon packages worth hundreds of pounds – so make sure you let your booking agent or hotel know about your special occasion! Some hotels also offer “celebration packages” at an additional cost, just keep that in mind if they do come back to you offering a priced package.

2. Always check hotel websites for the latest deals and promotions

I have to admit, I’m a serial user. I always find prices cheaper on and it’s so quick and easy to use, but sometimes, shopping directly through the hotel’s website can make you big big savings even if it doesn’t look like it at face value! Look out for offers that may include free breakfast, airport transfers, discounts for staying a certain number of nights (or free nights), free dining vouchers etc, these offers can save you a lot of money and many only apply to rooms booked through hotel sites directly.

3. Check what your bank has to offer

Most UK banks will offer some form of travel benefits/insurance for their customers. Speak to your bank and see what travel benefits are included within your account. It may be worth upgrading your account to get better cover – or shop around! This could save you many £’s in the long run.

For a small monthly fee, my bank provides me with a number of perks including free worldwide travel insurance meaning I don’t have to shell out for additional cover. American Express is excellent for it’s travel benefits; from car hire cover to flight-delay compensation, lounge passes, and so on (I’ll be reviewing AMEX soon!). Some banks and credit cards will also give you cashbacks or discounted rates on certain hotel chains and car hire companies.


4. If you’re not happy – complain!

I think us Brits have a serious problem with leaving genuine feedback for fear of appearing rude or ungrateful, even when we have a very valid reason to complain. I used to be the grin-and-bear it queen until I had a close friend who complained about virtually everything and I noticed how keen companies were to make it up to her.

If something is wrong, just complain about it! I’m not saying complain about everything and invent problems – but if something isn’t right, or up to the standard you expect from the brand/hotel/company – let them know.  Chances are they’ll go out of their way to make the experience up to you because they don’t want a bad reputation.

Many moons ago, I checked into a hotel room while travelling with family and noticed the bin hadn’t been emptied by housekeeping prior to our arrival. We placed a 2 second phone call to reception to let them know, they immediately sent a cleaning crew to clean the loo. Then management called to apologise profusely and offered us food vouchers for every single one of us (staying across the two rooms we’d booked!) to visit the overpriced hotel-buffet for lunch/dinner that evening. The vouchers were worth a LOT of money.

Perhaps my biggest win was on our honeymoon, when Mr H and I were upgraded to the most luxurious villa in the entire resort for the remaining duration of our stay in the Maldives due to a number of small issues in our first villa that we reported to management. It was a room we had dreamed of staying in but couldn’t afford, and we got to enjoy it for the majority of our trip! Moral of the stories – complain when something isn’t right!

5. Look out for airline & airport offers

It’s well worth checking if the airline your flying with has any special offers or free promotions running during your holiday. You can find these through airport and airline websites, sometimes they’re included in the in-flight magazine. National carriers frequently offer discounts in their home country to encourage you to fly with them. I used my Singapore Airlines boarding pass to gain discounted entry into attractions in Singapore.

If you’re transiting through Singapore’s Changi airport on Singapore Airlines, Silk Air or Air New Zealand, take advantage of the free $20-$40 voucher for airport spending. Turkish Airlines recently had a scheme providing free hotel rooms and free tours of Istanbul for Turkish Airlines passengers on transits longer than 7/10hrs. Qatar Airways similarly provided free hotel accommodation and are still offering free tours of Doha for transit passengers.

6. Loyalty schemes can save you a lot of money

This is quite an obvious one but one you really shouldn’t be overlooking. If you stay in a particular chain of hotels regularly, sign up for their loyalty scheme. You can score discounted rates, room upgrades, free hotel rooms, free breakfasts and more, saving you hundreds, if not thousands of £ in the long run. I’ve used my HHonors membership to score free breakfasts, free afternoon teas and stays on some of the most exclusive floors of hotels. Of course it goes without saying,  if you’re not already signed up to a frequent flyer’s club – do it now!

If you have any travel-freebies hacks share yours in the comments section below, I’d love to hear how you save on your travels.


I have a thing for abandoned places. There’s something to be said about the thrill and wonder of walking through them, picturing what they would have looked like before time, death and decay ruined them. Abandoned buildings tell so many stories through their peeling paint and dusty interiors, but we rarely stop to hear them.

On our final day in Dubrovnik, we picked up our hire car and headed East towards the abandoned resort of Kupari. The 16 minute journey offered breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea, before we turned off the motorway, onto a dirt track and navigated our way between derelict buildings and trees the the sea front.

The small village of Kupari is situated just 10 km away from Dubrovnik and is home to every urban-explorers dream ; The Bay of Abandoned Hotels. This abandoned luxury resort first welcomed tourists in 1919, with the opening of the aptly-named Grand Hotel. Situated on the waterfront and surrounded by stunning landscaped gardens, the Grand Hotel hosted tourists in ultimate exclusivity.

[Postcard from 1928 showing the Grand Hotel in Kupari | Photo from adria forum]

[The entrance of the Grand Hotel in the early 1920’s / Photo from here]

That was until the early 60’s, when five more hotels were built on the grounds surrounding the Grand Hotel, and the place was re-imagined as a holiday resort for Yugoslavian military officials and their families. Kupari became so popular among the military elite, welcoming thousands of guests through its hotel doors each month, that an additional Camp was built along the main road leading to the resort to accommodate a further 4,500 guests at a time. Even the Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito opted to holiday at Kupari, where he hosted guests in a private villa on the outskirts of the resort where it could be more exclusive (and secure!).

By the 80’s, with the arrival of the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, it was time to put Kupari on the map. The hotels welcomed foreign tourists for the first time in decades and the resort was buzzing with life, showing signs of a promising future.

Alas, it didn’t pan out that way. In the early 90’s, the Yugoslavian onslaught on Dubrovnik during Croatia’s war of independence emptied the hotels of their final guests. A Croatian police force set up base at the resort to protect it, until the Autumn of ’91, when Yugoslavian naval ships targeted the resort from the sea.

Over the months and years that followed, the hotels of Kupari were subjected to shelling, missiles and artillery fire – the scars of which remain very visible up until today. The very same Yugoslavian military officials who had once basked in Kupari’s beauty had all but destroyed it. As a final parting “gift”, the interiors were ransacked, stripped bare of anything of value. From the marble staircases and copper piping to the furniture and fittings, it was wiped clean. Phosphorous bombs torched the hotel interiors and ensured they wouldn’t be hosting guests for a long, long time.

For the past 25+ years, the hotels haven’t welcomed a single paying guest. Today, locals come here for a dip in the gorgeous turquoise sea without the hassle of swarms of tourists and hotel formalities found further along the road in Dubrovnik. The sea is so inviting in Kupari, perhaps even more so set against a backdrop of empty, abandoned buildings.

Unfortunately we only had a couple of hours to spare at Kupari meaning we didn’t get a chance to explore all of the hotels. It was also impossible to access upper floors in most of them thanks to the extensive damaged caused to the staircases and roofing in some of the buildings.

Despite being the oldest of the lot, it was the Grand Hotel that left me speechless. Even today, with chipped paint, broken windows, faded wallpaper and bullet holes puncturing its walls, the hotel still oozes an air of opulence. Its wide-set arches, faded shuttered windows and symmetrical entrances still paint a picture of luxury and class. The marble staircase is long gone, as is much of the roof, allowing sunlight to pour through the building, illuminating every remaining detail.

I believe this may once have been a rather fancy dining room!

At the back of the Grand Hotel you’ll find an over-grown garden and these pretty little balconies.

The Croatian government is keen to restore Kupari to some of its former grandeur and capitalise on its close proximity to Dubrovnik. The resort was recently privatised, and it looks like it’s set for redevelopment in the not-so-distant future. All of the hotels are likely to be demolished, with the exception of the Grand Hotel which has secured a listed status. According to the Dubrovnik Times, the Marriot will be building a luxury hotel on the site.

If you’re into urban exploring I highly recommend a visit to Kupari before it’s gone for good! It’s a short drive away from Dubrovnik – just follow the signs for Kupari. You can park on-site between the hotels or along the shoreline. Don’t forget to take swimming gear so you can enjoy the beach too!

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Kupari, Croatia,



Sarajevo, the city that drifted in and out of the headlines on our TV screens for years on end during the early 90’s, always reminding us that somewhere, not so far away, something terrible was happening. Reminding us that children just like us (at the time), were suffering immeasurable pain and growing up amidst devastation. The images of empty streets with makeshift barricades, families desperately scurrying across the main street in Sarajevo under sniper fire, and the burning remains of the Council building remain imprinted on my mind so vividly, even now, some twenty something years later.

We landed on the tarmac at Sarajevo airport early in the morning and were instantly struck by an air of calm. The stunning backdrop of mountains in the distance, coupled with a lucky bright blue cloudless-sky greeted us. As we journeyed our way towards the hotel in the old city, we were struck by the many contrasts of this city.

Small traditional houses with terracotta rooftops nestled amidst lush green mountains in the distance, modern sky scrapers standing next to abandoned buildings bearing the scars of sniper fire, grand Hungarian-inspired buildings, set against a backdrop of traditional Ottoman architecture, with minarets towering in the sky . Through a single road, Sarajevo will tell you it’s history, all you need to do, is to look out for it.

We ventured into the old town of Baščaršija as coffee shops and stalls opened their doors for their first customers. For the next hour, we sipped on Bosnian coffee and watched the old town go about it’s day. There was an Istanbul-esque vibe about it, the Ottoman mosques dotted about, always reminding you of the city’s Ottoman ancestors. But Baščaršija was far calmer, even by mid-day, when tour groups arrived, walking tours commenced, and locals went about their day picking up bread from local bakeries and catching sips of coffee on their way; there was a calmness. A calmness we loved.
















It’s hard to forget what this city has endured, not so long ago. After the fall of Yugoslavia and a Bosnian independence referendum, Sarajevo was besieged by the Yugoslavian People’s Army. The siege lasted a total of 1425 days, up until February 1996. The city was encircled, snipers nestled themselves on vantage points on the outskirts of the city, shelling and fighting bought chaos to the city. Streets became war zones. Starvation was rife, with no proper way in or out of the city, the population were trapped with no supplies. Many who attempted to cross the makeshift borders into neighbouring towns were killed instantly.

The not-so-distant bloody history of Sarajevo is still very visible today, from burnt-out buildings to bullet-ridden walls. I could not help but wonder how the siege had affected all those we conversed with. Those my age were just growing children at the time, today, many are heads of households.

[The Kovaci cemetery is home to some of the victims of the war, alongside the grave of Bosnia’s first president Alija Izetbegovic, who died in 2003]

There are so many signs of recovery here. The modern part of the city connects itself so seamlessly with the old town. As the cobblestones give way to pavements, you’ll find streets lined with shops, glossy malls, and young Sarajevans hanging out in hip cafes – a sight almost unimaginable some 20 years ago. The Olympic bob-sleigh/luge tracks built for the ’84 Olympics are finding new life and becoming a canvas for the local art scene. International brands have set up shop and international investors have set sights on the city, the tourism industry is steadily growing, mainly through support of investors from Gulf countries. Outside the national Library sits a replica of a Cable Car compartment – part of a new cable car service due to arrive in Sarajevo in the near future. It will bring the cable car back to Sarajevo (another piece of history destroyed by the war), transporting passengers to the top of Mount Trebvić.

There is no rush to forget what happened here, Sarajevans are preserving their history, still determined for the world to know their story. The “Tunnel Of Hope” – the only lifeline for this city under siege still stands today, you can walk through part of the original underground tunnel to understand it’s role in the cities survival. Through an assortment of Museums and Galleries, Sarajevo’s recent war history is being told.

There’s something so special about Sarajevo, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I know so many other people feel the same way. Perhaps it’s an air of simplicity? The kindness of it’s people? The untouched natural beauty spanning miles and miles in the distance? Or perhaps it the knowledge of what this city has been through in it’s lifetime? Power struggles, a mixed identity, independence, war and ultimately recovery? An endless journey to pick up the pieces.

We fell in love with the city, so much more than we thought we would. I was so much more excited about Mostar when we set out for our trip, but after just a few hours in Sarajevo, I never wanted to leave. We said goodbye with a heavy heart and a vow to return to the beautiful city once again. Hopefully soon.

Here’s our traditional travelling chalkboard shot:

Some tips if you’re visiting Sarajevo :

  •  Bring comfortable shoes! I can’t stress this enough. There are plenty of hills/steep climbs/cobbled streets that make for a challenging walk. We lived in trainers and our feet thanked us for it!
  • If you are travelling with someone with mobility issues/children, stay in a hotel that is not on a hill (check on TripAdvisor). We stayed in the wonderful Hotel Aziza but it was set on a steep hill.
  • Sarajevo is safe! There’s a strange misconception that the city is still at war – it’s not. The city is safe, just exercise the usual caution you would anywhere in the world and you’ll be fine!
  • There is no Uber in Sarajevo but there is a number you can call for a taxi. Red taxis (with font on the bonnet) have meters. You can also get around by tram.
  • We found it very difficult to find a Sim card in Sarajevo – we found one shop near the Gazi Husarev Mosque in the old town that sold them.
  • Halal food : Bosnia is a majority Muslim country and Halal food is easy to find. You can confirm Halal status with restaurant owners.
  • If like us you make a pilgrimage to the land of Golden Arches every time you step foot in a Muslim country, rejoice, McDees is Halal in Bosnia (according to staff at our hotel)

    Don’t forget to check out my post on 10 things to do in Sarajevo!