Any traveler who considers themselves active and adventurous has to swing through Sarajevo. In the past thirty years this city has gone through such whirlwind transitions that simply walking its streets is a powerful and invigorating experience. In that time Sarajevo has been the shining host of the Winter Olympics, the tragic center of the Bosnian War, and is now considered a rejuvenated Jerusalem of twenty-first century Southeastern Europe.
And there’s even good running to be had in this town. Sarajevo is located at the foot of the Olympic Mountains, and is bisected by the Miljacka River. While city-center running isn’t always ideal here – the streets are small and the air can be stuffy – an early-morning jaunt along the river can be an unforgettable experience. Later in the day, your best bet is to follow the river path east of the city to enjoy a run among the green mountains and forested hills. Or take a tram south of town to get to a safe, scenic, shaded trail down an ancient Roman road.
- Pavement: Roads are often uneven and scary. But this is not due to poor city infrastructure – rather, it’s because of “Sarajevo Roses”, pockmarks in the pavement left by grenade blasts from the recent war. In places, people have filled in the crevasses with red filler, to remember those whose blood was spilled in such explosions.
- Stuffy Air: Sarajevo was founded by the Ottomans in the 1450s, and on hot days it feels like a breeze hasn’t blown through the city since the old Bascarsija market was built. Car fumes and city odors get caught easily, and chokingly, in the city’s narrow streets. Unless it’s early or windy, spend your time running the canyon and park outside of town.
- Local Hospitality: Upon arrival and check-in to her accommodation, our BTG researcher was not allowed to leave the premises until her hostess made her a big pot of Bosnian coffee and served it to her on the terrace.
Did you know? During the 1992-5 Bosnian War, Sarajevo underwent the longest siege in the history of modern warfare: 1,059 days.
Gym addicts, delight! There is a great gym on the fifth floor of the BBI Center (the shopping center by the Eternal Flame). Just go into the mall, take a right at the elevators, and head on up. Fitness Center Star Sport Sarajevo. At the time of writing, working out cost seven marks for one session – about five US dollars.