We will have a rental car for our visit this Oct and wanted to see where everyone thinks 2 nights would be better spent. Belgrade or Sarajevo as a base? We enjoy museums, outdoor sights, and visiting churches.
Thanks for any suggestions, Sheri
I have been only to Sarajevo, not to Belgrade. Although Belgrade is an old city with historical importance, Sarajevo is more unique and has a special place in European history as the spot where World War I was triggered, with the assassination of Austrian Arch Duke Ferdinand. That, plus Sarajevo is sort of an unusual meeting point of cultures - almost where east meets west.
If you are interested in the assassination of Ferdinand, I highly recommend the fairly recent book "The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War" by Tim Butcher. He not only explores the origin and life of assassin Gavrilo Princip in Bosnia but also gives some modern-day commentary on today's Bosnia in the aftermath of the war. (Butcher reported on the war in the 1990s there.) I suspect after reading the book you will choose to visit Sarajevo, though Princip, a Bosnian Serb, also spent time in Belgrade, as detailed in the book.
Great. Thanks for your thoughts. It all sounds very interesting and I very much enjoy reading.
I've been to both. On the same trip, no less. We enjoyed both.
Beograd is the capital of Serbia. There is much still about the Yugoslavian Civil War. There is the grave of Tito. We didn't do many museums, but there are some. We did the "free tour", went to a fun restaurant (Tri Chichieri), and did some family history touring. It's a town that is not over-touristy at this time.
Sarajevo has the history of the Assassination, the center of the Yugoslavian civil war, and the meeting place of cultures. As it is in Bosnia-Herzogovenia, it is muslim, but also has Orthodox churches. We attended the orthodox church, and had a great Serbian coffee afterwards. There is a wonderful Old Town with a lot of shops and crafts.
There are great restaurants in each. I guess I lean just slightly toward Sarajevo. Both have a lot of history. We spent about 3-4 days in each.
One more note - when in Sarajevo, if you choose to go, don't drive - the small streets are just crazy. We took the Time of Troubles tour, and it was great. We were taken to places where Republika Srbska troops shelled the city, to the airport for the tunnels which were used to escape the city. Our guide, who was a local, was comfortable driving, but some of the little streets were just crazy tight.
Great. Nice to hear your tips on both!