Sarajevo the Bosnian capital is a worthwhile tourist destination in the rebuiling Balkans. Its downtown and business sector are home to new hotels, restaurants and its charming old quarter is like stepping back in time. For one to get a unique experience of the city, we recommend lodging at Kandilj, a small guest house with traditional architecture, lots of personal exchanges and just steps from the Bascarsija, old town district.
Kandilj was a charming place right from the start, it has feeling of staying in someone’s home in the city, yet it is a spacious building with lots of rooms and social spaces. The price is very accessible and location superb, yet this is more than a typical European hostel. There is a small courtyard garden at the entrance. Being just off a side street it is good to pay attention or you might walk right by it, staff do provide airport pickup on request, so that is how some visitors arrive as well. Once inside the garden courtyard we saw many other young travelers enjoying food and drink and conversation.
The room and rate matched what we had expected and the front desk staff were helpful on any information about the hotel or the surrounding city. The staff were friendly and efficient. Breakfast was served each morning in the cellar. It feel more like waking up in your relatives house and going down for Turkish style coffee, jams and traditional Bosnian delicacies at your leisure. The kitchen facilities here serve as a restaurant at different times of the day.
Some travelers look for a hotel that is a destination in itself. While Kandilj is expressive and fun, its main orientation is to provide easy access to the city which is part of the Sarajevo experience. The entire city can be described as a café culture. People love being out all hours of the day and night, conversing, sitting in restaurants and café’s and wandering the ancient streets and alleyways and enjoying public parks. Some of the attractions within a five-minute walk are the Latin Bridge (the assassination spot that launched WW1), artesian shops in the marketplace and the old quarter and many of the ancient Mosques and Churches.
The rooms are clean and simple. Expect modern European functionality with skylight ceilings, basic furnishings, comfortable beds and private bathrooms. All guestrooms enjoy free wifi and the public areas have computers for public use. There are laundry services available and the staff are well connected with city tours and countryside tours for those looking to have a full immersion experience. Overall, Kandilj is a home away from home, in a very intimate, ancient and fascinating city.