Sarajevo, not only the capital but also the cultural and economic center of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a city that showcases a harmonious blend of East and West. There are plenty of things to do in Sarajevo that a visit to this beautiful city is a must experience when exploring the country.
Steeped in history, the city is renowned for its multicultural and religious diversity, which is evident in its charming architecture. Stroll through the narrow streets of the Old Town, where you’ll find a mosaic of cultures, including Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and Yugoslav influences.
Besides its historical significance, Sarajevo is nestled among picturesque hills and breathtaking mountains. There are a few different viewpoints to enjoy panoramic views of the city which I will go over in more detail later on in the post. Don’t forget to sample the delectable local cuisine and try out the Bosnian delights in the Old Bazaar.
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Is Sarajevo worth visiting? Have you ever landed in a destination, not really sure what to expect and were completely blown away. That’s exactly how I felt like when I first came to Sarajevo. I’ve been living on the road for the past year and a half when my partner and I arrived in Sarajevo on a ‘workcation’.
Our plan was to stay in the city for 4 days to do nothing but get caught up on work (i.e. blog posts, photos, and YouTube videos) and laundry but the city had other plans for us. 2 weeks later, we were leaving Sarajevo. We were completely blown away by how much we enjoyed this city – so in short yes, Sarajevo is 100% worth visiting.
After we’ve gone over what to do in Sarajevo, at the end of this post I’ll also include some practical information that will aid you in your trip to Sarajevo, including where to stay, how to get there, best time to visit and any useful tips to know before you go.
Before we get started with the best things to do in Sarajevo, I’d like to quickly discuss Sarajevo’s not so distant past. Sarajevo has a violent history.
The city first emerged as a significant settlement during the Ottoman Empire’s rule in the 15th century. With its strategic location in the Balkans, it became a melting pot of cultures, religions and ethnicities.
However, during the 20th century, Sarajevo experienced unimaginable destruction and tragedy during the Bosnian War that took place between 1992 and 1995. The war was a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia and saw intense ethnic and religious divisions.
Sarajevo became the epicenter of conflict and underwent a devastating siege that lasted for 1,425 days. This was the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. The city endured heavy bombardment, resulting in countless civilian casualties and widespread destruction.
Today, Sarajevo stands as a symbol of resilience and enduring spirit of its people. The city has slowly rebuilt itself, but scars of the war still remain. Sarajevo serves as a stark reminder of the impact of war and also showcases the triumph of humanity’s ability to heal and rebuild.
Sarajevo Travel Vlogs
Would you rather see what visiting Sarajevol is like? Joe and I spent 2 weeks in Sarajevo and we could have stayed 2 weeks more, that’s how much we enjoyed the city…and we’re not city folk! We filmed a couple vlogs while we were here about the best things to do in Sarajevo and what a typical ‘workation’ day looks like for us on the road.
Check them out after you read this post and please subscribe or give us a thumbs up. It doesn’t cost you anything and really helps us be able to continue creating free content for you to enjoy 🙂.
🎥 Watch our Bosnia and Herzegovina Series on YouTube
Things to do in Sarajevo Quick List
Below I have a listed the best things to do in Sarajevo for easy viewing. If you’d like more information on a certain activity, click on the blue links below for a detailed post or vlog of that specific thing to do in.
- Free Walking Tour of Sarajevo
- Drink from Sebilj Fountain
- Sarajevo War Tunnel
- Try Bosnian Coffee
- Explore Baščaršija
- Vjecna Vatra (Eternal Flame)
- Latin Bridge
- Admire the Architecture
- Sunset from the Yellow Fortress
- Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque
- Cable Car Ride up Mount Trebevic
- Sarajevo Abandoned Bobsled Track
- Eat a Traditional Bosnian Dish
- Sarajevo Roses
- Sarajevo City Hall
- Visit a Museum
Day Trips from Sarajevo Quick List
- Kravice Falls
16 Best Things to do in Sarajevo
Free Walking Tour
One of the best ways to get to know a city is by going on a free walking tour as soon as you arrive in a new destination. Opting for a Free Walking Tour in Sarajevo is a great way to get to know the city and your bearings. It’s even better when you can do so with a local guide and a group of like-minded travellers. Plus it’s free (+tip)!
A walking tour is a great introduction to a new area and in my opinion one of the best things to do in Sarajevo. Tours usually last around 2 hours and a local guide will be able to answer any questions that you have.
Drink from Sebilj Fountain
The Sebilj Fountain, located in the heart of Sarajevo, is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. You can’t miss the fountain as its surrounded by hundreds of pigeons.
The fountain was originally designed as a public drinking water fountain, and today serves as a meeting point and popular gathering spot for tourists and locals alike. The water is still safe to drink and legend has it, if you drink from the fountain, you’ll return to Sarajevo. I drank from the fountain so time will only tell if this legend is true.
Sarajevo War Tunnel
For history buffs, the Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum is an absolute Sarajevo must see. Also known as the Tunnel of Hope, it is a historic site that allows visitors to delve into the harrowing past of the Bosnian War.
Located near Sarajevo, the tunnel served as a lifeline during the war, connecting the besieged city with the outside world. The tunnel is close to 800 meters and was dug in less than 4 months with nothing but bar hands, shovels and picks.
Visiting the tunnel provides a unique opportunity to step back in time and gain a deeper understanding of the wartime experience. The museum allows visitors to walk through a section on the original tunnel and the exhibits and displays on-site offer a comprehensive overview of the war, providing insights into the lives of the people who sought refuge and used the tunnel to survive.
Try Bosnian Coffee
Bosnian coffee or ‘bosanska kava’ is a beloved beverage in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Known for its strong flavor and unique brewing method, Bosnian coffee is more than just a beverage – it’s a symbol of hospitality and a way of socializing.
Similar to Turkish coffee, finely ground coffee and water are mixed in a special pot and slowly heated on a stove. Once the coffee starts to brew and forms a frothy layer on top, it is poured into small cups and often accompanied by a a cube of sugar or Turkish delight.
You can find Bosnian coffee at most cafes, we tried our first cup at a darling cafe in the Old Bazaar. Enjoying a Bosnian coffee as you people watch in the Old Bazaar is a great way to start your day.
Baščaršija or Sarajevo’s Old Town is the heart and soul of the city and one of the best places to visit in Sarajevo. The old Ottoman bazaar, with its cobblestone streets, lined with shops and cafes, exudes a unique charm and you can easily spend a morning shopping, sipping Bosnian coffee, trying out some local dishes and sampling Bosnian delights (trust me).
The Sebilj Fountain that I mentioned early is a focal point in the Baščaršija surrounded by pigeons and cafes. The Baščaršija is a true melting point of cultures, where East meets West, and where centuries-old traditions intertwine with modern influences.
Vjecna Vatra (Eternal Flame)
The Eternal Flame or in Bosnian Vjecna Vatra is a continuously burning flame located in the center of the city near the site of the former Vijećinca. The flame is a memorial in honor of the victims of the Second World War and the Siege of Sarajevo.
Like many of the things to see and do in Sarajevo on this list, the Eternal Flame has to do with the hardships and devastating periods in Sarajevo’s history. The flame serves as a powerful and poignant symbol of resilience and remembrance and is a good place to start if you want to do a DIY walking tour of Sarajevo.
The Latin Bridge spans over the Miljacka River, connecting the old and new parts of the city. The bridge is one of the oldest bridges left standing in the city.
Its significance goes beyond its architectural beauty. The Latin Bridge is forever marked as the spot where the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria took place in 1914, an event that ultimately triggered the start of World War I.
Admire the Architecture
As you wonder around Sarajevo, you can’t help but be awed by the architecture. The city’s architectures been heavily influenced by the Ottoman Empire, which ruled over the country for several centuries. This will include mosques, traditional houses with wooden facades and the imposting Latin Bridge.
In addition to Ottoman influences, Sarajevo also boasts a range of architectural styles from other periods, such as Austro-Hungarian and Yugoslav modernism. The Austro-Hungarian architecture includes grand buildings like the National Museum, City Hall and Vijecnica. These structures feature neoclassical and secessionist styles, adding a European flair to the cityscape.
The Yugoslav buildings feature bold geometric shapes and concrete facades which can been seen in buildings like the Hall of Bosnian House. In conclusion, the juxtaposition of Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and modernist architecture in Sarajevo creates a captivating and diverse cityscape, highlighting the city’s complex and layered history.
Sunset from the Yellow Fortress
The Yellow Fortress is one of the best places to watch sunset in Sarajevo. Perched high atop the hills of Sarajevo, the Yellow Fortress provides the perfect vantage point to witness the city below slowly transition from day to night.
It takes about 20 minutes to walk to the top of the hill and it’s best to arrive a little early as this is a very popular spot. There are picnic tables to sit at and a cement ledge to sit and wait for the sun to create its magic.
Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque
Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque or Bey’s Mosque known locally sits in the center of Old Town and is one of the biggest buildings in Sarajevo. When you’re strolling through the Old Bazaar, you can’t miss it.
It is possible to go inside the mosque for a fee and make sure that you are appropriately dressed, i.e. head, shoulders and legs covered for the ladies. There is a small courtyard and covered public water fountains in front of the mosque if you’re feeling thirsty.
Mount Trebevic, looming over the city of Sarajevo, is an iconic landmark in the city. This mountain paradise can be reached by a cable car ride up the mountain.
At the summit of Trebevic you are greeted with panoramic views of the city below and it is up here where the 1984 abandoned winter bobsled track is which I will talk about in the next section.
The gondola or cable car ride takes about 8 minutes and cost 15 USD per person round trip. Hours of operation vary and I read a sign that said it’s open every other day but I’m not 100% how accurate that is. This is one of the best things to do in Sarajevo especially at sunset.
Sarajevo Abandoned Bobsled Track
The abandoned bobsled track is one of the most unique things to do in Sarajevo. This bobsled track was built for the 1984 Winter Olympics and parts of it were damaged during the Siege of Sarajevo in the early 90’s.
It has since been abandoned as it is no longer usable. Today, the concrete structure sits dilapidated and overgrown with nature reclaiming its territory, providing a surreal and almost eerie atmosphere.
Despite its abandonment, the bobsled track has become a popular attraction in Sarajevo for urban explorers, graffiti artists and history enthusiasts who are drawn to its unique blend of sports legacy and wartime decay.
Located on Mount Trebevic, the best way to visit Sarajevo’s abandoned bobsled track is by riding up the cable car. From here it’s about a ten minute walk to get to the track. You can walk along the track for a long ways. Joe and I brought a couple donërs from Old Town to have a picnic on the track.
Eat a Traditional Bosnian Dish
One of my favorite ways to get to know a culture and new country or city is by sampling the traditional cuisine. Sarajevo offers a wide array of traditional dishes including the iconic Cevapi or hearty Burek.
The most popular Bosnian dish is the čevapi which consists of grilled meat sausages served with fresh bread, raw onions and a side of kaymak which is a creamy tziki type sauce. Another must try Bosnian dish is burek – a flaky pastry filled with meat, cheese or spinach, baked to perfection and served hot.
Pair these dishes with a cup of Bosnian coffee and you’ll have a complete culinary experience that showcases the traditional flavors and warmth of Bosnian cuisine in the bustling streets of Old Town. Better yet, opt for a food tour to get the inside scoop.
Find the Sarajevo Roses
The Sarajevo Roses are a powerful symbol of resilience and perseverance in the city of Sarajevo. These unique and hauntingly beautiful markings on the streets of the city are reminders of the devastating Bosnian War.
These “roses” are actually scars left in the asphalt where mortar shells hit during the war, leaving behind the shape of a flower. The red resin used to fill these scars creates a vivid contrast against the gray pavement, making them stand out as both a memorial and a visual representation of the city’s painful past.
Joe and I spotted 3 different Sarajevo roses when we were exploring this charming city. One on the side of Sacred Heart Cathedral Cathedral in the center of town, one by Cafe Lucija and one at the end of the Old Bazaar heading towards Sarajevo City Hall.
Sarajevo City Hall
The Sarajevo City Hall is one of the most unique and visually appealing buildings in Sarajevo. Designed by the Czech architect Karel Parik in the Moorish revival style, the City Hall was completed in 1896 and served as the main government building during the Austro-Hungarian occupation.
With its grand facade and intricate detailing, the City Hall is a stunning example of the vibrant architectural heritage of the region and one of the best things to see in Sarajevo.
Visit a Museum
One of the best things to do in Sarajevo on a rainy day (or not) is to visit a museum. So if you are a history buff, here are some of the best museums in Sarajevo worth checking out.
- Museum Of Crimes Against Humanity And Genocide 1992-1995 – for the memory of all the victims of the Bosnian War.
- Galerija 11/07/95 – a memorial gallery that tells a story through photography and video.
- War Childhood Museum – a museum full of personal belongings and pictures of children who grew up during a conflict.
- Siege of Sarajevo Museum – A specialized museum that talks about life under siege in a unique way.
- Jewish Museum
Sarajevo Day Trips
I couldn’t make a things to do in Sarajevo list without including the best day trips from Sarajevo. If you have the gift of time and are looking to get out of the city for a day or two, these day trips are perfect ways to experience the surrounding countryside.
Mostar, a city renowned for its unforgettable blend of Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian influences, is one of the best day trips from Sarajevo. There is a train that runs from Sarajevo to Mostar and takes about two hours.
Nestled in a valley and bisected by the majestic Neretva River, Mostar is most famous for its iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge), a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to the 16th century. Spend the day wandering around the Old Bazaar, watching cliff divers jump off of Mostar Old Bridge and take a dip in the river if you’re visiting Mostar during the summer time.
📍 Mostar Travel Guides: Best Things to do in Mostar
10 Best Hotels in Mostar
A day trip to Kravice Falls is the best way to explore the natural beauty of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Kravica Waterfall (or Kravice Waterfall) is about 3 hours away from Sarajevo by car. The journey to the falls is nothing short of picturesque.
Kravice Falls are a series of stunning waterfalls cascading down the height of 25 meters into a turquoise-colored pool. You can hike along the marked trails that provide excellent viewpoints, to capture the beauty from all different angles. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit.
Another great day trip from Sarajevo is Travnik. This is one of the oldest towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina located about an hour and a half North of Sarajevo.
Travnik is most known for its Stari Grad, historic castle and Sulejmanija Mosque. Stari Grad or old town is full of cafes and shops, so don’t forget to try a traditional Bosnian delight. The castle is one of the best preserved in the country and Sulejmanija Mosque is one of the most beautiful.
Rounding out our list of the best day trips from Sarajevo is the small town of Jajce. Located in central Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jajce is known for national monuments and natural landscapes such as Jajce waterfall.
Taking a tour is a great way to learn about the history of Sarajevo. Here are a few Sarajevo tours with great reviews.
Where to Stay in Sarajevo
There are plenty of places to stay in Sarajevo that will accommodate every type of traveler and on every type of budget. These are the top picks on where to stay in Sarajevo.
- Top Pick of Where to Stay in Sarajevo – İsa Begov Hamam Hotel
- Best Hotel in Sarajevo for Luxury – Hotel Hills Sarajevo Congress & Thermal Spa Resort
- Where to Stay in Sarajevo for Convenience – Hotel Europe
- Best Place to Stay in Sarajevo on a Budget – Hotel Aziza
- Most Unique Place to Stay in Sarajevo – Pino Nature Hotel, BW Premier Collection
- Best Hotel in Sarajevo for Charm – Hotel Ovo Malo Duse
When to Visit Sarajevo
The best time to visit Sarajevo is during the should seasons of spring and fall, which run April to June and September to November. This allows you to enjoy pleasant weather, avoid the heat and the cold, escape the crowds and still be able to do all of the outdoor activities that Bosnia & Herzegovina has to offer.
If you do happen to visit during high season of July and August, book your accommodations in advance and prepare to get sweaty. Lively festivals are a perk of the busy times.
How to Get to Sarajevo
There are 4 ways to get to Sarajevo – plane, bus, train or car.
There’s an international airpot about 10 kilometers outside the city, Sarajevo International Airport. Tickets aren’t the cheapest but it saves you a lot of time.
Trains run within the country and depart from the Sarajevo Railway Station. The ticket office is open from 6:30 am to 8 pm.
Daily buses run from all neighboring countries and as far as Amsterdam and Istanbul. If you are coming from Montenegro, the bus drops you off about 20 minutes outside the city.
There is another local bus you can take into the city and also cabs will be lined up outside the station. We arrived in Sarajevo on the 4th of July and it was hot! The air conditioned cab was such a treat after a sweaty, exhausting bus ride.
Sarajevo to Mostar – Cost 20 KM and takes 2.5 hours.
Podgorica to Sarajevo – Cost 20 Euro and takes 7-8 hours.
Belgrade to Sarajevo – Cost 25 Euro and takes 8 hours.
How to Get Around
Sarajevo is a pretty walkable city. Joe and I walked everywhere, taking new streets every time. Make sure you bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes. If you’re not up for walking, Sarajevo has an extensive network of trams, buses, trolleybuses and minibuses.
Onward Travel in Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Travel by train 2 hours South to Mostar.
- Soak up the small town feels at Jajce and Jajce Waterfall.
- Press North to Travnik.
- Cool off at Kravica Waterfalls.
- Head East to Bjelašnica for some skiing if you are traveling Sarajevo in the winter.
- Step into Montenegro for the ultimate White Water Rafting Adventure
Those are the best things to do in Sarajevo. If you found this article useful, let me know in the comments below.
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