Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is one of the most interesting cities in Europe. Among many reasons why you should visit Sarajevo is its location, with mountains around.
That gives you so many opportunities to look at the city from above and in Sarajevo, it is always a treat. The place is very picturesque and each sunset, when the city below is covered in soft orange color, is magical.
One of the best things to do in Sarajevo is going up to one of the Sarajevo viewpoints to admire the panorama of the city. Some places are a bit challenging to get to (those streets of Sarajevo can be really steep!), others are much easier but all of them over some amazing Sarajevo panorama.
Table of contents
- 1 Best Sarajevo viewpoints
- 2 Map of best Sarajevo viewpoints
- 3 Further reading
- 4 Travel Resources
Best Sarajevo viewpoints
Below you can find 10 of my favorite viewpoints in Sarajevo. Some of them are well-known, others not really but I’m sure you will enjoy the view from all of them.
The truth is there is no such thing as a bad viewpoint in Sarajevo, this city was made for amazing vistas!
Yellow Bastion (or Žuta Tabija) is the most popular of the viewpoints in Sarajevo and is famous for a reason – the view from here is amazing (it’s so beautiful I put it as my desktop wallpaper).
The Bastion was built in the first half of the 18th century and over the years it was rebuilt and renovated dozen of times, most recently in 1998. Today you can’t really find much there, except a lone cannon but that’s not a problem as you don’t come here for the bastion after all.
Once you are there you have the whole city at the foot, with the Kovaci cemetery – the sad reminder of the tragic Sarajevo history – right in front of you.
I recommend coming here around sunset time. Not only the city with the soft light look amazing but the moment when you hear muezzins call for prayer reaching you from each direction is truly magical. It gives me shivers every single time.
During the Ramadan month each day, the cannon is fired at sunset to give the sign it’s allowed to start a feast.
Getting to Yellow Bastion is rather easy, although the first and last parts of the walk up are a killer – I had to stop fairly often, fighting for each breath.
From Bascarsija square you need to go up Kovaci street and once you reach the cemetery turn right to Jekovac street and follow the street up all the way to the Bastion. From Bascarsija square it is 700 meters to Yellow Bastion.
Once you get to the Yellow Bastion you will see that all your efforts to get there were totally worth it, the view will take your breath away (and not only because of the climbing).
The White Fortress
If you continue further up from the Yellow Bastion you should reach White Fortress which is some 15 minutes walking away. The road continues to go up but it’s not as difficult as the first part to the Yellow Bastion.
The White Fortress, the national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was first built in 1550 but was destroyed and eventually rebuilt more or less at the same time as the Yellow Bastion. Due to its position at the very edge of the city, on the top of the rock – the natural entrance to the city – the fortress was often under attacks and today it is ruined.
Since the White Fortress is located literally at the edge of Sarajevo you can see here both the city on one side and the beautiful mountainous landscape on the other.
You will be pretty high up (the White Fortress is located 667 meters above the sea level) so you will be able to see the whole city right in front of you, with the mountains clasping it tightly from each direction. This can help you understand why it was so easy to besiege and keep Sarajevo locked for such a long time.
Upper cable car station on Trebevic
Now, that the cable car is operating in Sarajevo again, it is very easy to get to Trebevic mountain above the city.
The cable car has been present in the city since 1959 but it was closed for renovations in 1989 and fully destroyed during the Sarajevo Siege (the front line was going through this area). In April 2018 the cable car was reopened and now it’s one of the biggest attractions in Sarajevo.
The lower station is located near the brewery, within the walking distance from Bascarsija. It works every day and the tickets cost 15 BAM for one-way or 20 BAM for the return.
The stations are in more or less the straight line from Vijecnica (the beautiful town hall) and Bascarsija and you can see this part of the city as well as rows of red rooftops from Trebevic.
From the upper station you can also go hiking in the mountains or visit the famous abandoned bobsled track which is just a few minutes walk away.
Once you are done with visiting the abandoned bobsled track you can walk from its lower end a few minutes through the forest to reach the abandoned observatory. Somehow not many people know about this place but it’s so close to the famous attraction and offers some great Sarajevo views.
Due to its strategic location, overlooking the city, a military fortress was built here in the times of Austria-Hungary. After World War Two it was turned into the astronomical observatory and for years it’s been the only place of that kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Unfortunately, like many other buildings in the city also the observatory was destroyed during the Balkan War in the 1990s. Today it is still a ruin however if you are brave enough you can walk up the crumbling stairs to look at the city from the top.
But even without that, you can admire the panorama of Sarajevo, and especially its newer parts. If you decide to walk down to the city you will be welcomed with even more amazing Sarajevo vistas.
Keep in mind that this is a very remote place, in the middle of nowhere. A few years ago there were reports of robberies near and on the abandoned bobsled track.
With the start of the cable car to Trebevic, the situation has improved but while tourists visit the bobsled track hardly anyone makes it to the observatory (I personally think it’s even more interesting). So judge yourself how comfortable you are with visiting such a remote place.
Hotel Hecco Deluxe
This is probably the best Sarajevo viewpoint located in the heart of the city, not on the hills around. It is also a hidden one that many tourists seem to not know about and miss it.
Hotel Hecco Deluxe can be found right next to the Eternal Flame, where Ferhadija pedestrian street meets Marsala Tita street. However, the entrance is very unremarkable and easy to miss so be sure to look for Hotel Hecco Deluxe sign. Once you enter the building take the elevator to the 8th floor and then walk up one more floor to get to the cafe.
From there you can admire the beautiful view of central Sarajevo when sipping a coffee (the prices here are very fair, you can get a coffee for a few marks only). In the warmer months you can enjoy the view from the outdoor terrace.
You will see Ferhadija street from up there as well as some grand buildings still from the Austria-Hungary times and towers from the temples of different religions – the Catholic church, Orthodox church and numerous mosques. That’s where you can clearly see how multicultural Sarajevo is (or better to say used to be) and why the city is often called “the European Jerusalem“.
This is one of the most underrated places to visit in Sarajevo and I’m surprised not many people know about it. One of the reasons could be that the Jewish cemetery is located a bit away from all the main Sarajevo attractions (however still a walking distance from places like the History Museum).
I learned about it from the movie “Twice Born” and I still remember the scene when Penelope Cruz was walking through the cemetery, with some great views of Sarajevo in the background. I knew right away I want to visit this place and so I did during my next trip to Sarajevo.
The Jewish Cemetery in Sarajevo is a big attraction itself. It was the burial site from the beginning of the 16th century till 1966 and with almost four thousand tombs this is one of the biggest Jewish cemeteries in Europe.
Many of the graves are destroyed, with bullet holes clearly visible, since the front line was going through the cemetery. It was used as an artillery position and by snipers – the first bullets that started the Sarajevo siege were shot from there. After the Bosnian War the cemetery was heavily mined but today all the danger is gone and it’s perfectly safe to visit the place.
The Jewish Cemetery is located on the slopes of Trebevic mountain. Already from the lower parts you can see a nice panorama of central Sarajevo, with the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina, famous Holiday Inn hotel or Avaz Twist Tower.
But the higher you go, the better the views get. It’s worth going to the upper parts of the cemetery also to see different styles of the tombs.
You can reach the cemetery on foot, the easiest way is going via Vrbanja bridge and then up. It is a bit steep but not too difficult. Once on the cemetery going to the upper parts is much easier.
Avaz Twist Tower
The tower, the highest one in the former Yugoslavia (176 meters), is located near the train and bus station in Sarajevo. It was finished in 2008 and shortly after it was named one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, mostly due to its twisted shape.
The building might be not the most convenient location but at the same time, you can see all parts of Sarajevo from the viewing platform, from rows of houses glued to the mountains to blocks of flats so well-known in Central and Eastern Europe. You are also right in the center of modern Sarajevo, with some newer but well-know buildings right in front of you.
Getting to Avaz Twist Tower isn’t too difficult. You can take the tram no 1 from Bascarsija to the train station and walk up a bit to the tower. Since tram no 1 doesn’t run very often you can also take trams no 2, 3 or 5 to either Marijin dvor or Tehnicka skola stop and from there you can walk to Avaz Twist Tower in 10 or so minutes.
Once in the tower take the elevator to the 35th floor and walk up one more floor to the viewing platform. To enter the terrace you need to insert a 1 BAM coin into the turnstile, it doesn’t give the change so you need to have exactly that coin.
There is a cafe on the 35th floor but they are not happy to change the money so you can order the coffee and sip it while enjoying the view. Just be aware that this is a smoking-friendly place so you might not feel comfortable there.
Restaurants with the view
Sarajevo has a few restaurants that offer not only delicious food but also amazing views. They are a bit upscale so you can expect to pay a bit more than in the center but still, it’s worth going to one of them at least once during your stay in Sarajevo.
Since they all are popular it’s recommend to book the table in advance (I didn’t but I was lucky to get one, although they had to rearrange a few things for me).
I was in Kibe Mahala located in the Hrastovi district, more or less in a straight line up from Bascarsija. I can definitely recommend this place as both the food and the views were great.
Other restaurants you should consider include Vidikovac, Kod Bibana or Park Prinčeva.
This is a rather unusual viewpoint in Sarajevo that you won’t see in the guide books but I personally really like it as it gives you a glimpse of the regular life of the city, beyond the touristic areas like Bascarsija.
Ciglane neighborhood was built in the 1970s and back then it was considered the upscale district. Today it is a bit neglected and the blocks built on top of each other look like some kind of the architectural wedding cake.
From the upper part of the neighborhood, you can look at the residential part of the city towards Bascarsija. You can also see the Olympic Stadium, the scene of the Winter Olympic Games in 1984, and afterward the burial site during the siege.
If you are lucky you can get to the upper parts of Ciglane using the rusty funicular (it run only once during my three visits in the area), otherwise you can walk up there – the stairs are one of the best places to admire Sarajevo street art.
Another place worth visiting that not many seem to consider as a good viewpoint in Sarajevo.
Alifakovac cemetery is located only a few minutes up the steep hill from Vijecnica (the town hall) and Inat Kuca. You can also walk up there a bit around to avoid fighting for each breath when walking up (that’s what I always do).
This is one of the largest and oldest cemeteries in Sarajevo, founded even before the Ottomans arrived in the city in the 15th century. The rows of white tombstones look really impressive here, rolling down the hill.
The cemetery is cut in half by the local road and that’s where you will find another good panorama of Sarajevo, with Vijecnica and the domes and minarets of Bascarsija right in front of you. On the other side, you can see both the White Bastion places high on the steep rock above Miljacka river.
Map of best Sarajevo viewpoints
I put all the Sarajevo panorama spots mentioned above on the map that you can download and use during your trip to Sarajevo. Click here to access the map.
Of course, these are not all the viewpoints you can find in Sarajevo, the city with this amazing location have many more options (like Hum Mountain with its characteristic tower). Finding some great unexpected views is one of the reasons why I enjoy visiting Sarajevo so much and why I’m always eager to return there.
Sarajevo has a special place in my heart and I published a few articles about this amazing city (as well as other places in Bosnia and Herzegovina). You might want to read them too:
- My favorite things to do in Sarajevo
- Where to stay in Sarajevo – best Sarajevo accommodation
- The most tragic city in Europe – Sarajevo history
- Alternative Sarajevo guide
- Sarajevo bobsled track – how to visit and what to expect there
- Multicultural Sarajevo
- How to get from Belgrade to Sarajevo – a detailed guide
- 17 best places to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- 50 pictures that will inspire you to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Your ultimate Balkan travel guide
- and more!
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- I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Sarajevo too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. Thank you!
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