Bosnia and Herzegovina

37 Best Things to Do in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the most fascinating capitals in Europe. Home to some of the most significant events of the 20th century, Sarajevo was often on the front pages of the news all over the world.

Today, when you visit Sarajevo, you can easily find the exact places of huge historical significance. But history isn’t the only reason for a Sarajevo trip, there are so many more amazing things to do in Sarajevo!

things to do in Sarajevo

I’ve been visiting Sarajevo frequently for years, it’s one of my absolutely favorite cities in the world and it never gets boring. Despite being there so many times I always keep finding more and more Sarajevo attractions and I’m more happy to share them here with you.

things to do in Sarajevo

In this Sarajevo guide, you will find probably the most complete list of things to do in Sarajevo (including some off-the-path and unusual attractions and places) as well as some travel tips that will hopefully make your trip to Sarajevo smoother.

And if you still have any questions about visiting Sarajevo – feel free to join my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans and ask there.

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Why visit Sarajevo

With its picturesque location, in the valley along the Miljacka river and surrounded by mountains, Sarajevo is a truly fascinating place where you encounter history at every step. This is where World War 1 started, Sarajevo was also home to the Winter Olympic Games in 1984, followed by the longest (after WW2) and cruel siege less than 10 years later.

But before those tragic events, Sarajevo was known as the multicultural heart of the Balkans, the Jerusalem of Europe where religions and cultures coexisted peacefully next to each other. Today you can still witness this diverse past when wandering around Sarajevo. You can explore the Ottoman quarter only to be in the heart of Central Europe just a minute later.

There is no other place in Europe where still these days you can experience such a unique mix. Only in Sarajevo, you can stand in the Jewish cemetery, listening to the bells from the Catholic church, followed by the call for prayer from the mosque. And that’s just one of the examples of amazing things to do in Sarajevo.

things to do in Sarajevo

For me, Sarajevo is a city of senses. When I close my eyes and think of Sarajevo I can smell the grilled meat (that I don’t eat anyway but still like the smell of) or freshly baked bread, and I can see yellow sunsets that look amazing from every spot in the city, I can taste thick as tar Bosnian coffee, served in dzezva – a traditional coffee pot, I can hear the sound of blacksmith’s hammer creating yet another amazing piece or the muezzin calling for prayer.

things to do in Sarajevo

While the majority of people who visit Bosnia and Herzegovina go to Mostar (often as a day trip from Dubrovnik or Split), it’s Sarajevo that I recommend visiting, to get a feel and understanding of this complex country. I know I will keep returning there as often as I can.

things to do in Sarajevo

How to get to Sarajevo

Despite being the capital city, Sarajevo isn’t the easiest place to get to. The international airport in Sarajevo offers some flights to major European cities, there are also plenty of flights to the Middle East. Wizzair, the low-cost airline, flies to Sarajevo from London and Abu Zabi (in the past they had many more connections to numerous European destinations that sadly were suspended).

Overland, you can get to Sarajevo by bus from neighboring countries: Serbia, Croatia, and Montenegro, as well as those a bit further away.

The confusing thing is, there are two main bus stations in Sarajevo: in the center of the city (next to the train station), and in Lukavica in Istocno Sarajevo in the suburbs – this part of the city belongs to Republika Srpska and from there you can go mainly to Serbia and Montenegro.

If you plan to arrive in Sarajevo from Belgrade (Serbia), I have the whole article dedicated to how to travel between these two capitals – you can read it here

. things to do in sarajevo

How to get around Sarajevo

Many of Sarajevo attractions are within a walking distance but you might need to use public transport to get to those a bit further away, as well as to the bus station or the airport.

From the airport you can take the airport bus that will take you through the center all the way to Bascarsija (one-way ticket is 5 BAM), you can find the schedule here.

Since the bus doesn’t run very frequently, you might want to consider a pre-booked airport transfer directly to your accommodation in Sarajevo – click here for details.

Or you might walk some 15 minutes and catch the trolleybus no 103 that will take you to Trg Austrije (the park across the Latin Bridge), although finding it can be a bit of a challenge (been there, done that).

To get to/from Lukavica bus station in East Sarajevo you would also need to use trolleybus no 103. If you arrive in Lukavica you need to walk around 10 minutes to reach its stop in Dobrinja, it’s the first stop on this line. From the center, the trolley bus starts its route at Trg Austrije, next to the Latin Bridge.

To get to/from the central bus station, AVAZ tower, or Ilidza you can use a tram. There are only a few tram lines in Sarajevo and they more or less cover the same route, from Bascarsija, through the center to Ilidza (tram no 1 go to the train/bus station). You can find the map of Sarajevo public transport here.

As for the tickets – a single-ride ticket costs 1,60 BAM when bought in advance in the kiosk or 1,80 BAM from the driver. You need to validate the ticket when entering the tram/trolley bus. Just keep in mind that there are different tickets for trams and trolleybuses although the price is the same.

things to do in Sarajevo

How many days for visiting Sarajevo

Even if at first it might seem that Sarajevo doesn’t have all that much to offer, that’s just the illusion really. I think that you need at least two full days to discover Sarajevo, especially if you want to see more than just the main Sarajevo landmarks.

Some of the places are located a bit away from the center or require some uphill walk so you need to plan your Sarajevo itinerary carefully. And don’t forget to add some extra time to simply wander around, enjoy the unique vibe of the city, and sit down with a cup of Bosnian coffee.

You can also use Sarajevo as a base to see some more great places to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some of the best ones are within a few hours’ ride and can easily be done as day trips from Sarajevo. Add some extra days to your itinerary then.

Sarajevo pictures

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Things to do in Sarajevo

And now, without any further ado, here are the best (and my favorite) things to do in Sarajevo. The list is rather long and in no order in particular but each and every Sarajevo attraction on it is worth your time.

Sarajevo panorama

Wander between two worlds

Sarajevo is one of the rare cities where you can literally walk from one world to another, between different cultures, religions, history, and heritage. It takes one step to move from the Austria-Hungary to Ottoman Empire, from grand, multi-story houses to small shops with wooden shutters.

In the middle of the Old Town, on the pedestrian street Ferhadija right before it changes into Saraci, you can spot a big sign on the sidewalk: “Sarajevo – meeting of cultures“, a symbolic point where East meets West.

When you turn around you will notice that indeed you are surrounded by two different worlds, yet you are still in the middle of the vibrant capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This symbolic place is the best testimony of Sarajevo’s soul.

things to do in Sarajevo

things to do in Sarajevo

Explore Bascarsija

Bascarsija – the Ottoman part of the Old Town – is pure magic and the quintessence of Sarajevo.

The small wooden houses hide all kinds of local businesses – cozy cafes serving thick coffee, blacksmiths selling hand-made souvenirs or metal kitchen utensils, little shops selling sweets, buregdzinicas and cevabdzinicas with delicious freshly cooked food.

Even if this is probably the most touristy part of Sarajevo it feels the most local at the same time.

The smell of grilled meat and fresh coffee and the sound of little blacksmith’s hammers fill the area. Bascarsija doesn’t feel like the heart of the capital city at all, it’s more like a far-away, exotic world where time has stopped.

Since Bascarsija isn’t very large you can easily wander around the area. Put down the map and just follow your intuition, you might be surprised by what kind of gems and wonders you can find there.

The heart of Bascarsija is the triangle square with the same name, occupied by pigeons and tourists taking pictures in front of Sebilj, a wooden fountain in the Ottoman style, dating back to the mid-18th century, one of the symbols of the city.

things to do in Sarajevo - Bascarsija

Sarajevo pictures

Sarajevo pictures

Sarajevo pictures

Drink Bosnian coffee

While in Bascarsija one of the best activities is to sit outside one of the small cafes, on the tiny foot-stool, sip the delicious coffee, and watch the world go by. Locals blend with tourists here and there is always something going on.

The best place to do so is on the main square or along Saraci – the main pedestrian street that runs through Bascarsija and is lined with cafes.

Trying Bosnian coffee is a whole different experience, it’s nothing as you’ve tried before. The local drink is strong and thick, and will definitely give you lots of energy for all the Sarajevo sightseeing.

Bosnian coffee is served in a traditional set, called džezva – it’s a small pot with a long neck, usually beautifully decorated). The coffee in it tastes even better!

Bosnian coffee

Sarajevo pictures

Learn about Sarajevo history in one of the museums

I believe that if you want to get to know the place you’re visiting properly you must learn about its history.

And, although Sarajevo history is much more twisted and interesting, the city is defined mostly by the 1992-1996 siege and the Balkan war.

There are a couple of museums telling about the tragic recent past and I strongly recommend you visiting at least one of them (as seeing them all might be a little bit too much to handle):

  • Galerija 11/07/95 tells about Srebrenica – the biggest genocide since World War 2. There are also short movies about the Sarajevo siege.
  • War Childhood Museum that – through toys and personal items of kids – tells the story of childhood in the besieged city
  • Museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide 1992-1995 – tells the history of the Bosnian war
  • History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina – with slightly chaotic yet still worth seeing an exhibition about Sarajevo siege

If you need to choose only one museum it has to be either Galerija 11/07/95 or War Childhood Museum.

Just prepare yourself as they are not easy places to handle and you will most likely have to deal with lots of emotions throughout your visit.

But I believe it is essential to see those museums and learn about Sarajevo’s history, to see why the city is so unique, and to understand it.

Sarajevo Galerija 11/07/95

Sarajevo War Childhood Museum

Walk up Logavina street

If there is one book you need to read prior to visiting Sarajevo it is “Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood” by Barbara Demick. I read it three times now. It shows how the residents of one street – Logavina – dealt with life during the siege and how much they had to struggle.

Once you are done with the book you can visit Logavina street, conveniently located near the Old Town, a short walk away from Bascarsija. I bet you will look at it from another perspective, with all the stories on your mind.

It’s actually a very pretty street, and you will most likely walk it anyway as that’s where War Childhood Museum is located (Logavina 30-32) but it’s always better to know the background of the place too.

things to do in Sarajevo - Logavina street

Admire the Habsburg architecture

Even if the Habsburg Empire collapsed over a hundred years ago, still today it’s easy to distinguish the cities that used to be part of it, by looking only at their architecture. And it’s the same with Sarajevo.

Right in the Old Town, you will find numerous grand buildings, often in the art-nouveau style, built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries in the style typical for Austria-Hungary. You can find them especially along and around Ferhadija street and Titova street, as well as along Milijacka river.

things to do in Sarajevo

things to do in Sarajevo

Look at the city from above

Sarajevo is a city of amazing views and incredible sunsets (if you’re lucky).

Only a very narrow strip of the city is located in the flat terrain, you need to walk up to get almost everywhere. But even if it is challenging, especially since most of the streets are rather steep, you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the city.

The best ones are from Yellow and White Bastions as well as from the Alifakovac cemetery. If you feel like eating with a spectacular view then head to Kibe, Vidikovac, or Park Princeva restaurants. The prices there are more expensive than in the center but I think the view is worth paying extra for.

I published the article with the best Sarajevo viewpoints – you can find it here.

sarajevo viewpoints

sarajevo viewpoints

Shop at the local market

Food in the Balkans is among the most delicious ones you will ever try. And the best thing is you can easily get fresh products straight from the local markets.

In the Old Town, the best place to get local food is at Gradska Trznica where you can buy dairy (try kaymak!) or meat. Once you are done here cross the street to Markale market to get fruits and vegetables.

When you are on Markale remember that this is where two deadly mortar attacks took place during the siege, with dozens of victims. You can still see the place where the mortar hit in the corner of the market, next to the monument commemorating those who lost their lives here. But despite those tragic events life goes on here, on Markale.

things to do in Sarajevo - Markale

things to do in sarajevo

Try local food

The most local food you can try in Sarajevo is ćevapi – grilled minced meat served with onion, bread, and sometimes kaymak. You can get it in places called “cevapdzinica” specializing in this dish. There are plenty of them around Bascarsija and you will easily find them, just follow the smell of grilled food.

A vegetarian alternative would be burek – the most Balkan pastry you can get in the region. You can get it in bakeries (“pekara”) like everywhere else or you can buy it from buregdzinica – a small shop specializing in bureks only. And while in other countries you order burek with some fillings in Bosnia and Herzegovina all kinds of pastry have different names: burek for the meat one, sirnica with cheese, zeljanica with spinach and cheese or krompirusa with potato. They are usually served with yogurt. In some buregdzinicas you can even see how the pastry is prepared.

Other local dishes you should try are begova čorba, Bosanski lonac, sogan dolma, ćutfe, or japrak.

things to do in Sarajevo - burek

things to do in Sarajevo - cevapi

Find Mr.Chats

Street art in Sarajevo isn’t spectacular but it has its moments.

One thing you can spot all over the city is Mr. Chat – a grinning cat created by French artists. You might actually recognize it from many cities all over the world (I’ve seen it in Lisbon and Pristina).

In Sarajevo, I’ve found at least 15 Mr. Chats all over the city and I know there are still more of them that need to be discovered by me. Unfortunately, during my numerous trips to Sarajevo, I’ve also noticed some of Mr.Chats fading away or simply disappearing.

Walk around with eyes wide open and I’m sure you will spot it too! Two hints from me: Radiceva street and Obala Kulina bana near Delikatesna Radnja.

things to do in Sarajevo - Mr Chat street art

things to do in Sarajevo - Mr Chat street art

Listen to the call for prayer

Since the majority of Sarajevo citizens are Muslims you can hear the sound of calls for prayer flowing around the city. Sarajevo is the only place I’ve actually seen the muezzins standing on a minaret during the call for prayer, and I’ve seen them on numerous occasions at different mosques.

At certain times of the day and especially at sunset it’s best to be at the Yellow Bastion. As soon as the sun is down the minarets light up and the beautiful sound spreads all over the valley the city is located in. This is a truly magical moment and one of my favorite things to do in Sarajevo, giving me shivers every time I witness it.

things to do in Sarajevo

Visit Vijecnica

One of the most unique town halls you will ever is located in Sarajevo – Vijecnica. It was designed in 1891 by Czech architect Karel Parik whose work we can now find all over the city.

Vijecnica was built in the pseudo-Moorish style that doesn’t really fit Sarajevo but that’s what makes the building so special and distinctive. When looking at the city from above Vijecnica is the place that catches your attention first right away, standing proudly among the Ottoman buildings of Bascarsija.

Vijecnica played an important role during the Sarajevo siege. The building then served as the National Library and was home to thousands of important and unique Bosnian books. Very quickly, on August 25th, 1992, Vijecnia was set on fire due to the shelling – during the snipers’ attacks, citizens tried to save books as an invaluable cultural good. Afterward the famous cellist of Sarajevo – Vedran Smailović – played in the destroyed building. His picture from Vijecnica is one of the symbols of the Sarajevo siege.

These days, after a long renovation and reconstruction, you can visit Vijecnica inside and I can definitely recommend it! The restored interior is just stunning and all the details will definitely impress you. The ticket isn’t the cheapest, 10 BAM when I visited, but it’s definitely worth it.

To have the full image you should remember how badly destroyed the building was and how exceptional it looks now.

When I visited Vijecnica at the lowest level there was an interesting exhibition about the 20th-century history of Sarajevo.

things to do in Sarajevo - Vijecnica

things to do in Sarajevo

things to do in Sarajevo

See where World War 1 began

The first time the world heard about Sarajevo was on June 28, 1914, when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated next to the Latin Bridge. This event is known as the final cause and the actual beginning of World War 1.

Now you can easily find the very spot where everything happened, the plaque commemorating the event is located on the wall of the Sarajevo Museum, next to the Latin Bridge. It’s actually kind of mind-blowing how such a random, inconspicuous spot in the outskirts of Europe played such an important role in the world’s history…

things to do in Sarajevo - Latin Bridge

things to do in Sarajevo - Latin Bridge

Find the Olympic remnants

The second time the world heard about Sarajevo was in 1984 when the city was the host of the Winter Olympic Games. Still today, all these years later, you can find numerous remnants from this special time in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As soon as you leave the train station, next to the tram stop you can find the old Olympics map with all the venues and Vucko – the mascot – inviting you to the games.

The most obvious place to head for Olympic remnants is the Kosevo stadium where the opening/closing ceremony took place (and parts of which afterward were turned into the cemetery during the Siege…) but there are signs of this sports event all over the city! You can even find it on the sidewalk of the pedestrian Ferhadija street.

You might even go a bit outside of Sarajevo and visit the places where skiing and ski jumping competitions took place. They are in a bit of a poor condition but still are worth visiting, also for the beautiful nature around.

Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games

Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games

things to do in sarajevo

Take the cable car up to Trebevic mountain

Trebevic mountain used to be one of the most popular recreational areas in Sarajevo but the cable car connecting the area with the lower parts of the city was destroyed during the 90s war. Finally, in April 2018 it was reopened, becoming a popular attraction for locals and tourists.

The ride takes 9 minutes one way and along the way you can enjoy spectacular views of Sarajevo and its surroundings.

Unfortunately, there is still not much infrastructure at and near the upper station but it is a good starting point for some hikes around. Not to mention the breathtaking views you can admire from the top.

One-way ticket costs 15 BAM, return 20 BAM. The cable car operates every day, on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10.00 to 20.00, and on other days from 9.00 to 20:00.

things to do in Sarajevo

things to do in Sarajevo

things to do in Sarajevo

Walk down the abandoned bobsled track

One of the most popular alternative Sarajevo attractions is the abandoned bobsled track. It was the venue of the Winter Olympic Games in 1984 and numerous competitions afterward but the tragic events of the 1990s had a different scenario for this area. Mount Trebevic was where the snipers’ positions were located during the Sarajevo Siege and the bobsled track was on the front line as well.

In recent years the abandoned sports venue has become a popular place for more adventurous travelers who hiked all the way up to walk on the long, concrete tube where the athletes used to race. Now the abandoned bobsled track is a street art gallery (rather a poor one if you ask me).

With the opening of the cable car to Trebevic, getting to the bobsled track became so much easier – the starting point of the bobsled track is some 10 minutes walking down from the upper cable car station. The bobsled track is over 1 km long, walking it wholly takes 20 minutes maybe.

From the end of it you either have to hike up back to the cable car or keep walking down – it is a bit challenging (kudos to everyone who hiked all the way up from the center) but doable in one hour or so – maps.me app on the phone was a real lifesaver for me here!

things to do in Sarajevo

things to do in Sarajevo

Find the abandoned observatory

A short walk away from the lower point of the bobsled track you can visit the abandoned observatory. It actually dates back to the Habsburg times when the place, offering a great view of the whole city and beyond, was used for military purposes. It lost its importance after World War 2 and in the 1960s the place was changed into an astronomical observatory, one of this kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Unfortunately, the observatory was badly damaged during the 1990s war and now is mostly in ruins. You can still explore the place, going to the upper parts of the building for a beautiful view of Sarajevo. There are plans for the revitalization of the observatory but so far nothing is happening there.

Not far from here you will find the abandoned house destroyed by war, with one of the Mr. Chat paintings on its wall.

things to do in Sarajevo

things to do in Sarajevo

things to do in Sarajevo

Wander around random streets

That’s probably one of my favorite things to do in Sarajevo and doesn’t need much further exploration. I just like wandering around without a plan or a map, taking random streets right or left, up or down, whatever I feel like at the moment.

That’s how I found many Mr. Chats around, some beautiful old, wooden mosques or beautiful buildings like the Faculty of Islamic Studies or the Faculty of Catholic Theology. Not to mention views – you will always stumble across a beautiful panorama of the city from its upper parts.

The general rule is if you go down you will eventually end up in Bascarsija / center so as long as you want to wander around don’t head down.

things to do in Sarajevo

things to do in Sarajevo

Visit the Jewish Cemetery

I still don’t understand how come this is not a popular tourist attraction in Sarajevo! If it wasn’t for the movie (“Twice Born” with Penelope Cruz) it would have taken me much longer to find the Jewish Cemetery (as no doubts I’d end up there eventually). But when I saw the scene where Penelope Cruz is walking up between the graves I knew I have to go there as soon as possible.

The Old Jewish Cemetery in Sarajevo is special – not only it is the second oldest and largest Jewish cemetery in Europe, after Prague, dating back to the mid-16th century, but also the tombs are unique. There are almost four thousand graves here, when wandering around the area you will notice that many of them are different than anywhere else. That’s one of the reasons why the place has been on the tentative list of UNESCO.

The Jewish cemetery and especially its upper part is also a great viewpoint of Sarajevo – that’s why during the siege it was used as the observation point for the snipers (it is said the first victim of the Sarajevo siege and the Balkan war – Sauda Dilberović was shot from there).

things to do in Sarajevo - Jewish cemetery

things to do in Sarajevo - Jewish cemetery

Go to the top of AVAZ tower

Probably the best place to admire the whole of Sarajevo – both the older parts, the houses with red rooftops as well as the blocks – is the AVAZ twist tower.

With 172 meters in height, it is the tallest skyscraper in the Balkans and the view from there is spectacular, especially before the sunset when the golden light embeds Sarajevo.

To get to the observation deck you need to take the elevator (on the right side from the entrance) to the 35th floor from where you need to take the stairs one more floor.

To enter the deck you have to have a 2 marks coin (even if the machine says it accepts also 1 mark coins – it doesn’t) but don’t worry if you don’t have one – there is the cafe on the 35th floor: sometimes you can simply change the money there, sometimes you have to sit down for a coffee (regular prices so why not).

The views are spectacular, really! From this perspective, you can see how stunning this city is and how amazing the location it has!

things to do in Sarajevo - AVAZ Twist Tower

things to do in Sarajevo - AVAZ Twist Tower

Have the local beer in the brewery

Sarajevska Pivara (Sarajevo Brewery) is another beautiful building you can spot from numerous upper parts of the city. Located across the river from Bascarsija, painted red, it stands out from the buildings of the city. The brewery played a very important role during the siege as that was one of the very few sources of fresh water in Sarajevo, therefore, it was often the snipers/shelling target.

The building of Sarajevska Pivara is home to the Pivnica HS restaurant. It’s one of the fanciest restaurants in the city and prices are slightly higher than everywhere else (and especially in comparison to Bascarsija) but the food is really delicious.

There are, however, two other reasons why you should visit this place: the interior is really beautiful, bringing back the good, old times and the local beer – Sarajevsko – tastes the best here! You can try dark or light beer, freshly brewed next door. There is no better place for a pint of beer in Sarajevo than here.

things to do in Sarajevo

things to do in Sarajevo

See brutalist architecture

Most of the tourists visiting Sarajevo don’t venture any further than Veliki Park on Titova street (with the exception of AVAZ Twist Tower). Huge mistake as even if other parts of Sarajevo might be not that pretty they are still very interesting, especially those built in the 1970s.

Sarajevo might not have great brutalist architecture like in Belgrade or Skopje, but it also has its moments. Some of the best areas for that are Ciglane or Alipasino Polje. The most impressive (and easy to get to) buildings are the Radio and Television of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the train station.

Sarajevo Alipasino Polje

Sarajevo Alipasino Polje

Sarajevo Ciglane

Ride the funicular in Ciglane

When visiting the Ciglane neighborhood be sure to check its funicular (its surroundings are great for street art too). The neighborhood is built on a steep hillside and getting to the upper parts might be tiring. That’s why the funicular was installed there.

Recently the new funicular was installed so your chances to ride it at much higher. But even if the charm of the old rusty funicular is gone, it’s still a lot of fun to go for a ride.

Sarajevo Ciglane funicular

Sarajevo Ciglane funicular

Have coffee with the best view

The cafe on the top floor of Hotel Hecco Deluxe is one of the best hidden gems of Sarajevo.

Located at the juncture of Titova and Ferhadija streets, next to the Eternal Flame, the place looks rather inconspicuously from the outside and it’s easy to miss so just look for the hotel’s 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.

The coffee might be rather average here, nothing special really, but you don’t visit this place for the quality of drinks. In the summertime, you can sit on the outdoor terrace to get an even better experience.

This is probably the best viewpoint in Sarajevo located in the heart of the city, not on the hills around. While drinking coffee you can admire the beautiful panorama of central Sarajevo, with its impressive Habsburg architecture right below you and the hills surrounding the city all around.

sarajevo viewpoints

sarajevo viewpoints

sarajevo viewpoints

Have a drink in the crazy pub

Of all the places you can go for a drink in Sarajevo, there is one that is a whole different level of experience. Zlatna ribica (“the Golden fish”), located on the opposite side of the Eternal Flame than Hotel Hecco Deluxe, has been present in Sarajevo’s scenery for years now.

Once you cross the threshold you will be taken to a completely different, unique, and mystique world. To say the decor is eclectic is an understatement. Scattered around you will find numerous random things: coins, needlework, photos, various framed items, postcards, love letters, and posters from festivals and plays, just to name a few, that altogether create the special vibe of the place.

In the daytime, you can visit Zlatna ribica for a lazy drink but later during the day you never know how the events in the pub might turn out.

Sarajevo pictures

Sarajevo pictures

See how different religions coexists

Sarajevo is often called the “Jerusalem of Europe” and the reason for that is how the four main religions have been coexisting in the city for centuries.

Only here, within a few meters from each other in the pedestrian center, you can find the Islam mosque, the Catholic cathedral, the Orthodox cathedral, and the Jewish synagogue. And it’s not the only occurrence – temples of various religions stand near each other all over the city.

Sarajevo has always been known for its multicultural spirit, where people could coexist despite their differences. Sadly, it was also one of the reasons behind the tragic sieges in the 1990s. Even if today Islam is the dominant religion in Sarajevo, you can still experience the different religions and cultures that shaped the city.

Sarajevo pictures

Sarajevo pictures

things to do in sarajevo

things to do in sarajevo

See the unique Inat Kuca

This is probably the most unique house in Sarajevo, located across the Miljacka river from Vijecnica.

When in the mid-15th century, the Hajji Mosque was being built, the owner of the houses didn’t want his property to be destroyed. The house was moved to the other side of the river but when, 200 years later the location where to build Vijecnica, the building had to be moved again to its previous location.

Now it’s standing almost in its original place, on the opposite side of the Miljacka from Vijecnica and next to the Hajji Mosque. You can visit the house as there is a restaurant located in Inat Kuca where you can try some delicious food.

Next to the house, you can stop at one of the most beautiful bridges in Sarajevo – The šeher-Ćehaja Bridge from the late 16th century.

Sarajevo pictures

things to do in sarajevo

Go up to the White Bastion

Sarajevo is full of great viewpoints and each and every one of them offers a different perspective of the city.

One of the best places you can go up to for the wonderful panorama of the city is the White Bastion. Once you climb up to the Yellow Bastion the hardest part of the walk-up is done, just continue a bit further and you will reach the place.

White Bastion, dating back to the 16th century, is located on the rocks high above the road that enters Sarajevo from the east, and for centuries it has been protecting the city. Today the place is mostly in ruins but it still can give you a good overview of its former glory. Once you are here you can admire a stunning panorama of Sarajevo surrounding the Miljacka river gorge, as well as beautiful landscape just outside the city.

Recently the White Bastion has been fenced and you need to pay a small fee for the entrance so check the opening hours before coming here (the last time I was there I had no idea about that change so couldn’t visit the place).

sarajevo viewpoints

sarajevo viewpoints

things to do in sarajevo

things to do in sarajevo

Shop for books about the Balkans

One of the first places I always go to when visiting Sarajevo is Buybook – the small bookstore located at Radićeva 4, near the Miljacka river. And I never leave the place with empty hands.

This is where you can find the best selection of books in English about Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the whole Balkans region. The majority of the books in my fairly large Balkans collection were actually bought here. If you would like to get some books to learn more about the region this is the place to shop in!

Sarajevo street art

Stop in Veliki Park

Sarajevo doesn’t have many green spaces in the center, the biggest one being Veliki Park (Great Park) on the side of Maršala Tita street. You will most likely pass it when exploring Sarajevo (and especially going to the places a bit away from the main touristic spots) but while you are in the area it’s worth stopping here for a second and seeing what the park has to offer.

You can find there centuries-old tombstones, as well as two touching monuments commemorating recent events in Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina: a monument dedicated to the Children of Sarajevo who died during the siege and a statue of the father from Srebrenica who called his son, saying Serbs will do no harm to them (the whole world knows how it ended…).

things to do in sarajevo

things to do in sarajevo

Go for a walk along Miljacka river

Miljacka river might not look very impressive but it offers some pleasant areas along it, perfect for a stroll.

While the part of the river near Bascarsija goes along the busy street (although there is a nice part near the Latin Bridge and Park Mejdan), the best place for a stroll along Miljacka is a bit away, near the Historical Museum. The road – Vilsonovo šetalište – has almost no traffic, is lined with trees and it’s a really nice area, especially on a sunny day.

things to do in sarajevo

things to do in sarajevo

things to do in sarajevo

Find Sarajevo roses

One of the most poignant remnants of the siege is the so-called “Sarajevo roses”. You might even not notice them at first but once you start paying attention you will be touched and moved by how many of them are still around (although with the renovations going around the city, they slowly disappear).

This kind of memorial commemorates those who died on the streets of Sarajevo – every place where the mortar shell hit and killed at least one person (and left the damage on the ground) was later filled with red resin, a way to respect the lost lives.

You can see Sarajevo roses all over the city really. The largest one is right in front of the Catholic Cathedral on Ferhadija but there are so many more around.

Sarajevo roses

things to do in sarajevo

Visit the Tunnel of Hope

During the Sarajevo siege, the city was blocked from all directions and left with no food, supplies, or way to escape.

Almost a year into the siege, on March 1993, the works on the tunnel under the airport started and in a few months, a new route to reach the city was created. Over the years the tunnel was literally saving Sarajevo and was used by many (including the president of the country and other officials) to reach the city.

Today a small part of the tunnel is open to visitors and used as a museum. This is yet another place not to miss in Sarajevo if you want to understand the city’s recent history and its tragedy.

The Tunnel of Hope is located a bit away from the center, behind the airport, and it’s not easy to reach by public transport so the best way to get here is with a tour. Click here for details.

things to do in sarajevo

things to do in sarajevo

See the unique The Academy of Fine Arts building

One of the most beautiful buildings in Sarajevo is the Academy of Fine Arts building, located right next to the Miljacka river. It was in fact built as the first and only Evangelistic church in the times when Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of the Habsburg Empire, in 1899, and its design was based on the Parliament building in Budapest (you can clearly see the resemblance).

The building was damaged during the Bosnian War but now it’s back to its former glory and impresses visitors. You can get to the building by crossing Miljacka on the modern, pedestrian “Festina lente” bridge which means “make haste slowly” in Latin.

Sarajevo pictures

Shop for souvenirs

If you are looking for souvenirs from Sarajevo there are some unique and interesting choices you can take home with you.

You can get the best craftwork at Bascarsija where the products are handmade and you can be sure they are locally produced. You should also stop in Gazi Husrev-beg’s Bezistan – a historical trading place from the 16th century that still serves its original function.

If you’re looking for more modern and funky Sarajevo souvenirs there’s a small shop, at Trgovke, between all the shisha bars.

For local, delicious sweets go to one of the shops at Abadžiluk street, just off the main square in Bascarsija, or to the shop in Gazi Husrev-beg’s Bezistan (there is one on the side of Zelenih beretki street).

You can also find numerous typical souvenirs (postcards, magnets, t-shirts, etc) on the main Bascarsija square or when wandering the streets of the old town.

Sarajevo pictures

Sarajevo pictures

Relax in Ilidza

It takes only a tram ride to get to Ilidza – technically a separate town just outside of Sarajevo. The place is famous for its beautiful park with some old, charming hotels or villas and mountains around.

The main reason why it’s worth visiting Ilidza is Velika Aleja – the tree-lined, 3 kilometers long alley that leads to the spring of River Bosna (which is a great place to visit too). When walking sometimes you need to jump away as the horse carriages rush along the alley but that’s part of the charm of Ilidza.

This is the perfect and easiest green getaway from Sarajevo. If you are tired of hustle and bustle of the city there is no better place to relax in such pleasant surroundings.

things to do in Sarajevo - Ilidza

things to do in sarajevo

things to do in sarajevo

Go for day trips

Sarajevo can be also a great base to explore some of the best places to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some of the amazing destinations in the country are available as day trips from Sarajevo.

The most popular of Sarajevo tours is of course Mostar, the iconic city known for the Ottoman old bridge hanging above the turquoise waters of the Neretva river, the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It definitely lives up to all the expectations and offers more attractions than just the bridge. You can combine visiting Mostar with other nearby interesting places: Blagaj, Pocitelj, or Kravice Waterfalls.

Another good option is Travnik and Jajce, two towns not far away from each other, with long and interesting history and some beautiful sights such as the Painted Mosque in Travnik (the only one of that kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina) or Jajce waterfalls.

You can also go for a day trip to Visegrad – UNESCO listed site is famous thanks to the Nobel prize winner – Ivo Andric – and his bestseller book “The Bridge on the Drina”. From here it’s a short jump across the border to Serbia and some of its coolest attractions – Drvengrad and Sargan Eight train.

Or you can visit Srebrenica – the site of the cruelest genocide after World War 2, when over eight thousands men and boys lost their life. This is a somber experience but it would give you a great opportunity to learn about the recent history of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Here are some best organized day trips from Sarajevo:

things to do in Mostar

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

sargan eight train serbia

visegrad bosnia and herzegovina

things to do in sarajevo

Final thoughts on visiting Sarajevo

As you can see Sarajevo really has a lot to offer and visiting this city is a real treat. I don’t know any other city like Sarajevo and I really can’t wait for my next trip there, to wander around and to experience it with all my senses.

I truly hope that this detailed Sarajevo guide inspired (or at least intrigued) you to give the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina a chance. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Sarajevo pictures

Sarajevo pictures

Sarajevo pictures

Further reading

I published many articles about Bosnia and Herzegovina that you might find useful when planning your trip there. Here are some of them:

If you are looking for articles about a specific destination – check out the map with all the articles I’ve published (and their locations). You can also join my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans and ask your questions there.


Travel Resources

Below you can find the brands I trust and use when planning trips:


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  • Sign up to my newsletter or follow me on Bloglovin to get updates about the new posts
  • Join my Facebook group about Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR and connect with fellow travellers and enthusiasts of these regions – just click here!
  • I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina 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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things to do in Sarajevo


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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Juan Fung
    18/05/2018 at 10:40

    Good day,Kami
    Thank you for sharing all this valuable and essential informations in Serajevo.I am looking forward to visit this lovely country which I wrote a report on the civil wars in this region for my English course.

    • Reply
      kami
      23/05/2018 at 15:23

      Thank you for your comment! I hope you will be able to visit Sarajevo soon, it’s such an incredible place! All the best!

      • Reply
        Gökhan
        28/01/2020 at 08:09

        Thank you for the information. Your article is very useful and it is easiest guide.

        • Reply
          kami
          11/02/2020 at 16:41

          thank you!

  • Reply
    Lance Mentink
    18/05/2018 at 19:54

    A great report Kami on an interesting area. We can’t wait to get there later in the year. I downloaded that book you mentioned and it is an unforgettable account on what went on there only twenty some years ago.

    Thank you for writing about and photographing these places… Lance

    • Reply
      kami
      23/05/2018 at 15:25

      Thank you Lance! I’m sure you will enjoy the place when you got there! Sarajevo is such a fascinating city! Of all the books I read about the Balkans War this one by far the best! Let me know what you think of it when you finish reading!

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    30/05/2018 at 23:28

    Thank you for the invaluable information. I am landing in Sarajevo this Tuesday! Your article is very inspiring and I will use it as a guide during my stay.

    • Reply
      kami
      31/05/2018 at 08:07

      I’m glad I could help you Cynthia! Enjoy Sarajevo, it’s a special city I’m sure you will love too!

  • Reply
    kris
    06/06/2018 at 03:29

    great to read about Sarajevo. a lovely place that I thoroughly enjoyed. (missed the Jewish Cemetry though). Love ALL your blogs so full of information

    • Reply
      kami
      08/06/2018 at 15:23

      Thank you! That’s so sweet of you!

  • Reply
    Tomaus
    24/04/2019 at 19:29

    Hi there! Love reading your blog posts on your travels across Europe. There’s just an infectious optimism and curiosity in your adventures and it’s so refreshing to see how you enjoy the world.
    Also a big fan of Sarajevo (returning in a few weeks), so I can completely relate to all you’ve written here. :-)
    Cheers!

    • Reply
      kami
      27/04/2019 at 13:28

      Thank you! Sarajevo is such a special city, isn’t it? Have a great time there!

  • Reply
    Giicko
    02/09/2019 at 22:07

    Hi Kami,

    Thanks a lot for your special post about Sarajevo. I am thinking to visit Sarajevo but it will be for one day only. Would you recommend the walking tours or it’s better to just wonder on my own? I typically don’t like walking tours but since there is s lot of history in this city then I was thinking it might be a good idea! There is also a tour about the fall of Yugoslavia.

    Thanks

    • Reply
      kami
      15/09/2019 at 15:30

      You can see a lot in Sarajevo in one day but I think you should definitely join the tour to better understand the city – it’s so complex, with so much history in it! After my first visit where I spent only a day in Sarajevo I didn’t like the city all that much, partly because I didn’t understand it. So yes, go for the tour if you can, it will definitely help you get to know the city! Have a great time in Sarajevo!

  • Reply
    Elena
    21/09/2019 at 10:05

    I am planning a trip to Sarajevo and I found your post very informative. I am so happy you shared the information about Hotel Hecco Deluxe because I really love finding the best view of the city I am visiting.

    • Reply
      kami
      04/10/2019 at 21:30

      Thank you, I’m glad you liked the article. You will find plenty of amazing viewpoints in Sarajevo but Hotel Hecco Deluxe is kind of a hidden one among them all :) Have a great trip!

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