Latin Bridge, Things to do in Sarajevo

12 Cool Things to do in Sarajevo [2019]

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Are there still snipers in Sarajevo? Genuine question our walking tour guide received via email. No, there haven’t been snipers in stunning Sarajevo for two decades. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) capital, Sarajevo, is a charming city in a valley which wears its heart on its sleeve and shows its scars on its buildings. This Balkan city is often cited as a place where east meets west. Here’s a guide to the top 12 things to do in Sarajevo including cevapi naturally!

Things to do in Sarajevo

1. Sarajevo Walking Tours

Sarajevo is a very historically significant city, its landmarks come with a story so I recommend taking a walking tour of Sarajevo on your arrival. There are a few which run every day, we walked and talked with Neno and Friends which met at Susan Sontag Square/National Theater at 10:30 am (free/payment via tips).

Sarajevo is a small city so these walking tours are a great way to get your bearings and local recommendations as well as the backstory and personal accounts of the events this city has suffered and celebrated such as the Sarajevo Siege, the longest siege on a capital city in modern history.

You’ll see the Rose of Sarajevo (below) highlighted around the city, on this spot, 3 – 20 people were killed by one shell during the ’92 – ’95 attack on Sarajevo. There are around 100 Sarajevo Roses.

The most frustrating part (from talking with our guides) is that Sarajevo was known as ‘Little Jerusalem’ – Sarajevans wanted (and continue to want to) live in peace – Bosniaks, Serbs, Croats, Atheists (and now the increasingly popular group, Jedi) living together. These groups fought against those behind the snipers and the shells to continue living in this cohesive community.

» » Check out the new Sarajevo City Pass for free entry to popular attractions 

Sarajevo Rose I Things to do in Sarajevo

*Note to those who attend walking tours – we love them, it’s our first port of call when we arrive in a new place but we want to listen to the guide, not your regurgitated information from YouTube videos we’ve already watched. Was your life in danger every time you were sent to collect water or packages from the United Nations? No, then we’re not interested. Take a private tour if you want to be teacher’s pet.

2. Latin Bridge

Let’s go back, way back to 28th June 1914, the day that saw an event which (apparently) kicked off World War I and changed the world forever. You can stand on the corner where Gavrilo Princip, one of (five, six, or) seven (depending on what you read) freedom fighters/terrorists who plotted to kill the Archduke of Austria-Este, Franz Ferdinand (every Brit aged 30+ now has this tune in their head).

Princip successfully hit his target and the pregnant wife, Sophie, all because the driver of the open top car didn’t have GPS! One way streets are a blessing for liberators when the previous comrades miss.

Interesting fact, Princip wasn’t given the death penalty like his counterparts as he was only 19 years old when he committed one of the most influential crimes in history. Definitely one of the main Sarajevo attractions.

  • Location: Stari Grad Sarajevo, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Latin Bridge, Sarajevo Bosnia I Sarajevo Where To Stay and What To Do

3. Vijećnica  / City Hall

The architecture of Sarajevo is just as interesting as the history is. You’ll see a mix of grand and ghastly! Austro – Hungarian craft sits side by side with the ‘function over frills’ soviet style bland buildings!

The most decadent of them all is City Hall which looks like a big layered sponge cake close to Latin Bridge.

This hall is also the National and University Library of BiH but it does not hold many historical books because the original library was bombed in ’92 during the Sarajevo Siege – a tactical move by the Bosnian Serbs, with the support of the Yugoslav People’s Army, to remove any historical importance relating to the citizens of Sarajevo and BiH. 90% of the books were destroyed during the bombing.

60% of the buildings in Sarajevo were damaged during the ’92-’95 siege. City Hall was reconstructed and is an important symbol today.

  • Location: Obala Kulina bana, Sarajevo 71000, just in front of the Old Town Sarajevo
  • Opening times: 10am – 5pm

Sarajevo City Hall I Vijećnica I Library I Sarajevo

4. House of Spite – Man v The System

City Hall did not always sit on that spot at the start (or end) of the Old Town. Previously a little man’s house was in the prime location but the Austrian – Hungarian monarchy wanted it. Like most men with power do, they tried to make this man move but he was stubborn!

He finally caved into the negotiations with the result that he was paid handsomely and his modest house was moved, brick by brick, over the river Miljacka, directly facing the new City Hall. The House of Spite (Inat Kuća) is now a restaurant.

  • Location:  Veliki Alifakovac 1, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

House of Spite I Sarajevo

5. The Old Town / Sarajevo Baščaršija

Stroll through the cobbled streets of Baščaršija, grab a coffee or shisha and people watch or buy some trinkets from the cute shops which line the small Old Town lanes.

Nearly half of Sarajevans are unemployed so I encourage you to spend money in this city, BiH has the highest young unemployment rate in the world according to the World Bank (further education is practically free) so don’t be surprised to see so many drinking coffee (and smoking of course, meh) midweek.

Bascarsija Old Town Sarajevo I Sarajevo

6. Sebilj Fountain

Like Ljubljana in Slovenia, Sarajevo has lots of fountains sprinkled all over the city. This water is clean and drinkable so fill up! Sarajevo can get very hot from May, stay hydrated.

The most visible fountain is Sebilj Fountain in the Old Town. Take a sip and legend says you’ll return in the future!

Like pigeons? You can buy some feed and act like the Bird Lady from Mary Poppins. No thanks!

  • Location: Baščaršija, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • This is where you can collect your pre-ordered Sarajevo City Pass (Duhanpromet newsstand)

Pigeons in Sarajevo

» » Don’t travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina without travel insurance
Read how to choose here « «

7. The Yellow Fortress / Yellow Bastion

One of the prettiest things to do in Sarajevo at night is to take in the sunset and city views (there is a better viewpoint to come) from the Yellow Bastion/Yellow Fortress.  Take some beers and join the locals watch the day disappear.

How to Get to The Yellow Fortress

  • Walk past Sebilj Fountain, leaving the Old Town behind you. Take one of the roads in front of you to the right.
  • You’ll walk past shops before reaching the Muslim graveyard (check the dates on the tombstones, so sad, such loss).
  • After passing the graveyard you will see The Yellow Fort, there is a set of stairs which will take you to an elevated point, be cautious of the signs advising you to leave your guns, knives, cannons, and alcohol at home during Ramadan (what?!)
  • If you continue to walk a little further you’ll reach The White Fort, for an even higher viewpoint. Enjoy!
  • Location: Jekovac, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Sunset over Sarajevo Bosnia from Yellow Fort I Sarajevo

What to do in Sarajevo in the rain

7. Srebrenica Gallery 11/07/95

Over 100, 000 (some reports state 200, 000) people died during the (nearly) four years of the Bosnian War. Over 8000 of them were Muslim men and boys, slaughtered by an army of Bosnian Serbs over three days in the United Nations ‘safe area’ – Srebrenica in the East of Bosnia.

This is genocide, it is harrowing but it happened, and we did nothing at speed. It took 14 years to find General Ratko Mladić, The Butcher of Bosnia. Gallery 11/07/05 has two large televisions which play educational films on a loop.

One TV tells the story of Srebrenica, one film shares the stories from distraught women who never saw their husbands and sons again, many of which never had the chance to even bury them because their loved ones bodies were not identified in the mass graves.

The other TV focuses on the Sarajevo Siege, giving you an insight into how the citizens of the city (Bosniaks, Serbs, Croats, Atheists) survived by running fast and sharing dark humour! You can take a tour of the museum with a guide who will explain the images on the walls, most of which are stills used in the films. If you are on a budget, skip the tour and head straight to the films. Learn about the history, an interesting thing to do in Sarajevo.

  • Website: Gallery 11/07/95
  • Location: Trg Fra Grge Martića 2, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Opening times: 10am – 8pm (closed Tuesday)
  • Cost: 12M (€6.13 / £4.80) + 3 for guide
  • Time: films alone will take around 1.5 – 2 hours

Srebrenica Museum Sarajevo

8. Sarajevo Tunnel of Hope

800 metres of man-made underground tunnel connected the city of Sarajevo with the United Nations ‘safe place’ at the airport.

This tunnel was dug by citizens from both sides of the city and took 4 months to complete. It allowed for the passage of medicine, food, and artillery which helped the locals survive and the army fight during the siege.

I’d highly recommend taking a tour for two reasons. One, it’s pretty far out of the city so you will have to take a taxi but the tour gets you there by minibus and also takes you along Sniper Alley, the main street targeted by the army. Two, landmarks with such complex history require an explanation from an educated and/or experienced local.

The tour took us to The Tunnel of Hope via minibus with an extensive discussion around the causes, characteristics, and consequences of the Sarajevo Siege included an entry fee and the opportunity to walk through part of the tunnel open to the public. The bus then dropped us off back at the office close to Latin Bridge.

  • Location: Sarajevo 71000
  • Time: 3 hours from 9am – 5pm high season
  • Price: Tours around £23

Book the 5/5 Tunnel of Hope tour – click here to read reviews and check prices

Tunnel of Hope Sarajevo

» » Read more: take a day trip to Mostar to see the Stari Most bridge + bullet holes around the city

9. Avaz Twist Tower

Another excellent view of the city is the 35th floor of the Avaz Twist Tower. This shiny building has a cafe/bar which sells hot and cold drinks, such a nice venue let down by the smoking.

Sarajevans are big smokers and the ban on smoking in public places hasn’t filtered through here, it’s the only thing that lets the city down.

For a small fee, you can reach the observation deck on the next floor which gives you 180 degrees views of the city from behind a cage. There is even an unusual annual event called the Avaz Tower Running where athletes attempt to blitz the 780 steps to the viewing point!

Avaz Twist Tower I Sarajevo

10. Mount Trebević

I’ve saved the best for last, my third and final viewing point of Sarajevo is Mount Trebevic.

This hike is not for the faint-hearted (as in 30 degrees angled vertical hills) but worth it for the views of the city.

Alternatively, you can now take the cable car and enjoy half-price tickets with your Sarajevo City Pass (72 hours option).

Views of Sarajevo Bosnia from Mount Trebevic I Sarajevo Where To Stay and What To Do

… and the hidden discovery at the very top of the mountain… 

11. Sarajevo’s Abandoned Bobsleigh Track

Did you know that Sarajevo played host to the ’84 Winter Olympics?

The bobsleigh and luge track still stands (in most parts) at the top of Mount Trebević Sarajevo, a visit is a pretty unusual thing to do in Sarajevo! The abandoned bobsleigh track was used by the Bosnian Serbs during the siege as a base for their attack on the city, you can see that some on the concrete tracks have fallen from the impact.

Now, the track has been attacked by the street artists of Sarajevo and makes for interesting photos to spruce up your Instagram with!

Craig says take your skates. Update: as of April 2018, Sarajevo’s 32 cable cars are now open which makes reaching the mountain and bobsleigh travel easier.

Don’t want to hike? Take a tour of all the Winter Olympic spots

Read more: How to get to Sarajevo’s bobsled track

Abandoned Bobsleigh Track, Sarajevo Bosnia

Food in Sarajevo

It is relatively inexpensive to eat out in Sarajevo. Cevapi is one of Bosnia’s main dishes – a naan type bread filled with small sausages (also popular in Slovenia), sour cream and fried onions. There are lots of restaurants which serve this Sarajevo food in Baščaršija with the option to sit in or outside. One plate will cost around £3. Cheap as chips, or sausages.

Another popular dish is Burek – meat or vegetable filled pastry snakes served on a metal plate (like Cevapi is). This quick meal will set you back £2.

Bosnians love coffee! If you are partial to the black stuff then you might not actually enjoy it here… Bosnian coffee is similar to Turkish coffee, bitter!

Sarajevo’s freshest beer is stocked at the brewery. We weren’t impressed with the food here though, most of it was cold and not what we actually agreed with the waiter! The national beer is Sarajevska Pivara.

Cevapi Food Sarajevo

Cevapi – the national dish (with some onions!)

Sarajevo: Where to Stay

Many of the hotels in Sarajevo are condensed in the Old Town. Sarajevo hotels start around £40 to £200 per night.  For those on a lesser budget, check dorms start from £4. Here’s my friend Evan’s review of one of the coolest hostels in Sarajevo.

We opted for an Airbnb in Sarajevo. It had a ‘kitchen’ (two hobs and a fridge), was in the perfect spot for walking to the Old Town (10 mins), hiking Mount Trebević (10 mins to starting point) and accessing the bus station (10 mins) to visit Stari Most, Mostar (a must!) and leaving Sarajevo for Belgrade, Serbia (6am bus, yikes!)  

Sarajevo City Pass 

Sarajevo now has a city pass to help tourists get the best out of their city trip. 

There are three passes 24 hours (12 EUR), 48 hours (18 EUR) and 72 hours (24 EUR), so you can choose which best fits your length of stay. 

Benefits include 

  • Prepaid 1GB SIM card (48/72hr only): Great because my providers don’t include BiH in ‘roam like’ home packages.
  • Inclusive access to Jewish Museum B&H, War Childhood Museum, Art Gallery of B&H + many more.
  • Discount ticket for Sarajevo’s cable car to the abandoned bobsled track.

How to Purchase 

Buy online here then collect at the airport or Duhanpromet newsstand near famous Sebilj Fountain. 

Still unsure? There are ten locations where you can buy one in person if you change your mind. 

Pick up your SIM card at Insider City Tours (across 1878-1918 Sarajevo Museum at Latin Bridge, very central). 

Sarajevo Public Transport

The bus station in Sarajevo is close to the Avaz Twist Tower. There is an ATM, booking office, toilets, and cafe.

Sarajevo’s Railway Station is in operation (it was closed when we visited and were casually told that it planned to open, “maybe next month”). Trams, as well as buses and taxis, run within the city.

Sarajevo’s cable cars have now opened after 26 years of being out of action. Great progress for the city which makes reaching the mountain easier.

Thinking of going to Sarajevo?

Why not pin to your Bosnia board…

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Overall: Surviving Sarajevo

The conflict in Bosnia is complicated. I would encourage anyone interested in history, politics, human survival, to do a bit of research before you head to Sarajevo if you intend to do any of the above-related activities.

It’s surreal being in a country which was at war when you were old enough to ‘kind of’ comprehend what was going on.

The girls in the videos look like me, I was 7 – 10 year old, I wore sports tops and tracksuit bottoms like the girls in the video (and Sporty Spice) then progressed to wearing white jeans and dark lipstick like the teenagers in the videos.

Visiting Sarajevo has moved this war from ‘textbook’ to reality, and for that, I urge everyone to do the same.

As one video in the museum reminds us ‘It happened, therefore it can happen again’ – Primo Levi, Holocaust Survivor.

Over to you – have been to Sarajevo, have I missed anything?
Would you like to go?

We have partnered with Sarajevo City Pass to advertise the new card and are delighted to help promote a city we cheerlead. 
We wish them all the best and hope that you support the businesses associated. 


Gemma and Craig are full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

Comments 24

  1. Amazing post! I am so happy you enjoyed my birth country and so happy more and more people are visiting it. Everyone including my aussie fiance tells me Sarajevo, has a soul no other city has, and its true. Im not heading there this year due to other commitments but re lived it through your post today!

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  2. I’m currently in Croatia; I considered visiting Bosnia but decided against it in the end, now I wish I’d opted to go Sarajevo, it looks like a pretty cool city. Maybe next time!

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      We were in the similar situation – we had to choose between Bosnia and Serbia or Croatia and Montenegro but we had to end up in Romania so we opted for #1 with the plan to head to Croatia and Montenegro next Summer! I would highly recommend Sarajevo and Mostar (which I’ve literally just hit the publish button on!) Thanks for reading and I hope you are loving Croatia!

  3. I was at Zetra with ifor in Nov 95 for one year. We were the first to take over from the UN. I am returning next month for a holiday. Can’t wait to see the new Sarajevo from the one that has haunted me for years!!!

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      Wow, that will be very moving! It really is such a wonderful city and the humour of the locals is something to be talked about. Will you come back and tell me how you got on?

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  4. Sarajevo is a phenomenal place! If I can add anything, you seem not to have visited Svrzo House, Vrelo Bosna (the Bosna river spring spills out 🙂 ), the Ilidża area (green, beautiful) and as far as museums are concerned, there’s a new one opened January 2017 – War Childhood Museum.: This is the museum that exhibits a collection of objects and memories as kept and remembered by children from the war time 1992 – 1995. Also I do recommend going up to The White and Yelow Towers.

    Tomasz, Poland

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      This sounds worth going back for. I really truly loved the time we spent in the city and would like to get out and see more than just Mostar too. I’ll be sure to contact Damir when we make it back. Thanks for reading and the additional tips!

  5. Maybe you should get the f*ck out of my city and country altogether then you fucking Scottish c*nts. Don’t like the smoking? Go back to your nanny state. Not impressed with our food? Go eat lamb and horse meat. Coffee bitter? Go back and drink old lady’s diarrhea you’re used to. Oh and rent a f*cking car you stingy Scottish c*nt – helps with the public transport 😉

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      You are a champion for tourism. We didn’t rate one meal out five and that’s what you pick up on. Glass half empty there pal. Not a scoobie what you are talking about in reference to transport. The bus was fine. Renting a car isn’t public transport?

    2. Wtaf???
      If you ever come to Scotland which you clearly never have you would find we drink buckfast and ironbru not diarrhea
      Horses are pets not food
      And Renting a car isn’t Public transport you daft bawbag

      I love reading what you guys are up too xx

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  6. I used to live in Sarajevo where I always feel like my second home. The city has a soul the other cities do not possess. I always miss the city despite having discovered all the hidden corners of it. The city is a bridge between west & east. If you are in a dilemma whether to go or not, put aside it and take a journey in Sarajevo you will be tasting delicious local food & drink

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  7. Great post – really informative. We did a walking tour in Sarajevo and heard some of these stories but not all – so interesting. Talking to someone who lived through the war is certainly an eyeopener and brings to life the terrible situation that was happening in Bosnia.
    Thanks for great post guys 🙂

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  8. I rode both the buses and trams today (to visit the football stadiums, which were locked closed with no chance of seeing inside) and the tickets are 1.60 BM from kiosks next to the stops (selling drinks etc) or 1.80 BM from the driver. You validate it by putting it in the machines on the bus / tram and pulling the lever forward. On my first journey I had no idea, so waited for something to happen when I inserted the ticket…it didn’t, so I gave up and ended up riding for free. Second journey, the driver showed me! Whoops!

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      1. I spent Friday -> Monday there, so sadly back at work today. It felt long enough, though. I took a few tours, walked a crazy number of steps, and had enough chances to eat the local food. It was cool.

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          1. South Carolina and Florida in October for a more relaxed holiday….so let’s see what 2020 brings for city breaks!

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            There’s a touch of sun in Scotland today so I am wishing I had a relaxing break coming up too.

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