John & Rachael welcome you to the city of Sarajevo & its ski resorts
With a culturally and historically rich city centre and beautiful natural surroundings, there is an abundance of things to do in and around Sarajevo. Many attractions are in easy walking distance or a short trip by bus or tram away.
Visit one of Sarajevo’s museums
You’ll find a range of museums in Sarajevo. Many tell the story of the Bosnian War 1992-1995. The Childhood Museum and Gallery 11/07/95 are particularly insightful. Although a little dated, the National Museum and History Museum cover archaeology, ethnology, natural sciences and a longer period of the country’s past.
Re-trace Olympic history
In 1984 Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics, the first time a Socialist country was chosen to host the event. The Olympics was an overall huge success. Sadly during the 90s war many of the venues were destroyed and there has been little reinvestment into those that are still in use. However it is very interesting to explore the venues including the Bobsled & Luge track at Trebevic, the Olympic Museum at the Zetra stadium (where Torvill & Dean performed their unforgettable Bolero ice skating routine) and the ski jumps at Igman.
The Sarajevo War Tunnel, also known as the Tunnel of Hope or Tunel Spasa, was built by the Bosnian Army in 1993 at the time Sarajevo was under siege by the Serbian Army. It facilitated the movement of food, war supplies, aid and people between the city and the town of Butmir, which was located outside of the area under siege. You can visit the house which was used as one entrance to the tunnel (city side) where there is a museum and a small section of the tunnel you can walk through.
Learn about the History of the Jews in Sarajevo
The Bosnian Jews have a rich history in Sarajevo. Although to date there are about 500 Jews living in the city, at its peak the Jewish community was between 12,000-14,000, leaving an impressive legacy. You can visit the Jewish Museum of BIH is held in the oldest Synagogue built in the country. The exhibitions detail the Jewish community’s strong importance and involvement in the city over the years. Taking a walk up the slopes towards Trebevic, you will reach the Old Jewish cemetery, some 500 years old, which also affords great views of the city.
Get a panoramic view
Sarajevo is surrounded by hills and mountains, providing plenty of vantage points. Head up to the yellow fortress (zuta tabija) or white fortress (bjelja tabija) or Trebevic mountain for an impressive view of the city. Another fantastic panoramic view can also be enjoyed from the 38th floor of the Avaz Twist Tower.
Visit the mountains
Escape the city for some fresh mountain air on Jahorina, Bjelasnica or Trebevic. In Spring or Summer your can enjoy some scenic hiking and in Winter when there is heavy snowfall, it’s time for skiing and sledging.
Drink Bosnian Coffee
Drinking Bosnian coffee is a symbol of Sarajevo culture and identity. Raw coffee is roasted, ground and then gently cooked in a metal pot called džezva. Bosnian coffee is served with sugar cubes (which you either add to the coffee or suck between sips), sometimes with Turkish Delight and a glass of water to clean the palette. If you prefer tea, you will also find a couple of excellent tea houses in the city where you can enjoy a range of flavoured teas.
Eat a traditional dish
One of the best parts about travelling is sampling local dishes and the food you will find in Sarajevo will not disappoint. You will find traditional “quick food” such as cevapi, burek or pita (pie) all around the city. Head to an Ascinica, low key restaurants that serve up hearty prepared dishes such as Bosnian Stew (Lonac) and Bey’s Soup. Food is also really good value so you can spread your budget further and experience more flavours.
On 28 June 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were shot dead by the Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip, close to the Latin Bridge in Sarajevo. In angry retaliation Austria declared war on Serbia, triggering the start of WW1. You can visit the exact spot where he was mortally wounded where there is a placard commemorating Ferdinand. The Sarajevo Museum located at the same location houses a collection of memorabilia around the event.
As you walk around the city you will see red paint marks on the floor, known as the Sarajevo Roses. The red paint fills the holes and craters made by falling shells during the Bosnian war. It is a poignant reminder of the lives that were lost.
Take an iconic photo at the cultural marker on Ferhadija street, where east and west meet. To the west you can marvel at the architecture constructed under the Austro-Hungarian rule and to the east the view changes to the old Ottoman bazaar, Bascarsija. At one turn of the head you are transported to contrasting empires.
The old Turkish-Ottoman bazaar is pedestrian only and is Sarajevo’s most popular landmark. Here nestled along narrow streets, you can find traditional places to eat, coffee shops to enjoy a Bosnian coffee and artisan shops where you can pick up a souvenir or two. In the centre square you will also see the Sebilj fountain and the ever-present pigeons.
Ride the cable car up to Trebevic
Take the 7 minute scenic trip from Sarajevo to Trebevic on the cable car. Originally opened in 1959, it seized operation in 1989 due to financial & technical problems, only to be completely destroyed during the Bosnian War. A new design of 33 cars was unveiled in 2018 and the cable car once more carries visitors up the mountain.
Take a stroll along Wilson’s Avenue (Vilsonovo šetalište)
Stretching along the Miljacka river and lined with linden trees on each side, Wilson’s Avenue is a popular walking place, especially on the weekends when it is closed to vehicles. There are several cafes and restaurants along the route and a well equipped park, ideal if visiting with children.
Places of worship
Sarajevo is warmly recognised as a city of diversity and multiculturalism, exemplified by the various places of worship dotted around the city. In a compact area you can visit the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, the Sacred Heart Cathedral (the oldest cathedral in Bosnia and Herzegovina) the Askenazi Synagogue and the Old Orthodox Church (one of the oldest places of worship in Sarajevo).
If you are staying in Sarajevo for a several days, enjoy a few day trips to nearby beauty spots.
Vrelo Bosna near Ilidza is a large beautiful park area which the River Bosna flows through creating small lakes and waterfalls. It is a wonderful place for a walk in nature and there is a restaurant onsite for refreshments or lunch.
Located 12 kilometres from Sarajevo you can hike through forests to Skakavac waterfall. It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country, with a 98m drop.