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Sarajevo Travel Guide: Tips for Traveling to Sarajevo

July 02, 2024 7 min read.

Are you considering traveling to Sarajevo? Nestled in the heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo stands as a captivating city that seamlessly blends its rich history with modern charm. This comprehensive Sarajevo travel guide will unveil the hidden treasures, iconic landmarks, and cultural delights that make the city a must-visit destination.

General Information about Sarajevo

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, Sarajevo had an estimated population of around 395,133 people. However, please note that population figures can change over time, so it's always a good idea to refer to the latest data for the most accurate information.

Sarajevo has a rich and diverse history. It was first settled by the Slavic peoples in the 9th century and became the capital of the Ottoman Empire's Bosnia Eyalet in the 15th century. Under Ottoman rule, Sarajevo experienced significant growth and development, with the construction of mosques, bridges, and public buildings.

This city is known for its diverse cultural and architectural heritage. The city features a blend of Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Yugoslav architectural styles. Some notable landmarks include the Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque, the Old Town (Baščaršija), Sebilj (a wooden fountain), and the Sarajevo Cathedral.

Moreover, Sarajevo has a multicultural identity, with influences from various ethnic and religious groups, including Bosniaks, Croats, Serbs, and others. This diversity is reflected in the city's cuisine, traditions, and cultural events.

Sarajevo on the Map

Here we show you where Sarajevo is located.

Sarajevo map on Google Maps

Traveling to Sarajevo: Things to Do in Sarajevo

From exploring the enchanting Old Town to savoring the gastronomic delights, and from practical travel tips to discovering the pulse of the city through its football club, this section will help you make the most of your Sarajevo adventure.

Old Town Sarajevo: A Glimpse into the Past

Step into the atmospheric lanes of Sarajevo's Old Town, where history comes alive. Wander through Baščaršija, the heart of the city, and soak in the charming Ottoman-era architecture. Visit the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, marvel at the iconic Sebilj Fountain, and immerse yourself in the vibrant marketplaces where artisans craft their wares.

Iconic Landmarks: The Bridge of Sarajevo

The Bridge of Sarajevo, also known as Latin Bridge, holds significant historical importance. This bridge witnessed the event that sparked World War I—the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Walk across this historic landmark, feel its solemnity, and admire the picturesque views of the Miljacka River.

Cultural Gems: Sarajevo's Magnificent Library

Discover the architectural marvel of the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This splendid library houses a vast collection of books and manuscripts, making it a paradise for literature lovers. Explore its exhibitions and cultural events, which pay homage to Sarajevo's rich literary heritage.

Festivals in Sarajevo: Celebrating Art and Cinema

Sarajevo is a city that pulsates with cultural celebrations. One of its most renowned events is the Sarajevo Film Festival, attracting filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts from around the world. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, attend film screenings, and celebrate the magic of the silver screen.

Photo of Sarajevo's Old Town in the Afternoon

Photo of Sarajevo's Old Town in the Afternoon

Photo by ADEV on Unsplash

Christmas at Sarajevo

Christmas in Sarajevo is a unique and culturally rich experience. The city's history and diverse population contribute to a vibrant and festive atmosphere during the holiday season. This is an overview of what you might expect based on past celebrations.

  1. Decorations and Lights: Sarajevo embraces the Christmas spirit by decorating the city with lights, ornaments, and festive displays. The main streets and squares, such as Baščaršija and Ferhadija, are adorned with beautiful decorations, creating a magical ambiance.
  2. Christmas Markets: One of the highlights of the Sarajevo Christmas season is the traditional Christmas markets. The most popular market is located in the heart of the city, at Baščaršija Square. Here, you can find various stalls selling crafts, ornaments, local delicacies, and warm drinks like mulled wine or hot chocolate. It's a great place to immerse yourself in the holiday atmosphere and pick up unique gifts.
  3. Concerts and Performances: Sarajevo is known for its rich musical heritage, and during Christmas, you can enjoy numerous concerts and performances throughout the city. The National Theatre, Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, and other cultural institutions often organize special festive events featuring classical music, choir performances, and traditional folk music.
  4. Midnight Mass: The majority of the population in Sarajevo follows the Orthodox or Islamic faith, but there is a Catholic minority as well. If you're interested in attending a Christmas midnight Mass, you can visit the Sacred Heart Cathedral, the largest Catholic church in the city. It's a beautiful and serene place to celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas.
  5. Traditional Cuisine: Christmas in Sarajevo also offers an opportunity to savor delicious traditional Bosnian cuisine. Local dishes like burek (pastry filled with meat or cheese) and baklava (sweet pastry) are often enjoyed during the holiday season. Many restaurants in Sarajevo serve festive menus, allowing you to indulge in the local flavors.

It's worth noting that the specific events and activities may vary from year to year, so it's a good idea to check local listings closer to the time of your visit for the most up-to-date information on Christmas events in the city.

Gastronomic Delights: Savoring Cevapi in Sarajevo

No visit to Sarajevo is complete without indulging in cevapi, a traditional Bosnian dish. Sink your teeth into these mouthwatering grilled meat sausages served with warm bread and onions.

Planning Your Trip to Sarajevo: Practical Information

Getting There: Flights to Sarajevo

Sarajevo city is easily accessible by air, with regular flights connecting it to major cities across Europe. Explore the options, find the best deals, and plan your journey to this vibrant city.

Navigating the City: Sarajevo Map and Location

To make the most of your time in Sarajevo, familiarize yourself with the city's layout and attractions using a Sarajevo map. Discover the different neighborhoods, locate key landmarks, and plan your itinerary accordingly.

Exploring Beyond Sarajevo: Belgrade to Sarajevo

If you're seeking to expand your journey, consider a side trip from Belgrade to Sarajevo. Explore the contrasting cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and historical treasures as you venture from Serbia to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Day Trips: Sarajevo to Mostar

Embark on a memorable day trip from Sarajevo to Mostar, a charming city known for its iconic Old Bridge (Stari Most). Discover the UNESCO-listed Old Town, wander through its cobbled streets, and immerse yourself in the rich history and cultural heritage of this enchanting destination.

Safety and Tips: Enjoying Sarajevo with Peace of Mind

Sarajevo is a safe city to visit, but like any other travel destination, it's important to take certain precautions. Familiarize yourself with the local customs, be mindful of your belongings, and stay informed about any current safety advisories. Embrace the warmth and hospitality of the locals, who are always ready to assist and offer guidance to make your visit memorable.

Sarajevo Football Club: The Heartbeat of the City

Sarajevo is a city passionate about football, and the local football club FK Sarajevo (or Sarajevo FK) holds a special place in the hearts of its residents. Immerse yourself in the electric atmosphere of a match, witness the dedication and love for the sport, and experience the unity that football brings to the city.

Trip to Sarajevo: Conclusion

Sarajevo offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a remarkable destination to explore. From the historic streets of Old Town to the iconic landmarks that narrate the city's past, Sarajevo presents a journey that will leave you enchanted.

Indulge in the flavors of its gastronomic delights, plan your trip with practical information, and embrace the city's vibrant spirit. Whether you're a history enthusiast, a food lover, or a football fan, Sarajevo promises an unforgettable experience that will linger in your heart long after your visit.

More Travel Guides

If you have been interested in our Sarajevo travel guide and you want to continue learning about this and other wonderful destinations, we invite you to look at the section of all our travel guides. Plan your next adventure with Greca!

What are the must-see sights in Sarajevo?

The must-see sights in Sarajevo include Old Town (Baščaršija), Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, Sebilj Fountain, and the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

How do I get to Sarajevo from Belgrade or Mostar?

You can travel to Sarajevo from Belgrade or Mostar by bus, train, or car. There are regular transportation options available that offer scenic journeys.

Is Sarajevo safe to visit?

Sarajevo is generally a safe city to visit. However, it's always recommended to exercise common sense, be aware of your surroundings, and follow any local advisories or guidelines for a safe and enjoyable trip.

What is cevapi and where can I try it in Sarajevo?

Cevapi is a traditional Bosnian dish consisting of grilled meat sausages. You can try cevapi in many restaurants and local eateries throughout Sarajevo, particularly in the Old Town area.

Where is the best place to stay in Sarajevo?

The best place to stay in Sarajevo depends on your preferences. The Old Town (Baščaršija) area offers a charming ambiance, while the city center provides convenience and modern amenities. Choose an accommodation option that suits your needs and allows easy access to the attractions you wish to explore.

What is the history of Sarajevo?

Sarajevo has a rich and complex history influenced by various civilizations, including the Ottomans, Austro-Hungarians, and more recently, the turbulent events of the Bosnian War in the 1990s. Exploring the city's history reveals its resilience and the unique blend of cultures that define Sarajevo today.

What is the climate like in Sarajevo?

Sarajevo experiences a continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. Spring and autumn offer mild and pleasant temperatures, making them ideal seasons to explore the city.

What are some lesser-known attractions in Sarajevo?

Some lesser-known attractions in Sarajevo include the Sarajevo War Tunnel, a significant historical site that served as an underground passage during the war, and Vrelo Bosne, a beautiful natural park known for its springs and lush greenery.

How long should I spend in Sarajevo?

The duration of your stay in Sarajevo depends on your interests and the depth of exploration you desire. A minimum of 2-3 days is recommended to cover the main attractions and immerse yourself in the city's atmosphere. However, if you wish to engage in day trips or delve deeper into the cultural offerings, extending your stay to 4-5 days would be ideal.

What is the best time of year to visit Sarajevo?

Sarajevo can be enjoyed year-round, with each season offering a unique charm. The spring and autumn months (April to June and September to October) offer mild weather and fewer crowds, making them pleasant times to visit. The summer months (July and August) bring vibrant festivals and events but can be quite busy. Winter (December to February) is perfect for those who enjoy snowy landscapes and winter activities.

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