A city trip to Sarajevo and you want to experience the best things to do in one day? – Because of its recent past it doesn’t sound like a desirable travel destination. But the capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina is ideal for a city trip and surprises extremely positively as a very contrasting, full of exciting history and an impressive mixing of different cultures. With it’s compact old town, you can pefectly explore Sarajevo in one day. There are a lot of things to do, eat, see! Sarajevo – from Istanbul to Vienna in a minute!
What do you learn in this article?
BIG5 Sarajevo Things to do
You don’t want to miss any attraction? Find your checklists, travel guide & tips for the one day in Sarajevo city trip here:
BIG5 Sarajevo – Speed Date
The mix of cultures – Ottoman / oriental flair in the middle of Europe
For non-smokers: The locals’ cigarette, which can be found everywhere in everyday life
Have a cup of Bosnian coffee in a café with the locals
Accidental black driving in the trams – tickets can be bought directly from the driver or at certain kiosks
Don’t tell your mother:
There are still mines from the war and some buildings that are in danger of collapsing – I might not mention it …
BIG5 Sarajevo- Rapid Fire Q&A
- Is it worth a short trip to Sarajevo? – Yes absolutely. You can see a lot of Sarajevo in one day!
- How many days should you plan for Sarajevo? – You can explore the city’s BIG5 in the morning and afternoon, two days are enough to visit all the highlights and the surrounding area
- Can Sarajevo be combined with other travel destinations? – Yes, the connections to Mostar and Dubrovnik are particularly good
- Is it safe to be a tourist in Sarajevo? – Except for the usual pickpockets etc., the city is considered very safe. In some quarters, however, there are mines after the war and many buildings at risk of collapse (marked)
- Do you need a day ticket or similar? for public transportation? – No, the old town and surrounding hills can easily be explored on foot
BIG5 Sarajevo – Orga
Best travel time
The best months are July, August and September (warm and little rain)
Arrival & Departure
Visum: Check here whether you need a visa for Bosnia and Herzegovina with your passport
- Flight: Many airlines fly to Sarajevo International Airport (IATA: SJJ) every day
- Bus: From / to Mostar (approx. 2.5 – 3 hours, max. 10 euros, several times a day)
- Bus: From / to Dubrovnik via Mostar (approx. 6 hours, 14 – 23 euros, several times a day)
Are you interested in a Balkan road trip? Have a look here: Balkans Road trip – Incredibly versatile adventure
- Recommended location: Take a hotel in or near the old town of Baščaršija, then everything is easily accessible on foot
- Budget: Villa La (Fojnička 17, 71000 Sarajevo; ~ 25-30 €), practical kitchen with in the apartment
- Medium: Best of Bascarsija apartments (Telali 15, 71000 Sarajevo; ~ 50 €), apartment in a great location
- Noble: Boutique Hotel Central (Cumurija br. 8, 71000 Sarajevo; ~ 60-70 €), extremely good location
Withdraw money: Easily possible at the airport and at ATMs in the city
Beer indicator: 0.5 liter can in the supermarket = 1 mark (~ 0.5 euros); 3.50 – 4.00 marks in the restaurant
Taxi costs: For example from the city center to the bus station: ~ 5 euros. It is best to negotiate the fare in advance with the driver
- Inat Kuća (Veliki Alifakovac 1, Sarajevo 71000), great location on the river and interesting history
- Bahana (Djulagina Cikma 8, Sarajevo 71000), comfortably furnished with local dishes
- Café Kamarija (Pod bedemom, Sarajevo 71000), premium view of Sarajevo
BIG5 Sarajevo – Activities
- Discover the Ottoman-influenced old town of Baščaršija with many sights
- Climb up to the Yellow Bastion & White Fortress (during the day or for the sunset!)
- Stroll along Sarači (“Istanbul”) and Ferhadija (“Vienna / Budapest”) via the “Meeting of Cultures” line
- Visit the former town hall of Vijećnica – imposing Moorish interior and exterior
- Sprint through the old abandoned bobsleigh run of the 1984 Winter Olympics
BIG5 Sarajevo – Photo spots
- City & mountain panorama from the Yellow Bastion (Žuta Tabija)
- Baščaršija main square from the tram stop: Sebilj fountain with Baščaršija mosque in the background
- The abandoned bobsleigh run of the 1984 Winter Olympics – every curve offers a new picture
- Great overview of the entire city from Trebević mountain
- 180 ° panorama from the Meeting of Cultures line – on the one hand Ottoman, on the other typical K&K architecture
BIG5 Sarajevo – Attractions off the beaten track
- Enjoy a cafe on the 35th floor of the Avaz Twist Tower with great views
- Take the tram – the old cars (some donations from Vienna, Brno or Pyongyang!) Allow you to travel back in time
- Stroll along the small Kovači alley – small restaurants, bars and cafés invite you to linger
- Take a trip to Trebević mountain
- Visit the War Tunnel Museum & Galerija 11/07/95 – impressive memories of the war and the siege of Sarajevo
BIG5 Sarajevo – Culinary Journey
- Ćevapi / Ćevapčići – classics of Balkan barbecues and typical of meat-based cuisine, served with flatbread, kaymak (cheese) and onions
- Bosnian coffee (Bosanska Kava) – corresponds to the Turkish version, even if not everyone would admit it immediately. Enjoy cheap, tasty and best enjoyed in small cafés in the company of locals
- Enjoy Burek in an original Bosnian Buregdžinica (restaurant) – you usually pay “per kilo”
- Sarajevsko pivo – the local beer
- Dining in a typical Bosnian restaurant (Aščinica): Here you choose from the buffet
BIG5 Sarajevo- Communication
- thank you – hvala
- yes – da
- no – ne
- hello – Zdravo / Dobar dan
- good bye – doviđenja or prijatno
BIG5 Sarajevo – Helpful Websites / Links
BIG5 – Overview Map for your city trip – Things to do
A perfect day in Sarajevo 🇧🇦 – here is your overview:
Best suited for screenshots 📷📝
Your morning in Sarajevo
Explore the Old town Baščaršija
- Sebilj fountain
- Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque
- Sahat-kula bell tower (note the clock)
- Morića Han caravanserai
- Sacred Heart Cathedral (+ red garnet holes)
- Vječna Vatra (Eternal Flame)
- Latin bridge
Your afternoon in Sarajevo
- Kovači cemetery
- Žuta Tabija – the Yellow Bastion
- Bijela Tabija – the White Fortress
Your evening in Sarajevo
- Old town “Baščaršija” in the dark
- Enjoy the Bosnian cuisine
In addition to the BIG5, I have summarized the things to do in Sarajevo in one day and the circular route for you in an overview map:
Click on the icon at the top left to use the full range of map options!
Welcome to Sarajevo – Arrive & Immerse
Arriving made easy: Centrotrans Eurolines buses (departing a bit to the right of the terminal) and lines 31e and 103 (in the nearby Dobrinja district) run directly from the very manageable international airport to the city center. The trip costs around 5.00 or 1.60 marks and takes about 30 minutes.
Yes, you read it right: In Bosnia you pay with Mark! During the trip, this gave a few moments to smile and remember old times. How much is the beer? “One mark!” Let’s see what you can experience with a lot or a little mark in your pocket …
Everywhere in the city you can see traces of the 500 years of Ottoman rule in the Balkans, countless mosques with their minarets, Turkish-style traditional clothing and culinary delights such as Burek and Cevapcici (Cevap = Kebab) create the atmosphere of Istanbul. The streets, which were mainly built under Austro-Hungarian rule, are separated by a line embedded in the sidewalk in the old town.
It looks like in Vienna or Budapest. The site of the Sarajevo assassination in 1914 is also there. Everywhere in the city you can still clearly see the traces of the Bosnian War and the siege of Sarajevo 1991-1995. Bullet holes in the houses, destroyed buildings, and places where grenade hits are marked with red paint.
One day to experience the best things in Sarajevo
Depending on the time of arrival, you can split the day in two halves, that’s how we did it.
Attractions in the morning – Explore Baščaršija
As in most cities, I recommend a free walking tour as a first orientation. The tour lasts around 3 hours and includes all highlights in the old town “Baščaršija”. In addition, all kinds of interesting facts about the country, people and culture are told.
My first association with Sarajevo was always the “Sarajevo assassination” in 1914, which is considered to have triggered the First World War. From a distance it quickly becomes clear that the city has a lot more to offer in terms of history. In my view, four essential epochs can be recognized, which have clearly left their mark on the cityscape:
Baščaršija is an old bazaar from the 15th century that was created by the Ottomans after the conquest of the Balkans. The cityscape here is shaped by Ottoman architecture and actually resembles that of Istanbul.
Be sure to check out the Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque, the old Morića Han caravanserai in a picturesque courtyard, and the Sebilj, an exotic, beautiful fountain in the form of a kiosk in the main square. The 30 meter high bell tower near the mosque is particularly remarkable. The clock runs after “moon time”. 12 o’clock in the evening corresponds to the time of sunset (time of the Muslim Maghrib prayer). The clock is manually reset every week.
After a few steps on the promenade and shopping street Ferhadija, the cityscape changes completely. The multi-storey houses along the street date from the reign of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Bosnia. Here the cityscape is reminiscent of Vienna or Budapest.
The Vijećnica also dates from this period. However, the former town hall is built in the (pseudo) Moorish style and could also be located in Seville or Granada. Sarajevo – an architectural journey through Europe … A tour costs entry, but at least have a look in the foyer, it is worth seeing!
Not far from the Latin bridge over the Miljacka river is the scene of the Sarajevo assassination at the crossroads – the trigger of the July crisis and ultimately of the First World War. A plaque at the museum commemorates the murder of the Austro-Hungarian Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand and his wife by Serbian separatists.
If you follow the Ferhadija to the Marsala Tita junction, you will come to the Eternal Flame (Vječna vatra), the memorial to all victims of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Second World War. From here on, the buildings look different again. Here one moves between testimonies of communist Yugoslavia with Soviet influence.
Countless bullet holes in many buildings are reminiscent of a dark, not too distant section of the city’s history: the siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War 1992-1996. In some places in the city, red-colored holes from grenades remind the victims. Such a “monument” can be found, for example, in front of the Cathedral of the Heart of Jesus (Katedrala Srca Isusova).
The city is still influenced by the Ottoman culture and especially the cuisine. For lunch, you can immerse yourself in the culinary delights of the country. There are countless restaurants in and around the old town. We recommend Börek, Cevap and, for dessert, a Bosnian coffee with baklava.
Attractions in the afternoon – panorama of Yellow Bastion & White Fortress
How about a little digestive walk? The ascent to the old fortresses above the city is highly recommended. The ascent to the Yellow Bastion (Žuta Tabija) is very close to the Vijećnica on the small Nadmlini street. Pass the imposing Kovači cemetery (Šehidsko mezarje Kovači). The climb is sometimes steep, but worth it!
The fortress offers a great panoramic view of the whole city, the suburbs on the surrounding hills and the mountains over Sarajevo. A beer garden (… but I think there was no beer …) invites you to linger. Enjoy the view and look at the bustle in the old town from above.
From the Yellow Bastion we continue to the White Fortress (Bijela Tabija) – very colorful. The facility is partially closed for construction work, if you are lucky the security guard lets you enter anyway. From here you can enjoy the panorama from a different height and have the opportunity to look into the mountains beyond the city limits.
On the way down you will pass the Café Kamarija, which in turn offers a great view of the city. In addition a cool or hot drink – what more could you want on vacation?
Maybe you will stay on the yellow fortress until sunset !?
Sarajevo attractions in the evening – Enjoy the Balkan kitchen
Stroll relaxed through the illuminated streets of the old town “Baščaršija”.
After an informative day with an overdose of history and many kilometers through time in the bones, a dinner in the old town is a good idea. For this I recommend “Inat Kuća” with a beautiful location on the river opposite the old town hall (don’t forget your reservation!) And “Barhana” in the old town.
Did you bring some more time with you? Excellent!
… because there are much more things to do in Sarajevo!
For friends of a great mountain panorama of the city and from hiking, a ride on the cable car to Trebević is just the thing. The valley station is easy to reach on foot near the Vijećnica (former town hall) near the old town.
The War Museum / Sarajevo Tunnel is a special place. The tunnel served as an escape and transport tunnel during the siege of the city. A section of the original tunnel can be visited.
A visit to the History Museum is also worthwhile.
Outdoor fans can hike to the Skakavac waterfall (takes around 4 hours) or visit the old Jewish cemetery in Sarajevo.
Conclusion: is a city trip to Sarajevo worthwhile? – Absolutely YES, you see what there is to discover!
Are the suitcases for the Balkans already packed? 🇧🇦 What are your BIG5 of Sarajevo?
Are you interested in a Balkan road trip? Have a look here: Balkans Road trip – Incredibly versatile adventure