What to see in Sarajevo in 1 day
I grew up hearing about the Bosnian war on TV, but I was young and never really payed much attention it wasn’t until my recent Balkan trip when I saw Bosnia was a stop that made me think back to the war. I knew very little about Sarajevo I know more now obviously after visiting but I only spent a few hours here and feel there is so much more to learn about the capital of Bosnia. I don’t think I need to visit again as I saw the main sights, but I would like to explore some more of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The scars of the war is still very much visible. it is crazy to think that only 2 decades ago it would not have been possible to walk these streets they even have a place called sniper alley. I have found out about the war on this side of the world during my tour of the Balkans and I think these countries are now becoming the places to visit and should be on your itinerary if you are visiting the eastern side of Europe. They are still unknown but as more people explore, they will become popular travelling destinations.
The currency is Bosnia-Herzegovina Mark, but euros are accepted in most places and I used my Monzo travel card in the restaurant.
The Miljaka river flows through Sarajevo but it is browner than crystal clear waters and is very shallow at only 4inches deep so don’t be diving in.
Getting to Sarajevo
There is an international airport with flights from many European destinations. I travelled to Sarajevo as part of a road tour so crossed the border from Serbia which was easy and hassle free. There was a tram system in Sarajevo which are very quiet so look out when crossing the road.
How accessible is Sarajevo
I only explored the old town by foot and although it was cobbled in some places or paving stones which were needing repairs it was flat and easy to walk around if you keep an eye where you are walking. Some of the walkways in the old town were being repaired and once this is completed the city should be easier to explore.
If you want to explore outside of the old town the streets can get a little steep but if you are mobile you can also hike up the Trebević Mountain.
Things to see in Sarajevo
I only got to see the old town and the architecture was nice and it was interesting walking around, there were a number of souvenir shops, places to eat and a bazaar which was compared to the bazaars in Istanbul but to be honest it was nothing in comparison still nice to walk through though but it seemed to be mainly selling the same types of souvenirs.
The most important thing I learnt about Sarajevo which I didn’t know anything about was that this is supposed to be the place that an incident took place that started the first world war. On a street corner by the Latin bridge you can see a plaque where in 1914, when a young Bosnian Serb assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo. This hostile act prompted the Austro-Hungarian Empire to attack Serbia and effectively began World War I. It felt a little strange standing on a stop that had such an important impact on the history of the world.
It was a nice city to walk around, locals were playing giant chess, there were a lot of tourists there but it didn’t feel crowded.
Baščaršija square, famous for it’s fountain called Sebilj often named pigeon square due to number of feathered friends so be careful not to get pooped on. This is where our walking tour began. There were several beggars which were women and children they were being closely watched by the local men. They did ask nearly everyone in the group for some money and it was sad to see especially the children which looked as young as 5.
Sacred Heart Cathedral
The Sacred Heart Cathedral is a catholic church in the old town of Sarajevo. It is the largest cathedral in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is one of the highlights of the city, it was beautiful, I didn’t get the chance to go inside but you can, and the cathedral is still used for daily masses.
There is a statue of Pope John Paul 11 outside and it is also possible to see some Sarajevo roses out front.
These are shrapnel holes that have been painted in the pavements rather than repaired to be a constant reminder of the history, there are a few around Sarajevo. It is also still possible to see bullets holes in building facades so have a look when walking around the old town
Old Orthodox Church Museum
The Old Orthodox church museum was founded in 1889 and is open daily. Inside is several painting, tapestries and old books.
If you like churches, you can also visit Church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel in Sarajevo.
Gazi Husrev Bey’s Mosque
The Gazi Husrev Bey’s Mosque built in the 16th century and is the largest mosque in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It took a battering in the war but because of its 2-metre-thick walls it survived without too much damage and still stands today. Entrance is free
History museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
History of Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the place to go if you want to find out more about Sarajevo especially the war in the 1990s There is a charge which is currently 5m (about £2) and its only 1m if you have a disability. You can also do a guided tour for a fee which is currently 30m
The Eternal Flame
The Eternal flame is a memorial to the military and civilian victims of the Second World War in Sarajevo and can be found at Ferhadija, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is outside so no charge and is worth visiting to be reminded of the history of Sarajevo. There is also a children’s memorial in Veliki park which is in memory of the children that were killed during the Siege of Sarajevo.
BA, 1, Tuneli, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia & Herzegovina
The Sarajevo tunnels also known as the tunnel of hope are open to the public it currently costs 10m. The tunnel was built in 1993 during the height of the Bosnian war it is slightly out of the old town but still in a walkable distance.
Deserted bobsled track from 1984 winter Olympics is now a shrine to graffiti. If I had longer in Sarajevo, I would definitely have liked to have visited here as the blog post I have read says it has a spooky feel and I love exploring places like this. It is now easier to get to on the cable cars.
Tips on How to get to the deserted bobsled by one of my favourite travel blogging couple
Cable cars in Sarajevo
The cable car is the thing to do in you want panoramic views over Sarajevo. It takes about 7 minutes and it costs 4km one-way 6km return per adult. It goes to the top of Trebević and is also a way of getting to the deserted bobsled track. https://sarajevo.travel/en/text/trebevic-cable-car-now-in-operation/636
You can read more about this history of the cable cars here
Zuta Tabija (yellow fortress) is another way to see the whole city of Sarajevo. It was built between 1727 and 1739 in a area called Jekovac, close to the Jajce Barracks and the Jekovac water reservoir. It served as one of the defence points against the Austro-Hungarian troops in 1878. Wikipedia
National and University library of Bosnia and Herzegovina
National and university library of Bosnia and Herzegovina was destroyed during the sieges but has now been restored. It used to have over 1.5 million books most of which were burnt which is so sad.
Museum of Sarajevo 1878-1918
The museum of Sarajevo 1878-1918 focuses on the history before the war in the 1990s costs 4km
Food and Drink in Sarajevo
Bosnian coffee is a must for any coffee lover. I don’t personally drink coffee but loved the smell when you walked into the local cafes. Bosnia coffee is served different to coffee in the UK and there is a knack to drinking it. I think you need to pour it over the sugar cubes careful not to get any granuales into the cup. It is served in little metal pots which are also popular souvenirs to buy in Bosnia and other Balkan countries I visited.
Like a lot of the Balkan countries’ meat is popular. We visited a steak house that had some huge meat dishes on the menu so you will not go hungry and prices are still cheap. I tried a Bosnian burger which is different from burgers I am used to, and it was stuffed with cheese and smoked sausage. It was not served in a bun but did come with a big piece of bread. It was so big I could not finish, a little greasy and I am not sure about the smoked sausage inside, but it is something you should try if you like meat and in Bosnia.
It was nice to wash down the food with a ice cold beer.
There were a few different restaurants in the centre of Sarajevo a lot offering seating outside and when we were walking around the smells coming from them were very inviting so it would be a great place to spend more time and try the restaurants.
There were also a lot of coffee shops and cafes. I think people must have a sweet tooth as the cakes in the windows looked so good, I could not resist trying some.
It was a little chilly the day we were walking around Sarajevo, so we warmed up in a café with coffee (I had black tea) and cake I had a vanilla profiterole dish which took me ages to decide on as there were so many choices. Baklava is a local delicacy that can be found all over the old town.
Have you visited Sarajevo, have I missed something off the list of things to see in Bosnia’s Capital city?
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