Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina, along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also one of the most popular destinations in the country together with Mostar, Banja Luka, and Medjugorje.
It’s a historic city where western and eastern influences have met and mixed for centuries, and Sarajevo is sometimes referred to as the European Jerusalem.
In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Sarajevo as well as interesting facts and attractions that shouldn’t be missed while visiting the Bosnian capital.
The Latin Bridge is one of Sarajevo’s most interesting historical sites as this site is where Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated which in turn resulted in the declaration of war of the Austrian-Hungarian empire.
This bridge is built in an Ottoman style and is considered one of the oldest in Sarajevo. The bridge is not just a popular site due to its historical significance but also because of the nice views that it allows over the city and the Miljacka River.
Sarajevo War Tunnel
Sarajevo has come under siege during the Yugoslavian War when Serbian forces attack the city and managed to surround it. The war tunnels were used to bring food and supplies into the city and connect the Dobrinja and Butmir neighborhoods.
They were also used as a major escape route for civilians trapped inside the city. Today the site has been turned into a museum and some parts of the tunnel system can be visited on guided tours. This is a very interesting destination that shouldn’t be missed.
Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque
Bosnia is a predominantly Muslim country and offers many beautiful mosques. One of the most impressive ones is the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque. It was built in the 16th century and is one of the best examples of Ottoman architecture in the city.
It is considered an architectural monument that is famous all over the country. The mosque was severely damaged during the Yugoslavian war but was recently restored to its original beauty.
On the inside of the structure, the high, richly-decorated dome is a highlight and not just looks very beautiful but also acts as a typical feature of early-Ottoman architecture.
Baščaršija is the historical center of the city. The square used to serve as the old bazaar and was founded in the 15th century. Many of the city’s most interesting historical monuments such as the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque and Sahat-Kula are located here, making it one of the most visited areas of Sarajevo.
The square features not just historical attractions but also a large number of atmospheric cafes and restaurants as well as shops where beautiful handicraft and memorabilia is sold, a great place for picking up gifts for your friends and family at home.
Sarajevo Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track
The Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track is one of the most unique attractions in Sarajevo. The track was built for the 1984 winter Olympics but has since then decayed. Today, it’s an abandoned site that is known for its creative graffiti designs and apocalyptic vibe.
The site is located in the forests of the Trebevic Mountain and it’s fascinating to see how nature is reclaiming its habitat. This area is a paradise for people interested in exploring abandoned structures.
The forests of Trebevic Mountain also serve as a great hiking and cycling area in case you are not interested in the Olympic track.
Avaz Twist Tower
The Avaz Twist Tower is one of the only skyscrapers of the city and reaches a height of 142 m. The tower was built only recently and was inaugurated in 2008.
It is mainly known for its twisted facade and for being the highest skyscraper of the former Yugoslavian countries. The German company Schüco has included The Avaz Twist Tower in a top-10 list of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
What makes the tower a great attraction for tourists and residents alike is its cafe and viewing platform on the 35th and 36th floor. Most of the other floors are used for offices and the facilities of the Avaz newspaper that has chosen the tower as its headquarter.
Sarajevo City Hall
Sarajevo’s City Hall is an interesting mix of historical eclecticism and Moorish expressionism commonly found in Spain and North Africa. The building is considered the most impressive representative building of former Yugoslavia.
One of the highlights of the building is its stained-glass ceiling. Today the city hall is used as an exhibition site and has been opened to the public.
Many interesting displays of the city’s history can be found here making a visit worth it not just for the fantastic architecture but also as a learning experience.
The Yellow Fortress
The so-called Yellow Fortress served as one of the main fortifications of the ”Walled City of Vratnik”. The name of the structure refers to the yellow rock that was used as its main construction material.
The cannon fortress is located on a hill on the Jekovac Cliff and offers a good overview of the surroundings. The Yellow Bastion, as the structure is also often called, is open for visitors and can be explored without prior reservation.
The Galerija 11/07/95 is dedicated to one of the saddest chapters of the history of Bosnia, the genocide at Srebrenica during which 8372 persons lost their lives.
This is a chilling monument as the pictures of all the victims are on display and many photographs of the atrocities are found here. Particularly moving are the photographs showcasing Srebrenica before, during, and after the genocide.
The Sacred Heart Cathedral in Sarajevo is the country’s biggest Christian church and acts as an important center for Christianity in Bosnia. The structure was built between 1884 and 1887 and features two towers that reach a height of around 43 m.
It was built in a Neo-Gothic style of architecture and offers a beautiful interior featuring frescoes and a large marble altar. Don’t miss the beautiful rose window.
Church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel in Sarajevo
The Church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel is a Serbian Orthodox Church and has a long history dating to the early 16th century when it was built during the Ottoman rule of Bosnia.
The most interesting aspect of this church is how stark the contrast is between the plain exterior and splendid interior of the church. While the church looks like an unremarkable grey building from the outside, its interior is richly decorated and features beautiful murals, impressive Corinthian columns, and a fantastic vaulted ceiling.
Every visitor can feel the religious significance and holiness of the site when coming here. For Christians, this church is one of the best places to visit in Sarajevo.
The famous Sarajevska Pivara is the country’s oldest brewing company dating back to 1864. Many visitors come here to experience the museum and its fantastic collection of brewing tools and techniques shaping the centuries of beer production.
Of course, there is also an adjacent shop to be found here where visitors can not only buy beer but also memorabilia of Sarajevo and the brewery.
National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The National Museum of Bosnia was established in 1888 and is situated in a beautiful structure characterized by its four symmetric pavilions and its Renaissance Revival facade.
Each of the pavilions offers an interesting exhibition including sections about the history, ethnology, geography, and ethnology of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The museum was renovated after the Yugoslavian War and is today one of the cultural highlights of the city and perfectly suited for visitors who are eager to learn more about the country and its tumultuous past.
The Svrzo House is part of the Museum of Sarajevo and depicts a typical residential building of the times of the Ottoman Empire. It showcases how the living quarters of its inhabitants were separated in the past.
Men, women, and servants each had their own living area. The house is in pristine condition and is a great example of the building traditions of past centuries as it is built completely of wood.
The White Fortress
The White Fortress is another historical landmark of Sarajevo that shouldn’t be missed when coming here. The ruins of this fortress are situated on a cliff and attract many visitors.
Most of them come to enjoy the beautiful panorama overlooking the city, its Miljacka river, and the surrounding hills of the beautiful Bosnian countryside. No place in the city offers a view as good as from the White Fortress.
Interesting facts about Sarajevo
- Sarajevo was the first European city with a tram system.
- The first mention of Sarajevo dates back to a letter from 1507, written by Feriz Beg.
- During the Ottoman rule that lasted for about 400 years, the city was known as Saraybosna.
- Sarajevo has been nicknamed “European Jerusalem” and “Damascus of the North”.
- The city hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics.
- It was nominated to be the European Capital of Culture in 2014.
- Sarajevo was founded in its current state in the 1450s, but the area has been inhabited for thousands of years.
- There are approximately 275,000 residents living in Sarajevo, and 555,000 in the metropolitan area.
Want more recommendations on things to do in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina? Leave a comment below!