Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a compact city surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and certainly one of the most walkable cities in the world. Therefore, a self guided tour of Sarajevo is the best way to fully appreciate the city.
Throughout its history Sarajevo claimed the title of European Jerusalem. It is considered to be a melting pot of a great number of religions and cultures. Being the most multicultural and multi-religious city in Europe, Sarajevo found a way of reconciliation by a commitment to equality and love towards diversity. Therefore, rest assured that you will be more than welcomed while doing a self guided tour of Sarajevo.
Although there are several free walking tours being offered by enthusiastic locals, Sarajevo is a paradise for all of you who are rather into exploring on their own and soaking up all the smallest details, sounds and aromas.
This itinerary is created to help with suggestions, items, maps, instructions and directions so you could get the best of your time while self guiding over picturesque streets of Sarajevo and admiring the city’s heritage.
The best way to start your self guided tour is by taking a stroll through Bascarsija (baʃ.tʃǎr.ʃi.ja/ Turkish: Bas- main, head+ carsija commercial street ). Following the pattern of many oriental cities, Sarajevo had two separated zones: residential (mahala) and commercial (Bascarsija).
Bascarsija, main commercial street of the country, was founded in 15th century and was a home to a large number of craft shops. This old oriental bazaar was an assembly of side streets and alleys dedicated to a different kind of craft.
Nowadays, Bascarsija represents a historical and cultural centre of the city and a home to many national monuments and treasures.
Bascarsija’s main central square is “Pigeon Square” hence the best spot to start your adventure.
During the Ottoman Empire there were hundreds of sebils all around the city. The purpose of sebils came from the Arabian custom of building wooden fountains where all the passengers could quench their thirst. Today, there is only one remaining and you can find it in the heart of Bascarsija. The original Sebilj was several meters away and was destroyed in devastating fire as a result to Austro-Hungarian attempts to “modernise” the city.
Sarajevo Sebilj is a national treasure and favourite spot of locals and pigeons. Having in mind foreign travellers will hardly be able to pronounce the word “Sebilj” or “Bascarsija” local people agreed to, non officially, name this square a “Pigeon Square”. In other words, you will never hear this term translated in local language.
Take some amazing photos, and walk a few meters in front. On your left side you will see a turn which will guide you through one of the oldest streets of Sarajevo- Kazandziluk Street.
Name of the street originates from the term “kazandzija” which means master of coppersmiths and metal workers. During the Ottoman Empire, this street was a lot bigger and, most importantly, it was known for producing hundreds of everyday items made of copper. Nowadays, it remains as one of the symbols of Sarajevo’s golden age.
Bustle around this small charming street and feel free to enter shops. Coppersmiths will proudly show you their work and have a small talk with you.
Usual working time of shops: Mon-Sat: 8AM-6PM
Narrow and maze-like streets of Bascarsija are exceptionally intertwined therefore feel free to wonder around. In other words, you can never lose your way in Sarajevo. Nice and easy walk through Kazandziluk street will guide you to another recognisable street of Sarajevo – Bravadziluk.
Bravadziluk street (“brava”- eng. “lock”) is dating back from the 16th century. It was known for blacksmith artists and their shops which were specialised in making locks and padlocks.
Despite the fact that there are not so many shops remaining nowadays, this street exudes the old charm and is a home of many famous local fast foods and restaurants. Enjoy the famous scent of Bascarsija and treat your palate with some burek or cevapi.
Usual working hours of fast foods and restaurants: 8AM-11PM
While strolling over Bravadziluk Street you will easily notice the famous Sarajevo City Hall. The building is stunning from outside and the inside so make sure to check out some of the many permanent thematic exhibitions.
From the opening ceremony in 1896, the building was in property of the City Authorities. Sarajevo City Hall (bos. Vijecnica) was handed to the National and University Library of BiH in 1949 and became an educational and scientific centre of the country.
On the night of 25th of August 1992, due to the intentional shelling and destruction by Serbian aggressors, Vijecnica was completely destroyed. Over 700 manuscripts, incunables and other unique collections disappeared in flames leaving the citizens heartbroken.
Thanks to many donations Vijecnica was completely reconstructed and returned the former grace by reopening in 2014.
Open for visits: Mon-Sun: 9AM-5PM
Entrance Ticket: 12 BAM (cca 6 EUR)
Once you exit the City hall, cross the Seher-Cehaja bridge, one of the most impressive bridges from Ottoman empire and walk for 600 m towards the Franciscan Monastery.
Over years, citizens of Sarajevo, no matter their religious background, found their refuge and place to gather and pray in this sacred monument and church. The monastery was built in 1882 but due its severe damages, it was completely renovated in 1960. The interior of this monastery is full of valuable collections of paintings, sculptures, books and manufactures so definitely a place you should not miss.
Famous Sarajevo Brewery is just next to the Franciscan monastery so have a beer or two and visit the amiable small museum dedicated to brewery and tasty Sarajevsko beer. This brewery is considered to be the oldest industrial plant in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Open for visits: Mon-Fri: 10AM-4PM; Sun: 10AM-1PM
Entrance fee: 4 BAM (cca 2 EUR)
Scroll down from the monastery and the small narrow street will take you back to the riverside and impressively beautiful The Emperor’s mosque.
The Emperor’s Mosque is the oldest mosque in Sarajevo and one of the oldest in the country. It was originally built as a wooden structure in 1462, in honour of Sultan Mehmed II known as the “conqueror”. This classical Ottoman style mosque is one of the most important landmarks of Sarajevo and largest single- sub-dome mosque in the country. It features amazing decorative details from its inside and outside and is warmly welcoming any Islam follower or just a curious visitor.
Open for visit: Mon-Sat: 5PM-10PM
Entrance fee: free of charge
Take a nice walk along the river and meet the amazing triple-arched slice of history. That’s right, you are standing at the Latin Bridge, most popular bridge in Balkans and definitely one of the most popular in Europe. This is a place where Archduke Ferdinand and his pregnant wife Sophie were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip which led to the WWI that changed the European history and reshaped the European continent.
Once you crossed the bridge you can check out The Museum of Sarajevo which has amazing collections from prehistoric settlements all the way to modern time.
Opening hours of museum: Mon-Fri: 10AM-4PM, Sat: 10AM-3PM
Ticket: 4 BAM pp (cca 2 EUR)
Amble through the captivating Gazi Husrev-bey’s covered market-bazaar (Gazi Husref beys bezistan). The bazaar was built in the early 16th century for trading reasons and it still serves the original purpose. Easy walkthrough will simply bring you back in time.
Sarajevo has always been a place that welcomes Jewish community. Jewish Museum and Synagogue are the most representative symbols of Jewish community of the city. Many experts from all around the world find this Jewish museum to be one of the finest exhibition spaces in the territory of ex-Yugoslavia. Upon entering you will step into a completely different, sheltered zone, which is a home to centuries-old existence and contributions of Jewish community in Sarajevo and BiH.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 10AM-4PM, Sun: 10AM-1PM
Entrance fee: 3 BAM (cca 1.5 EUR)
Only 300 meters from Jewish Museum you will find the spectacular catholic temple and one of the most appreciated architecture revelations of Sarajevo.
This is by far one of the most essential landmarks of the city and largest cathedral in the country. Today’s Cathedral of the Heart of Jesus in Sarajevo has its roots in the Middle Ages. Historians associate it with the cathedral of St. Petra from the 13th century. Its amazing Neo-gothic construction was completed in 1889 and, ever since then, is alluring to a great number of followers and tourists.
Open for visits: every day
Entrance fee: free/ small donations are appreciated
This is a first memorial gallery dedicated to preserve the memory of Srebrenica genocide.
Permanent exhibition provides a wide range of multimedia content such as images, audio and video materials. This is actually an amalgam of museum and gallery that does not focus on history as a priority but is more like an ideological statement against violence and suffering of innocent people. Keep in mind it will take you at least an hour and a half to explore the gallery.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 10AM-6PM
Entrance fee: 10 BAM (cca 5 EUR) + 4 BAM (cca 2 EUR) for audio guide
Markale is a vibrant local market which offers a wide variety of locally raised vegetables and fruits. This colourful market is a heaven for those who are choosing to self cater. Meeting friendly local vendors is another part of this unique experience.
Pay attention to Sarajevo Roses, craters left by mortar strikes. The craters are filled with red resin and serve as a reminder of the death and destruction during the siege of Sarajevo. Unfortunately, Markale market is mostly known for two large massacres. Both of massacres were carried out by the Army of Republika Srpska targeting civilians during the siege of Sarajevo.
Indoor City Market is a remarkable Neo-Renaissance building that resembles more of a theatre than a market. The City Market of Sarajevo was built in 1895. Treat yourself with some free samples of amazing dry beef and locally produced cheese.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 6AM-5PM
Few steps away will take you to the junction of Mula Mustafa Bašeskija, Titova and Ferhadija street where you will notice another symbol of city- The Eternal flame (Vjecna vatra). This is a memorial to the military and civilian victims of the Second World War and one of the favourite meeting places of locals. Take a photo and soak up the vibrant city atmosphere before you continue along.
The Cathedral Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos is the largest Serbian Orthodox church in Sarajevo and one of the largest in the Balkans. This impressive Orthodox temple is famous for soaring interior space and luxurious iconostasis which is a present from the Russian royal family.
The vicinity of religious temples is a perfect model of fundamental multi religious principle Sarajevo is known for.
Open for visits: every day: 8AM-5PM
Entrance fee: 4 BAM (cca 2 EUR)
Bey’s mosque is one of the most elegant works of architecture in BiH and a masterpiece of Ottoman period. It was built in 1503 and conveniently placed in the heart of Bascarsija. Its complex architectural rendition and beautifully decorated main entrance with a spacious yard will fulfil you with tranquility.
The mosque has suffered through much of a damage over the centuries, and especially the frequent fires from the recent. However, Bey’s mosque never closed its door to its visitors.
Stroll around and check out Clock tower famously called Sahat Kula and its belonging: building Muvakkithane, Madrassa, Khanikah and Library, first public toilette in Sarajevo and Imaret kitchen (once serving only poor).
Open for visits: 1st of April: 30th of October: 9AM-12PM, 2.30PM-4PM, 5.30PM-7AM; 30th of October-1st of April: 9AM-11AM
Entrance fee: 3 BAM (cca 1.5 EUR)
Unlike any typical extravagance of many Orthodox churches, this small gem dating from the 16th century will appeal to you with its unique architectural design, modest grey stone walls and humble exterior.
This is one of the oldest religious temples ever to be built in the city. Despite the severe damages it went through over the time, it is a pure treasury of amazingly preserved icons and relics. The “legend” says this small orthodox church also sells some of the finest wines you can find in the city.
Open for visits: every day
Entrance fee: 2 BAM (cca 1 EUR)
Have a well deserved lunch before the visit to museum and treat yourself with some tasty local food. Local restaurants can be found at each corner of Bascarsija. Follow the amazing smell and let your senses decide. Regardless of your dietary restrictions, Bascarsija is a food treasury that can please even the most demanding ones.
Around 7 min of walk from Bascarsija you will find War Childhood Museum. This Sarajevo’s gem is one of the newest yet one of the most appreciated museums in Europe. The museum was founded after book War Childhood and has garnered recognition as being the world’s only museum focused specifically on childhoods that are affected by war. Wander through this unique platform of museum’s collections full of war childhood items, stories and memories.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 11AM-7PM
Entrance fee: 10 BAM (cca 5 EUR)
For those of you who are into photography, the perfect closure of a day will be letting yourself wonder through narrow uphill streets of the old town and visiting the amazing Yellow Bastion (Zuta tabija). The place is best to visit during the sunsets and/or Ramadan (month of Islamic calendar which is also known as “month of fasting”). During the Ramadan locals gather together to break their fast and share the food while enjoying the captivating view of the city.
Sarajevo Siege is by far the world’s longest siege in history of modern warfare that lasted 1425 days. During the time the city was under a complete blockade and everyday shelling resulted with over 10,000 civilian deaths.
One of the most powerful stories from the period of siege is the one about Vedran Smajlovic. Known as Sarajevo Cellist, Vedran decided to confront the aggressors and protest against the war while playing Albinoini Adagio as a prayer for peace at the massacre sites every day.
He created an idea of resistance and hope between people of Sarajevo and very soon got media attention and support from musicians and artists from all over the world.
The most powerful photo of Vedran Smajlovic was taken at the City Hall which, due to the shelling, was completely unrecognisable from the inside. The photo got a great media attention and has sent a message of spite and courage to the entire world.
Sarajevo tram network is one of the oldest in Europe. In 1885 Sarajevo had the first tram which was pulled by horses. Today, although no more horses, you will have a chance to take a glimpse of the past and overview the history through a window.
Today, your self guided tour of Sarajevo will include the tram ride which will certainly level up the overall experience. Make sure to pay attention to details while taking this 45 min ride. You will notice abandoned buildings and a communist architecture known for its massive concrete appearance and rigid geometric style.
The tram route is very simple as it passes through the entire city. Although you might find strange there is no tram timetable, you will appreciate how easy it is moving around by tram in Sarajevo.
Tram no. 3 will take you from Bascarsija to Ilidza, a charming suburb of Sarajevo. Once at Ilidza you can either take a taxi (cca 10 BAM/ 5 Eur) or hop in the bus. Across the tram station there is a bus station where the regular bus No.32A leaves to Donji Kotorac Okretnica. From the last stop you will have to walk for 700m to the tunnel. Ask locals for directions or simply follow the signs.
Tram ticket: 1.60 BAM (cca 1 EUR per ride)
Tram departures: cca every 8 min
Important to know: due to a high rate of pickpocketing in trams make sure to have a seat or be aware of people surrounding you.
Sarajevo War Tunnel was built to connect the besieged Sarajevo with the rest of the country. The difficult time the city was struggling with was the fact it was absolutely cut off therefore there was no way of getting any food supplies. This unique facility managed to save the city and strengthened the people in many years of war.
The small exhibition of War Tunnel Museum will manage something that many of the bigger museums can’t. It will introduce you to the story of survival, bravery and hope and, above all, will convince you that there is always a way, no matter how hard the situation is.
Open for visits: Winter: Mon-Sun: 9AM-3.30PM (last entrance); Summer: Mon-Sun: 9AM-4.30PM (last entrance)
Entrance fee: 10 BAM (cca 5 EUR)
From the War Tunnel take the same route and return to Ilidza where you can check out the favorite picnic spot of locals.
Dive into serenity of amazing nature by taking a walk along the 3.5km alley. Instead of walk, you can also take buddy or horse ride to the park. Another thing you can do is to rent a bike at the entrance of the alley.
The spring of the River Bosna is a stunning park with large number of streams forming lakes and islands. Due to its outstanding geological, hydrological and botanical features it represents a natural phenomena. Take some nice and easy walks, enjoy the views, bridges and amazing variety of flora and fauna.
Tram No. 3 or 6 will take you back to the city from Ilidza.
Open for visits: Mon-Sun: 9AM-9PM
Entrance fee: 4 BAM (cca 2 EUR)
National Museum of Sarajevo is the biggest museum in the country. It is a home to impressive number of collections from earliest times all the way to the Ottoman period. This spectacular neoclassical building was constructed in 1888 and represents the country’s oldest cultural and scientific institution.
The most valuable item of the museum is definitely the priceless Sarajevo Haggadah– illuminated Jewish manuscript. Sarajevo Haggadah is subject of many stories or surviving the close call for destruction through many periods.
Make sure to visit amazing botanical garden with over 3,000 types of plants and some of the most representative examples of Bosnian stecci.
Just across the street you will find famous hotel Holiday which was built just before the Olympic fames in 1984 . The hotel played an important role at the beginning of the siege of Sarajevo.
Open for visits: Tue-Fri: 10AM-7PM, Sat-Sun: 10AM-2PM
Entrance fee: 8 BAM (cca 4 EUR)
Group visits visit to the Vault Room – the Sarajevo Haggadah original: Tue and Thur: 11AM-1PM / 10 BAM (cca 5 EUR)
The Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina was founded in 1945. It houses an amazing collection of cultural and historical heritage of the country between 1945 and 1993. The museum is focused on the history of WWII and recent war in the Balkans and BiH.
Most importantly, this unique cultural institution is recognisable by its idea of studying the history while developing a great variety of programs and activities for encouraging a dialogue and recognition of past, present and future.
Just behind the History Museum you will find a Tito’s cafe. Dedicated to ex Yugoslav president Tito, this is one of the favorite college students’ places. Have a coffee or a beer and engage with locals into some strong and interesting ex-Yugoslavia opinions. Walk through Wilson’s promenade, the most popular promenade along the river Miljacka in the city centre.
Open for visits: Mon-Sun: 9AM-9PM
Entrance fee: 5 BAM (cca 2.5 EUR)
Extend a day and visit the famous Olympic Mt Trebevic by taking a gondola right before the sunset. Be aware that, in summer time, the last ride is at 9PM. The cable car was officially opened in May 1959 and was connecting the old town with the mt. Trebevic. Nowadays, this panoramic 8min ride is one of the favourite ways of transferring to the mountain.
Once you arrive, you will have a chance to enjoy some clean mt. air, amazing nature with tons of trees and small hiking paths. The most recommendable is taking a nice and easy walk to the old Olympic bobsled which was built for the purpose of holding competitions within the 14th Winter Olympic Games that took place in 1984.
On the other hand, mountain Trebevic played a huge role during the siege of Sarajevo. In addition to amazing landscapes you will also testify plenty of abandoned ruins which came as a result of the devastation the mountain has suffered during the siege. However, the mountain is slowly returning its former glory by renewing existing and building new facilities.
Working hours of gondola: Winter: Mon-Sun: 9AM-5PM; Summer: Mon-Sun: 9AM-9PM
Ticket: One way: 15 BAM (cca 8 EUR); Return ticket: 20 BAM (cca 10 EUR)
Your self guided tour of Sarajevo doesn’t necessarily end here. Keep walking, visit some pubs, meet the locals, have a beer, rakija or simply coffee, natural juice and shisha. Soak in the vivid, coluorful stories by rumbling through the narrow streets as all the pubs and restaurants work at least till 11 PM. Most importantly, Sarajevo is a perfectly safe city.