With so many options, it can be hard to know what to do on a one day Sarajevo itinerary. Below I’ve listed some of the key activities based on recommendations from the locals I spoke to during my stay.
I have also noted what I would have done differently if I’d have had 2 days to spend in Sarajevo. Well… technically I did and I had planned for two days… but I then I got sick haha. So you’ll have to do the rest of the itinerary suggestions on my behalf and let me know how it goes. 🙂
STROLL THROUGH THE OLD TOWN
This really is the perfect way to begin one day in Sarajevo. So many places of historical interest sit amongst unique architecture and you’ll barely break a sweat seeing it all.
Key places of interest (in ‘walking order’):
This memorial to the civilian and military lives lost in WW2 in Sarajevo. On 6th April 1946, Sarajevo was liberated from a 4-year occupation from Nazi Germany and the fascist Independent State of Croatia.
SACRED HEART CATHEDRAL
I saw this cathedral many times as my hostel was very close to it. It is a Catholic cathedral built in a neo-gothic style, built-in 1889.
SARAJEVO MEETING OF CULTURES
This is the spot where the original prominent cultures of Sarajevo merge. It is known as an ‘east meets west’ city and in this exact spot, you can see buildings of an Austro-Hungarian style change to Islamic and Ottoman architectures in just one step.
You will see this spot clearly marked in huge bold letters on the street floor, or you can easily locate it on Google Maps.
GAZI HUSREV-BEG MOSQUE
Built-in 1537, this beautiful mosque sits in the heart of Sarajevo. You can go inside and see the video about Husrev-beg, an Ottoman governor who was once renowned.
Here you will find many distinctive buildings and lively alleyways, from coppersmiths alley to laneways lined with rows of cafes hosting locals and tourists-alike to Bosnian coffee.
The Baščaršija mosque is perhaps the most distinctive building here, located on the main square. It was most likely built in the early 14th century and was named a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2006.
Opposite the mosque is Sebilj drinking fountain, an Ottoman-style wooden fountain built-in 1753.
Apparently, some people call this area ‘pigeon square’ and you’ll see why – it seems to have hundreds of pigeons flying about! But really, Baščaršija simply translates to ‘main market’.
THE LATIN BRIDGE
This Ottoman bridge is most famous for being the location of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 – the key trigger to World War I.
Walking along the river, you will also see City Hall just on the other side of the bridge. This building has a distinct Austro-Hungarian architecture.
VISIT A MUSEUM / LEARN ABOUT THE WAR
There are a number of free walking tours available to learn about the history of Sarajevo, though you may prefer to do it independently. In my opinion, this is a must-do on any Sarajevo itinerary.
With one day in Sarajevo, you will have time to visit of the many museums about the war that took place here in the mid-1990s. I highly recommend visiting a museum and learning about the war during your stay here. If you are in your late 20s or older, this took place during your lifetime. The genocide is the BIGGEST in Europe since the Holocaust yet many of us, including people from other parts of Europe, never learned about it at school and home. I find that frankly astonishing.
The highest recommended option all-round seemed to be Galerija 11/07/95. More of an immersive gallery than a museum, this gives visitors a chance to learn about the tragedy in a thoughtful way. Despite outlining the horrors in both photographic and written formats, I found it more emotive than provocative. It thoughtfully humanised the thousands of people killed and made you question how this could possibly have happened to them. And how you did not know about it. https://galerija110795.ba/
The mass executions and ethnic cleansing involved was later declared genocide. The gallery focuses on the Siege of Sarajevo in which 14000 people were killed.
Not only gallery act as a tribute to those who lost their lives, it also details the excruciating effort to return bodies to their loved ones after mass graves were later uncovered. The photographer Tirik Samarah (whose work is key to the exhibit)noted the hope he saw in many women, believing that someday their fathers, husbands, brothers or sons would somehow return home. They usually waited many many years to hear this would not be the case. Advances in DNA analysis and the newly formed International Commission on Missing Peoples made this possible.
The mixed-media exhibit is accessible to those who know little about the tragedy. I don’t usually like audio guides but in this case I would recommend as it gives a voice their story.
I’d recommend finding out about the chain of events which lead to the tragedy beforehand. There are also many other atrocities it does not mention, such as the mass assaults that took place. I believe this is to make the gallery appropriate for younger people and to be a respectful memorial.
Museums to see if you have 2 days in Sarajevo
I would have also liked to add the War Childhood Museum to my Sarajevo itinerary, which uses short written testimonials which answer the question ‘what was a war childhood for you?’ The writers, who all witnessed the tragedy at a young age, also donated personal items to the museum to be presented alongside their testimonials. A simple yet very sad and throught-provoking approach to the impact of conflict. https://www.warchildhood.org/
There are many tours available to the Tunnel of Hope though you can also take a taxi. This was the tunnel that was only link between Sarajevo and the outside world during the siege (1992-1995). It was 800m long and only 1.6m high, heading out to the airport. The secretly built tunnel helped supply civilians during the siege. Today, it also has information boards and an audioguide.
WHERE TO GET THE BEST VIEW IN SARAJEVO
(GREAT SARAJEVO SUNSET SPOTS!)
THE YELLOW FORTRESS
The Yellow Fortress (also named the Yellow Bastion) is the best place to get a panoramic view of Sarajevo due to it’s close proximity to the old town. It is only a 15-minute walk from the heart of the old town, so if you only have one day it is an easy additional to your Sarajevo itinerary.
On the uphill (but mercifully quite short) walk to the yellow fortress, you will pass the striking Kovaci cemetery. It is well worth taking a moment here to reflect. It is the main cemetery for soldiers from the Bosnian Army who were killed during the war – the majority were killed during the Siege of Sarajevo. The similarity between the dates on the tombstones is both striking and very, very sad.
When you arrive at the Yellow Fortress, you will see more locals and tourists approach the top as sunset approaches. But it’s a nice atmosphere and certainly not too crowded when I visited in late October. Due to the panoramic views, everyone can have an uninterrupted sunset spot.
THE WHITE FORTRESS
Walk a little further along the city walls to reach the White Fortress. This is a recommended Sarajevo sunset spot in high season when the Yellow Fortress can get crowded. In October, I didn’t have that problem and don’t like walking in the dark so stayed put. 🙂
The White Fortress is a further 15-minute walk from the Yellow Bastion (about a 30-minute walk from the Old Town).
TAKE THE CABLE CAR TO TREBEVIC MOUNTAIN
If you have 2 days in Sarajevo, you’ll probably want to add Trebevic Mountain to your itinerary. It costs 15KM for tourists to take the cable car or 20KM return. At the top, you will find an amazing panoramic view over Sarajevo.
The cable car operates between 0900 – 1800 (at the time of writing, I believe it opens till 21:00 in the Summer season). Depending on when you visit, I might not serve as a sunset spot but it will have an amazing view at any time! If you have 2 days in Sarajevo it’s a highly recommended activity.
WHILE YOU’RE THERE… VISIT THE ABANDONED OLYMPIC BOBSLEIGH TRACK
At the top of the cable car, you can take a scenic nature walk, eat some food or go to the abandoned Olympic bobsleigh track. This activity seemed to be the hot thing to do for visitors to Sarajevo when I visited and since the cable car only reopened this year after 26 years of closure, I’m sure it’s only going to get more popular. It used to be a steep uphill walk.
Where I ate vegan and vegetarian food in Sarajevo
I was unsure about where to find vegan and vegetarian food in Sarajevo but it’s quite easy. Here were my favourite spots in 2 days of visiting the city… Yes, I was in Sarajevo for 2 days, but only explored for one as I got sick… still had to eat though 😛
I tried both the bean burger and the tofu/vegetable pot. I found the bean burger to be too plain and a little dry for me. But the vegetable pot is delicious and I would really recommend it!
There are other vegetarian options too, such as risotto the server recommended to me. It might be worth asking what is on the special menu as well, as they could have some unique vegetarian options.
This was a nice restaurant but laid back and suitable for solo travellers.
This laid back joint was a lot more ‘me.’ As the name suggests, the meals here mostly consist of Falafel! Options such as pitta and hummus or eggplant salads are also available.
Costs for a meal are between 5KM and 10KM.
Apetit had 2 good veggie options when I went – a vegetable risotto (10KM) or a vegetarian wok with rice (12KM). I had the latter of the two and it was tasty.
If you are solo traveller, you may prefer to visit at lunchtime. At dinner it had a ‘fancier’ vibe than the other places I went, although the food cost was still typical for the area.
I actually decided not to come here but thought it worth mentioning as it was recommended to me. It is seemingly being the most talked-about vegetarian place in Sarajevo. It is fully vegetarian and the chef is vegan.
The food has – on the whole – amazing reviews. The chef (who also acts as host) has mixed reviews with the general consensus being he’s a ‘character’.
So if you want to treat yourself, be sure to book in advance. Or he might yell at you and make you cry. I think I would enjoy the experience if travelling with someone (other people thought he was truly entertaining) but as a solo travelling introvert, I am keen to be invisible when I eat haha.
What would you most like to see if you only have one day in Sarajevo? Or what would you add to a two day Sarajevo itinerary?
Are you a vegetarian heading to Mostar?
This post only gave some quick suggestions on where to eat vegan and vegetarian food in Sarajevo, but if I have a much more thorough guide on where to eat in Mostar:
Travelling between Sarajevo and Mostar by bus or train?
Here are my experiences and tips for travelling between the two cities between both train and bus: