Why You should visit sarajevo
Sarajevo is a fabulous city that has so much to offer. Trying to shake off the shackles of the past – it has history, culture, sadness, arts, spirit, fun, great food, cafe life, old town and new town. Everything is there to see. So Lets help you spend 48 hours in Sarajevo in the best way you possibly can.
Sarajevo is also very easy to get to. It is only a 3 hour flight from the UK. Or drive from Croatia in 3 hours. It’s 7 hours from Belgrade, Serbia by bus. I didn’t check about the horseback! It is SO accessible.
We arrived in Sarajevo as part of our 6 week road trip of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the motorhome. By the time I left, I was already recommending it as a city break to my children. Sarajevo stole a bit of our hearts. A city we will definitely be going back to.
Check out the Bosnia and Herzegovina Full Essentials page, where we give you the low down on all the driving rules and regulations, including speed limits.
If your driving insurance won’t cover you in Bosnia and Herzegovina then we tell you how to get your Bosnian motorhome insurance when crossing from the Croatian – Bosnia border at the north from Plitvice Lakes into Bihac.
Not Quite Norths Fast Facts on sarajevo
When to go
Spring is a delightful time to visit – the weather is warmer and the rivers are flowing nicely from the mountain melt. Its not too hot to hike – but of course it could rain! Outdoor seating and the Sarajevo Coffee Culture is springing into action.
When the Summer arrives is hot. Hot and humid and busy, busy, busy. Sarajevo as the capital is really alive now – but it could be in the mid 30’s on the temperature gauge.
Autumn welcomes the cooler weathers, the real heat is now out of the sun, so you will likely have more energy to cram everything in that you need to do in this wonderful city!
Visting Sarajevo in Wintertime and you are going to experience snow probably. An average of 18 snow days in December. Winter tyres needed if you are driving (October – April). It does after all having ski resorts very close by. Sarajevo is in a mountainous valley. Remember too that if you are in your motorhome, campsites may be closed. Remember to check ahead.
In the motorhome the roads are pretty good. We came down from the north and went out to the south west and the roads are totally fine. We only travel non toll (unless there is no alternative) but there are a few tolls too – you pick a ticket up when you enter the toll roads – and pay in cash when you exit.
By plane you fly straight into the city. The airport is right next to the old War Tunnels. Flights fly in from London (but not direct) and the price varies depending on season – but around July/August time, they were coming in at around £300 return.
By Train you come into Željeznička stanica Sarajevo. That is the citys main train station. Obviously everything depends on where you are coming from – but the main thing of note – there is a city centre train station!
Where to Stay
We stayed at Camping Zone Sarajevo – also known as Zlatiste Camp. There are many places that you can stay if you just google ‘Camp Sites’ on Google maps – but this one is on the right side of the city. You can walk straight in to the old town in 30 minutes and taxi back for 10 BAM/Marks. If you are super fit – you can walk back- BUT IT IS STEEP! Point to remember – taxi’s won’t take dogs in Sarajevo.
The site was great – all the facilities, a bit of grass at the back of your van and a couple of tree houses to sit in for an evening beer. Most importantly – there is someone on site 24/7. There are alarms and surveillance cameras to keep check on everything. Super safe place to park up with no worries or stress for a full day out.
What to see or do
There really is so much to see and do.. If I am honest – 48 hours spent in Sarajevo will leave you with the ability to come back and do at least another 48 hours in Sarajevo at a future date!
The old town is where most people take a beeline for, but there is plenty to see and do outside the old town if you fancy getting to know the trams and jumping on and off for a real experience. You can get yourself straight onto a free walking tour – that gives you a good base – and then you can go back for more if you want to. That is exactly what we did.
Many museums are in the old town, those about the awful genocide, the Olympic museum, Childhood museum. But there are art galleries and the Seige Tunnels more into the new city.
Out handy little interactive map shows all the key points and things that we did – or wanted to do but need to come back for. So check that out for a really good coverage of what Sarajevo has to offer.
48 hours in sarajevo - the complete map
how to use the maps
To use the maps: Click on the top right hand corner of the black map bar to view the map in Google. If you want to look at each of the attractions, you can click on the ‘stars’ and it will tell you more about that attraction. Use your thumb and forefinger to manipulate the map.
Day 1 - the old town
So lets talk about a well planned 48 hours in Sarajevo and what that looks like. Trying to keep everything as efficient as possible and logical to follow. This first day is getting familiar with the Old Town and setting you up for the next 48 hours.
Start the trip off by doing a free tour with a local licensed guide. Adis, our guide, was extremely knowledgeable. We always start with a walking tour as generally they give you a good view of the old town and all the key places to see. The walking tour that we had was 2.5 hours long and took us from the famous Baščaršija, wooden fountain, standing proudly surrounded by coffee bars. Choose wisely! I am sure the one we stopped at had Nescafe, which we got in a paper cup! However it was the main meeting point for our tour guide.
From here, we went round the old cobbled streets where the bronze work was completed, saw the city hall, the spot of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo which triggered World War I, Bosnian Roses, cathedral – basically all the main pulls on the tourist map.
At the end of the tour, we were given a couple of good restaurants to go to which did serve great food! One of the reasons that its great to do a free walking tour is that they give you the good food tips that the locals eat in – not the tourists! Don’t forget to tip. That is how these guys make money. We gave the guide 50 marks, which is an acceptable amount.
After lunch, walk back towards the Town Hall, which you can pay to visit and see the modern art exhibition on the upper floors, then head towards the chairlift to take you to the top of Trebevic mountain. You can buy a one way or return ticket (12/20 marks each).
There are a lot of walks around this area which are safe, so you could spend the entire day up here – but what we did was walk through the Olympic bobsled run – covered in graffiti and back down to the old town. It is still a 1.5 hour trek if you take it at a steady pace, but the bob sled is fascinating and we really didn’t want to miss it.
If you don’t fancy this, then a walk up to the Yellow Fort is a great alternative. The walk should take about 25/30 minutes tops with amazing views over the city. Our experience of Forts in Bosnia and Herzegovina are that they are favoured by young couples who are ‘spending time’ with each other – I suspect this one is the same! Still, young love and all that!
The Old Town has such a varied nightlife – from bars selling beers and cocktails, to cafes and places serving Bosnian coffees. Grab yourself a nice evening meal from one of your recommended walking tour restaurants and spend the time people watching.
Day 2 - sarajevo of the past
The focus is on understanding the history and the past today but please ensure that you take care of your own mental health. It is a very thought provoking day. Difficult to understand humanity and it’s ability to distroy. We broke it up a little. The history absolutely needs to be heard.
Anyone remember the Torvil & Dean Bolero? That was performed at the Sarajevo Olympics in 1984. It was a ground-breaking performance – for many reasons, so we went along to that museum too.
After walking down the hill from the campsite (30 mins) we took the time to go into the Gazi Huzrev beg Mosque, (certain times only, make sure you are covered appropriately and have a head scarf for women) which was 3 marks each. The most famous mosque in an ottoman complex. The ticket also gives you access to the Gazi Huzrev-beg museum.
After this we headed into the main square to the Sacred Heart Cathedral, which was open, so we went inside. We had found a lot of the churches as we went round Bosnia and Herzegovina were closed. Just over the road was our next stop.
The museum of 11/07/95, a sobering memorial museum of the shocking genocide in Srebrenica in 1995 where 8372 innocents lost their lives – make sure you get the audio tour as it is very photographic based and you need the audio to understand the photos. I recommend this museum very much.
The two hours in the 11/07/95 museum will probably leave you wanting a little time to reflect and make sense of what you have seen. You can do one of two things, cross the road to the museum of Crimes Against Humanity or head towards the Olympic museum where you will stop for lunch on the way. We did the latter and went to the market.
At the bottom of the road towards the steps up to the museum, you will see the Pijaca Markale (market) on your right hand side with lots of fruit and vegetables and other delicious items on offer. On the other side of the road, there is another indoor market. Here you can get the most delicious chicken and roast potatoes as a take out. Get a bucket load of that for about 15 marks, and go up the steps towards the museum for another coffee – or beer. As long as you ask, they don’t mind you taking the food in to eat with your drink.
You are right opposite the entrance to the Olympic museum to continue your day. It is fascinating story of the 1984 olympics including memorabilia, stories in pictures, an audio guide (which whilst very interesting – is a bit hit an miss on the numbers!!) With a big TV playing many extracts of the games – including that famous Torvil and Dean Bolero.
After a couple of hours around the museum, head across towards the main square, where you will find the Childhood War Museum. This museum tells the story of the war between 1992 – 1995 through the eyes of the children.
If you didn’t catch the Yellow Fortress yesterday because you did the cable cars – now is probably the time to take a walk their, to find yourself at the beautiful view point so that you can see the Sarajevo of today and the thriving town that it has emerged back into.
You are probably pretty tired after walking around all day! So definitely time to stop off for food and coffee or beer before heading back toward the motorhome.
We got a taxi back each night to the motorhome rather than walk – it was only 10 marks – but there was no way I was going to be walking up that hill after 25,000 steps on my step counter!!
So that is your 48 hours in Sarajevo done! If you looked at our interactive map, you can see that there is absolutely plenty more to see and do.
We stayed again this night and moved on the following morning.
Just before we left, we decided to walk down to Sunnyland. Sunnyland is like a small kids theme park where they had a railed luge. We decided to go on that for fun too – it was only 10 marks each. A great place to go if you have young kids!
Got More Time to Spend?
Take a trip to the war tunnels. They are over near the airport but are only open until 3pm. It would be a good idea to do that either on your way in or out of your trip to Sarajevo. It is the most economical way to spend the time. If you decide to do the war tunnels, you don’t need to go to the museum ‘Sarajevo under Seige’.
Take a full day tour to Srebreneca.
You could take a hiking tour if you haven’t already done this. It means that you don’t have to worry about where you are going and everything is taken care of for you.
If you are doing the quick tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Mostar, Sarajevo and Una National Park) then you may want to take a day tour to Jajce, Travnik and Pliva Lakes.
Places to Eat and drink
We went to several restaurants in Sarajevo, so have listed them below.
Depending on how long you have been travelling – (in our case anyway!) we went to BarSa Pizzeria – and they really do a good crispy Italian style pizza. We also had a cheese board to start with whilst we were waiting. Deffo recommend this if you want a change from a more meat based Cevapi!
Which brings me onto the next restaurant! A lovely little restaurant in the old town itself, packed with locals and often people waiting. Best. Cevapi. Ever! Cevabdzinica Specijal. They don’t serve any alcohol, but the Cevapi comes with onion and cream in a gorgeous puffy pitta for 10 marks.
Ascinica Stari Grad, was a traditional Bosnian food eatery where only locals ate. It is only open until 4pm, so you have to get in for a lunch stop. Stuffed courgettes and peppers, beg soup, goulash and such delights await you in this place – and the lady was hilarious! A place recommended by the tour guide. Kind of food like your mumma makes (if they make good traditional food!!).
Another recommended restaurant is Ascinica Dzenita. A great cafe bar outside that sold delicious food. We ate twice in this place and both times had a great meal – and both times we had something traditional that they recommended when we asked for it – but different each time too.
not quite norths travel tips for 48 hours in sarajevo
OUR FIRST TIP would be to try and spend longer! We will go back to Sarajevo. As fulltime travellers, there are going to be times where we pass through Bosnia and Herzegovina rather than road trip it – and this will 100% be a city we will go back to.
HAVE CASH for taxi’s and coffees. Cash is still king in many places.
CHECK your google map route to the campsite if you stay in the same one that we did. The route it tries to take you is totally not doable in a 7m motorhome! It is incredibly steep, with tight turns – its bad enough in a car! Examine your route, and then check it! Just in case.
Our thoughts on SARAJEVO - VIDEO COMING SOON
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