How To Vacation in Sarajevo – The Capital of Bosnia–Herzegovina
Traveling to Sarajevo – the capital of Bosnia–Herzegovina in the summer? Lucky you! The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina is incredibly charming and welcoming to tourists. But, it can be hard to figure out what to do there in the summer. Especially since the extreme heat makes it difficult to leave the house while the sun is still out.
Lucky for you, we know exactly how to spend a summer vacation in Sarajevo and where to go to escape the heat. From the cobblestone alleys of Bascarsija to the enchanting views from the White Fortress – here are the top things to do in Sarajevo in the summer!
Summers in Sarajevo can get extremely hot. Temperatures often rise above 35°C during the day. Unless you want to spend the day under the AC, you should head to the mountains. The city is surrounded by mountains full of hiking trails, panoramic views, and spectacular nature, which is precisely why hiking is one of the most popular activities in Sarajevo!
For those without a car, it’s easiest to get to Trebevic. You can take the cable car from the city center, and the ride is only about five minutes long. The cable car arrives near the bobsled track, which is certainly worth checking out. The track was used during the 1984 winter Olympics but has since been abandoned and adorned with graffiti and murals, making it a popular spot for photoshoots.
For a truly spectacular view of Sarajevo, you’ll want to head to either the mountain peak or the Jure Franko mountain cabin. The hike to the cabin is about an hour of an uphill forest trek, and it’s the better trail for inexperienced hikers. You’ll be greeted by an astonishing panoramic view of the city, as well as friendly locals who run the cabin.
Skakavac Waterfall is one of the best places to visit in Sarajevo. You can get there by car or following a hiking trail. Keep in mind that it’s a three-hour hike from the city center. If you’re not interested in hiking uphill for about three hours or so, you can get a cab.
At 98 meters tall, Skakavac is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Balkans and the largest waterfall in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It freezes in the winter, but it’s one of the best places to escape the city heat in the summer months. It’s located in the Skakavac Nature preserve, which features quite a few beautiful sights in addition to the waterfalls. There are creeks, medieval tombstones, several hiking trails, and mountain cabins where you can stop to rest and admire the views.
The first stop on a Sarajevo sightseeing tour is always Bascarsija. It is Sarajevo’s Old Town, and it truly is the heart of the city. With cobblestone alleys, ancient buildings, and more local restaurants than you can count. One of the best things to do in Sarajevo is to walk around its old town. It features some of the best Sarajevo attractions. For example, the Sebilj, the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, the Brusa Bezistan, and many others.
Bascarsija is also home to many local craft shops where you can shop all sorts of handmade items, from copper dzezvas (coffee pots) to a miniature wooden replica of the Sebilj. You won’t find any high fashion stores in the heart of the old town, but you will find countless souvenir shops that allow you to take a little piece of Sarajevo home with you.
Another must is drinking the water from one of the many public faucets there are around the city. Legend has it that whoever takes a drink from one of these public faucets will eventually find their way back to Sarajevo, plus the cold water is always great for dealing with the insane heat you’ll experience in this charming city.
Sample Bosnia–Herzegovina’s Local Food
Foodies will, without a doubt, enjoy Sarajevo. Food is a big part of the city’s culture, with dozens of local delicacies that you need to try. Many dishes are derived from Turkish cuisines like the Baklava and the Meza, but they’re never without a distinctly Bosnian twist.
There are two things you need to know about the local cuisine before you set out on a gourmet exploration of Sarajevo. The number one thing is that the cuisine is very meat-heavy, so it’s definitely not for vegans and vegetarians. Most dishes include minced meat, and Sarajevans particularly like to stuff vegetables with minced meat and rice.
The second thing to know about the local cuisine is that meals can be greasy so that you can forget about dieting. And don’t be worried if the portion seems small – the meals are quite substantial and will leave you feeling fuller than you’d think by just looking at the plate. Because of that, it’s best to sample the local delicacies in the evening hours since greasy food and extremely high heat don’t go that well together.
With that being said, you’re ready to make a list of all the foods you must try in Sarajevo. Cevapi should be the number one thing on your list, closely followed by pies, stuffed peppers, dolmas, and sarmas. And let’s not forget about the sweets – baklavas, kadaif, and tufahije is the best local desserts. If you’re in the mood for ice cream, nothing compares to the Egyptian Vanilla flavor in the Egipat ice cream shop in the city center.
Where To Stay In Bosnia–Herzegovina
Yellow Bastion and White Fortress
The Yellow Bastion/Top and White Fortress/Bijela Tabija are two iconic Sarajevo sights. Both are just outside the city center and can be easily reached on foot. The Yellow Bastion is a 15-minute walk from Sebilj, and most people aren’t too keen on continuing towards the White Fortress once they arrive.
There are a few different reasons for that; one, the view is absolutely stunning, and it’s hard to believe that it can get much better than that. Two, there’s a coffee place at the Yellow Bastion, and it’s tough to resist a cup of local Bosnian coffee with the panoramic view on the side. And third, it’s a tough uphill walk to the Yellow Bastion, and the White Fortress is even higher.
The White Fortress is a historic site featuring ruins of a stone fortress atop a hill and 360 panoramic views. It’s exhausting to walk to the ruins, but it’s without a doubt worth it – this is a Sarajevo must-see, especially for first-time visitors. Just watch your step at the top since there aren’t any fences, and the ruins are quite rocky and slippery at times.
Vrelo Bosne (the Spring of the river Bosna) is a vast park in the Ilidza municipality, popular for walks, bike rides, and even picnics. It’s a great place to escape the city’s crowds and spend some time admiring the beautiful nature. The cascading river is absolutely stunning, and swans are a common sight in the park.
You can easily get there by public transport – get on a tram heading to Ilidza, and get out at the last stop. Head straight for about five minutes or so until you see the horse-drawn carriages. You can take the carriage to Vrelo Bosne – it’s better than walking, especially on a hot summer’s day. Plus, keep in mind that the horses spend a lot of time going up and down that road, and there’s often horse manure on the road.
Visit The Museums of Bosnia–Herzegovina
Sarajevo is full of interesting museums that you should visit. Whether you’re into historical museums, art museums, or something entirely different, there’s plenty of Sarajevo attractions that are up to the task!
One of the popular Sarajevo tourist attractions is the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s perfect for tourists who want to learn more about the history and culture of the city. This museum features a botanical garden, countless cultural exhibits, and even the Sarajevo Haggadah.
There’s also the Museum of Illusions, which certainly falls into the category of unique and intriguing museums. It’s different in every city, and the one in Sarajevo spans three floors, featuring puzzles and exhibits that are characteristic of this city.
Other must-see Sarajevo museums include the Sarajevo Brewery Museum, Svrzo’s House, Sarajevo Museum 1878-1918, and the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Rock Climbing At Dariva
If you’re the outdoorsy type, you will really enjoy Sarajevo! You can go rock climbing at Dariva, a promenade just a few minutes outside the city center. It follows the river, sitting below tall rocks that attract local alpinists every day.
The promenade is also popular for walks, bike rides, and it features one of the city’s most beautiful bridges. The Goat’s Bridge is at the end of the promenade, so it’s worth it to walk all the way to the end just for the lovely views.
Getting to Dariva is easy – go past the City Hall and follow the river. The entrance to the promenade is right next to a restaurant, and you can’t miss it!
These are some of the famous places that you must visit at least once in your lifetime.
Author Bio: Anna was born to travel the world, having studied languages all her life. Although she has traveled the world, she now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on Expert World Travel. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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Nikki Webster is a travel writer who covers how to travel while grinding a day job without breaking the bank. Nikki is always in search of off-the-beaten-track experiences and unique stays. She is particularly fond of Florida and writes extensively about the state. She flies around 60,000 miles annually and has visited 74 countries, 50 states, and six continents. You can read all about her travels at www.britonthemove.com or follow along on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.