1. It’s an excellent starting point
Sarajevo is located in the heart of Southeastern Europe and is an excellent starting point when taking in the entire region.
Only 126 kilometers further south is the seat of Herzegovina – sunny Mostar – whose symbol, the Old Bridge, is included on UNESCO’s list of protected cultural monuments. Fascinating Dubrovnik, a living museum on the coast, is 239 kilometers from Sarajevo; and Split, the main city on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, is 246 kilometers from Sarajevo. The distance between Sarajevo and regional capital cities is as follows: 293 kilometers from Belgrade, Serbia; 405 kilometers from Zagreb, Croatia and 231 kilometers from Podgorica, Montenegro.
2. Excellent value for the money
Sarajevo finds itself at the very top of lists of European capital cities where visitors can certainly get a good value for their money.
Whether it’s accommodation, purchasing souvenirs, taking interesting tours around town, visiting attractions, eating delicious meals in quality restaurants with spectacular views, spending an evening in one of the top clubs, looking for wellness treatments and health services or having unforgettable weekends in some of the ski resorts near town, Sarajevo is sure to surprise visitors with the superb quality they can enjoy for the money.
3. A place steeped in history
In Sarajevo you can find traces of the Neolithic Butmir Culture, Illyrians, Romans, Slavs, as well as remains representing the medieval Bosnian Kingdom, the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the Socialistic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia….
Over the past 100 years, Sarajevo has found itself a member of six different states and has witnessed the Sarajevo Assassination, the First and Second World Wars, the XIV Winter Olympic Games, the longest-running siege of any town in modern history…. Sarajevo is steeped in history and is always eager to share its many fascinating stories with visitors.
4. A unique cultural mix
For several hundred years, the borders of two great empires, the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian, which represented the two poles of the world at that time – East and West, Islamic and Christian – met in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This made the country and its capital a crossroads for different worlds – a place where Orient met Occident in the heart of the Balkans.
Sarajevo is one of those rare cities where, during a ten-minute walk, you can see places of worship for the world’s most important monotheistic religions: Orthodox and Catholic churches, synagogues and mosques. All of these traditions have given Sarajevo a specific aroma and a particular cultural mix.
5. A relaxing rhythm
Every town has its own specific rhythm and Sarajevo’s is an easy-going and relaxing one.
Sarajevans can spend hours sitting and socializing with friends over coffee or some other drink, and it’s this “contagious” habit that soon passes to those visiting Sarajevo. It’s almost a rule that those who come to BiH’s capital do so in order to slow down their own tempo and to find time to enjoy idleness. You don’t have to see everything in Sarajevo today – leave something for tomorrow! Make use of the lovely day today by finding a comfortable place in some of Sarajevo’s cafés and spend time doing nothing, or almost nothing!
6. An ideal size
Sarajevo is large enough that there is a lot to see and experience, yet also small and compact enough to get wherever you want on foot.
The best way to take in nearly all of Sarajevo’s attractions is on foot, as most of them are only a few kilometers from one another. It’s also the best way to discover the charm of the narrow streets in the old part of town, as well as the beauty of Sarajevo’s many façades, which are decorated with fascinating bas-reliefs. If walking is not really your thing, don’t worry – the taxi rates here are among the most inexpensive in Europe, so you can use this means of transportation not only to get around town, but also to visit some of the nearby picnic grounds.
7. Gorgeous nature
With all of the advantages that one capital city can offer its visitors, in Sarajevo you’ll have a chance to find yourself totally outside the urban milieu in lovely and untouched nature, surrounded by greenery and the shade of trees, fresh rivers and streams, where you will be intoxicated by the fragrance of flowers and the lovely sounds of birds.
And all of this can be reached after a 10-minute drive or in less than an hour’s walk. Winter turns everything white and the ski lanes, where the XIV Winter Olympic Games were held, are only 30 minutes from the city, so in no time at all, you can reach a lovely mountain cabin, where you can enjoy the winter wonderland beside a crackling fire in the fireplace.
8. A safe destination
While the city still bears visible scars from the war, Sarajevo is considered one of the safest capital cities in Europe.
There are no neighborhoods that should be avoided, but we suggest that you stick to well-lit streets during evening hours. We also recommend that you watch out for pickpockets, especially while using public transport and that you not carry your wallet in a back pocket or backpack. If you have come by car, it would be advisable to park it in some of the parking lots that offer on-site security and we advise you to be careful when going out into nature – for there are still landmines in some areas. As long as common sense prevails, you shouldn’t encounter anything unpleasant during your stay in Sarajevo.
9. Delicious and organic food
Mornings in Sarajevo traditionally start with Bosnian coffee, which is served in small copper pots (džezve).
For lunch, you have a choice of wines that are produced in the many vineyards of Herzegovina, including authentic grape varieties such as Žilavka and Blatina, and evening entertainment would be almost unthinkable without Sarajevsko Pivo (beer) from the local brewery which has been in operation since 1888. Traditional food is both delicious and organic. Ćevabdžinice serve ćevapčiće, small, grilled ground meat rolls served in flat bread (somun); aščinice have a rich selection of traditional cooked meals and in buregdžinice you can choose from among some Bosnian pitas (pies).
10. Kind people
If the beauty of a city is determined by its inhabitants, then Sarajevo definitely ranks among the most beautiful cities in the world!
If there’s one thing Sarajevo is known for, it’s the hospitality and kindness of its residents, who will do their best to make a visitor’s stay in their town special. Whether you need advice about where to go or you’re lost and need some directions, don’t hesitate to stop passersby, waiters or merchants to ask them whatever you need. More often than not, you’re sure to hear an interesting story along with their answer, so don’t be surprised if you come to Sarajevo as a tourist and leave as a Sarajevan!