What to do in and around Sarajevo if you are bored with the Old Town – Visiting Bosnia-Herzegovina

Sarajevo from above

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Sarajevo is a diverse city, a mix of east and west, a mix of religions. You can still observe the remaining scars of the Yugoslavian War, but otherwise, it’s a vivid and colorful place to visit, surrounded by beautiful mountains. In 2016 we spent a month there while traveling across the Western Balkans. It was such a pleasant stay that we returned to Sarajevo a year after. Check this list of our favorite spots outside of the Old Town to ensure you don’t miss out on anything during your holiday. Guaranteed you will enjoy visiting these sights and nature trails. The list starts with the easily accessible sights and ends with the best day trips you can do from Sarajevo.

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Sights outside of the city center of Sarajevo

1. White Fortress and the view over Sarajevo

Bijela Tabija, the "White Bastion"

Bijela Tabija, the “White Bastion,” lays on the eastern side of the old town. It’s quite a steep walk up there, but it worth every step. Although the building is a ruin, you will have an amazing view over Sarajevo. We visited it during the daytime, but it could be a perfect place for night observation too.

The view from the White Fortress in Sarajevo
The hills of Sarajevo

2. Bobsleigh Track from the 1984 Winter Olympics (Yugoslavia)

The abandoned bob sleigh track in Sarajevo

In 1984 Yugoslavia hosted the Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo, and several buildings and sports facilities still can be found in and around the city. Probably the most famous one is the bobsleigh track on the slope of Mount Trebević. It is south of the city and one popular lookout place for visitors. Although the Yugoslavian War and the decades didn’t keep the facility in the best shape, it is a must-visit place.

Off the beaten path sights in Sarajevo. Bob sleigh track. from the 1984 winter Olympics
Sarajevo Winter Olympics 1984 Yugoslavia

3. The abandoned Čolina Kapa Astronomical Observatory

The Čolina Kapa astronomical observatory

Just right next to the bobsleigh track, on the top of a small hill on Mount Trebevic, you can find an old Fortress Astronomical Observatory. A second Word War military fortress was turned into an astronomical observatory, but it didn’t survive the war in the 1990s.
The two buildings are left to decay, but local youngsters still often visit them to spend some time with a great view but without tourists. The buildings have no doors and windows, and the walls and floors have few holes as well. Only the ruin of one out of the three domes can be observed. The Colina Kapa Observatory was the only astronomical observatory in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Čolina Kapa Observatory Sarajevo
Sarajevo from above

4. The Old People’s Home abandoned complex

The Old People’s Home is located a few km out of the center towards the west on Bulevar Mese Selimovica, right next door to the Radon Plaza hotel. The colorful building has notable many bullet holes as during the war, not all Serb soldiers were keen on shooting at Sarajevo’s civilian citizens, so some deliberately used up the rounds of ammunition allocated to them disproportionally targeting this building, which they knew was empty.

Old People's Home, Sarajevo
Abandoned buildings in Sarajevo

Sarajevo day trips:

1. Skiing and hiking at Bjelašnica, Igman & Jahorina (skiing) resorts

Sarajevo Winter Olympics 1984 Yugoslavia

Another leftover from the Yugoslavian Olympics is half an hour’s drive from Sarajevo. In winter, get on the slopes and enjoy the cheap(er than any western destination) skiing holiday, and in the summertime, head to the peak of Bjelasnica on a day trek.

Sarajevo Winter Olympics 1984 Yugoslavia

2. Hike to the Skakavac Waterfall

Would you like to visit a 98 m tall waterfall just right next to Sarajevo? Although it is only 13 km away from the city, it took about an hour to drive there. The roads are curvy, and you need to ascent a while. After a 6 km long bumpy ride from Nahorevo village, we finally reached the parking place (and a buffet nearby). First, we were walking on the dirt road. Later, we entered the spectacular beech forest.

We could hear the roaring sound of the waterfall from a far distance, but it was still out of sight. We had to descend on numerous wooden stairs before we could observe them. It was indeed tall and impressive. I was about to take millions of cool pictures despite the clouds, but the rain had other plans for the day. It was drizzling, and we prepared to leave. On the way back to the car, we chose a slightly different but flatter trail.

Oh, and Skakavac means grasshopper.

3. Lukomir – the most remote village in BiH where the time stopped

Lukomir is the highest inhabited village in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It lays at 1,495 m on the southern ridge of Bjelašnica. It is also the last real Bosnian village.

It can be reached from Konjic (30 km) or Sarajevo (45 km). We approached it from the latter one. Although the distance is short, be prepared for a long drive. The first part of the road is paved, but the last about 10 km is a gravel road through the beautiful karst landscape. It took us 1 hour to reach the village. Alternatively, you can walk up on the mountain pass from Umoljani. It is a bit easier to reach, but either way, make sure your car has high clearance.

The village is inhabited since the 14th century, and in both architectural and cultural sense, it is a unique place to visit. The village inhabitants originated from a semi-nomadic ship herding tribe, who were living in the nearby Rakita Canyon, used the village seasonally. Later they settled down in Lukomir, and the nearby families also moved here. There are about 50 homes in the village, and less than half of them are inhabited during the summer. About 4000 sheep are grazing on the pastures around Lukomir.

As for the architecture, the stone houses are covered in oak, fir, and beech shingles. To adapt to the cold weather, the windows were small. The centers of the houses are the stoves. The village has all basic amenities such as telephone, electricity, water, and sewage systems. They even built a mosque in 1969.

Currently, the village is inhabited only during the summer, from May to October. During the winter, the roads are blocked due to the heavy snowfall. Earlier it totally cut off the villagers for half a year, and they had to deal with everything on their own.

On the edge of Lukomir, the earlier mentioned Rakitnica canyon lays. Don’t miss the view of it!

4. Vrelo Bosne: the spring of the Bosna River and the surrounding park

Vrelo Bosna, the spring of the Bosna river, is a huge green park at Mount Ingman’s foot. We had visited the place with our then half-a-year-old son. It is enjoyable to stroll around the green area and perfect for a picnic, and it is equipped with numerous tables and benches.

The entrance fee is 2KM (1KM for students etc.) is well worth the price.

Vrelo Bosna, the spring of the Bosna River

Vrelo Bosne - The spring of Bosna river, Sarajevo

5. Day trip to Mostar

The Old Bridge of Mostar is under UNESCO World Heritage’s protection, and the town definitely worth a day trip from Sarajevo. The old town little streets are charming to walk around, but try to time your visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds.

Read more about Mostar.

The Old bridge of Mostar | Day trip from Sarajevo

6. Trip to Sutjeska National Park

If you are keen on hiking in one of the most spectacular national parks in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sutjeska NP is a must-visit place. The best is to spend there a whole weekend, but if you are short on time, you can do only a day hike to its highest peak, Maglic, and head back to Sarajevo.

For those interested in history, Sutjeska most likely reminds you of the famous battle of WW2. There is a memorial near the village.

Read more about the battle and hiking in the Sutjeska National Park.

Hiking to Maglic in Sutjeska National Park

Travel Resources

There is nothing better than a relaxed holiday. To ensure your rest, make sure you reserve and book your accommodation and transportation in advance of your trip.

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Sarajevo - Bosnia Herzegovina Trips

About the Author

karol bio


Karol loves nature, road trips, and outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, or snowboarding. Although his home is in Finnish Lapland, he often travels with his family in their RV or hops on a plane with them to explore warmer destinations outside of Europe.
Read more about his adventures and the blog.

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