Bullet holes still scar Sarajevo’s buildings, but the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina has emerged from a chaotic past to become one of eastern Europe’s most fascinating places. Minarets meet church towers here, and since key sights are packed into a walkable historic center, you can cover the basics in just one day. Here’s how.
Morning: Old Town Explorer
Centered around the city’s historic bazaar, Old Town Sarajevo—also called Baščaršija—is home to landmark buildings and great souvenir shops. The narrow streets make this area ideal for walking, whether you’re on your own or exploring as part of a tour. Sights here span Sarajevo’s diverse cultures, from the Jewish Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque and the distinctively striped Sarajevo City Hall. This is also where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot in 1914, sparking the First World War; look for a plaque near the north end of the Latin Bridge.
Afternoon: Wartime History
Some of Sarajevo’s most moving destinations focus on the long war and siege that tore the country apart in the 1990s, and a wide range of tours explore the city through the lens of that conflict. It takes time to absorb the stories, so pick one or two destinations to spend your afternoon. Descend into the Sarajevo War Tunnel and see how supplies were smuggled into the besieged city, or visit the War Childhood Museum to learn about growing up in a time of conflict. As worthwhile as it is hard to visit, the Museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide documents some of the most tragic events of the war here.
Night: Local Flavors
For a taste of Sarajevo’s vibrant food culture, head back to the Old Town for a delicious evening of food and drink. Coffee is beloved—often served Turkish-style in a tiny cup—or you can try a glass of rakija, a locally distilled spirit. Among the most popular snacks is ćevapi, flatbread served with sausage, minced onions, and thick cream. For a more in-depth food experience, gourmet tours are available that range from tasting tours to cooking classes and family meals.