Balkans

12 of the Best Day Trips from Sarajevo

Nature, history, culture—there's something for every traveller in this round-up of 12 Sarajevo day trips. Experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina!

You could easily while away your time in Sarajevo just wandering the streets of the photogenic Old Town, people-watching and eating to your heart’s content. But the capital is perfectly positioned for day trips around BiH and into neighbouring countries. From historic cities to epic waterfalls and hiking spots, dark tourism destinations to iconic stone bridges, this list of Sarajevo day trips — as recommended by me and other travellers — has something for everyone.

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Sarajevo day trips: North of Sarajevo

Nature, history, culture—there's something for every traveller in this round-up of 12 Sarajevo day trips. Experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina!
Jajce.

Jajce

Jajce is a small city with big historical significance. The waterfall at its centre—undoubtedly its defining feature—is a natural cascade augmented by the first hydroelectric power station on the Balkan Peninsular, which was established in Jajce in 1899.

The city is crowned with a 13th-century fortress, the last seat of the Kingdom of Bosnia before it fell to the Ottomans. Nearby, St. Mary’s church, which predates the fortress, was where Bosnia’s last king, Stjepan Tomasevic, was crowned in 1461.

Jajce’s history of costume and local traditions is told through its small ethnography museum. Near the bus stop, an anti-fascist museum remembers the meeting place of the second Yugoslavia Assembly, when the Yugoslav state was officially signed into existance right here in Jajce.

Jajce is an ideal base for exploring northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina’s nature and scenery. Water sports are available at Pliva Lakes, about 10 minutes from the centre of Jajce, and further out, there’s trekking in Perucica, one of Europe’s last remaining primordial forests. You’ll need longer than a day for this, but the city itself and the waterfall can be seen in just a few hours. Jajce can be reached in 2.5–3 hours by bus from Sarajevo.

Nature, history, culture—there's something for every traveller in this round-up of 12 Sarajevo day trips. Experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina!
Travnik. Photo credit: Kami & The Rest Of The World.

Travnik

Travnik, located 90 km from the capital, is one of thebest places to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a perfect Sarajevo day trip. The journey takes 2 hours by bus and connections are relatively frequent, making it easy to plan a short getaway.

Travnik has a long and fascinating history. In the 17th-19th century, the city was the capital of the governors of Bosnia. Today, Travnik is a bit of a sleepy town with some interesting sights to see: An impressive fortress with great views over the area, two clock towers, a colourful mosque, and the scenic Plava Voda area.

It is also said that Travnik is home to the best cevapi (the minced meat dish Bosnia and Herzegovina is famous for) in the county and the smell of grill hovers over the town. This is a perfect place to see a less touristy side of the Balkans and I’m sure you will enjoy the place if you decide to visit.

By Kami, Kami & The Rest Of The World

Guided option: Visit both Jajce and Travnik on this full-day tour departing Sarajevo.

Nature, history, culture—there's something for every traveller in this round-up of 12 Sarajevo day trips. Experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina!
Banja Luka. Photo credit: Wander-Lush.

Banja Luka

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s second-largest city and capital of the semi-autonomous Republica Srpska, Banja Luka is well worth a spot on your Balkans itinerary. It’s preferable to spend at least a few nights in Banja Luka, but if you only have a day, you can reach the city from Sarajevo in roughly 3.5 hours when travelling by car.

This involves one of the longest transit times of all Sarajevo day trips on this list—but it’s worth the effort. Banja Luka has some incredible religious buildings, including the Ferhat Pasha Mosque, with its intricately painted fountain, and the Christ the Savior Cathedral. Explore the bastions and old walls of the medieval Kastel Fortress, browse Banja Luka’s undercover green market, and walk to the edges of the city to find interesting street art.

Restaurant Kazamat, located inside the fortress complex, serves regional cuisine including Banja Luka cevapi, a local rendition of the national favourite. There’s enough museums and galleries to keep you occupied for a while, or get outdoors and walk Banja Luka’s vibrant pedestrian mall and a spree of waterfront cafes.


Sarajevo day trips: East of Sarajevo

Nature, history, culture—there's something for every traveller in this round-up of 12 Sarajevo day trips. Experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina!
Srebrenica. Photo credit: The Elusive Family.

Srebrenica

It is important to acknowledge historical events when visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina. The deplorable massacre in Srebrenica should be remembered and honored.

The city is a quiet one, located along a mountainside, and is now infamous for what occurred in July 1995. The massacre in Srebrenica is remembered across Bosnia and Herzegovina as a dark day in the country’s history.  More than 8,000 men and boys were gathered and killed over a period of two days. They had been separated by Serb soldiers from a crowd of refugees in Potocari who were being loaded onto buses.

Tours are available from Sarajevo to Srebrenica (the city is in eastern Bosnia and just a few miles from the Serbian border). Located in an isolated area, it takes about 2.5 hours one-way. The Srebrenica Genocide Memorial consists of nearly 7,000 white gravestones standing upright across grassy hills, and the granite memorial lists over 8,300 victims’ names.

The Srebrenica Massacre is regarded the largest and most tragic genocide on the European continent after World War II. Srebrenica’s significance is imperative in understanding the country’s deep history, making it worth a day visit from Sarajevo

By Diana, The Elusive Family

Guided option: Private full-day tour of Srebrenica and Potocari departing Sarajevo.

Nature, history, culture—there's something for every traveller in this round-up of 12 Sarajevo day trips. Experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina!
Visegrad.

Visegrad

Visegrad and its famous ‘Bridge on the Drina’ are located just 100 km from Sarajevo, close to the Serbian border. Another town with a tragic history, Visegrad was the site of two wartime massacres (in WWII and again in the 1990s).

The Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge, perhaps BiH’s most recognisable stone bridge after the one in Mostar, is Visegrad’s main attraction. Small boats depart from under the abutments, taking tourists for a short spin on the water and a chance to see the bridge’s 11 masonic arches from a different perspective. Just beyond the bridge you’ll find Adricgrad, a ‘model town’ built as a film set that now serves as a living monument to author Ivo Andric who memorialised Visegrad in his 1945 novel.

The Borak stećci necropolis, another of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s UNESO sites, lies roughly halfway between Visegrad and Sarajevo. It’s well worth a quick stop off if you’re using private transportation to reach Visegrad.

Nature, history, culture—there's something for every traveller in this round-up of 12 Sarajevo day trips. Experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina!
Tara National Park. Photo credit: Wander-Lush.

Tara National Park (Serbia)

If you have your own transportation, it’s possible to visit Tara National Park in western Serbia as a day trip from Sarajevo. To do this, you’ll need to pass through the Vardiste-Kotroman border crossing.

The most accessible part of the park from BiH is Mokra Gora and Mount Zlatibor, which lie roughly 140 km east of Sarajevo and can be reached in a little over 2 hours by car. On the way, stop off at Dobrun Monastery, located just before the border on the Bosnian side.

The densely wooded forests around Mokra Gora village boast some day beautiful hikes, including the short walk to the Banjska Stena viewpoint. From here, you can get a good view of Perucac Lake and the land border between Serbia and BiH. While you’re in Mokra Gora, you can ride the historic Sargan Eight single-guage railway and visit Drvengrad, a stranger-than-life historical village constructed by film director Emir Kusturica that hosts an annual film festival.

Guided option: Visit Tara National Park, Visegrad and more of eastern BiH/western Serbia with Sarajevo Funky Tours’ ‘Off the Beaten Path’ itinerary.


Sarajevo day trips: South of Sarajevo

Nature, history, culture—there's something for every traveller in this round-up of 12 Sarajevo day trips. Experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina!
Mostar.

Mostar

If you don’t have enough time to visit Mostar for a few days, you should at least make sure to see it as a day trip from Sarajevo! This beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city is a testament to Bosnia’s work to overcome the violence of the nineties, with the Stari Most (old bridge) as it’s shining example.

The bridge is the highlight, since it’s one of the most picturesque spots in Europe. Watch the divers take off from the wall and dive elegantly into the river below. There are several cafes you can enjoy the view from, but I love just the actual experience of walking back and forth across the bridge. If you’re looking for the best place from which to take your iconic Mostar Bridge photo, I prefer the look from the next bridge over. Take your time and see what you can come up with!

To get from Sarajevo to Mostar, you can travel by car in about 2 hours. When I was in Bosnia, I loved hiring drivers so I could quickly get from city to city. This also meant I could stop and photograph the Yugoslav spomeniks on the site of the road. However, for those who want to stick to public transportation, there are frequent buses back and forth throughout the day. The bus takes a little under 3 hours each way

If you do get swept up in the city’s charm and end up staying the night, use this list of Mostar hotel recommendations to help you plan. You can always grab an early bus back to Sarajevo in the morning

By Stephanie, Sofia Adventures

Nature, history, culture—there's something for every traveller in this round-up of 12 Sarajevo day trips. Experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina!
Lukomir. Photo credit: Passing Thru.

Lukomir

Lukomir, located high above Bjelasnica along a Dinaric alpine ridge, is a village of semi-nomadic Bosniak Muslim herders. Because of its remote location, the village wasn’t strategically important to the Serbs during the 1990s war, and it emerged unscathed.

Residents inhabit the village during the warmer months. When winter looms, they pack up and return to the lowlands. Most of the homes in the village have electricity, but many villagers still get their water at the communal spring across from the only restaurant, which also has a little store filled with provisions.

The draw here in Lukomir is a glimpse into traditional Bosniak culture. Locals will invite you in for a coffee or attempt to sell you traditional handmade knitwear. The views are magnificent, particularly from the ancient graveyard above town, where medieval stecci tombstones have stood watch for perhaps a thousand years.

To get to Lukomir, you’ll most likely want to go in a small group eco-tour from Sarajevo. Access to the village is remote via unmarked single-track roads which take you high above the tree line, best done with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Tours will typically last the entire day and include a lunch of traditional burek (a meat and cheese phyllo dough concoction) and fresh yogurt drink

By Betsy, Passing Thru

Guided option: Private full-day tour of Lukomir village with a bonus stopover in Bjelasnica.

Nature, history, culture—there's something for every traveller in this round-up of 12 Sarajevo day trips. Experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina!
Konjic. Photo credit: Backpack Adventures.

Konjic

Konjic is a small town on the road to Mostar and is a perfect day trip from Sarajevo. It is less than 2 hours away from Sarajevo with good public transport connections. Still, few travellers come here, and you’re likely to be the only tourist walking around town

Most people that do decide to visit Konjic do so to see Tito’s bunker. For years this was a well-kept secret. Hidden away from the public next to the deep blue Neretva river you see an ordinary looking Bosnian house, but inside is the entrance to a bunker that was supposed to protect Tito in the case of a nuclear attack. Nowadays it’s a museum that also has an art exhibition in several rooms

The bunker is not the only reason to come to Konjic, though. The old town is small but charming, with a beautiful old bridge crossing the Neretva. If you have your own car the surrounding mountains are also worth exploring with little villages that rarely see tourists. For an off-the-beaten-path experience near the capital, Konjic makes for one of the best Sarajevo day trips.

By Ellis, Backpack Adventures

Nature, history, culture—there's something for every traveller in this round-up of 12 Sarajevo day trips. Experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina!
The Dervish House in Blagaj.

Blagaj

Blagaj, about 2 hours and 20 minutes from Sarajevo by car, is located near Mostar, so ideally you can visit both places in one day. The easiest option is to join a guided tour, which you can book from various tour operators in Sarajevo.

If you wish to go by yourself, I suggest renting a car because there is no direct bus to Blagaj from Sarajevo. Renting a car is easy, and roads are quite good. There isn’t too much traffic in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and if you have a rental car, you can easily visit some other nearby places at the same time.

The Blagaj Tekke is a monastery that was built around 1520 in a mix of Mediterranean and Ottoman styles. It’s one of the main highlights of visiting Blagaj, and it’s beautifully situated at the spring of Buna River. Blagaj itself is a historical village that can be traced back to Roman times. It also has a grim past that goes back to 1941, when 400 civilians were killed.

By Alexander, Destinavo

Nature, history, culture—there's something for every traveller in this round-up of 12 Sarajevo day trips. Experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina!
Pocitelj.

Pocitelj

Pocitelj is a Medieval village with Ottoman influence. Today, it’s mostly a tourist destination because of its gorgeous location, perched up in the hills with beautiful views all around.

But that was not always the case. Once upon a time, Pocitelj was a thriving village. Its political and social importance has fluctuated over the centuries since its original establishment in the 15th century. Disaster hit when Pocitelj was completely destroyed in the 20th century after the Croatian army targeted it

Pocitelj is now thriving as a tourist destination. And why wouldn’t it be? Its beautiful cobblestone streets lead to historic buildings and homes, some with Muslim and others with Christian influence


Read next: My guide to visiting Pocitelj from Mostar.

It takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to Pocitelj from Sarajevo by car. Located just past Mostar on the way to the Croatian border, it makes a good stop off when travelling to Dubrovnik. Pocitelj is located right on the freeway and is really easy to get to. Anyone passing can see it up in the hills.

If you’re doing a day trip from Sarajevo, you can combine it with a couple of other destinations recommended in this article. Pocitelj has a few restaurants and some farm stalls for food. I would recommend stopping there, even if it’s just for a break and snack. The people are very laidback and friendly. Take the time to chat with them. You’ll love it

By Jyoti & Nirmal, Story At Every Corner

Guided option: Visit four of Herzegovina region’s loveliest towns (Mostar, Blagaj, Pocitelj and Konjic) with Sarajevo Funky Tours’ ‘Total Herzegovina’ itinerary.

Nature, history, culture—there's something for every traveller in this round-up of 12 Sarajevo day trips. Experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina!
Neum. Photo credit: Lydiascapes.

Neum

Neum is a perfect place for a day trip from Sarajevo if you need some fresh sea breeze and want to enjoy some delicious seafood. This lovely little coastal town is the only town along Bosnia and Herzegovina‘s tiny 20 km stretch of coastline, making it the country’ss only access point to the Adriatic Sea.

Neum is a 3.5-hour drive from the city of Sarajevo, but an incredible place to visit for a day or two if you want some great coastal views and to do some sunbathing/swimming in the ocean in the hot summer months. In the evening time, slow it down by catching the incredibly beautiful sunset while walking the streets and pick from one of the many seafood restaurants along the waterfront. The fairy lights and ambiance of this place at night is really beautiful and puts you into the mood to relax and enjoy a lovely dinner with your loved ones or friends.

Driving and parking can be a bit of an issue in Neum in summer as it’s mostly one-way streets, and it gets crowded with many vehicles and people. It’s advisable to park a bit further away from the main stretch. Lastly, Neum is also a popular place to spend a night before heading to Croatia.

By Lydia, Lydiascapes


Which of these Sarajevo day trips are on your travel wish list? Is there anywhere else you’d recommend visiting from Sarajevo?


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2 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Lydia says:

    Great compilation Emily! I would love to make a trip back to the Balkans again in future, Bosnia and Croatia is definitely a must-revisit.

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