For a city that survived the longest siege in modern history during my lifetime, Sarajevo is surprisingly photogenic. War may have once devastated this charming city, but it has bounced back with an admirable amount of resistance.
A mash-up of Turkish, Austrian, Hungarian, and Slavic elements, Sarajevo’s style is hard to categorize. While the phrase “East meets West” is a cliché I try to avoid at all costs… this is one of those few cities that truly merits that name.
The beautiful capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina has been conquered, ruled, or incorporated into many disparate countries and empires over the years – some Western, some Eastern. As such, the city has adapted itself like a chameleon, changing architectural styles and even religions with its changes of regime.
In fact, I feel like it’s the divergent architectural elements that make it so easy to find so many Instagrammable places in Sarajevo: it’s almost like a bunch of countries rolled into one city.
Here are some of our favorite Instagram spots in Sarajevo!
The souvenir shops of Baščaršija
The beautiful district of Baščaršija is one of the most scenic Old Towns in all of the Balkans. It has a distinctly Ottoman feel and that’s actually because it was established in the 15th century by an Ottoman general (who descended from Bosnian royalty and joined the Ottomans under the banner of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”).
Now, the district is one of the more touristic areas of Sarajevo but it’s still well worth strolling the lamp stores, rug stores, and such that will make your Instagram followers think you’ve been transported to the bazaars of Turkey.
Location: All around Baščaršija
Inside City Hall (Vijećnica)
While the exterior of City Hall is often photographed, a lot of people miss the beautiful interior (or give it a skip because of the 10 mark / 5 euro admission fee, which I think is silly).
The City Hall was entirely rebuilt after devastating fires as a result of mortar attacks during the 1992-1996 Siege of Sarajevo. It was rebuilt immediately after the Siege ended, but it took about two decades to bring it back to its former glory. Visiting inside, you’ll see why!
Location: Vijećnica, Obala Kulina bana, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Vijećnica City Hall (Exterior)
Of course, while the interior is beautiful, you can’t miss the classic shot of Vijećnica from the outside. With tiers of yellow and red and distinctive pseudo-Moorish styling, the City Hall is unique and newly, lovingly refurbished to its former glory.
It was designed by an Austrian architect and finished by a Czech, made to resemble the Spanish and Moroccan Moorish architecture in a nod to Bosnia’s centuries of Ottoman influence and occupation. The result is something distinctly Sarajevan.
Pro Tip: Cross the river for the better view!
Location: Vijećnica, Obala Kulina bana, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sacred Heart Cathedral
Inspired by the Notre Dame in Dijon, France, this beautiful cathedral in the center of Sarajevo will have you feeling temporarily transported to France… and then confused when you some moments later hear a call to prayer from one of the mosques!
This is one of the centers of Catholic life in Sarajevo, one of the three most important religions in the city (which are Islam, Orthodox Christianity, and Catholicism). It’s the largest cathedral in Bosnia and Herzegovina and it’s absolutely stunning both inside and out.
Pro Tip: The Cathedral looks interesting from the back as well, so be sure to circle around it!
Location: Trg Fra Grge Martića 2, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Festina Lente Bridge
Bosnia is known for its bridges (though not necessarily the good things that happen to, on, or near them) and Festina Lente is one of the newest, most interesting ones.
Directly in front of another Instagrammable Sarajevo place, the Academy of Fine Arts (next on this list), this bridge is ultra-architectural and modern which makes it a fun place to play with perspective, color, and angles. Packing two Sarajevo photography locations into one easy punch!
Location: Obala Maka Dizdara 3, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo Academy of Fine Arts
Originally an evangelical church, this academy of fine arts (with a small gallery inside) looks to me like a small, less grand version of Budapest’s famous Parliament building. Give your followers a double take with a creative shot from this building.
Location: Obala Maka Dizdara 3, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but better shots are available from the other side of the bridge and off to the side to avoid the bridge’s interference
The House of Spite
The House of Spite (Inat Kuća) is now a restaurant, but it has a funny story.
Eventually, he agreed… under one (onerous) condition. In addition to the hefty payout, he forced the occupying Austro-Hungarians to move to his Ottoman-era home one brick at a time on the other side of the river (with a sweet view of the City Hall, I should add).
With the mosque minaret set in the background, it’s a great Sarajevo photo opportunity as well as a great story about Balkan stubbornness and resilience.
Location: Veliki Alifakovac 1, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque
The most important mosque in Sarajevo and all of Bosnia, you can’t miss visiting this beautiful 16th-century Ottoman mosque. While it was badly damaged by the Siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s, its structure was totally
There is a small entrance fee, approximately 3 mark / 1.50 euros, but it is entirely worth it especially given the ongoing conservation efforts.
Location: Sarači 8, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Said to be the symbol of Sarajevo, I can’t help but agree.
It’s Ottoman in influence, Austrian in design (after the original burnt down), and Bosnian in identity. This fountain holds all the elements of Bosnia’s turbulent past five centuries into one beautiful structure, stronger together.
For whatever reason, people seem to like to photograph it while an explosion of pigeons fly away from it. Instagram has convinced me that birds aren’t real, but if you’re into that kind of thing, you probably won’t have to Photoshop your birds into your photos here.
Location: Baščaršija Square, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
A Bosnian coffee set
Not so much an Instagrammable place in Sarajevo but an idea, you simply must have a Bosnian coffee while in Sarajevo (and ‘gram it while you’re at it).
The traditional Bosnian coffee set has multiple beautiful elements, mostly made of hand-pounded copper: the tray, the džezva (a long-necked coffee maker used on the stovetop), the cup, the sugar tin, and often a piece of Turkish delight. It’s also a fantastic Bosnian souvenir – so don’t forget to grab one to bring home!
There is a specific way to drink Bosnian coffee, which I learned at Café del Alma in Mostar and promptly forgotten… so I think I need to return to Bosnia for another lesson!
Location: Basically anywhere coffee is sold in Sarajevo, especially in Baščaršija
One of the best viewpoints in Sarajevo, just a 15-minute walk from the Old Town you will find the remains of the Yellow Fortress, one of five fortifications along Sarajevo’s old city walls.
It’s popular to come here at sunset and take photos which cover all of Sarajevo, from the white gravestones of the Kovaci cemetery all the way downtown to the river.
Location: Žuta Tabija, Jekovac, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bijela Tabija (White Bastion)
The Yellow Fort not high or impressive enough for you? The White Bastion is located at 667 meters above sea level (walking not recommended – hit up a cab for this unless you’re up for a serious hike!).
Once there, you’ll have some serious sunset views, and since it’s harder to get to than the Yellow Fort, you’ll have less people competing for their Sarajevo Instagram photos here.
Location: Bijela Tabija, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo Bobsled Track
Many Instagrammable places are similar all around the world – a minimalist coffee shop, an ornate church, a cookie cutter Old Town – but Sarajevo isn’t like other cities.
The Sarajevo bobsled track is something you can only ever find in Sarajevo – an abandoned bobsled track from the Winter Olympics of 1984 reclaimed by nature and a handful of intrepid graffiti artists. Stroll the eerily calm bobsled track and find your favorite angles.
Location: Mount Trebevic (I recommend going by taxi, cable car, or guided tour)
Not in Sarajevo proper, but it’s so close you’d be foolish to miss it if you want some greenery in your Sarajevo Instagram photographs.
This is where the source of the spring of the River Bosna can be found and it’s only a short drive from Sarajevo, 15 kilometers to be precise. I recommend going by taxi and then renting a bike to explore the area!
Location: Ilidža, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Gonul Kahvesi Stari Grad
For one of the best views in Sarajevo – enjoyed with a delicious coffee, no less – don’t miss Gonul Kahvesi Stari Grad. This Turkish chain is on the other side of the Miljacka River from many of the most beautiful sites in Sarajevo, including the famous City Hall, so you get a stunning view.
Location: Timurhanova 3, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Instagrammable Places to Stay in Sarajevo
I’ve written a more comprehensive guide to where to stay in Sarajevo here, but if you just want our top pick per budget category, here’s a quick cheat sheet:
$ – BUDGET – HOSTEL FOR ME
An affordable Sarajevo hostel, Hostel For Me is also located in the vibrant Baščaršija quarter in the heart of downtown, near traditional restaurants and all the main sights of the city. The dorm rooms are well appointed and each has its own assigned locker. There are four bathrooms available, each with their own shower and hairdryer and free toiletries – music to a frequent
Previous guests particularly love the staff’s friendliness and approachability and the free walking tour only for hostel guests that goes every day at 5 PM. The rooms are bright and colorful with a homey vibe, with a common lounge area, and a working area with power outlets and desks – great for digital nomads passing through.
$$ – MID-RANGE – ISA BEGOV HAMAM HOTEL
If you want to feel like Ottoman royalty while in Sarajevo, head to Isa Begov Hamam Hotel, a beautiful and unique boutique hotel in Sarajevo. This hotel is converted from an actual hammam that is a cultural heritage site. Its current structure dates back to 1890 but its original structure dates back to the early days of Sarajevo, when it was built as part of a complex with the next-door Careva (Sultan’s) Mosque. It’s located in the heart of Baščaršija and you’ll feel like you’ve transported back in time staying in this unique hotel in Sarajevo.
With free use of the hammam, two steam rooms, and small indoor pool, this is a fantastic hotel for those looking to relax while in Sarajevo. Free coffee and tea in the lobby as well as a free Turkish breakfast is included… and Turkish breakfast is one of the best meals in the world, loaded with delicious jams, cheeses, meats, and other treats. The hotel features vintage furniture, hand-carved with Ottoman details, handmade carpets, and wooden floors – a must for any design enthusiast.
$$$ – LUXURY – HOTEL STORY
A beautiful 4 star hotel recently redesigned with a modern twist, Hotel Story is one of the finer luxury hotels in Sarajevo. The location is right in the heart of the Old Town, with most of Sarajevo’s best sights easily accessible on foot. The whole hotel has been recently renovated and has a lot of cute design elements that really personalize it and make it unique. The rooms are bright, spacious, and designed with aesthetics in mind. Little touches like towel warmers in the bathroom and shelves and seating areas in many of the rooms add a luxe touch.
Most of the rooms are on the huge side – perfect if you want to spread out and take up your space when you travel without feeling cramped in your room. The rooms have a few different kinds of bed configurations suiting a variety of travelers. Many of the rooms feature interesting draping curtains, offering privacy while still allowing in plenty of light. It offers free parking and a free shuttle as well.
More Bosnia Travel Resources
If you’re planning a trip to Bosnia, we have a ton of resources with you! First of all, check out our guide to the most beautiful places in Bosnia so you can start planning your itinerary.
Planning a Trip to Sarajevo? Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!
No matter where you go in the Balkans, make sure you always travel with a valid travel insurance policy. Travel here includes outdoor activities and travel to highly touristed sites. You need to be covered in case you have an accident or fall victim to theft. Travel insurance will help you recover your expenses and continue to enjoy your trip.
For travel insurance, I use World Nomads.I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.
Originally from California, Allison has been living in Bulgaria for the last two years and is obsessed with traveling around the Balkans. She has been published in National Geographic, CNN Arabic, Matador Network, and the Huffington Post. She loves befriending dogs, drinking coffee, geeking out about wine, and cooking food from around the world.