With the outbreak of Corona pandemic people’s desire to explore and discover new things hasn’t diminished but unfortunately there are many restraints preventing them from acting upon this desire. Safety measures have affected every aspect of life and in order to protect ourselves and others we have to respect them. Barhopping is not possible anymore, many coffee bars have closed and even going to restaurants is not as easy and enjoyable as before. Theaters and cinemas are either working at a very limited capacity or they have closed altogether. This has led many people to keep their outings at a minimum and entertain themselves by binging on Netflix, getting lost in social media feeds or even reading books as some rare fossils still do.
If you happen to find yourself in Sarajevo during this quaint period there are still many places to explore all the while respecting the World Health Organization’s safety measures. Nevertheless, even if you’re staying outdoors try to keep the distance between you and other people to at least 1.5m and to have a mask with you at all times. If you adhere to these principles there should be no problems for you to enjoy our recommendations. We present to you a list of 5 activities you can do outdoors along with 5 places to explore.
1. Take a Cable car to Trebevic Mountain
Trebevic is the closest and the most accessible Sarajevan Mountain. With a peak of 1627 meters it is perfect for hiking, recreation, biking, or just admiring the city from an ideal vantage point. There you will find hotels, restaurants, hiking trails, adrenaline parks and lots of fresh mountain air.
Although the 1984 Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo have made Trebevic considerably more attractive with all the newly built restaurants and facilities, the cable car was actually built beforehand. As early as 1959, Sarajevans could take a trolley to bridge the gap between the old-town and the Mountain. In the eighties it became much more popular but then the nineties came and everything changed. During the Bosnian War the cable car was badly damaged and it took a while for the capital to build a new one. It was finally on 6 April 2018, on the day of Sarajevo, that a modern cable car was finally up and running. The new cable car is even bigger and safer and allows for a much better view of the city. The Station is at Bistrik, just a short walk away from the city hall, on the opposite side of the Miljacka River.
Tip: It will take you only 15 minutes from the Trebevic station to the 1984 bob-sled track which is still preserved albeit not fully in function. Walk around, take a photo but be sure to be back before sunset.
2. Stroll the Ambassadors Alley and see the Goat Bridge
If you’re in a mood for a relaxed and quiet walk but you don’t want to go too far away from the Old-town then this is a perfect place for you. Locally known as the Dariva promenade, this quiet road takes you to the Goat Bridge, the only Ottoman bridge in Bosnia that wasn’t damaged during the centuries of turbulent Balkan history. The road was named after a former Austrian merchant Josef da Riva. He built a winery and later a picnic area which eventually gave name to this much popular promenade.
In 2002 the Mayor of Old Town came up with an idea that foreign ambassadors can plant trees along the promenade. This practice has caught on and over the years more than 200 linden trees have been planted. The ambassadors’ names, along with the names of their respective countries, are inscribed on small plaques next to the trees.
The road goes along the Miljacka river and it usually takes around 40 minutes to walk from the beginning of the Alley up to the Goat’s Bridge.
Tip: If you cross the Goat Bridge and continue forward you will eventually reach the old Austrian Railroad. The famous Ciro train used to pass here on his way to Visegrad. Today only the tracks are left as the line Sarajevo – Visegrad doesn’t exist anymore.
3. Try the roasted chestnuts at the Wilson’s Promenade
Another promenade in the city follows the Miljacka River and it is named after the American president Woodrow Wilson. When in 1917 The United States of America joined the WWI this was a major boost for the allied forces which eventually helped them win the war and this in turn enabled Yugoslavia to be established. Thus, as a sign of gratitude this famous avenue was named after the American president.
As soon as the first trees start shedding their leaves you can find street vendors selling roasted chestnuts along the Wilson’s Promenade. Grab a bag of chestnuts and savor the moment as you stroll the shaded promenade without ever leaving the central city.
Tip: The Wilson’s promenade is closed for traffic every day after 17h and all day long during weekends.
4. Take a ride on a horse-drawn carriage at Ilidza Great Lane
It is a well-known fact in Bosnia that the country was named after a river whose source is in Sarajevo. The Ilidza Great Lane (Velika Aleja) takes you right to the source of Bosna and a rather popular park built around it. The emblematic chestnut and plane trees were planted during the Austro-Hungarian period and this is when the Great Lane was originally built.
A particularly appealing attraction is a ride in a horse-drawn carriage from the Hotel complex at ilidza all the way to the Source of Bosna. The carriages have been going up and down this famous lane since the early 20th century. Many of the cab-men are the descendants of the first local families who were providing horses in the era of the Dual Monarchy. Thanks to their unselfish involvement this delightful tradition was preserved until present day.
5. Watch the sunset at the Yellow Fortress
One of the most photographed viewpoints of Sarajevo is just a short walk away from the buzz of the old-town square. Built by the Ottoman pasha, right after the incursion of Eugene of Savoy and his Austrian troops, the Old town Vratnik had a primarily defensive purpose. It was a thick, zig-zagging wall, encompassing the old town and guarding the entry to the city. Along the wall numerous watch-towers and fortresses were built where soldiers and “dizdars“ (fortress wardens) were keenly observing the perimeter.
Today, along with a small section of the wall, the Yellow Fortress is the best preserved part of the former Old-town Vratnik. Overlooking the city from its eastern side it allows for a fabulous view of Sarajevo. Right at the opposite end of the city is where the sun sets so climbing a steep but short Jekovac Street to witness the Sarajevo sunset is our top recommendation.
Tip: Visiting the Yellow Fortress during Ramadan you can witness a very unique tradition, a real canon blasting at the exact moment of sunset to signal the time to break the fast. Watch as muslims gather around the fortress with food, waiting for the canon-blast in order to break their fast.