When thinking about future travel with all of your crew, consider doing your next family vacation in Sarajevo. The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo is a fascinating city with vestiges of Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Communist influences with a growing bohemian vibe today. This makes it a fusion of cultures and time. A new, developing culture is evident in the food, art, music, and people. The city is a worthy destination as well as a great launch point for family adventures with children of all ages.
Exploring as a Family in Sarajevo
Any family vacation here should start in the Baščaršija Old Town area. This trip back in time will take you to the 15th century. As has happened for centuries, kids still love playing and running around the historic Sebilj Fountain. While they are burning energy and making memories, mom and dad can enjoy the artisan shops and culinary offerings. Walking through the streets you can get lost among a collection of history including an ancient shopping center, an equally historic inn, and a number of church buildings and mosques that have varying styles and influences with the Austrian and Turkish influences alternating in waves.
While there you must take time to get a Bosnian coffee, visit one of the local tea rooms, and try the best čevapi in the Balkan peninsula as well as the local burek. Additionally, see where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, the Olympic remnants from the 1984 games, and a number of memorials including the eternal flame and reminders of the not distant enough dark days when Sarajevo was under siege (1992-95).
At night, the city aura reflects off of the Miljacka River with more modern buildings and lighting. Just a couple streets away in the old town, the building and street lights glow in oranges and yellows. The ambience is both inviting and warm while still mysterious and unknown. Take impromptu night strolls to take in the city sights and sounds with the kiddos. There are also a number of restaurants, sweet shops, and pubs in the area that are open till after any little ones’ bedtimes.
Sights to See Around Sarajevo
Near Sarajevo are several get-away destinations that are ideal for family travel. Vrelo Bosne is a park to the west of the city. This is a perfect day spot for a family picnic, easy hiking around the ponds, streams, and bridges as well as a carriage ride for princesses.
To the north of the city is the tallest waterfall in BiH. The Skakavac Waterfall (Grasshopper) is about 320 feet or 98 meters high. Getting to this destination is a bit more challenging and would only be for middle-aged kiddos and up that like a moderate level hike. The scenery enroute as well as the destination make this a memorable family journey.
Southeast of the capital is the abandoned Olympic bobsled track. Situated on the Trebević Mountain, this abandoned location provides a great spot for a picnic and exploring. It’s a must to walk the track. Even better is to let any little ones run up and down the bobsled track taking in the contours, the graffiti, and the nature (and yes even some bullet holes from the previous conflict).
Family Attractions Near Sarajevo
Just 2.5 hours southwest of Sarajevo is the historic town of Mostar. Seeing the old town and historic bridge are definitely worth it for a good day trip. A key feature of the trip includes the drive between the two cities. The scenery is gorgeous. This commute needs to take place during the day. Also, plan more than the normal travel time to stop along the way to Mostar and take pictures.
Best Times for Family Vacation in Sarajevo
In short, the best time for a family vacation in Sarajevo is whenever you can get there. Our family loves to go to get away from the norm. However, if you could only go one time and wanted to make it the best possible, consider a few times of year that are ideal for family. In May or September on either side of the normal summer traffic you will have decent weather and smaller crowds.
A specific event worth targeting is Jazz Fest Sarajevo. It is held in early November. During the festival there are free concerts for kids and lots of interactive opportunities for the littles to make some music. Another ideal time is in December and early January during the Christmas season. There is a holiday market with concerts, decorations, and a special holiday marketplace.
Let us know your experience and what you might possibly add to your family vacation adventure in the BiH area.