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Is it safe to walk around Sarajevo?

October 22, 2023


Is it safe to walk around Sarajevo?

Credit for photo: @sarajevski_marlboro

Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a city with a rich history, breathtaking architecture, and a vibrant atmosphere. But when it comes to exploring the city on foot, one question often arises: Is it safe to walk around Sarajevo? In this guide, we’ll explore the safety of walking in Sarajevo and offer some tips to ensure your visit is an enjoyable and worry-free experience.

Is Sarajevo Safe for Tourists?

The short answer is, yes, Sarajevo is a safe destination for tourists. Despite its turbulent past, the city has made remarkable progress in ensuring the safety and well-being of its visitors. However, as with any major city worldwide, it’s essential to exercise caution and remain vigilant.

Sarajevo’s Safety Tips

  1. Stay Alert: Pay attention to your surroundings, especially in crowded areas and at night.
  2. Local Customs: Familiarize yourself with local customs and cultural sensitivities.
  3. Beware of Pickpockets: Keep a close eye on your belongings, especially in crowded places.
  4. Avoid Isolated Areas: Stick to well-lit and well-traveled paths, particularly after dark.
  5. Engage with Locals: Bosnians are known for their friendliness and are often eager to assist tourists.

Is it Safe to Walk in Sarajevo?

Credit for photo: _goropro_

Absolutely! Walking in Sarajevo is not only safe but also an excellent way to experience the city’s unique atmosphere. The city is akin to an open-air museum, where you’ll encounter a blend of Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Yugoslav architectural styles. While walking around the city is generally safe, it’s wise to stay in well-lit areas, especially after dark.

Common Crimes in Bosnia

  • Pickpocketing: Be cautious in crowded places; consider using a money belt.
  • Car Break-Ins: Do not leave valuables in plain sight in your car.
  • Fraud and Scams: Exercise caution with taxi drivers, money transactions, and tour guides.
  • Residential Burglary: While less common in tourist areas, it’s always prudent to secure your accommodations.

Safety for Solo Female Travelers

Sarajevo is generally safe for solo female travelers. Bosnian men tend to treat women with respect, but it’s advisable to use common sense, particularly at night and in less crowded areas. Dressing modestly, especially in places of worship, is appreciated.

Safety for American Tourists

Bosnia is welcoming to American tourists. The U.S. Department of State recommends standard safety measures when traveling. Stay informed about travel advisories and take necessary precautions.

1. Safety in Sarajevo: A Brief Overview

Sarajevo has made significant progress in terms of safety in recent years. The city has left behind the turmoil of the 1990s and has become a popular tourist destination. While no place is entirely devoid of risk, Sarajevo can generally be considered safe for travelers, including those who prefer walking.

2. The Old Town – Bascarsija: A Safe Have

One of the most popular areas for pedestrians in Sarajevo is the Bascarsija, the city’s historical and cultural heart. This cobblestone-lined neighborhood is well-preserved, and it’s brimming with shops, cafes, and restaurants. Tourists often explore this area by foot, and it’s generally considered safe, even during the evenings.

3. Avoiding Risky Areas

Just like in any other city, there are areas in Sarajevo where you should exercise caution, especially after dark. Avoid poorly lit, remote areas, and stick to well-traveled paths. It’s also a good practice to keep your belongings secure and be aware of your surroundings.

4. Local Hospitality and Friendliness

Sarajevo is known for its warm and welcoming locals. If you ever find yourself in need of assistance or directions, don’t hesitate to ask a local resident. They are usually more than happy to help and share their love for the city.

5. Public Transportation and Taxis

Sarajevo offers an affordable and convenient public transportation system, including trams and buses, which can be a great way to explore the city. Taxis are also widely available and are considered safe. Always opt for licensed and registered taxis.

6. Language and Communication

While English is not the primary language in Sarajevo, many residents, especially those in the service industry, speak at least basic English. Learning a few local phrases can also enhance your experience and interactions with locals.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Sarajevo Good for Tourists? Sarajevo offers a wealth of historical sites, cultural diversity, and delightful cuisine, making it an excellent destination for tourists.
  • What’s Considered Rude in Bosnia? Avoid discussing sensitive topics like war and politics, accept local hospitality, dress modestly, and use common greetings.
  • Are Taxis Safe in Sarajevo? Most taxis in Sarajevo are safe, but opt for licensed and marked taxis. Ensure the meter is on to avoid overcharges.
  • Can You Drink Tap Water in Sarajevo? While tap water is generally safe, consider bottled water to prevent potential stomach issues.
  • Are People Friendly in Bosnia? Bosnians are known for their hospitality and friendliness, eager to help and share their culture.
  • Is Sarajevo Worth Visiting? Sarajevo offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and food. It’s an unforgettable destination for travelers.
  • How Safe is Bosnia for Tourists? Bosnia is generally safe for tourists, with minimal serious crimes. Stay vigilant, follow local rules, and take precautions.
Credit for photo: @postcardbysarajka

Warnings & Dangers in Sarajevo

Overall Safety – Moderate Risk Sarajevo is a generally safe city known for its kind and helpful locals. Tourists are unlikely to face significant issues. While there’s an increase in overall crime, it mainly involves organized crime groups and does not typically affect tourists.

Transportation and Taxi Safety – Moderate Risk Public transportation in Sarajevo is generally safe. Exercise caution against pickpocketing while on buses and always ensure the taxi’s meter is on when taking a cab.

Pickpocket Risk – Moderate Risk Pickpocketing and bag-snatching are common in Sarajevo, particularly on public transportation. Be vigilant when boarding buses in the capital, as pickpockets are adept at their craft.

Natural Disasters – Low Risk Sarajevo has faced significant flooding in recent years, which led to landmine shifts and changes in safety notices. While the risk exists, it’s relatively rare.

Mugging Risk – Low Risk Mugging incidents are infrequent and typically involve criminal organizations. Tourists are not the primary target, making Sarajevo safe for visitors.

Terrorism Risk – Low Risk Sarajevo has a lower terrorism risk compared to major European capitals, as it has a predominantly Muslim population.

Scams Risk – Low Risk Visitors should be aware of common scams involving overcharging at bars, street vendors, and drink spiking in strip clubs.

Women Travelers Safety – Low Risk Sarajevo is considered safe for women travelers. While attacks are rare, it’s advisable to remain vigilant, especially in poorly lit or deserted areas, particularly at night.


Sarajevo is a city where history, culture, and stunning landscapes converge. It offers a unique walking experience through its streets, alleys, and neighborhoods. While no place is entirely without risk, Sarajevo can generally be considered safe for walking. By taking common-sense precautions and respecting local customs, you can explore this remarkable city on foot with confidence.

Whether you’re strolling through the picturesque Bascarsija or discovering the poignant history of Sarajevo, walking in this city can be a delightful and safe experience. Embrace the local culture, interact with friendly residents, and savor the vibrant atmosphere of this captivating capital.

If you plan to visit Sarajevo, you can confidently set out on foot to explore the city and create lasting memories of your journey through its captivating streets.