Thinking of a city-trip and hesitating between Belgrade vs Sarajevo?
You want to go to the Balkans, but you can’t decide between Belgrade vs Sarajevo. Well, you’re not alone! This part of Europe is known for its long history, many different cultures, tasty food, and exciting nightlife.
Both cities are very different and have a lot to offer you, so it can be hard to decide which one to visit.
I’ve put together this detailed comparison guide to help you decide, going into detail about many different parts of both places.
So, whether you like food, history, staying up late, or traveling on a budget, I’ve got you covered!
Belgrade vs Sarajevo: Which One Should You Visit?
Both Belgrade and Sarajevo are old towns that have been changed by many different factors over the years.
But each has its own atmosphere, activities, and experiences that suit different tastes. Let’s start this comparison by looking at the things that each place has to offer.
Let’s dive into Belgrade vs Sarajevo!
Which destination has better things to do: Belgrade or Sarajevo?
Belgrade is the capital of Serbia. It is a city with many different parts. It is known for its historical sites, but it also has a thriving modern society.
The capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, has a different appeal. It is a place where the East meets the West. The Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Yugoslav cultures have all left their mark on the city.
Best Things To Do In Belgrade
Belgrade is a lively city with a lot of energy. It is best known for its busy nightlife and old buildings. Some must-visit sites in Belgrade include:
- Belgrade Fortress is an old fort with beautiful views of where the Sava and Danube rivers meet.
- Skadarlija: This bohemian neighborhood is often compared to Montmartre in Paris. It is full of charming cafes and art shops.
- Knez Mihailova Street is a great place to shop and watch people because it is only for pedestrians.
- Museum of Yugoslavia: A great place where you can learn about the complicated past of Yugoslavia at this museum.
Best Things To Do In Sarajevo
People often call Sarajevo the Jerusalem of Europe because it is a place where different cultures, religions, and styles of architecture come together. Here are some must-visit sites:
- This old market, called Baščaršija, is a hub of culture and business. It is full of traditional crafts, foods, and coffee shops.
- The Sarajevo Tunnel Museum is a sobering memory of the time when the city was under siege.
- Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque: This beautiful mosque shows how much Islamic history the city has.
- Vrelo Bosne is a beautiful park just outside of the city that offers peace and natural beauty.
WINNER: It’s a hard decision but Sarajevo wins this category. Sarajevo and its mix of cultures and history, as well as its lively markets and natural beauty win.
Which is better for history and culture: Belgrade or Sarajevo?
Both Belgrade and Sarajevo have a lot of history and culture, but each city offers a different type of perspective.
Belgrade Historical Highlights
From Roman ruins to socialist blocks, Belgrade’s architecture shows how its past has changed over time. Here are some important events in history:
- The ancient heart of the city is Kalemegdan Park and the Belgrade Fortress, which has traces from the Roman era.
- One of the biggest Orthodox churches in the world is the Saint Sava Temple.
- The Nikola Tesla Museum is all about the Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla and his life and work.
Sarajevo Historical Highlights
Sarajevo’s past is one of people coming together and getting along. Here are some of the best parts:
- Baščaršija: Sarajevo’s old bazaar, a remnant of the Ottoman time. A lovely area with a lot of little shops and cafes.
- The Vijenica, or Sarajevo City Hall, is a beautiful example of Austro-Hungarian building.
- Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed on the Latin Bridge, which led to World War I.
WINNER: Very tight but the history of the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Yugoslavia all come together in an interesting way in Sarajevo. It’s like an open-air museum.
Which destination has better food: Belgrade or Sarajevo?
The best part of any trip to the Balkans is the food. Both Belgrade and Sarajevo have their own food traditions that come from their different cultural backgrounds.
Best Food In Belgrade
Belgrade has tastes from both the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Here are some foods you have to try:
- Karadordeva Schnitzel is a veal or pork steak that is rolled up and stuffed with kajmak, which is a dairy product similar to whipped cream. It is then breaded and fried. The dish is named after the Serbian Prince Karađorđe. Usually, it comes with tartar sauce and a salad on the side.
- Pljeskavica is a grilled dish made of spicy meat patties made of pork, beef, and lamb. It is often called the Serbian hamburger. It is usually served with a local bread called “lepinja” and different sides like cheese, cream, ajvar, and onions.
- Sarma is a classic Serbian dish in which ground meat is wrapped in cabbage leaves that have been pickled and then cooked. Most of the time, it’s made in the winter and eaten with mashed potatoes.
Best Food In Sarajevo
The food in Sarajevo is influenced by many different cultures, and many meals come from the time when the Ottoman Empire was in power. Here are some must-tries:
- Bosanski Lonac is a typical meat and vegetable stew from Bosnia.
- Burek is a tasty cake with meat, cheese, or spinach inside.
- Baklava is a sweet dessert made of layers of filo dough filled with nuts and sweetened with syrup.
- Ćevapčići: This is a grilled dish of minced meat, a type of kebab, and a popular street food in Sarajevo. It’s usually served with flatbread, chopped onions and kajmak. It’s really nice!
WINNER: It’s a tie! The mix of flavors in Sarajevo is interesting, with Ottoman elements and a slightly more diverse palette.
Which has a better nightlife?
Both Belgrade and Sarajevo have a lot going on at night, but each city has a different vibe.
Best Bars & Nightclubs In Belgrade
The nightlife in Belgrade is famous. Here are a few great places:
- Splavovi: These clubs on the water are a unique part of the nightlife in Belgrade.
- Skadarlija: This bohemian neighborhood is full of kafanas, which are traditional Serbian bars.
- The clubs and bars in Silicon Valley are known for being high-end.
Best Bars & Nightclubs In Sarajevo
Sarajevo’s nightlife is more relaxed and shows the city’s many different cultures. Among the highlights are:
- The old brewery in the city is now a famous pub called Sarajevska pivara.
- Zlatna Ribica is a one-of-a-kind pub with strange decorations.
- In Baščaršija, there are many classic coffee shops and bars.
WINNER: This category goes to Belgrade! The famous splavovi are a big part of Belgrade’s buzzing party scene.
Which destination is cheaper: Belgrade or Sarajevo?
Compared to other parts of Europe, the Balkans can be a very cheap place to visit. But how do Belgrade and Sarajevo compare?
Common Prices In Belgrade
Prices for food, accommodation, and activities are very good in Belgrade, making it easier on your wallet.
- Accommodation: A mid-range hotel room costs you about €40 per night, while a bed in a hostel dorm can cost as little as €10.
- Food: A meal at a cheap restaurant will cost you between €5 and €7.
- Transport: Local transportation costs you about €1 for a one-way ticket.
Common Prices In Sarajevo
Sarajevo is also easy on the wallet, with many free or cheap things to do.
- Accommodation: A night in a mid-range hotel costs you about €35, while a bed in a hostel costs about €12.
- Food: A meal at a cheap restaurant costs you between €4 and €6.
- Transport: A one-way ticket on public transportation costs you about €1.20.
WINNER: Sarajevo is slightly cheaper than Belgrade, especially when it comes to food and things to do.
Which destination has better transportation options: Belgrade vs Sarajevo
Both Belgrade and Sarajevo have public transport systems, but they are not the same in terms of how big they are or how easy they are to use.
How To Get Around Belgrade
Buses, trams, and trolleybuses are all part of the public transportation system in Belgrade, which is the capital of Serbia.
Even though the public transport system is big, it can be hard for tourists to figure out how to use it because there aren’t always English directions. Here is a short guide to getting around Belgrade:
- Busses: This is the main way that people get around in Belgrade. There are more than 120 bus routes that run often and go all over the city. But they can get busy at peak times. Check the bus lines and schedules online or at a bus stop.
- Trams: Trams are a good way to get around the city quickly. There are 12 tram lines that go through a lot of Belgrade, including some of the most popular tourist spots.
- Trolleybuses: There is also a network of trolleybuses in Belgrade that can help you get around the city center.
- Taxis and ride-sharing services: Taxis are easy to find in Belgrade, but make sure to use a good company so you don’t get overcharged. You could also use ride-sharing apps like Car:Go, which tend to be cheaper and more reliable.
- Bicycles: Belgrade’s bike infrastructure has been getting better and better over time. Renting a bike is a great way to see the city, especially the places along the river.
- Sightseeing: Many of Belgrade’s best sights can be reached on foot from the city center. Walking around is a nice way to see the city and get a sense of how it feels.
- Car Rental: You can rent a car, but you shouldn’t because the city has a lot of traffic and not many places to park.
Remember that you need to buy a BusPlus card, which is a cashless smart card, if you want to use public transport in Belgrade. You can buy the card and add money to it at many shops around the city.
Also, it’s important to know that Google Maps is a good way to plan routes for public transport in Belgrade!
How To Get Around Sarajevo
Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is a small city where you can easily walk to many of the most important places and attractions. But there are many other ways to get around the city if you need to go farther:
- Trams: The network of trams in Sarajevo is the main way people get around the city. The network goes through most of the city and is a safe and quick way to get around. Most of the time, trams run from early in the morning until late at night.
- Busses: These are an addition to the tram system because they go to parts of Sarajevo that the trams can’t reach. Busses are also a good way to get to places outside of the city center that are close by.
- Taxis: Compared to many other European towns, taxis in Sarajevo are pretty cheap. You can call a cab from the street, but make sure the meter is going so you don’t get charged too much. You can also call a number of cab companies to get a ride.
- Car Rental: If you want to go somewhere outside of Sarajevo, you can rent a car. But in the city, it’s often more trouble than it’s worth because of traffic and a lack of places to park.
- Walking: Because Sarajevo is quite small, walking is often the best way to get around. The city center, in particular, is easy to get around on foot, and most of the most important sights are only a short walk from each other.
If you want to use Sarajevo’s public transport, you need to buy a ticket from the driver or at a booth marked “T” for “tobacco.” When you get on the bus, your ticket should be checked. Google Maps can help you plan your trip on Sarajevo’s public transport.
WINNER: Again, a tie! Belgrade has more ways to get around, but it can be a little harder to get around. Sarajevo has an easier way to get around, and the size of the city makes it easier to get around.
Where To Stay In Belgrade?
There are many different places to stay in Belgrade that fit different needs and budgets. Here are my recommendations:
📍Best Hotel For Families: Vila Terazije
📍Best Hostels For Young Adults: Hostel Iris
📍Best Luxury Hotel: Falkensteiner Hotel
Where To Stay In Sarajevo?
Sarajevo also has a wide range of places to stay, from cheap hostels to high-end hotels. Here are my recommendations:
📍Best Hotel For Families: Apart Hotel Family
📍Best Hostels For Young Adults: Infinity Boutique Hostel
📍Best Luxury Hotel: Hotel Colors Inn
The Wrap-Up: Belgrade vs Sarajevo
Both Belgrade and Sarajevo really offer unique travel adventures. They both have a lot of history and culture, good food, a lively scene, and aren’t too expensive.
But they do offer something for everyone. Belgrade is a busy city with a long past and a busy nightlife scene. Belgrade might be the place for you if you like to party, learn about history, or eat good food.
Sarajevo, on the other hand, is a city where East and West meet. Sarajevo might be the place for you if you’re interested in a unique mix of countries, like to explore on foot, and like a more laid-back nightlife scene.
Wondering how safe Sarajevo is to visit? Check out my post about Is Sarajevo safe!
To be honest, it’s pretty tight when it comes to the comparison of Belgrade vs Sarajevo. But I can guarantee one thing: you will remember both places for a long time.
You restless voyager,