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Sarajevo Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2024?

Planning a trip to the Balkans and questioning Sarajevo's safety? With its turbulent past, let's explore the city's current safety for visitors.

Tobi Miles
March 30, 2024
Sarajevo Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2024?

Sarajevo, a city known for its unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures, has made significant strides in safety and tourism. While it's important to stay informed and cautious, as with any travel destination, Sarajevo today is welcoming tourists with open arms, offering a rich historical experience alongside modern comforts and security.

Key Takeaways

  • Sarajevo has significantly improved in terms of safety and security, making it a welcoming destination for tourists, with its Global Peace Index (GPI) rankings seeing a steady climb, reflecting its peaceful and secure environment.
  • Local efforts in community policing and investment in safety technologies, such as improved emergency response systems and the strategic use of CCTV, have played crucial roles in enhancing the city's safety for both residents and visitors.
  • While the city is generally safe, travelers are advised to stay informed about areas to avoid, use legitimate transportation options, secure their personal belongings, and respect local customs and laws for a secure visit.
  • Balancing caution with curiosity allows travelers to fully experience Sarajevo's rich history, vibrant culture, and the hospitality of its residents, contributing to a fulfilling and safe travel experience.

Understanding the Safety Perception

When you're planning your trip to Sarajevo, it's natural to question how past conflicts have shaped the current safety landscape. Let's dive into the facts and myths to ensure you've got a clear picture.

Firstly, it's essential to know that Sarajevo, like any major city in the world, faces typical urban challenges but stands out for its remarkable resilience and hospitality. Historical data and recent surveys illustrate a city on an upward trajectory in terms of safety and security. For instance, the Global Peace Index (GPI), which measures the state of peace in countries worldwide, has consistently rated Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), with Sarajevo as its capital, as making significant progress.


GPI Ranking for BiH









This table showcases BiH's climb up the peace ladder, reflecting improvements in societal safety and security, ongoing decreases in domestic and international conflict, and a continuing militarization decline.

Local efforts in community policing and tourism-friendly initiatives also contribute vastly to Sarajevo's safety. These efforts have boosted the city's reputation among international visitors, resulting in a noticeable surge in tourist numbers. Additionally, personal anecdotes from tourists frequently highlight the warmth and helpfulness of the local population, adding a layer of comfort to the city's ambiance.

It's crucial to understand that while the shadow of the past looms, the reality on the ground is far different today. Standard advice applies: stay informed about the local area, keep your belongings secure, and remain cautious during your travels, just as you would in any other destination.

By maintaining this realistic perspective, you're not only ensuring a safer experience for yourself but also participating in the broader narrative of Sarajevo's transformation. The city's journey from a war-torn past to a beacon of cultural fusion and safety is a testament to its spirit and endurance.

Historical Context of Sarajevo

Sarajevo, a city marked by its unique position at the crossroads of Eastern and Western civilizations, has a rich and complex history. Its past, especially the late 20th century, plays a significant role in shaping perceptions of safety today.

In the early 1990s, Sarajevo was thrust into the global spotlight during the Bosnian War. The Siege of Sarajevo, lasting from 1992 to 1996, was one of the longest in modern warfare. Despite the adversity, the city's resilience shone through. Sarajevo has since undergone substantial recovery and rebuilding efforts, transforming itself into a vibrant cultural and tourist hub.

Post-war recovery has been remarkable:

  • Reconstruction of infrastructure and heritage sites
  • Investment in public services and safety measures
  • Growth in tourism and international cultural exchanges

The city's journey from a war-torn past to a promising future is not just a testament to its resilience but also to the systemic efforts made towards peace and safety. Investments in public safety and community programs have been pivotal. Sarajevo's improvement in safety and security is reflected in its Global Peace Index ranking, which has seen a steady climb over the past decade.

As you explore Sarajevo, it's essential to recognize how its historical context influences your experience. The city's ability to embrace its past while forging a path towards peace and unity makes it a unique destination. Understanding this history enriches your travel experience, providing a deeper appreciation for the resilience and warmth of the local community.

Sarajevo's transformation is a powerful reminder of the capacity for recovery and peace. The city invites travelers to witness its remarkable journey, offering insights into not just its history but also the human spirit's resilience.

Current Safety Measures in Sarajevo

In the wake of its tumultuous history, Sarajevo has implemented robust safety measures to ensure both residents and visitors feel secure within the city. The focus on safety is clear and has become a fundamental part of Sarajevo's identity as it rebuilds and evolves.

Police Presence and Community Policing

One of the most visible signs of Sarajevo's commitment to safety is the enhanced police presence throughout the city. The approach isn't merely about numbers; it's about the integration of community policing practices. Officers are not only patrolling but also engaging with communities, building trust, and working collaboratively to address issues before they escalate.

Investment in Technology

Sarajevo has also embraced technological advancements to bolster its public safety. The city has invested in state-of-the-art surveillance systems, including a network of CCTV cameras strategically placed in key areas. This not only aids in crime prevention but also helps in swift response to any incidents, ensuring a safer environment for everyone.



Emergency Response Improvement

Upgraded facilities and training for emergency services, improving response times to incidents.

Community Outreach Programs

Programs designed to foster a sense of community and safety awareness among residents.

Tourist Assistance

Special units and resources dedicated to helping tourists navigate the city safely.

Through these initiatives, Sarajevo demonstrates a deep commitment to creating a safe and welcoming atmosphere. The collaborative effort between law enforcement, local government, and the community at large plays a pivotal role in maintaining the city's safety standards.

Tourists planning to visit Sarajevo can rest assured that the city takes their safety seriously. With ongoing efforts to enhance security measures and promote a culture of safety, Sarajevo shines as an example of resilience and dedication to safeguarding its residents and visitors alike.

Tips for Staying Safe in Sarajevo

When visiting Sarajevo, being informed and cautious can ensure your trip is both enjoyable and safe. Here are critical strategies to help you navigate the city securely.

Stay Informed about Areas to Avoid

While Sarajevo is generally safe, like any city, it has areas that are best avoided at night or when alone. Research and seek local advice on these neighborhoods. Being aware can significantly reduce risks.

Use Legitimate Transportation

Rely on verified transportation methods. Sarajevo boasts a reliable public transport system including trams, buses, and taxis. Always use licensed taxis or reputable ride-sharing apps to avoid scams or overcharging.

Keep Personal Belongings Secure

Petty theft, such as pickpocketing, can occur in crowded areas or tourist hotspots. Keep your wallet, passport, and other valuables in a secure place. Consider using anti-theft bags or waist packs.

Respect Local Customs and Laws

Understanding and respecting the local culture and laws can prevent unintentional offenses or legal issues. For instance, photographing certain buildings without permission may be prohibited. When in doubt, ask a local or do your research.

Emergency Contacts

Having a list of emergency numbers, including the local police and your home country's embassy, can be crucial in unexpected situations. Here are essential contacts:


Phone Number





Fire Service


Tourist Support

[Specific Number for Tourist Support]

Stay Connected

Let someone know your plans, especially if you're venturing out alone or to more remote areas. Use apps and social media to share your location with trusted contacts.

Remember, your safety in Sarajevo largely depends on your actions and awareness. By following these tips, you're setting the stage for a secure and memorable visit to this historic city.

Balancing Safety Concerns with Enjoying Your Trip

When planning your trip to Sarajevo, it's crucial to balance safety precautions with the pursuit of an enriching travel experience. The city, with its vibrant culture and rich history, offers much more than just cautionary tales. While being mindful of safety is paramount, fear shouldn't deter you from exploring all that Sarajevo has to offer.

Statistically speaking, Sarajevo is considerably safer than many other cities of similar size. According to the Numbeo Crime Index 2023, Sarajevo has a crime index of 24.11, which is lower than the global city average. This data suggests that, with the right precautions, your trip can be both safe and fulfilling.


Crime Index

Safety Index




Global Average



To strike the perfect balance:

  • Prioritize Your Itinerary Wisely: Choose well-lit, populated routes for your adventures, especially after dark. Sarajevo's Baščaršija area, with its bustling markets and historic sites, is a must-visit but tread carefully at night.
  • Stay Informed: Keep abreast of local news and updates. This can include anything from weather conditions to political situations that might affect your travel plans.
  • Connect with Locals: Engaging with locals can enrich your trip and offer insights into safely navigating the city. Many Sarajevans speak English and are happy to share tips and recommendations.
  • Embrace the Culture with Respect: Understanding and respecting local customs will not only enhance your travel experience but also help in avoiding misunderstandings that could lead to uncomfortable situations.

By keeping these guidelines in mind, you can enjoy Sarajevo's beautiful landscapes, historical landmarks, and delightful cuisine, all while staying safe. Remember, preparation and awareness are your best tools for a trip that’s both exciting and secure.


Sarajevo beckons with its rich culture and stunning landmarks, offering a unique experience that's both enriching and safe. By adopting simple safety measures and staying connected with the local vibe, you're set to enjoy all that this beautiful city has to offer. Remember, it's all about blending caution with curiosity. So, pack your bags and set out to explore Sarajevo, where adventure and safety go hand in hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sarajevo safe for travelers?

Sarajevo is safer than many cities of a similar size, with a lower crime index, making it a relatively safe destination for travelers.

What precautions should I take when traveling to Sarajevo?

Prioritize well-lit routes, stay informed about local news, connect with locals for insights, and respect local customs to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Can I explore Sarajevo’s culture safely?

Yes, by following safety guidelines such as sticking to well-lit areas and engaging with locals for advice, you can safely explore Sarajevo's rich culture, landmarks, and cuisine.

How does Sarajevo compare to other cities in terms of safety?

According to the Numbeo Crime Index 2023, Sarajevo has a lower crime index compared to many cities of similar size, indicating a higher level of safety for travelers.

Why is it important to connect with locals in Sarajevo?

Connecting with locals can provide valuable insights into safe areas to explore, up-to-date local news, and help you respect local customs, enhancing your travel experience.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 30, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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