This Underrated European City Is Great For Tourists Traveling On A Budget

It's an understatement to say that traveling to Europe is expensive. With accommodations, flights, and meals, you can easily expect to shell out more than $2,000 if you're visiting a major city such as Paris, France. But if you're looking for a vacation spot that won't deplete your bank account, Sarajevo is the place to go. Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country that borders Serbia and Croatia. The city dates back to the 15th century and has a notable place in history. In 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand traveled to Sarajevo, where he was assassinated, prompting the beginning of World War I. 

Sarajevo was later ravaged by the Siege of Sarajevo, which transpired from 1992 to 1996. Although the Bosnian War nearly decimated the city, it has spent the past few decades recovering and rebuilding. Now, Sarajevo has become a popular tourist destination thanks to its incredibly affordable prices. For example, a roundtrip flight to Sarajevo International Airport from a major city like Los Angeles or New York can cost less than $500. 

A roundtrip flight to Paris, one of Europe's most visited cities, can cost double that price. Another hack to save money on airplane tickets to Sarajevo? Travel in February during the off-season. Once you're there, a little bit goes a long way when it comes to activities and accommodations.

Several of Sarajevo's top attractions cost under $10

Once part of the Ottoman and Austrio-Hungran empires, Saravejo is known for its cultural and ethnic diversity. Orthodox Christians, Muslims and more have called this city their home for centuries. However, Saravejo is still, in many ways, reeling from the Siege of Sarajevo and the effects of war. It's important to note that Saravejo's main attractions primarily focus on the war and religious sites. With this in mind, tourists on a budget will be happy to learn these sites are either incredibly low-priced or even free.

Walking through Bascarsija (pictured), a bazaar that dates back to the 15th century, is a must for history lovers. Reviewers on Trip Advisor state that it feels as if you've been transported to Istanbul. To learn more about Bascarsija and Sarajevo, you can take a free two-hour walking tour from Meet Bosnia. The tours are offered daily at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tips are recommended, but not mandatory. Sarajevo also has several museums, including the Museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide. Exhibits are focused on the Bosnian War and its victims. At the time of this publication, tickets are only $6.23 and can be purchased through TripAdvisor. Similarly, the War Childhood Museum focuses on the perspective of children who lived through the Bosnian War. Admission is under $6.

For architecture aficionados, there's the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque. Built in 1530, the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque is a pristine example of Ottoman architecture and costs only $1.64 to enter. Tickets can be purchased at the mosque.

A Sarajevo City Card can make your trip even more cost-effective

Getting around Sarajevo without spending much money won't be a problem, especially if you use public transportation. Sarajevo has trams, buses, and trolleybuses serviced by GRAS. At the time of this publication, ticket prices for one ride are 88 cents if you purchase them at a kiosk or 98 cents if you purchase them directly from a driver. Likewise, taxis are incredibly affordable and will likely set you back less than $10 a trip, depending on the miles traveled within Sarajevo.

With that said, consider purchasing a Sarajevo City Card to save money on public transportation and activities. The card can be purchased online and allows you to use Sarajevo's public transportation system for free. In addition, it grants visitors free entrance into various museums. This includes the Sarajevo Museum 1878–1918, which educates visitors on the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Olympic Museum, to name a few.

In addition, having the card provides discounts on certain attractions, such as the Museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide. The Sarajevo City Card offers two options: one card that can be used for 24 hours or 72 hours. The former costs $48 and is the better deal, as you'll get more bang for your buck, especially if you plan on having a jam-packed itinerary.

Inexpensive stays in Sarajevo

While hotels or Airbnb accommodations can usually take up a big chunk of your budget, you won't have to worry about that in Sarajevo. At the time of this publication, Airbnb prices for entire apartments start at only $22 a night (excluding additional cleaning and Airbnb fees). Prefer a hotel? It's going to be slightly pricier. For instance, Sarajevo's Hotel Grand (pictured) is a simple three-star hotel with a 3.5-star rating on TripAdvisor. Prices per night range from $46 to $51 — and breakfast is included, which means you'll be saving money on at least one meal a day.

Keep in mind that a majority of hotels in Sarajevo, whether they are high-end or not, will be under $100 per night. However, if you want to make the most out of your budget, check out a hostel. Hostel Franz Ferdinand is top-rated on TripAdvisor, and offers mixed dorm and private rooms. If you don't mind sharing a room with others, you can expect to pay anywhere from $11 to $16 a night for an eight-person dorm. On the other hand, a private room can range from $19 to $27 per night. Complimentary breakfast, tea, and coffee are included.

As for food, Sarajevo is a city full of economical, yummy restaurants. One popular establishment is Cevabdzinica Nune. They specialize in European-style barbecue with sausages and burgers. The price of a mealthat includes five sausages with bread starts at under $3.