Paying for touristy activities or going to attractions with entrance fees is not something we generally place on our to-do list. However, we absolutely loved exploring Sarajevo with pet friendly City Sightseeing and found it well worth the price. We opted for the largest sightseeing package for 24.50 euros which included 72 hours on the hop-on hop-off bus, a walking tour and the Panorama tour. Tango was free!
I’m budget minded and look for opportunities to get the most out of our paid excursions. I also like to travel slow to not feel rushed and Tango likes to take her time and sniff the flowers at each monument!
Our 72 hour parameter started the moment we boarded the City Sightseeing bus, not when we bought the ticket. Therefore, we were free to do the walking tour at any time prior to boarding. We did the walking tour on day 1 and boarded the bus mid-day on day 2 so our ticket expired mid-day on day 5.
We struggled to get up and ready in time for the 11am walking tour (insert eye roll here!) Despite our apartment being only steps from the starting point of Sebilj, it took us three attempts to get there on time. On our third day, we were a few minutes early, giving Tango and I enough time to share a breakfast ice cream cone!
Lucky us, we had a private tour as no one else showed up. I asked our guide for the Coles Notes version of the tour as my eyes start to glaze over when the history gets too in-depth. We took an hour and half to walk through the Baščaršija (old square) and visited not to be missed destinations including Pigeon Square or Sebilj, the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, the Sacred Heart Cathedral, the Eternal Flame in memory of the casualties of WWII and the spot that sparked World War I with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This is a great introduction to the city and I recommend this walking tour upon arriving to Sarajevo.
We got on the City Sightseeing bus at the Sebilj location and were given headphones, a map and coupons for restaurants and services around the city. I plugged into the jack at the window, chose English as my language and listened as our onboard guide pointed to landmarks matching the narration in my ear. The bus was empty so it was just Tango and I cruising along.
For us, one of the best things about the bus is it can also be used instead of a taxi! The bus has 27 hop-on and hop-off locations conveniently placed around the city. We needed to visit the vet for routine blood work for Tango and when I saw that the bus stopped near a veterinarian clinic we jumped at the opportunity. We visited the vet on day 2 and 3 using our already paid for bus pass, saving ourselves 50 euros in taxi fare.
Our guide let us off at the US Embassy location and we walked to the vet from there. Travel Tip: Don’t take your cell phone out or take pictures near the embassy. My friend has his passport stamped and all his details taken down for taking a picture. After we visted the vet it was raining so we walked across the street from the embassy and returned home from stop number 6 at the National Museum. Unfortunately, the museum is not dog friendly 🙁 I have heard it is a must see.
Again, we got on at the Sebilj location and off at the US Embassy to visit the vet. I had Tango’s pee sample in my purse and was eager to get it to the vet before the heat ruined it. Of course, it so happened that the streets had been shut down while political members arrived at the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina building and therefore traffic was a mess. We had to wait in the heat for over an hour for our delayed City Sightseeing bus. This is somwhat of an occurance in Sarajevo; a few day later the streets were again in gridlock when the President of Turkey visited the same building.
It all worked out and we got to the vet in time (that story coming soon!) When we were finished at the vet we picked the bus up where it had dropped us off and completed the sightseeing loop. Stops 2 through 5 and 18 through 20 are interesting to listen to but there is no need to stop and get out. There is a 10 minute break at stop 1 for the staff of the bus so you will want to get out and walk around. Dogs are not allowed in any of the buildings including the hotel, but it’s a good place to potty.
The Panorama tour was exactly that…panoramic. We toured in a new and modern van up the windy streets and into the lush hills overlooking Sarajevo. This tour does not have a hop-on hop-off mentality and instead is more of a “tour” with the van waiting while guests explore each stop. Every stop on this tour is dog friendly except for number two, the Alija Izetbegović Museum 🙁
The group we were riding with chose to skip the Alija Izetbegović Museam but stopped and explored an old fort, the White Fortress. Then it was up to restaurant Vidikovac for its amazing view overlooking Sarajevo. We had (yes, Tango had some too!) Ustipci or fritters which is deep-fried dough accompanied by amazing and fresh cheese and cream cheese. The fritters can be easily torn open for the cheeses to be spread inside. So yummy! It happened to be the Muslim holiday of Ramadan and this restaurant was observing the fasting tradition of no alcohol for one month. There was no rakija to enjoy with my beautiful view, meal and company.
We got off at the next stop, the Yellow Fortress as it was next to our apartment and we had already explored this particular fortress on our own.
We set our alarm but of course, did not make it to our goal of catching the open air City Sightseeing bus at 9:15am. We eventually caught a normal bus and went straight to stop 1 where we got off and walked to the Tunnel of Life. The tunnel was a highlight of our time in Sarajevo and I highly recommend visiting it. Dogs that can be carried are welcome at no additional charge…sorry big dogs 🙁
It is a very easy 25 minute walk to the tunnel from stop number 1 however, do not follow the signs. Instead, use Google maps. We took a 20 minute unnecessary detour because of the signs.
After the Tunnel of Life we were able to catch the open air City Sightseeing bus from stop 1. We were having so much fun we rode it past our house until we decided it was time to get off for a late lunch and then walk home.
Tango LOVED watching from the window seat on the open air City Sightseeing bus and people loved watching her from the street! She particularly liked being on my lap, wagging her little tail as she sniffed the air and let the wind flap her lil’ ears! On our guides recommendation, we got off at the Central Bank and went to pet friendly Blind Tiger for lunch. This is great lunch spot to break up a day of riding the bus!
Watch our day on the open air City Sightseeing bus!
If your dog’s safty is a concern, I recommend bringing a seat belt strap like this one to hook onto your dog’s collar or harness. The open air City Sightseeing bus has seat belts which you can connect your dog’s seat belt strap to. The buses also have WiFi! I used the WiFi to look up additional information as we approached each stop.
We had the opportunity to engage with the staff selling tickets in the old town, at the office location and the tour guides and bus drivers. They were all very pleasant and accommodating of Tango!