Skiing in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a great alternative to the pricey ski resorts in Western Europe. Here's all you need to know if you're eager to hit the slopes.
Although quite charming and interesting to tourists in any time of the year, Sarajevo is without any doubt a winter city. This is mostly due to the fact that city is located in the valley of stunning mountains Jahorina, Bjelašnica, Trebević and Igman – the most popular skiing destinations in this part of the Balkans.
Mt. Jahorina, locally known as "The Olympic beauty", hosted several alpine skiing events during the 1984 Winter Olympics which were held in Bosnia and Herzegovina and it is, to this day, one of the most popular winter spots for locals and tourists.
In addition, the ski resort on the top of the mountain is only around 18 miles (30 kilometers) away from the city center – we said it all!
The Jahorina Olympic Ski Center offers a variety of winter sports and outdoor activities, especially for those who enjoy alpine skiing, snowboarding, sledding and, of course, hiking. It has around 24 miles (40 km) of ski slopes and very modern ski lift system which both attracts professionals and amateurs in love with winter sports.
As already mentioned, Jahorina is around 40 minutes from Sarajevo by car or taxi. There are direct bus lines to the Ski Center from the municipalities of Lukavica and Pale, and during the peak of the season there is a bus service running every morning from the National Museum bus stop in the center of Sarajevo.
When it comes to accommodation, Jahorina is well-known for its luxurious hotels but also simple wooden cabins for those who want to have an authentic mountain experience while, for instance, drinking their favorite beverage in front of an open fireplace.
Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive local website in English language, but if you want to check prices of different accommodation options on Jahorina and read some reviews, you can check it on this list made by Lonely planet or websites such as Booking.com.
If you're not a huge lover of winter sports, but enjoy fresh air and mountain atmosphere, there are plenty of other things you can do while here. If you're staying in some of the better hotels, you will not be bored as you can choose from spending a day in a spa, getting a massage or enjoying some other indoor activities such as bowling. These hotels also have a good selection of wines and wide range of tasty dishes of continental European and oriental cuisine.
If this sounds too fancy, don't forget that Jahorina is still quite affordable for a winter destination, especially compared to the prices of other European ski resorts.
But if you're traveling on a budget, don't worry at all. There are plenty of other cheaper accommodation options, affordable restaurants and bars you can visit. Tasty Bosnian food is everywhere, drinks are cheap, and if you're short on time or don't want to sleep on the mountain, you can always go there in the morning, have some fun on the snow and get back to the city in the afternoon!
Jahorina is also famous for its vibrant nightlife during the winter season and numerous events such as skiing and snowboarding competitions and open air parties in the snow.
Useful tip: If you're visiting Bosnia during the winter season and want to go hiking, please beware that the weather can very unpredictable and that you will most probably need a guide, proper clothes and equipment for this time of the year. Temperatures in Bosnia can drop well below the zero and mountain roads can be dangerous due to the snow, so it is best not go alone on this adventure.