The Sarajevo bobsled track was the one thing I wanted to do in the city. If I did nothing else, I would have left a happy camper.
The bobsled track was used in the 1984 Winter Olympics, then left to deteriorate like so many Olympic facilities in Sarajevo and other Olympic cities. It is now being taken over by nature with no upkeep. These last two ingredients make the place a perfect trip for travellers looking for an adventure in an abandoned place.
I hiked to the bobsleigh track twice from the city center. This post will cover how to get to the Sarajevo bobsled track on foot and what to expect.
Sarajevo is in a valley so as soon as you’re on the south side of the river you start an ascent through the streets. The streets are interesting with the houses playing Tetris to perfection as they fit in on some funny angles. No grids on these streets.
The streets get steeper as you go, but if you get tired you’ve got two things to do:
- Stop, turn around and look at the views over the city
- stop and play with the curious cats
The locals you come across are friendly enough and will acknowledge you if you say hello.
Once you make it beyond the final house, we are on to the hiking trails that criss-cross continuously.
Pro Tip: The tracks are perfectly mapped out on Maps.me which you can download for offline use.
Not all the trails are on Google Maps.
Eventually you’ll come across a few war-torn houses. I’m surprised they haven’t been rebuilt as they have plenty of space around them. They reckon eventually everything will be rebuilt,
with 90+% already completed in my estimation.
Take a quick break here. If you want, take a quick detour up to the nearby peak for another city view.
The end of the bobsled track is a 5-10 minute walk from the houses depending on the exact track you take again as they continue to criss-cross.
On arrival I was bamboozled. I could hear loud voices but saw no people. Luckily, there were no ghosts. Turns out sound travels incredibly well through the track. In theory, if you hear voices, it will be people further up the bobsled track chatting away.
This is not the place to spill secrets 😉
The walk along the bobsled track isn’t strenuous and takes 30 minutes max, even if you’re busy taking photos. The curves of the track are filled with graffiti, some good, some pointless. Otherwise, it’s just bare concrete and pine needles. I wonder how they get the ice perfectly on the track in competition time?
The first time I went up, I saw this cool lazer wolf piece. Then a week later, someone had gone and ruined him. Why people, why!
Once you get to the other end of the track you could head straight back down, or check out two of the city viewpoints nearby.
If you head straight up the path past the start line for 300 metres or so you’ll have an awesome panoramic view of the city. Bonus points if you see a local taking in the view in the Slavic squat position.
The other good viewpoint you can get to by taking the stairs to the left of the track if you are facing downhill. Take the first left along the trail and in a few minutes you’ll arrive at another viewpoint.
I’d stick with the first viewpoint if you only want to see one.
Once you’ve checked out the views, it’s simply a matter of wander back to the bobsled track and retracing your steps all the way back to the city. There’s nothing fancy to this walk.
Is The Sarajevo Bobsled Track Worth Hiking Too?
Yes. Given the streets are steep, I would classify this as a medium level hike but you won’t take more than two hours to reach the bobsled track (I got there in an hour the second time).
There are tours you can easily organize that will take you which can be arranged at your accommodation, but self-guided adventures in Sarajevo are too easy.
At worst you get an awesome view of the city (and see cats).
If it’s scheduled to rain, give it a miss as shit would get slippery fast.
If you follow the route I have screenshotted, you’ll pass a small supermarket early on which you can get your snacks as there’s no one selling you things up at the Sarajevo bobsled track itself (someone should though).