Skiing in Sarajevo: Outdoor Adventure at Jahorina Olympic Center
When traveling during the winter, I typically opt for more tropical destinations. I want to escape the cold, not run towards it full steam ahead. However, this winter I dared to be different. I wanted the full on winter experience
or so I thought. Snow. Outdoor Adventure. The works! You see, I’m from the South (U.S.A) where the mere mention of snow sends the city into complete disarray. 2 inches of snow and the entire city shuts down. So, when planning my trip through the Balkans I knew I had to go all out and check off one of the items off my Wanderlist, SKIING! And what better place to go skiing in Eastern Europe than the place that held the 1984 Winter Olympics than Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Sarajevo is a city surrounded by mountains which makes for some awesome outdoor adventure activities. Though, it’s an often overlooked destination in Europe, it is becoming widely popular for winter sports as it has fewer crowds and is much less expensive than some of the other better known resorts.
These mountains have certainly see their fair share of peaks and troughs through the years. From going from a world-class ski destination that hosted the Olympics, to being occupied by Serbian forces who used these very mountains to attack the city below during the Siege of Sarajevo. However, despite the odds, Sarajevo has withstood the test of time, tourism is picking back up making this a go-to destination.
Jahorina and Bjelašnica are two of the most popular ski resorts in which you can enjoy outdoor winter sports. Both are located only about a 30 minute drive from the city center. We had the pleasure of being hosted by Jahorina Olympic Center (OC) with a complimentary a Day Pass. The day of our ski adventure the weather was a bit iffy. It was incredibly windy and cloudy, and there was heavy snowfall. We were told not to worry, as the weather is ever changing, minute by minute on the mountain. Sure enough, by the time we hit the slopes, the weather had cleared up a bit. The sun was shining, the snow had slowed, it was an amazing site to see.
Besides the incredible panoramic views below, here are a few more reasons to love Jahorina OC:
The resort is perfect for skiers of all levels. Whether you are an expert or a complete newbie, like myself, they have slopes accommodating for everyone. Small slopes, long slopes, short slopes, steep slopes, they have you covered. Since it was our first time skiing, we had a one-hour lesson on the Skočine Slope, with our amazing instructor Vedrana. I’d highly recommend an instructor if it’s your first time out. We only paid about 10 euro a piece for the hour.
Speaking of which, the prices are Jahorina are unbeatable! Currently, a day pass will only cost you about 18 euro during the week, and 20 euro on the weekends. If you don’t have your own equipment, no worries, you can rent equipment for 15 euro for the day. Click here for the full price list for ski passes.
I must warn you this equipment only includes boots and skis. We made the horrible, horrible mistake of thinking we could rent ski gear, such as pants, coats, googles, etc. at the resort. WRONG! So we were incredibly ill-dressed and ill-prepared for our ski adventure.
Another great thing about this resort is there are fewer crowds. Where’s the fun in skiing if you’re constantly having to dodge 100 people on your way down? This resort is probably Europe’s best kept secret.
Also, the Jahorina OC is not just limited to skiing. Enjoy other winter sports such as snowboarding, tubing, hiking, and snowshoeing. Or, if you’re like us, riding the ski lifts is an adventure itself. You truly feel like you are in an Winter Wonderland. The views are like no other.
There are tons of accommodation options. Since the war, Jahorina has made strong efforts to restore the mountain to its former glory. New hotels have been built and old ones revamped. There certainly isn’t a shortage of options to choose from.
When you need to take a break and defrost a bit you’ll find several cafes, bars, and restaurants along the slopes. Stop in and warm up with a cup of Bosnian coffee or cup of tea. The locals are incredibly friendly so you just may make a new friend or two while you’re at it.
So, if you’re looking for some winter outdoor adventure that is affordable and off the beaten track, Jahorina Olympic Center is definitely your place.
What are some of your favorite winter activities? Leave me a comment below.
Special thanks to The Tourism Association of Sarajevo Canton & Jahorina Olympic Center for sponsoring our complimentary guide and day passes. As always, all opinions are my own.
This looks like such a fun day! The scenery looks so beautiful! I’ve never been skiing or snowboarding before and would like to go somewhere that is good for all different levels.
Jahorina was perfect for that. After we told them it was our first time and were not professionals (as they thought) they aptly switched us to a beginner slope WITH an instructor. Everyone there was amazing. Oh, and the scenery…I could admire it all day. You know, if it was freezing cold and all 🙂
Oh I love how cheap this place is! I’m going to look into going here. I also love that it’s so close to city center so it’s easy to go there for a day and still explore the city. Pinning this!
Yes! It was perfect! Our morning started around 9 and we were back in the city by 5, and that was including stopping for lunch and a tour of the old Olympic bobsled track. We still had the whole evening to explore more of the city.
I must admit that I know nothing about skiing. But my mum and my sister both Ski. Actually my sister lives and works in a ski resort up in the Alps haha. So i do know about cost and those prices are unreal! I can’t believe how cheap it is. Thanks for sharing I’ll be sure to let my family know!
Oh wow! How awesome is that? I don’t know if I could live in the constant cold like that, but to have access to the slopes right outside my door would be amazing!
That is a beautiful ski resort! And fantastic prices on lift passes. It have been almost 15 years since my last ski trip, I would definately need a refresher course with instructor for the next trip.
Jahorina would be a great place for that refresher course! It’s inexpensive and the staff is so wonderful and accommodating.
Oh wow, I actually never knew Bosnia got cold enough to snow (I visited in summer for a quick 48 hours) Looks like an amazing experience racing down the slopes!
Ohhh it definitely gets cold and they apparently get lots of snow! I wasn’t ready for how cold it actually got. I’ll definitely be better prepared next time. Skiing was so much fun. Even though it was my first time and I was basically going 1 mph down the slope, I still had a blast.
YES! I haven’t skiied in so long and part of that reason is that it can be insanely expensive. Since I live in Amsterdam, all my friends go to the super popular spots that have price tags that keep me away. This sounds like an amazing alternative…and it’s not crowded. Now, that’s a dream when going skiing. Thanks for the post. I had no idea this was a thing there 🙂
It certainly is a great alternative! I couldn’t believe how cheap it was.
If I had my way I’d be in Sarajevo right now! I tried so hard to get a home exchange set up, but people in Bosnia don’t seem to have caught on to home swapping yet because I had no luck. It’s such a lovely city to visit. I was only there for a few days and I keep meaning to go back for longer.
I agree, Sarajevo is such an incredible place. I wish I were able to stay longer than I did. I too only had a few days. Also, I’m not surprised there was no luck with the home exchange, it seems there’s a lot that Bosnia hasn’t caught up on yet. Hopefully, home swapping catches up soon. I think it would be an amazing opportunity for both parties.
I just read your blog. Skiing photos you shared awesome! great work, thanks for sharing your amazing blog.
Thanks so much for reading!