Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina Geography

By | October 23, 2023

Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is located in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula. The geography of Sarajevo is characterized by its location within a valley, surrounded by mountains, and the presence of the Miljacka River. In this essay, we will explore the geography of Sarajevo, focusing on its mountains, the river, and the city’s unique natural environment.

Location and General Geography:

According to, Sarajevo is situated in the central part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, within the Sarajevo Valley, a geographic depression surrounded by mountain ranges. The city’s location is both picturesque and strategically important, as it has historically served as a crossroads for various cultures and civilizations.

Mountainous Terrain:

The most prominent geographical feature of Sarajevo and its surroundings is the mountainous terrain. The city is nestled within a valley, encircled by several mountain ranges, which create a stunning backdrop to the urban landscape.

Bjelašnica: To the southwest of Sarajevo, the Bjelašnica mountain range rises dramatically. Bjelašnica is known for its scenic beauty, and its highest peak, Treskavica, reaches an elevation of over 2,300 meters (7,500 feet). The mountain is known for its winter sports facilities and outdoor recreational activities.

Igman: To the west of Sarajevo, the Igman mountain range extends. It is slightly lower than Bjelašnica but offers a similarly breathtaking landscape. Igman is also known for its recreational opportunities, making it a popular destination for hiking and skiing.

Trebević: To the southeast of Sarajevo, the Trebević mountain range dominates the skyline. The highest peak, also named Trebević, rises to an elevation of over 1,620 meters (5,315 feet). Trebević is known for its scenic viewpoints and is easily accessible from Sarajevo, making it a popular location for day trips and outdoor activities.

River and Waterways:

The geography of Sarajevo is heavily influenced by the presence of the Miljacka River, which flows through the city. The Miljacka is the most significant waterway in Sarajevo and plays a vital role in the city’s geography and culture.

Miljacka River: The Miljacka River runs through the heart of Sarajevo, dividing the city into its two primary parts: the historic and commercial districts on the left bank and the newer urban areas on the right bank. The river is relatively small and serene, and its water is clear and clean as it flows from the surrounding mountains.

Valleys and Basins: While Sarajevo is situated in a valley, it also features smaller basins and valleys that provide relatively flat areas suitable for urban development and agriculture. These valleys, formed by river erosion, add to the city’s geographical diversity.


Sarajevo’s geography, with its mountainous terrain and valley location, results in a temperate continental climate with distinct seasons.

Summer: Summers in Sarajevo, from June to August, are typically warm, with daytime highs often ranging from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius (77-86 degrees Fahrenheit). The city experiences a moderate amount of rainfall during this season, which contributes to the lush greenery and pleasant weather.

Autumn: Autumn, from September to November, sees milder temperatures and the changing colors of the city’s vegetation. The cooler weather is ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the parks and gardens of Sarajevo.

Winter: Winters, from December to February, are cold, with daytime highs often ranging from -3 to 2 degrees Celsius (26-36 degrees Fahrenheit). Snowfall is common during this season, especially in the surrounding mountains, which are popular destinations for winter sports enthusiasts.

Spring: Spring, from March to May, brings gradually warming temperatures and the blossoming of trees and flowers. This season is perfect for enjoying Sarajevo’s natural surroundings and cultural events.

Sarajevo’s climate, shaped by its mountainous geography, offers a range of weather conditions throughout the year, influencing the city’s seasonal activities and festivals.

Environmental Challenges:

Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in general, face several environmental challenges, including those related to deforestation, conservation, and air quality. The mountainous terrain and surrounding forests are susceptible to deforestation, which can lead to soil erosion, landslides, and habitat loss. The country has implemented policies for sustainable forestry to protect its natural resources.

Conservation is a significant focus for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as it is home to several unique and endangered species. The country has established protected areas and national parks to safeguard its flora and fauna.

Air quality in Sarajevo can be a concern during the winter months, as the city experiences temperature inversions, which trap pollutants in the valley. Efforts are being made to improve air quality and promote sustainable transportation options.


Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, offers a unique geography characterized by its mountainous terrain, the Miljacka River, and the scenic beauty of its surroundings. Understanding the geography of Sarajevo is essential for appreciating the city’s rich history, cultural heritage, and the challenges related to deforestation, conservation, and air quality in this stunning mountainous setting. Sarajevo’s commitment to preserving its natural landscapes and cultural traditions reflects its dedication to being a vibrant and sustainable capital city nestled within the heart of the Balkans.