Exploring Sarajevo's 1984 Olympic Ruins

Pedalling Continents @pushpedalSeptember 2019 ยท 4 min read

Back in 1984, the mighty nation of Yugoslavia hosted the winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo. It was the first winter game held in a socialist and Slavic speaking country. It was also the first Olympics held in the Balkan region and by a Muslim-majority city. Some of the venues are abandoned and open for visitors to explore. In Sarajevo we explored the bobsleigh and luge track and the Igman Olympic Hotel.

A bit about Yugoslavia and the Balkans

The Balkan countries are in the southeast of Europe. With the exception of Greece, they are mainly Albania, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia nation.

Source: Wikipedia, "Break-up of Yugoslavia"

Source: Wikipedia

The two shades of grey for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) outline the territorial divide between ethnic groups living in BiH. Now united after the Bosnian war, the capital city of Sarajevo allows adventure seekers to safely explore what remains of the Olympic venues.

Ride up or hike up?

Using the CouchSurfing app to meet other travellers, we got together a group to go see the bobsleigh and luge track. We met in the Old Town and made our way up. It was confusing following the directions as we navigated through the windy streets, but after we reached the grassy plains it was easier to follow. There is the gondola option to take you right up but it passes the Olympic ruins.

After about an hour we caught the first sight of the track. It had been abandoned for so long there's moss growing over it. It made for a good graffiti wall too. We took heaps of photos together and made our way back down. Still not taking the gondola of course!

Room for Two please

Another fun place we visited was the abandoned hotel up the Igman mountains. The place was abandoned after the war and you can still see a lot of the damages. It was not far from the city but quite a climb up by bicycle. It took us about two hours to reach there in a sunny morning. Once we got there it was hard to miss the big concrete jungle (literally, you'll find out soon). We hid our bike behind some bushes, away from the main road just to be safe. No one else was there when we arrived so we had the entire place to ourselves.

Our little bikes parked below

The place was a wreck. No way would this be opened to the public in New Zealand. Debris and bricks were all over the floor, the only cleared pathway was the stairs. It was quiet but well lit as every floor had big window openings. They removed all the windows so the only broken glass there came from drink bottles. The ground floor had been repurposed to a paintball arena and it looks pretty fun!

Real bullet holes from the war

Next we took the stairs up to checkout the views. Every floor had the same layout except the top which had a big space for the restaurant or hall. We eventually got up to the rooftop to see the views the Olympians once had. Some self seeded trees are growing on the roof and getting big! Let's hope the structure is strong enough to hold a forest in a decade's time.

We camped near the hotel. There was plenty of grass space around and it was quiet and peaceful. There were campervans around but they were parked on the other side at the carpark so we had our side all to ourselves. We lit a campfire at night but it got very cold so we slipped into our tent and sleeping bags early and watched some TV shows.

This was one of the side trips we did whilst in BiH. We didn't anticipate the visa process to take so long trapping us to a country for over four weeks. Very soon we'll get the passport back and be on our way to see Croatia and Slovenia.

Share this post

Post Location


That luge looks awesome .. wondering if it would be somewhat functional during a lot of snow in winter.


It does get used in the summer by MTB cyclists... But they have to dodge the tourists walking on it ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€


Thanks for writing this comment through TravelFeed.io!
You have received a 11% upvote from us. We hope to see you soon on TravelFeed.io!


Wow! That is crazy! Think of all the money that went into that and not so long ago. What a waste, but it makes for a good story and pics :)


Some of the venues could be reused like the hotel and olympic village,but due to war it was damaged. The event tracks are only used for such games though ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Roberto @raserranoSeptember 2019

Thanks for sharing such a nice adventure


Thanks for popping by

Mr Hill @mrhillSeptember 2019

Wow. This was super interesting.


Yeah it sure was!


Congratulations! Your high-quality travel content was selected by @travelfeed curator @for91days and earned you a reward, in form of an upvote and a resteem. Your work really stands out! Your article now has a chance to get featured under the appropriate daily topic on our TravelFeed blog.
Thank you for being part of the TravelFeed community!

Thanks for posting through TravelFeed.io! You have received a larger upvote from us. We hope to see you soon on TravelFeed.io!
Posting through TravelFeed.io also makes your post eligible to participate our Steemfest ticket giveaway. Please check the post for instructions on how to participate. If you already opted in before September 12th, please double-check that you are opted in since we had some problems with opt-ins not being recorded in the beginning!
Also, you can participate in the travel writing contest by @invisusmundi where you can earn up to 100 STEEM! Read the contest announcement for more information on how to participate.

We are continuously working on improving TravelFeed, recently we introduced EasySignUp and EasyLogin, our first step to make TravelFeed ready for mass adoption.

Learn more about TravelFeed by clicking on the banner above and join our community on Discord.