Sarajevo - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Air quality in Sarajevo and other towns tends to be on the moderate side most of the year, but frequently hits "worst in the world" for a few days in Winter. The overall winter AQI average range is between 120-180, with some great days (near zero) and some terrible (over 300). The airport in Sarajevo typically experiences 3-4 days a winter in which flights are unable to arrive or depart because of the poor air quality. When the air quality is poor, however, one can take a 15-20 minute drive up the mountain to get out of it if desired. - Mar 2024

Air quality is bad from November to March. Embassy homes come supplied with several air purifiers and we bought three on our own to supplement the ones from the Embassy. Most people drive to the mountains on the weekends to get fresh air. - Apr 2021

Air quality is bad in winter due to everyone burning wood, coal, etc for heat. Spring can be rough on allergies due to copious pollen. I wouldn't recommend Sarajevo for anyone with lung issues, but as long as you follow the pollution index warnings, it's fine. I work outside all year without a mask, and I haven't coughed up a lung yet. - Dec 2017

Air pollution is a big problem. It is not limited to the winter, it is year-round. It is untenable in the winter. In the summer and spring (when the temperatures start to warm up) it gets better but it can still be pretty horrible even if the day looks clear. If you have children, especially children with breathing problems, you should seriously reconsider bringing them here, in my opinion. If you are coming here, you will need to buy extra air purifiers for your home. You will also need to buy air pollution masks for everyone in your family. - Sep 2017

Wonderful April-September, very bad October-March. The city is located in a valley surrounded by high mountains. As soon as it gets cold, people burn low quality coal which sits in the valley and causes major pollution. On the flip side, you can drive 15 minutes up the mountain and find yourself in a pristine winter wonderland. - Feb 2017

HORRIBLE! Honestly, this is our biggest issue with this post. The winter is bad. Sarajevo sits in a bowl of sorts with mountains on all side and very little wind. The air is so bad in the winter, you are not able to see the car in front of you when you're driving. We couldn't see the street from our house (that sits right on the road). Summer is better. Everyone smokes here, and smokes everywhere. The grocery store, the mall, the doctors office, everywhere. This is not a runners town, and not a place where you want to come if you have any respiratory issues. - May 2016

Great in the summer, poor in the winter. Smog can be pretty tough. Not China rough, but air purifier needed in bedrooms rough. - Aug 2014

Terrible. It gets worse in the winter. Expect respiratory issues if you are prone to them. - Nov 2012

Great in warm weather. Terrible in the winter. Bosnians will burn everything but the kitchen sink to stay warm when it gets cold. Your house will smell like a campfire during the coldest parts of the winter. - Aug 2011

The air quality is poor and everyone smokes! - May 2011

Horrible horrible horrible in the winter. Cannot be stressed enough if you have any kind of respiratory issue. This city sits inside a ring of mountains, and the pollution from wood burning and cars just sits at ground level most of the winter. You can smell it. - May 2010

Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More