While it’s relatively easy to get between major cities in the Balkans, two capitals always give a headache to travelers. I remember I was in that position years ago too, when I tried to frantically find how to get from Belgrade to Sarajevo and in the reverse direction, from Sarajevo to Belgrade.
Back then, Bosnia and Herzegovina weren’t even on Google Maps, and there was almost no information available on how to travel between these two cities. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but I managed to get from Sarajevo to Belgrade just in time to catch my return flight back home to Warsaw.
Over the years, I did this trip numerous times, either going from Belgrade to Sarajevo or from Sarajevo to Belgrade. Every time I was nervous that something might go not as planned, yet always I managed to get to my destination with no problems at all.
The question about getting from Belgrade to Sarajevo pops up on my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans a lot. In fact, that is one of the most frequently asked questions there. That is why I’ve decided to create this post so you can have all the information about traveling from Belgrade to Sarajevo in one place.
I also attached a map at the end with all the key locations you might need when going from Belgrade to Sarajevo. And if you still have some questions, feel free to join my Facebook group and ask there – this is a friendly and knowledgeable community and will help you for sure!
Table of contents
Why is it so difficult to travel between Belgrade and Sarajevo
Most likely, you know about the war in the Balkans in the 1990s. As a result, Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided into three parts: Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (that’s where most of Sarajevo is located), Serbian Republic (don’t confuse it with Serbia, Eastern suburbs of Sarajevo are located here) and District Brcko (a neutral part really).
Both Federation and Republic aren’t on amicable terms, to put it nicely, and transport between these two parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina can be a challenge (that’s why I haven’t visited places like Visegrad yet). Serbia is the ally of the Serbian Republic, and therefore you will easily find connections from Belgrade to East Sarajevo, but there is only one bus per day to the central station in Sarajevo. Currently, there are also no train connections between these two capitals.
Belgrade to Sarajevo by plane
There are direct flights between Belgrade and Sarajevo, usually one per day, operated by AirSerbia. The flight itself takes less than one hour, but the trip can be around 4-5 with getting to and from the airport (which is still the fastest you can get from Belgrade to Sarajevo). One way ticket is usually around 100€.
Just be aware that due to Sarajevo’s location, in the valley, surrounded by mountains, the weather can be a bit unpredictable in the winter months and the flights get canceled.
Getting to and from the airport in Belgrade is relatively easy. You need to take the minibus A1 from Slavija Square (ticket costs 300 dinars) or bus no 72 from Zeleni Venac (150 dinars). The journey, depending on the traffic, takes around 30-50 minutes.
It’s more tricky to get from Sarajevo airport to the city center. Even if there is a direct bus, there are only a few departures per day, and while they should be coordinated with your flight, you never know. One way ticket costs five marks, return – 8 marks.
When I was flying from Sarajevo last year, I found online three different schedules from the center to the airport, but I think the one at the website of the company operating this connection should be the correct one. You can find it here.
If the timing of the airport bus doesn’t work for you and you don’t want to take the taxi, you can take the trolleybus no 103 from the park next to the Latin Bridge – Trg Austrije – to the suburb of Dobrinja. From there it’s some 10-15 minutes walk to the airport (although you will have to cross a semi-busy road with no crossing marked). The ticket for the trolleybus costs 1,60 marks.
Belgrade to Sarajevo by bus
I think the easiest way to travel from Belgrade to Sarajevo (or in the opposite direction) is by bus. However, this might also be a bit time consuming and, depending on the connection you choose, can be a bit tricky.
There is only one bus per day from Belgrade to the central bus station in Sarajevo (the one located next to the train station and near AVAZ twin tower). The bus departs from the central bus station in Belgrade every day at 16:00 and is supposed to arrive in Sarajevo at 22:45 (although when I took it a couple of years ago, it was at its destination some 25 minutes earlier). In the opposite direction, from the central station in Sarajevo to Belgrade the bus departs 06:00 and is expected to arrive at the capital of Serbia at 13:10.
The bus station in Belgrade is located next to the former central train station, just a short walk down from the center and from Zeleni Venac, at the corner of Karadordeva and Zemunsky Put streets.
The central bus station in Sarajevo is located some 2kms away from the Bascarsija and the old town. You can easily walk there (which is what I usually do) or take the tram.
From in front of the train station, you can take tram no one that runs between this place and Bascarsija. Unfortunately, it doesn’t run all that often. But you can also walk some 5-10 minutes to the main street, Zmaja od Bosne (known as Snipers Alley during the Siege of Sarajevo) and there you can catch much more frequent tram no three that goes from Ilidza to Bascarsija. The tram ticket costs 1,60 marks if bought in the kiosk or 1,80 when purchased from the driver. Be sure to validate the tickets as the controls are frequent.
But! There are even more buses from Belgrade to Sarajevo. The trick is they go to East Sarajevo (Istocno Sarajevo), the part that is located in the Serbian Republic. You can check all the connections, both to the central bus station and East Sarajevo at the website of Belgrade bus station.
Getting from the bus station in Lukavica (part of East Sarajevo where you will arrive) to the center of Sarajevo might seem a bit difficult, but it is not really. I managed to get there when there was no Google Maps, with the map I drew myself (and I’m terrible at drawing) so you can do it too!
From the Lukavica bus station, you need to walk 500 meters straight, first on Srpskih vladara street that turns into Bulevar Mimar Sinana once you cross the invisible border between Sarajevo and East Sarajevo and Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Serbian Republic. On your right side, the same side of the street as the bus station, you will find the final stop of the trolleybus no 103.
The trolleybus runs frequently from Dobrinja (the part of Sarajevo you will be in) to the Trg Austrije, next to the Latin Bridge in the old town of Sarajevo, passing near the downtown on the way. The ticket costs 1,60 marks if bought from the kiosk or 1,80 marks from the driver. Keep in mind that even if the price is the same, the tickets for trams and trolleys are different.
The passport control at the Serbia-Bosnia and Herzegovina border takes place in the bus. The border officers come to the bus, check and collect the passport and take them for the control and to give stamps. Afterward, either the border officer or the driver gives back the passports.
Depending on how busy the border is and how many people are in the bus the whole procedure can take from 20 minutes to an hour and more, although the border crossings between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina aren’t as packed as those at the seaside when you go from Kotor to Dubrovnik or Dubrovnik to Mostar.
The bus itself is just fine, nothing extraordinary but comfortable enough to easily survive those few hours between Sarajevo and Belgrade. There should be a stop somewhere on the way, most likely in the spot with a cafe or a restaurant. But just in case get with you some snacks and drinks.
The ticket should cost around 2000 Serbian dinars / 35 Bosnian marks, but the exact price depends on the company and the route. You can buy the tickets at the bus station, and while I recommend doing it in advance, you can usually get some last-minute seats too. I took buses from Belgrade to Sarajevo and from Sarajevo to Belgrade a few times, and they never were full.
When you buy the ticket at the bus station in Belgrade you will be also given a token – don’t lose it as it will allow you entering the platforms!
The interesting thing about traveling in the Balkans by bus – if you have bigger luggage that you need to put in the bus trunk you will have to pay extra for it, usually around 1€ (2 marks / 100 dinars).
Belgrade to Sarajevo by door to door transfer
Some companies organize door to door transfer between Belgrade and Sarajevo. After a recommendation from the hostel I stayed at in Sarajevo a few years ago I used it once, and it was fine. The hostel arranged everything for me.
I was picked up at the hostel in the old town of Sarajevo and was dropped by the door of my accommodation in Belgrade. This service was slightly more expensive than the bus. I paid 50 Bosnian marks. The journey took just under 5 hours, including border control.
It was just a regular car, and besides me, there were two more people traveling. The driver didn’t speak English, but I was fine with that as long as he did his job right.
While this was an easy and fast way of traveling from Sarajevo to Belgrade, I personally prefer the bus. I’m not a very social person when I travel by car or bus, and I felt a bit awkward sharing such a small space with strangers for those 5 hours. In the bus, I can just mind my own business, and I didn’t feel very comfortable in the private car speeding through the roads of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I didn’t feel unsafe or something, just awkward.
But this might have been my issue only. If you would like to travel from Belgrade to Sarajevo or from Sarajevo to Belgrade by the private, door to door transfer you should ask your accommodation, I’m sure they know how to arrange it and will do it for you.
Now, that you know how to get from Belgrade to Sarajevo or from Sarajevo to Belgrade you might want to read a bit more about those two cities or traveling in the Balkans in general. Here are some articles on this region that you might find useful or interesting:
- 50 pictures that will inspire you to visit Belgrade, Serbia
- Skadarlija – bohemian Belgrade
- Belgrade to Bar by train – one of the most beautiful railway journeys
- and more!
Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Where to stay in Sarajevo – best Sarajevo accommodation
- My favorite things to do in Sarajevo
- Multicultural Sarajevo
- Sarajevo bobsled track – how to visit and what to expect there
- 17 best places to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- 50 pictures that will inspire you to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina
- and more!
Traveling in the Balkans
- Your ultimate Balkan travel guide
- Balkan highlights – your ultimate list of what to see in the Balkans
- Solo female travel in the Balkans
- Solo female guide to exploring abandoned places
Here is also a promised map with all the locations in Sarajevo I mentioned in this article. Finding the bus station or the airport bus in Belgrade is very easy hence I focus only on Sarajevo.
For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:
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- I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to the Balkans too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. If you like what you are reading and seeing here and would like to support me and my blog please consider using those links. It would be like getting me a virtual drink that you don’t have to pay for! Thanks!
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