Bosnia and Herzegovina Serbia

How to get from Belgrade to Sarajevo – a detailed guide

(Last Updated On: 01/06/2020)

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.

Belgrade to Sarajevo

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!

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

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.

Belgrade to Sarajevo

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

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.

Belgrade to Sarajevo

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.

Belgrade to Sarajevo

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.

Sarajevo to Belgrade

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.

Belgrade to Sarajevo

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).

Sarajevo to Belgrade

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.

Sarajevo to Belgrade

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.

Sarajevo to Belgrade

Further resources

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:

Serbia

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Traveling in the Balkans

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.


Travel resources

With over 15 years of independent traveling, I’ve learned which websites and services are the best when planning a trip. I always use and trust the following websites:

Money – My number one tip for everyone is to start using Revolut bank card to save money when traveling.

You get the card by mail within a few days and you can use it all over the world. You top up the card in the app on the phone, where you can also have accounts in different currencies and exchange money between them, for no extra fee and at very favorable rates.

Everything is super easy and fast, you only need an internet connection to manage your accounts in the app.

Revolut supports over 140 currencies and offers free withdrawal from ATMs all over the world. In the first 6 months I’ve used Revolut card in 12 countries in 3 continents and had no issues at all. And I saved a lot of money in the exchange rates!

Click here to learn more about the service and order your own Revolut card!

Accommodation – I always book my accommodation through Booking.com.

They have really good deals (especially with their “Genius” program that you become a member of after few reservations) and in most of the cases, if your plans change, you can cancel the reservation without any extra costs.

I also value them for a really good customer service that I had to use a few times.

Check the best deals on accommodation in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina here!

Insurance – I never travel without the insurance as you never know what might happen on the road and better safe than sorry (I’ve learnt my lesson).

I can recommend World Nomads that offer the insurance dedicated to travelers just like you and me.

Click here to get the insurance policy for the Balkans here.

Day tours – I do go for a day trips when I travel as often they are the most convenient way to see the place that saves you time and money.

I most often use Get Your Guide that offers a variety of tours all over the world. Click here to check all the best tours you can take during your travels!

Offline maps – For years I’ve been using MAPS.ME app and I can’t recommend it enough!

It’s free, works offline perfectly fine and saved me many times. You can easily transfer Google Maps with all the bookmarks to maps.me and use them offline wherever you are.

Click here to download it to your phone before your next trip!


For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:

  • If you don’t want to miss new posts and news from me click here to sign to my newsletter! You can also follow me on Bloglovin!
  • Join my Facebook group about Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR and connect with fellow travellers and enthusiasts of these regions – just click here!
  • 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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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Jasmine
    30/07/2019 at 07:16

    Hi Kami! I’m from Novi Sad, love traveling a lot, and I really like your blog! I just wanted to say that your post about traveling from Belgrade to Sarajevo is completely on the spot! I live in Serbia and I couldn’t have written it any better. And all the info is correct. Well done!

    • Reply
      kami
      31/07/2019 at 12:46

      Thank you! I’ve tried to include all the information a person might need. Hopefully, others will find it useful too!

  • Reply
    Kaleo Puaa
    09/11/2019 at 07:27

    Do you have any leads for finding a private transfer between the 2 cities? We are traveling to Belgrade in April and taking a sub trip to Split then returning to Belgrade before returning home. A friend of ours wants to meet us for the Croatia portion and it financially makes sense that he flies direct to Sarajevo where we’d meet up with him and rent an SUV there. That way we could road trip through Mostar on our way to Croatia and through Jajce on the way back. I like the idea of private transfer due to the time from and because there will be 3 of us (myself, my wife and our older son). We shouldn’t feel awkward that way. The issue is we are not staying anywhere that could help us setup a transfer and I haven’t found any services online yet. A point in the right direction would be much appreciated.

    • Reply
      kami
      19/11/2019 at 12:56

      Usually, the accommodation knows the details of private transfers, that’s how I arranged my transfer too. But you can always ask on my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans. I’m sure some of the members might have more information. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/121053081614593/ But I’d suggest asking your accommodation about this too, they probably deal with this question a lot and know all the details :) Have a great trip!

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