How do you transfer from one country to another in the Balkans? If you are a local, you will find your way easily but coming from far away as a foreign traveler you will almost certainly get frustrated a minute after you started your planning as transportation in the Balkans including the one from Sarajevo to Belgrade can indeed be something particularly different from what you are used to.
Balkan, an amazing chocolate box of countries for anyone’s taste has become a very popular destination over years, especially for those who are now into something extraordinary yet budget friendly and fascinating. The fact that it is possible to explore not one, not two or three but six or seven countries in 15 days is simply amazing.
However, not all of the people have been used to traveling in groups in order to keep up with their budget, and most certainly not all the people have a budget for private trips that would last a couple of weeks or more. After all, some people simply prefer traveling at their own pace, without tour operators.
The biggest issue in Balkans are direct flights and major advantage is a possibility to visit more than one country in a short period so chances are over 80% you will still have to use some kind of transfer from time to time as, based on our long experience, most of people are visiting at least two or three countries during their trip.
One of the main obstacles first time travelers are dealing with is when traveling from Belgrade To Sarajevo or vice versa. We have thought this through and for all of you lucky people sitting in their comfy chairs and pointing their fingers on a global map while picking Balkans as your next destination, we have decided to make it a bit easier and offer some tips that only locals can do.
After all, it is our duty, responsibility and a pleasure to assist all of you amazing people who are choosing Balkans over any other place in the world.
Here are few ideas that will, hopefully, make this easier for you. These are the ways locals would travel if they were you 🙂
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We have to be honest here and say that over 80% of locals would never choose flight, especially not under the flight rates that can go from 100 to over 250 EUR for a return ticket.
If we put aside the flight tickets, another thing locals really like to enjoy is nature and off the beaten path locations which are plentiful and diverse on the way from Sarajevo to Belgrade.
Sky, on the other hand, is always the same and, to be honest, there is nothing spectacular over Balkan skies. Despite heading towards modern world and capitalism, Balkan is still not completely affected by mass tourism and its charm is resting on endless possibilities to explore and experience all of the amazing places you might have never heard off on your way from location A to location B.
While traveling Balkans you should always keep some space for the what comes in middle.
On the other hand, we must admit that there is an even number of pro arguments for flying.
If you are not into nature or you are limited by time and need a quick transfer from one capital to another, flying is definitely your choice.
First reason is definitely the fact this is the fastest and most comfortable way of transferring between Sarajevo and Belgrade. Sarajevo airport is a very small one so you actually have time to live your life normally even before the flight which is usually in mid afternoon.
One hour before the flight is enough to check in, and no matter where your base in Sarajevo is, there is no place in the city that will take you more than half an hour for transfer from your address to the airport. Although there is a limited number of bus departures from or to the airport, bus departures should be coordinated with flights so you should not meet any troubles. You can find a bus timetables here. Costs of the one bus ticket is 5 BAM pp (cca 2.5 EUR) and the main bus stop is across to the City Hall, opposite side of the river.
If bus timetable is not convenient, you can also consider taking a trolleybus. no 103. The main trolleybus stop (Trg Austrije) is around 250m of walk up from the Latin Bridge (Google Map). The trolley will take you to Dobrinja from where you should walk another 15-20min to the airport (Map). Trolley bus ticket is 1.60 BAM (cca 2 EUR). Make sure to have a change for a ticket and to validate it upon the arrival. Walking distance between trolley bus stop at Merkator Dobrinja to the airport is cca 15 min, flat ground. Beware of the traffic when crossing the street Kurta Schorka.
When it comes to Belgrade, finding your way from or to the airport is a bit simpler. You can either take a minibus A1 which you will find at Slavija Square and costs 300 RSD (cca 3 EUR) or bus no 72 from Zeleni Venac which is a bit cheaper and costs 150 rsd (cca 1.5 EUR). You can find bus timetables here.
Taxi in Balkan is relatively reasonably priced, unless being overcharged, which you can avoid simply by calling a taxi service and asking to turn the taximeter on, rather than catching a taxi on the street. It will cost you between 15 and 20 BAM (cca 8-10 EUR) for taxi fee in Bosnia and around 2000 RSD (20 EUR) for a small sized taxi in Belgrade.
One hour of flight and you are already there.
Pros: easy, fast and safe connection between Sarajevo and Belgrade, significantly more comfortable than any other way of transfer.
Cons: expensive flight rates which come with additional charges of buses and taxi transports, unnecessary unless you are in a rush as the beauty of experiencing Balkan is mainly in exploring the locations while traveling between the capitals.
Flight rates: from 100 EUR to 250 EUR
Alternative might be to arrange Sarajevo private airport transfer service and avoid all the hassle.
Fly with: Air Serbia
Taxi service in Sarajevo:
Sarajevo Taxi: (+387) 1515
Samir i Emir Taxi: (+387)1516
Taxi service in Belgrade:
Beo Taxi: (+381)11 2415 555
Zuti Taxi: (+381) 11 328 30 30
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This is one of the most painful but most common ways of traveling among locals. The fares are extremely cheap and can fit into anyone’s budget but do note that this journey will take over 8h on curvy mountainous roads.
The good thing about bus is that you do not need to worry about booking a ticket in advance, as a matter of fact, this is sometimes impossible, but having in mind the bus is most of the time half full, companies need to make numerous stops on the way and while it can be interesting at the beginning, after couple of hours you might feel like in a some strange bus quarantine. The buses itself are comfortable and there will be couple of stops to buy water or food.
Sarajevo has two separate bus stations: main or the central one, and the one at the eastern part of the city- Lukavica. The main bus station is in the centre of the city, just next to the AVAZ tower (cca 10 min of tram or taxi ride to the old town) while the other one is around 20-30 min. of taxi drive from the centre. Despite the short distance being an advantage, there is only one bus per day that connects Sarajevo and Belgrade from the main bus station.
Reaching the central bus station in Sarajevo is not an issue at all. It is 3kms away from the the old town so you can either take a walk to there (Map) or simply take a tram No.1 which will take you directly to the bus and train station. The tram no.1 is not the most frequent 1 so, if you are not into waiting for cca 15min or longer, you can simply take any other tram and exit in front of the Historical Museum (Zmaja od Bosne, street which is known as the famous Snipers Alley during the times of Siege of Sarajevo)and take a 10-15min walk to the bus station.
The second bus station, Lukavica, has more frequent departures which allows you even to take a night bus and arrive in Belgrade very early in the morning. It takes between 7 and 8 hours of drive to reach destination. However, reaching the bus station can be a bit tricky for a first time visitors. The easiest option is taking a taxi but finding your way with a trolley bus is also quite simple if you check a map in advance. Trolley bus no.103 is around 500m from the Lukavica bus station (Google Map) and it runs frequently. If departing from Belgrade just keep in mind which bus station you will arrive at.
Belgrade main bus station (BAS) is located at the address Zeleznicka 4 and very close to the city centre. It is located just next to the railway station and can easily be reached by short walk, taking tram lines 2, 7, 9 or 13 or bus no. 78 and 83.
FT likes and supports local stories and experiences and this is the biggest reason why we recommend a bus from Sarajevo to Belgrade or the opposite direction. Meeting the locals can be a really great experience which will still be 8h long but will definitely minimise the boredom and feel of sickness while the bus is stumbling across the curvy roads.
Bus ticket price: cca 20 EUR one way ticket
Pros: Affordable trip suitable for anyone’s budget that will allow you to meet local people
Cons: Length of the trip that might come as an exhausting
Bus Stations in Sarajevo:
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Renting a car in Sarajevo or Belgrade can be a very affordable and interesting way of transferring. This means you will be able to choose your own route and drive safely while making stops wherever you want. The area between Sarajevo and Belgrade can be fascinating so make sure to start early and do some stops along the way.
The shortest route is traveling from Sarajevo to Belgrade via Zvornik and Sabac (Google Map) and it will take you around 5h with border crossing. Depending on the season, border crossing usually lasts around 20min but can be longer. On the other hand, the most interesting route is definitely driving through East Bosnia and West Serbia. Do homework before the trip and read a bit about these regions, decide on which stops would be most interesting for your travel partners and you, and make sure to have a map as losing your way in this part of the world can be a piece of cake if you are a first time traveler.
One thing you definitely need to keep in mind is the fact that roads between Sarajevo and Belgrade are mountainous and drivers familiar with roads are speeding very often. If you are not used to driving along the curvy roads, then maybe you should think twice before you make a decision as this could end up as a very long and exhausting struggle to keep up with the road and focusing on safe driving rather than enjoying a scenery which is truly spectacular.
Another thing you should keep in mind is that most of the cars in the Balkans are still manual so, if you are an automatic type of driver do make sure that you book a car in advance as these come in a limited number. You can find several budget friendly companies here.
If you are considering hiring a car and a driver do it in advance and choose wisely. There are numerous private transfers that are offered in the Balkans and many of these come as an illegal way of transferring. With growth of tourism and it being the main source of income for most of the Balkan countries, many people are deciding to offer transfers with their personal vehicles which can be a very tempting thing having in mind the prices that are extremely cheap.
Even if we eliminate the fact you will not have any passenger insurance, the main issue can be at the border controls. Despite most of the officers still being flexible with this way of transfer, they do have a right to stop you from crossing the border in case they suspect your driver is an individual that has no valid license for practicing international transfers.
Choose wisely and carefully, and book only with registered companies who are offering this way of transportation. For further info you can contact our team which is offering private transfers from Sarajevo to Belgrade and the opposite direction in small cars or 8+1 seaters.
Rent a car: cca 30 EUR per day
Private transfer with a driver: cca 250 – 300 EUR per small car
Pros: flexibility during the trip, you can choose your own stops and follow your own itinerary. Budget friendly rent a car options.
Cons: If driving on your own, you should keep in mind that this road trip will require a good driver and lots of focusing on the road. Private transfers can be more expensive than small shared group tours.
Recommended Route: Sarajevo – Zvornik – Šabac – Belgrade. It is 5-6 hour driving. See the Google Map.
Recommended Stops: Restaurant “Mićo Bradina” on the main road, usual stop for most of the buses with good and cheap food, and restaurant Svetionik near Šabac with amazing view over the Sava river.
Think this is the time to mention Funky Tours is the first agency in the Balkans that started offering a tour from Sarajevo to Belgrade and opposite so, eliminating and boycotting all the fake modesty, there is no agency in the world that can do this tour better than us.
However, we do understand that not all of the people are into traveling with small groups or doing a private tour which comes with slightly higher costs. Similar to renting a car but only a lot safer and, in our opinion a lot more interesting, doing a full day tour will definitely enable you to experience the best of off the beaten path locations in both countries.
The itinerary of the tour can be easily found here and for all of you who are not into reading full itineraries at this moment, the regular day tour starts around 7.30 AM and ends around 8 PM.
The timing is flexible and, having in mind you will be traveling in a small group which is never more than 7 people + guide and driver, there are certain points we will end a tour slightly later or even earlier if the entire group agrees to.
However, the scenery is spectacular so we must admit finishing earlier is not something we are used to. Doing a tour will take you through many amazing places such as Visegrad (famous for its amazing Drina river and its bridge that stands proudly in a name of the amazing book written by our Nobel winning author – Ivo Andric), Drvengrad (village made by Emir Kusturica, one of the most popular movie directors from Balkans but also one of the most controversial persons whom most of the locals have a strong opinion about), Mokra gora (place famous for heritage railway station and still functional old Sargan 8 train dating back from Yugoslavia), National Park Tara (spectacular national park with amazing points of views) and many more.
Despite being pioneers in this tour, we will leave out the ego here and mention that there are quite a few companies running a similar tour out of which some offer even slightly cheaper (cca 15-20 EUR difference) options.
The difference here is the fact our team includes in the itinerary an off the beaten path location Burati- village hidden deep in the forest and, despite being UNESCO protected, almost forgotten small nature paradise and home to numerous old tombstones (stecak), Drina river boat cruise as, based on the previous experience this is the best way to soak up the atmosphere of city and delve into the bridge which became an emblem of many sad but also inspiring stories typical for the city, country and Balkan, and famous Sargan 8 train ride which lasts around 45 min. Amazing architectural solution of this old railway represents a small museum on tracks that is fascinately encompassing nature and history.
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Funky Tours team is always flexible and open to any suggestions that come from our guests but one thing we never do willingly is compromising on experience that will gain a special place in our travelers memories, stories and photo albums for many, many years to come.
If you are into taking a shorter trip with fewer stops, you can consider checking into another travel agency, booking a private tour or simply by contacting us- we always do our best to find an option! Did we mention we have no minimum number required? 🙂
Shared tour: from 100 – 120 Eur
Private tour: from 290 to 450 Eur (depending on the vehicle size and group size)
Pros: Most effective and budget friendly way to explore the country and learn about its intriguing history. Small groups and definite departures
Cons: This will take you the whole day so if you are limited with time do check some other options such as direct transfers or private tours.
Let us know if the comments below if you traveled between Sarajevo and Belgrade and what was your experience like? Thank you.