Saturday, September 18, 2021

How To Travel To Bosnia and Herzegovina

EuropeBosnia and HerzegovinaHow To Travel To Bosnia and Herzegovina

By plane

Sarajevo Airport (IATA: SJJ) is located in the Butmir area, near to the city center. There is no direct public transit, and cab prices to/from the airport are shockingly costly for the small distance – your best option is to take a taxi to the tram terminal at Ilida and join the tram for the last leg of your trip, which costs BAM1.80.

Croatia Airlines flies from Sarajevo to Zagreb at least twice daily, with connections to Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, Zürich, and other European destinations.

Jat Airways of Serbia links Sarajevo daily through Belgrade (with a late night-early morning service), from where one may connect with additional JAT internal and international flights.

Other airlines that fly into Sarajevo on a regular (daily) basis include:

  • Adria Airways to Ljubljana
  • Lufthansa to Munich
  • Austrian Airways to Vienna
  • Turkish Airlines to Istanbul

In May/June 2009, Norwegian will launch additional flights from Sarajevo to Oslo-Rygge and Stockholm-Arlanda. Each location will have two flights each week. Check the Sarajevo Airport website for more services.

Mostar, Tuzla, and Banja Luka all have international airports with flights to and from Istanbul, Frankfurt, Zürich, Ljubljana, Basel, Malmö, Gothenburg, and Belgrade.

Many visitors prefer to fly into Croatia before continuing their journey by bus to Bosnia and Herzegovina, stopping in Zagreb, Split, Zadar, or Dubrovnik, the latter two of which are served by seasonal low-cost tourist charter flights.

By train

Train services are gradually improving throughout the nation, but speeds and frequencies remain low. Much of the rail infrastructure was destroyed during the recent conflict, and lines have been reopened on a priority basis, albeit not to the high level of service that existed before to the conflict. The railway services are operated by two different organizations (depending on the country’s political split), resulting in locomotives being swapped often.

To/from Croatia

There is one daily train from Sarajevo to Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, and then on to the rest of Europe.

The ‘day’ train departs Zagreb at 8:59 a.m. and arrives in Sarajevo at 18:23 p.m. The return trip leaves Sarajevo at 10:21 and arrives in Zagreb at 19:42. A one-way ticket costs approximately 30 euros (return ticket cost around 50 euros). Tickets may be bought in local currency at the international office at the railway station in Croatia or Bosnia. There is no buffet car on this route, so bring your own supplies for the magnificent 9-hour journey, but guys with tiny carts may sometimes go through the train selling expensive soft drinks and other items.

Attempt to purchase your train ticket before boarding. If you don’t purchase before you board, you may buy from the conductor aboard, but be aware that he/she may only give you a ticket for his/her portion of the trip – the crew and locomotives typically change when the train leaves Croatian territory and again when it enters Federation territory.

By car

Bosnia is a wonderful nation to travel through; the landscape is frequently breathtaking.

However, anticipate slow speeds owing to the hilly terrain, bad driving by numerous road users (including hazardous passing on small roads), and generally poor road conditions across the nation – particularly considering the comparatively short distance ‘as the crow flies’. The major roads from the coast to Sarajevo through Mostar, and north from Sarajevo to the Croatian border at Slavonski Brod/Slavonski Samad, have been rebuilt and are of good condition as of 2009. A new highway following this route is being built, with the first section north of Sarajevo now open, but minor work may delay travel at both ends of this planned roadway. For passenger cars, there will be a 2 kilometer toll from Sarajevo. Toll booths at the other end are presently being built and are not operational (as of August 2011).

When completed, this route will link the northern portion of Croatia to the coast, as well as the new motorway from Zagreb to Split, which will ultimately continue to Dubrovnik.

Petrol stations may be difficult to locate in certain areas; frequently, the best places to fill up are on the outside of towns and cities rather than inside them.

Border crossings are usually simple.

Mechanics who understand English may be difficult to locate, and licensing may be a problem, so be sure you are legally permitted to drive there. Police put up roadblocks on a regular basis, so don’t be shocked if you’re pulled over to check your papers and have a talk!

Renting a vehicle is also an option, particularly if you want to explore distant locations outside of Sarajevo.

By bus

Buses abound in and around Bosnia. 

Most foreign buses arrive at Sarajevo’s major bus terminal (autobuska stanica), which is adjacent to the train station and near to the city center. The Lukavica bus station in Istono (Eastern) Sarajevo is used by a few buses from Belgrade, the Republika Srpska entity, and Montenegro (the Serbian neighbourhood of the town).

There are frequent bus services from Sarajevo to:

  • Croatia: Zagreb (4 flights per day), Split (4 flights per day), Rijeka and Pula (daily), and Dubrovnik (daily) (daily at 6:30AM)
  • Serbia: There are 5 daily trains between Belgrade and (eastern) Sarajevo, as well as a daily service to Sarajevo main station
  • Slovenia: Ljubljana (daily)
  • Montenegro: Kotor on a daily basis (the trip is 7 hours and has spectacular views)

in addition to long-distance buses to the Republic of Macedonia, Austria, and Germany.

International services are also available from Mostar, Banja Luka, Tuzla, and Zenica. Herzegovina also offers many bus connections from Croatia’s Dalmatian coastline towns.

International bus services are almost always in contemporary, luxury 5-star coaches; the few exceptions are usually local buses that operate only across the border (max. 3 hour trips).

Because of the Bosnian conflict in the 1990s, there are bus companies that serve the Bosnian diaspora and offer an affordable and hygienic method to travel to the other side of the European continent.

  • Centrotrans, Based in Sarajevo (buses are operated through the regular bus stations around the country),  +387 (0) 33 46 40 45, fax: +387 (0) 33 46 40 40, e-mail: [email protected] Centrotrans operates for Eurolines to Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. 
  • Globtour (Operates from Međugorje, through the whole country),  +387 (0)36 653 253, fax: +387 (0) 36 653 251, e-mail: [email protected] Regular buses to Germany, Austria, Sweden and Croatia. 
  • Semi tours,  +387 (0)61 596 443, fax: +32 (0) 36 638699, e-mail: [email protected] Cooperation with Eurolines and Centrotrans, several buses per week to Belgium and The Netherlands Return ticket from €137. 
  • Gold tours,  +387 (0)32 444 960, fax: +387 (0)32 444 961, e-mail: [email protected] Buses to Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxemburg and Switzerland. Return ticket from €100. 
  • Top Tourist,  +387 66 30 8300, fax: +387 51 32 11 00, e-mail: [email protected] Weekly buses from and to Nordic European countries (e.g. Denmark, Sweden, Norway) Tickets can be paid on the bus, but advance booking and payment is recommended. Sarajevo via Salzburg (twice weekly) c. DKK1,000 (BAM280, €140) return. 
  • Turistik, Bihaćkih branilaca, Bihać (Across the main bus station),  +387 (0) 37 312 611, e-mail: [email protected] To the federation by bus from Switzerland. 

By boat

Ferries go from Neum to other Adriatic cities, linking them to Croatia and other countries. There are no international ferries across the Adriatic to Italy, although there are boats from Dubrovnik and Split to Italy.

Similarly, transportation along the interior rivers and lakes is available, some of which is privately operated.