Bosnia and Herzegovina

Transportation

Transportation - Get In


By plane

Sarajevo Airport (IATA: SJJ) is in the suburb of Butmir and is relatively close to the city centre. There is no direct public transportation, and taxi fares to/from the airport are surprisingly expensive for the short distance - your best bet is to take a taxi to the tram terminus at Ilidža and board the tram for the last part of your journey, cost BAM1.80)

Croatia Airlines connects Sarajevo via Zagreb at least twice daily, and from there connections are possible to Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, Zürich and several other European cities.

Serbia's Jat Airways connects Sarajevo daily via Belgrade (with a late night-early morning service), and from there one can connect with other JAT domestic and international flights.

Some of the other airlines which operate regular (daily) services into Sarajevo include:

Norwegian opens new routes from Sarajevo to Oslo-Rygge and Stockholm-Arlanda in May/June 2009. There will be two flights a week to each destination. For other services, check the Sarajevo Airport website.

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

Many travellers choose to fly into Croatia, continuing travel by bus to BiH, on Zagreb, Split, Zadar or Dubrovnik, the latter two being serviced by seasonal cheap tourist charter flights.


By train

Train services across the country are slowly improving once again, though speeds and frequencies are still low. Much of the rail infrastructure was damaged during the recent conflict, and lines have been opened on a priority basis, though not to the high level of service pre-war. The train services are operated by the two separate entities (based on the political division of the country), which results in the locomotives being changed rather often.

  • To/from Croatia
There is one daily train running from Sarajevo to Zagreb (10 hours), the capital of Croatia, and onwards to the rest of Europe.
The 'day' train leaves from Zagreb at 08:59AM and arrives in Sarajevo at 18:23h. The return journey departs Sarajevo around 10:21 and coming to Zagreb at 19:42. Ticket costs around 30 euros one way (return ticket cost around 50 euros). Tickets can be purchased in the international office at train station in Croatia or in Bosnia in local currency. There is no buffet car on this route - be advised to take supplies beforehand for the spectacular 9hr trip, though men with small trolleys will occasionally walk through the train selling overpriced soft drinks etc.
Aim to buy your ticket before you board the train. If you don't buy before you board then buy from the conductor onboard but beware that he/she may only sell you a ticket for his/her part of the journey - the staff and locomotives usually change when the train leaves Croatian territory and again when the train goes from the territory of Republika Srpska into the Federation.

Special tickets

  • Travelling to Bosnia is possible with an Interrail-pass. In Bosnia, other Balkanscountries & Turkey also with the Balkan Flexipass.

By car

WARNING: Be aware that due to the constant landmine threat it is better not to leave paved roads, even for a pee-break in areas you are not familiar with.
 

Bosnia is a beautiful country to drive in; the scenery is often spectacular.

However, due to the mountainous terrain, atrocious driving by many road users (including dangerous overtaking on narrow highways), and generally poor road conditions throughout the country, do not expect speeds will be fast - especially given the relatively short distance 'as the crow flies'. As of 2009, the main routes from the coast via Mostar to Sarajevo, and north from Sarajevo to the Croatian border at Slavonski Brod/Slavonski Samad, have been restored and are of excellent quality. A new highway which follows this path is under construction, with the first part north of Sarajevo readily available, although some construction may slow down traffic at each end of this projected highway. From Sarajevo side you will have to pay toll of 2 km for passenger car. Toll booths at the opposite end currently (as of 2011 august) are being installed and not functioning.

When finished, this highway will connect the northern part of Croatia with the coast as well as the new highway from Zagreb to Split, which eventually will extend to Dubrovnik.

Petrol stations can be hard to find in some spots - often the best place to fill up is on the edge of towns and cities rather than in them.

Border crossings normally pose few problems.

Mechanics who speak English may be hard to find, and licensing may be an issue so ensure that you are allowed to actually drive there. Police regularly set up road blocks on the road and don't be surprised to be pulled over to check your papers and have a chat!

Renting a car is also an option, especially if you are visiting remote destinations outside of Sarajevo. You can book On-line at IzziCarHireBosniandHerzegovina.com [www] .


By bus

Buses are plentiful in and around Bosnia. A list of bus stations and timetables in Bosnia can be found here [www]

Most international buses arrive at the main Sarajevo bus station (autobuska stanica) which is located next to the railway station close to the centre of Sarajevo. A few buses from Belgrade, the Republika Srpska entity and Montenegro use the Lukavica bus station in Istočno (Eastern) Sarajevo (the Serbian neighbourhood of the town).

Frequent coach services run from Sarajevo to:

  • Croatia: Zagreb (4 daily), Split (4 daily), Rijeka and Pula (daily), and Dubrovnik (daily at 6:30AM)
  • Serbia: between Belgrade and (eastern) Sarajevo there are 5 daily services, there is also a daily service to Sarajevo main station
  • Slovenia: Ljubljana (daily)
  • Montenegro: Kotor daily (the trip is 7 hours and has spectacular views)

in addition to the longer-distance buses further afield to the Republic of Macedonia, Austria and Germany.

From Mostar, Banja Luka, Tuzla and Zenica are also frequent international services. Herzegovina also has many bus services from the Dalmatian coastal cities of Croatia.

International bus services are nearly always in modern, luxurious 5-star coaches - the only exceptions to this are normally the local buses operating slightly over the border (max. 3 hour trips).

Companies

Due to the Bosnian war in the 1990s there are bus companies serving the Bosnian diaspora, which provide a cheap and clean way of getting to the other side of the European continent.

  • CentrotransBased in Sarajevo (buses are operated through the regular bus stations around the country),  +387 (0) 33 46 40 45fax: +387 (0) 33 46 40 40, e-mail: . 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 253fax: +387 (0) 36 653 251, e-mail: . Regular buses to Germany, Austria, Sweden and Croatia.
  • Semi tours,  +387 (0)61 596 443fax: +32 (0) 36 638699, e-mail: . Cooperation with Eurolines and Centrotrans, several buses per week to Belgium and The Netherlands Return ticket from €137.
  • Gold tours,  +387 (0)32 444 960fax: +387 (0)32 444 961, e-mail: . Buses to Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxemburg and Switzerland. Return ticket from €100.
  • Top Tourist,  +387 66 30 8300fax: +387 51 32 11 00, e-mail: . 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.
  • TuristikBihaćkih branilaca, Bihać (Across the main bus station),  +387 (0) 37 312 611, e-mail: . To the federation by bus from Switzerland.

By boat

Ferries are available from Neum to other cities on the Adriatic connecting to Croatia and other countries. There are no international ferries across the Adriatic to Italy, but these do operate from Dubrovnik and Split.

Similarly transport is available along the inland rivers and lakes, some of which is privately run.

Transportation - Get Around

The inter-entity border between the Federation and Republika Srpska is not controlled and is essentially not very different from U.S. state borders considering its impact on travel.

The best way to get around with public transport is with bus and train (Federation [www], RS [www]). There is a dense network of bus lines, all run by relatively small private companies. Be aware that if you buy a return ticket for a line which is served by more companies, you can only make the return trip with the company you bought the ticket at.

Trains are infrequent and slow. Many train lines were damaged in the war, and have not yet been rebuilt. There is also a lack of carriages and trains to provide frequent services - even on the busy lines like Mostar-Sarajevo, Tuzla-Banja Luka and Sarajevo-Banja Luka. However, the rides are scenic, especially that Mostar-Sarajevo stretch.

Hitchhiking is fun in Bosnia as you will get rides from local people who you won't much encounter through hospitality exchange networks as couchsurfing. However be careful of landmines, and if you're not sure, stay on the paved road, and ask locals ("MEE-ne?").

Cycling is beautiful in Bosnia. Other traffic is not so much used to how to relate to bikes on their way, though.

Google Maps, an online mapping resource, is very rudimentary present in Bosnia. However, volunteers are mapping Bosnia in Open Street Map, and at least the maps of the main towns in Bonia have a lot more detail than those of the maps of the US-based company.

If you are looking for detailed army maps, you can find a list on the site of the army: [www]

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Bosnia and Herzegovina - Travel guide

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