Arrival & Transport


Arriving by Plane

Sarajevo airport (International Airport Butmir) is small and rarely too busy, helping it avoid the long baggage, immigration and customs queues that plague many of Europe's other capital city airports. It has the facilities found at most airports including tourist information and currency exchange, a bar and cafe, an ATM and a souvenir shop. There is no regular scheduled bus service to the centre so your best bets are to either prearrange a transfer through your hotel or grab a cab - there are usually quite a few lined up outside and the 12km trip will cost about 20-25 KM (€10-12.50). As with all international airports, it's not unheard of for taxi drivers to overcharge for a ride into town, especially if you're a foreigner - make sure the metre is switched on before you depart.

Arriving by Train

Bosnia's rail infrastructure was badly damaged during the war and has yet to return to pre-war levels of operation. Most international visitors arriving by train will be coming from Zagreb or Budapest on the daily trains which arrive at 18:30 and 6:25 respectively. There is also a train to and from Ploče on the southern coast of Croatia which is worth looking into as the journey, via Mostar, is very scenic. Sarajevo's train station is right near the bus station and you can get into the heart of town via a bus, tram or 5-6 KM taxi ride. There is no ATM at the station but there is one about 200 metres away at the bus station - just turn right when you come out of the station, go around and past the main post office and the bus station is straight ahead.

Arriving by Bus

Both of Sarajevo’s bus stations are busy places, especially the main one near the train station which serves the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and most international destinations. If you arrive here you can get a tram (number 1) or bus into the centre or grab a cab for around 5-6 KM. There is also an ATM here and a few cafés and bars nearby if the journey has been long, gruelling or both.

If you are coming from or heading to a destination in the Republika Srpska, Serbia proper or Montenegro you will arrive at or depart from Lukavica (aka Istochno Sarajevo) bus station in east Sarajevo. This station is on the fringes of the city and you can either get a taxi into town (about
25 KM) or a bus from the local terminal which is about a 200 metre walk from the station. Cash can be obtained from the machine at the nearby Pom shopping centre. Signage at this bus station is predominately in Cyrillic script. If you are getting a taxi to the bus station make sure your driver knows which one you want - you can do this by explaining your destination to him.

Arriving by Car

Sarajevo’s roads are much improved from a few years ago but this in turn may have contributed to the ever-increasing volume of traffic. Coming in and out of town is fairly straightforward with good signposting to the Centar but once in the heart of town non-local drivers need to contend with narrow streets, lots of one-way and ‘No Entry’ roads and the local drivers, who tend to be impatient behind the wheel and don’t mind using their horn to give a blast to anyone too slow to respond to a changed traffic signal.

Those used to congested inner-cities won’t find it too much of a problem but the more hesitant may be best to leave the car parked at or near their hotel and use public transport, taxis and foot-power for getting around, all of which are less stressful and will give you the opportunity to see and experience a lot more than if you are gripping the wheel and gritting your teeth. This also gets rid of the problem of finding somewhere to park in the car-crowded centre.
 Drivers are required by law to have their headlights on at all times. This is mainly for safety reasons and when you enter one of Bosnia’s long tunnels you’ll be glad it is so. Another safety factor to bear in mind is that roads can be hazardous during the winters, with ice, fog and snow providing a challenge to all but the most experienced of mountainous terrain in winter drivers.

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