Featured above is the main railway station in Belgrade
and it’s most likely where you’ll be arriving and departing. Fortunately it’s right in the center just a 10-15 minute walk from the main walking street Knez Mihailova. If you’re taking a bus instead of a train the bus station is right behind this main entrance to the right. I recently took the bus from Belgrade to Sarajevo which can be confusing so I figured I’d post the “how to” details.
So let’s start it from the top:
You can click this link (main bus station website) to go check out the time tables for wherever you’re trying to go. If you’re trying to go to Sarajevo, as I did, you’ll noticed there’s only one very inconvenient time of departure at 1600 with an arrival of 22:45. I realize calling it inconvenient is just my personal opinion being that I prefer getting on the road early in the morning. Night buses can be great since they save you money on a nights worth of accommodation. However, this doesn’t really count as a night bus since you’re just getting in very late as opposed to traveling through the whole night with a really early morning arrival.
Okay, back on track. When you ask for Sarajevo at the station or plug it into this website all you’re going to see is the 1600 departure. What you need to do is change it to East Sarajevo (Istočno Sarajevo) which will give you a plethora of options to choos from – 6am, 8am, etc… throughout the day. You can buy it online or drop by the station. The price should be the same so it doesn’t really matter how you do it. Personally I found it easiest to do in person since the website is a little finicky.
Maybe you’ve looked at where the East Sarajevo Bus Station is located. Now you’re thinking to yourself that’s too far out to walk into the center with all my stuff. Fair enough. You’re options are to take a taxi into the center for around 5 euros or ask the bus driver to drop you off closer to the center. The latter may sound a bit awkward and, yes, there may be a bit of a language barrier but if you just ask the driver will drop you off somewhere near the center 95% of the time. That’s my pro tip.
If you’ve done some searches online I’m sure you’ve seen some suggestions for taking a private tour company. This sounds splendid, right? I mean… they’re the same price as the public bus and should drive you straight to the address you’re staying at in Sarajevo. Well, the problem is that they may take forever to pick you up and drop you off depending on how spread out everyone is that they have to pick up for the trip.
I’ve taken the GEA Tours transfer once and attempted to take it one other time. I guess I can say they work 50% of the time based of my experience. The first time they picked me up and dropped me off without a problem. Instead of taking the public bus for this trip I tried to take them again. I ventured into their smokey office – this is normal, most places are smoking inside in Serbia – to ask some questions but they instantly started taking down my information. I was asking the price/departure time and they were asking for my name and address.
I decided to book it online to get around the miscommunication that seemed to be happening in person. In the email, I was still asking for this basic information. All I really got was that I’d pay the driver upon pick up and he’d pick me up on the day I wanted to leave. They would call me between 5-7pm the night before to inform me of my departure time. The phone call never came that night. I tried to call them, emailed them, and never got a response which left me scrambling to the bus station and paying a bit more since I purchased it the night before departure. I woke up to an email that they sent around 4am telling me the driver would be picking me up at 8am. Obviously, I didn’t take it. Those guys really need to get organized. If you’re cool with the 50/50 ratio or being informed of your departure time at 4am the night before I guess give it a shot. I wouldn’t recommend them tough.
TL;DR: I recommend you take the public bus to Sarajevo and book in person at the main bus station. Be sure to ask for a ticket to East Sarajevo (Istočno Sarajevo). When you get on the bus just ask the driver to drop you off somewhere near the Sarajevo center.