Taking the train from Sarajevo to Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
It’s ironic that Bosnia and Herzegovina, the only country with no international rail links* would have the most civilized train route in the Balkans.
* Sarajevo used to have trains running to Zagreb (Croatia) and Belgrade (Serbia). That ended a few years ago.
I’ve often written about the crappy public transportation in the region (see my post on Our worst ever Train Experiences). Even worse than the trains are Balkan buses. That’s why the train that runs the main line in Bosnia (which runs between Sarajevo and Mostar) is so odd: it’s a Spanish-made Talgo train. It’s modern, clean and fast, with large windows and air conditioning. It’s the standard, modern luxury train we take for granted in Western Europe.
The other great thing about this route is the natural beauty along the way. Leaving Sarajevo, the route spans mountains and valleys, much of the line running along mountain sides and high bridges. About halfway through the 120 km journey, the train runs along the Neretva river: a beautiful turquoise river known for being one of the coldest rivers in the world (it originates from a spring originating in the mountains in the Herzegovina region along the borders with Serbia and Montenegro).
A quick video (we unfortunately had a very bad weather day…)
The scheduled time between Sarajevo and Mostar is just under 2 hours. The train runs twice daily in both directions.
Sarajevo -> Mostar
1) Leaves 07:15, arrives 09:05
2) Leaves 16:40, arrives 18:44
Mostar -> Sarajevo
1) Leaves 06:39 -> arrives 08:33
2) Leaves 16:38 – > arrives 18:55
Cost 11:90 BAM one way (that’s a bit less than $7 USD)
Have a look at the official website.
You can theoretically buy/reserve tickets on the website by filling out the information boxes at the bottom of the train information. You’ll have to pick up the tickets at the station though which kind of defeats the purpose…
This being the Balkans, be ready for everything not go to smoothly. Going from Mostar to Sarajevo, there was an issue with the train and all the passengers were taken on a bus. About halfway along the route, we stopped at a train station in the middle of nowhere where the train was waiting for us.
Coming back from Sarajevo to Mostar all went smoothly. Except that the 1 hour, 50 minute scheduled ride took 2 hours, 30 minutes and we almost missed our connecting bus to Split.
So just build in a bit of extra time for things not according to plan…
Otherwise, if going between Sarajevo and Mostar (both great cities to visit), the train is THE way to do it. The views are great and the comfort level incomparable.
Train fans might like this post from the Euronews website: ‘A world of train’: Where in Europe is rail travel a nightmare?
Related: A Guide to Sarajevo
Related: Why Mostar needs more than just a day trip
PS. Looking to book flights, hotels, tours, or rent a car? Have a look at our Travel Resources page.
If you haven’t subscribed yet and want to get our posts and newsletters sent to your email, just insert your email address below
Once when I was a student in my twenties studying and after that working in Mostar for almost a whole decade, going every Month once or twice back to my hometown which is even further away than Sarajevo and having a long-time-long-distance relationship between Mostar and Sarajevo I can say that I drove this route at least a couple hundred times back and forth which is more than the circumference of the earth. At that time the wagons were older but had a lot of character. The scenery was and is beautiful, the tunnels are incredible. In winter the snow and ice and in summer the beautiful river and at night the lights shimmer in the distance as you approach town after town. I usually would meet a tourist and talk for 2–3 hours (I liked practicing my foreign languages 🙂 Nowadays I live abroad and when I visit home, I usually drive with car down to Mostar for a day or two, but it isn’t the same feeling as it once were.
Thank you for sharing your memories. It’s a beautiful story and makes us want to come back, preferably in winter as you’ve so eloquently described. Thank you again for taking the time to write this.
Ying & Brad
Love the scenery. What a lovely way to travel! Will definitely take your advice when we get to that neck of the wood some day. Thanks for sharing Frank. (BTW, we also took your encouragement of starting a blog. Not much going on at the moment, so we’ve been writing up some past trips, a pleasant distraction from the reality actually).
You guys have done a great job with the blog! Congratulations!
The only good thing about all this time in lockdown has been the time I’ve had do do some work on the blog. In times like this you need a hobby.
Frank, I really enjoyed your short video. I can’t believe the color of the Neretva river, truly stunning. I love train journeys, this one looks absolutely gorgeous.
You should see the river under a sunny sky Gilda!