If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on taxis or private transfers, getting from Sarajevo to Mostar and vice versa by train or bus is both affordable and easy. You can expect to ride for about two to three two hours on the scenic route whether you choose the bus or train.
Is bus or train the best way to get from Sarajevo to Mostar?
Many people would prefer the train from Sarajevo to Mostar. For foreign visitors, an established rail system usually seems like a safer and more comfortable way to travel. Even locals like the train because the views are slightly better. That being said, both options take the same general route, so the views are pretty good either way. The train and bus station are adjacent to each other in both Mostar and Sarajevo, so there’s no logistical benefit of taking one over the other.
Perhaps a more important factor is the timetable. There are two trains per day going in each direction. You can search the train schedule here. From Sarajevo to Mostar, the daily trains depart at 7:15 am and 4:49 pm. From Mostar to Sarajevo, they depart at 6:39 am and 3:05 pm. In addition to a painfully early morning departure going both ways, these timetables don’t offer you a lot of flexibility if you need to travel outside those times. For example, if your flight to Sarajevo arrives after 5 pm and you’re going straight to Mostar. Luckily, buses run between Sarajevo and Mostar and back around every hour (up to half hour during certain parts of the day) from about 6 am until the early evening.
While buses offer slightly more flexibility, if you can easily choose either one, I would recommend the train. The train is more comfortable since it has a toilet, charging stations at your seats and WiFi. Depending on which bus you take, you may also have a longer trip between the two cities. Some local buses stop anywhere a passenger requests so it may make 20-30 stops during the trip.
Taking the train from Sarajevo to Mostar and vice versa
You can purchase a ticket at the Sarajevo Railway Station or the Mostar Railway station on the day of travel for 11.90 BAM. This makes it slightly cheaper than most of the buses. Some bus trips cost up to double that (anywhere from 9 to 21 BAM). Both train stations have very few tracks and there are no information boards to give you updates. Your ticket will tell you which platform the train will depart from. It’s likely there will be no other trains leaving at the same time so there isn’t much opportunity for confusion.
As far as the view goes, it starts to really get beautiful during the second half of the ride on the way to Mostar. The train tracks run to the right of the Neretva River so you’d have the best views in the direction of Mostar if you’re sitting on the left side of the train. If you’re taking the train from Mostar to Sarajevo, you’d have the best views with a seat to the right side of the train. But the entire trip is pretty amazing regardless of which side you’re on.
If you care about the view, the time of year you travel is more significant than the side of the train you sit on. That’s because if you’re traveling during the winter months when the days are shorter, you’ll be traveling while it’s still dark for part of the ride. If you’re going from Mostar to Sarajevo, that means it might still be dark for part of the best views on the route; on the plus side, you’ll get to see the sun rise. If you’re traveling from Sarajevo to Mostar in the evening, you’ll be in total darkness shortly into your ride and you won’t get many views at all.
Taking the bus from Sarajevo to Mostar and vice versa
The Sarajevo Bus Station is just to the west of the train station. You can easily walk from one to the other. The Mostar East Bus Station, which is where buses to Sarajevo depart from is next to the railway station. To see what times are available, you can check bus timetables and buy your ticket online. You can also buy your ticket at the ticket office for any of the departing buses. You should note that you’ll have to pay an additional BAM for each piece of luggage that you put in the undercarriage, so you should have some change with you if you’re taking the bus.
In terms of the view, the bus route travels to the left of the Neretva River out of Mostar so you’ll want to sit on the left side of the bus on the way to Sarajevo and on the right side of the bus if you’re traveling to Mostar. Remember that the bus doesn’t have a toilet, so you should use the restroom at the station before you leave or it’ll be a long two or three hours.