When planning your journey from Sarajevo to Plitvice Lakes there are just a few options to consider depending on your preferences and period of the year.
The road distance between Sarajevo and Plitvice Lakes National Park is 327 km.
The cheapest way to travel between these two places is a bus which in total would cost about 38 Euro.
The quickest way is to drive, which will take just over 5 hours if the traffic is fine. The alternative is to fly to Zagreb Airport (a 50-minute flight) and proceed from there.
Below are the detailed travel options for this very popular travel route:
Above: Bosnian countryside viewed from the bus
There is no direct bus line from Sarajevo to Plitvice. However, there are some indirectly connected routes you can consider taking:
The best option is to take the morning bus departing at 7:30 and arriving in Bihac at 14:10 (see the below timetable)
Taking this morning bus will give you plenty of time to connect with another bus from Bihac.
(See updated schedules at centotrans.com, the Bosnian bus company that runs this regular daily route. The website offers online booking too)
Take the bus that goes from Bihac to Zagreb which is departing at 16:45 from Bihac. It arrives in Plitvice, bus stops at entrances 1 and 2 at 17:20.
The ticket cost is a100 HRK (about 14 Euro), you can buy it in advance here.
The total cost (ticket price/fare) is between 35 and 48 Euros.
You can book this bus journey in advance here.
Above photo: Driving from Sarajevo to Plitvicka Jezera, views from the window
It takes about 5 hours and 30 minutes to drive from Sarajevo to Plitvice. In the summertime, it is very pleasant to drive while in winter roads can be slippery or frozen. The driving time in the winter is longer as the conditions of the roads are unpredictable.
There are at least 3 driving routes, some involving motorways and tolls – see the map below:
To see the large map click here
Travel Tip: If you are driving via Bihac, try to give yourself some time to stop and see the Una River (see this fantastic video). The river is truly beautiful and wild and worth stopping on your way to see its lovely water and colours. We passed there recently in late autumn when I took these photos from the road:
Una River viewed from the road near Bihac
We stopped near the road (our car) to see the landscape
Viewpoint over the valley in Bosnia. It was a cloudy day, unfortunately, :/
You can choose to fly from Sarajevo to Zagreb and get to Plitvice from there. This is the shortest and the most pleasant way of travelling between these two places. It is also the most expensive one.
Above: Flights timetable
There are no direct flights from Sarajevo to Plitvice. Plitvice’s nearest airport is in Zagreb which is about 140 km away from the Park and driving time is just under 2 hours.
There are at least 2 flights per day all year round, connecting Sarajevo with Zagreb. The flight duration is just about 50 minutes. The fare/ tickets are about 150 Euro one way.
You can book your flight on croatiaairlines.com website
Once you arrive at Zagreb airport, see detailed info on how to get from Zagreb to Plitvice
There are some local taxi drivers and travel agents in Sarajevo offering private transfers to Plitvice. It can be pretty costly ( I was quoted 395 Euros one way for 3 passengers).
But if you have travel companions it can make sense to share the cost and take a minibus ride to Plitvice. The drive is really pleasant and the advantage is that you can see a large chunk of Bosnia through the windows!
However, to consider a day trip is not viable as you will spend at least 11 hours riding to and fro which will leave you no time to explore the park.
All the above travel routes between these two places include border crossing(s) between Bosnia and Croatia so delays in arrival time may occur due to border control procedures or traffic jams on border crossings. Also, travel documents/passports are essential as Bosnia is not part of the European Union.