Getting from Sarajevo to Plitvice Lakes

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 (50 minutes flight) and proceed from there.

Below are the detailed travel options for this very popular travel route:

From Sarajevo to Plitvice by Bus:

views from the bus
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 to take:

First option- Bus from Sarajevo to Bihac and another bus to Plitvice:

  • Bus from Sarajevo to Bihac; duration 6 hours and 40 minutes, 4 times a day. The distance is 323 km. The ticket price/fare is 41 KM which is about 23 Euro.

The best option is to take morning bus departing at 7:30 arriving in Bihac at 14:10 (see below timetable)

bus timetable from Sarajevo to Bihac

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)

  • To get from Bihac to Plitvice Lakes involves another 40 km ride. You have to take a bus to Zagreb but make sure you choose one which stops in Plitvice 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 entrance 1 and 2 at 17:20.

The ticket cost is a100 HRK (about 14 Euro), you can buy it in advance here.

  • Note: This leg of travel involves crossing the Bosnia/Croatia border, so make sure you have your documents ready.

road to plitvice and bihac

The second option – Bus from Sarajevo to Zagreb, Karlovac or Split and another bus to Plitvice:

  • Bus from Sarajevo to Split, Karlovac or Zagreb – Plitvice;  duration 13 to 15 hours, including waiting time between bus rides of about 2,5 hours.

The total cost (ticket price/fare) is between 35 and 48 Euro.

You can book this bus journey it in advance here.

  • Travel tip: As this is a very long bus ride, you also have the option to take overnight buses if your intention is to spare some time and sleep while travelling.

Driving to Plitvice:

Driving from Sarajevo to Plitvicka Jezera - views
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 summer time it is a very pleasant to drive while on winter roads can be slippery or frozen. The driving time in the winter is longer as conditions of the roads are unpredictable.

There are at least 3 driving routes, some involving motorways and tolls – see the map below:

Map of the drive:

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
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.

Viewpoint over the valley in Bosnia. It was a cloudy day, unfortunately :/

panoramic views

Flights to Plitvice:

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.

timetable for sarajevo to zagreb flights
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

Day trip and Private transfers from Sarajevo to Plitvice:

There are some local taxi drivers and travel agents in Sarajevo offering private transfer 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 a sense to share the cost and take 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.

Important info:

All 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/ passorts are essential as Bosnia is not part of the European union.