The railway line from Sarajevo to Mostar is one of the few railway lines in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It connects the capital of the country with the capital of the Herzegovina region. Winding across the steep Ivan pass and then following the gorge of the Neretva river it is one of the most beautiful train journeys of the Balkans. Recently, ZFBH (Railway of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina) has introduced its new fleet of modern Talgo trains on this route. We travelled on this route during our last trip through the Balkans. Read more about about journey and find out about how to buy tickets below.
Sarajevo to Mostar by Train
ZFBH operate one daily train from Sarajevo via Konjic and Mostar to Capljina. The train leaves in the afternoon, arriving in Mostar in the early evening and returning to Sarajevo in the morning. During the summer season a second pair of trains runs, departing from Sarajevo in the morning and returning in the evening. Both trains consist of the new Talgo trainsets which have been delivered a few years ago and now have been finally put into service. They probably offer the most modern, comfortable train journey on the whole of the Balkans.
The Talgo trains have air-condition and comfortable seats which can be turned in the direction of travel. Power sockets and Wifi is available as well as an onboard entertainment system. The trains are equipped for persons with reduced mobility. Bicycles can not be conveyed.
Tickets for the trains are not available online, you have to buy them at a ticket office at a railway station. We bought our tickets at Sarajevo station at the day of departure. A single ticket in 2nd clas from Sarajevo to Mostar cost 11,90 BAM (6€). This included 1 BAM for a compulsory seat reservation. In theory, tickets for 1st class are sold as well however I had the impression that on board the train 1st class coaches were not accessible. If you are travelling with Interrail, you simply need to buy the seat reservation for 1 BAM (0,50€).
Finding schedules is a bit cumbersome as they are not included in schedule planners such as plan.rail.cc or the Rail Planner App. A basic schedule planner is available on the website of ZFBH. I’ve also listed the timings of the Talgo trains with the most important stops below. There are no other trains from/to Mostar and only one extra regional train service between Sarajevo and Konjic!
|until September 30||daily||daily||until September 30|
|Sarajevo dep||07:01||16:26||Capljina dep||05:52||19:25|
|Konjic arr||08:00||17:25||Mostar dep||06:27||20:00|
|Mostar arr||09:00||18:25||Konjic dep||07:27||21:00|
|Capljina arr||09:35||19:00||Sarajevo arr||08:32||21:59|
Our train Journey from Sarajevo to Mostar
We took the tramway to get from our apartment close to the basar to the station. From Baščaršija station take any tramway (line 1, 2, 3 or 5) and travel to Muzej stop. Tram 3 then continues directly to the train station, while the other lines follow the main road out of the city. As tramway 3 doesn’t run very frequently it is usually faster to take any tram to Muzej. From there, walk to the station, which takes about five minutes or so. When we arrived at the station we bought our tickets from the ticket office. It is located on the right side of the large central hall. The tickets were 11,90 BAM per person.
While we were waiting for the train I explored the station a little bit. It is way too big for today’s sparse traffic but I hope that with the introduction of the new Talgo services passenger numbers will rise again. About half an hour before departure the train pulled into the station on track 1. All passengers had to get on the train at the door of coach 4. Here the conductor did already check the tickets. Our reserved seats where located next to the bar coach and were facing in the direction of travel – perfect! We then found out that it is possible to turn almost seats 180 degrees, a typcial feature of spanish trains (Talgo is a spanish company).
Travelling across Ivan Pass
Our train slowly left Sarajevo station, making its way through the suburbs. The new train rattling over old tracks was quite a stark contrast. As Sarajevo was behind us the railway line quickly started to gain height. We crossed several quite long and high viaducts and after about half an hour entered the 3221m long Ivan tunnel. As soon as we saw daylight again we went to the bar coach to get a coffee (2 BAM/1€). The descent down to Konjic is spectacular, the railway clinging to the steep mountains, crossing many viaducts and tunnels. Unfortunately you can’t open the windows of the Talgo trains and the glass is reflecting really strongly so my pictures turned out quite bad. You can find some nice pictures from this route in the blog post of Daniel, who was travelling with the old Swedish trains a while ago: Sarajevo to Mostar and Capljina
Through the Neretva gorge
From Konjic the line runs along the Neretva river. The valley is not very wide and both railway and road do not have much space between the river and the mountains on both sides. We stayed in the bar coach for another drink, marvelling at the stunning scenery. If only the windows of the train could be opened! But that really is the only downside of the new trains. Apart from that, they are a welcome boost for the railway in that area, more comfortable and faster than the buses – and cheaper!
Two hours after leaving Sarajevo we finally reached Mostar. Again, the station is much too big for todays traffic, but hopefully that will change over the coming years. We walked by the adjacent bus station towards the city centre and after just 15 minutes arrived at our hostel.
Update: September 2017