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Sarajevo vs Belgrade

I'm looking at two tours of the Croatia coast; one tours Sarajevo & the other Belgrade with a drive through Montenegro & Kotor; then both up the coast, which one would you recommend?

Also would you go late September or early October?

Thank you,


Posted by
1037 posts

I haven't been to Belgrade, but spent three days in Sarajevo in June 2018 (and two in Mostar) and LOVED Sarajevo. (I posted a long trip report a couple of months ago on the "trip reports" link on this forum, with much description of my time in those two cities, in case that might help you in your decision...).

Posted by
12360 posts

I've been to Belgrade and it was very, very "okay". Of course I just spent a few days cause I had to lay over anyway on a flight from Podgorica [corrected] to Budapest (Wizzair now flies non-stop). I have spent a bit of time in Montenegro over two trips and I will be back asap. Wonderful country. While i did it in pieces, knowing what i know now i would fly into Podgorica (aka Titiograd), Head south down the coast then to the mountains, then to Perast and along the Bay to Dubrovnik and Croatia. Depends on how much time you have.

1 Arrive Podgorica and immediately go to Budva (or spend the night. not a very impressive town but well connected through Rome)
2 Budva
3 Budva to Stari Bar to Ulcinj. Stari Bar is a fascinating ghost town, oldest tree in Europe near by. Great main drag with shops and food. Ulcinj is Muslim Montenegro and has a feel that is unique. Great old town on the hill.
4 Ulcinj to Ostrog Monastery to Zabljak and the Tara Canyon. Fascinating monastery built into a cliff,, then great mountain scenery, zip line over the second deepest canyon in the world. Great fly fishing area.
5. Zabljak area
6. Zabljak to Perast. Perast is the perfect setting to relax in the evening. See the two islands during the day.

7. Perast to Dubrovnik
8. On through Croatia

Yes, i skipped the town of Kotor above. Ive seen it. Not too terribly impressed after seeing Dubrovnik.

On our couple of trips to Montenegro we hired a guide (about 90 euro a day) and a Audi A6 with driver (about 70 euro a day on the days we used him).

Posted by
18850 posts

I visited Sarajevo too long ago (before the civil war) to be able to make a fair comparison between it and Belgrade. Both are interesting. I think you'll find Sarajevo a bit more exotic.

Date-wise, I'd have a strong preference for late-September because of my experience in 2015. That summer I traveled through Bulgaria, Montenegro and Croatia in the latter half of Setember [corrected month] and the first twelve days of October. By late September, the weather was turning fallish in Bulgaria; it was cooler with still-pleasant temperatures and a good bit of rain. I had more rain while in Kotor in early October, and October 11 in Zagreb was a real wash-out. That last day in Zagreb cooled off enough to be unpleasant once I got soaked. The advent of fall occurs at different times each year, but it will probably occur right around the time you'll be in the area. I'd rather not have as much rain as I experienced, though it certainly didn't spoil the trip.

Posted by
12360 posts

If you do my trip in the opposite direction you end up in Podgorica where there is now nonstop $60 flights to my favorite city in the world --- Budapest. Rural to City, you cant do much better with about 2 weeks..

Posted by
19 posts

Only looking at religion: Sarajevo is Muslim and Belgrade is Serbian Orthodox. Understanding the history of the 1990s in this region, how do you compare these cities? Considering the Balkan Wars in the 1990s, both cities need your attention before you ask which one.

Not sure if this will help, but after spending 2 nights in Istria-Roving (LOVE Rovinj!!! RS Trip - 16 Days Best of E Europe), I returned to Croatia on my own and stayed 5 nights in Dubrovnik. I took 2 different day trips from Dubrovnik - one to Mostar and another to Kotor. Both mid-April 2018.

Kotor was lovely. Gorgeous scenery. Really gorgeous scenery. Unfortunately, I spent too much time looking at scenery due to road construction. In Montenegro, you don't wait a stop light or a few minutes. You wait 45+ minutes due to construction and the 2 lane highway. Glad I saw Kotor (yawn).
I don't think this is a fair comparison - as I've rearranged my future travel plans to include both cities.

Mostar was different in great ways. My tiny tour group of 9 (driver-Croat, one couple from Britain, another from Finland, me-US, single male from Slovenia, and couple from Dubai) had too many border crossings. One of them was stumped why 6 different nationalities were able to cross all borders without fighting. I'm Jewish. I had lunch with the couple from Dubai.

Guess I'm trying to say that...while I've never been to either Sarajevo or Belgrade (hope to remedy this next Spring), in this part of the world, it's not an either/or. It's not like do I visit Venice or Sicily? In the Balkans/former Yugoslavia, Croatia is more coastal fun; Belgrade is inland.