For travellers that have already explored the beautiful Croatian coastline and end up in the Croatian capital, one of the most popular routes when travelling in the Balkans is to head from Zagreb to Belgrade.
Despite being two of the biggest cities in the region, travelling from Zagreb to Belgrade isn’t as straightforward as you might be used to if you have previously been travelling in Central Europe and staying in the Schengen area. This is due to Serbia not currently being a part of the European Union and transport companies not having a single booking system.
If you’re planning on travelling from the Croatian capital to the Serbian capital in the near future, here’s everything you need to know about transport options available on this route.
How to Go from Zagreb to Belgrade
There are three main transport options for going from Zagreb to Belgrade: bus, train or car.
Zagreb to Belgrade Bus
If you’re planning on travelling from Zagreb to Belgrade by bus then you have a couple of different options in terms of how you book your tickets.
The first option is to travel with the growing European bus company known as Flixbus. Over the last few years, Flixbus has been increasing its presence throughout Europe with more and more routes being offered. They currently offer 4 routes per day which can either be booked online here or by going to the FlixBus counter at the Zagreb bus station. FlixBus tickets do not need to be printed if booked online and you can simply show them the ticket on your phone.
The second option is to book tickets with the other local companies that operate on the Zagreb to Belgrade bus route. You can see and book schedules on aggregate bus websites like GetByBus or by going to the main ticket counter at the Zagreb Bus Station. These tickets are typically required to be printed if booked online.
If you’re travelling this route in reverse from Belgrade to Zagreb then you also have the same options as if you were travelling from Zagreb to Belgrade.
When departing Zagreb by bus, you have a couple of options to get to the main bus station. A number of tram lines stop at the main bus station and you can purchase a single-use ticket that is valid for 30 minutes from a kiosk for 4kn (approximately €0.50). You can also take a taxi using apps like Uber or Bolt which is a good way to ensure you get a fair price rather than hailing one off the street.
Buses at Zagreb bus station depart from the lower level with tickets available for sale on the upper level. Flixbus departures leave from platform 108.
The journey from Zagreb to Belgrade by bus takes approximately 6 hours with a stop around 2.5 hours into the journey where you can buy snacks and use the bathroom. It’s worth keeping some change on you as using the bathrooms costs 3kn.
The border crossing by bus from Zagreb to Belgrade is fairly straightforward. On the Croatian side, a border guard will come on and collect everybody’s passports. Your passports will then be returned and you’ll drive across to the Serbian side. Here, you’ll need to get off the bus and go through passport control however there is no need to collect your bags.
When you arrive in Belgrade, you can use the Yandex taxi app to get a taxi to your accommodation or alternatively walk if you’re staying close to the bus station.
Zagreb to Belgrade Train
For travellers that prefer to take the train, options are limited if travelling from Zagreb to Belgrade or back.
There is currently one train that departs Zagreb at 11:03 am and arrives in Belgrade at 5:42 pm. Going in the other direction from Belgrade to Zagreb, there is a train that departs at 10:35 am from Belgrade and arrives in Zagreb at 6:12 pm. You can check the latest timetables here. There doesn’t appear to be a way to book these tickets online so if you want to take the train, your best bet is to go to the train station and buy tickets directly there.
The train is slower than the bus and with only one departure per day a lot less convenient. It’s also worth considering that Belgrade’s Central Train Station is further out of the city than the bus station so you’ll need to pay more to get into the centre of Belgrade if that’s where you’re staying.
Overall, if you debating between public transport options from Zagreb to Belgrade or Belgrade to Zagreb, I suggest taking the bus over the train.
Zagreb to Belgrade by Car
If you’re thinking of driving through the Balkans, then it’s relatively straight forward to go from Zagreb to Belgrade by car. The distance is approximately 400 kilometres and road quality is good between the two cities.
There are numerous options available for car rental in Zagreb (and also from Belgrade if you’re travelling from Belgrade to Zagreb instead). We suggest browsing on RentalCars.Com to find the best option for you as the website aggregates results across all the major providers and allows you to easily filter down to your preferences.
If you’re looking to break up the journey when travelling from Zagreb to Belgrade by car then some options include exploring the Slavonian region of Croatia or stopping in Serbia’s second-largest city Novi Sad after you cross the border.
Where to Stay in Belgrade
If you’re looking for some ideas on places to stay in Belgrade once you arrive from Zagreb, here are a few suggestions.
Hedonist Hostel — If you’re a backpacker or budget traveller and looking to meet travellers and have a good time in Belgrade, then this hostel is perfect. Offering both dorms and private rooms, there are spacious common facilities including a lovely garden and it is centrally located. Click here to see their latest prices
Garni Hotel Opera — A fantastic mid-range hotel with modern amenities that is centrally located. They offer a few different private rooms suitable for couples or families and guest have access to an on-site bar. Click here to see their latest prices
Hotel Moskva – One of the most historic hotels in all of Belgrade, this is still the choice for many travellers looking for a bit of luxury during their stay. They offer a range of rooms with all guests receiving complimentary gym and spa access. There is the option to include breakfast in your nightly rate. Click here to see their latest prices.
Airbnb – There are a number of properties available on Airbnb in Belgrade such as this fantastic centrally located modern apartment. If you’re new to Airbnb, you can click here to get up $40 off your first stay!
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse the best deals on hotels in Belgrade!
Where to Stay in Zagreb
If you’re travelling in the reverse direction from Belgrade to Zagreb, here are a few choices for places to stay in the Croatian capital.
Hostel Mali Mrak – A great option for backpackers in the Croatian capital, this hostel has dorms and private rooms as well as some resident pets. There is a lovely garden area and the staff make it easy to meet other travellers. Click here to see their latest prices
Casablanca Boutique B&B – A fantastic mid-range hotel option, located within walking distance of all of Zagreb’s major sites. There are rooms available to suit solo travellers or couples with a great breakfast provided daily. Click here to see their latest prices
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Zagreb
Travelling from Zagreb to Belgrade is a fairly straightforward journey with buses, trains and driving the most popular options for going between these two cities.
When travelling in the Balkans, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a travel insurance policy so you’re covered for any unfortunate events! We like WorldNomads and always use them for our trips – click here to get a quote from WorldNomads
Are you planning on going from Zagreb to Belgrade or back? Have you been recently? Let us know in the comments below!