Ride the Rails in Montenegro & Serbia
Serbia and Montenegro, both provinces of the former Yugoslavia, offer a wide variety of lovely landscapes and a rich cultural heritage.
Beograd, one of Europe’s oldest cities, is serviced by international trains, which connect the Serbian capital to Budapest (7 hours), Sofia (9 hours), Vienna (11 hours), Thessaloniki and Athens (22 hours), and Istanbul (23 hours). Obviously, this is not high-speed train travel, and rail riders should anticipate a bit of an adventure—a charming one, but an adventure nonetheless. Yes, train travel is safe, but consider schedules merely an indication, never a commitment.
The same holds true for domestic lines within Serbia and Montenegro. Though Serbian Railways are striving to achieve higher standards, comfort is, at best, decent, and nothing like what you’ll find in Western Europe. The most popular line, linking Beograd and Bar, takes a good eight hours. So you may want to pass the time indulging in the classic restaurant cars found on long-distance trains.
Best choice, especially for those journeying the entire Balkan region, is to go with a Balkan pass. And, though not compulsory, we highly recommend booking your seat in advance (international and domestic long distance services). You can do so at the train station, one month to a few hours prior to your departure. It costs a few euros for a seat, more if you’d like a couchette or a sleeping car. Unfortunately, Rail Europe can’t reserve seats on Serbian trains, as the local booking system is not available internationally.
For the spirited traveler, discovering Serbia and Montenegro by train, buoyed with a Balkan Pass and a little navigational know-how, is both a rewarding and authentic experience. And to make your trails—and tales—just a bit easier, the English language is commonly spoken here.
For more information on Serbia or Montenegro contact the Serbia or Montenegro Tourist Boards.