One of the most spectacular train rides on the Med Run so far was the journey from Belgrade, Serbia to Bar, Montenegro. This scenic route took us through the southern pockets of Serbia and along the spine of Montenegro. On both sides of the train, we saw tumultuous mountains soaring into the sky, with rivers winding their way through the valleys and motorways intercepting the ridges. Although Montenegro’s mountains aren’t quite as famously tall as many other in Western Europe, the country has a mountainous terrain that gives it a rugged landscape.
Our halfway stop was Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. Despite being the country’s biggest city, the relatively small enclave is tucked within the mountains too and is as quaint as most other small Western European towns. As we left Podgorica behind, the mountain that gave the country its name appeared in the distance. Mount Lovćen was named Monte Negro (Black Mountain) by the Venetians when they ruled this region for over 400 years. Montenegro eventually evolved to become the name of the country and has stuck to it until now.
Towards the end of the journey, the train meandered along the coast, past one pebbled beach after another after we reached the last stop on the route, the port city of Bar. The entire journey took over 12 hours, but it took us from edgy urban environments to the dark empty countryside of Serbia and into the impressive mountains of Montenegro before ending along the glimmering Adriatic coast.
All in all, this was the most memorable train journey – not only for the beauty of the landscapes but also for the interesting train experience. In contrast to the other trains we’ve experienced on this trip, Serbian trains were the least comfortable yet most evocative, with Soviet-style carriages and velvet-green seats and curtains that possibly haven’t been changed since the 1960s. But as peculiar as it was, it also brought along friendly Balkan folks and spectacular scenery which I wouldn’t trade anything for.
Getting ready to leave Belgrade
Greenery in Southern Serbia
Catching mountain views from the train
A magnificent view of Montenegro’s mountains from the train
Riding alongside a river stream at dusk
Passengers waiting at Podgorica station, the country’s capital
Distinctive landscape: dry arid grassland
A hilly town spotted while whisking through the Montenegro countryside
Getting a glimpse of Lake Skadar
The edge of Lake Skadar from the train
The train travels alongside the road that leads to Bar
Rural villages dot the landscape
Making our way to the destination
Our 6-berth Soviet-style train cabin
Arriving in Bar, Montenegro
Like other Balkan countries, Montenegro is relatively small, with only two hours or less between each major city/town. This train journey that we took is the only route in Montenegro and it runs from north to south of the country. The most popular stops are Podgorica (9 hours from Belgrade) and Sutomore (1 hour away from Bar). Budva is just an hour’s bus ride from Bar and Kotor is an hour and a half away. Take note that buses run very frequently but they get very crowded in summer.
With our Eurail passes, we only had to pay for the reservation fee (only necessary if booking sleeper trains). We opted for the cheapest option, which was a 6-berth train cabin, with a reservation fee of around €7 per person. The four-berth bunk costs approximately €15 per person.
Disclaimer: Our trip was made possible by Eurail.Com, but all opinions expressed are our own.