The train journey from Montenegro to Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, is reputed to be one of the most scenic in the world. Whilst the average flight time is a little under an hour, taking the train will take at least ten times this. But it’s absolutely worth it.
So first of all, the ten-hour approximation of the journey time is just that – an approximation. In my case, the train took just over sixteen hours.
Two trains run daily from Bar, the Montenegrin terminus on the southeastern coast, to Belgrade. One in the morning, and one in the evening. Whilst the Montenegrin Railways have invested in new trains, the locomotives that operate the Bar-Belgrade line are decades old and decorated with graffiti.
Though you can view timetables online, you can’t book tickets. There was no issue with showing the staff at the station a couple of screenshots of Belgrade, and a calendar with a date circled though, and I’d soon bought a bunk on the sleeper train for a little over 20 euros.
The compartment on the train is comfortable but basic. A rickety ladder gives access to the top two bunks, and an ill-fitting sheet, as well as a scratchy cover, are provided.
And the toilet. Yeah, you don’t wanna use the toilet…
The views though as the train winds through the mountains are spectacular.
On the Bar to Belgrade line, there are 254 tunnels, which total 114,435 meters in length. There are also 435 bridges. And yeah, did I mention the spectacular scenery??
The train stops a couple of times to allow for passport inspections which doesn’t really take that long but obviously, you have to be woken up for it.
Whilst the train usually takes around ten hours, this is just an approximation. I filled the extra six hours with reading Big Little Lies (it’s great – definitely read it) and chatting with other people who were making the journey.
But finally, sixteen hours after leaving Podgorica, I had made it to Belgrade.