Ever since I started living in the world of railway enthusiasts I’ve been asked way too many times if I ever took the train between Belgrade, Serbia and Bar, Montenegro. Almost everyone claims it’s one of the most scenic rail routes in Europe, or maybe even the world! And now, after traveling from Belgrade to Bar by train twice I can happily confirm it!
Table of contents
Belgrade to Bar railway in numbers
The railway line from Belgrade to Bar sprawls for 476 km connecting Serbian capital city of Belgrade with Bar, one of the most important seaports on the Adriatic coast and definitely the major one in Montenegro.
During 11 hours journey, the train passes through 254 tunnels (each of them is marked with its number and length at the entrance) and 435 bridges. It also goes through a very small part of Bosnia and Hercegovina territory.
The biggest highlight of the Belgrade Bar train trip is Mala Rijeka viaduct, just before Podgorica – the capital of Montenegro. It is almost 500 meters long and 200 meters high. Until 2001 it was the highest railway bridge in the world, now the record holder is located in China.
My two trips on the Belgrade to Bar train
There are two daily trains from Belgrade to Bar (and from Bar to Belgrade) and I knew I had to take the day one so I can see the beautiful scenery along the way.
During my first journey, for the reason I don’t remember now, I’ve decided on the Belgrade to Bar direction and well, it turned out it wasn’t the smartest idea. I had my expectations really high and well, the landscape was really nice and so on but it didn’t really get me.
The mountains were lovely, looking at rural Serbia was interesting but it definitely wasn’t what I expected. And long tunnels got boring at some point.
I took the Belgrade Bar train in the early autumn and the downside of traveling in that season is the shorter days. It got dark shortly after we arrived in Montenegro and of course, that’s when amazing views has started. Too bad I couldn’t see much of them. At least the weather was on my side, it was a really sunny day so autumn colors looked really stunning in this bright light.
A couple of years later when I found a good deal on flights to Podgorica I knew I have to fly only to take the iconic railway journey again, this time however in Bar to Belgrade direction. It was mid-September, the weather was stunning and the views along the way were breathtaking, especially in Montenegro. As soon as the Bar to Belgrade train leaves Podgorica the impressive mountainous scenery begins.
Crossing the Mala Rijeka bridge was a bit nerve-wracking, especially when I looked outside of the window and to the river down below. But it was also exciting, thinking that you are on what used to be the highest railway bridge in the world. The train from Belgrade to Bar really lives up to the hype and I honestly think it should be included in all the Balkan travels!
During my second journey, I only took the train from Podgorica towards Serbia but the part from Podgorica to the seaside is stunning too (I took the local train on this route before). You literally cross the Skadar Lake, one of the most pristine lakes in Europe, as the railway line runs through the lake and you can enjoy the beautiful views on both sides. Take a look to the right side when going towards Bar (or left when going to Podgorica) to see the ruins of the fortress.
How is the trip from Belgrade to Bar by train
As for the Belgrade-Bar journey itself: the train was, of course, delayed both times and added an hour to the travel time. But it was a comfortable journey.
During my first trip, for no reason, I got upgraded to the first class with wide and soft seats so there was no problem with sitting so many hours.
The bad thing about the train was that since it was the air-conditioned one I couldn’t open any window to take pictures of the landscape and the windows were so dirty that it was almost impossible to take a decent picture through them (which you can see on the pictures in this article).
During my first trip, I found normal windows in the restaurant car so I spent some time there, just standing and looking outside, without being bothered by anyone. But then again, restaurant car was the place for everyone to come for a smoke so I couldn’t take more than half an hour there…
Where to break the journey from Belgrade to Bar
If traveling for so many hours isn’t your favorite thing there are a few places where you can break the trip from Belgrade to Bar by train. Four hours after departing from Belgrade you arrive at Uzice, a pleasant town famous especially for its iconic Hotel Zlatibor, a real masterpiece of brutalism, and beautiful Zlatibor mountains just outside the city. From Uzicie you can easily get to Mokra Gora to ride the famous Sargan Eight narrow-gauge train.
Another good option to stop would be Kolasin in Montenegro, 5 hours journey from Uzice (including border crossing that takes some time as there is a passport control on both sides). The town itself might not be special but it’s not far from Zabljak and that’s a real treat, a getaway to stunning Durmitor Mountains.
Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro (1 hour away from Kolasin) is among the most boring capitals in Europe, although fans of concrete architecture will find some nice gems around. But from here you can get to all the best destinations in Montenegro, including amazing Kotor which for me is one of the most beautiful places ever.
In Podgorica you can also change for the local train that will take you to Virpazar, a village at the shore of Lake Skadar, from where you can take the boat ride on the lake. I definitely recommend this activity as the views are beautiful and you will be impressed with the pristine scenery around.
The final destination of Belgrade to Bar train, the town of Bar, is pretty nice too. Besides the beach, the harbor and a few attractions in the center don’t skip Stari Bar – the ruins of the medieval town that was destroyed by the earthquake. That’s also where you will find allegedly the oldest olive tree in the world.
Belgrade to Bar by train – practical information
There are two daily trains in each direction, one in the morning that travels through the day (those views!) and the night one departing in the evening.
From Belgrade Topcider the trains depart at 09:00 and 21:00. The journey time to Bar is just under 11 hours. From Bar to Belgrade the trains depart at 09:00 and 19:00 and the scheduled journey time is a bit over 11 hours. Keep in mind that delays on Belgrade to Bar route are common. You can check the detailed schedule here.
Unfortunately recently the Belgrade central train station was closed and now the trains to Bar depart from the station ” Topčider” – a small station located in the part of the city with the same name, a bit away from the center. To get there you can take the bus no 3A or 38A or take the taxi. Since the station is small and you might or might not be lucky with the restaurant car on your train you better get snacks and drinks for the journey before.
In Uzice, Podgorica, and Bar the train station is within walking distance to the center but there are taxis available if you need to use one. In all these places the bus station is next to the train station.
Currently, the one-way ticket from Belgrade to Bar costs 24€ for the 2nd class and 34,80€ for the 1st class and return is 45€ and 66,60€ respectively. The price includes 3€ seat reservation. If you wish to travel from Belgrade to Podgorica the ticket costs 22,20€ in the second class and 31,80€ in the first class (41,40€/60,60€ respectively).
If you are going by the day train I recommend traveling from Bar to Belgrade so you can be 100% sure to enjoy the views, in the night train Belgrade to Bar direction seems to be a better choice.
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