We purchased our train tickets for Belgrade, Serbia to Bar, Montenegro from the main train station in Belgrade for 36 Euros for the 2 of us. They don’t accept credit cards, but there is an ATM machine located across the way from the ticket booth. We opted for the day train since we had heard many great things about the amazing views from Belgrade to Bar! The departure time is 10:10am and is supposed to arrive at 20:09* in the evening. There is also a night train for those who are interested in saving a night’s accommodation costs.
Our train was full, but it might have been because it was a Sunday and people were returning home. That was certainly the case in our car as we traveled with 3 senior high school girls. We enjoyed chatting with them since they all spoke English! All 3 of them were music students who were in Belgrade for an international music competition. Their instruments are the oboe and accordion and they were proudly showing off their first prize trophy!! They were also very excited to meet us since we are from the United States and from California :). To them it is a dream to come visit California … another good reminder of how great we have it back home and how wonderful of a state we live in ;). They were also very curious as to why we would come to Serbia and this wasn’t the first time that question had been asked. We were polite about it, but the real reason was that it was on the way to their homeland of Montenegro … that made them happy :).
Unfortunately, the fun didn’t last as they soon told us that even though our train was scheduled to arrive in Bar at 20:09, don’t expect it to arrive until 22:00! Yikes! We were sure hoping that would not be the case because according to our accommodation, the last bus from Bar to Budva leaves at 9:45 PM!
It was 5PM before our train was at the border with Montenegro, and since Serbia is not a member of the E.U., immigration officers had to board the train and stamp our passports before we could cross into Montenegro. This took about 40 minutes. Then when we crossed into Montenegro, we had to go through the whole routine again! Another 30 minutes wasted!
Finally, we were on our way again and this is when the scenery increased in beauty by the minute! While the views were incredibly beautiful with steep verdant lush canyons with pale blue rivers rushing down them, it was countered by endless tunnels! We have never gone through so many tunnels in our life! My guess is that you will pass through about 100 tunnels on the train to Montenegro from Belgrade. So, while the scenery may be beautiful, you will spend half of that time in tunnels or more! Two seconds of shear beauty, then 10 seconds in a tunnel. Repeat. This cycle will continue until you reach the small valley where the capital of Podgorica is located. We arrived in Podgorica around 9PM and knew that catching the last bus in Bar was near impossible!
A few minutes after 10PM we arrived in the town of Bar and yes, we missed the last bus! Good thing there are plenty of taxi drivers who want your tourist Euros! Yes, they want them and they want to take you for a lot of Euros! They started at over 40 euros for the 45 minute ride to Budva, but we got them down a bit. Before we decided to take a taxi we had to have piece of mind so we walked to the bus station, which is about a 3 minute walk down the center street from the train station on the right side. There was a small sign posted there that had the current bus times and sure enough, the last bus was at 9:40PM! It really sucks that they don’t provide this information online, but we are told that the schedule changes with the seasons and they never know for sure. The other thing we heard a lot is, “This is Montenegro …” So what do you expect??
We ended up paying 25 euros for the taxi ride from Bar to Budva. I don’t know if this is a good price or not. Especially, since we were paying about 1/10 that amount in India! Also, I don’t think the driver was too happy with us that he wasn’t getting his usual fare and he wouldn’t even take us to our accommodation. When we arrived in Budva he found the street but said that he didn’t know where the place was, so we got into an argument and this guy was huge! So, well … we really didn’t have a choice but to get out and walk! Not a good introduction to Montenegro! Luckily we found our accommodation in a couple of minutes and when we complained to the owner about the taxi driver and late train, he just shook his said and said, “Sorry, this is Montenegro …” Sounds awfully similar to the saying we heard in India … Uh oh …
TIP: If you don’t want to arrive late and have to pay an extra 25 – 40 euros for a taxi to Budva, then don’t take the morning train. It is known by all locals that the train is always late! Your train ticket is 17.5 euros and your short taxi ride is more than that? No way! Spend a little more and take the night train and while it may be late, you will save a night’s accommodation expense and will still be able to catch the bus and you wont really miss the scenery since Montenegro is beautiful everywhere!
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