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Europe Trains Guide Forum  |  General discussion  |  Travel plans, routes and timetables  |  Belgrade to Podgorica or Zagreb Question
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warlord
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« on: September 22, 2015, 07:36:48 pm »

  So planning my next adventure again for next May (kind of early), but was curious to know if there are any locations between Belgrade and Zagreb, or between Belgrade and Podgorica that are worth while to stop for a night or two at?

  Trip A) would be Belgrade to Zagreb to Ljubljana or
  Trip B) would be Belgrade to Podgorica with Kotor, one of the beach towns and then ending in Tirana.

   Buses seem to be about 9 hours and the train seems to be around 12-14 hours (Belgrade to Podgorica).  Now I've heard the train between those two cities has supposedly one of the nicest views so taking a night train would kind of defeat the purpose, but I don't want to sit for 14 or so hours on a train either.

  So was trying to see if there are any towns along the way I could break up the trip with at all?  Was also thinking if I did the other trip to Zagreb, if there was anything near 1/2 way between Belgrade and Zagreb that would be worthwhile to stop for a night or so?

  Just trying to get a idea on this part for now so I can then plan my flight schedule.  Thanks as always...
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tUt
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2015, 01:45:09 pm »

Buses seem to be about 9 hours and the train seems to be around 12-14 hours (Belgrade to Podgorica).  Now I've heard the train between those two cities has supposedly one of the nicest views so taking a night train would kind of defeat the purpose...
Yes, Belgrade-Bar railway line is one of the most scenic train lines in Europe, so it definitely makes sense to use a train here. With an overnight train you will get a glimpse of the scenery early in the morning, but obviously daytime travel will be way more interesting.
In terms of travel time, these days official schedule gives us 10 hours to Podgorica and 11 hours to Bar, however on this line trains are very often late, so indeed situation when you will spend 12-13 hours is not an exception.

So was trying to see if there are any towns along the way I could break up the trip with at all?
Unfortunately choice here is very limited. Valjevo is kind of nice, but it's only 2 hours away from Belgrade. Next at least somewhat interesting place is Požega (couple churches, railway museum), plus you have a chance to make a side trip to Kraljevo (Žiča monastery). After Požega there is bigger town - Užice (few churches, Yugoslavian architecture), but again hardly it's a place to spend there more than few hours. For a railway fan a definite attraction to visit would be so-called Šargan Eight (Šarganska osmica), narrow-gauge railway located not far from Užice. So perhaps your choice here might be either start from Belgrade in the morning, then make a stop in Valjevo and/or Požega and by evening get to Užice for a night stay. Or, in case you interested in Šargan Eight experience, then just avoid earlier stops and from Belgrade go to the narrow-gauge line.

Was also thinking if I did the other trip to Zagreb, if there was anything near 1/2 way between Belgrade and Zagreb that would be worthwhile to stop for a night or so?
Choice of the potential stop between Belgrade and Zagreb is much easier. Town of Osijek is basically must-see place. And although it's slight detour to the north from the Belgrade-Zagreb line, but it's not that big of a deal, since you can get off train in Vinkovci (roughly 3:30 hours from Belgrade) and then it's just 40 min. journey to Osijek by local Croatian train. While next morning you can get a direct train from Osijek to Zagreb 
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warlord
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2015, 03:48:41 pm »

  Ok great, I just didn't want to miss the train ride by going on a bus if possible and had looked at spending a night in Užice as it seemed to be a good 1/2 way point between Belgrade and Podgorica. 

  At least I know that there is a possibility and good connection.  I'll be researching my flights in the up coming months and then after that will probably have more questions as usual with the finer details depending on where my final departure city will be.  But yes, as I have heard, the train over the bus on this route is amazing.  Going from Belgrade to Ljubljana (via Zagreb) would be my back up plan if flights out of Tirana, Podgorica or even Dubrovnik would be too much in comparison.  So just wanted to see what the options where before I end up buying my flight...
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tUt
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2015, 11:19:02 pm »

I just didn't want to miss the train ride by going on a bus
Well, scenery from a bus window ain't that bad there, but obviously going by train should be option #1, at least for those who travel from Serbia to Montenegro for the first time.
At least I know that there is a possibility and good connection.
Serbian railways timetable page should give you everything you need in terms of both potential trips
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warlord
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 06:52:24 pm »

  So this is still an option for my next trip (if flights for the Albania trip I posted are more).

  I would probably be going from Belgrade to Ulcinj  then to Budva and flying out of Podgorcia (skipping Bar).

  So with what you stated about really nothing big in between, I'd probably just opt for the day train if possible.  My question is with the actual train itself.  How safe is it to leave your bag while you go to the toilet?  I've never gone on a train more than a few hours so I've never had to carry luggage that long of a distance before.  What about eating/drinking cars, what does one do with their luggage so that it's safe on the train? 

  I think I've just heard the usual horror stories and wasn't quite sure how this would be for a long train trip?

 
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tUt
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2018, 02:39:05 am »

I would probably be going from Belgrade to Ulcinj  then to Budva and flying out of Podgorcia (skipping Bar).
Bar is for sure not the most interesting place out there (unless you want to see major port and some military ships). Budva is for the beach, right? Then would suggest to spare half a day for a side trip to Kotor (it's only 20 km away) + there is always mentioned earlier Sveti Stefan, which is even closer. So in case you get bored at the beach, just hop on the bus and make a couple hour trip.
So with what you stated about really nothing big in between, I'd probably just opt for the day train if possible.
Well, it's not really nothing, but perhaps more suitable for second-third visit to the region.
How safe is it to leave your bag while you go to the toilet?  I've never gone on a train more than a few hours so I've never had to carry luggage that long of a distance before.
In case of backpack or some small bag with the most valuable belongings (passport, wallet, cellphone, etc.) you definitely need to carry it with you, while with the suitcases and other big luggage you can just put it on the baggage shelf above the seats and most likely there will be somebody else (e.g. other tourists) in your compartment, so it will kind of ensure that nobody from outside will mess with your luggage.
What about eating/drinking cars, what does one do with their luggage so that it's safe on the train? 
It's kind of the same story as with the toilet, at least never seen anybody take the big luggage with them when going to eat. Imho, just see what kind of neighbors you have and then decide on whether to ask them to watch your things while you're gone or better not to risk it. Plus, I wouldn't be 100% sure that there will be a dining car on the train. It suppose to be present, but it's Serbia, thus you can't be totally certain, so anyway it's better to have some snack & water with you (just in case).

I think I've just heard the usual horror stories and wasn't quite sure how this would be for a long train trip?
Yep, but nowadays one should be careful pretty much anywhere, even in presumably safe Western Europe, so general precautions are the best choice here.
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warlord
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2018, 06:21:20 pm »

Ok thanks for the information.  I may end up doing this trip still, but looking more like I'll be doing Macedonia and Albania instead.

Yes in Budva I will definitely be going to Kotor and also Sveti Stefan since I'd be staying in Budva for a few days.

I'll have a backpack with locks on it so hopefully that will be fine.  Just figured since I'd bring wine on the train, I may have to leave the compartment often to go to the bathroom, so that's why I was curious about that.  And thanks for mentioning the trains are all compartments and not just seats then.  A long train ride, but as you said and as I've read elsewhere, the best route to probably take in all of Europe so I wouldn't want to miss out on doing this...
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