Everything you need to know about including Montenegro in your Eurail trip
Montenegro may just be one of the most beautiful and fascinating countries you could include in your next Eurail trip. You’ll find stark, rugged mountains, remarkable ancient ruins, an interesting history and heritage, and idyllic beaches looking out across the Adriatic. Unfortunately, like many Balkan countries, rail infrastructure is not its strong point. But that’s no reason to skip it. Here’s how to include Montenegro in your next Eurail trip.
Know the lay of the land
Montenegro is a small Balkan country on the Adriatic sea. It borders on Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania. It’s a mountainous country with diverse natural beauty, but most of the tourist action takes place towards the coast. The capital, Podgorica, is located inland, and there are several natural parks, lakes and other attractions worth visiting as you head into the mountains.
Choose your approach
Theoretically you can approach Montenegro from any of the neighbouring countries. Because public transport infrastructure isn’t great, most travellers choose to enter from either Croatia or Serbia.
If approaching from Croatia, there are several bus companies that offer direct transfers from Dubrovnik. The town of Kotor is just 2 hours away from Dubrovnik, and the journey shouldn’t cost more than 20 Euros.
The approach by train from Serbia (see below) takes longer, but it’s a remarkable experience.
The most efficient way to explore Montenegro is to enter from one direction, either the east from Croatia, or the north from Serbia, and leave from the other.
Key cities to visit
There are several towns and cities worth visiting in Montenegro. Most tourists head straight to the Bay of Kotor. There you’ll find several stunning towns and villages at the foot of fjord-like mountains. The small city of Kotor is the perfect base for exploring the region.
Further south along the coastline you’ll find several beach towns, including Budva and Bar. These are highly seasonal destinations, and depending on the time of year you might find bars bustling with brash tourists, or shuttered stores and littered beaches. Though many claim the glory days of the Montenegro coastal cities have come and gone, they still provide interesting insight into the country.
There are two daily trains between the two cities. One leaves in the morning and travels through the day; the other is a night train that travels predominantly in the dark. Take the day train for the best scenery, and be sure to pack supplies for a full day. The dining cart, if one is available, is extremely limited.
Combine with other modes of transport
If you plan to visit more of Montenegro than Bar, you will need to combine your journey with other modes of transport. There are two options here – car rental and buses.
The regional bus network is aging but cheap and generally reliable. In most cases you can purchase tickets on the bus or at the station on the day of departure. If you are travelling between Croatia and Montenegro there are several high quality long distance buses. Many of these offer advance online bookings.
Car rental in Montenegro is affordable. This is the most flexible means of transport in the country, particularly if you want to visit the national parks and more remote areas. You can find car rental outlets in most big cities and at international airports.
Explore with a Eurail Global Pass
The Eurail Global Pass is valid for transport in Montenegro and reservations are not necessary for regional trains. Some international and night trains require advance reservations, which you can make at the station.
Montenegro is a beautiful country. It’s also home to one of the continent’s best rail journeys. Though its rail infrastructure may be more limited than other European destinations, if you plan ahead and combine your Eurail Pass with other modes of transports it’s easy to include in a journey through the Balkans.