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Montenegro

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Not well known but described by some as the best train trip in Europe, the 11-hour Balkan Express, a Bar to Belgrade train, passes through some of the best scenery in the Balkans on its way from Montenegro to Serbia. It is a great example of Soviet era technology, features some fascinating history and the relaxed comfort that trains offer over somewhat quicker buses and cars. This train ride is a highlight for a trip to the Balkans along with Lake Bled in Slovenia, the Mostar Bridge in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Dubrovnik in Croatia. We actually planned this part of our trip through the Balkans specifically around this train ride. This travel guide post is all about the details and how to best take this train; for a more personal story of our journey you should check out My Day on the Balkan Express. Balkan Express Facts and Figures…

While the Balkan coast is filled with scenic ports and great old cities, few can hold a candle to the incomparable Kotor Bay, one of the top destinations on any Balkan holiday. And the impeccable Kotor Town is the jewel in its scenic crown. Featuring all the usual highlights of a medieval Old Town – impressive walls, narrow alleys, picturesque churches, relaxing plazas, a weird obsession with cats – its extraordinary location nestled among the hills of this stunning bay sets it apart from the competition. The list of things to do in Kotor include amazing viewpoints, some nice hikes and plenty of fascinating villages within easy reach by boat around the bay, making Kotor Montenegro an absolute must-see on your trip to the Balkans. UNESCO has even designated Kotor’s medieval city and picturesque landscape a World Heritage site. Kotor will be one of the major highlights of a trip…

The Balkans are nearly the perfect holiday destination. Wonderfully scenic, with a fascinating (although often brutal) history, this loose collection of countries tucked away in Southeastern Europe are easy to get to, extremely affordable and, for the most part, not nearly as touristy as comparable destinations in Western Europe. They offer extraordinary geographic diversity – from gorgeous Mediterranean beaches to spectacular alpine mountain ranges to lush valleys with crystal clear rivers cascading down the middle. The historical variations are endless, with a rich variety of castles, palaces, forts and bridges to explore. Culturally, this broadly defined region offers a diversity that seems almost implausible at times, with stark societal, political, religious and linguistical differences not only between nations, but often even neighbouring villages. So, the hard part isn’t deciding on a Balkan holiday for your next trip. It is deciding exactly where to go and what to do. Alexander Nevsky…

We came around the corner and suddenly saw this huge, tall bridge kind of off in the distance. Not big, like, wide, or anything like that, though, just really tall and skinny, the kind of bridge that didn’t look like it should be able to hold an entire train. Maybe one of those little kid’s trains or, you know, a place where a group of shifty young kids might wander in the 1950’s, just looking for trouble, but not a whole train. But from what I could tell, we were heading straight for it. On a train. Not the biggest train around, but big enough. And old, so it seemed maybe heavier than new trains because, you know, everything is metal. Even the buttons on the doors between cars. Even the toilet. Then it took longer than I expected for us to make it around another hill and through another…

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