CLASSIC MONTENEGRO AND SERBIA
OCTOBER 6-13, 2019
The Balkan country of Montenegro is a varied country of rugged mountains, thick forests, fortified towns, medieval villages and narrow beaches, which became a sovereign state as recently as 2006. It is connected to the rest of the European passenger railway network only by a long and very scenic line from Serbia. We base ourselves in Podgorica for four nights which should allow plenty of time for exploration of this interesting capital city, located at the edge of the Zeta plain at the confluence of the Ribnica and Morača rivers. About a quarter of the country’s total population reside here.
Opened in 1976, the country’s main rail artery links the port of Bar with Serbia and its capital Beograd and ranks as one of the most spectacular railways in Europe. As we head northwards the line twists and climbs up the Morača valley and we are treated to magnificent mountain scenery, heavily forested in places, with numerous tunnels and bridges to negotiate. After passing through Bioče station we cross the Mala Rijeka viaduct, which at 649 feet is the highest in Europe. The splendid scenery continues as we reach the line’s summit at Kolašin, having climbed from 131 feet to 3386 feet above sea level.
~ Possibly the most scenic train ride in Europe
~ Ostrog Monastery pilgrimage site
~ Guided tours of Bar and Nikšić
~ Boat ride on beautiful Lake Skadar
~ Amazing Sargan Eight train ride
~ Uvac Special Nature reserve with boat ride
~ Includes 6 dinners and 4 lunches
Day 1 Sunday October 6: (D)
Arrival in Podgorica and hotel check-in at the Hotel Centre Ville – which has been voted the best hotel in Podgorica by TripAdvisor. Free afternoon to relax before we meet back in reception for our welcome dinner.
THE CITY OF PODGORICA
Day 2 Monday October 7: (B,D)
After breakfast we transfer to the railway station from where we take a train ride to the city of Bar, on the Adriatic coast. On arrival we take a sightseeing city tour of the Old Town which covers an area of 4.5 hectares, and contains the remains of around 600 public and private edifices from different periods of Mediterranean history. It is in references from the 10th century that the Old Town of Bar is mentioned for the first time; however, it is assumed that it had existed even in the 6th century in the form of the rehabilitated Roman ‘castrum’. The residential architecture of the town is characterised by late gothic, renaissance, baroque and oriental elements. We take lunch in a national-style restaurant with Oriental-Balkan cuisine.
THE CITY OF BAR ON THE ADRICTIC COAST
After lunch we travel by rail to Skadar and have a boat trip on beautiful Lake Skadar which is in a National Park. A snack and local wine are included. The lake is located in the Zeta – Skadar valley and is surrounded by mountains, just 5 miles from the Adriatic Sea. Two thirds of the lake is in Montenegro and rest in Albania. It is the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula, one of the last fresh water spaces and the largest national park in Montenegro, famous for its diversity of flora and fauna and home to over 270 bird species. We transfer back to Podgorica in the afternoon. Overnight same hotel.
THE ABOVE TWO PHOTOS ARE OF LAKE SKADAR WHICH IS PART IN MONTENEGRO AND SERBIA
ay 3 Tuesday October 8: (B,L,D)
After breakfast we transfer to the railway station and take a train to Nikšić. We have lunch on arrival and a tour of Nikšić visiting the Roman bridge, King Nicolas Palace and Church of St. Vasilie. Afterwards we transfer by bus to the Ostrog Monastery. This is the most visited pilgrimage site in Montenegro with its cave-like chapel and the Monastery complex that preserves the sanctity of Saint Basil, the Orthodox Christian Saint of Miracles. We return to Podgorica for a city tour. In the evening, we have dinner with regional music in the nearby Restaurant Lanterna.
Day 4 Wednesday October 9: (B,D)
After breakfast we transfer to the railway station for the 8:10am fast train to Kolašin which travels along the most exciting part of the Bar to Belgrade railway, rising into the mountains with many tunnels and bridges. Just open the train window and enjoy the scenery, especially as we cross the highest railway bridge in Europe – the Mala Rijeka Most. We alight in Kolašin, a small town at the foot of the Bjelasica mountain. After time to check in to our hotel, we go by coach to Biograd lake in a nearby National Park where there is the opportunity to walk around the lake and enjoy the surrounding primeval forest. Lunch in the restaurant by the lake. Optional: jeep safari over the Bjelasica mountain to visit the “Vranjak” summer pasture cottage.
THE BAR TO BELGRADE RAILWAY LINE IN THE MORACE VALLEY
ABOVE 2 PHOTOS ARE THE BAR TO BELGRADE
RAILWAY LINE IN THE MORACE VALLEY
Day 5 Thursday October 10: (B,L)
After breakfast we return to the railway station in Kolašin and take a train at 9:30am to Užice in neighboring Serbia. We are welcomed by a professional tourist guide and bus and transferred to the nearby luxury rural complex of Lazarevi konaci for a welcome drink of homemade plum brandy or raspberry juice and slatko (a thin fruit jelly) followed by a brass orchestra performance and homemade lunch.In the afternoon we transfer to the famous Smoke House in the tiny nearby village with a presentation on meat processing and smoking along with tasting of delicacies including smoked ham, sausage, rakija and wine. Our coach transfers us to Zlatibor, the most famous mountain tourist center of Serbia and hotel accommodation in a spa hotel. Optional walk along the beautiful lakeside while enjoying fresh mountain air and scenery.
THE CITY OF UZICE, SERBIA AT NIGHT
Day 6 Friday October 11: (B,L,D)
After breakfast we transfer to Mokra Gora and the Šargan Eight train ride at 10:20am and lasting 2 hours. This is an astonishing railway, and the incredibly convoluted route up the mountain describes a figure of eight at one point, hence the name. There are many tunnels, but also many bridges from which the beautiful scenery of south west Serbia can be appreciated. Visit to the nearby Küstendorf (Mećavnik) Wooden Town established by famous Film Director Emir Kusturica and now home of a film academy and a tourist sight in its own right. We drive on to the Staro Selo Sirogojno open air museum and have a big traditional lunch followed by sightseeing in the open-air complex which presents the lifestyle of the Dinaric population of the 19th century. A visit now to the Knitters Museum in Sirogojno and a short show of woollen handwork with tasting of dried raspberries and strawberries. Return to Zlatibor hotel for dinner and overnight.
BELOW ARE SOME SAMPLE PHOTOS OF THE SARGAN EIGHT RAIL LINE OUT OF MOKRA GORA, MONTENEGRO. THIS RAIL LINE GOT IT’S NAME BECAUSE AT ONE POINT YOU CAN SEE EIGHT LEVELS OF THE TRACK AS IT CLIMBS UP INTO THE MOUNTAINS. THE PHOTO BELOW IS ONE OF THE MORE RECENT TRAINS PULLED BY DIESEL. THE OTHER PHOTOS ARE SEVERAL YEARS OLD WHEN STEAM STILL WORKED THE LINE
Day 7 Saturday October 12: (B,L,D)
After breakfast we depart back to Montenegro, taking a break for a boat ride through the Uvac Special Nature reserve – the largest natural habitat of Griffin vultures in the Balkans. We hope to be able to view some of the nests and maybe the adults if we’re lucky. There will also be a visit to a small dairy producing the famous Zlatar cheese which we will be able to taste. Big homemade lunch in a rural household which provides tourist services. Expect buckwheat pie, cheese, beef cooked in milk and baklava (a sweet dessert pastry). Onward by coach to the Gostun – Brodarevo border crossing where we re-enter Montenegro and travel to Podgorica by the canyon of the Lim River. Hotel accommodation in Podgorica, Centre Ville.
Day 8 Sunday October 13: (B)
Hotel Centre Ville in Podgorica (Total 4 nights) 4 Star Hotel
Hotel Sheraton in Kolašin (1 night) 4 Star Hotel
SpaZlatibor hotel in Zlatibor (2 nights) 4 Star Hotel
ALL PRICES ARE PER PERSON
DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY$1,745
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT$295
DEPOSIT TO HOLD SPACE CONFIRMED$800
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT BOOK BY SEPTEMBER 14, 2018-$175
FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY JULY 6, 2019
TOUR CONDITIONS FOR 2018 **PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
Tour Price: All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.