Holiday in the Balkans (3): Serbia to Montenegro

Day three (Monday) of our Balkans trip was totally a travelling day – a train journey of almost nine hours (9 am till 5.40 pm) from Belgrade in Serbia to Kolasin in Montenegro with a short passage through a bit of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was not that the distance travelled was so great, but that the speed was so slow with some inexplicable stops.

Although the train was modern enough to have charging points for smartphones, the three carriages were covered in graffiti on the outside and pretty basic on the inside with no refreshment facilities at all and unappealing toilets. Our hotel gave us a packed lunch, but a roll, an apple and a bottle of water was not exactly luxury. 

Our arrival at Kolasin was exciting. Somehow the train moved away from the station before any of the group managed to get off, so our guide had to contrive very quickly for the train to stop outside the station and we all had to trundle our cases down the railway tracks back to the station where outside a coach awaited us.  

It was a very short drive to the Bianca Hotel & Spa in this little town located at a height of 960 metres (3,150 feet) between the Bjelasica and Sinjajevina mountains. It was the only evening of the tour when dinner was included and the hotel buffet provided plenty of choice for the hungry British. 

Montenegro voted to become independent of Serbia in 2006.  It is a tiny country, about two-thirds the size of Wales, with a population of only just over 620,000 (less than half are actually Montenegrins with over a quarter being Serbian ethnically). The language is Serbian, although since independence it is been called Montenegrin locally. Its capital is Podgorica from which we will fly home in a week’s time. Montenegro adopted the Euro in 2002 and it applied for EU membership in 2010. 


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