I had a weekend off from work and thought I would head to Belgrade as I had heard some great things and was intrigued by this city that has belonged to numerous countries in the past century.
The easiest option from Budapest was to take a train and to save some money on accommodation I decided to take the night train.
After looking at some blog posts and forums about the night train, I was slightly nervous about the whole idea. The posts ranged from “infamous night train experience” to “avoid avoid avoid” and theft seemed to be a recurring theme. However, it was 26EUR for a return ticket and I thought it’d see for myself what all the fuss was about…
My experience was not like any of those that I had read. Those stories were either highly exaggerated or untrue. The train was super comfortable, albeit a tad slow but there was everything I needed – including power points to charge my phone! For the first 30 minutes or so, I was on edge looking for the “thiefs” I had heard about, however it was clear everyone was purely on the train for the same reason as I was. I sat next to a really friendly Hungarian and across from me were some old Serbian ladies who spent some time drinking Palinka (Hungarian national drink) and giggling about the stories they must have been sharing. Crossing at the border was very simple – show your passport and travel documents and you’ll be on your way. After drifting in and out of sleep for most of the night, I woke at around 5am to the most incredible sunrise, it really was special. An hour later I found myself in the Serbian capital ready to start the weekend.
I would urge you not to believe every bad story you read on the internet and actually live the experience for yourself before making your mind up. As I said, the night train was a great experience and one I would do again.
The price for a single ticket is 15EUR or you can buy and open return for 26EUR.
View over the Sava River, Belgrade.