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This Thrilling 50-Year-Old Train Is One Of Europe’s Best-Kept Secrets

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Europe is always on travelers' minds.

With more train routes launching, traveling by rail has become one of the most exciting.

Some European countries are trying to outdo each other with unlimited passes at insanely cheap prices, while some trains have been here for decades and nobody seems to know about them.

Train passing through mountains of Montenegro

Sure, it would be incredible to explore the most popular destinations such as France or Portugal by train, but there are other trendy destinations well worth a trip.

The Balkans are a magical region of Europe, but rarely do you hear about exploring this side of the continent low and slow by rail.

Usually, travelers are dead set on making it to the beaches of Croatia, Albania, and even Montenegro, as quickly as possible.

But that's because they don't know about the Balkan Express – a thrilling journey and one of Europe's best-kept secrets for just $25.

Let's Start With Serbia

Aerial view of Belgrade

Another country often overlooked is the beautiful country of Serbia, and the capital Belgrade is no joke either.

A very affordable and historical city makes for the perfect starting point for an epic European adventure.

Serbia is easier to reach than one might expect. In fact, there is a nonstop flight via Air Serbia from New York City to Belgrade.

Otherwise, travelers can still get here with just 1 connection, which is pretty reasonable given the location.

Train passing through Serbia's wilderness

But Belgrade is just the starting point for the Balkan Express with affordable luxury hotels, such as the Hilton Belgrade, a perfect place to rest up before your journey begins.

Get ready for a ride through The Balkans' wild side!

No Sleep ‘Til Montenegro

Okay, that's a white lie. You can definitely get some much-needed shut-eye as the Balkan Express does operate as a sleeper train after all.

Train tunnel in Montegro

Starting from Belgrade, this thrilling ride will take you to a pair of scenic coastal towns in Montenegro – Budva and Bar.

This nearly 300-mile-long journey zips through dense wildernesses, stunning mountains, and dozens of tunnelers, ultimately ending up at a picture-perfect beach of your choice.

Wouldn't you say that's worth the 10 to 12-hour trip? Definitely book the window seat!

Travelers can actually start off in Montenegro as well and go in reverse order, but the Belgrade route tends to be more popular.

Train line running from Belgrade to Bar

Trains run twice a day in both directions with one leaving in the morning and arriving in the evening, and vice versa for those who prefer to catch some z's on board.

But that's a risky option given much amazing scenery you're potentially skipping out on.

Budva? Where's That?

Not exactly a household name for Americans seeking a beach vacation, but that doesn't mean this lesser-known coastal town isn't worthy of a visit.

Montenegro has been low-key trendy while overshadowed by Greece and Albania with similar vibes serving as both a crowd pleaser and crowd beater, if you will.

Aerial view of Budva, Montenegro

While the capital city of Podgorica is certainly no looker, the stunning shorelines are a whole different experience – Budva being one of them.

Not only does Budva offer incredible Adriatic beaches, the city's Old Town district might have wondering why you ever even considered splurging on Dubrovnik.

You'll Love This Bar

Either way you slice it, the goal is to take an amazing adventure through gorgeous scenery and reach the beach.

Between Budva and Bar, you have a pair of great options without breaking the bank. While Toby Keith surely didn't have this place in mind when writing his famous song I Love This Bar, the message still serves its purpose for this Montenegrin gem.

Coastline of Bar, Montenegro

Life runs at a different pace here where a laid-back atmosphere and authentic experiences are some of the main draws.

Travelers have a variety of beachside stays to choose from between cozy Airbnbs, boutique hotels, and upscale resorts to enjoy a nice vacation as your mainstay or to rest up to complete a round-trip adventure.

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