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Winding Through Serbian Mountains: the Šargan Eight Railway

April 13, 2024 2 Comments

Imagine a vintage locomotive, weaving through the European mountains, the breeze caressing your cheek as you gaze upon the verdant countryside. Sounds idyllic right? That’s because riding the Šargan Eight railway is. 

Craving a unique travel experience that blends stunning scenery, historical intrigue, and a touch of whimsy? Look no further than the Šargan Eight railway in Serbia! Nicknamed the “Mokra Gora choo-choo” by locals, this narrow-gauge heritage railway offers a ride unlike any other.

Nestled in the picturesque Zlatibor mountain range, the Šargan Eight winds its way through lush forests and charming villages. Construction began in 1916 by Austro-Hungarian forces, but due to challenging terrain and wartime difficulties, it was never completed. Thankfully, this scenic route was revived in the 1990s as a tourist attraction, preserving a piece of history while offering breathtaking views.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning to ride the Šargan Eight Railway:

Starting point and duration

The Šargan Eight Railway train departs twice a day (see the schedule with prices here) from Mokra Gora. At this moment I am not sure if you can buy the tickets online, mine were purchased at the Mokra Gora station (where the train ride starts). 

How to get there

The nearest town is Užice and you can reach Mokra Gora station from there by bus. However, you will need to consult the tourist information center in Užice for updated timings. The tourist center can also provide you with the number of a taxi service that can take you to the station for around 2500RSD.

The easiest way is to have your own vehicle. Mokra Gora Station has plenty of parking and this gives you flexibility to visit other things in the area.

Another option could be to book through a local tour agency. They offer private and shared tours. I recommend this one. (I have used their services twice and are very professional plus they speak English).

When to visit

The Šargan Eight operates from April to October, allowing you to experience its magic throughout most of the year. Spring offers a burst of color as wildflowers bloom, while summer provides a refreshing escape from the heat. Autumn paints the landscape in fiery hues, and winter probably transforms the route into a snowy wonderland- but train services are suspended during winter.

The journey itself 

The round-trip journey takes roughly 3 hours not because of distance but rather because it makes a lot of stops for photos- which I appreciated. The scenery is stunning and is worth all the stops. The train goes pretty slowly and you can stick your head out for photos- just mind the tunnels. I think it goes slowly because going in a figure 8 could easily make people dizzy if it went any faster. 

The train goes from the start to finish in one journey. On the return journey, it makes 5 stops- one of which is at the turning point (Jatare station) where it stops for 30 minutes. This is the most scenic station in my opinion with a little viewpoint to look out over the scenery.

The Šargan Eight gets its name from its unique figure-eight layout. This ingenious design allows the train to climb the mountain without the need for complex engineering feats. The journey is a leisurely one, offering ample opportunity to soak in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Lush valleys dotted with traditional wooden houses give way to dense forests, all painted in vibrant hues depending on the season.

WHAT ARE THE RATINGS ON PANDA’S RATING SCALE?

PLANNING YOUR VISIT:

  • You are allowed to eat and drink on board so you can bring snacks. Do not rely on the restaurant/sellers  at the station as they tend to become busy, there’s not much variety and you might not have enough time to buy something. 
  • Bring a light jacket. As the train moves, the windows are open and it can become chilly. 

Riding the Šargan Eight is more than just a scenic journey; it’s a step back in time and a celebration of Serbian culture. It’s a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with nature’s beauty. So, if you find yourself in Serbia, don’t miss the opportunity to hop aboard this charming little train and experience the magic of the Šargan Eight!

If you liked this post, you may also be interested in my other Serbian content:

Visiting Golubac Fortress and Veliki Buk Waterfall (Serbia)

A Guide for visiting Subotica (Serbia)

Spending a weekend in Uvac Canyon (Serbia)

I also have a wealth of information on my Instagram. Do have a look. If you enjoyed this post about riding the Šargan Eight railway, please pin it using the pin below:

Have you considered riding the Šargan Eight railway in Serbia? Or have I just put it on your list? Let me know in the comments below!

expatpanda

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2 Comments

  • Pree April 21, 2024 at 1:42 pm

    I love the aesthetic and the ba ba black sheep 🐑 😂

    • expatpanda April 22, 2024 at 2:41 pm

      Farm animals are an aesthetic all on their own 😂

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