Im a big fan of traveling with the trains. I have been travel around the balkan usually with the trains and i really loved.When i got my idea to travel to Slovenia i was thinking about going all the way with train.What i done was really nice trip from my city Veles in Macedonia to Austria , from there to Hungary , Serbia and back to my city. In this article i would explain how was my journey.
Veles-Belgrade train (Macedonia to Serbia)
One train exist only and is every day from 21-15 in Veles . Its coming from Thessaloníki Greece. In fact cause they close the railway due the migrant crises buses take passengers to Gevgelija and from there train goes up to Belgrade.Usually is arriving between 21-20 and 22-00 in Veles. Because counters are close after 6pm we usually buy into the train. Another option is to go before 10 pm in Skopje and buy from there. Price is 27 euros round-trip. If you choose the train option than you pay 1,6 euros from Veles to Skopje and another 1,6e to Tabanovce which is on the border. Train is with older compartments and few new. Also have couchete for sleeping ( 6 euros to Belgrade). I would not recommend paying 6 euro when you have so many empty compartments to occupy and sleep in it. Thats what i done. After 2,5 hours we arrive at the border. Compartments were very warm even tooo hot i would say 🙂 But sometime its possible to not be so warm in the train so try to walk around and find warm compartments.
After the border serbian conducters took over in Presevo and they can charge you roundtrip 16-17 euros to Belgrade. Train arriving in Belgrade around 10 am meaning 12 hours ride from Veles for 453 km.
There is two trains for Slovenia. One train is operative and is a night train.. Train ticket will cost you around 30euros .Its 486 km long ride. Train is going through Croatia . If you like you can choose going to Budapest and from there to get to Ljubljana but that will cost you bit more i guess. Never try that one. Usually 10-39 pm you arrive in Ljubljana on the main railway station. When you get to Slovenia is better if you use car share option between cities because their train service is not so effective and sometime you need to change trains.Ride on prevozi.org app will cost you 5 euros to Maribor.
Super clean and very fast i would say. For 3 hours and bit more we were in central Vienna train station. Cost of this train was 18 euros. Ride was pleasant and nice . Train is clean and fast. We pass through some fantastic landscape on our way. I start my trip in 10-19 am arrive 14-30 in Vienna.Train was warm seats nice and soft.
Vienna to Budapest ( Linz to Budapest)
I took the Linz train to Budapest because was in Linz . Otherwise you can take Vienna to Budapest. Will cost you 54 euros a way but the train is super fast and has Internet bar and is very clean. Linz to Budapest is direct and cost me 74 euros. 20 euros will cost you ride inside Austria from Vienna to Linz. Train start in 12-30 ( usually is 12-19) from Linz and arrive 16-50 ( usually is 16-30 ) in Budapest. Because i have free wifi in i didnt feel the trip. Was great and one of the best rides i ever had.
Budapest to Belgrade trains
From Budapest Keleti train station there is two trains goes to Belgrade. One train is in the morning 8-30 am and night one 22-10. Cost of this train is 15 euros ( one way). Train is decent and goes pretty fine ( 6-7 hours) in the restaurant there is a wifi but not in the rest of the train.Night train is without compartments you have seats instead of that. Morning one is the same in fact. Both trains are clean and good.
Belgrade back to Veles ( back to Macedonia train)
One train is going everyday back to Thessaloníki and is at 6-35 pm from Belgrade. Train is the same as i was using to get to Belgrade . Is also traveling 12 hours back to Macedonia so i arrive in 6-30 am in Veles. On my way back i use the greek compartments they where super clean and seats where very nice. But temperature inside was less warm.
The whole trip cost me around 150 euros for all this trains and i spend some time traveling around. Balkan train are bit less clean than Austrian, Slovenian and Hungarian was in the middle . If you want you can pay a rail pass to travel around the Balkan for less money . Also if you wanna travel you can pay European rail pass for 460-500 euros to travel whole month around Europe. This rail pass i think didnt apply for Balkan area.