Balkans Rail Passes and Train Tips

By Rick Steves

Are rail passes a good value for the Balkans?

Since point-to-point train tickets are cheap in this region, a rail pass isn't likely to save you much money. If a rail pass happens to match the countries you plan to visit, it can be worth considering — but read ahead before getting a pass, as your guidebook may recommend travel by bus instead of train for many of your destinations.

How do I see whether a rail pass makes sense for my trip in particular?

Train Fares: Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro & Serbia

Map shows approximate costs, in $US, for one-way, second-class tickets. For first-class fares, add 50 percent.

Use these maps to add up approximate pay-as-you-go fares for your itinerary, and compare that cost to the price of a rail pass for the number of days you expect to spend on the train. Dotted lines show ferry routes and dashed lines (such as Split–Dubrovnik) show bus routes, neither of which are covered by rail passes.

Also, follow the links below for:

More tips for figuring out whether a pass makes sense for your trip
The basics on choosing among rail passes
More tips on how to save money by fine-tuning your rail pass
Advice on deciding between first and second class
Fare-estimate maps outside the Balkans
Answers to frequently asked rail-pass questions

Train Fares: Bulgaria & Romania

Map shows approximate costs, in $US, for one-way, second-class tickets. For first-class fares, add 50 percent.

What are my options for rail passes that cover the Balkan countries?

Bulgaria Eurail Pass

Romania Eurail Pass

North Macedonia Eurail Pass

Serbia Eurail Pass

Eurail Global Pass (33 countries) → read more about this pass

Rail Europe shopping cart: Have an order underway? Review and complete it here.

Do I need to make seat reservations on trains in the Balkans?

InterCity (IC), and InterCity Express (ICE) trains require extra supplements for required seat reservations, which can be made locally. Otherwise, you can hop on most other trains in this region with just your rail pass in hand, though overnight trains, and some international routes, do also require reservations (as indicated in online train schedules).

No international trains are running to/from Belgrade in 2023 (to allow for track construction), but privately operated buses (not covered by rail passes) run on those routes.

Any tips for buying point-to-point train tickets in this region?

If a rail pass doesn't pencil out for your trip, see our general tips for buying point-to-point tickets.

What if I need help with my Rail Europe order?

All orders for passes and tickets are fulfilled by Rail Europe (not by Rick Steves' Europe). For customer-service questions, contact them online (or call 800 622 8600, but expect long waits and periods of unavailability at the call desk) — and keep in mind that refund options are fairly limited.