Finding the bus and train stations in Bar
We arrived in Bar by bus from Kotor (about two hours). We wanted to leave our cases in the Left Luggage and found a door labelled 'Garderoba'. However, it looked dusty and as if it had been unused for a long time. We asked at the ticket counter, and they called for someone to come and open it for us. We had to do the same when we returned to pick them up.
The train station is very close to the bus station, and both are outside the centre, about 10 minutes walk.
The timetables in the train station are written in the Cyrillic script. The Information office is very helpful, but is on the platform, not near the ticket office. Not much English is spoken but you can still manage. A few words of Serbian do help.
- Road Trip
The Offices of the harbor
The harbor offices are working in a long, one level building; On arrival, you have nothing to do in the building, but I guess that, as well as in Ancona, on departure, you find inside the offices of the ferry company(ies) and the custom and polices offices. On arrival, everything is done in your car, on line, when leaving the harbor.
Ferry to Bar
If you wish to arrive in Montenegro by sea, Bar will be your port of entry. Regular lines are from Ancona and from Bari, run by a company from Bari, Morfimare
The Sveti Stefan 1 connects Bar and Bari everyday, year round, while the Sveti Stefan 2 connects Ancona to Bar every saturday in the high season. There does not seem to be any sailing in the low season. We sailed from Ancona on the Sveti Stefan 2, a newer boat to Sveti Stefan 1 but anyway an old second hand boat (or more !). Anyway, even if the carpet in the gangways is worn out and has holes in several places, the boat is in good sailing condition. Do not expect a fancy custom free shop, it is a mere cabin with a few item on a shelf but do you really need more ?
The photos shows the landscapes that you discover, one after the other, when arriving close to Bar. You will have to enlarge them to see better. The fourth one discloses clearly the entrance into the harbor.
On board, passengers have access to every area of the boat, which is nice for our little dog that enjoys lying on the mooring ropes ! Of course, that does not fits with usual security rules but at the last minute, when the mooring maneuver starts, there is a sudden move and everybody has to run away !
Sveti Stefan 1
Already moored at the next quay, stands the Sveti Stefan 1, actually Sveti Stefan. She is registered in Nassau ! I have not checked that, but I suppose that the Sveti Stefan 2 is also registered in Nassau. The harbor does not seem very busy and there are no other ferries or cargo.
At the entrance into the harbor, the pilot, a towboat named Sozina comes by the Sveti Stefan 2 but does not seem to take part directly into the maneuvering and only makes round on our port side. I suppose she is there just "in case" and because this is the rule but the captain of a boat that sails every week to the harbor should not really need any assistance from a pilot !
Make Sure Your Bankroll is on you...
Bar is unfortunately a blight on the otherwise stunning Montenegran coast. In fact, the only real reason you might go there is to pick up the train to Belgrade.
In this event, make sure you've got enough for your train fare in Euros, because otherwise you face a nice 20 minute walk back into town - and in our case, not all the machines accept Visa. So make sure you've got the dosh to cover your trip.
- Budget Travel
Simple room but better than an upright seat
This is a picture of our cabin on the Sveti Stefan II. It served its purpose. We were able to sleep on the over night trip from Bar, Montenegro to Bari Italy. That beats sitting in a seat for 10 hours, which was how we traveled from Bari to Bar several days earlier.
For the Bar-Bari ferry, the boat leaves the port of departure at 10:00 pm, and arrives at the the port on the other side of the Adriatic at 7:00 pm. The trip from Bar, Montenegro to Bari, Italy was infinitely easier and quicker than the trip from Italy to Montenegro.
Montegegro Lines - Bar Bari Ferry
Montenegro Lines has two ferry boats, the Sveti Stefan (older boat) and the Sveti Stefan II (new boat). There is a huge difference between the two boats. Traveling on the older boat was similar to traveling steerage. The new boat was substantially nicer and more comfortable with roomy cabins and much nicer common areas.
The two boats operate on alternating dates during the summer. I highly recommend traveling only on the Sveti Stefan II if you are interested in the ferry and your schedule has some flexibility.
- Sailing and Boating
Montenegrin Lines - Bar Bari Ferry
The first part of our trip was spent in Italy and we needed to get over to Montenegro. The least expensive way to travel from Italy to Montenegro is by way of car ferry across the Adriatic.
We drove to Bari, Italy on the eastern coast and bought tickets on the Sveti Stefan. Advance reservations were not required, even though this particular ferry, which we took on a Saturday night, was full. The trip is overnight, and the boat arrives in Bar, Montenegro the following morning.
The cost of a seat (not a cabin) on the Sveti Stefan was EUR 62,00 per passenger. We took our rental car on the ferry at a cost of EUR 85,00
This photo of the Sveti Stefan ferry boat was taken at port in Bar, Montenegro as we waited in a 3 hour custom line. The policija promptly approached me and told me to put the camera away because photos were illegal. I guess you could say this is a "hot" picture.
Passing through customs in Bar was long and tedious. Every passenger had his or her trunk and luggage searched, except us. We were the only Americans on the boat, and when the customs officers saw our passports they shouted "Americanska" to each other and simply waived us through. We later learned that Bar was a common conduit for the drug trade in Eastern Europe which explained the Montenegrin customs officers' vigilance. Thankfully, we did not seem fit the profile of the typical drug smuggler, but too bad we hadn't been at the front of the line.
Bar has the only train station on the montenegrin coast, and has fairly good connection with other parts of the country. There are a couple of trains to Beograd and there is one overnight train to Nis. That's the train I took and the fare was 17,5€ in a 2nd class couchette.
buses along the coast
Bar has many buses along the coast. You get to virtually any resort from here, from Budva to Kotor to Ulcinj. Buses are fairly frequent ibut be warned that between noon till perhaps 3-4 pm virtually no buses leave for some reason (siesta?).
To Bar by train
Bar is well linked by train to Serbia and many other eastern coutries, no lines to Croatia.
i've travelled to Bar from Belgrade, by night (40 Euro with couchette), crossing wonderful mountains (on the train you'll have a cover, 'cause it's very cold also in summer) and wonderful landscapes.
The train station is quite far from the sea and the city, so if you have a heavy luggage, take ataxi or a bus.
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