The Shargan Eight, an unforgettable train ride in Serbia

The Shargan Eight, an unforgettable train ride in Serbia

2 minutes to read

The region that was once a clashing point of various armies is today home to an architectural wonder with its unique eight-shaped railroad that beats 300 meters of altitude, in little less than an hour of the train ride. The narrow-gauge railroad is called The Shargan Eight, due to its shape, and offers an unforgettable train ride through the wild and traditional West Serbia.

Picture © Credits to iStock/raagoon
Picture © Credits to iStock/raagoon

The architectural wonder 

Shargan Eight, Mokra Gora
Shargan Eight, Mokra Gora
Мокра Гора, Србија

The Shargan Eight remains a notable historical accomplishment in the architecture world. The main problem when building the railroad connecting Belgrade and Dubrovnik was to beat the altitude difference by making a paced and gradual descent for over 300 meters of altitude. This constructive solution was achieved by building a railroad shaped like a number eight, that passes twice through the same point - called “the knot”. 

Since 1925 when it was built, until the mid-1970s, the legendary narrow-gauge train “Cira" used to connect the two important centers of the Balkan countries - Belgrade and Dubrovnik. Nowadays only a  part of the rail is operating - and exclusively as a sightseeing ride in Serbia. These days, thanks to the dedicated and good people, Cira continues to cut through the surreal landscapes of surrounding mountains, offering an unforgettable touristic experience with a feeling of time-travel. 

A scenic ride through wild Serbia

The speed is not the highest priority for the ride through the Shargan Eight. Even though the total length of the rail is 13.5 kilometers, it takes an hour for the train to swirl to the scenic landscapes, passing through 22 tunnels and five bridges.

Picture © Credits to iStock/raagoon
Picture © Credits to iStock/raagoon

The window views may leave you speechless, and you will be grateful for the slow ride that gives the time to contemplate the views of the misty Zlatar, Zlatibor and Tara mountains of West Serbia. 

A day to rest, in the past

Equally well, a curious look towards the interior of the train will give the soothing experience of a totally different origin. An authentic old-fashioned interior made out of wood creates an atmosphere of some long lost times and a great environment for a date or a unique romantic getaway. The whistling locomotive adds up to the experience, and for an hour spent in this technical monument from the past, you may feel disconnected from everyday hustle of modern life. The trains that operate on the Shargan eight are protected cultural goods, which only means that this unforgettable train ride in Serbia is like a visiting a moving museum under the bright open sky. 

Cover picture © Credits to Gestur Gislason / iStock

The author

Milena Mihajlovic

Milena Mihajlovic

I am Milena, and enjoy traveling, hiking and everything coffee-related. Through my writing, I want to inspire fellow travelers about Serbia, my dear country.

Stories you might also like