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Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia

25 Apr

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 is the summary of my three-month road trip to most of the countries of former Yugoslavia: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia during the summer of 2018 (May – August). The pace of traveling was slow, in accordance with the flexibility I had to go and stay wherever I wanted with my car. Here you can find my last Balkans Trip – the Balkan Countries Planning from 2017 – Macedonia, Albania, and Kosovo.

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – General Planning:

Travel Planning for the road trip through the former Yugoslavian countries started a couple of months before the estimated departure. I used a Lonely Planet Guide for the southeastern part of Europe and sometimes, the official tourism websites of Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro & montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. I had names of places where I wanted to go and a vague idea of the order of the places I wanted to see. As I was going with my own car, I didn’t bother too much with the plans. I was flexible to go, stop, and stay wherever I wanted during a time frame of three months. I only ordered an ACSI Camping card for discount and they also sent two big guide-books to me with the locations of the camping grounds (fair enough).

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Fixed Plans:

– two contacts in the first country I would visit – Slovenia, Ljubljiana (Sara who I had known from my previous trip through the Balkans – and another one from the Couchsurfing platform)

– I downloaded several apps for camping grounds and offline navigation (Maps.me, park4night, campercontact)

– a new, cheap smartphone to use just in case something would happen with the other one

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Intentions, but nothing fixed:

When I left for the Balkan Countries of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia, all I knew was that I wanted to go to some places but I hadn’t fixed dates for them:

– cross Hungary in one-two days (slowly, no rush) and enter Slovenia, following the highway from Nagykanisza (Hungary) to Maribor (Slovenia)

– road-trip throughout Slovenia for two-three weeks – follow the arbitrary route: Maribor – Ptuj – Ljubljana – Triglav National Park – Trieste Golf (the Slovenian part: Koper, Izola, Portoroz, Piran)

– maybe climb Mount Triglav if it doesn’t have snow

– drive around Triglav Mount from Kranjska Gora to Soča Valley, over the Vršič Pass

– visit the karst caves of Postojna and Škocjan

…. Slovenia > Croatia

– cross from Slovenia to Croatia somewhere near the Golf of Trieste (there are two places where you can cross the border)

– stay in Croatia for almost one month – follow the arbitrary route from the North to the South of the country: the Istria Peninsula, go along the Adriatic Coast via Rijecka – Zagreb – Zadar – Split – Dubrovnik

– see as many Croatian Islands as possible (at least Krk, Hvar, and Mljet – maybe also Korčula)

– go to Plitvice Lakes National Park (UNESCO site)

…. Croatia > Bosnia & Herzegovina

– cross from Croatia to Bosnia & Herzegovina and go for a couple of days to Medugorge (spiritual place) – maybe stay in a monastery

– road-trip Bosnia & Herzegovina: follow the arbitrary route Trebinje – Medugorge – Mostar – Banja Luka – Sarajevo – Višegrad

…. Bosnia & Herzegovina > Montenegro

– cross from Bosnia & Herzegovina to Montenegro near Durmitor National Park

– hike something in the Durmitor Mountains

– rafting and/or canyoning on/in the Tara River / Canyon

– road-trip Montenegro: follow the arbitrary route Zabljak – Podgorica – Bay of Kotor – Kolasin

– spend one week around the Bay of Kotor and Budva

…. Montenegro > Serbia (dropped the plan for Serbia due to lack of time – postponed for next year: 2019)

– cross from Montenegro to Serbia near Novi Pazar

– road-trip Serbia: follow the arbitrary route Novi Pazar – Zlatibor – Guča – Niš – Belgrade – Novi Sad – Subotica

– from Serbia somehow cross directly to Romania to avoid paying another vignette in Hungary/Bulgaria for a short distance (somewhere at Crna Bara crossing point)

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Final Result:

The final result of my trip through a couple of Balkan Countries, where I stayed for three months, is a series of ……. travel diaries (which I am writing now). Enjoy your reading and let me know your opinion about the Balkan Countries. Which is your favorite country? Why?

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Slovenia (23 days – almost three weeks)

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 - Slovenia

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Slovenia

  • two days driving from Romania to Slovenia, crossing Hungary (via Sibiu – Oradea – Arad – Mako – Balaton Lake – Lendava)
  • road trip through Goričko Region, via Lendava – Grad Castle – Murska Sobota town
  • road trip from Murska Sobota to Ptuj, via Beltinci Castle – Ižakovci and Veržej (villages with watermills) – Ljutomer old town – Jeruzalem (region with vineyards) – Velika Nedelja
  • explored Ptuj old town center; afternoon break at Ranca (Ptuj Sea)
  • round road trip from Ptuj to Maribor, via Vurberk Castle; explored Maribor old town center
  • road trip in Pohorje Region around Maribor; continue road trip to Celje, via Slovenska Bistrica – Slovenske Konjice; explored Celje old town center
  • explored Celje and Velenje Castles; road trip from Celje to Hotvalje village, via Velenje – Gornji Grad – Kamnik – Škofja Loka
  • round road trip to Idrija (2nd largest former mercury mine in Europe)
  • road trip from Hotvalje to Postojna, via Cerkno Partisan Hospital – Idrija – Logatec – Planina – Predjama Castle
  • explored the touristic & expensive Postojna Cave; arrived in Ljubljana via Vrhnika
  • explored Ljubljana for two days (the old town with hilltop castle & the new town along the riverbanks; Plečnik’s architectural works: Tivoli Park + Žale Cemetery; Metelkova Squat/ Ghetto Sculpture)
  • explored Kamnik old town
  • cable car in the Kamnisko-Savinjske Alps; short hike to Velika Planina herdsmen’s settlement; road trip from Kamnik to Škofja Loka; explored Škofja Loka
  • road trip from Škofja Loka to Jesenice, via Kranj – Preddvor – Bled
  • round road trip from Jesenice, via Pokljuca – Stara Fužina – Studor – Bohinj Lake – Bohinjska Bistrica – Bled Lake; short steep hike to Savica Waterfall; explored Bled’s Castle
  • round road trip from Jesenice, via Radovljica – Bogunje village – Bled Lakeside; explored Radovljica old town
  • boat trip to Bled’s Island; road trip from Bled to Kranjska Gora, via Grad Kamen – Mojstrana – Vrata Valley (50% off-road) – Kranska Gora
  • road trip across the Julian Alps, via Vršič Pass (1611 m altitude); went down the Soča Valley, via Trenta and Bovec; rafting along the Soča River (from Srpenica to Trnovo ob Soči -10-12 km)
  • road trip from Bovec to Ajdovščina, via Boka Waterfall – Kobarid and Tolmin towns – short detour to Most na Soči – Solkan Bridge – Nova Gorica – short detour to Krombek Castle
  • road trip from Ajdovščina to Koper, via Vipasvski Križ and Štanjel fortified towns; stop at Škocjan cave and big dolina
  • explored Strunjan’s salt pans and Izola old town at the Adriatic Sea
  • explored Koper old town at the Adriatic Sea
  • explored Piran old town at the Adriatic Sea
  • stopped at the salt pans from Sečovlje; crossed the border with Croatia at Sečovlje

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Croatia (28 days – four weeks)

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 - Croatia

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Croatia

  • explored the tiny old towns of Grožnjan and Motovan; arrived in Valkanela, near Poreč town
  • explored Poreč old town; quick stop in Plava Laguna and Limski Kanal on the way to Rovinj town
  • explored Rovinj old and new town; arrived in the Istrian city of Pula
  • beach and sightseeing in Pula for two days (Roman + Habsburgic town)
  • road trip from Pula to Osor small town (Cres Island) via Plomin – Brestova to Porozina ferry – short stop in Cres small port – long detour to Lubenice village
  • explored Osor small town; round road trip on Lošinj Island – Mali Lošinj and Veli Lošinj towns; ferry from Cres Island (Merag) to Krk Island (Valbiska)
  • explored Krk Island – Krk and Vrbnik small towns; arrived in Rijeka city
  • explored Rijeka downtown and Trsat Neighborhood with castle and monastery
  • road trip from Rijeka city to Plitvice Lakes National Park, via Senj town / Nehaj Fortress – Vratnic Pass – Otočac – Rudanovac – Jezerce
  • explored Plitvice Lakes National Park (done the C trail – 4h walk); Rastovača village walk
  • road trip from Plitvice Lakes to Rab Island, across the Velebit Mountains (short stop at Veliki Alan herdsmen’s village) – Stinica to Misnjak ferry – Rab and Lopar on Rab Island
  • driven across Rab Island from Lopar to Rab old town (short stop); road trip along the Adriatic coastline, via Karlobag – Starigrad Paklanica – Novigrad – Benkovac; arrived in Biograd na Moru
  • short walk and beach in Biograd na Moru
  • round trip from Biograd na Moru to Zadar; explored Zadar old town
  • road trip from Biograd na Moru to Skradin town (at the mouth of Krka National Park)
  • round trip from Skradin to Šibenik;  explored Šibenik old town
  • explored Krka National Park (Skradinski Buk – Visovac Island – Roški Slap – Krka Monastery – Burnum Roman Amphitheater – Manojlovac Waterfall)
  • road trip from Skradin to Trogir along the Adriatic Coast – Primošten; explored Trogir small town
  • explored Salona archaeological site; arrived in Split
  • explored Split city for three days (old town /Diocletian’s Palace – Mestrovik museums & gallery)
  • driven from Split to Hvar Island, via Omiš – Makarska – Drvenik to Sućuraj late ferry
  • explored Hvar Island – Stari Grad and Hvar old towns; arrived in Opuzen late evening
  • road trip from Opuzen to Orebić, via Metkovic – Vid – Neum (BiH) – Mali Ston and Ston; explored the fortifications of Mali Ston and Ston
  • two days spent in Orebić; boat trip from Orebić to Korčula old town on Korčula Island
  • road trip from Orebić to Dubrovnik, via Trstenik – Žuljana – Ston – Mali Ston (Pelješac Peninsula)
  • explored Dubrovnik old town for two days; crossed the border between Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina at Brgat Gornji

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Bosnia & Herzegovina

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • two days spent in Trebinje; short trips to Tvrdos and Herzegovinian Graćanica Monasteries
  • road trip from Trebinje to Medugorje, via Stolac old town and Radimlja stećak tombstones; short detour to Zavala Monastery and Vjetrenice Cave
  • one day pilgrimage hikes in Medugorje: the Apparition Hill and the Cross Mountain
  • one day road trip from Medugorje to Kravice and Kosuce Waterfalls, via Humac Museum
  • road trip from Medugorje to Mostar, via Pocitelj and Blagaj dervish tekke
  • two days exploring Mostar old town core
  • road trip from Mostar to Travnik, via Prozor – Bugojno – Novi Travnik
  • road trip from Travnik to Jajce and Plitve Lake, via Donji Vakuf
  • road trip from Jajce to Banja Luka
  • road trip from Banja Luka to Tesanj and Doboj fortresses, via Kotor Varoš and Donji Ružević
  • road trip from Doboj to Ilidža, via Maglaj and Vranduk fortresses; stop at Visoko’s Sun Pyramid
Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 - Bjelasnica Mountains (partial off-road trip)

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Bjelasnica Mountains (partial off-road trip)

  • four days exploring Sarajevo (old town – Baščaršija, new town, and its surroundings – Trebević Mountain)
  • one day road trip from Sarajevo to Bjelašnica Mountains, via Babin Do mountain resort – Umoljani & Lukomir villages
  • road trip from Sarajevo to Višegrad
  • one day exploring Višegrad and its surroundings (Višegrad Spa and Dobrun Monastery)
  • two days in a rafting camp between the Tara – Drina – Piva Rivers (rafting on Tara and Drina); crossed the border with Montenegro at Šćepan Polje

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Montenegro

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 - Montenegro

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Montenegro

  • road trip from the border crossing to Niksic town, via Pluzine and Pivsko Lake
  • road trip from Niksic town to Risan Bay, via the Roman Bridge on Mostanica – Slansko Lake – Grahovo – Risan
  • one day road trip to Herceg Novi and Savina Monastery; short stop in Risan at the Roman Mosaic
  • explored Perast old town – boat trip to Our lady on the Rock island with church; road trip to Zanjic Beach, via Radovici
  • explored Kotor old town
  • scenic road trip from Kotor to Cetinje, via Njeguši – through the Lovćen Mountain; detour to the Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic-Njegos on top of the mountain
  • explored the museums of Cetinje
  • explored Podgorica downtown and old neighborhood
  • one day road trip from Podgorica to Ostrog and Zdrebaonik Monasteries, via Danilovgrad town
  • road trip from Podgorica to Ulcinj town, via the scenic Lake Shkoder shore (Virpazar – Murići – Arbnež )
  • road trip from Ulcinj town to Bar town, via Stari Bar old town
  • road trip from Bar town to Cetinje town/Lipa Cave, via Sveti Stephan – Budva town; explored Budva old town
  • road trip from Cetinje to Zabljak mountain resort, via Rijecka Crnojevica – Podgorica – Moraca Valley/canyon – Savnik town
Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 - Durmitor Mountains (yellow - car, green - hikes)

Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Durmitor Mountains (yellow – car, green – hikes)

  • five days spent near Zablajak mountain resort & Durmitor National Park:

1st day in the Durmitor Mountains: short hikes to Crno Jezero Lake – Zmijinje Lake – Barno Lake; Curovac Viewpoint over Tara Canyon

2nd day in the Durmitor Mountains: Sedlo Pass – Bobotov Kuk (2523m alt.) – Urdeni Do (9h hard hike)

3rd day in the Durmitor mountains: Savin Kuk (2322m alt.) via two cable-cars; round road trip from Zabljak to Pisce via Sedlo Pass (~40km one way)

4th day in the Durmitor Mountains: relaxing day in Uskoci hamlet

5th day in the Durmitor Mountains: canyoning in Canyon Nevidio

  • road trip from Zabljak mountain resort to Mojkovac along the Tara River Canyon and Valley
  • road trip from Mojkovac to Kolasin and Lake Biograd in the Biogradska Gora Mountains
  • two days driving from Montenegro to Romania, crossing Serbia(via Dobrakovo – Prijepolje – Užice – Valjevo – Belgrade  Kaluderovo – Oravița – Deva – Sibiu)

This is the summary of my three-month trip to the Balkan Countries of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Enjoy your reading and let me know your opinion about the Balkan Countries. Which is your favorite country? Why? Where would you go?

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One Response to “Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia”

  1. Ketki April 30, 2018 at 1:13 pm #

    This looks like great planning! I can only imagine how much reading you had to do to get these plans of paper. I hope you have a fantastic trip.

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