Cycling in the Balkans

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  • I'm popping to Albania later this week, with a very vague plan to bob around Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia and come back from Bulgaria. Anyone know anything about cycling in the area? How are roads, people, conditions, what's the attitude to wild camping, chances of finding vegan eats, what's unmissable to see?

  • Yeah, anyone who's done TCR in the last 4 years would have some idea. Roads can be great and can be shit. Wild camping is the same as everywhere else - do it out of sight and you don't need worry about anyone's attitude (easier with bivvy than tent, obvs). Albania has some good Italian influence with good pizza and coffee. No idea about vegan - maybe not healthy vegan but there will be something. Look at the checkpoints from TCR for some sights.

    One of my favourite places: Pluzine, Montenegro
    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=pluzine+&t=ffs­b&iax=images&ia=images

    This was a CP on TCRNo7 in Bulgaria:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buzludzha

  • Great, thanks for that - if there's Italian influence, pasta and tomato sauce should be pretty simple to get. Too late to get a bivvy, so will make do with tent and be discreet.

    Pluzine looks amazing, better start thinking about a route.

  • hello,
    I was touring there (slovenia, croatia, bosnia serbia, montenegro and albania) last year.
    Things are really easy, food is cheap and good, if you don't feel like cooking you can just get a burek for 1€ !
    People are really welcoming and some would open their doors for the night and offer you dinner for sure!
    Montenegro was my personnal best for the roads, this road following the skadarsko lake in the evening <3

    There's also a bunch of warmshowers available, this sweet american couple in skoder, Albania for example

    I didn't went to the north mountains in albania but some say they still have some revenge laws in a few villages, don't know how welcoming people can be there:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gjakmarrja­

    Enjoy!

  • I didn't bivy in bosnia, cause there's mines and wolves ! Everywhere else was perfect, no pb at all

  • In Montenegro the Durmitor national park is amazing riding, some smooth tarmac/rough road combinations. The Tara gorge was also stunning, but quite busy on parts due to a couple of tourist attractions. As for Kotor bay..busy busy busy "Jesus take the wheel" type driving.


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  • I'm really looking forward to this now, I love big dogs. Durmitor seems like a couple of days ride from Tirana - going roughly that direction as I want to visit Mostar.

  • On the way back to Croatia, we crossed in to Bosnia via this road; https://goo.gl/maps/CWv45MczgMQvBHvm7
    A quiet climb, with wide roads, and the border crossing was quick.
    The gpx route goes up to another crossing, a very busy one, and if you do the PLuzine tunnels, you will need good lights.
    It turned out that Cyclist magazine did a similar route to us through Durmitor.
    https://www.cyclist.co.uk/in-depth/4871/­black-mountain-magic-big-ride-montenegro­


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  • Also, enter and exit Kosovo via Serbia, as you may have problems leaving Serbia if you went Albania-Kosovo-Serbia.

  • @Kurai - I wish I’d read this before cycling a monster climb from Pristina to the Serb border only to be turned away for some bullshit reason (no national ID card - not every country has ID cards, pricks!) because they’re still butthurt that they can’t have an empire anymore.

    Had to backtrack round southern Kosovo into Macedonia and lost a lot of time, just because the Serbs are fucking Vogons.

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Cycling in the Balkans

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