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Driving Eastern Europe?

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1. Posted by will13 (Full Member, 73 posts) 31 May '07 22:02

Mid December-Early February I am going to want to rent a van or motorhome with my best friend and tour ourselves around Eastern Europe.

Click the link below to view the itinerary I have planned:

http://www.travellerspoint.com/member_map.cfm?itinid=25999&tripid=25999

* [12 Dec 2007] Berlin, Germany
* [13 Dec 2007 - 15 Dec 2007] Warsaw, Poland
* [16 Dec 2007 - 18 Dec 2007] Minsk, Belarus
* [19 Dec 2007 - 21 Dec 2007] Vilnius, Lithuania
* [21 Dec 2007 - 24 Dec 2007] Rīga, Latvia
* [25 Dec 2007 - 29 Dec 2007] Saint Petersburg, Russia
* [30 Dec 2007 - 02 Jan 2008] Moscow, Russia
* [04 Jan 2008 - 07 Jan 2008] Kiev, Ukraine
* [08 Jan 2008 - 10 Jan 2008] Chişinău, Moldova
* [11 Jan 2008 - 13 Jan 2008] Bucharest, Romania
* [14 Jan 2008 - 16 Jan 2008] Belgrade, Serbia
* [18 Jan 2008 - 21 Jan 2008] Zagreb, Croatia
* [22 Jan 2008 - 24 Jan 2008] Budapest, Hungary
* [25 Jan 2008 - 28 Jan 2008] Kraków, Poland
* [29 Jan 2008 - 02 Feb 2008] Prague, Czech Republic
* [03 Feb 2008] Berlin, Germany

That is just a rough outline. Is this drive doable, and is 50 days about enough to complete it? Input please?

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator, 5540 posts) 1 Jun '07 00:58

I guess the 50 days won't be too tight, but there are some other things which I don't know if you have considered them:

Getting into Belarus by car (own or rental) isn't very easy, many times impossible, sometimes they just don't allow you to pass the border even if your papers are ok.

For Russia (and probably Belarus?) you need to book your nights before you arrive in the country, or otherwise you won't get a visa. Unless you take a more expensive free travel visa, which is several hundreds of dollars.

Just to let you know, maybe you already knew!

You have put some cities on your list, but what about travelling the countryside as well?

Michael

3. Posted by Nikolina (Budding Member, 51 posts) 1 Jun '07 01:08

From Belgrade to Zagreb you need about 4 hours by car. One or two days are enough to spend in Zagreb.

But I have one question, why not traveling during spring, it is much nicer

4. Posted by will13 (Full Member, 73 posts) 1 Jun '07 07:38

We will stop in towns throughout the countryside as we drive through, this itinerary is just a guidline for us.

The are doing it in winter because that is what our schedule allows for.

I had no idea about the VISA situation but I have just started planing, so I will have to look into that.

How are the roads between all these places?

5. Posted by amorphis (Budding Member, 47 posts) 1 Jun '07 08:35

Hi Will,
Surely an issue, the quality of roads in EE. In this respect the worst countries definitely are Belarus, Russia and Oekraine. In this large (!)area you will probably have a hard time avoiding potholes on the road which sometimes have the size of a shell-hole... And i am not exaggerating here! Do drive carefully there. Of course, firstly because of your own personal safety, but also to avoid all too frequent visits at the local mechanist shops. Which is a story in itself, by the way, but i will not go into that one here.
In Romania things improved a lot the last few years. Serbian roads are still a bit problematic in various parts of the country. In general EE has not got many kilometers of 4-lane roads. The far majority are quite bumpy, curvy 2-lane roads. Driving on these is in fact a constant, challenging division of your attention between the lovely surroundings and the sometimes nasty events that take place on the road itself (like horsecarts that carry no lights in the dark, and ride in the middle of the road as if they were king/president xyz).
Take care.

6. Posted by will13 (Full Member, 73 posts) 1 Jun '07 09:41

^ Thanks for the reply, please view my upgraded itinerary plan below:

[12 Dec 2007] Berlin, Germany
[12 Dec 2007 - 15 Dec 2007] Warsaw, Poland
[15 Dec 2007 - 18 Dec 2007] Vilnius, Lithuania
[18 Dec 2007 - 21 Dec 2007] Rīga, Latvia
[21 Dec 2007 - 24 Dec 2007] Saint Petersburg, Russia
[24 Dec 2007 - 27 Dec 2007] Moscow, Russia
[28 Dec 2007 - 30 Dec 2007] Kiev, Ukraine
[31 Dec 2007 - 03 Jan 2008] Bucharest, Romania
[04 Jan 2008 - 07 Jan 2008] Belgrade, Serbia
[07 Jan 2008 - 10 Jan 2008] Zagreb, Croatia
[10 Jan 2008 - 14 Jan 2008] Budapest, Hungary
[15 Jan 2008 - 18 Jan 2008] Prague, Czech Republic
[18 Jan 2008] Berlin, Germany

[ Edit: Edited on Jun 1, 2007, at 9:49 AM by will13 ]

7. Posted by will13 (Full Member, 73 posts) 1 Jun '07 10:40

View the updated itinerary I posted above before replying to this comment.

Are Crotia and Sebia countries worth seeing? Or should we skip Belgrade and Zagreb and drive straight from Bucharest to Budapest?

I was just thinking this might be more convenient as it would involved crossing into less countries, and it would save time which would make our vehicle rental cheaper.

I really don't mind either way, I just want to be sure that Belgrade and Zagreb are worth our time/money to visit???

8. Posted by Stockczech (Full Member, 30 posts) 1 Jun '07 23:57

Will, I really think you need to think this through a lot more!;)

If you are going to rent a motorhome, you will find it very difficult to get insurance to drive to places like Belarus or Russia - and even countries like Czech Republic and Poland will add to the cost if you hire in western Europe.

Another problem will be where are you going to stop each night? At that time of the year many of the campsites will be closed, and the weather could be very bad.

You are talking of covering huge distances on sometimes very poor roads. Maybe it would be better to restrict your plans to just a couple of countries and get to see them properly?

Sheila

9. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator, 5540 posts) 2 Jun '07 07:37

I wouldn't bother to visit Serbia and Croatia if you have limited time and only want to visit Belgrade and Zagreb and the area between those cities and on your way to Hungary.
Instead I would choose to go to Odessa and to Moldova and on to the Carpatians in Romania. Bucharest is ok, but it's a bit of a detour.

If you have possibilities think about countries like Macedonia and Albania, maybe Montenegro.

10. Posted by majaDK (Budding Member, 20 posts) 19 Jun '07 09:09

i don't know about russia, but i do know that in for example lithuania, the MAIN roads are in better condition than in, well, virtually ALL of the western european countries, because they were just built (by the European Union). i would be careful about going to ukraine, sorry if i offend anyone, but it's VERY radioactive in large areas of the country. & like someone already mentioned it'll be hard to get a rental car into some countries, because of the high risk of it getting stolen. with that being said, i've travelled by car (own) through almost all of those countries & i've never had a problem, just remember to get a hostel/hotel with car parking available & you should be fine! although you should be aware that you’re travelling in eastern europe & since i’ve only travelled during the summer, i don't know what priority clearing roads of snow has, but probably not the standard you’re used to!

anyway, have a great trip.

[ Edit: Edited on Jun 19, 2007, at 9:10 AM by majaDK ]