Been away from TP for some time now, good to be back and hoping for a little help.
I am planning a supertrip from Turkey to Austria and want to see most everything in between. Focusing mainly on the former Yugoslavia. Macendonia, Albania, Serbia and Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia. Slovenia and even maybe Hungary southern.
If there are any TPers from These places that would have tips on everything from places to see of interest to routes and iteneraries. I plan to go for a month in the spring of 2008. mybe longer. Maybe even until Euro starts if it is good, which I am almost sure will be. Istanbul seem to be the jump off point. Not really in to seeing Greece at this time so I most likely will just be passing through to Macedonia.
Thanks in advance for the help
That sounds like a very interesting trip, but how interesting exactly depends on what you're after and on how much time and money you're willing to spend. Perhaps you could enlighten us on that part? The Balkan is ethnically and culturally a very diverse region. One thing the peoples have in common is their dislike for their neighbours and their love for foreigners. Generally, they're very friendly and hospitable, but mostly not in a way that they are after your money. A lot of people would go to great lengths to ensure you enjoy your visit. As far as travelling is concerned, be prepared that travelling is often sluggishly due to the mostly rather mountainous terrain and is likely to involve snowy sceneries in springtime. Tell us more about your plans.
hey! I am not from These places, but when you will be travelling there, I will already be In October I am going to Skopje and will stay there for 9 months. So write me later on advice in Skopje, hehe. Well, probably you will have to start Istanbul - Sofia - Skopje. Sofia is worth stopping, but I do not know much about the rest of Bulgaria. In Macedonia Struga near the Ohrid lake is the biggest tourism attraction, though I really liked the deserted tobacco fields and rocks around Prilep. Many many many monasteries hidden in the mountains is the most special thing about Macedonia in my opinion. If you go to Ohrid, then it makes sense to continue to Albania. Albania is on my list still, so maybe someone else can comment on must-sees there. After visiting Albania, you can continue either towards Montenegro or Kosovo. I'd go for Kosovo. Though there are still warnings about travelling in the northern Albania, roads most traveled are safe enough. In Kosovo Prizren is a must, I really liked it. Prishtina is kind of boring except night life in summer. If you have time, you can try to find the way to the Gadime cave and take a look at the strange chrystals. Then continue towards Peja/Pec and try to visit the Drecani monastery. For Kosovo the best referece is this little guide: http://www.inyourpocket.com/data/download/pristina-instant-guide.pdf
From Peja take a minibus to Rozaje in Montenegro. Podgorica is a good transport hub, not much else. Though I have an invitation from one friend to explore Podgorica night life (ask me later as well, hehe). In Montenegro Tara canyon and Durmitor national park is a must. Then continue to the coast - Budva old town is lovely, visit the old capital Cetinje, then continue to Kotor. Then you can go to Dubrovnik and then head into Bosnia - Mostar, Sarajevo. From Sarajevo can head to Serbia - Zlatibor mountain area, Belgrade, Novi Sad. Then you can visit southern edge of Hungary and head for Zagreb. It's funny but Zagreb is my favorite place in Croatia :P Still I would suggest you to pay one more visit to Croat coast and go via Slovenia to Austria. Have a nice trip!
From your post I can detect that you will be coming from Turkey and Greece
into Macedonia. But later itinenary will be hard to do since you want to go to Albania and
Serbia along the way. So i recommend Greece - Albania - Macedonia - Serbia - Bosnia tour. And
I live in Croatia and know all the places. Been there. Here is some basic info on what to see,
although I do not know what type of travel you prefer: archeology and history, sports and
mountains, gastronomy, nature itself... Or maybe all together in a blend.
But, a month is not enough for all, you must shorten each country to couple of days.
It takes a lot of good planning...
I can give you a list of places by region in Croatia, for you to choose,
depending on the point you enter Croatia.
Slavonia (eastern continental part)
- town of Osijek with visit to Kopacki Rit (biggest ornithology reservate here), maybe
Djakovo and it's Cathedral, take note that there are some traditional gastronomy
- valley of Pozega, croatian continental wine capital, so called Vallis Aurea (golden valley),
- Zagreb to Varazdin, to visit the castle of Trakostjan, well preserved, full of tourist attractions,
- maybe Zagorje area with traditional castles and cuisine,
- definitely Plitvice Lakes, 120 km from Zagreb, 16 lakes in preserved forest, suggested to be one
of the seven natural wonders of the world,
Primorje (northern Adriatic)
- peninsula of Istria with historical inland towns and tradition,
- Gorski Kotar, forests and lakes in splendid ambience,
- Paklenica canyon, where Germans mad their famous Winnetou (not spaghetti, but cabage and
- Dubrovnik, not need to say anything,
- rafting on Zrmanja river, visit to Krka falls national park, town of Trogir near Split,
ruins of ancient Salona, pallace of Roman emperor Dioklecian in Split, incredible many
good places in a small area...
Hope those ideas help.
You can google it all and have many pages in english.
Personally I like also Slovenia, our neighbours, with a lot of places to visit, developed
tourism. They have Postojna cave, lakes of Bled and Bohinj, many mountain attractions,
wine roads, and so on.
Whatever you do, have a good time, plan carefully and take most of it.
That sounds like a very interesting trip, but how interesting exactly depends on what you're after and on how much time and money you're willing to spend. Perhaps you could enlighten us on that part?
Ive heard only good things thus far. I suppose I am after learing alot about the diversity of the region from local people. Seeing alot of the landschaft scenery. Meeting locals and I definetly want to hit the best parties in the cities. Ive heard Belgrade is crazy.
Thanks Mike from Croat! Your right, I am going to follow in a line more or less, meaning I dont plan to zig-zag backward. Im sure I will get to Croatia. I have a friend who runs a bar on Hvar. Looks like some solid tips youve givin me.
So just a call out to any TPers who are living in Albania | Macedonia | Serbia | Bosnia ?
Though a little late, I hope you can still use some of the advice I'm going to write here.
I can give you advice on Macedonia most accurately, since I live in Skopje (the capitol of the country). I'd go with mike's advice, go to Albania from Greece, and enter Macedonia at St.Naum (Ohrid lake border). St. Naum has some wonderful springs so you shouldn't miss out on that! The water is incredibly clear, and the springs actually form the river Crn Drim (Black Drim) which enters the lake right there, and flows out of it at the town of Struga (a rare phenomenon). After that I recommend a visit to Ohrid. The place has a lot to offer. It has a long history, it was a settlement in the time of the ancient Macedonian Kingdom (BC era). You will find a lot of archeology , visit the ancient roman theater, the Samuil fortress (not a lot to see in it but it offers a wonderful view), see some of the hundreds of churches (especially Kaneo and Plaoshnik), enjoy the architecture of the old town and the perfect climate.
After Ohrid I'd recommend a trip through Bitola. The town is quite nice, but not too much to see besides the lovely Sirok Sokak - Wide Alley, which has nice architecture and interesting events in the cafe's, and the ancient city which is presumed to be founded by Phillip the second (father of Alexander the Great). If you like it and decide to spend a night or two, make sure you visit the Pelister national park. The nature is amazing, and has a lot of great trails if you are into hiking. Another thing you should see, if you've got the stamina to do it, are the glacial lakes on top of the mountain called Pelisterski Oci - Pelister's Eyes.
Some other interesting destinations are Berovo, a small town in eastern Macedonia with beautiful nature and a very peaceful lake, Mavrovo - north-west near Tetovo, the St. Jovan Bigorski monastery http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Jovan_Bigorski_Monastery which has an astonishing iconostasis.
When going through Skopje and thinking about staying for a longer time you should take into consideration that the city is vibrant, pretty dusty, and interesting but not to the untrained eye. There are things to see and do but they are a bit hidden so it's no wonder many travelers are disappointed with it. You should go to Mt. Vodno (it's right next to the city, more of a hill than a mountain), and see the church of St. Panteleimon. At the moment they are building some museums but i don't know if you'll catch any one of them open. It's best to have a friend who knows the place if you really want to party and enjoy here.
Have a nice trip and be safe
PS. Write if you have any questions.