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Traveling through Balkans (Croatia to Turkey)

Travel Forums Europe Traveling through Balkans (Croatia to Turkey)

1. Posted by aaronna2 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 1y

Hello Everyone!

I was hoping I could get some advice on plans for travel. I've been reading through the forms but incase I missed something I apologize if similar posts have already been answered thoroughly. This late February I'm traveling through parts of the Balkans for about 7 weeks. My plan is to hitchhike, backpack, couchsurf and camp my way from Split to Istanbul. The current route is

Croatia-Montenegro-Albania-Macedonia-Bulgaria-Turkey

From Split I plan on heading south through Dubrovnik and Cavtat. From there, my goal is to make it to Herceg Novi, Kotor, and Cetinje. I will head south through Albania until I reach Berat, and from there I will head east towards lake Ohrid, then traveling to Skopje, Blagoevgrad, Plovdiv, and finally Istanbul. My goal is to hitchhike as much as I can, but I will definitely be using bus travel as well. This is only an outline so far.

If anyone has any advice to give, whether it's some locations to visit, places to stay, safety tips for specific areas, or activities to do, I would be very appreciative. I'm leaving room for a few towns to travel to, and could especially use some guidance in terms of traveling to places in Bulgaria and north west Turkey besides Blagoevgrad, Plovdiv, and Istanbul.

If people have any recommendations for national parks or nature areas that are accessible for hiking and camping in February/March I would be very grateful, as most of the ones I've researched don't have too much info on winter availability (does anyone know if Theth National Park is doable in early March?)

I've been reading up on the history, culture and geography of the Balkan Peninsula, but I know that first-hand experience is invaluable, so if anyone has particular information regarding their trip or experience, I'd love to read it.

Thanks for reading.

2. Posted by mukila (Budding Member 4 posts) 1y

Hey,

great plan! I did part of the Balcans in two trips last year, Romania and Bulgaria in the first and Greece, Albania, Macedonia in the second.

Both entirely by hitchhiking, it´s really easy in that region, our average waiting time was about 30 minutes. And people who picked us up were all amazing, not only gave us a lift but also many of them invited us to their houses for a night. Taking the actual state of the roads in that area it´s probably the fastest way of moving, not mentioning that it´s the cheapest too. We used buses in Romania and Bulgaria and decided not to use any more public transport, although you might have to in this time of the year. I don´t know what´s the average temperature in February/March but might be a bit cold to be waiting for the lift.
Oh and also it took us quite long to hitchhike in Albania, specially in Tirana. Capitals are always the hardest to catch a lift and also it seems that it´s not habitual to see hitchikers there.

What to see? I think it´s a great route, the one you´ve planned. Definitely go to Dubrovnik! In Albania we went to Tirana (nothing special in my opinion) and Gjirokaster (worth visiting) but albanian coast has to be impressive too. If You hitchhike there people might ask You for a small amount of money, try to avoid private taxis, if thay agree to take You for free don´t give them money when You´re on place.

I don´t know much about natural parks in the area so hopefully someone else can give you some info on that subject. Good luck!

3. Posted by Rena13 (Full Member 24 posts) 1y

It's a little out of your way but do a daytrip to Plitvice National Park in Croatia. Day tours run from Split and it is well worth it!