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TobyG 02-23-2013 02:59 PM

Balkan. Offroad. In July. Pathfinding without GPS?
So, here's my plan:
I dont got one.

Other than which countries to go to.



From Slovenija on I will ride pretty much straight to Piemont, Italy, this part will mainly be on-road, as I will probably meet up with others for some serious Enduro riding there.

At least from Romania to Croatia on I would like to mainly stay off the pavement.

So, how do I tackle this task?
To make it harder, I am not a fan of planning the whole route beforehand, but rather taking a map with you and look for next days' route each evening, while avoiding paved roads.

Please share your wisdom with me :bow
Can anyone recommend any extremely detailed maps of the countries which are written in bold in the list above?

Thanks in Advance,

bastimentos 02-23-2013 05:21 PM

If you haven't seen it already

Good chance you've already read the thread but this bloke seems like a great resource to ask about those countries:

Good luck, and write a RR when you're done - I'm interested in that route.

TobyG 02-23-2013 05:42 PM

Thanks for the link - I actually just discovered that one,I will make sure to drop him a PM.

It might take me some time (rather unlikely that I'll take any electronics, aside from my trusty camera and a phone, with me, I might, just might, buy a cheap Netbook...), but I am planning on doing a RR.

sasho 02-23-2013 11:58 PM


Originally Posted by TobyG (Post 20794034)
So, here's my plan:

Can anyone recommend any extremely detailed maps of the countries which are written in bold in the list above?

For Bulgaria, there is the Garmin map from

It has an offroad section as well. For any specific advice, I'd recommend dropping a line in the offroad-bulgaria forum:

TobyG 02-24-2013 05:17 AM

That's a great resource, thanks. (event though it's not a printed map...but I'll find a solution to that)

GiorgioXT 02-24-2013 10:45 AM


Originally Posted by TobyG (Post 20794034)
So, here's my plan:
I dont got one.


Don't worry , lot of people (me included) toured and rode a lot even before GPS was invented :deal :D:D:D

I suggest to do a search for official digital cartography servers - sometimes exists also for paths like this slovenian one
then print and plastify the sheets

here the Romania geoportal

francs 02-25-2013 05:05 AM

In Bosnia and Montenegro GPS is useless (off road) .
Without seriously planing you won't be riding much off road.
Get a good map (not an easy task, military maps are outdated, others are not detailed) .
Don't joke with Mine signs in Bosnia.
Have a nice time.
There is a saying in those places: "Kartu čitaj seljaka pitaj"
(Read the map and ask locals)

TobyG 02-25-2013 09:49 AM

Thanks for the hints :)

Even though military maps are might be worth a try...didn't think of that, yet.
I will of course ask locals, but there might be a language barrier as I only speak very few words in eastern european languages.
I know how to order a beer, though and that usually helps, at least it did in Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, so far :D

As for taking Mine signs seriously, well I don't tend to joke with these signs anywhere on the world, at all.

We actually have a lot of signs warning about explosives and telling you to stay on the paths in the area I currently live in. Remains from 2nd World War.
Just recently they closed down a huge area after explosives were found all over.

And remember guys, if anyone knows any detailed maps of said countries, please let me know the publisher or the ISBN number :ear

francs 02-26-2013 01:48 AM

I got this maps for Montenegro:
Language can be a problem (locals are very friendly and helpfull but older ones don't speak much of foreign languages) .
This is very detailed map of Slovenija (but in Slovenija GPS works perfect and "real" off road is not allowed) .

TobyG 02-26-2013 03:09 PM

Those are both great maps, thanks francs :super

As for "real" offroad riding, everything unpaved will do, as for real offroad, thats why I am going to Piemont at the end of my trip.

By the way, I guess I didnt really mention that, I don't plan on taking a GPS with me at all. Don't get me wrong, I know that GPS systems are a great technology, but nonetheless, I decided against it for this trip.

CourtFisher 02-26-2013 07:31 PM

Probably the best NoAmerican source for paper maps worldwide is

Click on any of the Balkan countries you're interested in, and in some cases
there are even detailed topographic maps available, e.g.
"Bulgaria Topographic Maps"


francs 02-27-2013 04:59 AM

I got lost (in time before I bought a GPS) , I had a map but it was useless, because I didn't know the location, there is no road signs (or they are not there when you need them) . Even that GPS is not showing you the road it shows you a direction (it's very "calming down" thing in the middle of nowhere, for me at least) .
But I understand you very well, it's another perspective of adventure. :D

francs 03-07-2013 04:06 AM

More maps for Montenegro:
They are old (1972), there are new roads and some old roads don't exist anymore.

Frgich 03-10-2013 02:45 PM

Good maps for the countries in the region can be obtained from

Ride on

TobyG 09-01-2013 02:40 PM

Just figured I would let everyone know what I ended up doing:

For several reasons, the planned 8 weeks, which would've been necessary to do most of it off of paved roads,
were not do-able, but instead I only had about 4 weeks,
so I've gone maybe a fifth of my whole route on gravel roads and such.

However, for offroad/smallest-of-the-small-roads-navigation I used an Android App called "Soviet Military Maps".

The Pro version (cost ~10 IIRC) lets you download the maps, so you can use it without internet.
Well worth it IMHO.

At least for middle/eastern europe, these maps are still very, very accurate and up to date.
This App doesn't really allow being used as Navigation software directly, but you can of course just use it like a traditional paper map, with the benefit of setting waypoints and having it show you the linear distance between your position and the set waypoint.

*I do not have any affliation to the creators of the app, I just think it's a great app for the purpose*

As for the promised RR, I am working on it ;)

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