Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Transylvania - a Paradise for Adventure Riders
Best of The Balkans - ride in South East Europe
Winding roads, reach culture, UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Adriatic Sea and delicious traditional cuisine washed down with local drinks. An incredible experience on the best motorbike roads of nine Eastern European countries in an amazing 18 day motorcycle adventure!
We started the tour in the heart of Transylvania (Romania) in the city of Cluj Napoca on BMW motorcycles. The Sunset Mountains opened his roads for us in an authentic motorcycle experience. Mountains, incredible landscapes, ice caves, all along the Ariesului Valley River. In the evening we were blessed with a thermal water swimming pool at our hotel in Oradea, just enough to prepare us for what was waiting.
The next morning we were heading to the next destination, Hungary. The scenery changed as we exit Romania and entered Hungary and its vast, wild puszta. The great Hungarian plain opened in front of us. After a stop in Eger a charming medieval town, we arrived in the capital city, Budapest – the city of Spa’s. Dinner was an event, the traditional Hungarian food, the delicious Hungarian wine and live gipsy music with songs that just couldn’t keep you in the chair, so ….. OK…… I admit, some dancing was involved…..
A ride along the famous Balaton Lake made us crave for more. We reached Slovenia in the evening and the city of Maribor, the cultural capital of Europe in 2012 accommodated us, dusty, thirsty travellers in an incredible cosy hotel with plenty of local beer to taste.
Ljubljana, the smallest capital city of Europe was to follow. We reached it on winding roads trough the mountain region. A stop at a museum featuring vintage motorbikes was a great treat.
Plitvitze – the oldest national park in Europe, was amazing, this should definitely be on anyone's agenda, motorcycle fan or not. A boat ride and a walk on the trails around the lakes and admiring the amazing waterfalls was a blast. The water of the lakes is incredibly clear and its colours makes you wonder if this is what heaven looks like.
We continued our journey along the Adriatic Sea to Split, home to Diocletian’s Palace and crossing the coast trough Bosnia & Hertegovina we head straight to Dubrovnik, the most beautiful Croatian city – paradise on earth as it was described by George Bernard Shaw.
The Dalmatian Coast ride offered enormous satisfaction to all the riders (7 in the group). Any description you would try to make would not do it justice. Sure, there was traffic as the season was at its highest peak, but the two wheels were able to over take this challenge as well, so fun was not spoiled but increased as the officers at the custom were very friendly, so no time was wasted as we crossed the borders. Perfection.
Kotor Bay – known as Europe’s southernmost fjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site was the next destination. The road leading to Cetinje up on the hills above Kotor Bay offered an amazing view over the region. Plenty of photo opportunities as riding the winding roads from Kotor to Cetinje the royal capital of Montenegro.
Albania was an authentic experience, a country of contrasts, best visited now before modernization takes over entirely: the favourite business - car wash, favourite car - Mercedes, favourite animals around the house (and on the roads) - goats. Roads in progress (experience in riding on gravel roads required), amazing scenery and a delicious roasted baby goat for lunch as heading for Macedonia to the city of Ohrid. Accommodation in a hotel situated right on the banks of the Ohrid Lake made you feel like having tickets on the best seats to an amazing show featuring the most dramatic, beautiful sunset I have personally ever witnessed.
Don't forget to by some jewellery for your loved ones at home, anything with the Ohrid pearl definitely recommended.
Serbia was next on the map and in our route description. High speed, the smell of the road, a great traditional lunch and in the afternoon we are in the city of Nis. A visit of the old citadel and the skull tower made our day.
Derdap National Park – the famous Iron Gates Gorge, the gateway to the southern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains was next. We were kilometres away of a dream ride, or better said two dream rides: Transalpina – the newest, highest mountain road in Romania and Transfagarasan Road – the most crocked and challenging road for motorcyclists.
Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear referred to Transfagarasan Road in Romania as possibly the best in the world and so it was: curve after curve, the road was perfectly built, like it was designed to be used as a race track to the clouds.
All in all, an amazing motorcycle tour to Eastern European that I would do over and over again. Images still come in my mind after this amazing motorcycle adventure. The Adriatic, the smell of the road and forests, the sound of the waterfalls at Plitvice and the colour of the lakes, the taste of the incredibly tasty traditional food of the Balkans, the history, the rides, the mountains.
I could go on and on about it but best I’ll let you experience it for your selves.
Ride safe and enjoy the adventure!