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Old 05-08-2013, 07:57 AM   #1
thatnumber5 OP
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Easter Europe Motorcycle Tour.

Fellow Inmates:

I am an American living in Greece who is planning to take my trusty TDM 900 (with Greek plates) on a (solo) loop thru Italy and Eastern Europe, starting and ending in Athens, at the beginning of June. I am pretty familiar with Greece and Italy, and to a lesser extent Hungary, but a complete novice in Croatia/Bulgaria/Romania

Here is the proposed trip:



Basically, Athens, Venice, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Budapest, Budapest, Sofia and back to Athens.

Would love to get any feedback on things I should look out for.

(1) Border crossings.
(2) General road/travel conditions for motorcycle riders
(3) The feasibility of doing the trip in 10 days or so.

Any advice. Am I crazy?

Thanks for your comments.

thatnumber5 screwed with this post 05-08-2013 at 08:04 AM
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:53 AM   #2
MichaelJ
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It's a bit hard to tell from your map, but it looks like you're avoiding the Transfăgărășan. It would definitely be on my list if I was within 500 miles of the place.

But, I'm funny that way.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:52 AM   #3
Cerberus83
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No offense, but you're riding the "wrong" side of the Adriatic. My suggestion would be to either ride through the Croatian coast (Adriatic) or if you want to ride through Italy, cut over to Mediterranean side.

You'll be fine in Croatia (crossings are pretty easy) and you're avoiding tourist traffic (current itinerary). Also, you're only going to be maybe 2hrs in Croatia (from Hungary to Slovenia) and though I love Zagreb (my hometown), I feel like you're missing one of the best parts of the country if you don't go through the coast. If you don't want to travel via the coast, at least try to stop and visit Plitvice Lakes.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:54 PM   #4
Wildman
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Seems like you plan to stay near the coast around Venice. I'd recommend heading further north towards Cortina d'Ampezzo before turning east to Tolmezzo and Ljubljana via the Vrisic Pass.

You're crazy if you don't ride the Transfăgărășan.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:19 PM   #5
catweasel67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerberus83 View Post
No offense, but you're riding the "wrong" side of the Adriatic. My suggestion would be to either ride through the Croatian coast (Adriatic) or if you want to ride through Italy, cut over to Mediterranean side.

You'll be fine in Croatia (crossings are pretty easy) and you're avoiding tourist traffic (current itinerary). Also, you're only going to be maybe 2hrs in Croatia (from Hungary to Slovenia) and though I love Zagreb (my hometown), I feel like you're missing one of the best parts of the country if you don't go through the coast. If you don't want to travel via the coast, at least try to stop and visit Plitvice Lakes.
+1 on the wrong side. I rode around the Adriatic a few years back (see my sig line) and whilst the east side was riding heaven, the west side (the Italian side) sucked. The Italian coast road is built up, with one holiday resort blurring into another and the road itself is set way back from the sea. The only way to get any sort of speed up, with a view, is to ride the autostrada.

I'd ignore Italy for this trip - or make it the focus and head to Sicily, up the centre and west to Rome and then further up to the Dolomites...but bear in mind that if you do that you're some 4 days on a ferry (there and back).

Or stick to the east side of the Adriatic - so as has been suggested - ride the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Albania and back into Greece.


Lucky git

Time wise, I took about 3 days to get down to Kalabaka from Vienna - that was riding about 10 to 12 hours a day so 10 days for the loops is more than doable IMO.

Remember to keep hydrated - I forget when I went and nearly passed out in Albania - it was 40c as I went through. As a result I bought myself a hydration pack (got a Kriega) that served me very well.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:47 AM   #6
MichaelJ
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Originally Posted by Wildman View Post
Seems like you plan to stay near the coast around Venice. I'd recommend heading further north towards Cortina d'Ampezzo before turning east to Tolmezzo and Ljubljana via the Vrisic Pass.
+1 The coastal area is crowded and with lots of traffic. And not a hell of a lot to see.
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:26 PM   #7
JohnnyTh
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Hungary to Romania border; passport only. Same at Romania Bulgaria. You dont need to buy a vignett (roadtax) in romania and bulgaria but you need to in Hungary.
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Old 05-10-2013, 06:55 AM   #8
beebeer54
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Vignette

JohnnyTh, I think your a bit behind the times. You should have a vignette for Bulgaria and Romania though I didn't bother in Romania last year! In some countries the fines can be as high as 800+ if you don't have one, so you can not pay your money and take your chances! Have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vignette_%28road_tax%29
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Old 05-11-2013, 04:49 AM   #9
JohnnyTh
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Originally Posted by beebeer54 View Post
JohnnyTh, I think your a bit behind the times. You should have a vignette for Bulgaria and Romania though I didn't bother in Romania last year! In some countries the fines can be as high as €800+ if you don't have one, so you can not pay your money and take your chances! Have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vignette_%28road_tax%29

haha i was told at the border in Bulgaria by a custom officer that motorbikes did not need a Vignette and the lady selling vignettes in Romania told me the same. This was this week. Guess i was lucky then.

Edit:
From Wikipedia

Romania [edit]
With the exception of motorcycles, vignettes are required for all vehicles driving on all main roads and motorways. They can be obtained at most gas stations, border crossings, or online using a credit card. Drivers without a valid vignette are fined with €100 or more.[2]
so atleast Romania is free for motorbikes then.
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:30 PM   #10
pip_muenster
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None of the countries require a vignette unless you want to use the highways, and even then it may be unnecessary for bikes as written above.

Border crossings are typically not more than flashing your passport (maybe get a stamp) and go. If there's a queue, you can jump to the front and nobody will be angry about you. Everyone does it.

10 days is feasible depending on how many hours you're willing to ride. +1 on all the tips on the route. You could head north towards Albania and visit the Meteora monasteries on the way. Don't be afraid of Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia etc. - these are some of the most beautiful countries in eastern Europe.
In my experience, the roads are typically less fun when you stick to the coast.

If you get anywhere near it, I'd check the cave out which is described here.
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