Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia
Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 is the summary of my three-month road trip to most of the countries of former Yugoslavia: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia during the summer of 2018 (May – August). The pace of traveling was slow, in accordance with the flexibility I had to go and stay wherever I wanted with my car. Here you can find my last Balkans Trip – the Balkan Countries Planning from 2017 – Macedonia, Albania, and Kosovo.
Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – General Planning:
Travel Planning for the road trip through the former Yugoslavian countries started a couple of months before the estimated departure. I used a Lonely Planet Guide for the southeastern part of Europe and sometimes, the official tourism websites of Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro & montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. I had names of places where I wanted to go and a vague idea of the order of the places I wanted to see. As I was going with my own car, I didn’t bother too much with the plans. I was flexible to go, stop, and stay wherever I wanted during a time frame of three months. I only ordered an ACSI Camping card for discount and they also sent two big guide-books to me with the locations of the camping grounds (fair enough).
Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Fixed Plans:
– two contacts in the first country I would visit – Slovenia, Ljubljiana (Sara who I had known from my previous trip through the Balkans – and another one from the Couchsurfing platform)
– I downloaded several apps for camping grounds and offline navigation (Maps.me, park4night, campercontact)
– a new, cheap smartphone to use just in case something would happen with the other one
Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Intentions, but nothing fixed:
When I left for the Balkan Countries of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia, all I knew was that I wanted to go to some places but I hadn’t fixed dates for them:
– cross Hungary in one-two days (slowly, no rush) and enter Slovenia, following the highway from Nagykanisza (Hungary) to Maribor (Slovenia)
– road-trip throughout Slovenia for two-three weeks – follow the arbitrary route: Maribor – Ptuj – Ljubljana – Triglav National Park – Trieste Golf (the Slovenian part: Koper, Izola, Portoroz, Piran)
– maybe climb Mount Triglav if it doesn’t have snow
– drive around Triglav Mount from Kranjska Gora to Soča Valley, over the Vršič Pass
– visit the karst caves of Postojna and Škocjan
…. Slovenia > Croatia
– cross from Slovenia to Croatia somewhere near the Golf of Trieste (there are two places where you can cross the border)
– stay in Croatia for almost one month – follow the arbitrary route from the North to the South of the country: the Istria Peninsula, go along the Adriatic Coast via Rijecka – Zagreb – Zadar – Split – Dubrovnik
– see as many Croatian Islands as possible (at least Krk, Hvar, and Mljet – maybe also Korčula)
– go to Plitvice Lakes National Park (UNESCO site)
…. Croatia > Bosnia & Herzegovina
– cross from Croatia to Bosnia & Herzegovina and go for a couple of days to Medugorge (spiritual place) – maybe stay in a monastery
– road-trip Bosnia & Herzegovina: follow the arbitrary route Trebinje – Medugorge – Mostar – Banja Luka – Sarajevo – Višegrad
…. Bosnia & Herzegovina > Montenegro
– cross from Bosnia & Herzegovina to Montenegro near Durmitor National Park
– hike something in the Durmitor Mountains
– rafting and/or canyoning on/in the Tara River / Canyon
– road-trip Montenegro: follow the arbitrary route Zabljak – Podgorica – Bay of Kotor – Kolasin
– spend one week around the Bay of Kotor and Budva
…. Montenegro > Serbia (dropped the plan for Serbia due to lack of time – postponed for next year: 2019)
– cross from Montenegro to Serbia near Novi Pazar
– road-trip Serbia: follow the arbitrary route Novi Pazar – Zlatibor – Guča – Niš – Belgrade – Novi Sad – Subotica
– from Serbia somehow cross directly to Romania to avoid paying another vignette in Hungary/Bulgaria for a short distance (somewhere at Crna Bara crossing point)
Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Final Result:
The final result of my trip through a couple of Balkan Countries, where I stayed for three months, is a series of ……. travel diaries (which I am writing now). Enjoy your reading and let me know your opinion about the Balkan Countries. Which is your favorite country? Why?
Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Slovenia (23 days – almost three weeks)
- two days driving from Romania to Slovenia, crossing Hungary (via Sibiu – Oradea – Arad – Mako – Balaton Lake – Lendava)
- road trip through Goričko Region, via Lendava – Grad Castle – Murska Sobota town
- road trip from Murska Sobota to Ptuj, via Beltinci Castle – Ižakovci and Veržej (villages with watermills) – Ljutomer old town – Jeruzalem (region with vineyards) – Velika Nedelja
- explored Ptuj old town center; afternoon break at Ranca (Ptuj Sea)
- round road trip from Ptuj to Maribor, via Vurberk Castle; explored Maribor old town center
- road trip in Pohorje Region around Maribor; continue road trip to Celje, via Slovenska Bistrica – Slovenske Konjice; explored Celje old town center
- explored Celje and Velenje Castles; road trip from Celje to Hotvalje village, via Velenje – Gornji Grad – Kamnik – Škofja Loka
- round road trip to Idrija (2nd largest former mercury mine in Europe)
- road trip from Hotvalje to Postojna, via Cerkno Partisan Hospital – Idrija – Logatec – Planina – Predjama Castle
- explored the touristic & expensive Postojna Cave; arrived in Ljubljana via Vrhnika
- explored Ljubljana for two days (the old town with hilltop castle & the new town along the riverbanks; Plečnik’s architectural works: Tivoli Park + Žale Cemetery; Metelkova Squat/ Ghetto Sculpture)
- explored Kamnik old town
- cable car in the Kamnisko-Savinjske Alps; short hike to Velika Planina herdsmen’s settlement; road trip from Kamnik to Škofja Loka; explored Škofja Loka
- road trip from Škofja Loka to Jesenice, via Kranj – Preddvor – Bled
- round road trip from Jesenice, via Pokljuca – Stara Fužina – Studor – Bohinj Lake – Bohinjska Bistrica – Bled Lake; short steep hike to Savica Waterfall; explored Bled’s Castle
- round road trip from Jesenice, via Radovljica – Bogunje village – Bled Lakeside; explored Radovljica old town
- boat trip to Bled’s Island; road trip from Bled to Kranjska Gora, via Grad Kamen – Mojstrana – Vrata Valley (50% off-road) – Kranska Gora
- road trip across the Julian Alps, via Vršič Pass (1611 m altitude); went down the Soča Valley, via Trenta and Bovec; rafting along the Soča River (from Srpenica to Trnovo ob Soči -10-12 km)
- road trip from Bovec to Ajdovščina, via Boka Waterfall – Kobarid and Tolmin towns – short detour to Most na Soči – Solkan Bridge – Nova Gorica – short detour to Krombek Castle
- road trip from Ajdovščina to Koper, via Vipasvski Križ and Štanjel fortified towns; stop at Škocjan cave and big dolina
- explored Strunjan’s salt pans and Izola old town at the Adriatic Sea
- explored Koper old town at the Adriatic Sea
- explored Piran old town at the Adriatic Sea
- stopped at the salt pans from Sečovlje; crossed the border with Croatia at Sečovlje
Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Croatia (28 days – four weeks)
- explored the tiny old towns of Grožnjan and Motovan; arrived in Valkanela, near Poreč town
- explored Poreč old town; quick stop in Plava Laguna and Limski Kanal on the way to Rovinj town
- explored Rovinj old and new town; arrived in the Istrian city of Pula
- beach and sightseeing in Pula for two days (Roman + Habsburgic town)
- road trip from Pula to Osor small town (Cres Island) via Plomin – Brestova to Porozina ferry – short stop in Cres small port – long detour to Lubenice village
- explored Osor small town; round road trip on Lošinj Island – Mali Lošinj and Veli Lošinj towns; ferry from Cres Island (Merag) to Krk Island (Valbiska)
- explored Krk Island – Krk and Vrbnik small towns; arrived in Rijeka city
- explored Rijeka downtown and Trsat Neighborhood with castle and monastery
- road trip from Rijeka city to Plitvice Lakes National Park, via Senj town / Nehaj Fortress – Vratnic Pass – Otočac – Rudanovac – Jezerce
- explored Plitvice Lakes National Park (done the C trail – 4h walk); Rastovača village walk
- road trip from Plitvice Lakes to Rab Island, across the Velebit Mountains (short stop at Veliki Alan herdsmen’s village) – Stinica to Misnjak ferry – Rab and Lopar on Rab Island
- driven across Rab Island from Lopar to Rab old town (short stop); road trip along the Adriatic coastline, via Karlobag – Starigrad Paklanica – Novigrad – Benkovac; arrived in Biograd na Moru
- short walk and beach in Biograd na Moru
- round trip from Biograd na Moru to Zadar; explored Zadar old town
- road trip from Biograd na Moru to Skradin town (at the mouth of Krka National Park)
- round trip from Skradin to Šibenik; explored Šibenik old town
- explored Krka National Park (Skradinski Buk – Visovac Island – Roški Slap – Krka Monastery – Burnum Roman Amphitheater – Manojlovac Waterfall)
- road trip from Skradin to Trogir along the Adriatic Coast – Primošten; explored Trogir small town
- explored Salona archaeological site; arrived in Split
- explored Split city for three days (old town /Diocletian’s Palace – Mestrovik museums & gallery)
- driven from Split to Hvar Island, via Omiš – Makarska – Drvenik to Sućuraj late ferry
- explored Hvar Island – Stari Grad and Hvar old towns; arrived in Opuzen late evening
- road trip from Opuzen to Orebić, via Metkovic – Vid – Neum (BiH) – Mali Ston and Ston; explored the fortifications of Mali Ston and Ston
- two days spent in Orebić; boat trip from Orebić to Korčula old town on Korčula Island
- road trip from Orebić to Dubrovnik, via Trstenik – Žuljana – Ston – Mali Ston (Pelješac Peninsula)
- explored Dubrovnik old town for two days; crossed the border between Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina at Brgat Gornji
Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Bosnia & Herzegovina
- two days spent in Trebinje; short trips to Tvrdos and Herzegovinian Graćanica Monasteries
- road trip from Trebinje to Medugorje, via Stolac old town and Radimlja stećak tombstones; short detour to Zavala Monastery and Vjetrenice Cave
- one day pilgrimage hikes in Medugorje: the Apparition Hill and the Cross Mountain
- one day road trip from Medugorje to Kravice and Kosuce Waterfalls, via Humac Museum
- road trip from Medugorje to Mostar, via Pocitelj and Blagaj dervish tekke
- two days exploring Mostar old town core
- road trip from Mostar to Travnik, via Prozor – Bugojno – Novi Travnik
- road trip from Travnik to Jajce and Plitve Lake, via Donji Vakuf
- road trip from Jajce to Banja Luka
- road trip from Banja Luka to Tesanj and Doboj fortresses, via Kotor Varoš and Donji Ružević
- road trip from Doboj to Ilidža, via Maglaj and Vranduk fortresses; stop at Visoko’s Sun Pyramid
- four days exploring Sarajevo (old town – Baščaršija, new town, and its surroundings – Trebević Mountain)
- one day road trip from Sarajevo to Bjelašnica Mountains, via Babin Do mountain resort – Umoljani & Lukomir villages
- road trip from Sarajevo to Višegrad
- one day exploring Višegrad and its surroundings (Višegrad Spa and Dobrun Monastery)
- two days in a rafting camp between the Tara – Drina – Piva Rivers (rafting on Tara and Drina); crossed the border with Montenegro at Šćepan Polje
Balkan Countries Travel Planning 2018 – Montenegro
- road trip from the border crossing to Niksic town, via Pluzine and Pivsko Lake
- road trip from Niksic town to Risan Bay, via the Roman Bridge on Mostanica – Slansko Lake – Grahovo – Risan
- one day road trip to Herceg Novi and Savina Monastery; short stop in Risan at the Roman Mosaic
- explored Perast old town – boat trip to Our lady on the Rock island with church; road trip to Zanjic Beach, via Radovici
- explored Kotor old town
- scenic road trip from Kotor to Cetinje, via Njeguši – through the Lovćen Mountain; detour to the Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic-Njegos on top of the mountain
- explored the museums of Cetinje
- explored Podgorica downtown and old neighborhood
- one day road trip from Podgorica to Ostrog and Zdrebaonik Monasteries, via Danilovgrad town
- road trip from Podgorica to Ulcinj town, via the scenic Lake Shkoder shore (Virpazar – Murići – Arbnež )
- road trip from Ulcinj town to Bar town, via Stari Bar old town
- road trip from Bar town to Cetinje town/Lipa Cave, via Sveti Stephan – Budva town; explored Budva old town
- road trip from Cetinje to Zabljak mountain resort, via Rijecka Crnojevica – Podgorica – Moraca Valley/canyon – Savnik town
- five days spent near Zablajak mountain resort & Durmitor National Park:
1st day in the Durmitor Mountains: short hikes to Crno Jezero Lake – Zmijinje Lake – Barno Lake; Curovac Viewpoint over Tara Canyon
2nd day in the Durmitor Mountains: Sedlo Pass – Bobotov Kuk (2523m alt.) – Urdeni Do (9h hard hike)
3rd day in the Durmitor mountains: Savin Kuk (2322m alt.) via two cable-cars; round road trip from Zabljak to Pisce via Sedlo Pass (~40km one way)
4th day in the Durmitor Mountains: relaxing day in Uskoci hamlet
5th day in the Durmitor Mountains: canyoning in Canyon Nevidio
- road trip from Zabljak mountain resort to Mojkovac along the Tara River Canyon and Valley
- road trip from Mojkovac to Kolasin and Lake Biograd in the Biogradska Gora Mountains
- two days driving from Montenegro to Romania, crossing Serbia(via Dobrakovo – Prijepolje – Užice – Valjevo – Belgrade – Kaluderovo – Oravița – Deva – Sibiu)
This is the summary of my three-month trip to the Balkan Countries of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Enjoy your reading and let me know your opinion about the Balkan Countries. Which is your favorite country? Why? Where would you go?
This looks like great planning! I can only imagine how much reading you had to do to get these plans of paper. I hope you have a fantastic trip.
We really have not travelled much in the Balkan Countries. But when I looked at your list, I found many places that are on our travel wish list. It looks like a good area to rent a car and maybe visit a few of the countries in one trip. You certainly looked like you had an ambitious plan for travels. Love the variety of the things that we on your list. Will keep this when we start planning.
I traveled with my car because I live in Romania and I traveled for three and a half months. You can cover the route I did in a shorter amount of time, but you won’t be able to stop everywhere unfortunately.
WOW!!! This is a serious itinerary! Love all the detail and if ever I should do this road trip, I’m just going to copy and paste! I think it’s good to have intentions rather than strict set plans cause you just never know what happens along the way.
At the end of the plan, I also added what I managed to see and posted the route I did in each country.
Going through this was like a breather of fresh air for me. I love planning for my travels, specially around Europe, as there is a lot to see, but time and money are always the constraints. I had tried planning some trips to the Balkans, back in 2018 and 2019, when I travelled to Romania and Italy, but it never materialised Really enjoyed your travel planning and the routes you decided on.
I think that the combinations I chose – road tripping and staying in camping grounds are the most budget options. Croatia is half price especially in the shoulder season (May – June), then the prices suddenly explode.
It is an excellent article. I love your travel map. It is a great adventure. I would like to take this kind of Balkan road trip traveling by a camper. I would like to have for this trip minimum two months. I love your detailed info. It might be constructive in a road trip planning.
I did this trip in three months and a half, and yes, I stayed most of the time in camping grounds (especially Croatia which is very expensive).
You plan and travel well. You covered Slovenia and Croatia extensively. Like you, I did Bled, Postojna, and Piran. I also visited two friends in Slovenia. I regret not visiting Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro. Fascinating. But I did do Macedonia, Kosovo, and Serbia.
I had done Macedonia, Albania, and Kosovo the previous year, in 2017.
First of all, I must say, I am saving your post as I have seen a little bit of Balkan region and am in totally love with it. Now I want to explore more, specifically the Bosnia and Montenegro region. They are on my bucket list and when all goes well, I would go for it. It is good you have given all detailed itinerary with maps for all individual countries. Pinned it.
I hope you will be able to get there soon. Bosnia and Montenegro are very beautiful countries.
Amazing! I wish we had had this when we went to the Balkans in 2016! We went into Croatia, then into Bosnia and came back into Croatia before going down to Montenegro then back up to Serbia! Think we could have come up with a more logical plan if we had planned more. We missed a few places you have listed too – need to go back one day.
You can always go back. It is a bit uncomfortable to go Croatia to Bosnia and then return to Croatia, you are right. I always enjoy exploring one country at a time.
Such a detailed plan and well done too. I like the way you have found contacts to help you and guide you. What is even more amazing is that you have managed to see through the plan and also, done a lot more than anticipated. It is good that you had your car for the flexibility. I would definitely like to plan a trip like this – anywhere
Yes, having your car is very important – or at least a rented car. Do be honest the plan when I left home was not so detailed, but once you get there you find lots of new places and it is good to also have the flexibility to stop for a while.
Great information and can be chosen out one of helpful article. Your coverage of the place is very enticing. Thank you for all the detailed tips. Thanks for sharing this informative blog.
Find out more about Kotor, Montenegro in my blog,