Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > Europe

Europe Topics specific to Western and Eastern Europe, from UK to the Russian border, and south-east to Turkey.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10 Apr 2009
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 58
Sofia / Skopje to Podgorica

Hi, looking for local advice (or anybody who has done this, I can't find any posts!) on getting from Sofia or Skopje to Podgorica in Montenegro.

Would prefer to stay largely on tarmac if possible. More scenic the better (e.g. mountains etc.).

My maps don't show many roads (but they are not super-detailed). Don't mind if it goes up via Kosovo or how exactly we go about getting there.

Will be late July or so. Any advice on route / how long etc. would be really appreciated. I was guesstimating it will take a couple days so stay somewhere in the middle.

Graham
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10 Apr 2009
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: bellingham, WA, USA
Posts: 1,990
I don't have my maps here, so I'm a bit hazy on the details, but I went north from Sofia through some nice hilly country, did some dayhiking around the famous rock formations near a place I remember (maybe incorrectly) as Belgradchik--these were pleasant, but not remarkable. Then crossed the border to Serbia on the main paved route, paying far too much for insurance, wandered a bit before dropping down into Kosovo--a very worthy side trip, I thought.

I can't remember the routing, but if you go for a look at the famous "Tower of Skulls" and then head south but cut west through the hills just north of Kosovo towards (I think) Raska, you'll have it. This was a pretty area, with roads that looked worse on the maps than they turned out to be on the ground. Those hills are chilly, though, so there might be snow and ice this time of year. FWIW, I found that asking people to talk about the history of those skulls led me into some interesting discussions; people are reticent about approaching recent historical topics directly, but once they start talking they can hardly stop.

Kosovo is great fun, though heavily militarized. Lots of people eager to talk with outsiders, some good riding and nice scenery, monasteries to visit, etc. I tried to follow my map west from Pec into Montenegro, but the road petered out way up in the hills and some locals told me it was impassable. I doubled back through Pec, followed the main road a bit north to a signed intersection where the Montenegro road headed west up (and up and up) over the passes. This was a great route all the way across to Dormitor(?) Park, but again you'll want to ask about snow and ice. The park itself is very pretty, though heavily commercialized. If you can find the inland route from there across towards Sarajevo there's a lot more wondrous country to explore along the way.

Hope that's helpful. Enjoy!

Mark

Edit to add: oh, I see you're thinking of July. No worries about snow or ice, but probably you'll see more crowds than I did. The route I described is pretty much all paved on the main routes, gravel and dirt on side roads. Don't think you'd be very happy trying to do this in a couple of days, though; if you moved steadily along my route, riding long days and doing no sightseeing whatsoever, you might make it. But you'd forever be kicking yourself for not taking more time.

Of course there are probably faster routes, too. The direct road between Sofia and Skopje is pretty good, but it's relatively boring and you'll miss most of what's nice about Macedonia, a nice corner of Bulgaria and all of Serbia. And northern Montenegro is spectacular as well.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10 Apr 2009
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 612
Roads

Hi, I can only add that you'll never do that distance in a couple of days. The roads are very time consuming indeed at least due to tight corners and longer distance than a map suggests. Also in Durmitor National Park, Montenegro there will be no snow in July- the risk will be sunburn. Try ukgser.com/forums balkans section for details. I'd expect something to be found there. Linzi.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12 Apr 2009
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 58
Thanks for help both of you. Any estimate on how long it would take? Linzi mentions 2 days not realistic?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12 Apr 2009
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 612
Times

Hi, I'd not offer a guess as to duration as from me that's what it would be. I have found though, the roads in the Balkans can be very twisty indeed due to the incredible terrain. Taking a mileage off a map is way too inaccurate. Some people posting on ::. UKGSer.com .:: - Powered by vBulletin must have done that journey and written about it. In addition it is an area full of interest for photos as well as local culture and architecture etc etc. In the EU we've got used to roads that have been updated man times over about 50 years. Your intended route could well include the first version! I looked into getting a train from Sofia into Montenegro and found there isn't even a track due to the terrain. You're on your own, sorry. Linzi.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12 Apr 2009
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: bellingham, WA, USA
Posts: 1,990
Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham_Kawa View Post
Thanks for help both of you. Any estimate on how long it would take? Linzi mentions 2 days not realistic?
Well, we're agreed that two days is far too ambitious. Taking even the wildest of guesses at how long you might actually need has to begin with a routing, and I'm not sure that you've got one just yet. Do you want to include Serbia? Durmitor? Or take the most direct path? And furthermore, do you favor 14 hour days on the bike, or would you prefer to spend afternoon happy hour in the pub each afternoon? Do you want to stop and take some walks, snap some photos, talk to the locals? Etc.

As best I remember, Sofia to the Croatia coast via Sarejevo on the route I tried to describe above took me 5 days. I was moving steadily, with only minor sightseeing and exploration, but it was late fall--short days and cold temps. I rode a few bits at night. I spent some time negotiating insurance and backtracking to find moneychangers. I got cold, and sometimes wet. Most people, saner than I, would want longer.

But I think you could take a more direct route and make it in three days, if that were your goal. Perhaps even two, if that were your only goal. At some point I'd have to wonder why anyone would want to bother.

Hope this helps.

Mark
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12 Apr 2009
Vaufi's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Munich, the beer capital
Posts: 814
Whichever road you take - they are time consuming. Sofia to Skopje is roughly 200 kms, and shouldn't be too bad. But from there you either go via Pristina or Prizren through Kosovo, passing Pec. From there you'll have to go via Rozaje/Montenegro to Berane and further on to Podgorica. The shorter road through the beautiful Rugova canyon is severed since the last war.

Alternatively you could go from Skopje - Prizren into Albania via Kukes/AL to Skoder and further to Podgorica. Brilliant landscape, very mountainous, but also time consuming.... All tarmac, but in a miserable state
__________________
Only when we pause to wonder
do we go beyond the limits of our little lives.
(Rod McKuen)
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12 Apr 2009
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaufi View Post
Whichever road you take - they are time consuming. Sofia to Skopje is roughly 200 kms, and shouldn't be too bad. But from there you either go via Pristina or Prizren through Kosovo, passing Pec. From there you'll have to go via Rozaje/Montenegro to Berane and further on to Podgorica. The shorter road through the beautiful Rugova canyon is severed since the last war.

Alternatively you could go from Skopje - Prizren into Albania via Kukes/AL to Skoder and further to Podgorica. Brilliant landscape, very mountainous, but also time consuming.... All tarmac, but in a miserable state
Thanks. I expected it would be slow going, but it's very hard to guesstimate on a timeline sometimes! It never looks very far on google My maps don't show the border cross between Pec/Rozaje you mention, but that would be ideal. So i'll work on that Pec - > Rozage route, and see how it goes! It does sound like a great ride!

Thanks again - big help!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 13 Apr 2009
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: bellingham, WA, USA
Posts: 1,990
Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham_Kawa View Post
My maps don't show the border cross between Pec/Rozaje you mention,
Get a better map. Really. Even the little on-line maps that Google finds for me show that route....which is the one I recommended earlier, starting with a signed junction just north of Pec. Without a better map, you're going to have a hard time finding your way around and (worse) you'll miss out on all the scenic back roads. There's no sense trying to make advance plans if none of the obvious options are shown.

The Rugova canyon route is spectacular, leaving town at a beautiful monastery guarded by Italian UN troops (who told me, incorrectly, that the road continued on into Montenegro) and following the gorge way up into the high country, eventually turning to dirt. It took me quite a bit of blundering around up there before some farmers managed to convey by hand gestures and scratching with sticks in the dirt that the way was closed. Nice side trip, though, and the monastery itself was very powerful, being well off the current international tourist trail.

enjoy,

Mark
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Any good camping/hotels between Mostar, Bosnia and Podgorica Jimmi640 Bike Friendly, Europe 6 22 Sep 2009 21:30
Trains In Sofia Linzi Europe 0 3 Nov 2008 19:16
Looking for local English speaking rider in Sofia Bulgaria ripsaw1500 Travellers Seeking Travellers 0 20 Sep 2003 18:05
Sofia Bulgaria,lookin for a local rider ripsaw1500 Europe 0 19 Sep 2003 22:59

 
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 16:05.