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  #1  
Old 8 Dec 2008
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Suggestions for a Base in the Balkans

Toying with an idea for a 3 to 4 week trip in June 2009 down through the Balkans and looking suggestions for a base for a week. Two poeple/ two bikes.

Ideally smaller old village, with easy access to a few good day rides (say 100 to 300 km round trips). Ideally looking for accommodation that would allow self catering, like a “gite” or a decent/ secure camp site (so can leave tent and some gear behind whilst doing day trips).

At this stage have no preference, but mountains would be preferred over the coast as not a big fan of the heat and crowds (will be June after all!!!!) and everything that I have read about Slovenia to Albania all looks interesting, so really just trying to narrow down the field a bit.

A couple of the posts mention Sarajevo as a must see? Was hoping for a smaller base as not a fan of large towns/ cities.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Brett

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Old 8 Dec 2008
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Hi Brett
Try contacting Bozo Ristic at AdventureRide.rs - Serbia Moto Tour - Naslovna. I am sure he can recommend some places for you.
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Old 8 Dec 2008
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Hi, I can't recommend a specific place to stay, but I loved the area around Ston, which is on the coast, not too far from Dubrovnik. I remember passing through at the time thinking it would be great for a base. Wonderful small, old walled town, with fresh Mussels from the bay right there!

It's far enough south that montenegro and all it offers is easy enough to reach. It's right near the turn-off the coastal road that heads up to Mostar and Sarajevo, which was a great ride also, really nice scenery up through a gorge type area, which I didn't have time to do justice!

So that would be my pick. It may make Albania a stretch, i've not been there so can't comment, but I would think if you were will to o'night further south once or twice you could do a few 2 day trips and see that area too.

Good luck!
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Old 8 Dec 2008
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Yep, Ston is a good place to ride around Peljesac and Korcula. Not too far from Dubrovnik either.

About 10 kays north of Dubrovnik there is a snug little campsite in the village of Trsteno, roughly N42 42.821 E17 58.627 where i usually stay when I'm down there. Cold on the site and a small restaurant. I don't expect it to be busy by June.

Montenegro offers some superb mountain tracks in the Durmitor NP, but the trarred roads through the canyons are very enjoyable as well. On the eastern border of the Durmitor NP is the town of Zabljak, which has a small campsite and should also offer holiday flats, since it is a winter resort. (Not like Switzerland ;-)

Albania is one of my favourits down there. Great landscape and still unspoilt by tourism. But expect some really rough backroads A place to stay in Skoder is at the Kolping House N42 04.014 E19 31.308 Newly erected, it even boasts internet facilities. Cheaper accommodation shouldn't be a problem, but will be more basic. There's a lot to see around Skoder. If you're interested, just send me an email for details or PM me.
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Old 8 Dec 2008
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In Slovenia I'd recommend the campsite at Lake Bohinj - not far from Lake Bled but alot less touristy. It is on the lake shores and has a great cafe that serves, among other things, trout from the lake - the best I've had! It's a 'proper' campsite and looking at how they squeezed the pitches in, could be pretty busy at the wrong time of year. Fantastic biking and the Vrisic pass was beautiful - but cobbled corners looked as though they would be dodgy in the wet!
There is also a campsite at Pivka (near Postojna Caves) which has bungalows that were incredibly good value for money. Double bedroom upstairs with two singles, a dining area and bathroom downstairs. There is also a restaurant and small shop on site. Fantastic bike roads in the area and also close to Predjama Castle - it's worth seeing the caves and the castle but get there early.
There is a campsite near the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia which are a must see (enter 'plitvice' into Google images and you'll see why). Again, it pays to be close as you can get there before too many other people! They also have 'bungalows' for rent which are basically garden sheds with beds and a table. Wash facilities are the normal campsite offerings. There is also a restaurant and shop on site.
Jajce, on the road between Bihac and Sarajevo, was a great little town with alot of history - it was the capital of the Bosnian kingdom in the 14 century. The excellent campsite outside the town was tents only but there were a few hotels/guest houses in town. Great roads around and the gorge road up to Banja Luka was brilliant.
Sarajevo is definitely a must see! We stayed at a B&B in the old town that also offered 'apartments' at a very reasonable rate and our bikes stayed in their garage while we walked around the city. I would recommend at least one night there so you can spend a day soaking up the atmosphere in the old town. Fantastic place! Also alot smaller than it sounds!!
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Old 9 Dec 2008
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Camping Bled on Lake Bled in Slovenia is an excellent site, fully equiped with restaurant and shop, etc. It evens offers a discount for bikers! At the time your planning to go it will be fairly quiet unlike July/August when it is too busy.
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Old 2 Jan 2009
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Hello Brett,

we run a campsite in eastern Bulgaria, close by the Turkish and Greek borders. If this is not too far over for you, we could offer you secure camping, and somewhere to leave a tent while you travel.
Look us up on Home
Regards
Martin T. Jeffes.
Sakar Hills Touring Park
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Old 12 Jan 2009
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Thanks

A huge thanks to the information guys, you have given me a ton to think about :0)

Some time yet to do more planning and all of your suggestions sound tempting. Biggest problem will be time to do everything.

Cheers and thanks once again
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Old 18 Feb 2009
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Base in the Balkans - Berat

If you want to try something a little farther off the beaten path, may I suggest Berat in central Albania? It is a newly designated UNESCO heritage site with a castle, iconography museum and lots of interesting riding not too far away. It would be most suitable for a rider with a dual-purpose machine as there are many good dirt roads in the mountains around. The sea is a few hours away and there are lakes and rivers throuhgout the area. Many of the roads in Albania have recently undergone reconstruction, being upgraded from one-lane goat paths to twisty two-laners perfect for bikes. Vlora to Saranda is one fine example as is the Elbasan to Qafe-Thane road. The people are extremely hospitable.

If you are interested, drop me a line at sksintirana@hotmail.com. My wife has relatives there who live in the old Gorica quarter across the river from the castle and they host the occasional traveller in their restored traditional house.
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