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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 19 May 2008
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6 weeks in Eastern Europe

Hi,

have been using this site for what seems like years, and it helped guide me to my bike the wee strom so thanks to all who have helped on that.

So now comes the trip. My gf and I are looking to do 6 weeks starting from the UK into Eastern Europe. I have always wanted to ride to Istanbul so looking for advice on the route we have picked out (too ambitious?/better ways of getting there), are there things we should check out on the way, places to stay, and tips and advice in general

Harwich to hook of holland overnight ferry, Hook of Holland to Kassel, Kassel to Prague, Prague - Bratislava, Bratislava - Budapest, Budapest - Sibiu, Sibiu - Bucharest (via transfalgarian road), Bucharest - Varna, Varna - Istanbul, Istanbul - Xanthi, Xanthi - Thessalonika, Thessalonika - Ohrid, Ohrid - Berat, Berat - Tirana, Tirana - Shkoder, Shkoder - Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik to Trieste via Zadar, Venice, Verona, Lugano, Vaduz, Strasbourg, Lille, UK

Each leg I reckon is a days riding, some an easy few hours, others a hard 6 or 7.

We will be riding two up on the wee strom. Advice and criticism would be greatly appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 20 May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duncan Donutz View Post
Hi,

have been using this site for what seems like years, and it helped guide me to my bike the wee strom so thanks to all who have helped on that.

So now comes the trip. My gf and I are looking to do 6 weeks starting from the UK into Eastern Europe. I have always wanted to ride to Istanbul so looking for advice on the route we have picked out (too ambitious?/better ways of getting there), are there things we should check out on the way, places to stay, and tips and advice in general

Harwich to hook of holland overnight ferry, Hook of Holland to Kassel, Kassel to Prague, Prague - Bratislava, Bratislava - Budapest, Budapest - Sibiu, Sibiu - Bucharest (via transfalgarian road), Bucharest - Varna, Varna - Istanbul, Istanbul - Xanthi, Xanthi - Thessalonika, Thessalonika - Ohrid, Ohrid - Berat, Berat - Tirana, Tirana - Shkoder, Shkoder - Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik to Trieste via Zadar, Venice, Verona, Lugano, Vaduz, Strasbourg, Lille, UK

Each leg I reckon is a days riding, some an easy few hours, others a hard 6 or 7.

We will be riding two up on the wee strom. Advice and criticism would be greatly appreciated!
Hi Duncan,

On your way from Bucharest to Varna,first town you will hit is Rousse,better drive about 100 km south to visit Veliko Tarnovo(the capital of the second Bulgarian Kingdom,with very nice Castle dated 13th century in the old part of the town...not to be missed!).Further on direction Varna is the town of Shoumen(about 150 km after V.Tarnovo),here you will find The Madara Rider-Unesco Heritage(dated 13th century,only 20-25km away from Shoumen).Once you hitting Varna,try to visit Aladzha Monastery,this unique monument is hewed out in 40 m vertical rocks and founded 13th-14th century,only 15km by north of Varna.
If you have any quetions about Bulgaria....,anyway we can meet up for a /coffee,my pleasure to ride along with a traveller....just post me PM or mail.

Cheers and enjoy,

Simon
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  #3  
Old 20 May 2008
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More about Bulgaria

Hello Duncan,
After you have been to Varna there are two border crossing points for Turkey, the nearest one is at Lesovo, and the further one is on the Sofia to Istanbul road at Kapitan Andrevo, near Svilengrad.
If you opt for this second route you will pass within half a mile of us at Biser, between Harmanli and Lyubimetz, where we have facilities for campers.
Varna to Istanbul in one day could be quite a long day, bearing in mind that it can sometimes take an hour or two to cross the border.
Have a good trip, and maybe we'll see you,
Regards,
Martin T. Jeffes
Sakar Hills Touring Park. (Home)
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  #4  
Old 20 May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duncan Donutz View Post
Hi,

have been using this site for what seems like years, and it helped guide me to my bike the wee strom so thanks to all who have helped on that.

So now comes the trip. My gf and I are looking to do 6 weeks starting from the UK into Eastern Europe. I have always wanted to ride to Istanbul so looking for advice on the route we have picked out (too ambitious?/better ways of getting there), are there things we should check out on the way, places to stay, and tips and advice in general

Harwich to hook of holland overnight ferry, Hook of Holland to Kassel, Kassel to Prague, Prague - Bratislava, Bratislava - Budapest, Budapest - Sibiu, Sibiu - Bucharest (via transfalgarian road), Bucharest - Varna, Varna - Istanbul, Istanbul - Xanthi, Xanthi - Thessalonika, Thessalonika - Ohrid, Ohrid - Berat, Berat - Tirana, Tirana - Shkoder, Shkoder - Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik to Trieste via Zadar, Venice, Verona, Lugano, Vaduz, Strasbourg, Lille, UK

Each leg I reckon is a days riding, some an easy few hours, others a hard 6 or 7.

We will be riding two up on the wee strom. Advice and criticism would be greatly appreciated!
Hi Duncan

I wouldnt dream of telling you details of what to see and do, but I had a great trip to Istanbul recently, via Belgium, Germany, Czech Rep, Poland, Slovakia, Rumania, Bulgaria. back via Greece, Italy and France. Watch out for loopy drivers cutting in close in Italy on autostradas. Be careful of Istanbul rush hour traffic - its got to be seen to be believed.

In Istanbul if youre economising, stay at Sinbads Ho(s)tel, Sultanamet. I camped most other nights.

Good roads
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  #5  
Old 20 May 2008
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Originally Posted by Caminando View Post

In Istanbul if youre economising, stay at Sinbads Ho(s)tel, Sultanamet. I camped
Sorry for the momentary hijack....was there bike parking at the Sinbad hostel?

Thanks

Giacomo
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  #6  
Old 20 May 2008
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Thanks everyone so far...

Mony 63 cheers for the tips, it all sounds good, will add them to our things to check out along the way, and yeah meeting up for a ride would be cool.

Martinjeffes, yeah did wonder if Varna to Istanbul could be done in a day, it always looks easier on a map. Reckon we will play it by ear, depending on whether we are on schedule or not. I guess we could contact you en route and book a place?

Caminando, you sure you dont have any suggestions for things to do/not do!? Sounds like you did a pretty similar route to what we are planning. How long did you take to do that trip?

Thanks again
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  #7  
Old 21 May 2008
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Eastern Europe

Hi Duncan,
you don't need to book in advance, just turn up if you're in the area. We're sign-posted from the town of Harmanli.
All the best,
Martin T. Jeffes
Sakar Hills Touring Park
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  #8  
Old 22 May 2008
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Hi Duncan

I spent just under 6 months travelling around Eastern Europe last year. I never went down as far as Istanbul and truth betold regret it. I went from the UK across Germany to the Czech Republic, Southern Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Montengro, Croatia, Slovenia, across Northern Italy down to the South of France then back home.

Used a mixture of Camp sites and Pensions. At quite alot of the campsites they have small Chalets for little more than the price of pitching the tent. One of them not far from Rila Monastary in Bulgaria even had satellite TV, what a luxury.

If you have problems getting covered by your insurance company for some countries you can buy it at the border in Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro. You also pay a visitor and road tax at the Albanian border costing 10 Euro each (2007 price). Keep your receipts as they were checked on the way out.

If you do require any info do not hesitate in contacting me kstanway18@hotmail.co.uk otherwise have a great time.


regards
Kev
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  #9  
Old 23 May 2008
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Hi Duncan,

I've also been in that part of the world a few times. If you need any specific info, please fell free to send me a PM. [/SALES PITCH MODE ON] If you want a taster of what to expect, can can always buy my book on Motorcycling in Eastern Europe. To be launched tomorrow at the Horizons Unlimited German Meeting, with full availability hopefully next week! [/SALES PITCH MODE OFF]

Cheers!

Dave
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  #10  
Old 23 May 2008
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Originally Posted by Giacomo View Post
Sorry for the momentary hijack....was there bike parking at the Sinbad hostel?

Thanks

Giacomo
It's no hijack!

There is bike parking there - it's on the pavement directly at the reception window and you chain your bike to the window bars.

This place is good for sitting on the I/Net cafe roof looking out over the Bosphoros to Asia. Enjoy.
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  #11  
Old 23 May 2008
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Originally Posted by Duncan Donutz View Post
Thanks everyone so far...

Mony 63 cheers for the tips, it all sounds good, will add them to our things to check out along the way, and yeah meeting up for a ride would be cool.

Martinjeffes, yeah did wonder if Varna to Istanbul could be done in a day, it always looks easier on a map. Reckon we will play it by ear, depending on whether we are on schedule or not. I guess we could contact you en route and book a place?

Caminando, you sure you dont have any suggestions for things to do/not do!? Sounds like you did a pretty similar route to what we are planning. How long did you take to do that trip?

Thanks again
You can do Varna to Istanbul in a day - you will pass via a hilly, wooded route which takes you to the border. Make sure your insurance document really is GREEN - I had some moments with this (mine wasnt) because the border guards are pretty rigid and unaware of recent changes in the EU. this was a couple of years ago, so it might be improved. Things to do and see? - really, a Rough Guide would allow you to select stuff which you like (citry/country/sights/people. Photocopy your local library copy for the pages you need. But in Istanbul dont miss the Blue Mosque (Sultanamet) and Ayia Sophia nearby.

My trip was far too quick. It was about 3 weeks from the UK out and back. I regret not staying longer in obscure villages and relaxing a bit. But then again, I met two ace bikers in Romania (HUBBers) on their way to Iran, so that was good. They are Estonian, and I enjoyed a trip up there last year to see Europe up to the Russian border and say hello to them.

You'll enjoy this trip - and if you ride over one of the Bosphoros bridges you are in Asia!!
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  #12  
Old 26 May 2008
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Caminando, if you did it in 3 weeks, then 6 has to be ample, so thats useful to know. Was concerned we would be hot footing it too much as want to chill out in a few places en route.

Thanks to everyone, all good advice, taken on board. Now just need to take care of the last bits of organisation...
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  #13  
Old 26 May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duncan Donutz View Post
Caminando, if you did it in 3 weeks, then 6 has to be ample, so thats useful to know. Was concerned we would be hot footing it too much as want to chill out in a few places en route.

Thanks to everyone, all good advice, taken on board. Now just need to take care of the last bits of organisation...
Hi dunc

Yes my trip,was far too quick. I was pressed by the need to spend my remaining 3 weeks hol. in France. I want my cake and eat it too. I never succeed. Your 6 weeks will be fantastic. Relax; enjoy. One last tip. If you are in a famous University town like Budapest, then use the university accommodation for a cheap stay in that city. Ask at the Tourist Office.
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  #14  
Old 27 May 2008
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I did a similar route a few years ago, although I didn't do Turkey - details on my Travellers Stories - Kevin Payne.

It wasn't exactly the same route but parts were and there are some photos of Transfagarasan, etc. One thought though - I hit Budapest just as they were having their annual music festival - I suggest you book ahead the night before, so at least you know where you are going. I think thats every August - dates will be on the web. My usual 'ride to the middle, then circle out looking for a cheap hotel...' was a miserable failure there as hotels don't seem to be where you might expect and most were full. No problem anywhere else.
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  #15  
Old 31 May 2008
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Doing similar route

Hi Duncan

Im doing something very similar around the same time. leaving uk on 14th of July 08 and getting back around 9 of August 08.

I was origianlly riding with a mate however he couldnt get the time off work so its going to be solo.

anyway here is my map

regards

Google Maps
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