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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 1 Jan 2008
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Overland UK to Bulgaria via France, Italy and Greece

Hi Folks !

New to the HUBB and seeking advice.

I'm planning to travel to Bulgaria, probably around Mid-March, and having considered the alternatives I'm thinking that going via France, Italy and Greece might be the easiest way to go.
My thinking is that there are less borders, less languages and less funny currencies.
I'm also thinking my Moto Guzzi might like to visit it's birthplace on the way !
Basically I'm after ANY help, information and advice at all.

Thanks in advance !

Gus.
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  #2  
Old 2 Jan 2008
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Ok.

I notice there have been a few readers, but no-one able to help me yet.
Perhaps a couple of slightly more specific questions !

I'm thinking of taking the Ancona - Igoumenitsa Ferry from Italy to Greece.
Does anyone have any experience of taking a motorcycle on this route ?
Is there a better alternative ?

I'm assuming that by only travelling through EU countries the border proceedures should be relatively hassle free ?
Am I mad ?

Also, I'm notoriously paranoid about losing valuable paperwork, and really would prefer to leave as much stuff safe and sound at home as possible.
What is the bare minimum original paperwork I can get away with carrying ?
Can I take scanned or photocopied examples instead ?

There, that'll do for now.
Hope someone has some useful comments to make as I'm a bit new to this, and to be frank the more I think about it the more daunting it gets !
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  #3  
Old 2 Jan 2008
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Hi Gus,
I don't know if I can be much help 'cos I've not done anything like it myself. Firstly my travels thus far are driven, not riden and I've been to Africa via Europe not to Eastern Europe.
That said, I would rather stay on the roads and do borders instead of boats where possible.
Looking at a map you could get all the way to Hungry before even thinking of an aggressive approach to borders. Following that you've only got Romainia and you're there.
This is only my guess, I've spoken to people from Romainia that have driven here, and a Czech friend of mine drove home for Christmas. Although I've not been there looking at the countries you'd cross they all seem pretty "westernised" when it comes to travelling there.

If nothing else my reply may encourage someone with more knowledge to responed, even if only to tell me where I'm wrong.

This, or at least something similar, is a trip that I'd like to do within the next couple of years.
Kevin
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  #4  
Old 2 Jan 2008
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Cheers Kevin !
The generally recommended alternative routes are;
France-Belgium-Germany-Austria-Hungary-Romania-Bulgaria
or
France-Belgium-Germany-Austria-Slovenia-Croatia-Serbia-Bulgaria
I don't really fancy that many countries !
Also, I quite like the idea of taking the Guzzi to Mandello del Lario to see the factory where it was born !
I've also had an invitation to stop over with some folks in Brindisi, which might alter my ferry plans slightly.
Who knows, I might get really brave and try out Albania !
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  #5  
Old 2 Jan 2008
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Hey, I met a lady from Albania about 6 months ago, she told me that I should ignore anything bad that I had heard about driving there and just go. At that time I hadn't heard anything bad about it.
I have to say the Italian route should be the most pleasant in terms of weather. My post was really just suggesting that driving Europe is just like driving one big country nowadays, no one looks twice at you.
Regards, and best of luck with the trip.
Kevin
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  #6  
Old 2 Jan 2008
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Route Planning

One Word, SNOW

At some point you will have to go over the Alps and in March I would suspect
some passes will be closed.
Plan your route using main autoroutes and use the tunnels, St Gottard .
Heated clothing might be considered as it will be cold.
Mandelo is about 800 miles and i usualy take two days but thats not in the winter so allow yourself three days .
After Mandelo , You can head south and take a ferry across the Adriatic or,
Take the road to Venice and then go through , Slovenia , Croatia , Bosnia and Yugoslavia .
You may need to buy Insurance for Bosnia at the Border depends , check with your insurers.
Take your registration documents for the bike , I have colour photocopies of all my documents .
Hope this helps and safe trip .

Ricardo
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  #7  
Old 2 Jan 2008
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Cheers Rick !
As I said, the basic plan is to take a ferry from Italy to Greece.
Albania might be an interesting diversion !
I'm estimating a week for the entire journey.
I've got a stopover organised for Italy and hope to find at least one in France.
I reckon I might be able to 'do' Greece in a day.
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  #8  
Old 2 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mighty Gusset View Post
Cheers Kevin !
I don't really fancy that many countries !
!
Can't see why. It is the EU all the way if you stay away from the Balkans and, even there, nema problema.

Just do it, as the ad says.

Agree about the snow; stay away from the obvious ski resorts - that is why they are located where they are, in any country - alternatively, take a skiing hol and go biking later in the year!!

Go into Italy and then north again, if you prefer riding to sailing.

ps A week! Not worth it, if you want to see things/do things along the way, but it's your shout.
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  #9  
Old 2 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
Can't see why. It is the EU all the way if you stay away from the Balkans .......
ps A week! Not worth it, if you want to see things/do things along the way, but it's your shout.
Ermmm !
I am going to Bulgaria !
I'd quite like to see Croatia as well, but not on this trip and I don't really fancy Serbia or Romania at all.
I don't want the complication of too many other languages I don't speak a word of and strange currencies !

As to taking a week, the main purpose of the journey is to get to Bulgaria, where I have a house. I intend to spend a week there, and then spend a week coming back.
I can't afford, or justify, taking any longer.
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  #10  
Old 2 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mighty Gusset View Post
Ermmm !
I am going to Bulgaria !
I'd quite like to see Croatia as well, but not on this trip and I don't really fancy Serbia or Romania at all.
I don't want the complication of too many other languages I don't speak a word of and strange currencies !

As to taking a week, the main purpose of the journey is to get to Bulgaria, where I have a house. I intend to spend a week there, and then spend a week coming back.
I can't afford, or justify, taking any longer.

Fair enough; I would keep Italy in my back pocket for on the journey back.

Currencies: just offer Euros, everyone will want them, or $US. I can't remember who in East Europe has adopted the Euro, but everyone wants them anyway.
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  #11  
Old 2 Jan 2008
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Hi again Dave !

$US ?
Wash your mouth out !!!
I ain't no Merkin !!!!

Bulgaria has it's currency pegged to the Euro but still has the Lev as it's currency.
They like £ Sterling though.

From reading around this site and a couple of other places I really feel that journeying outwards via Italy is still going to be my 'easiest' (as a novice to long distance, multi-country travel !) but, if I encounter no major problems I might be prepared to countenance a more adventurous journey !

For those of you who've replied already, thanks very much, your comments have been most interesting.
To those who have popped in, read a bit and wandered off, please, if you have anything to contribute at all, I'd like to read it.

Last edited by The Mighty Gusset; 2 Jan 2008 at 23:11. Reason: Stupidity !
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  #12  
Old 2 Jan 2008
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Avoid the snowline

Gus,
Yep, you have it figured well enough. For instance, ride fast to the south of France, skirt around the Alps into Italy and catch the sun along the way.

There are quite a few guides and booking websites for ferries, here is one:-

ferrylines.com: Europe's Ferry Booking Portal

As for the $. Well you can go pretty much anywhere with greenbacks in your pocket, but the Euro will do it for where you are going!
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  #13  
Old 3 Jan 2008
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Dave,

Ha !
Glad you think I've got it covered - now all I have to do is fool myself that I have too !

Still, I managed to buy a house, and renovate it, in Bulgaria despite not being able to speak more than half a dozen words of the language.
So how difficult can riding a bl**dy motorbike down there be ?
So why does it still seem so daunting ?
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  #14  
Old 3 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mighty Gusset View Post
So why does it still seem so daunting ?
Because you're worrying too much!

I'm doing a RTW from April onwards & if I thought too much about it the bigger picture I wouldn't end up doing it.

Conventrate on one task at a time i.e. Do you need an international driving permit? If so get one then ask yourself about vaccinations etc.

Softly, softly catchee-monkey!!!!
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  #15  
Old 3 Jan 2008
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Snow and more snow

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mighty Gusset View Post
Dave,

Ha !
Glad you think I've got it covered - now all I have to do is fool myself that I have too !

Still, I managed to buy a house, and renovate it, in Bulgaria despite not being able to speak more than half a dozen words of the language.
So how difficult can riding a bl**dy motorbike down there be ?
So why does it still seem so daunting ?
You've got the house sorted and that has to be the harder bit (tell us about it here if you have time to type it up!!).

Weather is not great at present:-
BBC NEWS | Europe | Storm brings chaos to Black Sea
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