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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



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  #1  
Old 24 Jul 2018
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Athens to Rome by bike

Hi Guys,

Tickets are booked, bike is (mostly) ready. Flying into Athens at then end of August and I have a month to ride to Rome. Planning to go through Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia.

Any advice? Am I crazy?
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  #2  
Old 24 Jul 2018
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Nah, sounds like a great trip. Slovenia is wonderful - make sure you do the Vrsic Pass. The Italian Dolomites are also excellent. You probably won't enjoy the traffic in central Italy going into Rome.
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  #3  
Old 25 Jul 2018
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You're not crazy at all, I expect you will have a very pleasant trip.

I have done that same route (except a little bit longer at both ends - Istanbul to Zurich, via Greece, Albania, and former Yugoslavia) a few times in both directions. It is enjoyable and there are no problems to speak of.

What you do need to be aware of is that each of the former Yugoslavian countries ( and also Albania) needs its own insurance policy. So, you will wind up buying about half a dozen 14 day policies at the borders as you go through the region. Mostly they are cheap (€15 or so), but Macedonia is rather expensive (€50).

There's a whole writeup on insurance in former Yugoslavia in the trip paperwork section of our forum - here's a link: Balkans Insurance - Here's the story, with details & sample documents.

Other than that, you won't encounter any surprises. Greece is very expensive (poor value for the money), and Albania & the former Yugoslavian countries are very inexpensive (great value for the money). Prices rise as you move northwards.

All the countries have lots and lots of ATMs, and credit cards are accepted in the usual places, so don't withdraw more local cash than you think you will actually need. In a pinch, just about everyone everywhere will accept Euros, although you might not always get a perfect exchange rate.

Neighboring countries don't always accept their neighbor's currency, or even give you an opportunity to change currency at a kiosk. So, try to use up whatever local currency you have at a gas station just before the border - use the cash to fill up your tank, that's the easiest way to get rid of it.

If your destination is Rome, you might want to consider taking a ferry across the Adriatic rather than driving all the way north to Trieste then driving halfway back down the Italian peninsula to get to Rome.

Italy will be your second-most expensive country, after Greece. It will also be the country with the worst drivers.

Michael
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  #4  
Old 25 Jul 2018
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Hi Michael,

Thanks for the helpful reply. As for taking a ferry, I think that mostly defeats the purpose of flying a bike to Europe.

I did not realize that Greece would be the most expensive.

As for insurance, this is still a big of a vague thing for me. I plan to insure with tourinsure.de which says it covers all EU countries. But Albania and others are not part of the EU... and then they go on to say that theft is not covered in Albania and other countries on my route, which implies that it is covered for regular insurance and collision. I've sent them an email for clarification.

Can you suggest any specific routes? Nice places to stay or visit? Bike friendly hotels?
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  #5  
Old 25 Jul 2018
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Your European third-party insurance should come with a (free) Green Card. You will see which countries are covered printed on the policy, but here's a guide: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intern...en_card_system

So yes, you ought to be covered for all countries other than Kosovo.
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  #6  
Old 27 Jul 2018
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Yeah, looks like Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia are not covered by tourinsure.de at all. Need to buy insurance on the spot.
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