On the 24th of May 2017, we departed from Sofia, Bulgaria for what would become our first major road trip. I have decided to name it “The Ultimate Balkan Road Trip”. Five months have passed since then, but it is never too late to share our wildest experiences. In this post I am going to present you the three most important factors that are necessary to have in mind when planning a road trip. Itinerary, Duration and Costs!
Itinerary and Duration
Start and End Point: Sofia, Bulgaria
Duration: 13 Days
- Belgrade – Serbia
- Sarajevo – Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Split – Croatia
- Stobrec – Croatia
- Krka National Park – Croatia
- Brac Island Supetar – Croatia
- Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Blagaj – Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Kravice Waterfalls – Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Dubrovnik – Croatia
- Cavtat – Croatia
- Kotor – Montenegro
- Budva – Montenegro
- Shkoder – Albania
- Tirana – Albania
- Ohrid – Macedonia
- Skopje – Macedonia
Countries Visited: 6
(7 if you include Bulgaria)
Cities/Villages Visited: 15
Borders Crossed: 9
Total Trip Distance: 2750Km
Throughout the whole trip we made short stops in other cities and villages, that haven’t been included in the Itinerary. Those places I speak of, were just stop locations for refilling the tank, grabbing a bite, shooting some quick photos or stretching the legs.
We spent 12 nights abroad, in 10 different cities. The longest accommodation we paid for was at Camping Stobreč Split, three nights for the amount of 59.43€. It was also the only time we camped during our trip. We spent the remaining nights in hotels, hostels, apartments and guesthouses. The most expensive night we paid for was in Dubrovnik 25.90€ and the cheapest one was in Ohrid 11.45€. An average of 19.79 Euros were spent per night for accommodation. From the six countries we visited, Macedonia turned out to have the lowest accommodation rates and Croatia the highest.
- Car Rental: 213€
- Fuel: 165.71€
- Ferry Boat Split – Supetar: 15.72€
For this road trip, we rented an automatic Nissan Micra, with petrol engine. In case you’re renting a car in Sofia, I recommend: Horizon Car Rental Sofia
In order to save as much as possible, prior to departure, I had researched which countries had the cheapest fuel. It turns out that Bosnia and Herzegovina has the cheapest gas from all these countries we visited. Avoid refilling in both Albania and Croatia because that’s where you’ll find the most expensive gas within these 7 countries.
Toll Roads: 29.30€
Definitely one of the reasons to go on a car road trip across the Balkans. Toll roads are practically non-existent. Albania and Montenegro per instance, have only tolls in certain bridges and tunnels, but we didn’t cross any of those. Serbia’s highways are charged, specially between the countries largest cities. In Bosnia and Herzegovina only part of the A1 Motorway near Sarajevo is charged, but it is very cheap. Macedonia’s highways that surround the capital, Skopje, have also toll roads. Croatia is definitely the only country I would call expensive to drive in. More than half of what we spent in toll roads, was spent in Croatia. As for Bulgaria, there are no toll roads either, there’s a vignette that you’re requested to acquire when you cross the border, but, we were with a rental, so that wasn’t on us.
For information regarding Toll Roads in Europe refer yourself to the following website – European Highway Tolls
- Ohrid, Macedonia: 0.65€
- Split, Croatia: 5.30€
- Kravice Waterfalls, Bosnia and Herzegovina: 1.05€
In Belgrade I had to pay 5€ to park the car at the hostel, but that is already included in the accommodation section. I tried at all costs to spend the minimum possible on parking. We usually stayed accommodated in the city center. Croatia turned out to be the most expensive country on this aspect as well.
Tourist Attractions: 161.38€
This one will totally depend on what you’re looking forward to doing on your trip. For an instance we went on a 10 euro boat trip in Budva and another one in Dubrovnik. We visited many fortresses, museums and national parks. The most expensive attraction we paid for were the Walls of Dubrovnik – 150 Croatian Kunas (20€) per person. Some of the attractions I will never forget were the waterfalls of Kravice in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina (4 KM – 2.10€), and Bunk’Art 2 in Tirana, Albania (500 Lek – 3.70€).
Medical Costs/Phamarcy: 12.47€
We got sick in the beginning of our trip, so we had to buy some remedies for the flu. Remember to always save some in case one gets sick.
Food and Drinks: 300 – 320€
Even though we saved the highest number of receipts possible, calculating how much we spent in food and drinks was actually a trouble. I kept receipts from all the restaurants we had dinner at, yet, some receipts from supermarkets, bars and food stands were lost. According to our receipts we spent 270€. Adding to this number I remember a few more places that we visited, plus, the tips given at some of these places. It comes to a total of not less than 300€, but definitely not more than 320€.
I would like to point out the three best restaurants we dined at:
- Šadrvan – The perfect restaurant if you’re visiting Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The food is incredible, the environment is perfect and the staff is very friendly! We had been recommended to this place by the owner of Pansion Most and we do not regret it at all. My plate consisted of three trouts, each one of them cooked in a different and special way. Before leaving we were given two postcards. Price: 19.17€
- Fishart – If you ever find yourself in Northern Albania, you should try out this place. We had been telling ourselves that we wanted to have some seafood and during our visit to Shkodër we picked this restaurant. We didn’t regret it at all. We ordered a sea bass, a sea bream and shrimps! Of course I had to try some Albanian beer to go with it. We were in Albania, so the price did not surprise me at all. Price: 23.90€
- Gradska – This one is actually a funny story. We were in Belgrade, Serbia and my friend who happened to be traveling with us decided we should have dinner at this place. What we didn’t expect was that it would take us over an hour to get there walking under the rain. It was raining non-stop, we were all wet and it seemed like it would take us forever to get to the restaurant. When we arrived we were very well received by the friendly staff and the food was very good. Price: 30.70€ (3 people)
Calculating how much we spent on souvenirs wasn’t easy either. Usually we do not spend this much… I like to believe that I just wanted a new set of clothes and that’s why I ended up buying so many t-shirts. The magnets were a plus, since we started collecting them, we buy at least one from each city we visit. We also had promised our family and friends we wouldn’t forget them and we would bring them something, but now let me share my personal experience with you… If you’re trying to travel on a budget, avoid buying so much. Try something different instead, record a video saying “Hello!”, shoot some photos, print them, and make a nice present out of it, like a postcard. It won’t cost a third and it’s a lot more creative.
Total: Approx. 1300€
Throughout the next weeks I will be sharing with you the most impressing stories and photos of Wild Wild Basch’s Ultimate Balkan Road Trip. Stay tuned!
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