South Eastern Europe | Macedonia - Albania - Montenegro
allez @ 15-05-2008 19:33
me and my girlfriend are flying to Sofia in Bulgaria and travelling to Slovenia and flying home to England. were going through Macedonia Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, then Slovenia.
we need advice on any great places to go and see on the way.
Also what are the train systems like in some of the countries, we've heard its pretty poor in some of them
And is it possible to camp anywhere in these countries, or do you have to use campsites.
SiDUDe @ 15-05-2008 20:43
seriously consider whether an interrail ticket is worth it for a trip like this. For much of it you may want to use buses (quicker, more reliable) or there arent any trains, and the tickets (especially internally in countries) are so cheap its really not worth it.
For example, Im flying out to Ljubljana this summer, and travelling down through Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria, before somehow getting back to Brussels to Eurostar home. I am only getting an interrail ticket for the journey from Sofia to Brussels (via Belgrade, Vienna, Munich and Amsterdam) and not for the parts in south eastern Europe.
It is, however, very hard to find accurate prices for supplements in these countries, and so very difficult to judge what is better value. And be prepared, we ended up last year in Sofia and 1:30 in the morning. the train was meant to go to Istanbul, but didnt, so we were stuck there with nowhere to stay. We got on the train the next day, but it was 3.5 hours late! All good fun...
AlphaOmega @ 22-05-2008 09:50
Note that there aren't any trains running to Albania, and within Albania, connections are bad. Also it isn't included in the interrail ticket.
I agree with poster above, consider if it's worth it.
Anyways, places worht seeing:
Skopje is a nice city and has a nice old town. You can take a cab from the train station to the centre. If they charge you any more than 100MKD (about E1,50) you're being ripped off. The normal price is around 50MKD. When you're in the city centre, walk around and see the bridge and go up the hill to the old castle
Ohrid is a really nice place as well. There's a lake bordering with Albania. A lot of Macedonians go on vacation here. There's no train connection to Ohrid. There are buses running from Skopje a few times per day, they're under 10 euro.
I haven't yet been to Albania, but I've read up on it and I think going from Ohrid to Tirane, Durres and Shkoder would be a good route. There are no train connections on that route that I'm aware of, but buses should be cheap.
Montenegro is a small but BEAUTIFUL country. There's a national park called Durmitor, I haven't been there but I definitely will this summer. It looks amazing. Then there's the capital Podgorica, but if you're short on time I'd skip it and go directly to the coast. Bar is a nice city to start off in. Small but beautiful and hardly touristic (like all of Montenegr🧐. Watch out for taxi scams! Agree on a price before you enter one. If they don't speak english pick another cab.
Budva is a more touristic city by the Adriatic, but also see-worthy. Then there's the next must see: Kotor. It's the only fjord in southern Europe, and there's a magnificient old town with a castle-like way up the mountain where you get a great view of the fjord and the mountains.
The next city is Herceg Novi, where the Fjord joins the Adriatic. The bus ride between the two cities (kotor and herceg novi) is amazing, just like the rest of the bus ride along the coast.
From Herceg Novi (also from Kotor) there's a bus to Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik is the most popular coastal city in Croatia. When you arrive by bus from the south you see the old town baying in the sea. You will find this view back on about 50% of the post cards they sell. It's a really nice city but it's a tad touristic.
Then there's Split. You can get there by bus directly from Dubrovnik. Don't bother about Ploce, there's nothing to see there, really. Split is nice though, it has a great old town and you can haggle for prices at the food and clothes market. The beach is also really nice, in summer there's sun all day, and at night there are some interesting clubs along the beach.
I wouldn't know anything to recommend between Split and Zagreb (there's a train track there), but maybe Knin is worth looking into.
Zagreb is a really nice city though. One of my favorite ex-yugoslavian capitals. Just walk straight ahead from the train station and you'll walk along some nice parks into the city centre. It kind of reminded me of Zurich...
From Zagreb there are good train connections to Ljubljana (they take about 2 hours I think).
Ljubljana is one of the smallest capitals in former Yugoslavia. It's a really nice city though, really worht seeing. Everything is quite compact, so you can reach it by foot easily.
From Ljubljana you can go to Bled, relatively close by train. Bled is famous for it's lake and church, and when you get there you will see why.
That's all I've got. Now back to work
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