To the pages for Europe, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia of the Trento Bike Pages

A Balkan Tour
from Bayreuth to Split and Rijeka
in August/September 1997

Altogether about 5 weeks,
total distance about 2700 km

By Dieter Kleiner,, Tue, 11 Nov 1997 16:49:59 +1
I enjoyed this unforgettable trip thoroughly. Scenery, people, food etc. changed continuously.

As to understanding, a basic knowledge in any Slavic language is very helpful (except for Hungary, of course). In Czech (Cz) and Slovak (Sk) Republik, Slovenia (Slo) and Croatia (Hr) some elder people spoke German, In Hungary (H), Slo and Hr English was frequently understood too. In general, people were very friendly and helpful, even during conversations with hands and feet. Sometimes, when I seemed to stupid to understand, they got a bike or motorbike and led me to the next "unmistakable" point to help me continue my trip correctly. Except for 2-3 days it was rather hot, so I made it a point to start at sunrise in order to cover approximately 100 km per day. Generally it was possible to ride on small asphalt roads with little traffic (exception: some passages in H and Hr).


I stayed on campsites except where otherwise specified:
Cz :
Susice - Czeske Budejovice - Chlum u Trebone - Znojmo (Hotel) - Breclav,
Trnava (Hotel) - Levice;
- Esztergom - Matrafüred - Eger -Szolnok - Atvatkert - Szekszard (Hotel) - Dombovar - Lentye;
Ptuj -Cetaz - Vinica;
Kraljevica - Baska (on Krk island) - Rab -Povljana (on Pag) - Zdrelac (on Pasman) - Sibenik - Supetar (on Brac) - Rogoznica - Pirovac - Zadar - Mali Losinj (on Losinj) - Brsec (private room) - Rijeka.
Mostly campsites were o.k. to excellent, always providing at least showers (not always hot) and basic facilities. As to price levels (food, drink, camping) the countries fall into the categories "very inexpensive" (Cz, Sk, H) and "moderately inexpensive" (Slo, Hr).

A few highlights and (hopefully useful) tips:

Czech and Slovak Republics:

Very good maps are available for Cz (1:100 000) and Sk (1:200 000). A tip for budget travellers: if you are not camping, every camping place I saw rents small wooden huts for low prices. Cycling is stress-free and easy because car drivers are very peaceful and road signs really excellent. One temptation on hot days is the availabilty of cool and tasty beer (pivo) in small pubs (hostinec) in next to every village at incredible prices (less than DM 1.50 per liter!). My itinerary led me through Southern Bohemia and Moravia through hilly landscapes. Roads often are lined with linden or apple trees interchanging with small forests. East of Budejovice ( a beautiful city), towards the Austrian border, the country becomes flat with forests and lakes - a cycling paradise. After passing the small and romantic places of Slavonice and Jemnica, diving into the wild and scenic ravines of the Thaya, staying in the historic center of Znojmo I made it to the region of Mikulov: picturesque castles, thick forests, mountains with vineyards and the well restored, lovely old town of Mikulov. Southwest Sk is relatively flat except for the wild and dark Small Karpaty Mountains National Park. The old cities of Trnava and Nitra are certainly worth a visit. Towards the Hungarian border the countryside becomes hilly and is sometimes covered with vineyards. Many of the villages are predominantly inhabited by Hungarian minorities. As to costs, Sk is probably THE country for low-budget travellers. (Example: in a small wayside restaurant the price for fish&chips, 0.3 l mineral water plus 0.5 l beer was around DM 3.20).


I found an autoatlas (1:360 000) which contains all roads necessary. If you are cycling on a larger road (because small ones are simply not available), you may - out of a sudden - be confronted with a sign forbidding cycling. Sometimes a cycling path is near by, sometimes there is no alternative. In the latter case do like the Hungarians: ignore the sign. The northern part of H is hilly to mountainous (Esztergom - Vac - Hatvan - Eger), but you may stay in the valleys and enjoy the beautiful sight on the Visegrad and dark Matra mountains and the vineyards on the foothills. Eger is fantastic, but full of tourists. Heading South I plunged into the flat and hot Puszta. After crossing the Tisza I got the excellent tip from a "native" to cycle on the dike (apparently forbidden but nobody seems to care) along this river - beautiful views. The Puszta by bike is monotonus but unforgettable! Campsites in the Puszta are rare and sometimes not existent any more (i.e. the one in Szekszard). Towards the Slovenian border the scenery is getting hilly and diversified containing remarkable spots like Dombovar or Kaposvar.


I found a good map (1:270 000) containing all informations necessary. The Southeastern part of Slo is like a large garden: small forests alternate with small fields, small vineyards or orchards in a hilly surrounding. Furthermore the people like to adorn their houses and fences with flowers and vine. Among the many pretty towns I want to mention the widely unknown old and romantic city of Ptuj, really a gemstone! Campsites in Slo are relatively expensive, but in excellent conditions.


A good map (1:250 000) is available. If you want to make it from the Hr hinterland around Karlovac to the coast in one day, it is advisable to stay on highway 65 despite ist heavy traffic. Small roads, leading through a dark romantic region, are in a bad state and going up and down in short intervals (I made approx. 9km/h). Somewhere near Delnice most of the cars cross over to the newly constructed Autobahn. Still, highway 65 is mountainous and you end up on a pass 880 m high. But then the magnificent view over the wild coast, the picturesque islands and the colorful waters of the Kvarn Gulf with the prospect of 15 km downhill rolling were rewarding. The last 7 km on highway 65 around Rijeka were a nightmare: narrow road, steep precipice on one side and rough traffic (with considerable contributions from German and Italian tourists). I was really glad to escape to the island of Krk. Further down the same highway was far less crowded, maybe because the tourists this year mainly stayed in the Northern part of. Hr. Going on small roads of the beautiful coastal islands (Krk, Rab, Pag, Ugljan, Pasman, Brac, Losinj, Cres) by bike &boat was very pleasant (there are good ferry connections until end of September), as were the visits to the medieval centers of Zadar, Sibenik and Split. A visit of the fantastic Krka waterfalls (entrance fee around DM 12, campsite unfortunately but understandably closed forever) lead me through a region which formerly was inhabited by the Krajina Serbs: 40 km road lined with somber deserted villages without shop or cafe - quite a contrast to the lively settlements at the coast. Campsites all over the country most of the time were very beautifully situated close to the coast and covered with pine trees. After 4 days on the wild island of Brac, I made it back to Zadar and took a boat to Mali Losinj. The last day was the worst: I encountered the cold and strong Bora coming from the North and hitting right into the face! Any way - it was a great trip!