BALKANS TOUR 2015 – A road trip from Bansko

BALKANS TOUR 2015 – A road trip from Bansko

BALKANS TOUR 2015

A very worthwhile trip if you are planning a few days away from Bansko on a road trip around the Balkans. We are publishing this as many people have asked us for details. Hopefully this gives most of the information required, but if not then please contact us.

Written by Natasha Bamford

 

Stage 1 (1 day) 6 hrs

Arrive Prizren, Kosovo.    

Prizren Castle.  A castle which is under restoration and with great views of the town.  Its one of the most culturally diverse towns in Kosovo and has a lovely town square for dinner.

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The church of St Spas on the way to the castle.

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Stage 2 (2 days) 4 hrs 30 mins inc ferry

Prizren, Kosovo  to Komani Ferry terminal in Fierze, Albania.  Ferry journey to Komani and journey on to Shkoder, Albania for 1 night.

2 hour ferry ride across the Komani Lake (created by damming the river).  They have just re-started the ferry again after years without service.  It’s classed of one of the last great road trips of Europe and still relatively unknown.

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We then travelled overland to Shkoder and stayed overnight in a glamping camp on the banks of the Shkoder lake http://www.lakeshkodraresort.com/  These glamping tents had double beds inside and were great fun.

 

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Great base for visit Rofaza Castle in Shkoder and experience the cafe culture in the old town..

 

Shkoder, Albania to Thethi (Albanian Alps) for 1 night.

This one one of the highlights of our journey.  Thethi is in Northern Albania and currently cut off from the world due to the poor road – 2 hours across mountain tracks..  We would recommend hiring a driver with a 4×4.

We stayed in a local B&B.  All of the hotels are fully catered because there is nowhere to buy food or drink.  Breakfast is included and you can book dinner for a small cost.  They serve whatever they can grow/buy locally.  Dinner was goat and breakfast was mekitsie (donuts) with homemade jam and clotted cream.  Tip – take your own soft drinks.  They only had cherry juice, beer or wine.  We stayed in Guest House Gjecaj.  A visit to the lock-in tower is a must

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Thethi Valley close to the village center

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Village church and houses have wooden roof tiles

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Lock-in tower outside

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Lock-in tower in the village – inside

 

Stage 3 (1 day) 3 hrs

Shkoder, Albania (1 hr 30 mins) to Ulcinj, Montenegro. 

This is an old fortified city with views over the Adriatic.  The are within the walled city is beautiful.  A good base is Hotel Palata Venezia.

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Stage 4 (1 day) 4 hrs

Ulcinj, Montenego, Via Cetinje (old capital to see maltese falcon) via Laddar of Cattaro road to Bay or Kotor, Montenegro (most easterly fjord in Europe).  Night in Perast and visit to our lady of the rocks church on island in the fjord.

In teh town museum, the Maltese Falcon is displayed.  Its an icon originally thought to have been painted by the hand of St John. http://www.sosjinternational.org/history

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Centinj, President’s residence.

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Centinj, Old Embassy building

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Laddar of Cattaro which snakes it way from Cetinj to the Bay of Kator with fantastic views across the most easterly fjord in Europe.

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Views from the ladder of Cattaro over the Bay of Kotor.

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Perast, a small village on the Bay of Kotor where we stayed for the evening.

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Dinner in Perast – mussels and wine with a fabulous view.

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We met a lovely fisherman who took us over to the churches in the bay.  Our lady of the rock is built upon the hulls of sullied ships and every year the local fishermen form a ring around it and throw in more rocks to sustain it.  The church itself was an absolute “must see”.  Book a visit with the guide who is always there after 10am.

Stage 5 (3 days) 1 hr 45 mins

Bay of Kotor, Montenegro to Dubrovnik, Croatia. 

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Walk the walls of the old city

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Beach time!

 

Stage 6 ( 1 day)

Dubrovnik, Croatia to Kravica Waterfalls, Bosnia (drinks at working watermill “konoba Kocusa” close by the falls).  2 hrs

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The water falls.

 

Kravica Waterfalls, Bosnia to Blagaj, Bosnia to visit Dervish Monastery 55 mins

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Dervish Monastery

 

Blagaj, Bosnia to Mostar, Bosnia 17 mins

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Mostar

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Mostar Bridge – Stari Most

 

Stage 7 (2 days) 2hrs 30 mins

Mostar, Bosnia to Tara canyon for night in riverside camp and white water rafting the following day. 

Organised through http://www.pkencijan.com/en/article/camp/

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Rafting the canyon – approx. 3 hours

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The camp on the river in the canyon

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The camp on the river in the canyon

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Tara canyon – 2nd largest in the world (second only to the Grand canyon)

There are so many places to see in these beautiful countries.  We were dictated too mainly by the 12 days we had available.  These countries deserve so much more time.

 

Published by Bamro Property Management