The Balkan Motorbike Tour Continues
On the fourth week of our Balkan Motorbike Tour through the Balkan Peninsula, we spent time touring two amazing but vastly different cities, Mostar along the Neretva River in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Dubrovnik along the coast of Croatia. Both were incredibly beautiful and enchanting, each in their own way, and both had a violent and deadly period during the Balkan War of the 1990s. We were mesmerized and humbled at the same time. Certainly the most moving time of our trips in Europe.
On leaving Dubrovnik, we were treated to a beautiful view of the walled city from the coast road, and then we were quickly out of Croatia and in to Montenegro. Montenegro turned out to be a spectacular country, and while we had to change our route a bit due to time constraints, we certainly didn’t miss out on spectacular scenery. Our entry into Montenegro brought us first to the beautiful area of Kotor Bay and the town of the same name. There’s so much to do and see there and we only were able to get a small sampling. As we headed up and out of Kotor on a dramatic and a bit dicey switchback road, there were amazing views of the bay and the surrounding mountains. Montenegro was off to a nice start.
As we reached the higher elevations, it got a bit cooler and more windy. No matter, we still enjoyed the vast expanses of the Dinaric Alps as we headed toward Durmitor National Park. There were some fantastic winding roads, more dicey switchbacks through primitive tunnels until finally reaching the high plateau and a cozy place to grab some eats. We wound our way through the park which was absolutely stunning and deserving of mention with the more famous alps of central Europe. We landed in Zabljak, a small mountain town that is the jumping off point for lots of activities in the mountain region. Boy do they have some good hearty food to fuel your body for hiking the alps too.
As we descended out of Durmitor, we headed down the Tara River Gorge for more beautiful landscapes as we wound our way toward the border with Kosovo. We headed out of Montenegro, hoping some day to return and explore the tiny little gem of a country.
Kosovo and Albania – More Mountain Rides
Our route from Montenegro to Kosovo took us up through more winding mountain roads and alpine scenery, we can’t get enough of this stuff. After a very friendly border crossing with the Kosovo military, we wound our way back down the mountains. We spent just a quick overnight in Prizren, Kosovo where we met really kind and caring people in a still very beaten down country that we hope to see do better in the future. From Prizren, we headed out to Albania for a brief half day ride through the mountains that Rebecca had researched just a few days before. She really knocked it out of the park as it was some of the best views we had on our trip. At one rest spot where we stopped, we were overlooking a beautiful valley with music emanating from one of the small homes down the slope, just adding to the whole experience.
Macedonia and Greece
As we entered Macedonia from Albania, we were greeted with more spectacular riding through amazing countryside. Up and down mountains and along lakes and rivers, we eventually ended up by Lake Ohrid for lunch. After more switchbacks up and over another mountain range, we ended up overnighting near Bitola where we visited the incredible mosaics of Heraclea Lyncestis the following day. On leaving Macedonia, we exited the last new country of our trip. We headed back into Greece, retracing a small part of our trip from the year before. We spent all day on more gorgeous roads in the mountains of northern Greece, a part of Greece that few tourists know about and even fewer visit. We ended the day at a nice waterfront village of Plataria and spent a few days on the beach decompressing before our return ferry back to Italy and ride back to Switzerland. Our Balkan motorbike tour was slowly drawing to a close.
We hope you read about all our adventures in our upcoming posts by signing up for our newsletter in the footer at the bottom of this page. If you would like to follow our route on your own or with friends you can download any of our trips in our shop section. As a way to trace our steps, we have created helmet flag stickers and country code stickers that can be used on helmets or vehicles; purchase these stickers so you too can commemorate your travels.