planning for eastern europe
Note: this is a rather long post, you can skip to the bottom for a summary if you like :)
I feel like it's time to cover some distance instead of just dreaming about it, so I started looking into a trip into the parts of Europe I haven't seen yet, which is eastward. At first I thought I would take 3 weeks off from work, but I started listing countries and places to see and I think I'll at least need 4 weeks, and I'll probably need to cut down on things I'll want to see as well. I'm not even sure I can take more than 3 weeks in a row, I'm going to have to check with my boss on that :)
Travel documents are not a problem, I won't need more than insurance and a passport to be allowed into these countries, which makes planning a little easier. I plan on going in the summer and camping as much as possible to cut down on cost.
I don't plan on making a strict planning time-wise, all I want to do is get there and back in the time I have, where I spend my time in the meantime is not important, as long as I'm out there enjoying myself :)
As it is the first and maybe last time I'll be headed that way, I don't want to skip anything and feel I missed out on something afterwards.
My rough calculations so far tell me I should foresee a budget of +-2000EUR (not including kit) and the current itinerary would be 15000-20000km, way too much for 3-4 weeks. How much would you say I could comfortably cover every day, on average?
Any tips on places I should see in following countries? I'll probably have to skip a few due to time limitations, but If I had time I would follow approximately this itinerary:
Starting in Belgium, passing through Luxemburg, France, Switzerland into Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Servia, Bulgaria, Romania up to the black sea, then maybe continue into Ukraine, before returning through Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Tsjechia, Germany, Netherlands to finally be back in Belgium.
I'm going to be crossing the Alps, so I could use some tips on roads through there (preferably over the Alps instead of through the Alps using tunnels ;))
The few waypoints I had so far (mainly racing POI's):
Switserland: Bremgarten (there used to be a F1-street track here)
Italy: maybe Monza, if there's time to go south a little, it would take a day or more I recon
Austria: Timmelsjoch pass from Italy into Austria, Red Bull Ring (race track), Grüner See
Bosnia: Vilusi border crossing?
Montenegro: Biogradska Gora national park
Romania: TransFagarasan and the Black Sea
Ukraine: Chernobyl? but that's a long ride through Ukraine just for one waypoint
Hungary: Hungaroring (race track)
Tsjechia: Brno (race track)
Germany: Erzgebirgsring, Lausitzring, Hockenheimring, Nurburgring & Norschleife (race tracks, mostly a country I have to go through when riding home from the east)
As you can see the list of waypoints is still limited, and I plan on doing more research myself, but if you have experience with any of these places, please share :)
Summary: Which places should I see in eastern europe? How many km's (or miles if you prefer) can I expect to cover daily without rushing?
I plan usually not more than 300km a day. That way you can explore also smaller roads and don't rush to keep up with your schedule. Some day you will probably cover twice as much, but other day you may be struck somewhere for whatever reason.
I can not suggest any specific place in Europe - just don't plan too much for one trip if you are not just collecting places in style "I have been there". Pick one region at a time and spend more time with locals - you will discover much more than just rushing through countries.
You seem to have quite a few motor sports venues on your list and I'm not sure what you expect to do or see there, but to add to your list:
- Austria: Erzberg, venue of the annual Erzberg Rodeo. That's actually almost between Red Bull ring and Grüner See. For Grüner See it would actually matter when you want to go as it is a seasonal phenomenon and goes away later in summer. For the Eastern alps, there are lots of scenic roads like Stelvio, the Arlberg region, Großglockner, Passo Pordoi and Falzarego, Predil and Vrsic or lesser known passes like Sölkpass, Nassfeld, so that would be almost a week just riding up and down the mountains.
If go south from there, the whole Adriatic coast is littered with scenic seaside towns, great islands and nice backcountry riding all the way down to Montenegro or even into Albania, so there goes another week.
The next place on your list I have been to is Romania, which again would be a week on its own (Transfagarasan, the Carpathians, Sibiu and Brasov, the southern Bukovina region, Prislop pass,.. Check out the ride reports here on advrider).
Ok, I failed on the motor sports venues, but I think I gave you an idea on your schedule. Maybe make it two seperate trips and start with a southern loop and do a northern loop (Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia Czech republic,..) a year later. That way you also can keep the anticipation a little longer :D
I would second randel's 300km maximum recommendation per day. And I mean maximum, not average :wink: You will need rest days, there will be a rainy day or two, you may have a few glasses of good beer or great vine that ask for a rest day (ok, that's with me at least :1drink), you get the idea..
However, if you go, you won't regret it. It's a region full of great relaxed people, gorgeous landscapes, overwhelming history and a few racetracks here and there :evil
Have a look at these guys - http://www.dnepr-kiev.com/home/ukraine-carpathians-mountains-2012 , they orginize tours in eastern block. Check other reports on their page, probably it would fit your needs or they can help you to organize yours.
erzberg, what a great idea, why didn't I think of that :)
thanks a lot for the replies guys, my planning had evolved a little in the meantime, averaging 250km a day for a month so far, but it is far from finished...
I didn't see Poland on your list. The southern and part of the country has many hundreds of miles of nice twisty roads through scenic villages, especially way south in the Tatra Mountain region. Great scenery, inexpensive, friendly people, and really good food. If you want to get to a larger city, Krakow can't be beat.
If you want to see something motorsports related in Switzerland, there are still quite a few classic hillclimbing events (called Bergrennen) on nice rural or pass roads.
The more I research the less clear I am on the route I want to take... So many things to see :)
I'm looking at 1.5-2 months now...
it'll have to be 1.5 months, probably leaving mid-june to return end of july.
instead of planning a route I just started collecting places of interest and I suppose I'll make up most of the route while riding, selecting the next place depending on what I want at the time
Don't know if this will help but here's an overview of my trip last year showing distances (in miles) travelled each day (* = mostly motorway/autoroute/autobahn):
Chilham - Duren - 275*
Duren - Plzen - 399*
Plzen - Budapest - 391*
Budapest - Sibiu - 336*
Sibiu - Transfăgărășan - Bucharest - 193
Bucharest - Sofia - 241
Sofia - Sidirokastro - 123
Sidirokastro - Athens - 404*
Athens - Florina - 389*
Florina - Ohrid - Skopje - 180
Skopje - Prizren - Podgorica - 215
Podgorica - Split - 253
Split - Ljubljana - 295*
Ljubljana - Vrsic Pass - Ampezzo - 150
Ampezzo - Garmisch - 185
Garmisch - Luxembourg - 362*
Luxembourg - Calais - Chilham - 278*
Hello fellows. If you decide to travel through Lithuania, Kaunas city and you will need some help: motorcycle service (I can recommend few small services who is very professionally take care of my motorcycles), affordable accommodation, or simply sleep in my home at one night, or someone else's, you can contact me.
I also participate in couch surfing program and will be happy to spend day with guests - motorcycle riders, if I will be free.
Notify me PM when you really know your plans.
if you are going back through poland, auschwitz might be an interesting place to pop in
good suggestion, but I've been there, to both camps. really deserves a full day to visit... leaves quite an impression.
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