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  1. #1
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    Ireland -> Croatia Tour (Advice needed!)

    Hi there,

    I'm new to both cycle touring and these forums, so hello everybody I'm finished university in May and I've decided I'm going to do some cycle touring. I'm in the process of building my bike at the moment, and I've started my planning too. I want to take the ferry from Cork (Ireland) to Roscoff (France), and make my way to Croatia.

    I don't want to plan every step of the journey as adventure / the unknown is part of the appeal, but I think a broad guide about general routes would be a good idea. I'm not rich so I'll be looking to wild-camp as much as possible and I'll be cooking my own food along the way. So:

    What do you think of the following (rough) route?
    http://goo.gl/maps/YfZvu

    What landmarks / areas would you recommend I visit or avoid?

    Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated

    Thanks in advance!

    t1mm

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    What interests you ? Historic Event Sites ? or what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    What interests you ? Historic Event Sites ? or what?
    Thanks for your reply! Historic event sites, definitely scenery - I'd like to work on my landscape photography during the trip a bit too. I'm really open to suggestions. I'd like to stay away from the larger cities as much as possible really to make wild camping easier.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Scandanavia would be easier , because they have a rights to enjoy Nature Ethic.

    Anyhow, you can always ask Permission from the property owner..

    join CTC to use their 100 years of touring experience and resources..
    http://www.ctc.org.uk/
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-14-13 at 08:36 PM.

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    I've got some friends dotted along my route - thats why I chose it Also, Scandinavian countries are generally far more expensive even in terms of grocery costs. Thanks for your input though!

  6. #6
    djb
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    is the end spot of Croatia a fixed thing for you?

    Landing in Bretagne and going down the coast, hanging a right and bumbling along the Pyrenees and back up could be a fabulous trip. Provence and the immediate coast (Cannes etc) is nutso busy (not to mention hot as heck) in July Aug so you would want to avoid that (for cost as well).
    The big advantage with France in general is the abundance of campgrounds, many small municipal ones, that in my experience has been a big help with keeping daily costs down, along with doing your own food. Wild camping isnt always that easy to find, but that depends on the route and how determined you are (I am fond of a shower after a days riding)

    You will get as many opinions here as with anything, so have fun reading up on specific area to figure out what your budget and time allows. I really like biking in France, and loved the Pyrenees. I speak French, so that influences things a bit too as I enjoy meeting and talking with people on a trip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djb View Post
    is the end spot of Croatia a fixed thing for you?

    Landing in Bretagne and going down the coast, hanging a right and bumbling along the Pyrenees and back up could be a fabulous trip. Provence and the immediate coast (Cannes etc) is nutso busy (not to mention hot as heck) in July Aug so you would want to avoid that (for cost as well).
    The big advantage with France in general is the abundance of campgrounds, many small municipal ones, that in my experience has been a big help with keeping daily costs down, along with doing your own food. Wild camping isnt always that easy to find, but that depends on the route and how determined you are (I am fond of a shower after a days riding)

    You will get as many opinions here as with anything, so have fun reading up on specific area to figure out what your budget and time allows. I really like biking in France, and loved the Pyrenees. I speak French, so that influences things a bit too as I enjoy meeting and talking with people on a trip.
    Thanks for your reply! I should have mentioned that I do speak some French (c'est loin de parfait, mais je peut construire un phrase ou deux). Also, Croatia is kind of the end-point I would like to arrive at, as I have some friends around there who are going to join me and I've wanted to see some of their coastline for a long time. I've also looked at some photos of cycling through the alps and I think it would be one of the highlights of the trip. Quoi pensez-vous?

    How much do the municipal camp grounds generally cost?

    Merci encore

  8. #8
    djb
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    Ive been in tiny municipal ones that were very basic, for 5-10 euros, and have car camped with French friends in Provence (but far inland) at a place that had a pool etc, and it was prob 20 a night, but I forget exactly.

    Your best bet for getting detailed info on all kinds of stuff, routes, campground costs, etc etc, is to spend time looking at trip journals online. I always recommend CrazyGuyOnABike, just type in cgoab and you will find the main page. You can search trip journals by region, and will be able to find current, detailed reports of trips that should answer all kinds of questions.

    I'm an Anglo btw, but living here in Quebec means that Ive been speaking French daily pretty much since I came here in the mid 80s. Your trip would certainly be great to improve your French, as living in it is the best way thats for sure.
    I remember being in a campground bathroom in France and hearing two kids come in speaking this language I just couldnt place, didnt sound like any of the languages that I can kind of identify... After a while and after hearing some English words thrown in, I asked them in English what language they were speaking...they turned to me and replied, "Oh, we're speaking Irish" with their Irish accents. Surprised me as I thought it was on old geezers who still spoke it (have since known people living in Wales, and Welsh is very much alive there)

    cheers

  9. #9
    Junior Member uaz04's Avatar
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    Living at, and riding around, the latter part of your trip for more than a decade has taught us a few things - and many places to avoid if possible. While the Veneto and Friuli/Venezia/Giulia regions of Italy are wonderful for cycling, your route takes you only through the worst parts of them [at least after Bassano and Castelfranco Veneto]. Unless you absolutely, positively have to be in Venice...reconsider. Venice is difficult for cyclists, and the route from Venice east along the coast is flat and far less interesting [Except Acquilea and Grado ] If you stay north and skirt just below the Alps, along the prealpi foothills route - that will take you through some of the most wonderful cycling and touring roads you'll ever know. Great food, quiet roads [before June anyway], and then on to Bled and Ljubljana from a more northern approach.
    We have made our home on the Istrian Peninsula, which is not on your route at all, but for us is cycling heaven. If you skip Ljubljana, then you'll cross over to the Dalmatian Coast via Istria...just saying [But no reason to avoid Ljubljana like Venice, it is a charming place] You can also cross over to the Croatian Islands via ferry from Brestova.
    One other caution - May and early June weather can be very unpredictable in the mountains...many passes are still closed with snow. By the time you get to Slovenia it should not be an issue, but at the earlier part of your trip across the Alps you need to have a plan B.
    Camping in France is great! Italy is a bit more expensive and less common outside of tourist areas. After that you will pay as if you are in a big campervan with a family! It's not fair but free camping is prohibited, so you should check out something like www.warmshowers.org if you haven't already registered. There are not many past Italy, but enough to get you from one stop to the next usually. We are the only ones in Istria last time I checked.
    Good luck and feel free to ask anything!

    michael and marijana stechow

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    Junior Member uaz04's Avatar
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    One more thing, and most cyclotourists would probably agree - don't worry too much about seeing famous places or the big touristic monuments. What will make your trip special, impact you the most, and what you will always remember...will be the smaller, quiet villages and roads and the people you met there. Many people in tourist areas will treat tourists as tourists, who are values only as much as you are a business. You'll still find amazing architecture, history, art, cultural events, gastronomy, etc, etc, etc along the rural routes...it will be cheaper and more accessible...you will always have someone to show you and explain it...and you'll feel like you discovered something precious yourself. You'll meet people you might know for a lifetime hence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by uaz04 View Post
    If you stay north and skirt just below the Alps, along the prealpi foothills route - that will take you through some of the most wonderful cycling and touring roads you'll ever know. Great food, quiet roads [before June anyway], and then on to Bled and Ljubljana from a more northern approach.
    This is great cycling country. I found a really small crossing from Bad Eisenkappel in Austria into Slovenia. I did a loop from Solcava/Logoarska Dolina, a famous pretty valley, over the small hump and back into Slovenia via the less scenic Zgornje Jezersko.

    The route from Bled, over Virsc pass and down the Soca valley towards Croatia is one of the great routes you should ride. Slovenia also has one of the few cave cycling experiences available, though old, disused mine workings.

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    Thank you all for your kind replies!


    uaz04: Thanks for the advice about staying North - I will keep it in mind for sure. I agree about avoiding tourist traps - I've also been to venice before and its not really high on my priorities! I will definitely be visiting Ljubljana (I have some friends there). Checking out some Croatian islands could really be cool - are ferries and campsites on them expensive? (How long is a piece of string, I guess? )


    MichaelW: I'll definitely check out the passes you mentioned, and I'll have a google about the mine route. Cheers

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Ferrys; Dublin to Wales , England to Denmark , Copenhagen to Poland, Baltic Port,
    Ride south thru Prague, into Austria , across the Danube and over 'a few' Hills,

    and there you are at the Yugoslav border .

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    Hi, your trip looks great. I am from Croatia but I avoid cycling on the coast during summertime. It's very crowded and people drive like crazy. But you can outsmart that by cycling on islands. Or ride 100km above the coast, but terrain there is boring and you are not near the sea.

    If you go to islands I recommend Krk, Cres, Pag, Brač, Hvar and Vis. Camp prices vary from 5-20 per night for campsite. Last year we were on Brac camping for 5 per day with fridge included

    You can wildcamp also but should hide well. Also, I beg you all to be careful with fire while camping since we have big troubles with fire disasters during summer. That is the main reason that local people can be against wild campers. But in general, you won't have any problems
    Last edited by goran; 04-04-13 at 06:16 AM.

  15. #15
    Junior Member uaz04's Avatar
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    Goran is right about staying away from the main coastline and hopping down the islands, it's a great option. Wild camping is hard to get away with, and not worth the trouble with police or locals - no vacation needs that stress.
    From Istria, it's possible to take a short ferry from Brestova to Porozina on the island of Cres and start your island hopping right there. Many Warmshowers guests have departed our house in the morning and spent the night on Cres. There is a nice camping close to the port.

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    Thanks for the replies guys Cycling along the islands sounds like a great idea. Any rough guide as to ferry prices?

  17. #17
    Junior Member uaz04's Avatar
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    For ferry schedules and prices, there are many websites that list the Adriatic ferries. A good starting point would be Jadrolinija: http://www.jadrolinija.hr/default.aspx?dpid=1336 The prices page lists the coastal routes and prices, in English.

  18. #18
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    As uaz04 wrote, there you can check prices. And I know that finding ferry timetables can be a full time job in Croatia since their official pages suck. My friend created a website last year to help us with that.

    http://www.voznired.net/

    It is relyble, I used it last summer. Hope it'll help you too.

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