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Berlin - Greece by bike!

Old 06-13-15, 10:03 AM
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Berlin - Greece by bike!

Hello guys,

We are a german/french couple and we want to reach Greece by bike starting from Berlin at the beginning of August. We don't have any time limit so the main idea is to go through the nicest places, take time to meet nice people on the way and stay a little while if we want to enjoy some places longer. So far we considered three different options to reach the Greek island of Karpathos from Vienna (where we want to visit friends):

- heading south through Slovenia or Hungary and Croatia and then take a ferry to Greece ;
- going through Rumania or Serbia and Bulgaria ;
- crossing Slovenia and following the North coast of Italy and then reach Greece by ferry.

For the accomodation we have our tent, and would try to camp as much as possible.
We are actually looking for any advises, tricks, recommendations from people who already have been crossing these countries : is it safe to cross these countries by bike, what way would you recommend us to take, would you recommend us to take another way, should we avoid special places, what would be the best material to bring... Considering that we are both fit but no super trained bikers

Thanks in advance for your ideas!

Last edited by Orianeter; 06-13-15 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 06-18-15, 04:24 PM
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hi,

me and my friends just did trip from Dubrovnik To Baku Azerbaijan. We passed Montenegro Albania, Macedonia, Greece...and forward east on the way to Istanbul. You can find our route here ;B98 Dubrovnik - Baku - Bikemap - Your bike routes online

I will suggest you to ride through Slovenia to Croatia (Istria), islands, Krk, Cres, Lošinj, Zadar and then on the south to Dubrovnik & follow our route if want ...

There is many ways you could go the way to Greece through Croatia but the main issue for you will be touristic season which is the biggest in august and that is just NOT so good for cycling. If you are experienced and dont mind traffic, heat, bigger prices, thats fine, but if opposite, try to pass through Cro after 15.8. You will enjoy more...

If hve any questions fill free to ask..
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Old 06-21-15, 07:14 AM
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Can't say much about cycling in the countries you wish to cross, since I haven't visited them recently (although I would love to tour them by bike!) but I can offer any info on Greece, where I currently reside!
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Old 10-15-15, 10:50 AM
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This may be a bit late, but since someone has just bumped the post up I will add my experiences of biking in these countries.

I biked this route:

https://bit.ly/1VUBU9a

I would recommend biking in Serbia, as much of the countryside is very beautiful and it is a real eye-opener into a world that will be very different to what you are familiar with in Germany.

The roads in Serbia are very quite, also. I biked down one "main road" between two cities of about 35,000 and there were not many cars. However, many of the roads in Serbia are in bad condition and not great for road bikes (which I was on) but are manageable. My speed in Serbia was 13 mph due to the roads, with a 15KG rucksack. Whereas my speed everywhere else has been 15-16 mph.

When in Serbia, avoid the large orange roads, as listed on Google Maps, and use the smaller yellow roads. I saw very few cars on these roads, quite possibly only one every 5-10 minutes; and these also have the best scenery and sights of rural life. You will want to avoid any small roads, as they may end up being stone or mud paths.

I would recommend avoiding Bulgaria, at least the western part, which I biked through as there are very few options of roads to use, leaving you on very busy roads with little room for bikers. Whereas the roads in Serbia were cracked, providing a very bumpy experience, roads in Bugaria are more pot-holed. Though some of the "main roads" are in good or decent condition. I would also recommend sticking to the motorways in Bulgaria, as these have hard shoulders and it seems it is OK to use these as I passed several police on them. However, I would suggest avoiding Bulgaria and going through rural Macedonia instead.

Greece has a lot more paved roads, but, it is again best to use the motorways, most of which have a hard shoulder. If you go on the medium-sized roads they can be busy with no road for cyclists. Greece was the only place I had a problem, on a road like this where a lorry almost blew me off my bike, without any regard - didn't slow down or move over. There are a lot of small roads in Greece, which are quite. They tend to be cracked in parts, but nothing too bad. The small roads can also lead to dirt tracks and you cannot view most of these roads on Google Street View.

In Serbia, so long as you are on one of the medium-sized yellow roads, you should be OK, but I would recommend some good planning on Google Maps & Street View if you want to go to Bulgaria or Greece.

Despite the roads in Serbia being by far the worst, it would be the place I most recommend visiting as the country is much untouched and beautifully contoured, dotted with many attractive lakes and water features. And the sheer lack of cars on all but the big roads really rounds off the experience.

I've uploaded my photos from Serbia here:

https://mega.nz/#F!rlJBBYwR!u7AWCBiB2EHYg7UB6CK9lA

Some of the roads in Nos. 41, 45 and 46. Download for a better view.

As for safety. I have had no real worry in any of these countries, having been here for about 4 months. You would have thought that it could be dangerous and a theft-risk due to the very low wages. The minimum wage in Serbia, after taxes is about Ł1,500 / year. But crime, according to official statistics is no different from Western Europe, in general. Bulgaria is actually one of the safest places according to official statistics. However, I took much precaution as to safety. I have only left my bike locked up for about one minute outside a four-star hotel and it has otherwise been locked up with the Kryptonite NY Fahgetaboutit lock, which I believe is the best on the market.

I'd also highly recommending buying the DS-500, which is a 1,000 lumen rear light. I've had it on full flash for my entire journey. Some photos:

Photos

* See shark_attack and david64 threads.
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