Is it possible to see any of the balkans somewhat conveniently?

  • 2 June 2022
  • 5 replies
  • 695 views

Hey All!

This is a late July timeframe, super flexible.

I’m looking at a Sofia (Bulgaria) start (or Thessalinki Greece). Was curious about North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, (pretty sure EUrail doesn't operate in Albania). I see that its hard-impossible to get into Serbia or Bosnia by train at the moment, and seeing similar situations for Kosovo, North Macedonia (unsure about Montenegro), so was just curious if any expert here knows for sure.

Surfing Seat61 too long now (excellent site though) and I feel like I’m slowly losing my mind haha. Was thinking that since Bosnia and Serbia seem hard/impossible by train, maybe there is way to go Sofia to Skopje(North Macedonia) to Kosovo to Montenegro and then up through Croatia to Slovenia?

If I can’t see these Balkan countries by train very easily, I think I’ll just have to put them on the future to-do list and at least try to see the north of the Balkan region by going across the top of Croatia towards Italy, which I believe is best through Sofia-Bucharest-Budapest-onwards?

 

Thanks!


5 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Perfectly doable- eve for Canucks and even without the stress of all these REServ etc-its very easy; Forget train, use BUS. Trains over there also do not really have the benefits they tend to have in west-EUR. Even seat61 is often out of date or so inclined to talk all negative about things on rails away, that they omit any possible negative look. There simply are for now NO trains over all those new borders between the splitaway new countries that once were Yugoslavija.

You will have a hard time to even distinguish the minor difference between these nations-except they all have their own currency-and most readily accept € bills.

Hi vagabond. 

Found your post/question about traveling the Balkans while having the exact same issues and problems rn.

How did the story end? Did you travel to all these countries you named by bus in the end? Are busses comfortable and reliable? And are they included in the interrail pass? 

Thanks for your answer, 

greetings, 

Laura from Italy :)

Hey Laura,  

I ended up just going down to Istanbul, through Hungary>Romania>Bulgaria, and then back up over into northern Croatia>Slovenia (amazing country, hidden gem really) >Italy, etc. Trains get slower, but you can see some good scenery that way. Seat61 is an excellent resource, at least when I used it.

mcadv’s response is pretty spot on, buses really are the best option in most of these countries it seems, at least when I was doing my research (e.g., train situation is result of: disagreements between countries, lack of organized timetables, lack of quality trains, lack of translated information, etc.).

Buses are not as nice as trains, for the reasons listed on EUrail’s website. But they can get the job done. My two cents: do not take them on long journeys, shorter journeys are more tolerable.

Public transport (and maybe even private transport [e.g., buses]) is really hit or miss I’ve heard in places like Albania, where even locals don’t really know when things will show up - in Albania specifically I was told you should have someone who knows the language, because English is not as widely spoken, and its not as safe, but this could be wrong.

Hope that helps :)

Enjoy your journey!

 

Hi vagabond. 

Found your post/question about traveling the Balkans while having the exact same issues and problems rn.

How did the story end? Did you travel to all these countries you named by bus in the end? Are busses comfortable and reliable? And are they included in the interrail pass? 

Thanks for your answer, 

greetings, 

Laura from Italy :)

 

Hey Laura,  

I ended up just going down to Istanbul, through Hungary>Romania>Bulgaria, and then back up over into northern Croatia>Slovenia (amazing country, hidden gem really) >Italy, etc. Trains get slower, but you can see some good scenery that way. Seat61 is an excellent resource, at least when I used it.

mcadv’s response is pretty spot on, buses really are the best option in most of these countries it seems, at least when I was doing my research (e.g., train situation is result of: disagreements between countries, lack of organized timetables, lack of quality trains, lack of translated information, etc.).

Buses are not as nice as trains, for the reasons listed on EUrail’s website. But they can get the job done. My two cents: do not take them on long journeys, shorter journeys are more tolerable.

Public transport (and maybe even private transport [e.g., buses]) is really hit or miss I’ve heard in places like Albania, where even locals don’t really know when things will show up - in Albania specifically I was told you should have someone who knows the language, because English is not as widely spoken, and its not as safe, but this could be wrong.

Hope that helps :)

Enjoy your journey!

 

Hi vagabond. 

Found your post/question about traveling the Balkans while having the exact same issues and problems rn.

How did the story end? Did you travel to all these countries you named by bus in the end? Are busses comfortable and reliable? And are they included in the interrail pass? 

Thanks for your answer, 

greetings, 

Laura from Italy :)

 

And sorry, no I don’t think many (if any) buses are included. You would have to check the site (although not sure where). I decided to visit these countries another time, and make the most out of my EUrail pass where it works.

Userlevel 7
Badge +6

There are no buses included on the Balkan in Interrail… and Interrail in general doesn’t really pay off for that area. Better to make a combination of single tickets for the trains and buses… likely you will be cheaper that way.

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