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June 2017 – European roadtrip
6 countries crossed
Hit the road!
1st of June.
It’s 6 AM and I hear the alarms buzzing. Tough, I know, but this is the holiday sound! 🙂
The first day of many adventures to come.
Up we go!
A 6-hours drive leads us to Salt mines Turda: the coolest underground places we’ve been to. Dating back to the 11th century, now it’s a history museum of salt mining, specially designed for tourists.
By the end of the day I’m back in Cluj after soo many years…looks even better than my memories.
Oradea is the first stop of day 2. How can you not love it? Respect!
At the end of day 2, we arrive in Budapest, ready for a 2-days packed itinerary.
Buda vs Pest, or a city with 2 personalities. Buda is the hilly piece of land with imperial atmosphere, while Pest is the busy, buzzing flat side. But when the dark falls, everything comes together as one.
I have to confess: Budapest by night just stole my heart.
Just 1 hour before you reach Zagreb, there’s the lovely baroque-style Varaždin, ex-capital of Croatia.
Zagreb: beauty and beer go well together.
Such a cool, pocket-sized capital deserves more that 1 night. Zagreb, promise we will come back.
Hidden on the road that connects Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes, stands a magical watermill village where human and nature worked hand in hand: Rastoke.
Leaving Rastoke behind, here we are at Plitvice Lakes National Park, ready for a 1-day trek. Its 296 square kilometers, 16 lakes ranging from azure to green, blue or even grey, are impeccably designed for trekking.
Nature is full of surprises. And some places are worth the wait.
Funny thing we heard: some guys from Dubai were asking “how did you build this?” 🙂
Zadar is the first stop where we actually have some time off. Every one of the past 6 days has been a marathon.
One morning we get up and head to Ninska Laguna. Looks like all the effort pays off: we’re the first two humans on the beach. And what a view.
3 days later we find the new hottest spot on the Dalmatian coast.
Roman ruins by day, Mediterranean vibes by night. Cannot get enough of Split.
And finally, the last stop in Croatia, pearl of the crown: Dubrovnik.
No wonder King’s Landing from Game of Thrones was set here, the most beautiful medieval city I have seen. King’s Landing, House of the Undying, The Red Keep, Walk of Shame, Qarth…with just a walk within the city walls you’ll follow the footsteps of your favourite actors and scenes from the movie, and get lost in a world of fantasy.
“Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle”
It’s so hard to leave Dubrovnik behind.
On the long way home we’ll have to cross Bosnia and Herzegovina next to the Montenegrin border, rest in Serbia for 1 night and cross Bulgaria the next day.
The Bosnia-Montenegro border is simply out of this world.
First we see the Bileća Lake surrounded by lime stone mountains, then the road leads you right into the Sutjeska National Park. You can expect any time some Jurassic dinosaur coming out of the woods and following you.
I would give up the highway anytime, just to have this view again.
We rest for 1 night in the quiet little serbian city of Čačak. It’s enough to chat with the locals and learn we have more words in common that I imagined.
The next day is not just a regular morning on the road. 600 km more. It’s the day we’re going home. 🙂
Turda Salt Mine, Romania
Cluj, Romania – Aparthotel Gutinului (1 night)
Budapest, Hungary – Hotel Charles (3 nights)
Zagreb, Croatia – Taban Hostel (1 night)
Rastoke village, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Zadar, Croatia – Villa Julian (3 nights)
Ninska Laguna, Croatia
Split, Croatia – Rooms Valentino (3 nights)
Dubrovnic, Croatia – Villa Dard (2 nights)
Sutjeska National Park, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Čačak, Serbia – Hotel Tema Nova (1 night)
Back in Bucharest, Romania.
Hungary – vignette ~11 EUR/10 days (purchased by card/Romanian RON, at a gas station on the Romania-Hungary border)
Croatia – several toll gates on the highway, total cost in 2 weeks ~25 EUR (purchased by card/EUR/Croatian Kuna)
Bosnia and Herzegovina – the road we chose did not imply any highway, so no additional costs
Serbia – 1 EUR Eco-Tax on border crossing (cash only, EUR/RSD) + highway toll 1.5 EUR (card/EUR/RSD)
Bulgaria – vignette ~8 EUR/7 days (purchased by card/Leva, at a gas station after crossing the border)
Romania – bridge toll 6 EUR (purchased by card/Leva)
Meal costs at the restaurant
Hungary – we usually paid around 30-40 EUR/2 persons.
- 4000 HUF(13 EUR)/1 course
- 1000 HUF(3 EUR)/drink
- regular tip 12%
Croatia – prices go up, as you go down on the coast. Let’s say the price is 40-60 EUR/2 persons.
- Zagreb – meal 90 Kuna(12 EUR)/portion, 16 Kuna(2 EUR)/beer
- Zadar – meal 100 Kuna(13 EUR)/portion, 20 Kuna(3 EUR)/beer
- Split – meal 100-120 kuna(16 EUR)/portion, 30 Kuna(4 EUR)/beer
- Dubrovnik – meal 150 kuna(20 EUR)/portion, 35 Kuna(5 EUR)/beer
Bosnia – we only stopped once at a restaurant, and paid 11 EUR for 2 persons. Great, right?
Bring EURO in cash. As we learned, you can pay almost everywhere in EUR (hotels, restaurants, and more importantly at the border crossing or tolls) without having to use different currency per country.
Turn OFF the internet connection in Bosnia/Serbia, as they are not part of the EU. Our telephone company was showing a cost of 11 EUR/MB!
Don’t forget your Passports.
Have the Car Green Card with you; ask the insurance company if it’s covering the territory of all crossed countries!
We heard the best time to go Croatia is the beginning of June. Later on, it’s starting to be really crowded. What do you know? Perfect timing! 😀
Fuel 240 EUR
Vignette/Tolls 53 EUR
Accomodation 1000 EUR
Food 800 EUR
Entertainment 200 EUR
It would be disrespectful to squeeze all these beautiful places in one post, right? Each place has its own story. So step by step, here we go:
Happy travels and stay safe!