Durmitor National Park
You are here:

A summary of our 2021 Balkans Trip

Over the course of two weeks, we embarked on a memorable Balkans trip, visiting not only Croatia but also Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Albania. Each of these countries offered a unique experience, with their distinct charm and allure. We were captivated by their rich history, breathtaking scenery, and warm hospitality, leaving us with a lasting impression and a desire to revisit these remarkable destinations in the future.

In 2021, we decided to embark on an Balkans trip. Having previously enjoyed two vacations in Croatia, a country often perceived as more Western than Eastern European, we felt a sense of familiarity and proximity. However, our curiosity for exploring diverse cultures, captivating architecture, and stunning natural landscapes led us to set our sights on Albania this time. 

A sprint to Croatia

Loaded up with gear piled to the roof (and even strapped on the roof), we embarked on our exciting Balkans trip from Czarek’s hometown of Szczecin. Our initial schedule was tight, as we had just a day and a half to reach an electronic music festival on the picturesque island of Pag. Spanning a distance of 1,500 kilometers, our route took us through Germany, Austria, and Slovenia. However, we wisely chose not to drive straight through, opting instead to take a much-needed rest and recharge. As we crossed the border into Croatia, we found a convenient parking lot where we decided to take a well-deserved nap. This pit stop allowed us to rejuvenate before continuing our adventurous journey through the Balkans.

Paški most

Heaven in Nature

Continuing our journey, we set our sights on the country known for its affinity for Mercedes vehicles: Albania. Renowned for its abundance of Mercedes cars on the roads, it’s a unique characteristic of the country. Opting for a different route instead of the familiar Croatian coast, we veered towards the captivating landscapes of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Upon crossing the border, we made a brief stop at Lake Blindje, soaking in its serene beauty before resuming our route to Stolac. Nestled amidst breathtaking mountains, we found ourselves at a campsite aptly named “Heaven in Nature,” which perfectly encapsulated its picturesque surroundings. The campsite offered a tranquil ambiance, with a crystal-clear river and delectable homemade meals. Tarik, the friendly camp manager, warmly greeted us with a smile, and the evening unfolded with a delightful feast of Ćevapi, accompanied by wine, as we listened to the captivating life stories shared by our gracious host.

Heaven in Nature

Porto Novo

To be completely honest, we were eagerly anticipating crossing the Albanian border, which led us to our next destination: a charming campsite by Lake Shkodra. However, the remarkably high air humidity in this picturesque location compelled us to swiftly redirect our course towards a dreamy spot on the Adriatic Sea. Our destination? The enchanting Porto Novo beach, is situated just a few kilometers north of Vlorë. Porto Novo captivated us with its pristine sandy beach and tranquil ambiance. However, the evenings were slightly marred by the presence of mosquitoes, which were particularly abundant due to the expansive lagoon located east of the area. Despite this minor inconvenience, the beauty of Porto Novo and the serene atmosphere of the beach made it a worthwhile stop along our Balkans trip.

Porto Nova Albania

SH8 Road

The following day marked our return to “civilization,” as we ventured towards Himare for an overnight stay at a campsite, a mere 85 kilometers away from our previous night’s location on the untamed beach. Our journey led us along the renowned SH8 road, widely regarded as one of the most breathtaking coastal routes in the world. The drive itself spanned over three hours, primarily due to the captivating Llogara Pass. This awe-inspiring route encompassed a thrilling ascent of approximately 1,043 meters, followed by a descent to sea level on the other side. The experience was nothing short of remarkable. Along the way, we encountered stands selling local products, providing the perfect opportunity to indulge in the flavors of the region. Additionally, we discovered restaurants that offered mesmerizing, diverse vistas, allowing us to savor our meals while being treated to awe-inspiring views.

SH8 road

Budva & Durmitor

As our incredible Balkans trip drew to a close, we made the decision to conclude our exploration of Albania and set our sights on Montenegro. On our way back, we had the pleasure of spending a night at the captivating Camping Pa Emer, often referred to as the “Albanian Maldives.” While there, we secured accommodations at a charming 4-star hotel with a rooftop pool in the enchanting town of Budva, Montenegro. After relishing two days of relaxation and indulgence, we continued our adventure by heading north towards Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Along our route, we had the opportunity to traverse the mesmerizing landscapes of Montenegro, passing through the renowned town of Kotor and venturing along the legendary P14 road, which meanders through the breathtaking Durmitor National Park. Finally, we arrived at our last destination, Sarajevo. From Sarajevo, we embarked on a journey of approximately 1,600 kilometers, traveling through Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, and Germany, until we reached our hometown of Szczecin, Poland. Remarkably, we completed this leg of the trip in one continuous journey.

In total, our Balkans adventure covered an impressive distance of 5,000 kilometers over the course of two unforgettable weeks. Throughout our expedition, we had the privilege of exploring and experiencing the wonders of eight different countries, and we had the pleasure of staying overnight in nine distinct locations. The memories we created and the diverse destinations we encountered will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

Hotel Ponta Nova Montenegro