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The Transit of Serbia PDF Printable Version E-mail


The Wilsons Transit of Serbia

Brenda and Adrian Wilson
Autumn 2011

Our journey to Bulgaria was indeed via Germany, Austria and Hungary before entering into Serbia near Szeged (in southeast Hungary). We are not keen on Austria at the best of times, as previously stated, as it is so expensive (fuel) and there is very little LPG. The price of a 'Go Box' appears to have increased since last year and cost us 100 Euros. We were unable to find anywhere (once again, as before) to hand this in before leaving the country. Apparently when it bleeps 4 times consecutively as you pass under each sensor, it is then time to top up and ours had already been bleeping twice for some time, so we may not have had much if any funds left! We had little choice other than to carry on, 'Go Box' still in our possession! If we were to go back that way, we would be able to find out what, if anything, was owed to us and thus use it again. Of course this is just our scenario; anyone with a vehicle 3.5 Tons or under and who does not run on LPG fuel would not have either of our problems.

However, Serbia (in comparison) was very good, although anyone hoping to get insurance at the border would probably be out of luck and would therefore need to sort that out before setting off (if possible). The border guards had a quick glance through the doorway, no questions were asked, other than where we were going, no cash exchanged hands - and we were away.

The motorway was very quiet (reminding us of the Egnatia Odos motorway in Greece, when first opened). Generally roads in Serbia were in good condition and the total cost of tolls was 24 Euros (yes, they will take Euros). We drove south to Belgrade, which was not much of a problem, and continued on until we arrived in Velika Plana, where we spent the night at a Macdonalds with free wi-fi.

We did not encounter or see any trouble or bother whatsoever. Further south (the following day) we turned off the E75 to Nis on E80 before the border into Bulgaria and down to Sofia. The only section to take extra care over comes after Nis, where there is a fairly short gorge which is narrow and twisty (but pretty) and with a number of tunnels. Several of these tunnels have NO lights whatsoever and we found them to be quite nerve racking! So just be aware, especially those of us who have large outfits!

The Jeffes Transit Serbia in February 2012

Martin and Shirley Jeffes
March 2012

Introduction

Among other things in a full life, Martin and Shirley built and manage Camping Sakar Hills in the far southeast of Bulgaria, adjacent to that country's borders with Greece and Turkey. Returning from a recent visit to the UK, travelling in their Land Rover towing a double-axle caravan, they decided to transit Serbia from Hungary. Previously they have reached Bulgaria via Romania. This is their story:

“Our journey back was mildly eventful, partly because of the cold weather we found, and partly due to minor car problems. Having got a mid-day ferry from Dover to Dunkirk, (£39 through the Caravan Club), we spent the first night on the Dutch/German border, the second on the German/Austrian border, both in the caravan, and the third, oh bliss, in a hotel just outside Szeged. The next morning we found we had a flat tyre, so did a quick wheel change, and on our way by 9.30 am. This time we had decided to give Serbia a try, and so a few minutes later we did the border crossing, without any problem.

The problem came when we were half way through Serbia and found that the engine compartment of the trusty Land Rover had been liberally sprayed with the oil which should have been in the engine. Close examination revealed that the two bolts holding the lid on the oil pump had worked loose, allowing the oil to leave home. A Turkish lorry driver helped me get one bolt to hold the lid down, in a bitterly cold wind in a Serbian service area, and, having lost about an hour and a half of valuable time, we set off again on a journey that now required us to stop at every rest area to check that the bolt was holding and the new six litres of oil I had bought were staying in the right place. If ever there was a country that you don't want to be crossing with no spare wheel and a potentially serious engine problem, it has to be Serbia.

Luckily, however, we reached the border with Bulgaria at about 8.30 pm and had no trouble at all crossing. We had paid about 20 euros on 'peage' tolls in Serbia and were impressed how good the journey had been, except for a little bit of a detour around Belgrade, due to road works. Generally, I would say that the quality of the roads we used in Serbia was good. Ninety per cent of the journey was on dual carriageway, most of which was in good condition. Although the road surface had been patched in places, which was a trifle uncomfortable, there were no potholes. There are newly-built filling stations about every ten miles or so, some with motels, some with cafes. Also the road signs were good enough to not cause confusion, even on the detour section around Belgrade.

We only undertook this journey because our vehicle is now Bulgarian-registered, which makes it easy to get a Green Card. In fact, no-one even asked to see the Green Card, either entering or leaving the country. If you have to buy a Green Card at the border, as we did a few years ago, it will cost you around 120 euros, so it is probably not such an attractive idea. But it beats the hell out of going through Romania.”

The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office provide detailed travel advice for every country in the world. Read their advice for Serbia at:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/europe/serbia

The British Embassy in Serbia has its own website:

http://ukinserbia.fco.gov.uk/en/

Martin Jeffes provides the following information, which he carried with him:

British Embassy in Belgrade
Resauska 46
11000 Belgrade.

Switchboard: 02645 055
Phone 03060 900

Present incumbent: Michael Davenport