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Keith & Jenny Dear In the Balkans 2015 PDF Printable Version E-mail

 

A Motorhome Tour of the Balkans in the Summer of 2015
Italy – Croatia – Bosnia-Herzegovina – Croatia – Slovenia - Italy

Keith and Jenny Dear
December 2015

Travelling in their beloved Autosleeper Symphony, a 2.5L diesel-powered Peugeot Boxer-based Campervan, Keith and Jenny make an 11-week summer tour of the Balkans.

Accounts of previous journeys by Keith and Jenny can be found on this website:

To Istanbul via Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece 2006

Travels in the Baltic Republics 2009

Tour d'Italia 2011

Mostar and Half-Island Camping 2014

They write:

“Our summer trip this year lasted for 11 weeks and took in mainly Italy, Croatia, BiH and Slovenia. We left Calais on 19 June 2015 and travelled down through St Quentin and Reims as usual, but then went on via Lorraine and Alsace to the Swiss border near Basel. We realise now that these areas of France are very good for Aires. Then it was on through Switzerland to Como in Italy using the A2 motorway, at a cost of CH40 (£28 to us this year) for a vignette lasting until 31 January 2016 and used for one day!

At Como we settled onto our favourite small campsite at Menaggio where the temperature suddenly shot up to the upper 30s. We didn't realise then that it would stay that way for most of the rest of our trip. But we would rather that than English summer weather, in the main.

After Como we moved on and spent a few days on Lake Garda before moving eastwards to Udini, then northwards to Treviso through the Giulie (Julian) Alps. A violent thunderstorm there seemed to last most of the night, on and off. We turned south into Slovenia and stayed at Camping Bled, another old haunt of ours. Then Ljubljana for a couple of days, followed by Trieste, where we visited another of our favourite sites, the high and mighty Camping Obelisco. The terrain here made for hard going in the intense heat; we had to walk around at a snail's pace. But for us the coffee culture in Trieste certainly made it all worthwhile.

Next came the long, long uninteresting motorway south in Croatia terminating, for us at least, a few miles north of Split. A great favourite watering hole of ours is Camp Bilus, at Kastel Stari, where we stayed for around three weeks, in two sessions.

In between we got to Sarajevo in Bosnia, also to Mostar. Despite all the terrible things that went on for years here in the 1990s, the city presented itself marvellously with the only bullet holes to be seen on the wall of the city museum - presumably left there for that reason! Totally different to Mostar, but then it had been a different kind of war for the unfortunate inhabitants. Camping Oaza near Sarajevo was excellent, including the inexpensive (to us) restaurant. It was a short walk to the train station, from where we got to the centre.

The roads were very good in BiH, at least the ones we used were. Almost an anti-climax as we had expected to struggle here! Biggest problem was the long delay at the border to get back into Croatia, due to the lack of shade in the unbearable heat. Once again we found BiH to be more gentle and scenic than its larger neighbour, Croatia.

If anyone out there is interested, there is a good camp site guide entitled 'Camping in Bosnia & Herzegovina' available from the grandly titled 'Association for Support and Development of the Camping Industry of BiH' . They give their website as Telephone +387 30 654 008. We were given a copy by a lovely Dutch couple who we met on the Sarajevo campsite (Camping Oaza). The guide gives 8 sites in BiH and our friends were very complimentary about the Jajce one. Certainly the Sarajevo one is fine. In addition to these is the 'Half Island' site near Mostar which we reported on last year (see link above). Additionally, we found the BRANDT guide to BiH very useful and absorbing.

After BiH we went back to Kastel Stari in Croatia for a few relaxing days (we couldn't do anything else but relax in the torrid heat!) Then it was up-anchor and travel up to Zagreb and the Motel Plitvice campsite a little south of the city off the A3 motorway. We have stayed on this site previously and have not yet had any trouble here, unlike one of your other correspondents, I note. (We had a report of a motorhome break-in on this site in summer 2007, while the owners were there, but have no personal experience.) We always take the van into the city, although not everyone did. Zagreb is an airy, interesting city and we always enjoy a short time here.

After Zagreb we travelled up into Slovenia and back to Camping Bled before going on through the Karavanke Tunnel into Austria. Eventually we reached Germany and had a couple of nights on the very good Camping Cannstatter Wasen, east of Stuttgart. We visited the Porsche Motor Car Museum, housed in an ultra-modern building. On another day we visited the Pig Museum, housed in the former city abattoir and having thousands of plastic pigs it seems!! Anyway, it was a lovely day and the coffee was excellent (for Germany!) The city transport card is good value at 12 Euros per person for three days travel anywhere on the excellent city transport network. There is a train stop not far from the site.

After this we travelled up via Luxembourg to Mons, then back to Calais.”

 -o0o-