With the campervan through the Balkans to Greece

Campervan_Balkan_Griechenland

On their trip, Emily and Dennis from near.so.far are turning their backs on the well-developed vacation hotspots of the EU and exploring the pristine and unspoiled villages of the Balkans instead. Montenegro and Albania are their next stops on the itinerary. 

The journey continues

Campervan_Montenegro

The first country unknown to both of us is coming up. Out of tourism, luxury and the EU. It goes to Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have informed ourselves only very little and wanted to arrive without big prejudices in the country and let us surprise. At our first stop at a small store on the side of the road just before Lake Buschko (the largest artificial reservoir in Europe), we were able to experience the warmth and joie de vivre of the Bosnians. After we equipped ourselves there as in every new country with a SIM card was our first stop directly at the Buschko reservoir. We spent there a relaxing night surrounded by beautiful nature.

Coordinates of the campsite at the Buschko lake: 43.6603, 17.0745

(SIM card 3 Euro, 1 Euro a day for 10GB data volume)  
In total we spent only 3 days, due to the weather, in this beautiful country.   

 Conclusion about Bosnia

  • free standing in Bosnia is officially not allowed but usually tolerated
  • cheap tolls (in different sections)
  • many possibilities as soon as you leave the cities
  • cheap campsites
  • in our short time we were allowed to see the impressive nature as well as the cheerful people

Montenegro

The country that surprised us the most and impressed us positively. After Bosnia, Montenegro was on our agenda, following the motto: always along the coast to the south. Our first campsite in the country was directly the most beautiful so far on the trip. We stood on top of a mountain with a fantastic view of the Bay of Kotor. The site is provided by the farmer who lives there.
The mornings start with a grunt of the pigs of the farmer, who are there in search of food and definitely not shy of people. :) Goats and cats also cross up there very often in front of the camper. We can definitely recommend this pitch and spent a total of 4 nights there until it went on for us to Budva.

Coordinates of the campground with view to Kotor: 42.4214, 18.7488 

Budva

Campervan_Budva

In Budva we had again the advantage of the low season and could stand directly above a fantastic beach with turquoise blue water.

Coordinates of the parking place in Budva: 42.2758, 18.8846

After 2 relaxed nights at this even in bad weather dreamlike campground our next stop was Long Beach near Ulcinj with a stopover at this cute little campground.

Coordinates of the campsite: 42.0100, 19.1510

The long beach near Ulcinj

The long beach near Ulcinj is a well-known destination among windsports enthusiasts due to its thermals. The long stretching black sand beach is a real specialty. But this place has a lot to offer not only for windsportsmen. Due to its length, Long Beach has plenty of space for the whole family. We spent there whole 3 days on a parking lot in front of a beach bar. This was not a problem in the early season at the beginning of May. We found along the long Beach but altogether also many other pitches that work great out of season.

Coordinates of the campsite 41.8985, 19.2795

 (SIM card 10 Euro for 400GB 15 days data volume) In total we spent 10 days in this beautiful country. 

 Conclusion about Montenegro

  • in Montenegro free standing is officially not allowed but usually tolerated

  • many possibilities as soon as you leave the cities

  • toll free country

  • cheap campsites

  • we have been super positively surprised: the country has incredibly much to offer in relation to its size and the people are super warm and hospitable. We have been able to collect positive impressions without exception.

 Off to Albania

The first impression is sometimes deceiving. Right after the border we were confronted with very bad roads and extreme poverty. After a short acclimatization in the country, however, we could concentrate on the incredibly beautiful and often untouched nature. Beautiful green as well as snow covered mountains, numerous natural crystal clear rivers, hot water springs as well as the crystal clear sea reminiscent of the Caribbean soon made us remember a dream. You can see that we were captivated by this country. We traveled along the coast to the first campsite near Lezha.

Coordinates of the campground directly at a bar 41.7756, 19.6017

From there we went to Golem below Durres.

Coordinates of the campground (probably very crowded in the season) 41.2560, 19.5204

Berat

The next stop for us was the city of a thousand windows "Berat". We spent one night there as well. 

Coordinates of the campground 40.7010, 19.9559 (600 LEK) 

Zvernec

From Berat we went back to the coast to Zvernec. There we had a wonderful place directly at the sea. You can spend undisturbed nights surrounded by beautiful nature. With a little luck you can even see free living flamingos. 

Coordinates of the campground 40.5086, 19.3979

Lugara national park

For us it went after 2 nights again on the road by the Lugara national park as we were allowed to admire the first time the dreamlike mountains of Albania.

After a short detour at Dhermi Beach we continued to Livadhi Beach where we spent the night.

Coordinates of the campground 40.1052, 19.7291

Something unexpected

The next stop was not planned. When we discovered on the coastal road a small parking lot directly next to an old castle (Palermo) we headed for it immediately. Often it is exactly these unplanned stops that surprise you so positively.

Our tip: if possible travel without time pressure and allow unplanned events. In this way of traveling we have the feeling to experience much more of the country.

Coordinates of the campsite: 40.0621, 19.7933 

Saranda

After this unplanned night, we continued to Saranda to do some organizational things.

Our tips: 
- Withdraw money without fees at Credins Bank   
   (probably the only bank without fees
-  SIM card at Vodafone 31GB approx. 15 Euro 

For the night, however, we continued to a fantastic campsite with a panoramic view of the ocean.

    Coordinates of the campground (passable with rear-wheel drive or 4x4, we came with our front-wheel drive Fiat Ducato to our limits) 39.8019, 20.0048

    Blue Eye

    Our last two goals in Albania on which we particularly looked forward were on the one hand the Blue Eye. A spring whose depth could not be determined so far. The name says it all: it's like looking into a blue bubbling eye surrounded by crystal clear water.

    Tip: be sure to go into the water, which feels 10 degrees cold. As soon as you swim into the Blue Eye you feel the power of the bubbling water. An unforgettable experience.

    Coordinates of the campground (at our time still free of charge) (unfortunately this magical place is built up more and more for the increasing tourism) 39.9164, 20.1812

    The hot springs at Permet

    We were not at all disappointed by our last stop in Albania either. The hot springs at Permet. There are a total of 6 hot springs that rise in a canyon and can be visited by hiking into the canyon. The water has a temperature between 22-28 degrees and invites among other things by the healing effect to swim and relax. We stood there 2 nights directly in front of the canyon and the first spring on a large meadow. 

     Conclusion to Albania
    • with Scandinavia probably the only country in Europe where free standing is officially allowed
    • fun fact: unbelievable amount of gas stations and car washes
    • toll-free country
    • a country with beautiful and partly untouched nature
    • after a short acclimatization period we were so positively surprised that we will definitely come back. Albania simply blew us away.

    Coordinates of the campsite: 40.2429, 20.4305

    In total we spent 14 days in this beautiful country.

    To be continued...
    We are going to the EU again...  

     


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