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20 Epic Balkan Road Trip Itinerary Ideas

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The Balkans are an amazing region in the European continent. It is one of those destinations where scenic drives, varied landscapes, and cultural gems are found aplenty. We have a lot of our readers request an epic Balkan Road trip itinerary, so we got together with other travelers and compiled these 20 sample trips for inspiration.

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You can also read our travel guide to the Balkans: 2 weeks in Balkan itinerary. Prefer a guided tour? Check out these Balkan tours

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Balkan Road Trip Itinerary: Planning, packing and essential tips

Sofia Bulgaria
Sofia Bulgaria

What constitutes the Balkan Countries today?

The Balkans or the Balkan states constitute the countries located in Southeast Europe. They include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia. Many historians consider Greece to be part of the Balkans. 

Many of the destinations listed in this road trip guide will inspire you to explore off the beaten path in Europe, discover historical and cultural nuances – Ottoman influence, the impact for the erstwhile Yugoslavian policies, and unique delicacies and jaw-dropping landscapes. 

The itinerary list starts with the shortest (a day or less) road trip to the longest (14 day+), with a combination of cities, parks, and countries!

View of Mustafa Pasha's Mosque and mountain range from Skopje Fortress, Skopje, North Macedonia
Skopje, North Macedonia

Packing for Road trips in the Balkan Peninsula

Here are some essential items to pack for your upcoming road trip,

Road trip from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia 

By Noel from Travel Photo Discovery

Plitvice Lakes National Park road trip
Road trip from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
  • No of Days: 1 day
  • Route: Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes National Park, via Rastoke

One of the most scenic and easy road trips to take in Croatia is from the capital city of Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes National Park which is less than two and a half hours drive. 

This can easily be a day trip but an overnight stay or longer is better to enjoy the park and take advantage of staying in the park ahead of crowds before and after closing hours which gives plenty of time to enjoy the park to yourself. 

Stop 1: Start from Zagreb. The route to Plitvice National Park is on a major highway that is fast and scenic but gets more beautiful towards the park entrance area. This is the leading national park of the country and is home to terraced lakes, waterfalls, and canyon. 

Stop 2: On the way, make a stop in the village of Rastoke. It is located about an hour and a half from Zagreb. It is known for the Slunjčica river, and the landscape looks similar to the Plitvice Lakes. You can go kayaking and rafting here.

Stop 3: Arrive in Plitvice Lakes. Spend a couple of hours at the park, admiring the falls, and the natural surroundings. With the boardwalks and walkways, you can easily explore the beautiful park. 

Although the park can be visited all year round, it is amazing in spring and fall when the seasons are at their best and the tourist crowds are still fairly low. 

The fall season is spectacular with all the fall colors on the hills and waterfall areas and hiking through the many boardwalks is quite stunning along with taking the main ferry ride through Plitvice lake to the end and climbing up the scenic panoramic view of the park. 

You can camp or stay at lodgings in the park or outside areas, but staying in the park allows free time to explore the surrounding park areas before and after the park areas close to the public which is a nice plus to seeing more of the park on your own.

Vrsic Pass to the Croatian Border

By Kat from Wandering Bird

views of vrsic pass drive
Vrsic Pass Drive
  • No of Days: 2 days
  • Route: From Kranjska Gora/Vrsic Pass to Soça Gorge

This trip needs at least 2 days minimum, unless you are happy to do a really long day driving. But if you don’t stop, you’ll miss so many of the best parts.

Day 1: Vrsic Pass (start at the north, at Kranjska Gora and then take Route 206, which is the Vrsic Pass) Then head toward Tolmin and south to the Croatian border. 

The Vršič Pass is the highest paved mountain pass in Slovenia- standing at 1611m above sea level. It’s a drivable road, but there are fifty hairpin bends on the road (half going up, half going down). 

It takes about 2 hours to drive up and over the pass, but there are plenty of hikes to do, and restaurants both on the way up and at the top. There is also the beautiful lake Jasna, which is well worth a stop. 

Day 2: On the other side, don’t miss out on the chance to explore the breathtaking Soça Gorge – you can kayak, go canyoning or just walk along the river. It’s worth spending at least a day in the area. Bovec is a great place to base yourself.

There is also the Kozjak waterfall- one of the most beautiful in Slovenia- be sure to stop on your way past towards Croatia. It’s definitely worth the walk but be sure to bring refreshments- there’s no cafe in the area.

If you enjoy motorhoming in Europe, there are several great campsites right by the river, or there are plenty of hotels and BnBs to choose from.

Get accommodation deals near Kranjska Gora

Albanian Riviera Balkan Road Trip Itinerary

By Ucman from Brown Boy Travels

views of Albanian Riviera
Albanian Riviera
  • No of Days: 3 – 4 days, but can be done in a single day
  • Route: From Albanian Riviera (Vlore to Sarande)

Albania is a seriously underrated country and this road trip is a prime example of that. 

The Albanian Riviera is full of beautiful Mediterranean beaches which are completely unspoilt, small villages with stone houses that look magical at golden hour, very friendly people and despite being expensive from Albanian standards, it is really cheap and offers great value for money (getting delicious fresh food is a huge bonus).

Day 1 – 2: The road from Vlore to Sarande is littered with gorgeous beaches starting from Vlore itself. Take the road towards Bora Bora beach and keep going until you reach Llogara. 

If you’re a hiking fan, head up Mount Çika, it is a hard hike and takes a whole day but the views from up there are stunning.

The villages nearby have great local food.

The rest of the trip is relatively calmer with beaches of Dhermi, Himare (another great spot for an overnight stay) and Borsh. All these beaches offer crystal clear waters and if you go out of season, complete freedom without a soul in site. 

Additional stop: If you’re a fan of old castles, there are plenty of those to explore from the castle of Himare to castle of Borsch. 

Day 3 – 4: You can also take a detour and head to Syr I Kalter (blue eye) which makes a perfect day trip just before entering Sarande. The place is located in picturesque surroundings with fresh clean water with options for a calming lunch surrounded by fresh running water.

There’s plenty to see and do on this route and the best way is to go unplanned. You will be rewarded with stunning scenery and beautiful unspoilt beaches that will truly blow your mind.

The best time to do this trip is from May to August, depending on your taste. If you’d rather enjoy empty beaches go early in the season but if you want to party as you go along, go during peak season in July and August.

Istrian Peninsula Croatia Road Trip 

By Tom and Zi from We are Craving Adventure

Views of Rovinj Croatia
Rovinj Croatia
  • No of Days: 4 – 5 days
  • Route: Round trip from Pula

The Istrian peninsula is home to some gorgeous beaches and beautiful nature parks. It is filled with history, tradition and is worth the trip even just for the delicious local dishes. Istria is beautiful year round but the best time to visit is early autumn when the water is still warm and the summer crowds are gone.

This roundtrip from Pula will take you North along the coast, also referred to as Blue Istria, and then you’ll head inland through Green Istria all the way back to Pula. The loop is roughly 300 km long and while it can be done in just a couple of days we recommend to spread it out over 4 to 5 days for the best experience.

Day 1: Pula is the biggest town on this route and the only one with an international airport. The city itself is charming and filled with history, here you can visit an old roman arena without the crowds you’d generally find in Rome. 

Explore the sea caves at Seagull’s Rocks, go cliff jumping at Kamenjak National Park or explore lesser known beaches like Verudela Canyon.

Day 2: Head North along the coast and visit the beautiful roman towns along the way. From Fažana you can take a boat to Brijuni National Park which is a group of small islands that used to host Tito’s summer residence and his personal zoo. 

Bale is tiny but well known for the discovery of dinosaur fossils and quirky restaurants. 

Day 3 – 4: Next up is the old Venetian town of Rovinj which sits on what used to be an island. 

As you head north you’ll drive around the Lim fjord, but the fjord is most beautiful when explored by sea. Further north you’ll find the charming coastal towns of Vrsar, Poreč and Novigrad. 

Additional Stop: If you have time we recommend you continue this road trip into Slovenia and visit the magical Piran and its salt fields. 

Day 5 and return: As you head inland your first stop will be Grožnjan which is also known as the village of artists. Next up is Motovun, a medieval hilltop settlement that offers not only breathtaking views but is home to the best Truffles in the area. 

Start making your way back through Pazin and Labin, or take a detour and visit the Učka Nature Park on your way back to Pula.

Hotel recommendation

  • Pula: Apartment Altana is located next to the arena and offers beautiful views over the town (with free parking)
  • Rovinj: Residence Rovinj is within walking distance from town and has its own parking
  • Motovun: Villa Luna is located on top of the hill and has the most amazing pool with gorgeous views

Bulgaria in 4 days: Balkan Road Trip Itinerary

By Anda from Travel for a while

Roman Ruins in Plovdiv Bulgaria
Ruins in Plovdiv
  • No of Days: 4 days
  • Route: From Sofia – Plovdiv – Veliko Tarnovo

Day 1: Start your itinerary in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. If you fly in, it’s easy to rent a car at the airport and drive the 10 km to the city center. 

For the largest city in Bulgaria, Sofia has a relatively compact and walkable city center. You can see the best of Sofia in one day. Don’t miss Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, St. George Rotunda, the ruins of ancient Roman Serdica, and the pedestrian Vitosha Boulevard.

Day 2 – 3: On the second day, drive 150 km (93 miles) on A1 to Plovdiv. This is the oldest city in Europe and as such it has a lot to offer. We recommend spending two days in Plovdiv. Spend the first day exploring the Old Town and the ancient Roman theater. 

On the second day, enjoy the pedestrianized area, the Tsar Simeon park with its fountains show, Dzhumaya Mosque, and the Roman ruins everywhere. Plovdiv also has an amazing food scene, which is reason enough to spend a second day in the city.

Day 4: Next, drive the 200 km north to Veliko Tarnovo, the old capital of Bulgaria. Explore Tsarevets Citadel and the traditional houses by the Yantra river here and make your way to Arbanassi, a traditional village a few kilometers away.

The best time to go on this road trip is from April to June, early Autumn. 

Hotel recommendation: 

  • Sofia: Hotel Anel – an affordable 5* hotel in the center of Sofia. Free parking is available and it also has a one-way airport pick-up service.
  • Plovdiv: Residence City Garden – a beautiful 5* hotel next to the park in the city center. Free parking is available on site.
  • Veliko Tarnovo: Park Hotel Asenevtsi – a comfortable hotel and SPA where to rest after your road trip.

Bulgaria Road Trip 4 days (Outdoors and Nature)

By Alexandrina from Earthosea

Road trips in Bulgaria and outdoors
Mountains and hikes in Bulgaria 4 day road trip
  • No of Days: 4 days
  • Route: From Sofia, through natural landmarks and hikes to Smolyan 

Bulgaria is one of the most ancient countries that have preserved itself throughout the ages and has never changed its name. In terms of things to do and visit, there is a lot and that is why lots of adventurers go to its magical lands.

This roadtrip is one of the best ways to explore the beautiful mountains of the country and some of the most magical landmarks. 

Day 1: Its starting point is in the capital of Sofia from where one would embark on a two-hour adventure to Sapareva Banya to dip in the hot springs of this region. 

Day 2: Then, on the next day, the adventure continues to the Seven Rila lakes – one of the most famous natural landmarks in Bulgaria. Once at the top of the Seven Rila lakes hut, you can decide which paths to take – the lower or the upper path. This hiking trail usually takes around 5 hours to explore, thus be prepared with enough food and drinks. There is an option to sleep at the hut, which has recently been refurbished.  

Day 3: On the next day, head straight to the Dospat lake to enjoy some serenity in the Rhodope mountains and explore the beautiful parts of this country. While near Dospat city, make sure to visit Yagodinska Cave and Eagle’s Eye, which has the most beautiful views of the region.

Day 4: On the last day, travel to Smolyan to explore the lands that have been inhabited by the famous ancient Thracian singer Orpheus. While there, you can visit the Devil’s Throat Cave, which is considered to be the pathway to the underworld. 

Croatia in 5 days: Balkan Road Trips

By Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles

Dubrovnik City Walls
View of Dubrovnik
  • No of days: 3-5 days
  • Route: Dubrovnik to Zadar in Croatia Road Trip 5 days

The Dalmatian coast is one of the most beautiful in the world. A road trip along this coast will take you past some of the prettiest coastal towns in Croatia. Plus it will give you the opportunity to explore some of the many beautiful islands that are scattered like green jewels just off the coast.

Day 1: Begin your road trip in the historic city of Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic for its beauty. Walk the walls of Old Town Dubrovnik, admire the architecture, and take in the views from Mount Srd.

Day 2: Next you will pass the beautiful Peljesac Peninsula, known for its oysters and wine. Visit the old town of Ston, where you can walk the really long town walls. In Orebic, you can take the ferry to Korcula Island. Old Town Korcula is like a picture postcard and you will be floored by its beauty.

Your next stop is Makarska, where you can spend the night if you are doing the drive over a few days. The Makarska Riviera is known for its beautiful beaches.

Day 3: Omis is your next stop. Another beautiful Croatian coastal town, Omis is located by the mouth of the Cetina River. Be sure to climb up the hill to the fortress, for panoramic views over the town rooftops and the river.

The Cetina River at Omis Croatia
The Cetina River at Omis Croatia

Day 4: Next on your Croatian coast road trip is the famous city of Split. Diocletian Palace, the Old Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is super fun to explore. From Split, do a day trip by ferry to the popular island destination of Hvar.

Day 5: Your final destination on this road trip is the historic city of Zadar. While Old Town Zadar is gorgeous, there are two relatively new attractions in Zadar that are a must-visit: the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation.

Hotel recommendation: 

Slovenia in 5 days Balkan Road Trip Itinerary

By Elina from Empnefsys & Travel

Views of Lake Bled
Lake Bled Slovenia
  • No of Days: 5 Days
  • Route: From Bled to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia road trip

This Slovenia road-trip covers many of the top sights around the Julian Alps. You can follow it year-round and depending on the season you visit, you will either be greeted with green hills, ideal for long hikes or white peaks, perfect for skiing.

Day 1: Start your road-trip in the magnificent Lake Bled and spend at least a day there. This is enough time to rowboat to the Bled Island, visit the Bled Castle and hike to Mala Osojnica. 

Day 2: Then, make your way to another beautiful lake in Slovenia, Lake Bohinj. You can walk around the lake, visit the small museums in the area or take the cable car to Vogel and enjoy great views of the lake. 

End your day in Kranjska Gora, a small town close to the Italian border, best known for its ski resort.  

Slovenia Views Balkan road trip
Balkan road trip through Slovenia

Day 3 – 5: Spend the remaining three days of your trip exploring Kranjska Gora and the nearby area. Go zip-lining in Planica, explore the Zelenci Nature Reserve area and go skiing or hiking in the mountains. 

Depending on the season, you may be able to drive the Vršič Pass, the highest mountain pass in the country with breath-taking views. End your road trip with a visit to the beautiful Vintgar Gorge (note that it is closed during the winter).

Hotel recommendation:

  • This road trip requires 4 overnight stops in 2 locations: 1 night in Bled and 3 nights in Kranjska Gora. 
  • Bled: Čarman Guest House, a lovely guest house right across the lake
  • Kranjska Gora: Stay at the Ramada Resort by Wyndham, a nice hotel with many amenities in the heart of the town

Serbia road trip: Nis to Subotica

By Theodore from Camper Front

Sofia Bulgaria
Sofia Bulgaria
  • No of Days: 3 to 5 days
  • Route: Best of Serbia from Nis, Belgrade, Novi Sad to Subotica

Are you planning a road trip via the Balkans? If yes, you should consider Serbia! Serbia is a beautiful Balkan country that is often neglected, probably because people don’t know what they’re missing.

Western Serbia is filled with beautiful natural wonders such as the Tara National Park and Drina River. This Serbia road trip focuses on four major cities in Serbia, which are connected easily by the finest highway in the country, making it an incredibly easy path. This trip is about 430 km (267 miles) and will take you roughly 3-5 days and about 6 hours of driving.

Day 1: You will start the trip in Nis, which is the largest city in southern Serbia – and if you’re a lover of history, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll see in Nis. Visit the Skull Tower, a terrible artifact of the Ottoman occupation, and Nis Fort, and also the Crveni Krst Concentration Camp Museum.

On Mount Burbank, you will find a huge spomenik dedicated to the people that died in Nis during World War II.

Day 2: After Nis, move north to Belgrade. You’ll be practically amazed by the number of things you can do in Belgrade. We do suggest experiencing the nightlife, taking a communist tour, going for a river cruise on the Danube and Sava, visiting Kalemegdan Fortress, and exploring the food and street art scene. 

It’s worth noting that Belgrade gets a bunch of traffic and finding a parking space can be tough, which is why we suggest you choose a place to stay in Belgrade that is outside the downtown region: Novi Beograd, Zemun, and Vracar are all great neighborhoods.

Day 3 – 4: And lastly, proceed to Vojvodina, which is an autonomous region of Serbia. Vojvodina was once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Your first port of call here should be Novi Sad, but you could also visit the nearby Sremski Karlovci to try some of the tasty Fruska Gora wineries if you choose to.

Novi Sad is the second most beautiful city in Serbia with uniquely gorgeous architecture and a funky vibe. You will enjoy lots of wonderful restaurants and cafes here, and there’s candy-colored architecture everywhere for your view, and you definitely can’t afford to miss the beautiful Petrovaradin Fortress.

Day 5: End your Serbia road trip in Subotica, a remarkable Art Nouveau city that is most famous for the wonderful Raichle Palace, being the most beautiful building in the whole of Serbia.

You should also visit the main square with the town hall, library, and the beautiful McDonalds. Endeavor to also visit the synagogue and Subotica Cathedral, which is popular for a huge crack in the middle of the cathedral.

The best time to visit Serbia is in late springtime as you’ll enjoy the best weather conditions this season. The hottest time of the year in Serbia is summer (June to August), and temperatures in concrete-heavy Belgrade can be quite harsh. 

On the contrary, the best time to go hiking in Serbia’s national parks is during summer and early fall. And fall is also fantastic for experiencing the wine harvest if you’re interested in food and wine.

Hotel Recommendation: 

Montenegro, from Herceg Novi through Kotor, Budva, Cetinje to Podgorica

By Ela & Beata from Stunning Outdoors

Perast, Montenegro Balkan road trip itinerary
Montenegro Road trip
  • No of Days: 6 to 7 days
  • Route: From Herceg Novi, to Kotor and Perast, Budva, Cetinje to Podgorica

This road trip will take you through some of the most beautiful locations in Montenegro. Allow at least a week or more if you prefer to travel at a slow pace.

Day 1 – 2: Staring in Herceg Novi follow a very picturesque road along Bay of Kotor till you reach Perast. This small town attracts tourists because of the nearby island with the church Our Lady of the Rocks.  

End your first day in Kotor. Personally, we recommend spending at least 2 days in Kotor, that will give you a chance to see the old town with its maze dotted with medieval churches, museums. The narrow streets will lead you to a steep stepped climb up St. John’s Fortress, from where you can admire bird eye views of the bay.

Day 3: On day 3, visit Tivat and then Budva. Those two are very popular coastal towns. Both are very different, Tivat is rather posh due to its yacht marina and modern bars. Budva is known for its beautiful old town but also its nightlife due to many modern resorts.

Day 4: Your first stop on day 4 should be Sveti Stefan, it is a great place for a shortstop or for longer if you would like to enjoy the time on one of the best beaches in Montenegro.

From Sveti Stefan drive towards Cetinje. This former royal capital of Montenegro is lesser known nowadays. We, however, strongly recommend you to visit the city. One can notice that it is a bit run down but there are many gems, including the Monastery of Saint Peter and several buildings of the National museum.  

Combine your visit in Cetinje with a walk in Lovcen National Park, to climb Mt Lovcen and see the grave of one of Montenegrins heroes.  

Day 5 – 6: Your last two days, we recommend to spend in the capital of Montenegro – Podgorica.

Croatia and Slovenia Road Trip One week 

By Claire from Stoked to Travel

View of Franciscan Church from Triple Bridge
Franciscan Church and Triple Bridge in Ljubljana Slovenia
  • No of Days: 7 days
  • Route: From Dubrovnik, Croatia to Lake Bled, Slovenia

This stunning 7 day road trip starts in the historical walled city of Dubrovnik, before weaving its way north along the Dalmatian Coast past stunning beaches and charming towns. After Zadar, the route swings east inland heading towards Ljubljana in Slovenia, before arriving at the end-point of Lake Bled – the perfect place for a restful few days. 

Stop 1: The route takes in the very best of the Dalmatian Coast. From magnificent Dubrovnik, to the vibrant city of Split, as well as lesser known but incredibly charming stops such as the tiny village of Ston (about an hour north of Dubrovnik) which is famous for its oysters and seafood – make sure to try one of the platters in the local restaurants. 

Stop 2: Another lovely stop on this route between Ston and Split is Makarska, a popular Balkan holiday town. 

Stop 3: Split, the halfway point on this trip is a great place to stay for a couple of nights and home to incredible Roman sites such as the Diocletian’s Palace. Using Split as your base, you can enjoy dreamy boat trips to islands such as Hvar, Vis, or Brac, or even inland slightly to Krka National Park. 

Stop 4: After Split, the next stop is Šibenik which is a further two hours north. You can leave the car in one of the car parks by the port and take a ferry over to Obonjan Island. Obonjan is a private adults-only island that welcomes guests all summer long – but only if you know about it! 

Steering well away from mass tourism, the only accommodation on the island is luxury glamping, and there’s a big focus on wellness with lots of yoga sessions and a lovely spa. You can spend your days here running along the inland island tracks, enjoying live music or doing activities such as star gazing! 

Stop 5: Although there are plenty of options north of Šibenik, we decided to head towards Zadar and then turn inland. 

Stop 6: It’s a four hour drive north to Lake Bled in Slovenia, heading from the stunning coastline into the mountains. The drastic change in scenery is incredible, but do not leave this drive for late afternoon or evening – the roads are often narrow and winding, and although this feels like a real adventure, it can be quite scary in the dark. 

For guaranteed good weather, this trip is best any time from May to September, but because of the heavy crowds in Dubrovnik, avoid the peak summer months of July and August.

Serbia and Romania: Belgrade to Timisoara via Novi Sad and return via Danube Gorges

By Raluca of Travel With A Spin

Landmarks in Novi Sad
Landmarks in Novi Sad
  • No of Days: 7 days
  • Route: From Belgrade to Timisoara via Novi Sad and Subotica, plus return via the Danube Gorges (850 km or 528 miles)

Serbia and Romania are both beautiful and underestimated countries. Many have heard about Belgrade or the Dracula’s castle, but they have a lot more to offer! 

A road trip including a small part of each of them will convince you of this and leave you longing to return.

Day 1: The proposed road trip starts in Belgrade where one can also rent a car. If you’re new to this, read this guide for renting a car in advance. Neither Serbia nor Romania boasts some of the best roads in the world, so full insurance would be highly recommended.

While in the Serbian capital, take a communist or underground tour, explore the night life in Skadarlija street, enjoy the street art scene, go on a river cruise to Kalemegdan fortress and relax on the beach of Ada Ciganlija island. 

There’s so much to do in Belgrade, that it will be hard to leave. But think about what comes next and that you can spend more time here at the end of the road trip.

Day 2 – 3: First stop is Novi Sad, Serbia’s second largest city, about 1 hour from Belgrade. Life there runs at a slower pace than in the bustling capital. Head to Svetozar Miletic Square, the heart of the city, where you might even witness a life performance. 

On the pretty pedestrian street, you’ll find restaurants that serve traditional food, one could argue that it’s the best in Serbia. A short walk over the river takes you to the Petrovaradin Fortress, the jewel of the city. 

The next brief stop is the town of Subotica, one of the most attractive towns in Vojvodina. Its pastel-colored houses and stunning Art Nouveau palaces built in the 20th century will charm you. 

Day 4 – 5: Next cross the Romanian border and stop in Timisoara, the Romanian twin town of Novi Sad. The third city in Romania has undergone restoration and most of its old buildings shine once again. 

For communism enthusiasts, this is also the place where the anti-communist movement in 1989 started. Don’t miss the Union and Victory Squares, the Metropolitan Cathedral and a long walk along the many green gardens on the Bega river.

Day 6: On the way back to Belgrade pass through the picturesque Danube Gorges. The mighty river practically dug its way through the rocky Carpathians. The gorges are part of the biggest and oldest canyon made by an European river. 

Day 7: Back in Belgrade, take your time to relax and enjoy some more things of what this bustling capital has to offer.

Hotel recommendation

Romania Road Trip

By Or from My Path in the World 

aerial view of winding road from high mountain pass with trees in Transylvania
Aerial view of winding road from high mountain pass with trees in Transylvania
  • No of. Days: 7 days
  • Route: Circular from Bucharest, Romania 

On a one-week road trip, you can explore some of the most beautiful places in Romania, from medieval cities to UNESCO World Heritage Sites to stunning natural landscapes. 

Day 1 – 2: Spend 1-2 days in Bucharest and explore its highlights, including the Royal Palace, Old Town, and Cișmigiu Gardens. 

Day 3: Next, head to the 16th-century Curtea de Argeș Monastery (the burial place of many of Romania’s kings and queens), the unique Ocnele Mari Salt Mine, and the enchanting medieval city of Sibiu.

Day 4: Your Romania road trip will not be complete without driving through one of Europe’s most scenic roads, the Transfagarasan Highway, which will lead you to the beautiful glacial Balea Lake. From there, you can also take a hike to the Balea Waterfall.

Day 5 – 6: Continuing to the region of Transylvania, don’t miss the UNESCO-listed Saxon villages with fortified churches like Biertan and Viscri, the medieval cities of Sighișoara, and Brașov, and the iconic Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s castle.

Day 7: On your way back to Bucharest, visit the Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Zarnesti and stop at Sinaia, where you’ll find the fairytale Peles Castle, which was constructed for King Carol I and was the world’s first castle fully powered by locally produced electricity.

To make the most of your trip in one of Europe’s most underrated countries and to enjoy perfect weather, visit in late spring, summer, or early fall.

Hotel recommendation:

North Macedonia Road Trip 

By Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple

Macedonia Balkan Road trip itinerary
Macedonia Road trip
  • No of Days: 7 to 8 days
  • Route: From North to South (starting from Skopje to St.Naum)

North Macedonia may not be a popular choice of destination in Europe. But this landlocked Balkan country has a lot to offer – be it the undulating landscapes, natural and historic wonders, or its friendly people.  Not to forget how pocket-friendly North Macedonia is, given that it has so many places to see and experience! 

There are 2 hotspots in North Macedonia – Skopje in north and Ohrid in south – both of which have international airports, and are your gateway to the country.  You can do a road trip either from north to south or vice versa. 

2 days in Skopje – 2 days in Marvoro National Park – 3 days in Ohrid 

Day 1 – 2: Explore the charm of Skopje, the capital city and epicentre of culture, commerce and politics. Hop onto the bus, and there are many day trip options to explore. Most popular one is Matka Canyon, where you can take boat cruises, hike to the monastery or visit the cave.  

Day 3 – 4: You can drive or take public transport to head to Mavrovo National Park, largest of the three national parks of North Macedonia. Be sure to visit the Monastery of St. John Bigorski  and submerged St.Nicholas Church. 

Day 5 – 7: Next, travel to Ohrid, and explore the cobbled streets of the old town, or soak in the waters of Lake Ohrid, oldest lake in Europe.

The best time to visit North Macedonia is between April to September, when the weather is good. July and August are the peak seasons. 

Dalmatian Coast road trip 7 to 10 days

By Michelle from Intentional Travelers

Diocletian's Palace
Diocletian’s Palace, Split
  • No of Days: 7 – 10 days
  • Route: Zadar, Croatia to Kotor, Montenegro

This road trip starts in Zadar, located in the middle of Croatia’s coastline. 

Day 1 – 2: Zadar is not as well known as cities like Split and Dubrovnik further down the coast but it still gets a fair amount of tourism in peak season. You can take a self-guided walking tour through Zadar’s Old Town, hop on a ferry to Ugljan island, bike down the coast, or go wine tasting nearby. 

Zadar is a great base for day trips to Plitvice National Park, famous for its waterfalls. After a night or two in Zadar, take a short drive South to Sibenik.

Day 3: Sibenik has a beautiful Old Town and sees fewer visitors than most coastal cities. In addition to wandering the historic pedestrian streets and enjoying seafood, take a half day trip to Krka National Park. Here you can hike a loop through more beautiful waterfalls, walking on wood plank pathways just above the river.

Day 4 – 5: After a night in Sibenik, continue on to Split. If you’re not in a rush, take the coastal roads and make a stop in Trogir. Trogir’s Old Town fortress sits on a tiny island connected by footbridges. 

Stay at least two nights in Split to give yourself one full day to enjoy the town. Visit historic points of interest and Game of Thrones filming locations, hike, go to the beach, and shop from boutiques or the outdoor farmer’s market.

Day 6 – 10: Finally, end your journey in Dubrovnik. Be sure to visit beautiful Makarska on your way. The most direct drive actually takes you through Neum, Bosnia so be sure to have your passports ready to exit and re-enter Croatia.

Dubrovnik is full of stunning historic sights, beaches, boating and adventure sports, and more Game of Thrones settings. It’s also a good base for driving to Kotor in Montenegro, if your rental car contract allows for entry into other countries. 

Driving around Kotor Bay is gorgeous and can be done in one day from Dubrovnik. 

Hotel Recommendation

  • Zadar: Art Hotel Kalelarga in Zadar is a highly rated 4 star hotel right in the center of Old Town. It’s very modern and stylish, with continental breakfast included.

Pro-tip: You can explore Kravice waterfalls, Mostar and more destinations as day trips from Dubrovnik

Montenegro Road Trip 10 days

By Arzo from Arzo Travels

Piva Lake on a Montenegro Balkan road trip
Piva Lake on a Montenegro road trip
  • No of Days: 10 days
  • Route: Loop from Kotor, Piva Lake, the Durmitor National Park (more parks), Budva and back to Kotor

While Montenegro might not be on everyone’s bucket list, it is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. The scenery is a stunning mix of Norway and Switzerland and road-tripping here is like a dream come true.

With 10 days in Montenegro, you can see some of the most unique landscapes in Europe and also add a few cute villages, towns and cities to your itinerary.

Day 1 – 2: Most people start in Kotor, a little town near the Croatian border – from there head north towards Ostrog Monastery. It is a stunning church built into the mountains and driving all the way up there is not for the faint-hearted.

Day 3 – 4: But further north you will also find places like Piva Lake, the Durmitor National Park, the Tara Bridge and more outdoor places that are very popular amongst those who love adventures (Ziplining, White Water Rafting and more) and people who love impressive mountains.

Day 5 – 7: Then it is time to head back south – but make sure to plan in a couple of days for places like Lake Skadar National Park, Lipa Cave and Lovcen National Park on the way back. 

Day 8 – 10: Stop at the lively town of Budva and have a short beach vacation before heading back to Kotor. 

While there are cute towns like Budva, Kotor, or Perast, Montenegro is mostly about nature, outdoor activities like watersports and hiking.

The best time to embark on this road trip is from May and June or September. It normally is still warm but not hot and there are fewer visitors in the country.

Croatia Road Trip Itinerary 10 days

By Ankita from My Travelling Stilettos

St Mark's in one day in Zagreb itinerary
St Mark’s Church in Zagreb
  • No of Days: 10 days
  • Route: Zagreb to Dubrovnik Croatia itinerary along the coastal road

Croatia has amazing beaches, medieval cities, natural wonders along the coastal highway by the Adriatic. That makes it a perfect pick for a road trip.

If you are flying into Croatia, you will probably land in Zagreb. Spend time to relax, sort out car rentals, traffic rules, and stock up food for the road.

Day 1: Start your day in Dolac Farmer’s Market and shop for fresh fruits, homemade cheese, honey, lavenders, and local foods. Visit town’s square, Zagreb Cathedral, St Mark’s Church. In the evening, drive to Plitvice.

Day 2: Plitvice Lake National Park is a network of 16 interconnected waterfalls. An easy hike including a boat ride covers the entire park in 3-4 hours. To avoid the crowd and hot weather, start early. After lunch head to Zadar, your first encounter with the Adriatic. Explore the old town and enjoy the sunset by the sea organ, a unique musical instrument that creates music when the waves hit it. Drive to Split.

Day 3-5: Split is a beautiful medieval city. Start with exploring Diocletian’s Palace and walk by the promenade in the evening. Split is a good base to explore nearby islands like Hvar, Korcula, Trogir.  

Day 6: Split to Dubrovnik is 4 hours’ drive by the coastal road. First, visit Klis Fortress. Take multiple stops to enjoy hidden beaches, cliff views.

Day 7-9: Wandering along the city walls, exploring Rector’s place, Bell Tower, Onofrio Fountain, Game of Thrones tour should be at the top of your list. Take a stroll around the famous Stradun and its charming alleys and kayak along the shore.

It tends to get hotter during the peak summer months. So, the best time to visit Croatia is shoulder months, April-May or August-September.

Albanian Road Trip 10 days

By Leyla from Women on the Road

View of Tirana Albania
Albanian Road Trip
  • No of Days: 10 – 12 days
  • Route: Best of Albania from Tirana to the Alps and back, and then to the southern tip along the coast

Most visitors arrive in Albania through Tirana, the capital. From here, your Albanian road trip would be divided into two: 2-3 days in northern Albania, and the rest in southern Albania. 

The first part takes you in a loop from Tirana northwards towards Lake Komani and the Alps, then back around to Tirana. 

The second loop takes you south through the interior to Korçe, Permeti, Gjirokaster, Saranda and Butrint, and then back up the coast to Himare and Vlore, over the mountains into Fier and back down to the coast at Durres before returning to Tirana.

Day 1 – 3: Albania is ideal for almost any kind of travel, whether cultural and historical, or outdoor adventure travel. The capital, Tirana, is a quirky city full of recent history. 

In the northern part, a highlight is a boat ride across Lake Komani, at the end of which you’ll reach the foothills of the Albanian Alps, ideal for hikers and climbers. 

Cities like Berat and Gjirokaster are filled with centuries-old Muslim architecture while near Korçe, you’ll find Byzantine remnants. 

Day 4 – 10: In the southern tip in Butrint, exquisite Roman ruins have been protected by Unesco. In the interior, you can drive up dizzying mountain passes along curvy roads until you read viewpoints where sweeping panoramas will be yours for the taking. 

Along the coast, pristine beaches, long protected by Albania’s isolation under Communism, can be virtually empty. Albania is one of those countries with something for everyone and a road trip, and the best way to see it all is on a road trip.

Hotel recommendation in Tirana: Lot Boutique Hotel | Center Hotel Tirana

12-Day Balkan Road Trip Itinerary

By Jyoti from Story At Every Corner

Sarajevo Old Town
Sarajevo Old Town
  • No of Days: 12 -13 days
  • Route: Loop from Sarajevo back to Sarajevo 

This is an amazing 12-day road-trip through the Balkans. Since the countries are so close together, one can easily drive from one to the other and yet have many hours to explore the places and stop along the drive at beautiful places. 

The road trip through 8 countries in the Balkans region. The trip entails the following stops. 

Day 1: Fly into Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina  and spend a night. 

Day 2: Drive from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik in Croatia and explore Mostar for a day on the route. You can also include brief stops at Pocitelj, Blagaj, and Jablanica along the route. Arrive in Dubrovnik by late afternoon. 

Day 3: Spend a full day in Dubrovnik and also visit  the top of the mountain for amazing sunset views. 

Day 4: Drive from Dubrovnik to Shkodër in Albania with a day stop in Kotor Bay in Montenegro. Arrive in Shkodër by late afternoon and enjoy a local dinner. 

Day 5: From Shkodër take a day trip to incredible Lake Komani. 

Day 6: Drive from Shkodër to Lake Ohrid in Macedonia. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site with 365 churches. 

Day 7: Spend the day in the town of Ohrid, ideally take a private walking tour to hear incredible stories of the little town and its significance in the country’s history. 

Day 8: Drive from Lake Ohrid to Skopje, also in Macedonia. Take a waking tour to see how the country is creating its history in the present. Stay at the Sheraton, centrally located, very close to the Charles Bridge replica from Prague. 

Day 9: Drive from Lake Ohrid to Peja-Pek in the youngest Balkans country of Kosovo. Be sure to stay in a Kula home stay and check out the hikes, biking trails and Roman excavations. 

Day 10: Drive from Kosovo to Serbia via Montenegro. It’s another stunning drive. 

Day 11: Spend the day cruising the serpentine river in Uvac Canyon. Return from Serbia to Sarajevo through an absolutely stunning drive. 

Day 12: Explore Sarajevo and it’s fascinating and extraordinary history. 

Balkans Road Trip Itinerary 12 – 14 days

By Dzangir from Dr Jam Travels

Bucharest Romania
Bucharest Romania
  • No of Days: 12 -14 days
  • Route: Covers multiple Balkan states, from Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia -Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro

This 12 to 14 day epic Balkan road trip itinerary is fast paced, and takes you through 10 countries, with stops in capital cities, and nearby towns and parks (and gorgeous views). 

Day 1: Start in the morning at Ljubljana, Slovenia. 3 hours is enough to spend in the old part of town and a visit to the castle at the top of the hill. 

From Slovenia, drive to Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia. It will take about 90 minutes to arrive. Here you will start at the lower town with a cathedral and horseshoe parks and continue over Ban Jelačič square towards St Mark’s square on Capitol hill.

Day 2: Next morning you are en route to Belgrade, Serbia (4 hour drive). You will arrive in Belgrade just in time for lunch. Plenty of time to visit downtown, Mihailova street, Skadarlija, Kalemgdan fort. 

In the evening party on a raft at the banks of river Sava and Danube.

Day 3 : This day is for driving to Bucharest, Romania. Belgrade to Bucharest takes about 8 hours driving through mostly local roads.

Stop on your way at least twice (Đerdap at border and Craiova) and enjoy dinner in the evening at Old town

Day 4: Next day take it easy and explore Old town, visit Palace of Parliament Park in the north.

Day 5: On day 5, we recommend to start early, and drive to Sofia, Bulgaria in the morning. Driving takes about 6 hours on local roads. Plan to arrive in Sofia in the afternoon, and then explore the city highlights Vitosha street, Nevski church, etc. to name a few.

Day 6: After just 4 hours on local roads you arrive in Skopje, Macedonia from Sofia. Take time to visit Old bazaar and the center full of statues. 

Day 7: Continue the next day driving to Tirana, Albania. Drive takes about 5 hours. Do make a stop at Lake Ohrid. 

When you arrive in Tirana, wander Skanderbeg Square and the buildings around it. 

Day 8: Day 8 is time to visit Kruje fort, located just outside the city. 

Continue the drive to Priština Kosovo. It has 4 hours (on the highway) to  arrive in Priština. Along the way stop at Prizren and visit the old bazaar, Turkish baths, and Sinan Pasha Mosque. 

Day 9: Next take the challenging ride over mountains to Podgorica in Montenegro. Drive takes about 5 hours, but with some great views.

Day 10 – 11: Next morning drive another 4 hours to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Spend a day visiting Baščaršija and try ćevapi and coffee. If you have additional time, visit the war tunnel, Eternal flame, and the City hall. 

Day 12: To complete the circle you can return to Ljubljana, 6 hours drive on mostly highway

So, that’s a wrap! We hope you found these ideas for an epic Balkan road trip itinerary useful. The Balkans are an amazing destination to quench your thirst for history, outdoors and culture & culinary.

Trip Planning:

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