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south eastern europe by train and walking

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Nov 5th, 2013, 12:58 PM
  #1
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south eastern europe by train and walking

Hey!
I'm looking to take a trip to South Eastern Europe in March/April. From Moldova to Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

I would like to take the train between the countries. I could only find the "lonely planet" South-Eastern-Europe guidebook...but I don't really like this company's guidebooks, I prefer the rough guides. Is there another book similar to rough guides that covers all the countries I would like to visit?

I was also wondering if anyone had any idea on train prices in this area? I know they shouldn't be too high (at least in Romania).

Does anyone have any "must-see" places in these countries? I could spend up to 4 or 5 weeks in the area

Thanks in advance!
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Nov 5th, 2013, 01:09 PM
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check www.seat61.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com for possible coverage of rail fares in that area - there is also a Balkan Railpass good I believe in nearly all those countries - not sure whether it is a good deal or not but do investigate it. Buses along the coast are better than trains which for the most part do not run along the coast. In summer or late spring or early fall consider hopping on the ferries that ply the coast from Greece to Rijeka, Slovenia, near Trieste.
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Nov 5th, 2013, 04:05 PM
  #3
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I'm also a fan of The Rough Guide books, but find The Lonely Planet similar in many ways, so you might want to give it a try even though it isn't your favorite. Or have you checked The Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget? It won't have the depth you might prefer, but it lease it should cover most of these countries.
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Nov 5th, 2013, 06:34 PM
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Angi...having traveled quite extensively since the 1970's and 80's throughout that part of Europe, I'll post these pics to give you some ideas. No trip reports, just (mostly scanned) pics. Plenty opportunities for hiking in all of these locales. Auto travel, the way we covered these countries, is your best bet IMO...independence, ease, roads and signage are usually good. As you'll see, I have been to B-H, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo when it was all Yugoslavia. On one trip, we made a foray into Albania (no pics).

Just drop me a note to [email protected] and I'll send all mentioned above.

Stu Tower

OLD YUGOSLAVIA 1980' s CROATIA 2004 - stu - Picasa Web Albums

BUCHAREST,BRASHOV, SINAIA, SIGHISHOARA,MARAMURESH,BUKOVINA- stu - Picasa We

POPA MUSEUM, BICAZ, IASI(YASH), BIRLAD, BULGARIA

BULGARIA 1980's and 2005 - stu - Picasa Web Albums

Judy Overloking Dubrovnik 1983
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Nov 5th, 2013, 06:37 PM
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should have written, all mentioned below.
stu
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Nov 5th, 2013, 07:12 PM
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You will find some difficulties traveling by train for some of the countries.

Albania has no international rail service. They do have domestic service, but from what I read you are better off taking buses. I was in Albania a coupe of months ago but never saw a train where I was.

The only passenger service in Montenegro goes from Bar (on the coast) through the capital Podgorica to Belgrade, Serbia. There is no passenger rail connection to any other country.

Both Kosovo and Bosnia & Herzegovina have rail service, but by different companies in the Serb and non-Serb areas of each country. I don't know if the two systems connect. In Kosovo I am pretty sure they do not. I don't know about BiH. But if all rail service is like the one train I saw from the highway when I was in Republika Srpska (part of Bosnia) recently, you probably don't want to take the train there, either.
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Nov 6th, 2013, 02:07 AM
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As said above, there are no direct train lines between
Bulgaria and Macedonia (only alternative via Nis in Serbia)
Kosova and Albania (no alternative by train)
Albania and Montenegro (no alternative by train)
Montenegro and Bosnia (only alternative via Beograd, 450 miles).

For other connections, we can only help you if you metion the towns you want to visit (not countries: it makes a huge difference whether you want to go from Timisoara to Sofia or from Suceava to Varna, for example)
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Nov 6th, 2013, 03:11 AM
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"Both Kosovo and Bosnia & Herzegovina have rail service, but by different companies in the Serb and non-Serb areas of each country. I don't know if the two systems connect."

They do connect. Not seamlessly, but they connect. The trains in the region are in fact pretty inexpensive, and a rail pass will very likely not be worth it. To get a sense of fares you're better of checking the individual rail companies for specific journeys - links at europetrainsguide.com or seat61.com.

Trains in BiH are fine if you adjust expectations and pack your patience. Journeys take a long time.

For this region, I would consider country-specific guidebooks: Rough Guide has good ones for Romania and Bulgaria (I haven't checked out their Montenegro Guide). For the rest of the Balkan destinations, Lonely Planet Western Balkans is not a perfect guide, but it's better than some of the other LP guides. (I'm not a huge fan either). Bradt guides are another possibility but only in individual country guides, and some are stronger than others.

PalenQ, while towns between Dubrovnik-Rijeka or between Zadar-Istria-Venice are connected by high-season ferry, there's no ferry service connecting the Adriatic coast south of Dubrovnik. Also note that Rijeka is in Croatia, not Slovenia.
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Nov 6th, 2013, 05:08 AM
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The Dubrovnik - Rijeka ferry runs twice weekly from June until September.
Durres and Bar - Split/Zadar by ferry: twice weekly in summer with ferry change (long layover) at Ancona (Italy).
Greece - Rijeka by ferry (twice weekly June until Sept):
ferry 1: Patras - Ancona (long layover)
ferry 2: Ancona - Split (long layover)
ferry 3: Split - Rijeka
If you want to use 5 to 6 ferries, you may also travel via Ancona - Zadar - Mali Losinj (season only)
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Nov 6th, 2013, 05:18 AM
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That is a little early in the year for that part of the world, at least start in the south and work your way north. As mentioned, you will have to use buses and ferries part of the time, and seat61.com will have all the train info you need.

I used LP's Western Balkans for my trip there and it worked OK. If you don't want to use LP for the whole trip you might look at Moon and Bradt as well as Rough Guide.

For my visit to Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine see#160;http://wilhelmswords.com/eur2006/index.html

For my trip to the Balkans click on my name for my TRs on Fodors, or start here#160;http://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com/...t-impressions/

Come back with a draft itinerary and we can be of more help.
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Nov 6th, 2013, 11:17 AM
  #11
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thank you all so much for the replies!

I do know trains aren't the nicest or fastest in this part of europe ^^ but i am used to travelling rough and have done some train and bus travel in romania, moldova and the ukraine ^^
I would also guess that they only get cheaper...which is great since i am on qutie a tight budget...

buses would be fine too..and it's good to know that there are no real connections via train in these places...saves me quite a bit of time by not going to the trainstation and just going straight to the busstations ^^! finding these shouldn't be a problem..and then figuring out what is the right bus isn't too hard either ^^ just the times..but i guess i can ask around for those..

I don't really know exactly where I want to go in these countries..initially, I just wanted to spend a day or so in the capital cities..but now that i've realized that I have more time, I'd like to spend a little more time to see a little more of the countrysides of these beautiful countries! any must-see suggestions?

@thursdaysd: I can't really change my route to go the other direction, because I'm doing research in Bucharest and would thus have to start my trip there..also, I want to end up in Vienna to visit my family and then head back to the UK on a plane to get back to my life.
I know it'll be a little chilly and not as beautiful as in the summer..but it's the only time of the year that I can do this (work-related research and uni placement)and if i'm already in romania, i might aswell do this trip that i've had this weird notion to want to do for a while now...it's just something about ex-communist countries that alures me
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Nov 7th, 2013, 10:27 AM
  #12
 
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https://picasaweb.google.com/stuartt...Kq1odTr3IKLHA#

Angi: will post Romania and Bulgaria, also (below)

I did a goodly portion of my interviewing/research in Bucharest, Maramuresh and Bukovina in the 70's and 80's and into 2004-5.
stu
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Nov 7th, 2013, 10:35 AM
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https://picasaweb.google.com/stuartt...adAndBulgaria#

Old Bulgaria to come....
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Nov 7th, 2013, 10:41 AM
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https://picasaweb.google.com/stuartt...a1980SAnd2005#

Angi...sorry for the way i had to do this...once I get Oicasa back in order, I won't have to do everything one at a time. That's why I requested that you contact me, because sending by email is the way to go with this Picasa mess.

Enjoy your trip!
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Nov 9th, 2013, 09:26 AM
  #16
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thank you so much tower!
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Dec 13th, 2013, 10:06 AM
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. Is there another book similar to rough guides that covers all the countries I would like to visit?>

Maybe someone else mentioned as I did not read every post but Let's Go Europe has great coverage for on-your-own low budget travelers - a wealth of info on accommodations for budgtet travelers far better than Lonely Planet, now covering it seems upscale hotels more than lower budget ones.
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Dec 13th, 2013, 10:19 AM
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PalenQ, not only is this thread a month old, Let's Go covers none of the countries the OP lists.
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