You, your inmates and an old Yugoslav vehicle (Or your own) —> More than 8000 kilometers of old, beautiful and challenging roads to drive —> 15 most beautiful, diverse and crazy countries to pass —> A self tailored route —> More than 100 adventurous checkpoints to use (From bungee jumping to watching over a herd of sheep during the night on top of a mountain) —> A virtual guide whisperer that leads you through the vast plethora of history, interesting facts and gastronomy delights you never had a chance to taste before —> For how long? For how long you want it to last.
"Photo albums will be forgotten in some folder after a while, souvenirs covered by dust, but memories of experiences you lived through and the people you met keep you warm forever. Like the bed in a friend's house you met here in Balkans."
– FILIP JAKOVAC
Balkan Roads is a 8000 km circular road trip on old dusty roads of Balkan peninsula using equally old vehicles preferably of Balkan production. That doesn’t mean that you can’t come with your BMW x6 but that would be like playing chess with a 9 year old. It’ll lose a lot of it’s point and fun if you do so. So you will travel preferably by using your car or an old Balkan vehicles weather it’s an old Zastava 101, Yugo, Tomos moped, TAM truck, Balkan motorcycle or your sisters’ Dacia. As long as it’s old and shitty it’ll do. How the hell am I going to find that thing in my home, you’re asking? Unless you’re coming from America, UK or Germany and Balkan of course and unless your dad wasn’t bold and drunk enough back in the 80’s to buy a Yugo, you won’t be able to do so. But that’s where we can help you. In this scenario you’re driving an old Zastava’s and other Balkan vehicles which makes deeper sense. You’ll be driving through adventures, rollicking and having fun, but you’ll also interact with people and, we hope, experience for a moment how is to live and feel like a Balkan (wo)man. The priority of this trip is not to get you out of the comfort zone but to expand its limits by testing your skills and knowledge. So whatever happens quit whining, go ahead and find Mile on a tractor and ask him to give you a lift, stop a stranger on a road to help you find a right address when your GPS is not Balkan programmed and be polite when asking grandma Mara to pass you more salt for your dish which you just learned to cook. She may not understand English but she understands you perfectly. Be aware then. Here in the Balkans not even Chuck Norris convinced a grandma he’s not hungry.
We prepared a lot of interesting things for you: Starting and closing party with two Balkan parties along the route typical for that region. A wristband to access those parties, checkpoints and discounts. Two designed T-shirts, Balkan Kit that will help you to survive on the Balkans (Or not.) You’ll also get three paid nights on the different parts of the Balkan peninsula to keep you motivated to drive a bit more. You’ll be a member of a Facebook group with other participants which will be open for public and where you can share photos, videos, live videos and all sorts of other experiences with other participants and public. Your friends and family will be able to feel closer to you by watching it while you’re far away from them. You’ll also have a GPS locator in your vehicle so we could see where you are. Not because we want to limit your freedom but so we could see where you are and send you some interesting information about the place you’re passing and provide you with possible suggestions like what to eat, drink, see, sleep etc so you could really experience Balkan like you’re having a guide non stop with you which you can easily switch off. Also, a GPS locator will ease us a job of finding you if your vehicle brakes and you call for help. Now that all of this will definitely make your Balkan tour an unforgettable experience.
Yes there is, but:
IMPORTANT RULE: If you call us to get you out of the crap you stucked into – you’ll loose all of the points you collected till that moment. So better for you if you pull yourself out of the trouble yourself. And you’ll feel more proud of yourself. Find Mile on the tractor, he’ll give you a lift and knows everything. 😉
Nothing is mandatory but paying taxes and dying but if you don’t start from Rijeka you’ll miss a great starting party and a closing one if you don’t return on a date of a closing party which is on Friday, August 3rd 2019. Starting and closing party we’ll be open for public in 2019. because the more the merrier but you’ll be the one who will earn a right on a happy hour by using your wristband once again. And if you don’t start in Rijeka, you’ll have to let us know that in advance so we could send you your wristband. Also if you decide to rent your Yugoslavian vehicle from us, you’ll have to start in Rijeka to pick it up. Rijeka is also the best starting point to drive Adriatic magistrala, a beautiful coastal road that is inevitable part of every Croatian road trip.
That’s the point. Till whenever you want. Depending on the number of the checkpoints you took, number of days you spent in places etc. It can be done in a week or four weeks but let’s stick to a golden middle of two weeks to do it properly (That’s why the closing party is on the 23th of August). Also, if we’re procuring a vehicle for you, it’ll be smart for you to come few days earlier in Rijeka to do all the possible repairs (Read: Vehicle purchasing).
We like to call them „the place of interaction with the locals“ because that’s what you’ll basically do with all the fun and challenges that each checkpoint provides. Ever wanted to jump of a bridge and welcome a sunset on a back of a horse few hours later? Done… You just have to make a first step and go on an “apply“ button. The good side of all of this various checkpoints is that they are much, much price affordable since you’ll be driving with us. From 30% cheaper, 70% to some that are payed completely by us. Also, checkpoints bring points. The harder the checkpoint is, the more points it brings. The list of checkpoints you’ll receive a while before the actual start to keep things interesting. 😉 Some of them are bungee jumping, scuba diving, horse riding, learning to cook traditional meals, paragliding, hiking, guiding tours etc. From the easy ones to the challenging ones. You pick them by your preferences. But don’t hesitate to step out of the comfort zone. That’s the whole point. To use Balkan Roads for something you always wanted but never had the opportunity, will or the guts to do so. Dare to do something new.
How do you take them? You’ll get a Balkan Roads wristband which is a passport to all the checkpoints, other benefits and a key of recognition between us. Don’t misplace it! How do you collect points? – go down on „How can I collect points” question.
No. By looking these nice videos and pictures it should be but we know that you’re demanding. That’s why we prepared two BBQ’s, three overnight stays, few carefully designed T-shirts to show your recruitment to the Balkan Roads movement (And a souvenir), Balkan Kit package and prizes of course. Wait, wait what is all that, you ask? Well we don’t have to explain T-shirts more than we did but regarding everything else those are „measures“ to make your trip a true and incredible Balkan experience. When BBQing you’ll do it like a true Balkan (Hope you’re not vegetarian cos otherwise you’re convicted to side dishes). There’s a lot of rakija and wine involved while your car keys are far away from you on a safe place. Three nights? We carefully picked three places you can sleep at which are included in price. You don’t have to but since it’s free… And it’s not a hotel nor luxurious. Some are more comfortable and some are military style but they’re all nice with the best hosts. And all of them are on different sides of Balkan to keep you motivated to discover them. Balkan Kit is a surprise that will maybe help you to fix your vehicle if needed and help you to get through it. You’ll have your profile on the facebook page to make others jealous and remind them you’re alive (Or maybe you don’t want to) etc. At the end… Nothing of this will matter when you return back home but the experiences.
You’re collecting them along the route and once you’re back in Rijeka we count them. If you’re among the first three places you win a prize. What if there’s more of us in the team but only me does the checkpoints or most of them? Points are collected individually by a person. How do you prove you’ve consumed it successfully? On the checkpoint where you take a product or a service from somebody (Such as bungee jumping) you’ll need a signature of that person who provides you with it. In other situations such as hiking, selfie or video with the recognizable background of the checkpoint will be sufficient. You bring a signature and a selfie – even better.
Once again, cos it’s never too much to repeat this: Balkan Roads is an ADVENTURE, so we definitely recommend you to take all or some of the following insurances. It’s all up to you but still it’s very important to know about it and have it:
An insurance in case of an accident or illness on the trip, in case of baggage damage and loss, voluntary health insurance during travel and staying abroad, insurance in a case of travel cancellation and insurance to cover travel and return costs to the starting point in case of accident and illness. Have that in mind. Being unsecured is not adventurous or cool. It’s just irresponsible.
We are a team of adventurists who’ve been traveling and exploring the world all our lives independently till we joined forces in pure craziness, collected 300€ and bought an old Yugoslavian car, Yugo, Koral 55 (55 horse powers if anybody asks what does it stand for). Since then we’ve been roaming the world in it. Far east Asia, Balkan, Europe behind us and Australia, Africa and both Americas before us.
Through our odysseys we discovered that we don’t have to get far from home to discover natural and cultural diversities, most incredible sunsets and sunrises, craziest and kindest people ever. Balkan is a melting pot consisting of high mountains, azure blue seas and lakes, scarring streets carved by history, of hedonism and spite, (wrapped by grandmas knitwear carefully put on a top of the TV covering the third of the screen). With that being said we, true Balkans, concluded that it would be a pity to keep it jealously for ourselves and made a really, well, daring adventure. Welcome to Balkan Roads, keep reading cos grandma will know if you skip something.
No. This is not a typical banger rally. The Yugoslavian and Balkan vehicles are funny just because they’re old and rather small but it’s not all about that. The main principle why we advise you to use them is to get the feeling how is to live like Balkan people, how to get to their hearts easier and to experience your Balkan road trip adventure on a completely different level. So the primary goal of these vehicles is deeper than just “They look cool, shabby and funny.” If you’re coming with your own car try to keep up with these guidelines but it’s all up to you and your sense of “comfort” at the end.
Also this is not a banger rally or a rally in any sense. It doesn’t even concern rally driving. If you try to do it you’ll remain disappointed because these cars are everything but fast. But we can be fully honest and proud when saying that from all car rallies across the Europe, Balkan Roads is the most untypical yet most inspiring car or bike adventure one can take.
Take a ride on Adriatic highway, an 800 km long ultimate seaside driving experience proclaimed as one of the most beautiful in the world (And challenging with all it's drops and serpentine twists and turns) with thousand of islands on one side while driving bellow the tops of mountains. Go to Montenegro up to 2000 m heights, gather some sheeps and watch over them during the night. Pass Albania, enter Greece. Drive the beautiful Greek coast to Istanbul - the peak of the Balkans. Lift yourself up to Odessa passing Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and an internationally unrecognized, black market paradise country of Transnistria. Have a nice sleep since it's paid somewhere around here and turn left torward Serbia while climbing up and down southern Carpathians. No sleeping while partying in the European party capital - Belgrade. Meet some random people, mingle and secure the bed in their place next time you find yourself here again. Act like Balkan (wo)man. Enter foodylicious Bosnia with prepared stomach, loose your belt, gain few pounds. Stop in Gorski Kotar forest, inhale some fresh air and go to Slovenia. Climb Triglav, get down, go to Trieste – the westernmost spot of Balkans, pass the roman amphitheater in Pula and the most diverse landscapes and drive on the top of the Učka mountain just to take a look on hundreds of kilometers of roads you just passed in Italy, Slovenia and Croatia while looking on some Austrian Alps as well - Just before you enter Rijeka again. This route passes most of the checkpoints.
From Adriatic highway lift yourself to deep forests of Velebit mountain highlands and then pass some minefields from the last war with an amazing view on the islands (Don't stray a meter from the road or play a hero so you don't end up as leftovers of a hero). Enjoy the unpaved road and it's massive serpentines with hundreds of feet deep chasms bellow your wheels (Incredible adventure - BE AWARE this road is dangerous and that's the whole point). Jump of the bridge in Montenegro and continue to Albania. Talk to locals, try the food, dance their dance. Eat „ajvar“ and swim in Ohrid, the brightest lake in the world, dive in cave, take a kayak and paddle in the depth of the canyon. From incredible Meteora in Greece go to Plovdiv, the oldest populated place in Europe, have a free tour, stay amazed and go to Buzludzha space shuttle shaped communist monument on a top of the mountain. Find your way in because it's forbidden, have a picture with Marx and Lenin, drive to Serbia, Guča trumpet festival. Dance and sing songs you don't know with the confidence like you do, eat, drink, eat, drink, (Good luck to vegans). In Vukovar stay stunned wtf happened in Yugoslavia, think about it – have no answer like the rest of us and eat some „kulen“ and „čvarci“ with rakija to calm down. Pass BiH, go to Zagreb, party like an Austro – Hungarian, and take the adventure tunnel in Slovenia. Visit Istria and the islands, rent a bike, play picigin on some God forsaken beaches, say hello to Rijeka and party one more time cos you bloody owned the Balkan Roads, especially if done in a Yugo!
Drive the whole plethora of Ćevapčići, burek, tea, rakija, balkava and all the other God given deserts. Visit Mostar, jump of the bridge, take a rafting in Neretva, enter Montenegro, check your Balkan car, fix it if needed, fix it again, drive crazy serpentine roads to Kosovo with beautiful nature around, enter Skopje, ask wtf happened with all the monuments on three square meters „Is that Johnny Depp monument??“, yes it is, drive to Prilep on riverbed that Macedonians and GPS like to call „a road“, swear a bit, avoid the bears and foxes, survive and enter Greece. Meet some Greek people, accept their olive oil, confirm few times it's the world's best olive oil, try to leave the room, doesn't work? Run while they chase you with the olive oil. Go to Istanbul, try the spices, visit the market, the mosque, the EVERYTHING!!! Turn back up north, drive Bulgarian sand coast and party in beach bars here and in Romania. Why is Russian spoken in Odessa? Nevermind, back in the car, visit Bucuresti, then Drakula and then some guy in Subotica, Serbia, who established a new Yugoslavia in his back yard. Make a passport, go to Brčko district in BiH and wonder why the streets are named of American presidents. Be appalled, enter Croatia and follow Pokupsko and Kravarsko signs. Continue driving when the asphalt is gone, feel creepy, experience silent hill feeling, crop up in Zagreb celebrating you're alive. Go to Slovenia, visit Istria, learn how to knit on the slopes of Učka while paragliding and than land in Rijeka. Breathe out.
"The sole purpose of life is to find your place and yourself in this world. You do it by expanding your limits and testing yourself through various situations. It’s all about finding out who you really are…"
– FILIP JAKOVAC