Take the 2-minute tour ×
Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm trying to decide which route to take from Sofia Bulgaria, where I am now, to northern Albania, but I don't really have much idea what specific points of interest are along the way.

  • I could just head from here to Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, south around Kosovo, to Shkoder etc.
  • I could head straight west into southern Serbia, then continue through Kosovo.
  • I could head straight west into southern Serbia, then north around Kosovo.

I like getting a taste of new countries and have not been to Serbia or Kosovo. Ideally I would like to go right through Albania from north to south (continuing into Greece etc) and would prefer not to enter at some midpoint.

Are there interesting cities, towns, sights, or campgrounds in the part of Serbia I would go through? Or are the options among these types of things better by taking a more southerly route without Serbia?

Is Kosovo interesting enough to be worth the additional hassle of going that way? (I wouldn't go back through Serbia so no problem there)

Is there some particularly good spot I should head for in northern Albania?

I have an Australian passport and don't believe I need a visa for any of these countries. I'm hitchhiking with a basic tent and sleeping bag so I'm not tied to train or bus routes.

But all of that is really details. The basic question is:

Which route from Sofia to northern Albania has the most good stuff along it?

(Normally I would think such question would be officially not in eline with Stack Exchange policy but after seeing some similar do OK here and asking for advice on meta I decided to go ahead and ask this as both a real question and a test question)

UPDATE

I'm currently thinking of going first to Niš, Serbia, which has some hostels, then either into Kosovo or Macedonia.

share|improve this question
    
I have no first-hand experience of Macedonia, Kosovo or Serbia, but personally I'd try to include Kosovo in the journey as I've heard good things about it and 'cos some Kosovo people I recently met in Albania were so very friendly. :) –  Jonik Sep 6 '11 at 19:57
2  
Then again, I have no idea no much hassle it is to go into Kosovo through Serbia (or to go from the Serb-majority northern parts of Kosovo into the Albanian-majority parts). –  Jonik Sep 6 '11 at 20:00
    
I can't give you a tip for you're actual question, but from nothern Albania I really would recommend to travel north along the adriatic cost through Dubvronik, Split, Trogir, etc. and then back in the backcountry to visit some famous national parks, and then heading onwards to the capital, Zagreb. –  RoflcoptrException Sep 6 '11 at 21:04
    
@Roflcoptr: Oh I think you missed that I wanted to travel Albania from north to south. I'll be continuing on from there across northern Greece, through Turkey, to Tbilisi. I'll clarify that in the question a bit. –  hippietrail Sep 6 '11 at 21:08
    
Ah sorry, then keep my tips in mind for the next trip ;) –  RoflcoptrException Sep 6 '11 at 21:12
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Can't advise on Kosovo, never been there.

I like the northern route:

  • Nis (Serbia)
  • Kopaonik National Park
  • Novi Pazar -- several notable monasteries in the vicinity.
  • Moraca river canyon (Montenegro) -- memorable road, remarkably steep drops
  • Podgorica
  • Either proceed directly to Skhoder, Albania (60km) or take a small detour down the Montenegrin coast down to Bar and Ulcinj first (120km), then go on to Skhoder.

I think this route would be more culturally diverse than cutting straight through Kosovo into Albania -- you'd pass through mixed Serbian, Slavic Muslim, Montenegrin, Albanian Catholic and finally Albanian Muslim areas instead of dominantly Albanian Muslim ones. It's also marginally safer, not sure how volatile Kosovo is at the moment (probably no real risk for an Australian, but difficult to know).

share|improve this answer
    
What an amazing answer, even better than I was hoping for. I'm in Niš now and so far I think I made the right decision. I'm going to look up all of your suggestions. –  hippietrail Sep 9 '11 at 14:36
add comment

I just can add a small piece of information. Again I quote my LonelyPlanet from 2009:

Because Serbia doesn't consider Kosovo's entry and exit points to be official international borders, attempts to enter Serbia from Kosovo may be futile unless you initially entered Kosovo from Serbia.

Additionally if you plan to hitchhike into Kosovo, I wouldn't take a Serbian car, since

it is unwise to drive in Kosovo with a Serbian plate.

Hope that helped a little bit. For further information about Kosovo and Albania I could help maybe too ;)

share|improve this answer
    
You might have missed where I said "(I wouldn't go back through Serbia so no problem there)" specifically to pre-address your first point. I also covered it in an earlier specific question which is how I knew to mention it. –  hippietrail Sep 6 '11 at 21:15
    
Ok sorry again, then the last small tip may be helpful for you. I'll update my answer with specific tips asap. –  RoflcoptrException Sep 6 '11 at 21:32
    
Sorry for bringing it up since you went to the trouble but I feel it makes the site sharper. –  hippietrail Sep 6 '11 at 21:34
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.