I'm planning to do a road trip in next September. I also made a very rough plan. Zurich -> Zagreb and at the end Bucharest -> Zurich we want do drive as fast as possible (1 day).

Do you think 4 weeks for the rest of the route is enough? Or is it too much? Which are great things to do near this route?

  • Can I ask where you're coming from? Where is your driving experience? If it's from a new world country (USA, australia etc.), then I'd have to advise you that roads around this part of the world are pretty old and not as straight as you may be used to. – Rory Nov 22 '11 at 17:58
  • I'm living in Liechtenstein. My driving experience is not so bad I think. I've only 8 years experience but I did some 5000 - 10000 km roadtrip in the last years and I already drove in the following countries: Gibraltar, Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Monaco, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia. I hope I didn't miss something. – RoflcoptrException Nov 22 '11 at 18:31
  • Oh i forgot Poland. – RoflcoptrException Nov 22 '11 at 19:57
  • From Europe is alright. I spoke to a company that hires motorbikes in Ireland, and a problem they have is when Americans, upon seeing Ireland is 200 miles across, think they can do the whole thing in 1 weekend. – Rory Nov 22 '11 at 20:38
  • 1
    Ah ok I see the problem. But I don't think I'm not used to crazy streets ;) – RoflcoptrException Nov 24 '11 at 10:09

Well at 6400km for 28 days, that's around 250km a day (allow extra for finding hotels, seeing sights, etc). That's a LOT of driving.

In 2005, I did a trip around South Africa, where we drove 7100km in 23 days. We had some long days (800km) and many shorter days, and it was doable, but wow we did get a bit tired of the car ;)

At that rate, the 13 cities you've mapped means about 2 days in each. That's fine for Athens, but given you're going through other cities as well, like Venice, where I assume you'll also want to spend time, you may find it difficult as you'll be rushing.

Saying that, a 1/3 of it (the final leg of 2000ish kms) could be done in 3 long days if you push it. There's just no way you'll do that in one day.

If I had to cut something out, it'd be the detour down to Greece. Athens is meant to be great but can be done in a couple of days easily. You could do it on another trip and do a couple of islands at the same time.

I'd also recommend adding in Plitvice National Park in Croatia - it's spectacular any time of year, and wouldn't be too much of a detour. In fact, if you can go down Croatia, Dubrovnik is a MUST-see, as is Mostar just over the hill in Bosnia. You could go Zagreb -> Plitvice -> Dubrovnik -> and then if you realllly want, back up to Belgrade, or just carry on to Skopje...

Trip looks awesome tho regardless, and afterwards you won't remember the pain of driving, you'll just remember the cool things you saw ;)

  • 4
    He Mark. Thanks for your hints. But I skipped some cities on purpose. I was already in Venice and also in Plitivce National Park and Dubrovnik I was also in my roadtrip 2007. Generally I enjoy driving in foreign countries a lot. I did a 10'000 km roadtrip in Spain and France 2009 in 29 days, but I'm not sure if the streets have the same quality in southeastern europe. – RoflcoptrException Nov 21 '11 at 21:19
  • 3
    The roads in Croatia were pretty good, can't comment on the other areas tho as I mostly went by train. I thought that might be the case (re Venice) but figured it was worth mentioning just in case that was your plan ;) – Mark Mayo Nov 21 '11 at 21:29
  • If you never been to Croatia I would also add Zagreb -> Plitvice -> (Split) -> Dubrovnik and then onward to Montenegro, Albania, Greece... You can add your continental part Skopje and Belgrade on your way back to Hungary. If you want to go to San Marino you can easily cross the Adriatic sea from Ancona, Italy to Zadar/Split, Croatia or from Bari, Italy to Dubrovnik, Croatia. – Toni Frankola Nov 21 '11 at 23:07
  • From memory that ferry is shockingly expensive. I've always wanted to go to San Marino and two years ago we drove from Paris to Dubrovnik and considered this option but couldn't justify the expense. – hippietrail Nov 22 '11 at 12:11
  • But it isn't such a big detour from Venice to San Marino. Or did you choose the route over the Brenner? Or the Gotthard? – RoflcoptrException Nov 22 '11 at 18:33

Interesting plan! In my opinion, allowing four weeks is not too much.

If your aim is to get as fast as possible to Zagreb, I would drop the detour to San Marino. Moreover, so as to get from Zurich to Zagreb, I would choose one of the following itineraries, which, in my opinion are more charming, than the route through Milano and Northern Italy.

  1. Zurich - Innsbruck - Brenner - Pusteral (Val Pusteria) - back into Austria (East Tyrol) - Villach - Ljubliana - Zagreb

  2. Zurich - Munich - Salzburg - Villach - Ljubliana - Zagreb

The second is probably faster and easier to drive, as it involes nearly exclusively motorways (Autobahn). Both have nice variants. For the first one you can cross the Brenner pass via the old raod rather than the highway. For the second one, you can drive over the Tauern and Felbertauern passes, rather than through the tunnels.

As far as the Bucharest - Zurich leg is concerned, I would by no means try to do it in one day. That's really tough. Viamichelin estimates the pure driving time to more than 20 hours. I would make a first stop in Timisoara, then a second stop in or around Vienna.


According To Mark Mayo the itinerary makes up 6400 kilometers. If you are a hard-boiled driver, that should be feasible. Especially given the fact that a road trip is about driving ;-)

Anyway, your plan has the advatage that it can be cut on purpose. For instance, when you are running out of time, you can skip the side trip to Greece. Or the side trip to the Black Sea. Anyway, in the Balkans you have several options to make shortcuts. I would not be worried about the length, as it can easily be adapted on the fly according to driving conditions and personal gusto.


If you do want to see San Marino on the way, You can do it. But then drive on southwards to e.g. Bari, sail to Albania, Montenegro, or Croatia and proceed from there.

  • Thanks a lot for your suggestions! The detour to San Marino can easily be skipped. I just included it here since I've never been there. Zürich -> Villach or also the Brenner Autobahn I drove already a lot of times. Concerning the last leg. Yes it is really a long trip, but I also did Andorra -> Toulouse -> Liechtenstein in one day and this time we are two drivers. But maybe you're right and one overnight stop in Budapest is a good idea. – RoflcoptrException Nov 21 '11 at 21:17
  • OK, but in France and Switzerland you have very decent roads. That's not the case in Romania. As far as San Marino is concerned, I have edited my answer ... – user766 Nov 21 '11 at 22:25
  • If you do take the ferry I'd love to hear about it afterwards. – hippietrail Nov 22 '11 at 12:12
  • I'm not a big fan of ferries, but I'll report if we take it. – RoflcoptrException Nov 22 '11 at 18:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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