Early planning for the region
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Dec 2, 2012 4:32 PM Last Post By: csdcsmith
Oct 13, 2012 6:18 AM
Early planning for the regionWe are beginning to plan a trip for next spring, and I would appreciate some guidance. At this point, we are totally flexible. Seeking generalities, not so much specifics.
FWIW, we are late 60’s.
Timing: We would spend 4-6 weeks. We are both sun-sensitive and must cover up, so it is imperative that we travel where/when it is cool, preferably not much more than 20°C.
What: We love to hike, wander, and meet the locals, especially in small towns and countryside. Any opportunity for mountain hiking would be a bonus. We're not much for museums or crowds, but we do like historical sites. No one-night stands, preferably 2-3 nights per location, or more if warranted. We prefer flexibility to a set itinerary.
Where: Anywhere between Budapest and Athens, Sarajevo and the Black Sea. We have been to Budapest Dubrovnik, Mostar and Sarajevo. We are particularly curious about Albania, Montenegro, Romania. Open-jaw would be nice, otherwise a loop of some kind.
Transport: Public transportation only. No rent cars. We have successfully negotiated public transport in many countries, including Peru and Bolivia, so feel reasonably confident. We travel ultra-light with only a day pack each.
Budget: Relatively low. Hostels, etc.
Language: We are from the US. Rudimentary German, Russian and French. More important, we have quite a lot of experience communicating through language barriers.
Thanks in advance.
Oct 13, 2012 12:15 PM
Oct 13, 2012 1:22 PM
Oct 13, 2012 2:11 PM
3It's very tough to travel off the beaten track without a smattering of the languages of those countries. I found that a few dozen of the most common words of Polish (or russian or czech or whatever) was enough for all Slavic countries. In Romania I really should have learnt a little before travelling there - Italian would have been useful too.
Oct 13, 2012 7:44 PM
4I would suggest that you look at the following:
Fly into Dubrovnik because the options for flights are best but head to Kotor, Montenegro. Zabljak is nice for some day hiking in Durmitor but in spring it can be cold and snowy.
Then head to Albania (look at a recent trip report from JonMW about travel in Northern Albania)
From Albania consider Prizren, Kosovo and then Tetovo, Macedonia and explore Skopje and Ohrid areas.
From there you might want to head to Thessaloniki, Greece; Plovdiv, Bulgaria and end in Istanbul or head north to Nis and Belgrade, Serbia and into Romania. Personally I would do the former and save the latter for another trip.
Take a look at the destination guides here on the TT and the guides on the inyourpocket.com website.
Regarding weather, the problem is that the areas with higher mountains will be snowy in spring. Were it me, I would look at late September October. I too am sun sensitive but have found lots of light weight sun protective clothing and hats so that I no longer mind traveling even in the heat of summer. Are you familiar with sunprecautions.com, sunadayafternoons.com and coolibar.com?
Oct 14, 2012 7:42 AM
5Thank you, Everbrite. That's the kind of general info I'm looking for at this stage of planning.
Spring is the one set variable, though. Next fall is already dedicated. I forgot to mention that we've already spent good time in Turkey. Would it be biting off too much to go Skope-Sofia-Plovdiv-Bucharest-Brasov-and on to Budapest?
As for the sun, I wear long-sleeved sun shirt and pants, gloves, wide-brimmed hat with drape. Although the sun fabrics are very light, they don't accommodate hot flashes or hiking exertion very well when the ambient temperature is high.
Oct 14, 2012 10:06 AM
Oct 14, 2012 10:19 AM
Oct 14, 2012 10:53 AM
8I understand and agree. I was using the cities more as direction than destination.
The sense I'm getting is two separate trips for this area? Romania/Bulgaria and Albania/Serbia/Kosovo/Montenegro? If so, we could do a spring trip and a fall trip (Sept-Oct), each 4-6 weeks. Assuming the fall trip would better for mountain hiking, which would be best for each season?
Oct 14, 2012 11:33 AM
9A seperate trip would be a good idea. 4-6 weeks for Romania and Bulgaria sounds good, you could even add Moldova to it. Can't say too much about Bulgaria, but in Romania you can spent easily 3 weeks, combing cities (Sibiu/Brasov/Cluj for example) with the small Saxon villages in between Sibiu and Brasov, mountains around Brasov, famous monasteries in Bukovina and countryside, small villages and landscapes in Maramures.
The weather can vary, but i would say Romania can be too cold/wet in october (although at the moment here in Maramures it is pretty nice weather with around 18 degrees. Cools off in the night pretty fast though). Mid-april till mid-may is a great time for Romania, as is september. In the mountains it can still snow in april, but also in october...
Oct 14, 2012 10:20 PM
Oct 15, 2012 7:10 AM
11Fall trip could be September, extending into August if weather or crowds are not a problem. (I understand the uncertainty--we were snowed out of Austria in August 2010.)
Even this mild brainstorming is helping me focus. Thank you.
Oct 15, 2012 8:24 AM
Oct 15, 2012 2:57 PM
Can anyone advise on what area/hotel to stay at in Budapest for this New Years, for about 5 days.
Oct 16, 2012 7:52 AM
14for a cheap hostel, pick one at Astoria square (city centre) or by Nyugati Train station
for a great hotel, you can get good deals from Hotel Palazzo Zichy, or Hotel Zara, etc.
It depends on your budget and how much you want to be in the happening area, or if you want a river view (art'Hotel has reasonable prices)
(5 star Hotel)
From US$190.56 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$130.32 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$142.43 per night