Monday, April 21, 2008

Southeast Europe, motorbiking paradise?

Travel writers listing their top 10 European destinations often overlook the Balkans. Whether the specific theme is the best hotels, favourite hikes, or top spas, the focus tends to be on Western Europe with a couple of places in Central Europe thrown in to give the appearance of balance. So it's good to see Southeast Europe being given in its due in Mike Carter's article in the Guardian, "Europe's top 10 motorbiking roads". The region account for three of his top 10 - four if you count Asian Turkey.

Mike is sufficiently enthusiastic about Romania's Transfagarasan Highway to cover it in a separate, longer article. He describes the road across the Carpathians from Sibiu to Curtea de Arges as "quite simply, one of the greatest buttock-clenching, white-knuckle biking roads in the world".

Also making the list is the route from Bar on the coast of Montenegro to Sarajevo in Bosnia. This inland route passes through Durmitor National Park, where the road becomes a "gravel track, threading its way across a vast treeless, boulder-strewn plateau".


The final Balkan entry is a road well worth following in a bus or car if you don't have a bike: Albania's Ionian Coast road from Saranda to Vlora. The climax comes with the Llogaraja Pass, "taking you from sea level to over 1,000 metres in just a few ear-popping minutes for the best view of the Ionian you'll ever see".

Ionian Coast roadIonian Coast

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