My trip to the Dinaric Alps and the amazing Balkans - KawiForums - Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 05:55 AM Thread Starter
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My trip to the Dinaric Alps and the amazing Balkans

As you already know mature spring is my favorite time of the year for moto adventures so I set off from Thessaloniki in early June, riding through our northern neighbors and turning left just before Prishtina in order to get to the wonderful Bjeshket National Park in Kosovo.

Yes, the journey has begun!



As soon as the climb towards the mountains begins the soul instantly relaxes, as the passing clouds lay strips of light upon the densely wooded with dark and light green colored pines slopes, the road twists, turns and undulates through beautiful motifs of colors and the fresh spring air invades our helmets.









The route is thoroughly enjoyable with minimal traffic and good tarmac as we now move westwards towards Montenegro and reaching the border post almost without realizing it, while laughing with the guard about his office with the best view in the world.

After crossing the border, the scenery remains beautiful but the road opens up with wide radius turns connected with open hairpins. Soon we are passing through some villages as we approach Montenegro’s Durmitor National Park with the deepest canyon of Europe and our goal for tonight, the great bridge connecting its shores. The landscape is now rough and imposing with the road literally dug out of the canyon’s rocky sides going down the chaos of its riverbed before climbing back again through amazing tunnels and lush flora towards the bridge, the view of which over the distance fills us with euphoria and relief!











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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 05:56 AM Thread Starter
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The very good Motel Tara is right beside it and welcomes us after an exquisite and full day of riding and enjoyment. Our room has amazing views and the stuffed steak with local prosciutto and cheeses is an ideal dinner











The next morning, the sun is shining in the sky and we eagerly set off to attack the National Heroes Road, the secret gem of Montenegro and one of the best riding roads in the world, with amazing flow and hairpins allowing lots of carry over speed with a lot of room when exiting them







My Er6-n is a dream in such conditions, flying like a butterfly from turn to hairpin to the last plateaus of Durmitor Park, with its mighty tall mountains surrounding it standing right in front of us. Not that we are intimidated though, we’ve ridden through even taller ones!

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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New, delightful ascend on a classic alpine ribbon then, with good road surface, and descent next to a river towards beautiful Niksic on the other side, with its mountain tops – islands sticking out of lakes!





And then off to the Adriatic and its pearl, Kotor, well hidden in a sea canyon like formation, unique in the Mediterranean!

Our arrival at the top of this huge fiord like gulf is breathtaking and a cause for a photography stop that would be repeated many times as we roll down towards the Adriatic Sea.









We continue alongshore through Perast and other medieval villages while taking pictures of the famous islets from different angles…










…before finally reaching Kotor, crouching under the huge, sharp rock faces! The geographical relief is certainly impressive but now it’s time to discover the beautiful old town by changing into civilian clothing in our hotel which is located just steps away from its elaborate walls.

Apart from those, the old town is also surrounded by a system of fresh water moats which springs out of the mountain that also connects to and constitutes the back wall, and all that just meters away from the sea!







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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 05:59 AM Thread Starter
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The old town is cozy and noble, with small paved alleys and many churches, even a cathedral, at the squares and openings, but our attention is caught by a chapel high up on the mountain slope











For six euros we start ascending through ancient fortifications, balestrieras and slippery steps polished by millions of different shoes as we get to the Lady of Health, a beautiful chapel with amazing views of the whole fiord!














As the light is slowly dimming, we return to the old town for dinner after an amazing day of riding and discovery






Last edited by GR rider; 06-17-2019 at 11:59 AM.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 06:00 AM Thread Starter
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The next day we move eastwards towards the Muslim sector of Bosnia, with Mostar as our primary objective, through a delightful route crossing the Bosnian wine route. As we arrive in the city we are looking for the old town with the famous bridge built by Suleiman the Magnificent always in our minds, despite it recently been rebuilt to its former glory after the end of the Bosnian civil wars. We are happy to find dedicated motorcycle parking and equipment storage and we are about to find out that Mostar is more than a carte postale.

The bridge essentially connects two paved ottoman bazaars with small shops and vendors, food and drink, and an authentic oriental atmosphere with traditional mosques, flowers and even period outfits. Standing at the arches’ apex are divers brave enough to plunge into the green-blue waters from such height and the whole scene justifies the fame of this bridge as a miracle of aesthetics and mechanics.





















And something good to eat, the best cevapi in the world!

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 06:01 AM Thread Starter
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An excellent start to our day then but it’s now time to reenter Croatia in order to spend our night at Makarska, a picturesque bay / summer resort on the Adriatic coast and with something special in our mind for next morning







I’ve ridden through the Italian, Swiss, French, Austrian, even the Transylvanian Alps through the years so for this year I was looking for something similar yet different at the same time, and I managed to find it in the form of the Dinaric Alps.

Sveti Jure or Saint George’s Pass is the highest paved road in Croatia and as an extra bonus it starts inside the Biokovo National Park, before launching up to almost two kilometers of altitude towards the top. That sounds great by itself yet the big difference is the fact that riders have the sea literally by their side, although quite a bit lower, during the whole route to the top of the mountain!

So we start to climb just outside Makarska before turning left at the entrance of the Biokovo National Park where we pay a six euro entrance fee. Very soon we find ourselves inside an amazing pine tunnel that later turns into an amazing helical ascend with great views of the Adriatic coast









The middle part of the park and our route is a rough plateau with amazing flora somehow spawning out of bare rock, wild horses and unique species of wildflowers, but the absolute best part begins while approaching the top and the medieval chapel of Saint George. The road is very narrow, barely wide enough for a car, the incline very steep and the surface slippery and difficult and while approaching every blind, breathtaking corner you get ever so closer to the edge of the chasm below!
The top is almost always in my line of sight and with good rhythm and caution I am climbing higher and higher and I feel like flying, with the sunny weather on my side, and when I finally reach the summit it’s like parking my bike on the heavens!

After this exhilarating ride the unique views are there to amaze and relax me, with the whole ridge of the Dinaric Alps stretching over the blue of the Adriatic and the horizon lost into infinity. All the magic of motorcycle riding and travelling in a nutshell!













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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 06:02 AM Thread Starter
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After this amazing start to our day we continue northwards towards the infamous Croatian Plitvice lakes. For once we choose the motorway partly in order to save time for the lake park and partly because the Croatian motorways are excellent and the one we ride on passes through the Sibenik bridge with the amazing views. The weather is again beautiful and we get to the park early afternoon. The hotel is at a nearby village so I can dress lightly and leave my bike and helmet at the free parking facility before discovering a place for which I’ve heard so much through the years and I was eager to see with my own eyes. The entrance fee is 22 euros and it includes a boat ride and a bus ride as the park is vast.

Imagine lakes, large lakes, medium lakes, small lakes into the deepest, greenest forest, connected to each other with dozens different kinds of waterfalls and yourself walking above the waters on wooden passageways or right next to the waterfalls on dirt trails!













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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 06:04 AM Thread Starter
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The whole place is unique and awesome, the Croats have made an excellent job for the visitor and just when you think you’ve seen it all, you finally see the great, fifty meters tall waterfall rumbling down a huge chasm and the green waterfall/hills and you know that only God could ever create such a marvel!

An exquisite experience that will never be forgotten

















The next day I headed for Belgrade in Serbia, my Balkan base where I had a good time with my friends there before returning back to Greece, very pleased and very happy after another ride of a lifetime on my beloved Er6-n.







As I always say, now is your turn, just decide it and go on a motorcycle trip, it will change your life!
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 06:52 PM
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You have some pretty awesome pictures there. Looks like a blast.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 03:17 AM
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Simply amazing. Well done mate. Great photos and write up.
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