2023 Balkan

Lukas, Paul and me had been talking about a joint cycling tour for years, but every summer we face the issue of finding a week where all three of us have spare vacation time. We had the same issue this year, but we could at least find 4 days for a joint trip. I could extend this by ten days for a full 2 weeks of cycling.


Map of south-eastern europe showing my route. Starting from southern hungary it leads through Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and ends in North Macedonia.

We boarded the train from Vienna to Szeged on monday, August the 14th, where we arrived in the late afternoon.
Our first stop was Ada, Serbia. On the second day we continued along river Tisa and reached Novi Sad, entering the city through its land fill. The next day we crossed the hills south of the Danube, passed though Sremska Mitrovica from where we followed river Save down to Šabac. From there my 2 companions returned by bus to Vienna and I continued to ride south on my own.

Waiting at the hungaro-serbian border.
Passing a shepherd with his sheep
Climbing our first mountain.
Paul emerging from the shrubbery, pushing his bike.
Paul staring at a huge plate filled with grilled meat and sausages.
Lukas crossing the bridge over river Save in Sremska Mitrovica.Paul and Lukas rolling on the dam along river Tisa.

The next days I crossed a lot of mountains, visited the cities Valjevo, Kosjeric, Užice, Zlatibor and Nova Varoš. I crossed the border to Montenegro on a gravel road in the Kamena Gora nature reservation area between two hail storms. I stayed one night in Berane in Montenegro and the following day I crossed the mountains to Albania and went down the Cemi and Kiri valleys to Shkodra.

Gravel roads near Valjevo
Crossing a stream.
Women selling flowers in Užice.
Panorama picture of Užice.
Landscape near Zlatibor.
The skyline of Zlatibor. Highrise hotels, some still under construction, in the middle of a serene landscape.
Mountains and the sun bursting through thick clouds.
Fog lingering in a valley near Nova Varoš.
Washed out gravel road in a misty forest.
Roadside covered with hailstones.
Valley near Berane.
2 construction workers replacing wood beams on a bridge in the albanian mountains.
My bike at the roadside on my descent down the Cemi valley to Tamarë.
Serpentines in the albanian north.

I stayed a night each at the beaches at Shëngjin, Spille, and Darzez. Then I returned inland to Berat and went through Elbasan to Struga at lake Ohrid in North Makedonia. From there I paid the neighboring lake Prespa a visit and returned to Vienna on sunday, August 28th by an 18 hour bus ride.

Pictore of the road. a truck passes a couple that is leading a cow.
Town square of Kavaje. There's cars, palm trees, a mosque, a church tower and a fountain.
Panoramic image of a beach bar in the pine forrest at Spille.
Gravel road leading to Spille.
Street market in Gosë
Bridge with very bad surface.
Sandy road at Darzez beach in the Pishë Poro natural reservation area.
Hut at Darzez beach.
100% steel bridge.
Forrest fires on a hill near Berat.
Railroad bridge.
Fishing men on a concrete pier at lake Ohrid.
Cows on the mountain road from lake Ohrid to lake Prespa.
My bike getting a proper wash at the end of a demanding journey.


I opted for minimal gear for this trip. Only one set of cycling garment, wind- and rain jackets, and one set of civil clothing. I took no camping equipment with me. This allowed me to use only a saddle back, a frame back and a small upper-tube back on my Cannondale Topstone.


Duration: 13 days cycling + 1 day bus ride
Distance cycled: 1400 km
Altitude gained: 15000 m
Highest temperature recorded by my cycling computer: 43° Celsius
Number of hailstorms: 2


This collection on Komoot contains all planned routes of my trip.

Here's a list of my rides I tracked on Strava: