Some road trips we make to get familiar with a region (e.g. South Ireland) or a country (New Zealand), or a bunch of countries (Balkans, Baltic countries). Some road trips we make just to drive and get lost in a new place, or for the sake of driving and enjoying the scenery. But there are road trips which have a single purpose – to get you at a certain place, to fulfill a mission, to transport you from A to B so you can reach your goals in B.
Skoda road trip turned out to be a goal- and mission-oriented road trip. Some months ago, probably the biggest Skoda fan and a friend of ours placed the question: “Would you like to go together to the Skoda factory in Czech Republic?”. We knew instantly that this could evolve into the ultimate road trip through some Balkan and Central European countries. So we planned this amazing route and there was one thing left to do – the road trip itself!
Our route in words would look like this:
Bulgaria – Serbia – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Croatia – Slovenia – Austria – Czech Republic – Slovakia – Hungary – Croatia – Serbia – Bulgaria
Sofia was the start and end point. We passed transit Serbia, Austria, and Hungary. Although we still had our moments in those countries – the big flee market right next to the highway in Serbia, crossing the Alps in snow and wind in Austria, buying a kilo of waffles in a shop in Hungary. In all the other countries we have experienced much more. The highlights of every day will follow.
Highlights day by day
Day 1: Sofia – Višegrad – Sarajevo
We started at 5 a.m. to avoid waiting lines at the border. We almost did. Then passed different Serbian towns, some of them having pink taxis (maybe we need more sleep). At the border with Bosnia, right in the middle of the mountains, we had to wait a decent amount of time, and then pay a small entrance fee – we were entering a national park.
A lot of road signs named Republika Srpska were present. Later we learned that’s one of the entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We passed Višegrad with its famous bridge and reached Sarajevo in the early afternoon. Sarajevo was the biggest surprise – multicultural, multi-religious, bustling, full of energy and that mixed international and cool vibe I usually crave for.
It was summer in there, heat and ćevapi (Bosnian kebab) – later it turned to light rain and ćevapi. For vegetarians, there is plenty of bread and onions.
Day 2: Sarajevo – Titov Bunker – Mostar – Blagaj – Dubrovnik
Today we had to leave Sarajevo to visit a very off-the-beaten-path attraction – a bunker of the Yugoslavian leader Tito and his team. The whole place has a very interesting story of how it was found. You can arrange your visit here.
Then we met and fell in love with the charming town of Mostar. Then we continued to Blagaj to see the hidden jewel of Blagai and the Dervish house. It got way too touristy and we recommend visiting it, only if you have plenty of time in Herzegovina. Yes, everything since Titov Bunker is already in the region of Herzegovina.
Then we witnessed the most beautiful sunset over the Adriatic sea. Just like that – on the road. This gave us some energy to prepare for a long wait at the Croatian border.
Dubrovnik was the most challenging parking experience. Ever. No damage though.
Day 3: Dubrovnik – Split – Plitvice Lakes
Mesmerizing views from our terrace overlooking the Old Town of Dubrovnik and some rain woke us up. We hurried to take a decent walk in between the City Walls. It was Easter Sunday so all the plazas and tiny streets were bustling with live performances, dancing and singing, egg-painting, etc.
We proceeded north to Split, passing two borders – there’s a piece of land that belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina, kissing the sea. This was the fastest border crossing so far. Split had its own way of charming us – somehow in between the many storms we experienced on this day along the Adriatic coast.
Day 4: Plitvice Lakes – Bled
Plitvice Lakes are magical! We could walk for hours, sail with their boats forever, still not having enough time to contemplate them to the fullest!
Later we had the time to contemplate 3 hours of waiting at the Slovenian border. Yes, the last vacation day of the Easter holidays. The peaceful and full of view Bled compensated for the waiting, not to mention the delicious Slovenian food!
Day 5: Bled – transit Austria – Prague
Day 5 started with the peaceful and green Bled. Then the long journey through Austria was accompanied by hail, wind, rain and snow – “typical” spring weather. Cold Prague greeted us with its ever-young atmosphere and wide choice of good beer.
Prague is so charming – day or night, summer or winter – I understand why so many people return there every year, or relocate there!
Day 6: Skoda day – Prague – Mlada Boleslav – Prague
Big day today! The day we completed our Skoda factory and museum mission. The best stuff about producing Skoda cars is top secret and not possible to be photographed. There was amazing production in progress in the Skoda factory. Lots of heavy machinery, lots of people on the production line, and lots of old beautiful rides in the museum.
And here’s a official video of things we experienced first-hand.
Day 7: Prague – Brno – Bratislava
Brno was so cold, we had to walk for 10 mins and then spend 50 in a nice salad bar.
Mission number one in Bratislava, also our biggest hope, was to verify there’s nothing in common between real Bratislava and Bratislava from the movie “Road trip” (2000). So here it is, the way it looks like in the movie.
We could relax, as Bratislava is not so scary after all! The capital welcomes fans of walks in old towns, cool views from above (UFO landed some years ago), and beer
Day 8: Bratislava – transit Hungary – Zagreb
Weather was smiling at us at the end of our road trip. Last city to visit – Zagreb – from old town to new town, last ride on Friday with tram number 13. Pure luck
Day 9: Zagreb – transit Serbia – Sofia
Road trips are so much fun for all those moments on the road, too. Someone is sleeping and snoring? Someone is trying to hide from the camera? Let’s find out what happened behind the scenes of our Skoda road trip, while we’re on our way back to Sofia.
Statistics and practical info
We drove 4100 km. Verified by both of the drivers. We drove through 8 different countries. We slept in 7 different places. For all of them we paid attention that they have parking included or at least available.
Our accommodation was private apartments, hotels and hostels, 8 nights for 4 people, with overnight parking fee included, costed 643 EUR.
Our car used 300 liters of fuel which costed about 357 EUR.
Here are all the toll taxes, vignette taxes, parking fees we paid during the trip.
- Serbia Batochina toll 3.5 EUR
- Serbia – BIH border 1 EUR
- BIH – after Sarajevo 2.50 BAM
- BIH – Blagaj parking 4 BAM
- Croatia – Dubrovnik parking 40 HRK
- Croatia – toll before Split 7 EUR
- Croatia – Split parking 5 EUR
- Croatia – toll after Split – 11.40 EUR
- Croatia – toll after Karlovac – 19 HRK
- Croatia – toll before Slovenian border – 1 EUR
- Slovenia – vignette – 15 EUR
- Slovenia – Austria – Karavanke tunnel – 7.20 EUR
- Austria – vignette – 8.90 EUR
- Austria – tunnel – 11.5 EUR
- Czech – parking Prague – 420 CZK
- Czech – parking Brno – 50 CZK
- Slovakia – parking Bratislava 3.50 EUR
- Hungary – vignette – 11.89 EUR
- Croatia – toll before Zagreb – 6 EUR
- Croatia – toll before Serbian border – 17.30 EUR
- Serbia – toll before Belgrade – 6.50 EUR
- Serbia – toll before Pirot – 3.50 EUR