Motorbike Road Trip Through Croatia – 3 Weeks on the Balkan

Motorbike Road Trip Through Croatia – 3 Weeks on the Balkan

Slovenia

In June, I finally went to a country that has been on my bucket list forever: Croatia! The reason for my trip was the dancing festival Summer Sensual Days in Rovinj.

Start: Treviso

The original plan was to drive to Rovinj by motorbike with a dear friend of mine. Unfortunately, I was forced to stay a few days longer in Germany, which is why I had to change the plan and fly to Treviso where my friend picked me up. Since there are relatively cheap flights with Ryanair to this airport I can recommend you taking a look at flight there when you want to travel to Croatia, too. From there, it’s easy to take a bus to the Balkan.

Stop: Triest

Die On our five-hour drive from Treviso to Rovinj, we stopped only once to check out Triest. The Italian city is super close to the Slovenian border and absolutely worth the stop. Have a gelato at Piazza d’Unita where you have the grandiose ostentatious palazzi on one side and the sea on the other for a very special experience. Have a stroll through the alleys and discover the hidden gems like a Roman theater that is simply waiting next to a pathway as if it was the most normal thing in a city. That’s how I like sightseeing.

Sonnenuntergang Triest

Conclusion: It’s definitely worth a stop!

Station #1: Rovinj

Rovinj is a real gem. The old town rises on a peninsula and the Basilica of St. Euphemia is its highest point. The idyllic alleys have their very own charm. The view of the city from the other side is also fantastic: only the sea and the old town with its red roofs.

Rovinj vom Wasser aus

Conclusion: A picturesque city that I would like to explore again. I’ll come back next year and hopefully stay a bit longer.

Station #2: Plitvice Lakes

The Plitvice Lakes (Croatian Plitvička Jezera) were one of my absolute highlights. For me, the turquoise blue water in contrast to the wooden bridges is the epitome of peace. Although it was a busy day the crowds were still manageable. But I only admired the big main waterfall from afar. When I saw how many people went there and since I had already been to several much bigger waterfalls like Iguaçu and the Niagara Falls, I decided to skip the big waterfall.

Stege an den Plitvicer Seen

Conclusion: One of my absolute highlights!

Station #3: Zadar

Zadar was another highlight: We rented a boat (careful, sport boat driving licence necessary) and made a day trip. We had chosen a not so calm day for our exploration of the Kornati Islands and got some splashes of water, but apart from the crossing from the mainland to the archipelago, the sea was relatively calm.

Brücke Kornaten bei Zadar

Conclusion: A boat tour makes the trip to the oldest continuously inhabited city of Croatia perfect!

Stop: Split

Split may be a beautiful city. But I personally felt oppressed by the crowds and could not really enjoy the almost two millennia old buildings. When we wanted to relax at the promenade at the edge of the old town, football fans (it was the time of the World Cup, but on that day there was no game) came and went completely crazy: glasses and bottles burst, there was a loud roar and Bengalos were ignited, whose cloud of smoke followed us. This is not my idea of a pleasant break from motorcycling. To make matters worse, on our return we discovered that our jackets had been stolen. That sucks! We went to the only motorcycle shop that was still open according to Google: A Harley Shop! Since the jackets there exceeded our budget a little bit, the extremely friendly owner recommended a second hand shop only five minutes away. There were actually motorcycle jackets and by some miracle exactly one in my size and one in the size of my travel companion. So we started the last stage of the day with two hours delay.

Altstadt Split

Conclusion: One day I’ll give Split another chance, but on this trip it was a stop I would rather like to forget.

Station #4: Mostar

Did you ever have a place on your bucket list for years? A specific place, not a country or a region. And then suddenly you’re standing right where all the beautiful photos on Instagram have been taken. When we arrived in Mostar that evening several hours late, I was almost moved to tears. To see the world-famous bridge from the garden of our Airbnb was simply magnificent. The next morning I even got out very early to take a picture of it during sunrise. So I almost had the bridge to myself!

Alte Brücke Mostar

Conclusion: A dream came true and I am glad that we took this detour!

Station #5: Dubrovnik

I was really looking forward to Dubrovnik. Unfortunately we lived a little outside and always had to go by motorbike to the old town 15 minutes away. That is what we did the first evening and the following morning. Here, too, it really was worth getting up early. The picturesque streets of the Croatian capital are usually so crowded that you can hardly get through. At 6 o’clock in the morning there is already an astonishing amount of people around, but it is no comparison to the crowds from 8 AM until late at night.

Dubrovnik von oben

Conclusion: Photogenic city, but except early in the morning too crowded for my taste.

Station #6: Trogir

I had never heard of Trogir before. I was all the more surprised when I saw with my own eyes how beautiful this small town on a little island is. You can walk around the whole island in only 15 minutes. So there is not much to do. There is a small fortress and the alleys of the old town where you can have a relaxing stroll. Trogir is a fantastic place to get lost and take nice photos.

Die Gassen von Trogir

Conclusion: Perfect for a few days of relaxation!

Stop: Krka National Park

Is there actually a word for the opposite of highlight? Then I would like to use it for Krka National Park. Yes, the waterfalls are nice, but in my opinion this park is a tourist trap. The entrance fee is almost 30 euros and all you can do is walk along the plank (which is not as beautiful as the one in Plitvice) along a river, which leads you to two waterfalls at the end. The other waterfalls can only be seen from a boat, which costs an additional 30 euros. Everything per person, of course. Nice! Then they advertise that you can swim in front of the waterfalls. Yeah, that’s right. Unfortunately, when I was there, it was so crowded that you couldn’t even get to the water. It may be a little more bearable in low season. Also, my friend I was there with thinks I just wasn’t in a good mood. Yes, even travel bloggers sometimes have a bad day.

Krka Nationalpark

Conclusion: Tourist trap! I’m never going there again!

Station #7: Senj

We just spent the night here. The place looked very cute from our roof terrace of the AirBnB. But that’s all I can say about the place itself. On the way to Senj we stopped in a small village by the sea to fill our hungry stomachs and watch the sunset. Two elderly gentlemen came by and asked us if we were looking for a place to stay. So if you’re in the area and you haven’t booked anything: No problem! You’ll soon find something here.

Station #8: Ljubljana

Ljubljana was my first encounter with Slovenia. This country has also been on my bucket list for a loooong time. And the way from Senj to the Slovenian capital… This is probably the dream of every motorcyclist in Europe. Wonderfully rolling hills and valley landscapes with picturesque villages that lie along quietly rippling streams. The city itself is relatively small, so you could probably explore the old town in one afternoon. But I think it deserves a little more time. So next time I would like to stay a little longer.

Gassen in Ljubljana

Conclusion: A nice city, in which I could perhaps imagine to spend a few weeks.

Station #9: Bled

Bled was together with Mostar my absolute highlight. Because I really wanted to photograph the famous island in Lake Bled. So already in the evening, we started looking for a suitable place from which we could take pictures of the sunrise the next morning. We found a nice spot and came back at 5:45 after a short night. I was worried because it was pretty cloudy but in the end the sunrise was simply magical.

Sonnenaufgang Bled

Conclusion: Another highlight. I am very happy that we changed our plans and stayed here for one night.

Station #10: Chiemsee

On our last station I was a little tired. From the long and for me somewhat unusual way of travelling. But we did not want to miss the last sunset. So we drove to the Chiemsee and enjoyed the evening air after having a typical Bavarian meal. It was a worthy end to our three-week journey.

Sonnenuntergang Chiemsee

Conclusion: An ideal stop on the way back to Germany.

The time in the Balkans flew by and I am almost sure that next year I will do the tour like this again. Because the Summer Sensual Days will take place again in June and I definitely want to be there. And who knows? Maybe then I can take more time for some of the places and also explore one or the other, which we had to leave out on this journey. The Balkans still has a lot to offer…

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City Cruising on the Danube – 7 Days on a River Cruise With A-ROSA

City Cruising on the Danube – 7 Days on a River Cruise With A-ROSA

Slovenia

(Advertisement) Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest… What sounds like a cool city trip to some amazing capitals in Europe, is part of the A-ROSA Danube Classics Tour. I’m completely hooked for cruises since I went on the Nomad Cruise, so at some point, I had the idea of doing a river cruise. That’s why I was really happy to get the invitation to cruise the Danube with A-ROSA.

Meeting Point Passau

I arrived in Passau on the day before our departure and spent a night in this picturesque German city. In the afternoon I met my fellow bloggers who have also been invited to come on this press trip.

NOMAD TIP

I was working in a café called Kowalski until it was time to leave for the trip.

At the central station of Passau I then met Corinna (Aussteigen Bitte!) and the other participants. Except Julia (Globusliebe), who couldn’t make it in time to Passau because of a delayed train. She joined us on the next day in Vienna.

Departure From Engelhartszell

The cruise started in an Austrian village called Engelhartszell. The sun was shining and the sky was blue when we were on deck and listened to the A-ROSA song.

We had 579 kilometers with ten locks ahead of us.

Then we had time to explore the ship: I especially liked the fitness and wellness area. This is where I did my daily workout in the mornings. From the sauna and the relaxation room, you have a fantastic view.

The only bad news was: Internet on board wasn’t really working – except when anchoring! So, for all nomads who want to cruise over the Danube: Take a digital detox for the whole week or prepare to be able to work only when anchoring or being on land! That’s why I added a Wi-Fi spot for every stop. So you don’t have to search for a place.

First Stop: Vienna

The next morning, I woke up early. So I could see the sunrise from my cabine

I have been to Vienna in 2011, which is why I liked the sightseeing tour that we did, but I didn’t go crazy to see all those places like the St. Stephen’s Dome again. If you have never been to Vienna, the tour will be perfect for you.

What really blew my mind was the Justizpalast (the Palace of Justice aka. the Court House, which you can see in the photo) and the University. The buildings are super impressive from the inside as from the outside and I think they are both secret photo spots. If you make it to the Court House don’t forget to check out the café on the roof top terrace. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it up there since we were thrown out because they didn’t like us to take the photos. If you want to take them: Be careful so that the security staff doesn’t see you!

NOMAD TIP

In Vienna, there is a coworking space called Loffice. I met the founder of this small chain in Budapest so I really wanted to check out their space in Vienna. If you prefer to work from a café, my friend and expert for Vienna Bettina (WeBound Marketing) a place called Cocoquadrat.

Second Stop: Esztergom

The second stop brought me back to Hungary. So far, I had only been to Budapest. Now, I got to know Esztergom. The Basilica is the biggest one in the whole country: an impressive building, which seems to watch over the entire region upon its hill.

(SLIGHTLY IRONICAL) NOMAD TIP

There is Wi-Fi in the Basilica And it’s working quite well. I haven’t done a speed test but it was fast enough to post on Instagram while I was in there.

Third Stop: Budapest

When I say the name of the city, my voice is full of love: Budapest! What an amazing capital… Right before my trip with A-ROSA I had spent three beautiful weeks here. That’s why, again, the city tour brought me to places that I already knew – although I still love them! One of my favorites is the Fisherman’s Bastion with the Matthias Church in Buda.

That’s why I decided to return on the next morning to see the sun rise over Pest for one last time. And it was spectacular:

After a quick breakfast on board of A-ROSA Bella we went on another tour: The Chef took us on a shopping tour through the market and afterwards I went with Julia to the Basilica.

It’s 600 Forint (around 2 Euro) to get up on the main tower to enjoy the panorama view. If you don’t like to take the stairs – just use the elevator!

Up there, this fantastic view is waiting for you::

After that, we went back on board to enjoy the nice weather: Check out my private instagram channel @barbara_riedel to see a photo of me in the pool.

NOMAD TIP

My absolute favorite place to work was Café Magvető! Great vibe, super friendly owner, and they have fast Wi-Fi and power plugs.

Forth Stop: Bratislava

Bratislava is the secret pearl of that region! The tour through the old town was super interesting.

But what I enjoyed most was the view over the city from the castle.

NOMAD TIP

Check out ImpactHub Bratislava! A super cute coworking space in the heart of the city only 10 minutes walking from the castle. Perfect to combine work and pleasure!

Fifth Stop: Melk

Melk Abbey is a UNESCO heritage site in Austria. It’s a super impressive buidling from the inside but most of all from the outside. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s worth the entrance fee.

You are not allowed to take photos from the inside, which is why I recommend you to just enjoy the Abbey from the outside and go back to the ship then. Wi-Fi will be better since everybody else will be gone…

Return to Passau

After an exciting week, we returned to Engelhartszell where everything had started. We took our transfer back to Passau where we had to say goodbye. And while everybody else was going home – I was moving on to my next destination: Bucharest!

My Conclusion?

The cruise was amazing – the destinations were great and the press trip group was just awesome! I do admit that it would have been strange though to be there without my fellow travel bloggers. The age of the “normal passengers” was several decades above ours. Still, I would go on the tour again, anytime, and would be super happy to be back on board of a ship by A-ROSA.

PS:  A-ROSA invited me on the trip over the Danube. I didn’t get any financial compensation. My opinion is not influenced but my own.

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

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