'MOVING TO ITALY' ROAD TRIP: SERBIA, CROATIA AND SLOVENIA

Sharing our road trip experience from a more logistical point of view: Covid requirements, costs and itinerary



This is a slightly different article than what we used to do, as none of this countries were actually in plan, but, considering the actual travel situation, we thought it might be useful for others to share our experience.


Our trip came actually quite unexpected, as we needed to move to Italy on a short notice so we had to bring our car and all the sports gear over there. However, we wanted to make the most out of it so we planned some detours from the route in order to enjoy the countries we were transiting.


We`re not gonna get into too many details about any of the countries but we will focus on the logistical stuff instead.


Covid situation in Europe for summer 2021?


This is probably the most asked question of the moment and as you probably know, things change all the time. However, starting from July 1st 2021, travel became a bit more relaxed in Europe, due to the Green Pass or EU Digital Covid Certificate. More about it here.

Basically, this pass is just a standard format for the proof of: vaccination, negative PCR or recovered from Covid 19.

However, the pass is not mandatory and other forms of the 3 conditions are still accepted.


Requirements to enter Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia


As mentioned above, the EU digital pass applies to most of the countries from EU, that including Croatia and Slovenia.

So, in order to enter there 2 countries, technically you have to fulfil one of the 3 conditions or be in transit for not more than 12 hrs.


Serbia is slightly different as it is not part of EU but it still accepts the vaccination certificates from few countries, including Romania. However, if your country is not on their list, you can still travel if you have a negative PCR or you are just transiting for not more than 12 hrs.


However, we noticed that, when travelling by car, the officers tend to be less strict and no one actually asked for anything expect for the IDs. We don`t know if it was just us or it is a normal procedure.


Apart from that, you will need your regular documents, that being passport or national ID card, if you are from EU.


However, we strongly recommend checking up with the embassies before going.

Also, for Romanians, more info can be found on MAE , although the information is not always up to date.


Piran from the drone

Border control


Passing the border between EU countries is pretty straight forward in general but it can get annoying when you pass from one EU country to a non - EU country.


Our experience:

Romania - Serbia -- quite a long queue, waiting time was about 1,5 hrs, superficial check of the

the luggage ( however, that depends on luck )

Serbia - Croatia -- even a longer queue, waiting time almost 2 hrs, pretty much the same

conditions as before

Croatia - Slovenia -- we kind of avoided the crowds using a new and small border point

suggested by Google Maps: Podgorje

The good side was that we were the only ones there so it took

literally 5 minutes to pass; the bad side was that the officer was extremely

rude

Slovenia - Italy -- Trieste border point: actually there is no border over there


Plitvice lakes

Our itinerary


Bucharest - Drobeta Turnu Severin - Belgrade - Zagreb - Plitvice Lakes - Senj - Rijeka - Piran - Isola - Koper - Bergamo


Total driving time: about 18 hrs


Number of days: 5,5 days


Highway costs: approximately 45 Euros out of which 26 Euros was only Trieste - Bergamo highway


Cost of fuel: cheaper in Romania, Serbia and Slovenia; more expensive in Croatia and Italy


Points of interest along the way


The Danube Gorge ( Cazanele Dunarii )

Belgrade

Zagreb

Plitvice lakes

Croatian coast from Senj to Rijeka

Piran

Koper

Isola


The Danube Gorge


Rock Sculpture of Decebalus (Chipul lui Decebal)

The road from Portile de Fier border to Serbia along the Danube is really picturesque and is worth seeing, if you have the chance.

The view from the Serbian side is actually better and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the way which have very decent prices.

The road along the gorges is pretty long and you have plenty of occasions to enjoy the view.

On top of that, you have Golubac Fortress, which is made of multiple14th-century compounds built into a cliff along the Danube River, open for public tours.


Belgrade



Belgrade was a nice surprise for us and it came as a handy pit stop, being half way between the Serbian border and Zagreb ( our next stop ).

We only spent few hours there, went for some lunch, ice-cream and some bike tour around the city.

The city centre is really cool and vibrant, with plenty of cafes and restaurants.

We also climbed to the Belgrade Fortress, which has a nice park around it.


Zagreb



Although is not so famous as the other Croatian cities down the coast, Zagreb is a nice place to chill and have long walks. It has many bars, cafes, restaurants and a lot of nice boutique shops, so wandering the streets it is just perfect.


The city itself looks very similar to cities from Czech Republic and Poland and it is built on hills so you can always find nice views.


Both the Upper Town and Lower Town worth visiting and we would definitely recommend an accommodation near these.

Among the usual attractions are: St. Mark Church, the Museum of broken relationships, Mirogoj cemetery, Oktogon passage.


A nice bar to enjoy an evening with a view: A`E.


Plitvice Jezera



One of the symbols of Croatia and a really unique place in Europe, on condition not to be too crowded. :)

There are few trails that can be done, all mostly flat, based on distance and the best times to skip the crowds are early morning and afternoon till closure.

We did trail C, which has about 8 km and went in the second part of the day, which was a great decision, as we got to have the park for ourselves for about half an hour, just before the closing time.

The operating hours and cost of the tickets can be seen here.

Also, more information about the trails can be found on this blog.


Croatian coast



We got to experience a bit of the Croatian coast on the way to Slovenia, from Senj to Rijeka, and we must say it was really cool, so if you get the chance, give it a try!

There is not much to say about it as we were just in transit.

However, we made a lunch stop in Rijeka and we fully recommed the restaurant we`ve been to: Na Kantunu tavern, right next to the harbour.


Piran



This small town was the highlight of our trip!

Located on a very small peninsula in the Adriatic sea, this vibrant place is the best combination between Italy and Slovenia, with the perfect seaside touch.

As you can see in the picture, the town is not big at all and can be easily explored in few hours.

The view at sunset from St. George's Parish Church is a must, though.

There are plenty of seafood restaurants and we highly recommend trying them!

If you are coming by care, beware that the parking spaces are pretty limited. However, there are few paid parkings around the town which cost about 20 Euros a day and some B&Bs have an almost 50% discount. We stayed in Miracolo di Mare Retro B&B and we only paid 10 Euros a day.

The only downside is that the accommodations are extremely expensive during the summer, around 120 -150 Euros a night for a basic room, so we strongly advise to book at least 3-4 weeks in advance.


Koper





Koper and Isola are two other towns on the Slovenian coast, very close to Piran. So, if you are in the area, it is worth seeing them. They are connected through a very nice bike path on the seaside so, if you get the chance, try it! It is only 8 km and is completely flat, so anyone can do it!




Next, feel free to have a look at our photo gallery, shot with our Sony A7III ( Zeiss 55 mm and Sony 135 mm GM ) and our DJI Mavic Air drone.


Plitvice lower lakes


Plitvice higher lakes

Plitvice lower lakes

Plitvice lower lakes

Lower lakes

Higher lakes

Lower lakes

Lower lakes

Lower lakes

Piran main square

Piran overview from St. George's Parish Church

Piran harbour

Sailing on the Adriatic sea ( Piran view )

Piran city center

Streets of Piran

Adriatic sea from Piran


Still Piran :)

Koper harbour


Biking on the streets of Isola

Krk island from Senj

Zagreb streets

St. Mark church, Zagreb

Danube Gorges from the Serbian side

Belgrade


Danube Gorges

Belgrade city center

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