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View Full Version : Greece to the UK - Overland or Ferry?



clarkpeacock
22-10-2016, 15:15
Hello all.

We have been in Greece for the last 3 months, having been on the road since the end of February travelling through France, Portugal, Spain, France again, Italy and then ferry to Greece.

No particular time scale now for returning to the UK, except that the MOT on the van is due mid February, but we are starting to put some thought to planning a route home. We have been to Greece many times before by motorhome and car, but always used ferries from Italy as the final link. Thinking now about driving overland back through the Balkans and wondering if anyone here has done that route in late autumn/ early winter?

Thoughts are;

What would be the best route?
Any particular areas to avoid?
Weather conditions at that time of year? (I forgot to bring the snow chains!)

Thanks all.

By the way - currently parked at Ancient Olympia ready for a visit tomorrow and it is raining. Summer is over!!

jeffmossy
22-10-2016, 15:23
I envy you . That is our goal one day 6 months in southern Greece, its like going back to the 70s sooooo relaxing and noooo stress ;)

witzend
22-10-2016, 17:31
http://www.wildcamping.co.uk/forums/germany/39734-towards-greece-routing-germany.html?highlight=rotti

http://www.wildcamping.co.uk/forums/greece/39687-towards-greece-via-east-germany.html?highlight=rotti

http://www.wildcamping.co.uk/forums/greece/24352-landline-greece-via-serbia-some-details.html?highlight=rotti

Bernd has shared his routes thru the Balkans check his other posts I've post a few

clarkpeacock
22-10-2016, 17:40
http://www.wildcamping.co.uk/forums/germany/39734-towards-greece-routing-germany.html?highlight=rotti

http://www.wildcamping.co.uk/forums/greece/39687-towards-greece-via-east-germany.html?highlight=rotti

http://www.wildcamping.co.uk/forums/greece/24352-landline-greece-via-serbia-some-details.html?highlight=rotti

Bernd has shared his routes thru the Balkans check his other posts I've post a few

Useful stuff - Thanks Witzend.

I will search through Bernds posts over the coming days. We are travelling with our dog, so his posts seem particularly relevant.

clarkpeacock
22-10-2016, 17:44
I envy you . That is our goal one day 6 months in southern Greece, its like going back to the 70s sooooo relaxing and noooo stress ;)

Just do it! Life is short......

rottiontour
22-10-2016, 18:34
Hi,
Ancient Olympia is not too far away from Ancient Corinthos:)....is it still raining? Hope the shxx coming from west will be over soon. Tomorrow sun again we will dry the dogs.
I made the Balkans in mid Nov and mid Feb.

1. What would be the best route?
2. Any particular areas to avoid?
3. Weather conditions at that time of year? (I forgot to bring the snow chains!)

1.....Depending on what you want. The worst road conditions are in Bulgaria and Albania.
There is one perfect road through Albania via Ioannina/Kalpaki-Girokaster-Fier-Durres.You can make it from Greece to Montenegro within 6 hrs.
The coastal road in Croatia is beautiful, may be some strong winds in autumn/winter.
On this road you will leave EU area, that means an EU passport and a blood test for your dog is necessary.
Borders no problem. What about your car insurance?

In Austria winter tires are a must, i guess snow chains as well.

The highway through Mac and Serbia is ok, nearly 95% acceptable highway, modern filling stations, credit card system everywhere.
It is the easiest and fastest road. Good overnight possibilities all the year, but again you are leaving EU...may be good training:scared:....sorry, bad joke.

With all documents for the dog i would take the macedonian-serbian route to Belgrade and then turn into Hungary.
But to avoid blood test and high mountains i would prefer the Bulgarian portion.....Serres-Sofia is ok.....Sofia-Widin is a mess, many road constructions......Widin-Romania-Turn Severin-Arad-Szeged is ok, Hungary as well, this route is without high mountains and nobody cares about your tires, but....you never know the real weather conditions, might be ok, might be snow. We were lucky twice.

2. I personnally would not go to Kosovo, i think it is an political unstable region.
And for serbian routing i would cross the greece-macedonian border at Idomeni only on highway due to refugee situation in the woods. Other greek -mac border stations are ok.
The same for macedonian-serbian border, Kumanovo area was unsafe due to clashes of albanian UCK and macedonian police and i do not know the current situation. Highway is safe, we never had problems.
That means i would recommend to stay between Skopje and Vranje on highway.
Serbia is ok out of my point of view.
And if you have a black dog avoid muslim mosques (or areas) for the dog walk, it may create disturbances:lol-053:.

3......it depends.

Hope this helps......just now the rain is stopping in Ancient Corinthos, tomorrow sunny again.

Have fun
Bernd

chrismilo
22-10-2016, 19:36
I love driving to Greece usealy via Italy on the ferry done it from Venice 3days Ancona & Brindisi to Patra with the dog came back through land route last time Macedonia Serbia Croatia where we just had to spend a few weeks, Beware in Macedonia they still ask for green card insurance I didn't have one so was charged about £70 for a months insurance in there country even having explained i'm going straight through, all of 1 & 1/2 hours. Just to top that off I was stopped 2k from the border speeding I wasn't ! copper said 300 euros fine come back to the border I said noway iv'e done nothing with that he said 150 Euros & you can go I said don't have it, copper then said how many euros you got I said 40 he said i'll have that he gave me 10 back saying you'll need that for the tolls ! how generous. Don't tell my collegues he said but half mile up the road on the other side was his collegue doing the same.
Another point beware in Serbia with the dog the councils there spray poison on the laybys and motorway service park places to kill not sure rats most likely, My whippet was very ill one night I was later informed that's the done thing there.

clarkpeacock
23-10-2016, 06:06
Hi,
Ancient Olympia is not too far away from Ancient Corinthos:)....is it still raining? Hope the shxx coming from west will be over soon. Tomorrow sun again we will dry the dogs.
I made the Balkans in mid Nov and mid Feb.

1. What would be the best route?
2. Any particular areas to avoid?
3. Weather conditions at that time of year? (I forgot to bring the snow chains!)

1.....Depending on what you want. The worst road conditions are in Bulgaria and Albania.
There is one perfect road through Albania via Ioannina/Kalpaki-Girokaster-Fier-Durres.You can make it from Greece to Montenegro within 6 hrs.
The coastal road in Croatia is beautiful, may be some strong winds in autumn/winter.
On this road you will leave EU area, that means an EU passport and a blood test for your dog is necessary.
Borders no problem. What about your car insurance?

In Austria winter tires are a must, i guess snow chains as well.

The highway through Mac and Serbia is ok, nearly 95% acceptable highway, modern filling stations, credit card system everywhere.
It is the easiest and fastest road. Good overnight possibilities all the year, but again you are leaving EU...may be good training:scared:....sorry, bad joke.

With all documents for the dog i would take the macedonian-serbian route to Belgrade and then turn into Hungary.
But to avoid blood test and high mountains i would prefer the Bulgarian portion.....Serres-Sofia is ok.....Sofia-Widin is a mess, many road constructions......Widin-Romania-Turn Severin-Arad-Szeged is ok, Hungary as well, this route is without high mountains and nobody cares about your tires, but....you never know the real weather conditions, might be ok, might be snow. We were lucky twice.

2. I personnally would not go to Kosovo, i think it is an political unstable region.
And for serbian routing i would cross the greece-macedonian border at Idomeni only on highway due to refugee situation in the woods. Other greek -mac border stations are ok.
The same for macedonian-serbian border, Kumanovo area was unsafe due to clashes of albanian UCK and macedonian police and i do not know the current situation. Highway is safe, we never had problems.
That means i would recommend to stay between Skopje and Vranje on highway.
Serbia is ok out of my point of view.
And if you have a black dog avoid muslim mosques (or areas) for the dog walk, it may create disturbances:lol-053:.

3......it depends.

Hope this helps......just now the rain is stopping in Ancient Corinthos, tomorrow sunny again.

Have fun
Bernd

Thanks Bernd. Detailed and helpful post. Will have to give this some careful thought.

Sunny morning here, but we were moved on by the police again last night, so about 5 miles out of Olympia in a layby. We have been moved on from quite a few of the places we have stopped at this year - something new I think as it has never happened in previous years. Some of these have been long accepted as stopping places and listed in the 2016 Camperstop book such as Igoumenitsa, Lefkada and Astros beach. Never mind - there are still many more places to stop without disturbance!

Are you living in Greece? We have a home in Tolo, so spend most of the time there while in Greece, making shorter trips in the motorhome.

Thanks again

clarkpeacock
23-10-2016, 06:08
I love driving to Greece usealy via Italy on the ferry done it from Venice 3days Ancona & Brindisi to Patra with the dog came back through land route last time Macedonia Serbia Croatia where we just had to spend a few weeks, Beware in Macedonia they still ask for green card insurance I didn't have one so was charged about £70 for a months insurance in there country even having explained i'm going straight through, all of 1 & 1/2 hours. Just to top that off I was stopped 2k from the border speeding I wasn't ! copper said 300 euros fine come back to the border I said noway iv'e done nothing with that he said 150 Euros & you can go I said don't have it, copper then said how many euros you got I said 40 he said i'll have that he gave me 10 back saying you'll need that for the tolls ! how generous. Don't tell my collegues he said but half mile up the road on the other side was his collegue doing the same.
Another point beware in Serbia with the dog the councils there spray poison on the laybys and motorway service park places to kill not sure rats most likely, My whippet was very ill one night I was later informed that's the done thing there.

Thanks for the info.

Beginning to think the ferry might the easiest option - but we will see. If it wasn't for the MOT, I don't think we would bother coming back at all!

shaunr68
23-10-2016, 08:23
I can't add much to Bernd's excellent advice but just a few thoughts. We travelled down through the Balkans for a month on the way to Greece and stuck to largely a coastal route, taking an inland detour from Dubrovnik to see Mostar and Sarajevo, then dipping into Serbia before returning through across the impressive, mountainous Montenegro and hugging the coast down through Albania, dipping inland to see Lake Ohrid in Macedonia before crossing into Greece.

Route map:
Route Map | The Woolly Wanderers – A Motorhome Adventure (https://woollywanderers.wordpress.com/about/)

Insurance might be your biggest problem. Club Care insurance through the CCC were happy to provide us with a green card for 1 month travel through Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia. Kosovo is specifically excluded.

People are friendly everywhere. We had no problems whatsoever and crime rates are almost certainly lower than at home, though you do stick out like a sore thumb. We were a curiosity with kids, and adults too, waving as we passed. It can be a bit of a culture shock, some parts of Albania feel distinctly third world and we felt quite uncomfortable driving through Shkoder but over time we fell in love with Albania. The southern coast, the Albanian Riviera, is stunning. Driving standards are also very poor, apparently in Albania the car has only just made an appearance, the horse and cart being the standard mode of transport until about ten years ago. Hardly anybody has a driving licence and you can tell! Not much worse than Italian driving standards though, to be fair!

We travelled through the region in October and weather was fine, sunny but cool, sometimes t-shirt and shorts weather but the sea breeze meant a jumper was sometimes employed while walking the dogs on the beach and it was cool in the mountainous areas.

Road conditions - as above, poor in Albania but improvements are being made, often with EU money in case you're wondering where your taxes go!

As Bernd points out, you are leaving and re-entering the EU and some of the countries are unlisted for pet passport purposes, therefore if you have dogs (we had two with us) you must have them innoculated against rabies and blood tested at least 30 days later to show that they are free from rabies. This is recorded on their pet passport meaning the pet will be allowed to re-enter the EU from the unlisted country.

We had the option of the ferry to/from Italy of course, but had been to Italy several times before and wanted to take the adventurous route and see something new. We'd definitely go back. If you're in a hurry then I'd take the ferry but if you want to meander through the region for a few weeks or months I'd definitely recommend travelling overland.

Cheers
Shaun

October | 2014 | The Woolly Wanderers – A Motorhome Adventure (https://woollywanderers.wordpress.com/2014/10/)

witzend
23-10-2016, 09:14
Thanks for the info.

Beginning to think the ferry might the easiest option - but we will see. !

Yes that's what we thought and used the ferry from Venice to Igomenitsa camping on board, But I'm not sure if camping on board is available at this time of the year

sasquatch
23-10-2016, 09:28
Love the ferry especially the 'camp aboard' facility,and the restaurants on board are nt stupid prices and quality food! Stop over points we've used favourites are Limini Bay and the theatre at Epidavouros.

rottiontour
23-10-2016, 09:31
Thanks Bernd. Detailed and helpful post. Will have to give this some careful thought.

Sunny morning here, but we were moved on by the police again last night, so about 5 miles out of Olympia in a layby. We have been moved on from quite a few of the places we have stopped at this year - something new I think as it has never happened in previous years. Some of these have been long accepted as stopping places and listed in the 2016 Camperstop book such as Igoumenitsa, Lefkada and Astros beach. Never mind - there are still many more places to stop without disturbance!

Are you living in Greece? We have a home in Tolo, so spend most of the time there while in Greece, making shorter trips in the motorhome.

Thanks again

Hi, yes, we are living in Greece most of the time, except in summertime, then we drive home to see the children, house, etc. But not too long, heehee. Tolo is nice, we know that area, good choice.
And “to be moved by the police“, it sometimes happens in very touristic areas or spots, mostly during holidays.
Well, sometimes i can understand cause often a lot of mhomers or campers are relaxing at the beaches or so and often the area is not getting cleaner, it is the behaviour of a minority and the majority has to pay the price. We always keep away from those places and never had problems.

Kalo taxidi,
Bernd

rottiontour
23-10-2016, 09:34
Why do i get an “adult rant“....what is wrong with my post?

witzend
23-10-2016, 10:04
Why do i get an “adult rant“....what is wrong with my post?

Nothing wrong Bernd I think you must of added it when you posted it the icons are at bottom of the reply page

47648

clarkpeacock
23-10-2016, 12:26
Hi, yes, we are living in Greece most of the time, except in summertime, then we drive home to see the children, house, etc. But not too long, heehee. Tolo is nice, we know that area, good choice.
And “to be moved by the police“, it sometimes happens in very touristic areas or spots, mostly during holidays.
Well, sometimes i can understand cause often a lot of mhomers or campers are relaxing at the beaches or so and often the area is not getting cleaner, it is the behaviour of a minority and the majority has to pay the price. We always keep away from those places and never had problems.

Kalo taxidi,
Bernd

We weren't too surprised to get moved on in July and August, but late October - that was a surprise.

Now on a beach South of Pyrgos and it is pretty much deserted... Much better!!

clarkpeacock
23-10-2016, 12:33
I can't add much to Bernd's excellent advice but just a few thoughts. We travelled down through the Balkans for a month on the way to Greece and stuck to largely a coastal route, taking an inland detour from Dubrovnik to see Mostar and Sarajevo, then dipping into Serbia before returning through across the impressive, mountainous Montenegro and hugging the coast down through Albania, dipping inland to see Lake Ohrid in Macedonia before crossing into Greece.

Route map:
Route Map | The Woolly Wanderers – A Motorhome Adventure (https://woollywanderers.wordpress.com/about/)

Insurance might be your biggest problem. Club Care insurance through the CCC were happy to provide us with a green card for 1 month travel through Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia. Kosovo is specifically excluded.

People are friendly everywhere. We had no problems whatsoever and crime rates are almost certainly lower than at home, though you do stick out like a sore thumb. We were a curiosity with kids, and adults too, waving as we passed. It can be a bit of a culture shock, some parts of Albania feel distinctly third world and we felt quite uncomfortable driving through Shkoder but over time we fell in love with Albania. The southern coast, the Albanian Riviera, is stunning. Driving standards are also very poor, apparently in Albania the car has only just made an appearance, the horse and cart being the standard mode of transport until about ten years ago. Hardly anybody has a driving licence and you can tell! Not much worse than Italian driving standards though, to be fair!

We travelled through the region in October and weather was fine, sunny but cool, sometimes t-shirt and shorts weather but the sea breeze meant a jumper was sometimes employed while walking the dogs on the beach and it was cool in the mountainous areas.

Road conditions - as above, poor in Albania but improvements are being made, often with EU money in case you're wondering where your taxes go!

As Bernd points out, you are leaving and re-entering the EU and some of the countries are unlisted for pet passport purposes, therefore if you have dogs (we had two with us) you must have them innoculated against rabies and blood tested at least 30 days later to show that they are free from rabies. This is recorded on their pet passport meaning the pet will be allowed to re-enter the EU from the unlisted country.

We had the option of the ferry to/from Italy of course, but had been to Italy several times before and wanted to take the adventurous route and see something new. We'd definitely go back. If you're in a hurry then I'd take the ferry but if you want to meander through the region for a few weeks or months I'd definitely recommend travelling overland.

Cheers
Shaun

October | 2014 | The Woolly Wanderers – A Motorhome Adventure (https://woollywanderers.wordpress.com/2014/10/)


Thanks Shaun - great blog!

Following advice from Bernd and you, we are thinking it will be ferry this time, primarily because of the dog. (and the trip back is only a necessary evil for the MOT really). We weren't aware of the thing about black dogs in Muslim countries - and she is black with light coloured eyebrows, which google tells us is even more demonic!!

So overland will await until 'apres chein'. (She is 14 now)

rottiontour
23-10-2016, 12:44
Nothing wrong Bernd I think you must of added it when you posted it the icons are at bottom of the reply page

47648

Thank you, did not know that....in fact i have never seen it....fat fingers.
May be i add a bad joke for adults.

rottiontour
23-10-2016, 15:59
Nothing wrong Bernd I think you must of added it when you posted it the icons are at bottom of the reply page

47648

Hi, i made it, i removed the adult rant....thank you for the hint, every day i am learning a little bit, ....still, heehee.


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