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East Europe: Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Vienna - 10 Days

Trip details:

Hi, I am a vegan living in Dubai. I would like to make a short trip in mid-june for 6-8 days. I will fly out using Hungarian airline Wizzair from Dubai to Bucharest. From there I would like an itinerary that allows me to see Dracula's castle, then after that I would like to visit (in no particular order) Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro. I would like to know if it is possible to to this by train or bus rather than plane as I would like to see the scenery if possible. I am also open to an adventure/trek and spending 1-2 days in each country.

I would like to end my trip and fly back to Dubai or Sharjah using any low cost carrier from Greece or Bulgaria or Turkey.

Lodging budget is max 70 euros. Flights budget I am not too worried about. Once you give me an itinerary I will book my flights.

I am pure vegan and have serious diet problems when I travel. Hope you can recommend vegan friendly places if you know of them.

If you feel the number of days is too less, please give me an itinerary of maximum 9 days (if it costs me extra I will pay on this website). I am interested in seeing ancient historical castles and ruins. I am not interested in shopping, partying or getting drunk.

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Trip outline:

Greece 2.5 days (June 12, 13, 14)


Half day to visit Athens and 1.5 days in the Parthenon, museums, Lycabettus hill and a day trip to Delphi for ruins and beautiful mountainous landscapes. No matter where you go from Athens, you will have to take a train to Thessaloniki and then a bus to either Macedonia or Bulgaria. You might want to consider a night train (around 5-and-a-half hours).


Macedonia 2 days (June 15, 16)


There doesn’t seem to be much related to Alexander the Great apart from statues all over the place. If there is a specific place you have in mind then we could consider adding it to the itinerary. If you are interested in seeing places in Macedonia, I would suggest a day in Prilep and another in Ohrid on the way to Montenegro. From Ohrid to Budva, again you would have to take the bus. It’s a 6.5-hour bus ride and it would be the same by car. For timings: Skopje/Ohrid to Budva/Kotor


I believe one of them is a night bus.


Montenegro, 2 days (June 17, 18: weekdays)


You could visit Kotor and Perast near the Boka Bay. From here to Bucharest, the road/bus trip is long and cumbersome so as I suggested in the beginning, there are flights to Bucharest.


Romania, 2 days (June 19, 20)


In Romania, it's best you visit Bran castle, do some hiking in the mountains there if you're interested and get back to Bucharest in time for your flight to Dubai.


Vienna, 2 days (Additional)


I am going to list down the places that you will enjoy visiting in Vienna. Depending on how the earlier portion of the trip goes, you might have anywhere between 0 and 2 days for exploring Vienna.


If Macedonia doesn’t interest you, you might consider going to the Rila monastery in Bulgaria for 2 days and making your way to Montenegro from there. The monastery and the mountains around are supposed to be very beautiful. The transport links are tricky though and you might have to fly from Sofia to Tivat/Podgorica unless you take multiple buses via Sofia and Nis,Serbia.


A map below lists some of the places that will fall on your route/that you would like to visit. The aim is to give you a sense of direction and your own location at any given point in time within this part of Europe.


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Trip details:

Romania


In Romania, it's best you visit Bran castle, do some hiking in the mountains there if you're interested and then go elsewhere since there doesn't seem to be any real monasteries worth visiting. In Romania, I’m assuming you mean Bran Castle when you say Dracula castle. This is located near Brasovand is around 3 hours from Bucharest. You could stay in the http://www.predelut.ro/en/ bed and breakfast in the Bran area or use Brasov as a base since it has vegan options: http://www.happycow.net/europe/romania/brasov/


The Bran castle from a distance looks like this,



There is also the Rasnov fortress 15km from Bran towards Brasov where there is some hiking that you could do. Another place that’s supposed to be worth seeing in Peles Castle near Sinaia 50km from Bran.


[From Brasov, you'd have to go back to Bucharest to go to Macedonia via Bulgaria and Bucharest to Sofia is at least 7 hours. If this is too long, you might want to consider using trains/public transport in Romania and take a train to Sofia (preferably at night to save time) and then rent a car since distance would be shorter from here onwards.]


Bulgaria


The most interesting place along your route in Bulgaria I found was the UNESCO-classified Rila Monastery (photo below) in the western mountain area. In the same area for some natural beauty and hiking you could go to Mount Ezeren for a fantastic view of Seven Rila Lakes. Rila is a 2-hour drive from Sofia. 



Here's some information I found on a website:


The Seven Lakes are close to the Rila Monastery, Malyovitsa and the Skakavitsa Waterfalls areas, which gives numerous options for planning a few days walking route. Most of the visitors drive, take taxi or a shuttle from Sapareva Banya – a village in the foot of the mountains, 70 kilometres away from Sofia, famous with the hottest thermal geyser on the Balkans (103 degrees). The road from the village leads to Pionerska Hut (1585 m.), from where a chair lift operates all the year round and takes visitors up to 2150 m. elevation. Near the top station of the lift is build Rila Lakes Hut – more hotel-like accommodation.


From this point it is possible to do a few hours walk around the lakes and go back – usually up to the Lakes Mount, placed between The Teardrop and The Eye lakes. Unfortunately too many people take this option in summer and the crowds may spoil the great views. There is a few other huts in the area, opened for visitors – these include the old Seven Lakes Hut, about an hour away from the lift station (offers rustic accommodation), Lovna and Skakavitsa huts and Ivan Vazov Hut, located high in the mountains and separated by the Seven Lakes cirque by Otovica Ridge, which is the only place where all the lakes are seen under our feet.


For accommodation: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/bulgaria/rila-and-pirin-mountains/rila-monastery/hotels 


For food, Bulgaria has a lot of salads so you might have to settle for that or make something using salads and beetroot for example. I read another blog where someone mentioned a restaurant where they knew what a vegan meal was and even had vegan brownies apparently. Unfortunately, there was no name! You might find it if you ask around. One thing is for sure, the monastery seems really amazing.


In Bulgaria, there is no accommodation in the the Rila monastery itself. You'd have to stay in one of the many hotels that cater to travellers visiting this monastery and the Rila Seven Lakes in the nearby mountains. 


Macedonia


From there you could move on to Macedonia. A friend on mine went to Prilep to visit the ruins of Marko's tower fortress with sweeping views over the city and countryside and I thought it looked amazing. Near Prilep is the city of Krushevo, the highest village in the country with interesting architecture. 2 hours from Prilep is UNESCO-classified Ohrid for its history and nature (there is a huge lake part of which is in Albania). There are plenty churches here. Roman amphitheater, Church of St Sophia and St Clement, Tsar Samoil's fortress and Ohrid's marketplace are some of the places to visit. Daily ferries takes passengers from the city square to the nearby Monastery of St Naum. Originally built in the 10th century, the monastery is home to the body of Byzantine St Naum, who is known to have cured patients of mental illnesses.


http://biljanasykesyoga.com/retreats.aspx?cid=880&l=23 I'm not sure this place is open yet but you could try and contact them.


There is a restaurant in a hotel called Salida in Prilep at this address Orde Copela BBPrilep. It has vegetarian options but not sure about vegan. Ohrid has plenty of restaurants so they must have vegetarian/vegan options. There are beetroot soups and salad items all over this region although I'm sure you'll need more than that!


In Ohrid, Macedonia there is a beautiful orthodox church/monastery called Sv Jovan Kaneo by the lake. Ohrid has 365 churches and is a UNESCO site. 


Montenegro


In Montenegro, the most interesting places to visit are close to each other. They are 7 hours from Macedonia. Kotor is located on the Boka Bay and if you hike up to Njegos Mausoleum in the Lovcen national park, you will get great views not only of the bay itself but of the neighbouring mountains. You could also visit Perast, 10 km from Kotor. You should be able to do all this in a day and a half and make your way to Sveti Stefan, another interesting site in Montenegro.


There is supposed to be a cafe and juice bar in Budva, Montenegro that has vegan options on Vranjak 13 in the Old Town.


Albania


From here, Vlora, Albania is a 5h30 drive. In Albania, the drive from Vlora to Llogara and then through Dhermi and Himare to Saranda is supposed to be beautiful.  Since you like castles, Gjirokaster is a UNESCO site that you might like. On the way back to Tirana, if you have time you might want to stop at Berat, medieval UNESCO-listed town. Along the southern coast from Vlora to Saranda, there are places that you can hike and paraglide in. 


I don't seem to be able to find any vegan options in these two places but in Tirana, this is what I found: http://www.happycow.net/europe/albania/tirana/ 


Vienna


Back in Vienna, some of the noteworthy things to do are as follows. Before you read further, here is a panorama of Vienna for you to savour.



Domkirche St. Stephan - Dating from the 12th century, St. Stephan's Cathedral is the grandest such edifice inAustria. The basilica is filled with such treasures as the carved wooden Wiener Neustadt altarpiece and the tomb of Emperor Frederick III. To cap your visit, climb its south tower with its 343 spiral steps for the most panoramic view in all of Vienna.


After a tour of the cathedral, you can stroll up the pedestrian-only Kärntnerstrasse, the main shopping street of Vienna. Kärntnerstrasse will lead you to the imposing Staatsoper with its elegant arcades, this is Austria's leading opera house. Some of the world's greatest music -- often from fabled Austrian composers of yesterday -- is presented here in this French Renaissance-style building, one of the first of the great public buildings to be built here. This is a great place to attend an opera performance.


With the time remaining in your day, you can head for the Hofburg Palace Complex. Depending on where you are in the city, the U-Bahn to Stephansplatz can take you here, as well as the U-Bahn to Herrengasse or Mariahilferstrasse.


This was the winter palace of the Habsburgs, who ruled over much ofEuropefrom here. There is so much to see and do that you can't take it all in 1 day. But the main attractions are Albertina, Augustinerkirche, Kaiserappartments (Imperial Apartments), and the magnificent Schatzkammer (Imperial Treasury).


Within the complex, try to visit the:


Albertina - Originally part of an Augustinian monastery, this 18th-century palace housesAustria's celebrated Collection of Graphic Arts. More than a million sheets -- old masters' drawings, engravings, and architectural designs -- illustrate this development of graphic arts since the 1300s. The highlight of the collection is a series of drawings and engravings by Dürer.


Augustinerkirche - The 14th century Church of the Augustinians, built within the Hofburg complex, was the parish church for the imperial Habsburgs. In 1748 the baroque interior decoration and all the original Gothic architectural details were removed. The highlight of the church today is the elaborate tomb of the Archduchess Maria Christina, favorite daughter of Maria Theresa. The Italian sculptor, Canova, slaved over the white marble mausoleum from 1805 to 1809.


Kaiserappartements - The Imperial Apartments are on the first floor of the Chancellery Wing. Actually, there are 2,600 rooms in the Hofburg, but only 20 are open to visitors. The emperors, along with their wives and children, lived here. The apartments are richly decorated, the highlight being the Imperial Silver and Porcelain collections. Six rooms are devoted to the tragic empress known as "Sissi."


Since the Hofburg complex is so vast, you may want to head for the Café Tirolerhof for coffee and snacks. One specialty that will get you going again is a coffee known as Maria Theresia. This is a large cup of mocha flavored with apricot liqueur and topped with whipped cream.


The grandest attraction at the Hofburg is the:


Schatzkammer - The Imperial Treasury contains all those glittering Habsburg jewels, the loot of a once-great empire, including the crowns of the Holy Roman and Austrian empires. The greatest treasure is the Imperial Crown, dating from 962.


Spanische Reitschule - The Spanish Riding school is where the famed Lipizzaner stallions strut their stuff, a show that has been going on for 4 centuries (but not with the same horses, of course). The equine performers are viewed as the finest in the world, their feats of dressage unequaled. The tails and manes of the stallions are plaited with gold ribbons, and they dance the polka, the gavotte, the quadrille, and the slow waltz (we kid you not).


Burgkapelle - The home of the Vienna Boys' Choir is in the Hofmusikkapelle, part of the Burgkapelle, a Gothic chapel dating from 1447. Seeing a performance can be a bit tricky. The singing boys are often touring the world.


Ringstrasse - As night falls over Vienna, take a streetcar ride around the entire Ringstrasse or circle of boulevards that enclose the old city of Vienna. The tram follows the route of the medieval fortifications.


On day two you can go to Schönbrunn Palace - This was the baroque summer palace of the Habsburgs. Built between 1696 and 1730, it contains a staggering 1,441 rooms. Empress Maria Theresa and her 16 children left the greatest impact on the palace. Franz Josef I, who was born in the palace and reigned for 68 years, was the last emperor to live here. The greatest attraction are the stunning State Apartments, followed by the Gloriette, a marble summerhouse, and the palace's Imperial Gardens.


Head up to the Glorietta on the hill for a view of the castle.


If you choose to do less than this or skip one of the castles, you could then do a trip to Salzburg.


In Salzburg the must sees are the Mirabellgarten, Mozart's birthplace GetreidegasseFestung Hohensalzburg, an amazing medieval fortress dominating the city (accessible by funicular or on foot) and  Salzburg Festival House where some really good free musical performances are given.

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car rental and dropoff By Ryan Gazder
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Ryan Gazder wrote:  

Hi, I am quite keen on maximizing my journey taking a long car rental. Can I rent a car in Romania and drive to Dracula castle, then drive through Romania to Bulgaria, then through Macedonia, Albania till I Podgorica and Boka Bay in Montenegro? I then want to take a short flight to Greece or drive there and leave the rental car either in MOntenegro or Greece and fly back to Dubai from Athens. Is that possible? If not please suggest what segments of the trip are best for car or train and what segments are best for short flights.

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for using this service. I’ll try my best to help you even though I haven’t been to any of these places myself. 

First off, the cheapest flights I found to go back to Dubai were from Tirana, Albania and Skopje, Macedonia. If you rent a car in Bucharest with Avis or Hertz, ask them if you can leave it in one of those places, probably Tirana. This usually costs a bit more. If you are really keen on going to Athens, you will need more time even if you fly. Driving to Athens from Podgorica takes at least 14 hours. 

In Romania, I’m assuming you mean Bran Castle when you say Dracula castle. This is located near Brasovand is around 3 hours from Bucharest. You could stay in the http://www.predelut.ro/en/ bed and breakfast in the Bran area or use Brasov as a base since it has vegan options: http://www.happycow.net/europe/romania/brasov/

There is also the Rasnov fortress 15km from Bran towardsBrasovwhere there is some hiking that you could do. Another place that’s supposed to be worth seeing inPelesCastlenear Sinaia 50km from Bran.

You might find this information useful:

Previously, driving in Bulgaria was considered extremely nerve-wrecking, though still Bulgarian roads claim almost 1300 lives each year. There are currently a number of highways under construction, including Struma (Sofia-Kulata) and Sofia-Varna (through Veliko Turnovo). Nevertheless, many roads are in poor condition and full of potholes. The use of seat belts is mandatory in Bulgaria for all passengers, except pregnant women. Take caution while crossing the streets. Driving with your headlights ON is mandatory even during daytime. If you are caught driving without having your headlights on during daytime, you could get a ticket. The fine is €25 (or 50BGN), so be sure to turn your headlights on. In case you get caught, explain to the police officer that you are a foreigner and you weren't aware of this law and let them know it won't happen again. It is very likely that they will let you go with just a warning.

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Sorry about sending these messaged in parts, I lost some of what I had typed earlier so I'm sending them in bits.

From Brasov, you'd have to go back to Bucharest to go to Macedonia via Bulgaria and Bucharest to Sofia is at least 7 hours. If this is too long, you might want to consider using trains/public transport in Romania and take a train to Sofia (preferably at night to save time) and then rent a car since distance would be shorter from here onwards.

The most interesting place along your route I found was the UNESCO-classified Rila Monastery in the western mountain area. In the same area for some natural beauty and hiking you could go to Mount Ezeren for a fantastic view of Seven Rila Lakes. Rila is a 2-hour drive from Sofia. 

Here's some information I found on a website:

The Seven Lakes are close to the Rila Monastery, Malyovitsa and the Skakavitsa Waterfalls areas, which gives numerous options for planning a few days walking route. Most of the visitors drive, take taxi or a shuttle from Sapareva Banya – a village in the foot of the mountains, 70 kilometres away from Sofia, famous with the hottest thermal geyser on the Balkans (103 degrees). The road from the village leads to Pionerska Hut (1585 m.), from where a chair lift operates all the year round and takes visitors up to 2150 m. elevation. Near the top station of the lift is build Rila Lakes Hut – more hotel-like accommodation.

From this point it is possible to do a few hours walk around the lakes and go back – usually up to the Lakes Mount, placed between The Teardrop and The Eye lakes. Unfortunately too many people take this option in summer and the crowds may spoil the great views. There is a few other huts in the area, opened for visitors – these include the old Seven Lakes Hut, about an hour away from the lift station (offers rustic accommodation), Lovna and Skakavitsa huts and Ivan Vazov Hut, located high in the mountains and separated by the Seven Lakes cirque by Otovica Ridge, which is the only place where all the lakes are seen under our feet.

For accommodation: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/bulgaria/rila-and-pirin-mountains/rila-monastery/hotels 

For food, Bulgaria has a lot of salads so you might have to settle for that or make something using salads and beetroot for example. I read another blog where someone mentioned a restaurant where they knew what a vegan meal was and even had vegan brownies apparently. Unfortunately, there was no name! You might find it if you ask around. One thing is for sure, the monastery seems really amazing.

If you try to spend a maximum of 2 days in Romania and get to Rila as quickly as possible from there you should be left with 5-6 days if you extend your trip to 9 days.

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

From there you could move on to Macedonia. A friend on mine went to Prilep to visit the ruins of Marko's tower fortress with sweeping views over the city and countryside and I thought it looked amazing. Near Prilep is the city of Krushevo, the highest village in the country with interesting architecture. 2 hours from Prilep is UNESCO-classified Ohrid for its history and nature (there is a huge lake part of which is in Albania). There are plenty churches here. Roman amphitheater, Church of St Sophia and St Clement, Tsar Samoil's fortress and Ohrid's marketplace are some of the places to visit. Daily ferries takes passengers from the city square to the nearby Monastery of St Naum. Originally built in the 10th century, the monastery is home to the body of Byzantine St Naum, who is known to have cured patients of mental illnesses.

http://biljanasykesyoga.com/retreats.aspx?cid=880&l=23 I'm not sure this place is open yet but you could try and contact them.

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

There is a restaurant in a hotel called Salida in Prilep at this address Orde Copela BBPrilep. It has vegetarian options but not sure about vegan. Ohrid has plenty of restaurants so they must have vegetarian/vegan options. There are beetroot soups and salad items all over this region although I'm sure you'll need more than that!

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

In Montenegro, the most interesting places to visit are close to each other. They are 7 hours from Macedonia. Kotor is located on the Boka Bay and if you hike up to Njegos Mausoleum in the Lovcen national park, you will get great views not only of the bay itself but of the neighbouring mountains. You could also visit Perast, 10 km from Kotor. You should be able to do all this in a day and a half and make your way to Sveti Stefan, another interesting site in Montenegro.

From here, Vlora, Albania is a 5h30 drive. In Albania, the drive from Vlora to Llogara and then through Dhermi and Himare to Saranda is supposed to be beautiful.  Since you like castles, Gjirokaster is a UNESCO site that you might like. On the way back to Tirana, if you have time you might want to stop at Berat, medieval UNESCO-listed town. Along the southern coast from Vlora to Saranda, there are places that you can hike and paraglide in. 

There is supposed to be a cafe and juice bar in Budva, Montenegro that has vgan options on Vranjak 13 in the Old Town.

I don't seem to be able to find any vegan options in these two places but in Tirana, this is what I found: http://www.happycow.net/europe/albania/tirana/ 

I suppose this covers all the places you want to visit so please take a look and let me know what you think. If you want to use trains/buses you might still need a taxi to get to the actual place of interest. 

Ryan Gazder wrote:   Hi Prajwal thank you for your effort and comments. I will be finalizing a trip as follows. Dubai, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania. The order of countries is not important. I have 9 days from Thursday 12 June to Saturday 21 June. In Montenegro I need to go to Budwa and Kumbor. I don't need more than 2 business days there but they need to be in weekdays as I want to meet some clients. I want to spend at least 2 days in Macedonia to see some Alexander the Great ancient ruins, is there anything worth seeing in Macedonia? If not then we can skip this place entirely. I want to visit Romania and spend time in carpathian monasteries like you mentioned as well as a half day at Dracula castle and any other ancient things you find interesting. 3 days in Romania max. I would like to visit Greece and spend some time in ancient ruins. 2-3 days in Greece is fine. In case you don't recommend Macedonia then distribute those days to the other trips. In total I have 9 days. I am under pressure to book these flights and confirm my itinerary with my business associates in Montenegro so please get back to me with a travel plan that works. I am fully on board with all of your suggestions. As far as possible please maximize my travel by road or train. Please can you get back to me with a firm itinerary and travel plan so I can book flights accordingly.

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Hi Ryan,

The following itinerary is the most logical one I can think of. Unfortunately, the distances seem a bit far to drive and there aren’t train connections everywhere so the only options would be to take buses between cities or even fly, for example from Tivat, Montenegro to Bucharest (approximately 80 euros by bus and 120 by flight depending on the date).

Tell me if this is okay then:

Greece 2.5 days (June 12, 13, 14 half day) to visit Athens (1.5 days in the Parthenon, museums, Lycabettus hill) and a day trip to Delphi for ruins and beautiful mountainous landscapes. 

No matter where you go from Athens, you will have to take a train to Thessaloniki and then a bus to either Macedonia or Bulgaria. You might want to consider a night train (around 5-and-a-half hours).

Macedonia 2 days (June 15, 16) if you are interested. There doesn’t seem to be much related to Alexander the Great apart from statues all over the place. If there is a specific place you have in mind then we could consider adding it to the itinerary. If you are interested in seeing places in Macedonia, I would suggest a day in Prilep and another in Ohrid on the way to Montenegro.

From Ohrid to Budva, again you would have to take the bus. It’s a 6.5-hour bus ride and it would be the same by car. For timings: Skopje/Ohrid to Budva/Kotor

http://www.autobokasaobracaj.me/images/stories/Red%20vo%C5%BEnje%20za%20me%C4%91unarodni%20autobusk%20prevoz%20Herceg%20Novi%20-%20Skoplje.jpg

I believe one of them is a night bus.

Montenegro, 2 days (June 17, 18 weekdays) – As I suggest in the previous thread, you could visit Kotor and Perast near theBokaBay. From here toBucharest, the road/bus trip is long and cumbersome so as I suggested in the beginning, there are flights toBucharest.

Romania, 2 days (June 19, 20) – You can do what I suggested around Bran in two days and get back toBucharestin time for your flight toDubai.

IfMacedoniadoesn’t interest you, you might consider going to the Rila monastery inBulgariafor 2 days and making your way toMontenegrofrom there. The monastery and the mountains around are supposed to be very beautiful. The transport links are tricky though and you might have to fly fromSofiato Tivat/Podgorica unless you take multiple buses viaSofiaandNis,Serbia.

Tell me if this itinerary suits you. If the itinerary is doable then you could book your main flight tickets.

Ryan Gazder wrote:  

Please let me know as much information as you can about Monasteries and staying in them in the carpathian mountains I am assuming within Romania. I would like to stay in a monastery for some days. Is it safe, will I get food, how far, do I need a bus or train or to hire a car?

Ryan Gazder wrote:  

Sorry my mistake... I was reading through your replies very fast... so I want to maximize the mountains/monastery/ancient history part of my trip, I would like to visit Romania for sure, if you feel theres not much there to do after 2-3 days then I am fine with going to bulgaria. What is the train / bus travel time from romania to Bulgaria? How many days do I need to spend in Bulgaria? Can I stay in the monastery or do I have to stay in a hotel? 

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

In Romania, it's best you visit Bran castle, do some hiking in the mountains there if you're interested and then go elsewhere since there doesn't seem to be any real monasteries worth visiting.

In Bulgaria, the Rila monastery looks interesting but there is no accommodation in the monastery itself. You'd have to stay in one of the many hotels that cater to travellers visiting this monastery and the Rila Seven Lakes in the nearby mountains. 

Transportation is rather convoluted though. There is a 9.5 - 11 hour train ride from Bucharest to Sofia followed by another 2.5 train trip to Boboshevo and then a 40 minute taxi ride to Rila itself. There is a train leaving Bucharest at 23.55 reaching Sofia at 11.10 the next morning.

By car, the whole thing would take 8 hours. This region doesn't seem very easy to get around.

In Ohrid, Macedonia there is a beautiful orthodox church/monastery called Sv Jovan Kaneo by the lake. Ohrid has 365 churches and is a UNESCO site. 

Most of the travelling between northern Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Montenegro is by bus, otherwise it seems too long to drive the 6-7 hour stretches. I hope this information helps.

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Hi Ryan,

Has your itinerary been fixed? I hope the information I gave was useful. If there is any more research you'd like me to do before you leave, please let me know.

Prajwal

Ryan Gazder wrote:  

Hi Prajwal, thanks for your help. I am going to Budapest tonight as this was the best flight I found. I will be there till 17th morning. Please can you give me a list of things and experiences that are a must see in and around Budapest.I don't care for underground music or pubs/drinking. I prefer ancient history, culture etc. 

 

After that I will be going to Vienna by road. Please suggest to me any interesting places to stopover if we are going by road and I will be in Vienna for 2 days. Please suggest what I can see in Vienna as a must-see. 

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Hi,

I'm really sorry for the late reply. My internet connection has not been working for 3 days and it still isn't fixed. I've updated the itineraries page of this site for Vienna.

Prajwal


Drive:

  1. First off, the cheapest flights I found to go back to Dubai were from Tirana, Albania and Skopje, Macedonia. If you rent a car in Bucharest with Avis or Hertz, ask them if you can leave it in one of those places, probably Tirana. This usually costs a bit more. If you are really keen on going to Athens, you will need more time even if you fly. Driving to Athens from Podgorica takes at least 14 hours.

  2. There is a 9.5 - 11 hour train ride from Bucharest to Sofia followed by another 2.5 train trip to Boboshevo and then a 40 minute taxi ride to Rila itself. There is a train leaving Bucharest at 23.55 reaching Sofia at 11.10 the next morning. By car, the whole thing would take 8 hours. This region doesn't seem very easy to get around.

  3. Most of the travelling between northern Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Montenegro is by bus, otherwise it seems too long to drive the 6-7 hour stretches.

  4. No matter where you go from Athens, you will have to take a train to Thessaloniki and then a bus to either Macedonia or Bulgaria. You might want to consider a night train (around 5-and-a-half hours).

  5. From Ohrid to Budva, again you would have to take the bus. It’s a 6.5-hour bus ride and it would be the same by car. For timings: Skopje/Ohrid to Budva/Kotor http://www.autobokasaobracaj.me/images/stories/Red%20vo%C5%BEnje%20za%20me%C4%91unarodni%20autobusk%20prevoz%20Herceg%20Novi%20-%20Skoplje.jpg I believe one of them is a night bus.

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Stay Options:

  1. You could stay in the http://www.predelut.ro/en/ bed and breakfast in the Bran area or use Brasov as a base since it has vegan options: http://www.happycow.net/europe/romania/brasov/

  2. In Bulgaria, there is no accommodation in the the Rila monastery itself. You'd have to stay in one of the many hotels that cater to travellers visiting this monastery and the Rila Seven Lakes in the nearby mountains.

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