THE PERFECT 2 WEEK EUROPEAN ROAD TRIP – CROATIA, MONTENEGRO & BOSNIA

OUR INCREDIBLE 12 DAY EUROPEAN ROAD TRIP – ALONG THE WEST COAST OF THE BALKANS

2 week europe road trip montenegro and croatia
DURMITOR NATIONAL PARK – MONTENEGRO. An alternative itinerary for a 2 week Europe road trip across Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia.

In June 2019, we embarked on a small road trip of Europe across Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro. It was incredible.

Our little adventure started and finished in Split Croatia, and took us just 12 days. We travelled by car (VW UP!), and drove a little over 1000 miles in total, taking in lakes, mountains and beautiful islands along the way.

The car we travelled in was rented from the airport in Split, for a grand total of €240 for the entire 12 day trip.

WHY THE BALKANS?

The Balkans is an incredibly diverse part of Europe. On Monday you can be sunning it up on a beach in Croatia, and on Tuesday you could be hiking over snowy high passes in Northern Montenegro.

With no train links – and few bus links – exploring this lesser known area by car makes perfect sense. Most of the areas worth venturing to are within easy reach of each other: 4 hours driving or less.

With less tourists in this small corner of Europe, you’ll have less people to share the incredible sights with. You’ll also have more remarkable tales to tell, convincing others to visit this lovely little area themselves.

OUR ITINERARY

Our chosen itinerary ensures you will see the best sights this part of the world has to offer, but that you aren’t too rushed (or driving too many miles per day).

Although our trip was just 12 days and 1000 miles, this European road trip can be altered to suite other types of adventurer. The following guide will explain other options, including alternative places to visit along the way, and where else to visit if you’ve already seen some areas mentioned (or how to extend your European road trip if you have a longer period of time).

Every stop along the way can also be extended further, as some places are worth a longer visit. Or, they can be skipped entirely, if you’re just not that interested.

So, here is our guide, and all the information you will need to embark on your own incredible road trip of Europe, across this stunning part of the world.

Let’s get started!

map of 2 week itinerary european road trip
OUR FINAL 12 DAY ITINERARY: SEE BELOW!

QUICK FACTS


COUNTRIES – Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro

DISTANCE – 580 miles (932 kilometres)

TOTAL DRIVING HOURS – 16 hours

COST – £809 / £404.50 per person – £33.71 per person, per day (NOT including flights)

DURATION – 12 days

ROAD TRIP TYPE – Mountains, lakes, beaches, history

BEST TIME TO GO – Shoulder season: spring and autumn (September & October / April & May & June)

CAR TYPE – Volkswagen UP! Small, 5 door car – 1.0 litre petrol engine

HIGHLIGHTS


First of all, let me convince you that this needs to be your next mini adventure.

We genuinely loved this little 2 week road trip around Europe, and honestly believe it was one of the best things we could have done on our 12 day small break. Although the entire thing was amazing (seriously), here are the highlights.

These are some of our favourite pictures of each incredible destination.

LAKE KOTOR – MONTENEGRO

road trip across europe 2020
The beautiful Kotor Bay in Montenegro

With a shoreline that extends to over 66 miles, this picturesque bay is surrounded by mountains in every direction. Although not technically a lake, this enormous body of water is actually an inlet from the Adriatic Sea.

Once under Venetian rule, the area surrounding this naturally incredible bay is drenched in heaps of history. 

We loved this lake for it’s historical charm (narrow, winding alleyways in the old town of Kotor), but also for it’s natural beauty.

DURMITOR NATIONAL PARK – MONTENEGRO

mountains in durmitor national road trip around europe
The incredibly scenic 120km loop around the Durmitor National Park in Montenegero.

This absolutely incredible mountainous region in Northern Montenegro still stands out as one of the most naturally beautiful places I have ever seen. Most accessible from the town of Zlabljak, the 120km loop around the highlights of this UNESCO designated park will leave you astonished. Expect to spend anything between 5 and 7 hours driving this narrow, winding road and stopping at the amazing scenery

NOTE: This sometimes dangerous road is for experienced drivers only.

THE CROATIAN COAST (HVAR ISLAND)

road trip croatian coast 2020
The small town of Slano, Croatia.

With over 1,800km of coastline, it’s no wonder that Croatia has fast become synonymous with picture perfect beaches and bays. Known the world over for it’s marvellously crystal-clear and blue water, the Croatian coast is the perfect place to get your beach fix. And, it’s not just about the mainland. With over 1,200 islands scattered along the coast, there is another 4,000km of coastline to explore. With a short amount of time, the focus is on the highlights, of which there are many. Most head to Dubrovnik to experience medieval charm with incredible coastline, but we chose to feel the small town charm of some lesser known towns. Our island of choice was the very pretty island of Hvar, and it didn’t disappoint. No road trip around Europe would be complete without driving down at least some portion of the Croatian coast.

MOSTAR – BOSNIA

europe road trip mostar bridge bosnia
The Stari Most in Mostar, Bosnia.

Situated on the Neretva River, the ancient city of Mostar lies in the south of Bosnia. Named after the bridge keepers (mostari) that guarded the Stari Most (old bridge) in medieval times, the city’s 500 year old bridge has become one of the most visited of Bosnia’s landmarks. We spent a day wandering around the old, cobbled alleyways of the old city, and admiring the view of (and from) the Stari Most. Despite the relentless rain, we loved this charming city.

THE CAR RENTAL


THE COMPANY

As this was just a small, mini adventure for us, we decided that our best option was to rent a car for the duration of our European road trip. The company that we rented from was: Oryx Rent a car, at Split airport in Croatia.

The price that we paid for the smallest car they offered (for 12 full days) was: €240. As of January 2020, that same company now offers the same car for €280 (for 12 full days in the beginning of June – exactly 1 year after we did this road trip).

OUR OPINION

I should start by saying that, we’ve rented cars multiple times across different parts of the world, a number of times. Our experience with this company wasn’t particularly great. Before I get into detail, I should say that we went for the lowest amount of insurance possible. Essentially, we didn’t pay anything extra for any kind of insurance package. This means that we had full liability if something happened. This is the insurance option that we go for EVERY SINGLE TIME we hire a car ANYWHERE. 

After our 12 day European road trip, we returned the rental car back at Split airport. The attendant informed us that there was a scuff underneath the front, right wheel arch. The scuff was the size of a small paperclip. He began taking pictures and calling the front office, telling us that we would need to pay for the ‘damage’. We were adamant that we hadn’t done anything wrong.

To cut a long story short, we stood our ground and pulled up pictures of the car on day one (in the same parking lot beside Split airport). That small scuff may or may not have been there before we rented the car, it was just too small and in such a strange place that we wouldn’t have known. It is also possible that it happened whilst we had the car, caused by a loose stone on the tarmac or something similar. We eventually managed to leave and get on our flight back to the UK, without having to pay some ridiculous figure for this tiny scuff.

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The Croatian coast Slano

OTHER CAR HIRE COMPANIES

I’ll be honest here, we only used Oryx as they were the cheapest rental car agency operating from Split airport. We’ve rented cars, vans and trucks a number of times across the world (and back home) and have almost always used Enterprise. We have never had a problem. This is the first (and last – so far!) time something like this has happened to us. 

My humble opinion would just be to pay the initial extra charge and use a reputable company (like Enterprise), even if just for your peace of mind. If you’re hiring for a long period (2 weeks or more), something is likely to happen, in the form of a small scratch or scuff. Sometimes, it is unavoidable. In this part of the world, car parking spaces are sometimes TINY, and it is completely normal for people to hit your vehicle with their car doors.

If I was to do this road trip of Europe again, I would most likely use Enterprise just for my own peace of mind. As I mentioned, the only reason that we didn’t on this trip is because we were being cheap. However, the reality is that had we been charged for this tiny scuff, we would have ended up paying more money anyway.

NOTE: We are in no way affiliated with Enterprise, these are just our own, honest opinions. 

ALSO NOTE: The Enterprise office in Split is downtown (not in the airport), so you will need to arrange transport to and from the airport. Other car rental companies inside the airport include: Avis, Budget and Europcar.

INSURANCE

You may find it more comfortable to use an insurance package provided by the car rental company. There are usually different options for insurance packages, each with varying coverage. Make sure that you read all of the small print before handing over your money, and ensure you get the cover you’re after.

Remember that not everything is covered under insurance, unless it is fully comprehensive. If you’re at all unsure, ask the staff for help, and READ ALL OF THE SMALL PRINT. You don’t want to hand over extra cash, and still be held liable if something happens.

the road in montenegro on european road trip
Winding road in Northern Montenegro – Durmitor National Park

THE CAR

The car that we got for that price was a manual Volkswagen UP! 5 door, with a 1.0 litre petrol engine. We found that this car was perfectly sufficient for the two of us, and we didn’t spend a lot at all on fuel. However, it was (extremely) slow going up the steep hills in Montenegro and Croatia. This wasn’t an issue for us, but could definitely get a little tedious if you’re even a little impatient. 

We also enjoyed having the extra 2 doors at the back. There was a 3 door option of the same car, but we opted for the (€15 more expensive) 5 door version. This made it easier to leave stuff on the back seats, within reach when we were in the front driving (cameras, lunch, snacks etc.). This was actually more useful than we had anticipated. Essentially, we didn’t regret spending the extra €15.

vw up from the sky on road trip in europe
Our tiny little VW UP! from above.

OTHER CARS

If you’re looking for something bigger for your road trip of Europe, the price does increase with the size of the car and engine. For the dates that we hired (1st June – 12th June), the options increase incrementally from €263 (VW UP! 3 door) to €1,143 (Audi A6), with a lot of choice in between. 

Also note that the price will increase if you require an automatic car. Most cars in Europe are manual transmission as standard. That translates to “stick shift” for any American’s out there. If you need to hire a car that doesn’t require manual gear changes, that may cost extra. At the time of writing, the company that we hired from (Oryx) only has one automatic car available (Peugeot 3008), and that will set you back €791 for the exact same itinerary.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

CROSS-BORDER FEE / GREEN CARD

Essentially, this is a small, green piece of paper that acts as liability coverage imposed to foreign vehicles, when entering countries that aren’t under EU law. The green card will simply have all of the cars details on it, and you will be asked to hand it over at any land border crossings between EU and non EU countries.

If your road trip of Europe is taking you outside of the European Union, you will need to ensure that you have this small piece of paper with you in the car. Most rental companies will provide this free of charge (you may just need to ask for it, and check that it is in the car when you pick it up), but Oryx charged us €51 for our 12 day trip. 

Without the green card, you cannot cross any border into Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia and anywhere else that is not yet part of the EU. Therefore, you will be limited to Croatia, Slovenia, Italy etc.. Anywhere inside the EU.

WIFI HOTSPOT

This small, €30 hotspot enabled us to have unlimited internet access wherever we took it (inside and outside of the car). It’s very small (smaller than a phone), and it fit inside a pocket or bag. We could connect up to 5 devices at any time, and it worked with laptops, tablets and mobile phones. 

However, it didn’t work outside of the European Union. Therefore, it doesn’t work (as of January 2020) in Bosnia or Montenegro. If you’re taking the itinerary that we did, I wouldn’t recommend it for this reason.

If your European road trip is taking you across Croatia and other parts of the EU, it’s definitely a good investment to avoid high data roaming charges on your regular mobile phone tariff.

THE ITINERARY


With just 12 days to play with, our time was limited. Our aim was to fit in everything that we wanted to see, whilst not having to drive for too many hours of the day. The plan was to limit the number of purely driving days, and ensure we had enough time to enjoy the sights and admire the views.

With just 16 hours of driving in total over 12 days, we think we struck the right balance.

montenegro road trip balkans
The Kotor Bay in Montenegro.

This European road trip itinerary begins and ends in the same location: Split, Croatia (to be more specific: Split International Airport). This makes it easier to book international flights (and saves money on having return flights from the same location), and it can also make car rental much easier (and cheaper) too.

Below is our exact 12 day itinerary:

DAY # 1 : Arrive at Split International Airport. Pick up the rental car from the agencies counter in the arrivals hall. Drive south, along the scenic coastal road for just over one hour (40 miles), to the seaside town of Brela.

DAY # 2 : Spend the day relaxing, or exploring the Makarska Riviera and the town of Brela.

DAY # 3 : Get up early to ensure you have the whole day to explore your next destination: Mostar. The 60 mile drive should take around 2 hours or less, depending on stops along the way. On arrival, walk the cobbled streets, sit and people watch with a beer, or take in the enormous Stari Most from the river below.

DAY # 4 : Take in the rest of Mostar before driving the 115 mile (3 hours 15 minutes) route to Kotor, Montenegro. Aim to arrive before dark, to witness the sunset over the bay.

DAY # 5 : Explore the ancient city of Kotor and the surrounding villages scattered along the bay. With extra time, drive around to the seaside town of Tivat, outside of the bay.

DAY # 6 : Drive back around the bay, stopping at any of the picturesque villages missed the day before. The 100 mile drive to Zlabljak should take about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Enjoy the mountain scenery as you get close to Zlabljak. Arrive before sunset to enjoy some of the most amazing views you might ever see.

DAY # 7 : Our favourite day! Get up early to get a head start on the 75 mile drive around the highlights of Durmitor National Park. This drive should take around 5 – 7 hours, depending on how long you stop to take in the scenery.

DAY # 8 : Another early start. Visit the Black Lake, just outside of Zlabljak (5 minute drive or a 30 minute walk). It will take about 1 hour 30 minutes to walk around the entire thing. Prepare for a 3 hour 30 minute drive to the small beachside town of Slano, Croatia. Choose to plan your route to pass Dubrovnik (even if you’re not stopping here, there are incredible views over the old town from the road itself). Aim to arrive at Slano before dark to enjoy the beautiful bay. Try and find one of the many fresh fish restaurants for dinner.

DAY # 9 : This is the last long drive of the trip. The 100 mile drive to Hvar should take around 3 hours and 30 minutes if lined up well with the ferry times (check the times before you leave or on the way). Enjoy the scenic drive across the rural length of island.

DAY # 10 & 11 : Spend the next 2 days exploring the pretty island of Hvar or simply relaxing in one of the many isolated coves. Drive to Stari Grad or Hvar (depending on where you’re staying) and even go on a wine tasting tour.

DAY # 12 : The final day. Take the early ferry across from Stari Grad to Split (about 2 hours in total, make sure you get to the port early to ensure yourself a space on the ferry). Spend the early afternoon exploring the old town of Split, before driving the last 15 miles (30 minutes) back to the airport.

map of 2 week itinerary european road trip
#1: BRELA, CROATIA (2 NIGHTS / 1 HOUR DRIVE) – #2: MOSTAR, BOSNIA (1 NIGHT / 1 HOUR 50 MINUTE DRIVE) – #3: KOTOR, MONTENEGRO (2 NIGHTS / 3 HOUR 15 MINUTE DRIVE) – #4: DURMITOR NATIONAL PARK, MONTENEGRO (2 NIGHTS / 3 HOUR DRIVE) – #5: HVAR ISLAND, CROATIA (3 NIGHTS / 7 HOUR DRIVE)

NOTE: This route starts and ends in Split, Croatia. The first day includes a drive of around 1 hour, to the small town of Brela on the Croatian coast. The last day includes a ferry ride of around 2 hours and a drive of around 35 minutes, to the airport. Between Zlabljak in Montenegro, and Hvar island, we stayed one night in the small Croatian town of Slano (to break up the 7 hour drive).

CROATIA


# 1 : BRELA

2 NIGHTS

This tiny little hillside town is perfectly situated in the Makarska Riviera. With a population of just 1,700, this tiny little municipality technically consists of two small villages. Perched on the edge of the mountains that stick out of the Adriatic sea, Brela is literally overlooking the sea

We loved this little town. It was the perfect first stop on our itinerary. The perfect place to sit and unwind on our balcony overlooking the ocean. 

We found very few other tourists here. The steep, narrow streets were empty, with just a few locals going about their business. It’s a far cry from nearby Dubrovnik, with it’s millions of visitors every year. It was delightful.

Brela is situated close enough to both Dubrovnik and Split, that they can both be visited as part of a day trip (1 hour drive to Split, and 3 hour drive to Dubrovnik).

THINGS TO DO – Stroll along the seaside promenade / go beach hopping along the coast / visit the nearby town of Makarska / a day trip to Dubrovnik or Split

# 5 : HVAR ISLAND

3 NIGHTS

drone shot of hvar stari grad croatia road trip
Stari Grad, Hvar island in Croatia.

Hvar island is known as one of Croatia’s most luxurious beach destinations. With so much to do, this popular celebrity hangout is the perfect place to spend your last few days exploring hidden beach coves, or just simply people watching by the water. 

The party town of Hvar, in the north of the island, is where most people head. We stayed in the more subdued, ancient little town of Stari Grad. After a fully packed European road trip, I would recommend spending at least 3 nights here to unwind and relax on some of the prettiest beaches in Europe.

WHERE TO STAY – For a more upbeat vibe, head to the very popular Hvar Town. For something a little more relaxed, chill in the old, cobbled town of Stari Grad, a little further south.

WHAT TO DO – Explore isolated beach coves / partake in a little wine tasting tour / party the night away in Hvar town / celebrity spotting in the famous beach bars by enormous yachts.

BOSNIA


# 2 : MOSTAR

1 NIGHT

With cobbled streets, old stone buildings and one of the most famous bridges in Europe, Mostar is the perfect little city break in a European road trip. The main attraction of the old town is the Stari Most (old bridge) that sits high above the Neretva River.

Enjoy views of the bridge from the banks of the river below, or enjoy the view from the top. Our favourite part of this Bosnian city was sitting beside the cobbled streets (with a coffee or a beer) and people watching. Many cafes and souvenir stalls line the narrow walking streets of the old town.

With just a few streets making up the old town, it doesn’t take long to see it all. We recommend staying just 1 night here, with 2 days being more than enough to see it all. Most people visit Mostar as part of a day trip from surrounding tourist areas, so it can get really busy during the day. Make the most of the quiet hours early in the morning or evening.

MONTENEGRO


# 3 : THE BAY OF KOTOR

2 NIGHTS

bay of kotor europe road trip
Our Lady of The Rocks island in Kotor Bay, Montenegro.

Beautiful ancient, little towns line this 66 mile picturesque bay. The best known town of this incredible bay is it’s namesake: the old town of Kotor. The highlights of this town are the very pretty old town, and the 1300 step climb up to the San Giovanni Fortress.

Further around the bay is Perast. This tiny town is right on the waters edge, and is the gateway to the small island known as “Our lady of the rocks”. This 500 year old, man-made island is home to a church and a museum. Boat trips to the island are around €5 per person for a 45 minute trip (including a tour of the church and museum).

The lake itself is also incredible. Hemmed in by mountains, this area is naturally stunning.

# 4 : DURMITOR NATIONAL PARK

2 NIGHTS

Our favourite part of our entire 2 week European road trip! This little known place is absolutely fantastic. 

We drove up to this area in northern Montenegro just to drive the 120km loop around the Durmitor National Park. And, it didn’t disappoint! This scenic drive turned out to be some of the most amazing scenery we have ever seen. Snowy mountains and wide, green landscapes make up this UNESCO listed park. The narrow, winding, one-lane road twists through the stunning landscape.

drone shot of lake in montenegro road trip
An alpine lake on the scenic loop around Durmitor National park.

The most travelled part of the road is between Pluzine and Zlabljak. To complete the entire loop, follow the road past Pluzine and eventually back onto the P5 and into Zlabljak. If you have more time, the drive can be done over 2 days. Spend your second night in the town of Pluzine, getting an early start to complete the loop the next day. 

If you can, spend a little longer here to explore the area. There are numerous hiking trails to be explored, and so much natural beauty to take in. 

road trip of europe itinerary 2020
Views on the scenic loop around Durmitor National Parl.

Do note that the road that makes up the loop can be dangerous in places. It requires a lot of giving way to oncoming drivers, so a smaller car is much better suitable. The road is very narrow and winding, with some high points and steep drop offs either side. Oncoming cars driving too fast around bends can be a problem. If you’re not an experienced driver, or aren’t comfortable with difficult driving, I would recommend not attempting this loop.

If your car has a small engine (like ours did) it may struggle up some of the steeper hills. But, it should eventually make it! Depending on the time of year, the road can be covered in snow in places. For the most up to date information, ask the locals. We did our road trip of Europe in mid June, and we encountered snow on the road in places!

2 week europe road trip montenegro and croatia
Our favourite view on the entire trip: sunset just outside of Zlabjak.

ALTERNATIVE DESTINATIONS / ITINERARIES


DUBROVNIK

We skipped Dubrovnik, partly due to lack of time, but partly due to the lack of appeal for us. I (Brenna) had been to Dubrovnik before as a stop on a 6 week bicycle tour along the Croatian coast. I hadn’t particularly enjoyed the overcrowding, over touristy feel to the place. Communally, we decided not to stop there.

However, Dubrovnik can easily be squeezed into the itinerary. Either as a day trip from Brela, a stop on the way between Montenegro and Hvar, or simply in place of Mostar, Kotor or Durmitor National Park.

ALBANIA – THETH

Originally, we had planned to take our road trip of Europe all the way down into Albania. A few days in, and we realised that we had a serious lack of time on our hands. Albania would have to wait for another time. The place that we were most excited to see in Albania, was Theth

This little mountain town in the north of the country (right near the border with Montenegro), is situated in beautiful mountain scenery in the Albanian Alps. The pictures of this place look incredible (Google it!).

A little hard to get to, you’ll need to leave your vehicle in the city of Shkoder, and take a 4×4 up into the town. This place can be added to your European road trip if you have extra time on your hands.

It would make logical sense to work your way down from Montenegro, and explore some of Albania. We’re really sad we missed this beautiful country on our mini road trip of Europe.

WHERE TO STAY


For the most part, we booked our accommodation as we travelled. Our preferred method of travelling is in a spontaneous manner. Therefore, we mostly just booked our accommodation a couple of days before arriving at the next destination.

For 10 out of the 11 nights on our road trip of Europe, we stayed in apartments with kitchens and cooking facilities. This made it A LOT easier to find food options. It also made it cheaper overall. Being the budget conscious travellers we are, we’re always looking for a bargain. Although staying in an apartment generally costs a little more than staying in a hotel room, the savings on food more than make up for the initial costs.

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Perast: a small, water side town on the bay of Kotor.

We shopped in supermarkets nearby, and went back to cook our dinner (and have a glass of wine or two) every evening. We love cooking together, so this was a good idea for us. If you’re not so culinarily inclined (and aren’t as interested in the money savings), maybe just stick to eating out at restaurants.

Every town and city we stayed in had some form of supermarket. For the most part, they had everything we needed in them. We usually made breakfast in our apartment (eggs, toast and avocado) and packed a lunch for the day (with fresh bread and cheese).

If you’re interested in trying the local cuisine, you may want to just stay in hotel rooms and eat out at local restaurants (or perhaps do a mixture of the two).

HOW TO BOOK

For this road trip of Europe, we used booking.com for each and every one of our stays. We found that they had the most variety (in terms of accommodation type and locations), and overall it was much better value than other competitors. We also use Airbnb.com for apartment stays.

WHERE WE STAYED

BRELA, CROATIA – Guest House Stipe (2 nights, £51)

MOSTAR, BOSNIA – Apartman Simple (1 night, £20)

KOTOR, MONTENEGRO – Cattaroom Apartments (2 nights, £39)

ZLABLJAK, MONTENEGRO – Sweet apartments (2 nights, £57)

SLANO, CROATIA – Vila Luka (1 night, £24)

HVAR STARI GRAD, CROATIA – Altamira Apartment (3 nights, £127)

WHAT IT WILL COST


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Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible Mark.

ACCOMMODATION


As we opted to stay in fully equipped apartments with kitchens and cooking facilities, our accommodation costs were a little more than if we had chosen to stay in hotel or guesthouse rooms. The higher initial cost of staying in an apartment is outweighed by the overall savings on food. We find that we spend around a quarter of the price on food if we buy ingredients from supermarkets instead of eating out at restaurants. Sometimes, the savings can be even higher in places like Europe, as eating meals out in restaurants can get very expensive.

So, whilst there are certainly cheaper options in the towns and cities on our European road trip itinerary, we chose to pay little more for these apartments with cooking facilities.

NOTE: If you’re on a really tight budget, in most of the destinations on this road trip around Europe itinerary, there are hostels available that also have shared kitchen facilities. We made the executive decision that we didn’t want to be sharing a dorm room (or sleeping in a bunk bed) on our holiday, so we ruled out hostels for the most part (we’ve found that private rooms in hostels can often be much more expensive than staying in hotels or guesthouses, as the ‘social element’ of the hostel is often oversold and seems to allow a much higher price tag for much less in return). However, if you’re happy to sleep in dorm rooms (or if you are travelling solo, and wont be sharing accommodation costs with anyone), there are probably cheaper alternatives.

BRELA, CROATIA – Guest House Stipe (2 nights) – £51

MOSTAR, BOSNIA – Apartman Simple (1 night) – £20

KOTOR, MONTENEGRO – Cattaroom Apartments (2 nights) – £39

ZLABLJAK, MONTENEGRO – Sweet apartments (2 nights) – £57

SLANO, CROATIA – Vila Luka (1 night) – £24

HVAR STARI GRAD, CROATIA – Altamira Apartment (3 nights) – £127

TOTAL: £318 / £159 per person – £13.25 per person, per day.

PETROL / FUEL


As we chose a small car (with an even smaller engine), our fuel costs were comparatively low. We were very surprised at how few times we had to fill up the tank during our road trip. Over our entire 12 day road trip of Europe, we only put fuel in the car 3 times. We drove a total of around 1000 miles, through hilly and mountainous terrain. 

Depending on where you are coming from, fuel costs can seem relatively low in this part of Europe. Coming from the UK, we found that the prices were a little less than back home, but not by a huge amount. In general, the price per litre of petrol, was about €1.00 – €1.30. The cost differed from country to country, and dependent on the area of the country, but for the most part it seemed to be around this price.

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Us admiring the view in Durmitor National Park.

WHERE TO FILL UP

When we needed to fill up, we used Google maps to find the cheapest option nearby. Using the search function on the app, you can search for ‘petrol near me’ and it will pull up all of the available petrol stations nearby. As it also displays up-to-date prices, you can also use this to choose the cheapest option nearby, and weigh up the cost of driving out of your way to get to that particular station, versus filling up closer to your location and paying a little extra (if that happens to be the case). You can also use this function to plan ahead and fill up en route to your next destination.

In total, we spent less than €100 on petrol. That includes all of our driving, from start to finish. This is mostly due to the small size of the car that we hired, and not low petrol costs in these countries (the petrol price really wasn’t as low as we had thought it might be). 

To put it into perspective, we once hired a Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck in the US (where fuel is about a third of the price that it is in Europe) and drove only 400 miles. In total, we spent around $75 (€69) on fuel. Therefore, (theoretically) the fuel for this same European road trip would have cost €517 in the pickup truck.

NOTE: Obviously, if your car has a bigger engine, your fuel costs will be much higher.

ALSO NOTE: We found that we spent a huge amount of time driving around to see sights, buy food, explore surrounding areas near our apartment etc.. These were miles that we didn’t initially account for when planning our trip. These miles quickly add up, and can almost double your predicted overall miles.

TOTAL: £85 / £42.5 per person – £3.50 per person, per day.

FOOD


As we stayed in apartments and cooked all of our own meals, we won’t be able to comment on the cost of eating out in restaurants. What we will talk about, is the price of buying food and ingredients from supermarkets. 

For the most part, food is cheap in this part of the world. Depending on what you buy, cooking a big meal for two people should only set you back around €5 or less.

If you’re willing to brach out a little further and shop at bigger supermarkets, you can save even more money. Usually, most supermarkets will have some kind of deal for some products. If you’re flexible (and not a fussy eater), you can save even more money by eating whatever is on offer.

road trip around europe crotatian coast
Views along the Croatian costal road.

For the most part, we ate a breakfast of eggs and toast, a lunch of fresh bread and cheese, and a dinner or pasta or rice. 

Head to the local bakery for the freshest and tastiest bread every morning. Make sure you try some of the local cheese and/or cured meats for an even more delightful culinary experience.

If you book an apartment with an oven (and not just a stove top), you open up even more options for cooking (we love to eat garlic bread and oven cooked pizza!).

Some example prices: Dozen eggs – €1.50 / 1KG rice – €1.50 / Loaf of bread – €0.75

In total, we spent around €150 on food over the 12 day European road trip. This doesn’t include beer and wine (on which we spent quite a large amount of money – we like beer). In the supermarket, beer prices were about €1 – €2 per 660ml bottle (depending on which country we were in).

TOTAL: £130 / £65 per person – £5.42 per person, per day.

FERRIES AND TOLLS


FERRIES

In total, our European road trip itinerary only took us on two ferries. Both of them being between Hvar and mainland Croatia. 

The first ferry (for a car < 5 metres): Drvenik to SucurajHigh season: £12 / Low season: £10

The second ferry (for a car < 5 metres): Stari Grad to Split – High season: £36 / Low season: £30

NOTE: High season = June to September / Low season = January to May & October to December

TOLLS

We managed to avoid tolls for the entire trip, without really trying. There is a major toll road between Brela and Mostar, but we took an alternative route (planned by Google, if you go into settings and check ‘avoid tolls’). This route took the same amount of time, and was actually much more scenic and interesting than sitting on motorways.

TOTAL: £40 / £20 per person – £1.66 per person, per day.

CAR RENTAL


As of January 2020, the cheapest car available (3 door VW UP!) from ‘Oryx Rent a car’ (the company that we hired from in June 2019) is €280 for a 12 day trip. That is without insurance or any liability cover.

TOTAL: £236 / £118 per person – £9.83 per person, per day.

THE BEST TIME OF YEAR


european road trip mostar bosnia
Enjoying a beer and people watching in the sunshine – old town of Mostar, Bosnia.

Like most places in Europe, the best time of year to complete this 2 week road trip of Europe is in the shoulder season. The shoulder season is during either spring or autumn/fall.

This way, you’ll avoid higher numbers of tourists and having to pay more for accommodation and ferries during the summer. You will also avoid bad weather in pretty much every part of the area in winter. In Montenegro, snow covers much of the mountainous areas in winter, so this can affect travel around this area.

The best months to complete this 12 day European road trip are:

April, May & June OR September & October

VISAS


As we are from the UK (and travelled this 2 week road trip of Europe whilst the UK was still part of the EU), we didn’t need any visas to enter any of the countries on our itinerary. If you are from outside the EU, you may need a visa to visit some of the countries in our European road trip itinerary.

For more information on visa requirements, follow this link.

MY PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR


LAPTOP – Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch

SMALL CAMERA – Olympus OMD- E-M10 Mark II

ZOOM LENS – Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm Lens

DSLR BODY – Canon 60D

WIDE ANGLE LENS – Sigma 10-20mm Lens

DRONE – DJI Mavic Pro

ACTION CAMERA – GoPro Hero 7 Black Edition

MICROPHONE – Rode VideoMicro

CAMERA BAG – Lowepro Fastpack 250 AW II

So there it is: our ultimate guide to the PERFECT 2 week European road trip!

If you’ve loved this post, be sure to pin the images below to your Pinterest.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.

For more VERY detailed guides to our other adventures, visit the blog or visit the inspiration page for more ideas and information on where to travel to for your next adventure.

 

 

Brenna & Danielle

About Us


We are Brenna & Danielle, two travel bloggers and photographers from England. 
After quitting our jobs in 2017, we backpacked and travelled to over 3 continents, and 20 countries together. We aim to inspire, through our honest and detailed travel guides and advice.
This blog exists to serve as an in-depth guide to many destinations across the globe, but also to inspire travel and adventure in all those that peruse these pages.

5 thoughts on “A European Road Trip – Croatia, Montenegro & Bosnia”

    1. Hi AffiliateLabz! Thank you for your lovely comment. We’re definitely trying to keep up the hard work. Thanks for the appreciation.

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