Peaks of the Adriatic Pre-War.
The Balkan is attracting more and more tourists and for some reason, it has a vast coastline inundated with sun, the mountains are wild and mighty and the people are welcoming.
Leaving the motorail to the start hotel we drive through the Dolomites (we suggest you take a motorail a few days early). From the castle in Cividale del Friuli we drive towards the Croatian coast to the Grand Hotel in Crikvenica. From there we drive via Zadar in two days over the cliffs overlooking the Adriatic to the ancient city of Split. We stay on the main square in the centre of town in two historical buildings.
We leave the coast into Bosnia and Herzegovina. As we approach our destination, Mostar, we see the mountains doming ahead. We drive some of the most beautiful roads over passes, through villages right out of a different time into Montenegro. Our modern and stylish hotel seems out of place, but the next day we understand. We drive through the second largest canyon in the world, 82 km long and at 1200 m deep at one point.
In Albania we stay in in the small town of Shköder with the mountains as magnificent backdrop. We leave the – relatively – populated coast for the mountains. Again it is a magnificent drive in the valley towards lake Debar and Macedonia.
We go south and pass lake Ohrid and lake Prespa, the former is one of the deepest lakes in the world and declared UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its unique ecosystem. We cross once more into Montenegro before our last border crossing into Greece. We will have covered approximately 1.750 km when we arrive at our last hotel at the lake of Kastoria.
It is a final 230 km to Igoumenitsa where the ferry will bring us all to Ancona.
The motorail runs daily from Düsseldorf to Innsbruck. We suggest you take a day extra in order to have all the time to enjoy driving the Dolomites.
Of course you are also welcome to come by own means to Cividale del Friuli.
The hotel for the start is 300 km from Innsbruck. It is a former 19th century cloister converted into hotel and wellness centre. For those arriving early we recommend a 15-minute walk to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Tempietto Longobardo. Together with the monastery of Santa Maria in Valle it constitutes some of the oldest Lombard architecture.
Via del Castello 12
33043 Cividale del Friuli (UD)
|Tel.: +39 0432 733242|
Shortly after leaving we pass the first border of the many crossing we will have during this rally. In Slovenia we drive through the woods over the lower part of the mountains to the fertile planes.
Soon we leave the planes for the more desolate mountains separating us from Croatia. In Croatia we descend towards the coast. It is here that we find the Grand Hotel where we will spend the night.
|Hotel Kvarner Palace|
|Ul. braće dr. Sobol 1|
|Tel.: +385 51 380 000|
This is one of these days where it is impossible to make a classification. Not that the competition part is very fierce, it is mainly there to add some livelihood to the discussions at the bar. You really cannot get lost, just keep the sea on your right and the mountains on your left and eventually you will end up in Zadar.
Zadar is the oldest continuously inhabited city of Croatia and it is one of the top touristic locations of the country. We will be staying within the old fortifications in a hotel build on top of the ruins of a 13th century Venetian fortress.
|Ul. Bedemi zadarskih pobuna 13|
|Tel.:+385 23 494 950|
We considered driving from Crikvenica to Split in one go. But the Peaks of the Adriatic rally has a high social character. And the towns of Zadar and Split are ideal to do some shopping or stroll in the historic centre and take a drink at one of the many terraces.
In Split we stay in two hotels in historic buildings in the car free historical city centre. Always buzzing, this exuberant city has just the right balance of tradition and modernity. Step inside Diocletian’s Palace (a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the world’s most impressive Roman monuments) and you’ll see dozens of bars, restaurants and shops thriving amid the atmospheric old walls where Split life has been humming along for thousands of years.
Meanwhile the cars will be exhibited at the seafront.
|Palace Suites Heritage Hotel|
|Narodni Trg 13|
|Tel.: +385 21 339 040|
We drive our last kilometres along the breathtaking coastline and take left into the mainland and towards Bosnia and Hertzegovina. We then take the smaller roads before entering the valley towards our destination Mostar.
In Mostar we stay in a modern hotel, entirely build with natural stones. It is located nearby the famous bridge which was rebuild after the war.
From here on we indulge in nature, vast forests and long mountainous chains. The region is upcoming for all those who like hiking in the nature. As this is not our sport, we take the more comfortable automobile.
In Montenegro we drive through the national park of Durmitor on the Prevoj Sedlo pass at an elevation of 1.907 m. It’s one of the most spectacular roads in Montenegro. On the summit there are fantastic views on both sides, with a nice panorama of the Valovito Jezero lake and the sharp rock of Stožina (1,905 m).
The last stretch for the day is absolutely stunning. High in the meadows, a perfect one-lane road meandering over the mountains.
You would not expect a modern hotel here. But as tourists are coming to the region, the tourism industry is starting to develop.
We leave our hotel for a drive to one of the largest canyons in the world. It is claimed to be the second largest behind the Grand Canyon, but to be honest it does not stand the comparison. However it is quite long and we drive for 40 km between the mountains. The Tara canyon’s fame comes from the rafting on the waters of the Tara River. We keep it dry.
Obviously the Balkan countries have found their way to the infrastructural funds from the IMF, World Bank, EU and other agencies. The two lane roads are mostly excellent. We will be going into Albania and the 2016 Google Map pictures show extensive work on most of the stretch from the Montenegro border to Shkodër where we will be spending the night. But lets hope they keep a gravel stretch for us.
Shkodër is at the coast. However we will go east, back into the mountains. The coastal area of Albania is not really attractive and the mountain harbour some beautiful drives with astonishing views.
Again, the roads are quite good. When we finally go south we arrive into Macedonia, in a region which one could call touristy. Several lakes do attract the holiday goers and we stay in a quite comfortable spa-hotel.
|Tel: + 389 46 842 222|
The lake region is quite spectacular. We leave lake Debar and within two hours we drive along the shores of lake Ohrid, one of the deepest lakes in Europe and home to its own ecosystem granting it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The views from its shores are spectacular but not as spectacular as from the top of the little pass separating it from lake Prespa.
We drive along lake Prespa and come again across a border crossing, this time back into Albania. Some 55 kilometres further we cross the border to Greece and we are now on the way to Lake Kastoria and the last hotel of the rally.
The Limneon Resort is a delicious place to come to rest and relax and of course for the prize awarding dinner.
4th National Road Kastoria – Athens
|Tel: + 30 24670 85111|
From now on it is only downwards, literally. Though not a rally day anymore the drive to the ferry in Igoumenitsa is still extremely nice, not too challenging, just enjoying driving roads meandering slowly over the mountains.
We have plenty of time for a dinner in one of the many restaurants in Igoumenitsa. Meanwhile our cars can be parked safely behind customs. The ferry for Ancona leaves around midnight.
The ferry will be arriving on Tuesday at 16:30h.
On Wednesday you can drop off your car at the Firenze airport, some 330 km from Ancona. There are many scenic roads which you can take. We will either be taking your car to Holland or to Essex.
For the night you are free to choose your hotel.
Andrew Bailey (IRL)
Philippa Spiller (IRL)
Peter Godehardt (DE)
Shane Houlihan (IRL)
Mrs Houlihan (IRL)
Richard Farr (UK)
Christine Leist Farr (UK)
Wouter Panis (B)
Eelke Panis (B)
Jan Roosenburg (NL)
Frans Hora Siccama (NL)
Bernard Jacobson (AUS)
Helen Jacobson (AUS)
Roy Callow (UK)
Brigitte Callow (UK)
Tim Luffingham (UK)
Clare Belsten (UK)
Peter Driessen (NL)
Nina Driessen (NL)
Terkel Ovesen (DK)
Birgitte Ovesen (DK)
Martin Aaldering (NL)
José Aaldering (NL)
Henk Sonnenberg (NL)
Joan Sonnenberg Nauta (NL)
Hansruedi Moser (CH)
Bea Moser (CH)
Cees Willemse (NL)
Ingeborg van 't Hof (NL)
Roger Goodwin (UK)
Gillian Goodwin (UK)
Start: Saturday May 18
Finish: Monday May 27
|Early booking fee for a crew of two:
(Down payment received before September 1st, 2018)
Registration: € 3.900, –
|Booking fee for a crew of two:
(Down payment in after September 1, 2018)
Registration: € 4.300, –
Total rally kilometers: 1750
From the disembarkation of the first hotel: 300 km
From the finish to the port of Igoumenitsa: 230 km
Daily from Düsseldorf to Innsbruck.
Departure at 21:00 and arrival at 09:15
Daily from Hamburg to Vienna.
Departure at 20:15 and arrival at 08:20