This recount is mostly about our return trip from Dugi Otok island near Zadar, Croatia to home in Lodz, Poland. We only had one sightseeing stop in Slovenia and a night stop in Graz, Austria during the return journey.
Dubrovnik to Zadar, Croatia
Since Croatia was our primary stop, we headed from Dubrovnik on the southeastern tip of the country to Zadar in the southwest. We enjoyed wonderful views of the pretty Dubrovnik city when driving out of there. We rode on paid motorways which ran inland of the country. By that point I was quite used to high speeds so I rather focused on the sights. Both green and deserted hills, wide vineyards, valleys, villages – we passed them all. We stopped at a roadside stall that sold a variety of local produce for buying homemade Croatian liquor called rakija.
We arrived at Zadar port in about 5 hours and the sight of sea made my heart beat with excitement again. An hour later, we boarded a ship to Dugi Otok island where we basked in the sunshine and enjoyed the slow-faced island life for three full days.
Kilometers covered: 355
Hours on the road: 5
Zadar to Ljubljana, Slovenia
Our plan for this day was leaving Dugi Otok on ferry early in the morning and riding into Slovenia. It was quite tough to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to make it to the port where our ferry was leaving for Zadar at 6 AM. Half-asleep, I enjoyed the sights of the empty island roads for one last time when riding to the ferry port. I napped for the most part during the 1.5 hour ship journey to mainland Zadar. Battling this sleepiness on the back of a fast motorcycle was now my major concern as we got ready to head to Slovenia. There was a high traffic on the motorway, and it was surprisingly very chilly, which luckily kept me awake (and coffee at a petrol station 😉 ). After about 30 minutes of leaving Zadar, a portion of the motorway was completely foggy, prompting us to stop and dress warmer. The sudden drop in temperatures was shocking, to say the least. We intended to buy some more rakija (as the one we had bought was so delicious!) but unfortunately we didn’t see any roadside stalls selling it until we reached Croatia-Slovenia border checkpoint.
I had never been to Slovenia before so I was quite excited. The scenery in Slovenia was absolutely beautiful. Calm, peaceful, green, mountainous, hilly – the kind that puts your mind and heart at ease. I enjoyed riding along their windy roads enjoying the mountains on either sides. In many ways, I felt like I was in Austria where they spoke a Slavic language instead. We had decided to stop in this small country’s capital city of Ljubljana and do a quick trip to perhaps Slovenia’s most known attraction, Lake Bled. In less than 2 hours, we reached the charming city of Ljubljana and spent a lovely, sunny afternoon wandering.
Kilometers covered: 345
Hours on the road: 4
Ljubljana to Graz, Austria
After a fun afternoon in Ljubljana and Lake Bled (breathtaking scenery everywhere in Slovenia, by the way), our next stop was in Graz. Graz was just a night stop and we’d be on our way to Lodz the morning after.
The border between Austria-Slovenia was very interesting – as in very beautiful. Nestled between majestic mountains on either sides, the border pass was narrow and windy. Stasiek commented later that he didn’t enjoy riding such roads as not only were they windy, but also uphill and downhill for a good 45 minutes or so. I however really enjoyed the scenery. It was such a contrast from small, desert hills in Croatia to be surrounded by green, high mountains in Austria and Slovenia. We passed many absolutely cute-looking villages and roadside churches as well.
It was dark by the time we got to Austria’s student city, Graz. Our short stay there was very uneventful, we went to our airbnb apartment, went out for some pizza and beers nearby and crashed into an uninterrupted 8 hour-sleep after a long day.
Kilometers covered: 271
Hours on the road: 3.5
Graz to Lodz, Poland
When we woke up in the morning to get ready to start a long 780 kms journey back to Lodz. it was raining, so we left later than intended. It rained the whole time in Austria which didn’t allow me to enjoy its serene mountainous scenery as much. The highway was full of traffic and we had to wait on a queue at the petrol station for buying breakfast and using WC etc. I hoped the weather would get better. We’d be entering Czech Republic from Austria, so we decided to ride uninterrupted in Czech Republic again. But from Graz to the border, it was quite a long journey. Or maybe I thought it was long because it’s not so much fun to ride a motorbike while it’s drizzling. We passed Vienna and shortly after reached the border to Czech Republic, where we rode non-stop. There was a lot of traffic on the road and I saw even saw a few Finnish number plates.
After 2 hours or so, we entered Poland. And all we wanted to do was stop, rest, eat and drink (well us girls could drink, as Poland has almost zero tolerance for drink driving). We stopped at a small Polish town not so far from Czech Republic-Poland border, and enjoyed a good meal. The weather was still gray and cloudy. The weather quite resonated with our gloomy emotions at the end of such an adventure. Lodz was about 4-5 hours from there on. We arrived to Lodz at 10 PM, having started our journey from Graz at 9:30 in the morning the same day. Not to mention we were exhausted! We drank some beers together after arriving in Lodz and cheered to the end of our magnificent and successful Euro road trip.
Kilometers covered: 780
Hours on the road: 12
Total kilometers covered on the road: 3600 + more inside Dugi Otok island
Countries on the route: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bosnia&Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria
Number of days: 11