Motorcycle trip from Poland to Croatia and more: Final parts

[This is a final summary of my Euro road trip series. To find and read the previous parts, click here. ]

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.

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Buying rakija in Croatia

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.

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Somewhere in Slovenia

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.

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An afternoon in Ljubljana

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. IMG_20160820_185701_HDR.jpg
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.

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Riding Austria’s roads

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.

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It was a gray day

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

 

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13 thoughts on “Motorcycle trip from Poland to Croatia and more: Final parts

  1. What a wonderful trip, but 12 hours on the bike…. ouch! You must have been exhausted. I so remember riding on a bike from my town to Airlie Beach, in the Barrier Reef…. 8 hours was enough for me, we had to stop and sleep for a while…. my legs ached the next day! And that is something I don’t miss: driving on a bike in the rain. The rain feels like Hailstones at high speeds! Which town did you stop at near the border in Poland. I have just come back from Poland and I wondered if I had been to that place. Anywhere near Zakopane?

    1. 12 hours on the road was brutal, Amanda! As a passenger it was just so boring to me after a few hours. We stopped at a town near Czech Republic-Poland border, I don’t recall the name, but it was the first town in Poland right after the border (near Ostrava in Czech Republic). I’ve been to Zakopane and crossed the border to Slovakia too, a few years ago!! 🙂 So beautiful out there. Strange that google maps showed us route via Czech Republic when going to Bratislava in Slovakia when Poland and Slovakia share a border near Zakopane area too. But probably because Poland-Czech Republic route is faster and easier.

    1. Good morning, Dai. We actually drank rakija later after reaching the island, ha ha. I would have been 10x sleepier if I was drunk on rakija when traveling on motorbike. I had to constantly battle the sleepiness during the motorcycle trip, probably because we were exhausted from early mornings and lot of traveling.
      How is your day going, Dai? We’ve been enjoying some snowfall since yesterday. It’s nice until I have to drive ha ha. I haven’t yet changed my car tires for winter ones, and I drove yesterday at very low speeds, the roads are very slippery..

  2. Hi Pooja and ekdum good morning to you. For some reason I’ve just seen this comment but I have been ridiculously busy recently without too much spare time for the internet. I know the feeling of sleepiness on the back of a motorbike because of my two 7 day jaunts to western and eastern Nepal. I hate driving in the snow, Pooja. One time in Hungary my car went out of control into the path of a truck coming towards me but at the last second my car slithered back to my side of the road. It sure was a close shave. I don’t drive these days because I don’t have enough money for a car but if ever we locate to the countryside, a car will be really essential. What are you doing there today, Pooja ?

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