Home Tourism The Trans Dinarica cycle path will soon connect eight Balkan countries

The Trans Dinarica cycle path will soon connect eight Balkan countries

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A 3,364 km cycle route, connecting Croatia with seven other countries in the Balkan region, is currently nearing completion. To showcase this carefully planned 80-stop itinerary, organizers hosted a series of online workshops in English. The final Q&A session for interested parties – service providers, cyclists, tourism representatives – will take place on March 2 at 2:30 p.m. CET. To join, use this Zoom link.

Created by the Slovenian NGO pioneer of sustainable tourism Good placededicated mapmakers, responsible travel strategists and co-developer and renowned Balkan travel writer Alex Crevar, the Transdinarica now awaits final test drives after years of research. Many sections are already open while the entire route, personally reassessed this summer by Alex, the GoodPlace team and a dozen local cycling enthusiasts along the route, is expected to open in 2024.

Transdinarica
Ziga Koren/Goodtrail

“It’s a route for travelers who like to cycle,” says Alex. Time Out Croatia. “It’s for those who want to experience parts of the Balkans that weren’t on their radar before, a combination of coastal, forest and inland villages, divided into 50km sections with somewhere to eat and stay at the end of every day of hiking.”

Having already worked on the Balkan hiking network Via Dinarica, Alex is well aware of the pitfalls of such a project, but also of the recent positive changes in dynamics: “We no longer need to report everywhere since everyone can now upload the GPS data of the route. on their phones. These are public roads, open to all, with no access authorization required. Today, cycling is that rare form of travel that hits all the right notes, combining sustainability, affordability and community involvement.”

Two-wheeled tourism has exploded in this post-Covid era, allowing older networks such as EuroVelo, a vast tangle of 17 routes stretching 90,000 km from the Arctic to the Black Sea, to increase its international visibility. Each year, an ever-increasing number of travelers plan a convivial week of cycling, setting aside a simple but satisfying meal of local character and wine of similar provenance each day. Although the Trans Dinarica is not a EuroVelo route, their routes intersect in certain places along the Adriatic coast, part of the EV8 Mediterranean trail.

Town of Sibenik, Dalmatia region
@ Šibenik Tourist OfficeŠibenik

For Alex, the key is not only what the Trans Dinarica can offer the adventurous cyclist, but also the local communities that riders will pass through. “Sustainability means ensuring its presence in the years to come,” explains Alex. “These roads will always be there. If local tour operators and service providers can show initiative in what they can offer along the route, this should ensure a sense of involvement and ownership on their part. Although the Trans Dinarica website, maps and app are free to use and download, businesses on and off the trail can further leverage the platform by promoting their operations for a nominal annual fee, contributing thus maintaining information sources and social media accounts. fresh, up-to-date and forward-looking.

Trans Dinarica promoters GoodPlace were also behind the Slovenia Green cycle paths is now an integral part of the country’s national tourism strategy. The estimated overall impact on the local economy of visitors traveling these routes over the past 18 months is almost €10 million. Alex again: “Knowing the precise number of cycle tourists, the 13,000 who have downloaded the Green Routes of Slovenia, we can estimate quite accurately that they stay on average for a week, spending around €100 per day on food, accommodation and other services. “. This obviously bodes well for potential long-term revenues, once Trans Dinarica is firmly established.

Initial external funding came from YOU SAIDEDGE Project, Business for Development, Growth and Empowerment. Its goals include promoting global health and supporting global stability wherever either may be needed. The Trans Dinarica concept is underlined by the fact that six countries along the route – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania and North Macedonia – are not part of the EU and tick boxes in Washington by defending cross-border cooperation.

Plitvice Lakes
@Ivan Korić/HTZPlitvice Lakes

The trail begins in western Slovenia, in Kobarid, near the Italian border, before crossing into Croatia just north of Rijeka. It then follows a corridor of national parks, intersecting or passing near six: Risnjak; Northern Velebit; Plitvice; Paklenica; Kornati and Krka. Avoiding the busier sections of the coastal road, the route crosses inland to Split, then heads towards Bosnia. The long loop it takes around the Western Balkans is deliberate, allowing cyclists to admire Sarajevo and cycle close to the national capitals Podgorica, Skopje and Pristina. Other possible detours, to Zagreb, for example, or Ljubljana or Belgrade, will also be indicated on the map.

Some sections may be steep – “the Balkans are the Balkans,” as Alex says in hindsight – but the stages will be mapped out with the average 40-year-old in mind, ideally using a popular hybrid road bike and mountain bike machine. Mountain biking. . The only real obstacles, a series of Tintine-style border crossings, are also part of the adventure. “Cyclists are usually asked to go to the front of the queue anyway,” says Alex.

“The way I see it,” he concludes, “people might want to do a certain section every year, one summer in Bosnia-Montenegro, say, the next Kosovo and North Macedonia. Then again, we might have a few finalists who want to complete the entire course in one go.”

For more information, refer to Trans Dinarica Facebook page. A website is currently under development. For the March 2 workshop presentation, use this Zoom link.

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