If you are feeling ambitious on your return trip try out Albania & Montenegro. The info is a bit dated but will give you some ideas. I'm sure Bill would love it.
Our amble around Albania lasted eight days and we covered 320 miles. Albania is a grim country - a huge construction site in many places - but the people are fantastic.
We ambled up the west coast and saw some of the few unspoilt beaches left in Europe (soon to be spoilt?)
The roads have to be seen to be believed. I think Mercedes are using Albania as a testing ground for their cars, as there are literally hundreds, most being driven by kamikaze drivers. If you lost a Merc in the last couple of years it most likely finished up in Albania.
ENTERING ALBANIA FROM GREECE
We entered Albania at the Quafe Bote border post (N39.65305 E20.15945) which is situated between the villages of Sagiada, Greece and Konispol, Albania, just north of Igoumenitsa.
It took us nearly as long to clear the Greek customs as it did to enter Albania. For some reason the Greek customs wanted all the paperwork for the van.
The old Albanian border post is being replaced by a purpose built structure, not yet in operation. The old post can only be described as chaotic. Fortunately it's only a small crossing with no heavy traffic and we were through the border in about 30 minutes.
We paid €27.00 for third party insurance for 14 days. We were expecting to pay €10 each for entry tax but the charge was not made.
You will need the V5C (Vehicle Registration Document) to enter Albania. They will ask for the “Vehicle Papers”.
Approximate exchange rates at 1 May 2010.
1 Euro €135 Leke
1 US $103 Leke
1 UK £157 Leke
Most traders preferred the Euro or Leke.
ATM's available in most towns. The bank of Tirana only accepted local cards.
Shopping is difficult, though you can buy bread, fruit and veg easily. It's difficult because of the language to identify what you want. You will see super/mini-markets varying in size from a tiny country cottage through to an average small town supermarket. The largest you find are the easiest to use. Sometimes you may recognise something you have known in other foreign supermarkets. Meat is probably most difficult and the butchers' shops you might see are not up to European standards!!!
It was warm and sunny all the time.
Road signing is very poor in the north and almost non-existent in the south. The signing for the ancient sites is better but still leaves a lot to be desired.
Motorways 90 KPH
Dual carriageways 80 KPH
Single carriageways 70 KPH
Urban areas 40 KPH
We came across speed limits of 20 and 30 KPH in some places.
On the main roads there were many hand-held/mobile speed cameras with speed limits as low as 40 KPH in some places. So be warned.
Drive with dipped headlights at all times.
ROAD CONDITIONS (As at the first week in May 2010)
Border to Butrint New road for some distance and then unmade /rough tarmac.
Butrint to Sarande Under construction, very rough.
Sarande to Vlore Good road surface, smooth tarmac.
Vlore town Unmade road in places, very slow going.
Vlore to Fier Road tarmaced with many bumps and potholes.
Fier to Berat Road tarmaced but in extremely poor condition and very bumpy.
Berat to Liushnje Road tarmaced but in extremely poor condition and very bumpy.
Liushnje to Durres Dual and single carriageway with smooth tarmac in good condition.
Durres to Shkoder On the whole road is good. Roadworks in places with diversions.
Shkoder to Muriqan border post. Tarmac road with good surface.
In some towns and villages there are speed humps, which are not marked and can be very dangerous if you hit them at speed. Besides damaging the van you might get done for low flying as well.
Euro diesel 135 Leke per litre (approx €1).
Auto Gas (LPG) Widely available about 70/80 Leke per litre. We filled up using the clawgun adapter.
You will need a good map at least 1:400 000. We used the Freytag & Berndt that covered Albania, Montenegro and parts of surrounding countries. We met and compared notes with a few motorhomers (no Brits) and our map was the only one that showed the small crossing points we used. We try and use the smaller crossings as usually there is less hassle there.
ANCIENT SITES VISITED
BUTRINT: N39.61428 E20.22750. Entrance fee €6. If you are interested in ancient sites it's worth a visit.
BARAT: N40.70442 E19.95081. Park alongside river, then cross over and visit old Ottoman houses. Well worth a visit.
BUTRINT SITE CAR PARK: See above.
HIMARA: N40.09848 E19.75190. Parked on sea front in designated parking area.
NOVOSELE: N40.61586 E19.47531. Derelict filling station on busy main road. Not an ideal night stop but needs must.
CAMPING PAEMER: 10 miles south of Durres in the village of Karpei. Site set along coast but under construction. The owner was very helpful but site is not suitable for motorhomes at all. There's one other van on the site tonight - we are parked on a driveway and the other van is on the site road. Also last 5 km was of unmade road, which is not really suitable for motorhomes.
CAMPING ALBANIA: N41.92372 E19.54194 www.camping-albania.eu
We exited Albania at Suobin which is a joint Albanian/Montenegrin border post. This is a small post and we were through the Albanian and Montenegrin formalities in about thirty minutes.
You don't get an exit stamp for Albania, just an entry stamp for Montenegro.
You might need to produce the V5C (Vehicle Registration Document).
We paid €16.00 (that was €2.00 per day) for the camper. The €10.00 exit and entry fee has now finished.
When we entered Montenegro we realised we had been one hour ahead of everybody else since entering Albania. After checking we realised that Albania was on CET (Central European Time) and not EET (Eastern European Time), as we thought. It did not seem to matter at all except the last night at Camping Albania, when our “seven o'clock” meal seemed to arrive very late!
We meandered up the coast road from the Albanian border for four days (10-13 May 2010). We found that English was not widely spoken anywhere in Montenegro - it was all Italian/German.
We entered the country at the joint Albanian/Montenegrin border post at Sukobin, which is across the border from Muriqan in Albania. This is a small post and we were through the Albanian and Montenegrin formalities in about thirty minutes.
We paid €10.00 for ecology tax and received a sticker for the windscreen.
We paid €15.00 for third party insurance for 15 days. This was the minimum period. If you wanted longer it was €1.00 per day extra.
We had to produce the V5C (Vehicle Registration Document) to enter Montenegro.
Montenegro's currency is the Euro.
Montenegro is on CET (Central European Time)
We paid a visit to Bar old town (Stari Bar). This is signed off the coast road (the old town is not in the modern town).
We opted to drive around the fjord to visit Kotor instead of taking the ferry. Stunning views around the fjord. Kotor old town well worth a visit. Parking can be a problem but we parked in the town centre at N42.42820 E18.69460, paying €4.00 for four hours' parking. The parking is within a five minute walk of the old town.
Reasonably signed on the whole with good tarmac surface.
Some road tunnels are unlit and can be very dangerous. I wear varifocal reactolights and at the first unlit tunnel entered I almost evacuated my bowels!
Drive with dipped headlights at all times.
Auto Gas (LPG) readily available €0.62 per litre
Euro Diesel €1.10 per litre
Ulcinj N41.92609 E19.23124. Mega/Solaris supermarket. Back to European style and standard after Albania.
Bar N42.10319 E19.09901. Maxi Supermarket.
There are quite a few Maxi supermarkets advertised on the coast road; there are others as well.
N42.00976 E19.15151. Small campsite with good facilities set in olive grove across from the beach. Very friendly/helpful owners.
N42.28367 E18.80298. North of Budva, free camp on flat area that is an abandoned camp site, no facilities.
N42.48875 E18.69460. Free camp on rough car parking area at north end of village.
We had very good weather all the time we were in Montenegro, hot and sunny.
EXITING MONTENEGRO INTO CROATIA
We were through the Montenegro border in about ten minutes.
We had to produce the V5C (Vehicle Registration Document) to exit Montenegro.
We had a sigh of relief when we entered Croatia, as we had been driving in Albania and Montenegro on third party insurance for the last eleven days.
On entering Croatia we had to produce the V5C (Vehicle Registration Document) and passports. The van was inspected by the Croatian customs.