Trans Dinarica GPS navigation packages: what will they contain and how will they be available

For those of you ready to jump on the bike, let us briefly explain the form the Trans Dinarica GPS navigation packages — with GPS or GPX tracks and Points of Interest, or POIs — will take. We want to be clear about the tools available when cycling through the eight countries of the Western Balkans.

 

Cyclists on gravel bikes checking the navigational data for the Trans Dinarica cycle route.

 

1. The Trans Dinarica route will exist in digital format only.

Trans Dinarica cycling route will only be available in digital format. This Balkan cycling route will not be marked on-site. Can you imagine how many signs would be needed to physically mark approximately 5,000 kilometers of trails? So, don’t expect signs at crossroads.

 

2. The general Trans Dinarica map and data.

The general map of the entire Trans Dinarica route across all countries will be available free of charge. Each stage will be presented with an official pdf map available for free download, showing route track, vertical profile, and basic technical info about the length and elevation. This way, you will be able to see where the route leads and use it to navigate on a bicycle yourself – with some ingenuity and more clicking, of course. But, to make the life of an adventurer easier … (see point 3)

 

3. Extensive Trans Dinarica GPS navigation packages.

Navigation packages for each of the individual countries will be available for a small fee; for Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Serbia. The price of the package is expected to be 2 EUR for one stage, which should bring about 20 EUR for one country. There are discounts planned for everyone who chooses to buy packages for more than one country and an even bigger discount for the bravest – for those who choose to buy the navigation package for the entire Trans Dinarica.

These fees are for the route’s sustainability. The fees will be used to offset the cost of keeping the navigation packages accurate and so that the trail is updated with local businesses that offer accommodations, food, and services. In short, we are committed to making a positive impact on communities across the region. You can find some idea about why we believe the cycle route has a positive effect on the local community in this story: Why do I believe in Trans Dinarica?

 

4. For the navigation, you’ll be using the Ride with GPS mobile app (or others).

After a thorough research of the possibilities, we decided that the navigational package will be available on the Ride with GPS platform, the excellent performance of which we have already tested in practice. A mobile app allows active turn-by-turn navigation without an internet connection after preloading the entire map. The process is fast, error-free, with plenty of display options and help along the way. For those in favor of special GPS navigational devices like Garmin, Wahoo, Hammerhead, etc., the navigational package, once purchased, will offer the possibility of downloading GPS data for active navigation with those devices, too. The Ride with GPS app enables the export of tracks in various formats (gpx, tcx, fit, …). We’re sure you’ll enjoy it.

 

Cases of using a mobile app Ride with GPS for navigation on Trans Dinarica.

 

What will the country-specific navigation package contain?

  • GPS track for the whole country.
  • Surface data (paved, unpaved).
  • Information on the height difference (altitude/climbs).
  • Useful POIs (warnings about important route characteristics, accommodations, inns, shops, bicycle workshops, natural and cultural heritage, …).
  • Descriptions of individual stages (interesting sites along the way, difficulty of cycling, specifics regarding accommodation …).
  • Information about the so-called hubs that you can use for easier logistics (connecting routes to major cities with airports, bus, and rail connections).

In short, the navigation package will be informative enough that you should have no problems planning a cycling trip and navigating through an unknown country. This still means that you will be cycling in the Balkans in a ‘self-guided’ way, i.e. on your own. Please do not count on someone from our team to help you look for a place to stay in the middle of the Bosnian mountains at 9 pm.

 

Cyclists on a wooden bridge in Albania, riding the Trans Dinarica cycle route.

 

What you are most interested in: WHEN?

Both the general Trans Dinarica map and the detailed GPS navigation packages will be available in July 2024.

 

What about guided Trans Dinarica cycling tours?

Just a bit of information for those, who are interested in guided/supported cycling tours along the Trans Dinarica: we are already in contact with local tourist agencies that will organize tours with full support (local guide, organized accommodation, luggage transport). This way of experiencing Trans Dinarica will likely be available already in 2024.

 

For now, we invite you to sign up for our e-newsletter, and we will inform you when the Trans Dinarica GPS navigation packages are ready.

The Trans Dinarica video trailer: crazy panoramas, dynamic cycling and friendly locals

The priority task of our research trips in the Western Balkans is to check roads, tracks, as well as accommodation and other important information for travelers on bicycles. But in addition, we have another mission: to show the whole world that this area is a first-class cycling destination; it’s just wild enough that cycling is a true adventure, and on the other hand, it’s developed and populated enough that we can count on a hot meal and a clean bed every day (which is actually all a cyclist really needs).

Today we are premiering a video trailer that presents the essence of Trans Dinarica in a minute. At this point, we would like to thank Matevž Hribar for recording on field various video devices, patient cyclists who may have had to cycle to the same road several times for the sake of good footage, and finally the Karata Film studio for their support with advice, equipment and professional editing.

We hope you like it.

If you want to be among the first to receive navigation packages (in 2024), sign up for e-news on our website.

What kind of bicycle for the Trans Dinarica? Gravel, touring or MTB?

We get asked frequently if you can explore the Western Balkans with a loaded touring bike, or if you might need something more off-road oriented. Here is the short answer:

Our plan is that the Trans Dinarica routes will appeal to the widest possible audience of cyclists and will therefore be accessible by almost any bicycle. Trekking or touring bikes, some call them hybrid or fitness bikes, will be very useful, and an enduro or cross-country bike can also be an excellent choice. We would only advise against folding bikes, downhill bikes, and road racing bikes. Although, you know, where there’s a will, there’s a way 🙂

We use gravel bikes for routing because they are fast on the road and relatively good on macadams. Above all, they are an excellent compromise because we don’t need a lot of luggage for our research work – a support van helps us with that.

As far as luggage (and weight) is concerned, we would advise you to take only the most essential things with you, as you will pass by the market or store almost every day (every other day for sure). What is necessary and how many extra kilograms should be carried on bicycles, opinions differ so much that it is difficult to draw a line between what is an acceptable weight and what is decidedly too much. Just be aware that sometimes roads like this await you:

How much asphalt and gravel is there on the way?

We will only be able to announce what the final ratio between the road and gravel will be after the end of the research (in 2024), but we can already say that it is necessary to be prepared for some not-really-perfect gravel roads out there. It would be a shame to limit ourselves to only well-maintained roads. When you turn off left or right, an adventure wonderland awaits you.

We can’t wait to hit the road again!

How hospitable are the locals in the Balkans? THIS much! (Description of three events in a single day)

Traveling through the country is always multifaceted; we experience it ourselves, and we are surrounded by nature, settlements, locals, animals … After our last experience in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, we believe that meeting people – locals who have been cultivating the Balkan soil for decades, is a more important component than in the case of traveling through more touristic countries. Using the example of one day, we will describe why we think so.

“Whenever you want! If it’s at 7:00 a.m., let it be at 7:00 a.m.,” answered the owner of a house in Sjenica, in which she rents out a few rooms from this year, when asked when we can have breakfast. When I went to prepare the bikes for the next trip in the morning, at 6:40 she was already walking from one kitchen to another (outside) kitchen. Inside she was putting different kinds of cheeses and pickled vegetables on plates, outside she was frying ‘uštipci’ (a kind of fried bread) and fresh green peppers, and under the tablecloth, freshly baked homemade bread was cooling. At 6:58, the table was so full that we couldn’t finish it. But she wrapped up some uštipci, cheese and some dried meat for us to go on our way. Here, we had lunch.

Early in the afternoon, there were signs of a storm coming from the west. We were late with the day’s plan, a little earlier we found ourselves on a path we wouldn’t have liked to see under a five-and-a-half-meter van. Slowly, it worked. But the scene before the rain is fantastic; we are on a high plateau, the Albanian and Montenegrin mountains can be seen in the distance, covered with snow, and we are in the screaming green mountains, overgrown with juniper and pine and spruce. We MUST take some photos and videos here! We stop near a lonely house, prepare the camera and walkie-talkie and start working. If I wasn’t really in a hurry because of the coming rain, I would first go and ask if I could park at the house, but … A minute later, when the cyclists were already moving away, a lady greets me from the porch and asks if we want coffee. Oh, please, thank you!

By the time the shots are finished and the bikes are stowed back in the van, the house already smells of strong coffee, and there is sparkling water, some candy, and slices of dried beef on the table. We talked about life in these remote places, about where the five daughters moved to, how they are waiting for a better road and how many cyclists pass by here. They refused to accept the payment.

In the evening, just a few kilometers before our last checkpoint of the day, we wanted to see the possibility of accommodation in a small village. An elderly man was outside making rakija and called his son from the house to ask for information about rooms. After a short conversation right through the windows of the van, we decided to stay right here, in the village. And here – again, in a few minutes, in addition to the promised clean beds, the table was full of homemade goodies, bread, meat, and fresh vegetables. And of course, glasses for rakija as we finished driving for the day.

You guys are just great. We will be back!

Photo gallery:

Can we get the Trans Dinarica navigation data already this year?

The answer, unfortunately, is not quite yet. The map we published on the website’s front page is a draft compiled from our cartography experience and our team of local experts. So, the route is roughly settled, but we haven’t fully examined the Trans Dinarica in its entirety.

We will release the data only after we can attest to every details of every kilometer along the roughly 5,000-kilometer cycle route across all eight countries. At that point, we will say: “Here it is, it’s ready, we are confident in it … now go enjoy it all at once or piece by piece!” We want the Trans Dinarica to be ready and clear when riders set out on their big adventure across a region we all love very much.

Thank you for your understanding, let’s stay in touch!