Ukraine and Romania Roadtrip 2019. Start saving up for new shocks.

MXM

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Dates: July 27th - August 8th
Route: Lviv - western side of Ukraine - Carpathian mountains - Transfăgărășan, Transalpina - Budapest - Victoria Station


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The map is the first draft, just a few waypoints, not the final route.

Day 1 - Start in Lviv (my hometown, woop!) spend the first day there enjoying the city.
Days 2-5 - I'm working on planning a route through the Carpathian mountains, and at least one day is planned to be spent for rest or hiking. On day 5 we cross to Romania.
Days 6-8 - Drive through Romania, do the passes.
Days 9-10 - Hungary, and city day in Budapest.
Day 11 - Bratislava
Day 12 - Maybe Prague
Day 13 - Altenahr

The Ukraine part of the trip will be mostly sightseeing. Although the roads improve every year, do not expect them to be very good, certainly not in Carpathians. Some stretches are likely not to have asphalt at all. Ukrainian Carpathians have several national parks, and it is somewhat a touristy area for locals, but as far as I know, not so much for international visitors. Much of it is not really accessible by car (or at least normal car), it's a popular area for hikers, and I really want to experience some of that myself...

...Soo, there is an observatory called White Elephant on top of a Pip Ivan peak, which looks absolutely stunning, but it involves walking for 10km one way with 1km of elevation. It's doable by novice hikers, but it's no joke, so it takes a bit of preparation. It's gonna take a full day to go up there and come back down before sundown. The route goes from a small village called Dzembronya, where my hope is we can stay for 2 nights, so whoever wants to do the hike can have a full day to do it. Here's a video of a hike, to give you an idea.

About Romania all I can say for now is that we need to do Transfăgărășan and Transalpina 😁

There was also talk about visiting Chernobyl. This is however significantly more eastern than our route. It takes 3 days in total for such detour, the road is dull, and monetarily will cost as much extra as booking plane tickets to Kiev and back (guided tours apparently start from Kiev). So it was decided that including that as a part of the roadtrip does not make much sense.

Ukraine doesn't require visas for EU citizens. Belarus does though, so if you want to tackle that before the roadtrip starts, take that into account.

The trip will probably not involve any camping, accommodation should be pretty cheap.

I'll be updating this post as the route is taking shape. Meanwhile register your interest!
 

Eye-Q

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Sounds good. :)

Since I don't own a car anymore - anyone up for buying some 100 Euro USSR bangers in or around Lviv and driving it/them back to Germany? :mrgreen:
 

public

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I'm in for the trip, as always! As I don't necessarily plan to buy yet another roadtrip beater and will probably not trek down in any of my partially working cars, I'm probably joining a crew – possibly from Finland already, down Via Baltica.
 

Matt2000

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Ooh. I wonder if the Smart could make it all of the way without falling apart. It stands a better chance than the V8 I suppose...


Lviv looks very pretty in the photos.
 

IceBone

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If I join in Hungary, that may actually be acceptable. I'll have to think about either this or the short trip through Italy/Austria/Switherland.
 

Lastsoul

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Woop! Yes, definitely joining. I'm not saying anything about the idea of taking the Daimler, since somebody might bring it up later...
 

gt1750

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I'm not joining, because most of my holiday is already planned (sadface), but I do have a few recommendations:

When you drive through CZ, I strongly suggest NOT using the E65/D1 between Brno and Prague - parts of it are old and terrible (might still be better than what you find in Ukraine or Romania) other parts are being worked on and there are always traffic jams on the way, usually caused by fender benders in the construction zones. I prefer to use the northern route E442/35 and D11 when I visit my family on the eastern end of CZ - it's a more interesting drive anyway.

If you find the time and interest, you might want to take a detour through Beskydy hills - nice landscape, some fun roads especially near the Slovak border. There is also the Tatra museum in Koprivnice. From there you can take the previously mentioned route.

I also suggest spending less time in Bratislava in favor of spending more time in Prague. Don't forget to visit BeerGeek :D
 

H0nzik

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The drive through the Ukrainian Carpathians is... not something one would want to do with his own car. A few years ago I drove from Sighetu-Marmatiei to Uzhhorod and really only the stretch from Mukachevo and Uzhhorod was relatively pothole-free. I was also contemplating taking a detour via Kolochava out there in the mountains, but after a few kilometres I've decided I'm just not willing to do this to my car anymore. It's the classic ex-USSR scenario, where you start off driving on a paved road, but gradually the frequency of the potholes increases to the extent that the potholes start to prevail over the tarmac and eventually you find yourself driving on an unpaved road. I've experienced this also in Georgia or Armenia but there I was driving a rental SUV. Even in a rental car it's still pretty annoying, as it makes driving times completely unpredictable - even the roads marked in Google maps with a nice thick yellow line can randomly turn upaved and you have no idea if the next 100 km will take you 1 or 5 hours. Since Ukraine has pretty much been at war ever since, I doubt this has changed to the better...
 

DaHitch

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I'll most likely join again, with the bike. I can't pass up taking the bike over the Transalpina & Transfăgărășan. :)
Depending on how long it'll take me to reach the starting point I may skip Ukraine and head straight to Romania.
 

MXM

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The drive through the Ukrainian Carpathians is... not something one would want to do with his own car. A few years ago I drove from Sighetu-Marmatiei to Uzhhorod and really only the stretch from Mukachevo and Uzhhorod was relatively pothole-free. I was also contemplating taking a detour via Kolochava out there in the mountains, but after a few kilometres I've decided I'm just not willing to do this to my car anymore. It's the classic ex-USSR scenario, where you start off driving on a paved road, but gradually the frequency of the potholes increases to the extent that the potholes start to prevail over the tarmac and eventually you find yourself driving on an unpaved road. I've experienced this also in Georgia or Armenia but there I was driving a rental SUV. Even in a rental car it's still pretty annoying, as it makes driving times completely unpredictable - even the roads marked in Google maps with a nice thick yellow line can randomly turn upaved and you have no idea if the next 100 km will take you 1 or 5 hours. Since Ukraine has pretty much been at war ever since, I doubt this has changed to the better...
It'll be fiiiiine :mrgreen:

But honestly yeah, some parts are very sketchy, and schedule is designed around that. I'm also reading travel reports from local forums to get up to date information on road conditions. And then there's streetview through the most of the route. We'll survive.
 

public

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I think the best cars there would be beaters, but not beat enough that the suspension is going to be ripped out when subjected to hard use. Since the toughest roads are in the beginning, the cars should withstand that and remain in useable condition so that they can be enthusiastically driven around the mountain touge roads in Romania. My recommendation is some old French car.
 

Beni

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Can't say for sure but I'm definitely very interested in the Ukraine part of the trip and the hike sounds rather nice. Maybe I'll just continue south from Romania and make a longer trip out of it.
 
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