My Cycle Touring Plans For Eastern Europe

I’ve been bicycle touring across Europe for almost four months now and I’m having a blast! (See the most recent photos here.) But I’ve still got a long way to go. So today, rather than tell you about where I’ve been over the past four months and the experiences I’ve had along the way, I thought I’d take a moment to show you where I’m planning to go in the future.

The overall plan for September, October and November is to cycle from my current location in Istanbul, Turkey and ride all the way to Krakow, Poland while crossing through Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and the Ukraine.

It should be noted, however, that I won’t be cycling the entire time. Instead, I’m breaking my travels by bike into four major segments. As you will see in just a moment, each of these four segments of the trip consists of a period of bike touring followed by a period of rest.

Istanbul, Turkey – Varna, Bulgaria

The first leg of the trip is a 10-day, 500 km bike ride from Istanbul, Turkey to Varna, Bulgaria.

Getting out of Istanbul is going to be a nightmare and will probably take several hours. I’ll be hot, sweaty and somewhat frightened for my life (the traffic here is a little scary at times). But once I make it outside the city limits, the vehicle traffic should die down a bit and I will be able to enjoy myself on the bike.

I’ll ride north out of Istanbul for several days before crossing into Bulgaria and making my way to the coast of the Black Sea. Cycling up the coast, I’ll ride through the beach-side city of Burgas before arriving in Varna – the first of four scheduled rest stops.

I’ve rented an apartment in Varna (thanks to the website at for eight nights… and while I’m there I plan to see the city, do some computer work and maybe (just maybe) spend a little bit of time on the beach. I’m seriously not a beach person, so while most of the people in Varna might be there to relax in the sun and play in the water, I may be off running around in the nearby mountains or something. We will see!

Varna, Bulgaria – Brasov, Romania

After eight nights in Varna I’ll leave the Black Sea and cycle inland toward the center of Romania. I may decide to cut through Bucharest, the Romanian capital, but if I do, I won’t be there for very long. My plan is to go around the city (or maybe even cut straight through it) before heading north into the mountains and cycling towards the tiny town of Brasov.

Once in Brasov, I plan to take the second of four scheduled breaks. I’ve already rented an apartment in the city (again from, so I know that I’ll be there for 11 nights. During this time I will be working, resting and riding my bicycle around to nearby attractions – such as “Dracula’s Castle,” which is only 30 kilometers away from where I will be staying.

Brasov, Romania – Ternopil, Ukraine

After my time in Brasov comes to and end, I’ll hit the road again for the third leg of my eastern European bike tour. This part of my travels will take me across north-eastern Romania and into Moldova. I’ll spend a day or two in Moldova’s capital city of Chisinau and then cross through a small section of Transnistria before entering the Ukraine.

I’m looking forward to my time in the Ukraine and I hope the weather in mid-October will be perfect for cycling. Fingers crossed!

To be honest, I don’t really know where I am going to go in Ukraine or where I will be staying. I might go east toward Odessa. I might head north toward the capital in Kiev. I might just hang out in the western woods near Poland and Hungry? I don’t really know! As a placeholder for the moment, however, I’ve designated the city of Ternopil as my third resting place, where I will once again rent an apartment, get some sleep, ride my bike and do a little computer work while I’m there.

Ternopil, Ukraine – Krakow, Poland

Finally, sometime around the beginning of November, I will leave my rented apartment in the city of Ternopil (or wherever I happen to be in Ukraine) and cycle for about one week to Krakow, Poland. This portion of my bike tour is the shortest leg of the journey over the next three months – only 460 kilometers. That said, it’s going to be November when I do this and I expect it to be cold, cold, cold.

I don’t want to be cycling around Poland in the wintertime, so the plan is to rent another apartment in Krakow, Poland and to use that apartment as my home base while visiting some other parts of the country between November 9th and December 10th. And that, for the most part, is my plan for the next 3-4 months.

As you can see, I’ve taken what would be a substantial amount of riding (going from Istanbul, Turkey to Krakow, Poland) and broken it up into four major sections – each section consisting of a period of cycling and a period of rest in a rented apartment.

Wish me luck… and be sure to follow my updates from the road by liking Bicycle Touring Pro on Facebook and by frequently checking out my travel photos here at

The next time you hear from me I’ll be in Bulgaria!


3 thoughts on “My Cycle Touring Plans For Eastern Europe

  1. Stuart Rowell says:

    You gave me some good advice on the REI Novara Ronandee – I have yet to buy it but hope to in October when I am in Colorado Springs as it seems one the best value touring bikes for the price. I travel a lot with the Christian charity that I work for in Central and Eastern Europe and have been travelling in these parts for the last 22 years. I thoughly recommend taking a few days in Lviv – it is a brilliant city and like Krakow or Prague and nothing like the rest of Ukraine. Wroclaw in Poland is also worth visiting. If you are staying in Krakow you will no doubt visit Auswichts and also go tot he salt mines near Krakow too. Kiev is worth spending time, the Orthodox museum at the big Mother Russia site is amazing with things like the Psalm 23 or the Lords Prayer engraved on the wings of a fly ( monks had too much time on their hands and no real work to do ) and the USSR arms museum there is worth the time as is the Nazi museum too.

    Have you come across the Euro-Velo long distance bike routes in Europe?

    Enjoy the ride and the adventure. Stuart from Serbia

    PS excuse the spelling – in a rush and hopeless

  2. Vio says:

    Heya Darren,

    I’ve been following your website for some time. Great job and I must say I love your Pangea! Fantastic bike. My message has to do with your upcoming ride in Romania and stay in Brasov. As a Romanian, I may be able to give you a few pointers (that may come in handy). I’m quite familiar with both cultures, having lived both in Romania and North America. (Canada)

    First and foremost, Romanians are very friendly, but commons sense should always be observed, especially in busy places. You are 100% safe, but keep an eye out on your belongings in big cities. I’m sure I don’t have elaborate on that. In case you haven’t heard yet, Romanians are not know for their courteous manners when it comes to “drivership” (a word I made up to match airmanship… something I need to keep in mind on a regular basis). They seem to be in a mad rush to get somewhere, as if the end of the world is coming just around the corner. Moving on…

    Your route seems pretty good. Brasov is wonderful and be sure to visit Poiana Brasov, which is just outside of the city. Great place and great views of the city. Moldova (the Romanian Moldova… not the country Moldova) is a very scenic location. You’ll enjoy it quite a bit. Lots of interesting history and lots of monasteries.

    If you ever find yourself between cities and can’t find a place to stay, just walk up to a house and say “Sunt turist, pot sa pun cortul in gradina dumneavoastra, va rog?” (Suhnt tuh-rist, poht sah phun kort-uhl in grah-dee-nah duhm-neah-vos-trah, vah rogue)…. That’s how it should sound . It means “I’m a tourist, can I set up my tent in your garden please?”

    Anyway here are a few phrases… if you can’t read them, just show them the spelling

    Buna dimineata = good morning
    buna ziua = good day (very common)
    buna seara = good evening
    multumesc = thank you
    va rog (please) – you can say “te rog” to a young person, but the informal is “va rog”
    cat costa? = how much is it
    vreau sa schimb valuta = i want to exchange money
    unde este bancomat ? = where is an ATM
    unde este un hotel? = where is a hotel
    unde este o pensiune? = where is a hostel (by the way, this is a great affordable way to stay in many places)
    cat este ora? = what time is it?
    unde este un magazin de
    o vulcanizare = (tire fixing place)
    unde este magazin de biciclete = where is a bike shop
    care este parola de interenet? = what’s the internet password?
    cat costa? = how much is it
    cum te cheama? = what’s your name
    ma numesc ______ = my name is _______
    Eu sunt American = I am American (from what I understand you are American, right?)
    magazin de alimente = grocery store (or you can just say supermarket…)

    Some emergency things:
    I think emergency number in Romanian is 112
    am nevoie de ajutor = i need help
    unde este spitalul = where is the hospital
    chemati salvarea = please call an ambulance
    chemati politia = call the police
    sunt ranit = i’m injured
    unde este o farmacie = where is a pharmacy

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any further advice or “Romanian phrases for your trip”

    I’ll be checking this site regularly.

    Greaet job


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