FAQ of the Balkan Ride

Um, sort of. The more you obey the rules, listen to advice and practice common sense; you’ll probably do just fine. But it’s not guaranteed, you won’t have a support or rescue team nudging you on plus you’ll be in extremely remote areas at some point. This is real adventure. Read more about the threats and dangers. We never had major security/safety problems for any rally in the past years so don’t be too much concerned, just use common sense and follow the Road Book.

When the 30th team has registered or 30 days before the start date. 

Now might be a good time to learn about common bribery practices…

Anyone with a valid driver’s license for the type of vehicle you’ll be using. Technically you should also be of sound mind and body… but that’s covered in the terms and conditions you sign before the start. No age restrictions, use your common sense and/or ask the organizers.

Sleeping accommodations are the responsibility of the participants. We give you a tailor-made road book, in advance, that lists some of the local accommodations for the nights. Each night a designated hotel (sometimes a campsite) becomes the Great Balkan Ride base camp. This is the place where you’ll find the organizers, parties and a friendly place to hang out or get help.

We put together a hotel package, so if you sign up for that, you won’t have a problem with your places to stay for the whole length of the event. It’s not mandatory but one thing less to think about while on the road – just pick up your key and enjoy the night.Hotel package prices and conditions will be announced prior to to the start date.

The deadline for the registration fee is 30 days before the start date. We encourage you to send it in early to guarantee your place in the rally.

Administration of the Great Balkan Ride is a full time, year-round job for the organizers and the additional support staff in multiple offices internationally. We work hard to make things as easy as possible for participants to sign up and have a great time. Your fees enable us to carry out all the route planning, research, logistics and administration whilst providing an earning for our hard working staff. In addition to the “background” work, your fee also covers the inclusive features of your trip package such as:

  • Essential and hard-to-find maps.
  • A custom road book that guides you on all aspects of the journey.
  • Official rally gear. (Clothing and accessories)
  • Complete coordination of charity events.
  • Launch party.
  • Finishers party.
  • Organization team located in Budapest available to assist with all questions and issues that arise pre-event.

What kind of paperwork is required?

Once your registration form has been processed by us, you will know your place is confirmed and can set about planning for the trip. You will need all the usual documentation you would expect for a holiday as follows:

  • Passport (with visa where applicable)
  • Travel insurance
  • Driving licence
  • International Driving Permit (if necessary)
  • Vehicle registration document*

*this will be provided to you by us for Deluxe Entries

The same standard papers required elsewhere: car insurance (green card) and vehicle registration paper (called ‘car passport’). If the vehicle is on someone else’s name make sure you have an authorization. Any paper that connects you with the owner of the car (or whoever is in the car papers), will be fine for the border procedures. We will notify you in advance if there are any special requirements. Anyhow, you’ll find all the details in the road book.

Typically teams consist of two people. Thanks to our liberal definition of a team (1 to 4 people), that number can vary. Maximum 30 teams can register.

That depends on where you come from. Anywhere from Europe it’s easy to drive to Sarajevo (almost) all the way on speedways. Only the last few kilometers through Bosnia and Herzegovina might be a bit bumpy. Or you can fly to Sarajevo and pick one of our rental cars there. We can even help you buying a car and deliver it to the start line. We can help you finding the right vehicle for your budget and arrange all paperwork, enhancements, preparations, rally decals, whatever you need. Just let us know in time. Anything is possible, really, just contact us.  

The Great Balkan Ride organizers have researched and planned the route based on roads marked on common maps, however this is a big cultural shift from developed highways. Expect dirt roads, potholes within potholes, landslides, and the possibility of roads not existing anymore! The route is designed so that any car can participate, no matter its age or model. Of course, we might all be expected to get out and push at some point.

We could say bad luck but it’s rather good luck. You have a wonderful opportunity to test your sense to find a mechanic or someone who knows someone maybe far from the next village, test your team mate’s nerves and learn names of car parts in local languages.

One option is for sure to just keep driving on to Yerevan, joining the Caucasian Challenge. You can turn around and drive home, sell the car and fly back or give it away for charity. All these options are your responsibility but we can help guide you with information about the average going rates for your type of vehicle in Thessaloniki. Anyhow, if you intend to leave your car in Thessaloniki, please let us know well in advance so we can help you.

A tourist visa is sufficient. You probably won’t even need to apply for a visa in advance for most of the countries we are going to visit. But to be on the safe side, contact your local embassy for more information and any needed application processing. We encourage you to apply early (30 days before departure) in case of delays.

We give you a series of maps for the whole route including all countries. The really exciting part comes when resources are outdated, inaccurate or there are no maps at all. For this we set GPS navigation waypoints and advise that you have a GPS device that you are comfortable with. We highly recommend Garmin GPS products as a proven brand in adventure traveling. All the GPS maps we give to participants are Garmin format.

Avoid taking only a phone with some country maps and special GPS software. It’ll perfectly navigate you from Tulip street to Rose street in your hometown but is almost useless when you can’t do route planning in Tethi for instance.

Participants can read more info about the GPS devices and useful maps in the Road Book.

That is entirely up to you, but here’s what you should keep in mind. Gas should cost you around 250 Euros, highway tolls around 30 Euro. Factor in some minor car repairs for 150 Euro. Depending on how much and how good you like to eat (and to drink), you can calculate with 400-500 Euros for two people.

So overall, the basic needs of a team of two should be covered with around 1000 Euros.

Important Note: It’s also important to have some reserve cash in case of emergency. We’d ballpark it at around 2,000 Euros for the team.

All participants are required to have official Great Balkan Ride sponsor stickers on their racing vehicle. However some teams like to offset the cost of the Ride or increase their charity donations by finding their own team sponsors. Go for it!