We invite hikers on the Via Egnatia trail to share their experiences with our visitors.
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Günter Pichler, Germany - October 21, 2019I am 61 and I went alone in September 2019 the Via Egnatia Trail from Golem to Bitola, and made a new route from there over Southeast Macedonia and the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria to the Black Sea. This trekking tour was really wonderful. I will come back to Albania in 2020 to hike to remote villages away from the VE. To ward off aggressive dogs, I can recommend two things:
1) Quickly grab a stone by the wayside, the dogs will stop immediately because they have already had bad experiences!
2) A small compressed air horn, with this I chased 3 attacking dogs within a second!
I often got lost despite GPS coordinates and tracks! My walk took 6 weeks!
Dies war das größte Abenteuer das ich jemals erfahren habe! Ich nehme eine große Anzahl an wunderbaren Erinnerungen von unberührten Landschaften und liebevollen Begegnungen mit Menschen die mich zutiefst im Herzen berührt hatten mit auf meinen weiteren Lebensweg.
Was mich am meisten beeindruckt hat ist, daß die Menschen die am wenigsten hatten, am ehesten bereit waren etwas zu geben, sie machten auf mich aber auch meist den glücklichsten Eindruck!
Ich hatte mich auf der gesamten Trekkingtour zu keiner Zeit irgendwann unsicher gefühlt, ausgenommen von 4 Hundeattacken die das Adrenalin mal kurz hochkommen ließ!
Jonathan White - September 23, 2019
What an amazing experience! Being a teacher I had no choice but to tackle the route in August, which made for very hot walking, but it is possible. I woke up at 4/5am to get the walking done before the heat of the afternoon. I was overwhelmed by the hospitality of everyone I met along the way, and the scenery was simply stunning. I walked the whole thing on my own, enjoying the solitude after months dealing with children in school. The guide book is really fantastic but absolutely must be used in tandem with the GPS tracks. There are some places where the route needs to be slightly modified, particularly on stage 1 section 2. The presence of aggressive dogs was the only major blight on the journey; you absolutely must carry at very least a stick and maybe look into more hard core options too (noise thing?). There is a slight "hole" in Northen Greece where it's not easy to find accommodation - even with my tent I found that the locals weren't very happy with me just putting my tent by the villages because of the dogs - but I ended up managing to get to Vevi where there is a guesthouse.
I'd be delighted to answer any questions that anyone has about the trip. A huge thank you to the writers, I had a wonderful experience.
P.S. The "noise thing" is a dazer that produces a high pitched noise that disturbs and scares off agressive dogs - Toon Pennings
Tim Redmond - May 23, 2019
Jochen Bald, Germany - March 2018
On the Albanian VE-trail between Librazhd and Quekes (plain of Xhyre) are several unfriendly dogs running free to scare away a wolf. Locals told me this will continue. We personally saw the wolf in February 2018 in the headlights of my car by night. Phone me if you need phone-numbers of local help, farmers or shepherds.
Gerrie Harmsen and Pieter Niesten, Netherlands - May/June 2015
We have just returned from Thessaloniki.
My wife and I walked the entire route from Durrës to Thessaloniki in about 4 weeks. During this walk we have made frequent use of our camping equipment.
We want to make a compliment to the writers of the guide for the way the route is plotted. Especially as the route where possible avoids the paved road and runs many unpaved paths.
We also enjoyed the hospitality of the people, traveling in Albania and Greece, and enjoyed nature which was in full bloom.
A must to experience from the inside the three countries you walk through.
Tony Martens, Netherlands - May 2015
My collegue and me got back home from walking the VE. We started April 12 2015 in Durres and arrived in Thessaloniki on May 12. In one month we walked from West to East across the Balkans and crossed three countries all different with people and landscape. We had the textbook for the background information and the GPS to keep us on track, we couldn't have done without neither the book nor the GPS. All in all we had a wonderful walk and hope that all future walkers will have the same experience we had.
In Dutch: his reisverslag.
Tom Jones, United Kingdom - April 2015
In April this year I cycled the route of Via Appia and Via Egnatia from Rome to Istanbul. The Via Egnatia on foot guidebook was enormously helpful and my journey was enhanced enormously with this wealth of information. Thank you so much for putting it together. My journey was mainly by road with excursions to pick up the old Roman road when feasible. My blog effort (link) was a little superficial but it is my plan to piece together a cycling overview.
I am envious that you found the Roman Road section into Kavala as I missed it! There are some splendid sections of the old Roman road, alongside the modern road, in the hills approaching Alexandroupolis (starting in Mesti).
I will certainly want to read your part 2 of the journey ... in due course!
Clemens with nephew in Struga:
"Finally without backpack"
Clemens Arts, Belgium - 2014
It was a tremendous experience. We walked as planned from Peqin to Lin at Lake Ohrid. Next time we want to continue from there.
Everewhere we got great reactions to the guide book. They all wanted to browse through the book to see if they knew people.
It was a big succes!
Terie Leijs - May 1, 2014
I am just walking the Via Egnatia by GPS. The track is perfect and I think that walking this way isn't possible without the GPS tracks. Today I arrived in Ohrid, Macedonia, a bit wet because it has rained today (and more days). The hospitality is great. I think that people in this country live more in a social system than in a earning money and consuming system. I will thank the Egnatia Foundation for the track, which is a great help.
Hi, Via Egnatia from Thessaloniki to Durrës - Decembre 9, 2013
I had a great time traveling with you across three countries. I am 18 years old and I had the best adventure of my life. I met a German man in Bitola, a friend now, and we discovered the Pellister-Mountains. From 2600 meters high I could see where to walk the next two days. I also really enjoyed these Albanian children showing me the right road for almost two kilometers.
In Goumennisa, a village in Greece north from Giannitsa, I worked on a small farm for 2 weeks. Gathering grapes and lots of fun. Staying for more than one week with a family is amazing. Costs: dirty hands. Check World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms: WWOOF
And the walking part: everything went without trouble. When I knew what I was looking for I was able to find it. Water, a place to sleep, a place to build up my tent. And sometimes it found me. In Ohrid, two German travellers were in the same restaurant. They knew a good place at the lake, so we went together and stayed there 3 days. On average I spent 10 euros a day. The variation between nature, farmland and cities is the best thing.
Thank you Mariëtta and Holger for the information.
Via Egnatia, I will come back!