Bikepacking The Balkans by Jenny Tough
Jenny Tough just returned from a solo, off-pavement, 2,000km bikepacking adventure through nine countries in the Balkan region. Along the way she made this a film to document her travels…
Words and photos by Jenny Tough
The memories of tensions in the Balkan region may remain fresh, but make no mistake, the Balkans are safe, welcoming, and ready to be explored. On my journey I travelled through nine countries, enjoying muddy single tracks, gravel roads, farm tracks, hiking trails, and some very potholed pavement. The region is mountainous, and what some of the mountains may lack in height they certainly make up for in grades – you’ll want a bike with gears for this one. Wild camping is easy and abundant, although with prices significantly lower than the rest of Europe you could easily stay in cheerful guesthouses instead. Completing my trip in April meant that I saw all seasons, from soaring heat on the coast of the Adriatic, to knee-deep snowfall in the Bosnian mountains. Everywhere I went, I was greeted and befriended by charming locals, and as a solo woman was always made to feel safe. The only risk are the stray dogs – they have a particular appetite for cyclists!
This film was entirely self-shot on a compact camera, and I hope it encourages more people to give bikepacking a shot!