Trip to Kavala by car
You can travel to Thassos and back from Belgrade by car via two main roads. It is almost 15% shorter and cheaper for Belgraders to travel through Bulgaria, but you will travel safer through North Macedonia, and much safer if you want to travel at night.
This “safer” reference refers exclusively to traffic safety. The route through Bulgaria is especially favorable for travelers from some parts of eastern Serbia, especially those from Pirot who are much closer. For those who want to travel at night, I cannot recommend this direction for now, primarily because from Niš to Keramoti, via Dimitrovgrad, Serres and Kavala, which is the shortest route, there are only about 100 km of highway. The other 400 km mostly belong to the category of highways, which are largely of high quality through Bulgaria, but therefore quite loaded with trucks and reckless drivers, while through Greece they are not high quality, but they are not overloaded. In addition to the fact that this significantly slows down traffic, statistics show that the frequency of traffic accidents is four times lower on the highway, so highways should be avoided if there is an alternative in the form of a slightly longer highway.
Some young parents with smaller children find it convenient to travel at night, and when both parents are drivers and take turns, this trip is bearable. However, you should take maximum care of the safety of your family, so keep in mind that most traffic accidents, as a result of driver fatigue, occurred between 5 and 7 o’clock in the morning.
Belgrade (Bubanj Potok) - Preševo - Gevgelija - Thessaloniki (ring road) - Kavala (788km)
This is the most common route through the Preševo border crossing, then through N. Macedonia to Gevgelija, and when you enter Greece, from the Evzoni border crossing you continue for about 50 kilometers to the ring road around Thessaloniki, where it is best to follow green signposts for Kavala. This way you will bypass the passage through the Thessaloniki industrial zone, in order to reach Kavala by the highway, which was completely completed in 2009. So, follow the green signs “Kavala” because there are blue ones that will also take you to Kavala, but you will travel three times longer because it is not a highway. From Thessaloniki to Kavala there is still 140km of road.
Belgrade (Bubanj Potok) - Presevo - Dojran - Kilkis (Liti) - Thessaloniki - Kavala (815km)
We recommend this route to Kavala to those who will spend the night in the south of N. Macedonia or in one of the cheap and very decent accommodation in Dojran on the border with Greece. You will pass Dojran - Doirani border quickly because there is no big crowd. So, after entering N. Macedonia, drive 145 km to the place Udovo where you come across large and clearly visible signposts for Dojran. For those whose cars use gasoline or diesel fuel, right behind these apartments, about a hundred meters away, is the last gas station before entering Greece (where fuel is much more expensive) and where a full tank needs to be filled. The pump works from 08-22h, they accept cards. For those who have LPG and want this way, the last gas station in S. Macedonia is about 20 km before Dojran, in Valandovo.
After 3km you come to Stari Dojran, where in the center of the town next to the market you can eat an excellent burek. At the end of the place is the border crossing, you enter Greece, follow the signs for Kilkis - Thessaloniki and continue on a good road next to Kilkis to “descend” to Thessaloniki, but after 53km from the border, at Liti you join the “Egnatia Odos”, ie the highway and continue towards Kavala.
If you do not want to meander through Liti, a simple but a few kilometers longer option is to at the crossroads with traffic lights, where the signpost directs you to turn right towards Kavala, continue straight where the green sign for Thessaloniki leads you. There you will join the highway to Thessaloniki, and exactly 8km from that intersection, when you cross the hill, turn off the highway, take the underpass below and turn in the opposite direction, towards Kavala. From this inclusion on the highway to Kavala you have a little less than 140km.
Belgrade (Bubanj Potok) - Dimitrovgrad - Sofia - Kulata (Promahonas) - Seres - Kavala (714km)
The shortest and cheapest route. When everything is taken into account - shorter route, lower fuel consumption due to speed limit, cheaper route, lower price of accommodation if you decide to spend the night in Bulgaria … calculate that you will have at least 20% lower costs in this direction. So, as soon as you enter Bulgaria, buy a vignette immediately because it is mandatory for all highways and some other roads, and not just for the highway. When you reach the suburbs of Sofia, follow the signpost “Kulata” which will appear at an intersection with a traffic light where you turn right. Then you will drive a few kilometers on the part that is being done and you should be very careful there. However, it doesn’t take long and then from Sofia to the border crossing with Greece - Kulata / Promahonas, first there is a section of an excellent newly built highway, but it is only about 50 km. Then you continue on the main road all the way to Sandanski, which is well done and well marked, but quite loaded with trucks as well as arrogant drivers. Something similar to the Ibarska highway, with the fact that the road in Bulgaria is of better quality, but the drivers surpassed ours in arrogance. Who knows how it would be if there were no numerous police patrols as well as a series of “black dot” traffic signs.
There are not many large refueling stations on the part of the road through Bulgaria, so I suggest you refuel near Sandanski, which is 22 km from the border with Greece. The price of fuel is similar to ours. After a little more than 20km along the road that is under construction, you will find yourself at the common border crossing BG / GR. There is no crowd here, Bulgarians, Romanians, Greeks and other EU citizens linger long enough to present their travel documents while our citizens, Ukrainians, Russians … stand in a separate lane and wait until their passports are scanned and printed. You have about 130 km to Kavala on a road that is bearable - in some places it is worn out, there are no holes, and in some places it is quite good.
So, our recommendation is that you travel this route only during the day.
Belgrade (Bubanj Potok) - Nis - Dimitrovgrad - Sofia - Bansko - Ilinden / Exochi - Drama - Kavala (680km)
This is the 2km longer route that is the fastest and cheapest way to travel by car to Kavala.
What is the path like?
The trip through Bulgaria is great. From the border to Sofia is mostly a very good highway with two double lanes and then there is 90km of great highway where the limit is 140km/h. Then, there is a very good highway to Bansko, and from Bansko to the border with Greece there is an excellent and completely tidy, winding highway, but without sharp curves and serpentines. There is quite a solid highway through Greece, all the way to the entrance to the highway near Kavala.
Toll, fuel and accommodation suggestions
See the latest information on toll plazas and travel costs to Greece in our text HERE.
Fuel prices in N. Macedonia and Bulgaria are similar to prices in Serbia, Eurodiesel is slightly cheaper, gasoline and gas a little more expensive, but all this is significantly cheaper than in Greece (20-25% cheaper), so you will pass the cheapest if you fill the tank to the top in N. Macedonia or Bulgaria. At all major way stations in S. Macedonia and Bulgaria, you can pay by card or, of course, in euros, but not everyone will charge you 60 denars or 1.95 levs for 1e. Therefore, if you do not have a card, it is best to exchange the required amount of euros for denars or levs in exchange offices that are at border crossings.
There are not many LPG filling stations in Greece, so find out, on our website there are texts about their positions. Also, when traveling through north Macedonia, I noted that on the highway from Thessaloniki to Kavala there are no gas stations that are, as in our country and in North Macedonia, right next to the highway, but you have to get off the road and loop 1-2km to find it. In addition to the better price, this is another reason to refuel in N. Macedonia before entering Greece.
P.S. An international driver’s license for Greece is no longer needed, and a green card for North Macedonia is still necessary.
Have a nice trip!
See a large selection of accommodation in Kavala by clicking HERE.