Considering that for the residents of Niš, Belgraders and all northerners, the road to Thassos is over 80 km shorter via Bulgaria than via Northern Macedonia, it is noticeable that more and more passengers with serbian license plates are found on these routes.

Unfinished sections deter many of our tourists from this route, but the route through Bulgaria to Thassos is overall a better option. The good news is that about ten days ago (May 2023), there was a solemn opening of the section between Kalotina and Dragoman (direction to Sofia). The detour between Blagoevgrad and Simitli is still ongoing (they say until the beginning of summer) due to landslide repairs near the Zeleznica tunnel. The most challenging section for highway construction is from Simitli to the village of Kresna, which they haven’t started yet because it involves the valley of the Struma River surrounded by high hills, and it is expected to be completed in a few years.

At the moment, the two most popular routes through Bulgaria have one thing in common - from the entrance to Bulgaria near Dimitrovgrad to the place Simitli (100km south of Sofia). Here you can continue straight towards the border crossing Kulata - Promahonas over Sandanski and the shortest way to Kavala, or turn towards Bansko and through the border crossing Ilinden / Exochi you can also reach Kavala by a road that is only 2km longer.

Belgrade (Bubanj Potok) - Niš - Dimitrovgrad - Sofia - Bansko - Ilinden / Exochi - Drama - Kavala - Keramoti

This is the 2km longer route that is the fastest and cheapest way to travel to Thassos by car this season. The route is 82 km shorter than the route that has been most frequently used so far - through N. Macedonia.

From 1.1.2019. in Bulgaria, there has been a change in the way tolls are collected. We started with e-payment (electronic vignette for a passenger vehicle) and the introduction of a new weekend tariff (lasting from Friday at 12:00 to Sunday at 23:59) which costs only BGN 10 or 5e. It is no longer necessary to stick a vignette on the glass, nor waste time to stop to buy it, simply order online, and get a confirmation or application for Android on your mobile phone. ( -vinetaa).

How is the route?
The trip through Bulgaria is great! The highway is in excellent condition, although some sections were built about ten years ago. The speed limit is 140 km/h, and at tunnel entrances, the speed limit is 80 km/h (be cautious—speed cameras await at tunnel exits). 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.

*Are there any police patrols in Bulgaria*?

Well, of course there is, but it won’t stop you if you haven’t committed an offense. In addition to the fact that the roads on this route are very high quality, so they simply entice drivers to drive faster, they are also well marked. The speed limit on highways is 90km/h except through populated areas where it is 50km/h. Also, there is a visible speed limit + RADAR board in a couple of places due to the constant “setting” of police patrols with speed cameras. One such is near Slivnica, only 25 km from the entrance to Bulgaria near Dimitrovgrad. You should respect the speed limit through populated places so that the police do not stop you, and also because of unmarked bumps.

Where to buy a vignette and fuel?

It is mandatory to purchase a vignette for roads in Bulgaria. There is video surveillance that monitors this obligation.
You can buy an electronic vignette through (, install the mobile application, register, and make an electronic payment, choosing the option that suits you for how many days. You don’t have to stick the sticker on the windshield; the cameras read through the system whether you have paid, and it is enough to keep the email as confirmation.

You should also buy fuel here because it is cheaper than in Serbia, and you can see the current average prices here

About 30 kilometers from Sofia, there is a Shell gas station and a rest area for a short break. After 245 km, about 15 kilometers before entering Greece, in Goce Delčev, you have three large and nicely arranged fuel pumps (EKO, Shell and Lukoil) where the tanks need to be replenished, especially those who drive on gasoline because it is in Greece. 40% more expensive. Here, too, you can pay with cards and buy a vignette.

How long will I travel from Belgrade to Keramoti?

If you do not stay at the border crossing near Dimitrovgrad for more than 20 minutes, you will need about 10 hours of effective driving. When you add the time needed for 2-3 breaks to stretch your legs, that is at least 11 hours of travel. That is why our recommendation is to travel during the day and spend the night in Bansko.

If I decide, where should I spend the night in Bansko?

Bansko is a large winter ski resort with over 120 hotels and over 300 other accommodations. Not everyone works in the summer, but there are always enough open ones that you can find accommodation at any time, even on the spot, without prior reservation. The prices are very reasonable, for example, a bed and breakfast in a 4-star hotel, where you also have a heated water pool costs about 35e for a total of two people. Or, you can rent an apartment categorized with 3* without food, for 4 people (two adults and two children) for 15-20e. In the evening you can walk through the city center which has a large and very nicely landscaped pedestrian zone, full of restaurants with very decent prices. The choice of accommodation is great, our recommendation The choice of accommodation is great, our recommendation is to look at the site. You can make a reservation for a larger number of facilities without using a credit card.

Why should I go to Keramoti when Kavala is closer?

Although there are three ferry companies that transport to Thassos, from Kavala there are much fewer departures during the day during the peak season. At night, after 23:30, ferries do not depart. So, the most important reason is that from Keramoti to the peak of the season ferries during the day they leave every half hour and travel to the island for about 35 minutes. From Kavala it is much rarer, tickets are more expensive and travel is 1:15, and you can see the prices here. They are the same for all three companies, with one company (Thassos Link) allowing price guessing when it comes to groups.

Are the roads in Greece well marked?

Mostly they are, but there are gaps, that is, these gaps are reflected in the fact that the signpost exists but some are not well visible because it is small, or covered by overgrown bushes. There is one such case on this route, the sign has been covered with vegetation for years, so you should pay attention to the following: on the way back from Thassos, when you get off the ferry and head towards Kavala, after passing an intersection where you can turn for the airport “Alexander The Great” you will come across an intersection with a traffic light where blue signposts direct you to the left towards Kavala, and a green signpost that directs you to take the highway is blocked - so you should go to the right. After 700m there is a traffic light again and there you join the highway towards Thessaloniki, so after 26km you will turn off towards Bulgaria, if you return to Serbia that way.

Belgrade (Bubanj Potok) - Niš - Dimitrovgrad - Sofia - Sandanski - Kulata / Promahonas Serres - Eleftheroupoli - Kavala - Keramoti

Is this route better than the route through Bansko?

To be precise: If you travel to Thassos, in our opinion - NO! There are several highways, but the traffic in the part from Blagoevgrad where the highway ends, to Sandanski where it starts again, is much denser because besides us there are a lot of Romanians, Bulgarians and others who have the shortest way to Asprovalta and Chalkidiki.

If I go here and want to spend the night, what is the suggestion??

We suggest you spend the night in Sandanski. Prices are even lower than in Bansko.

Accommodation on Thassos
We have the best offer of accommodation on Thassos >>> Sea all accommodation.

What ADDITIONALLY do I need from documents and driving equipment?

  • If the vehicle is not in your name: a license to drive someone else’s vehicle abroad, the so-called “yellow card”
  • A fire extinguisher is a mandatory piece of equipment in Greece
  • If you wear glasses, in Greece it is mandatory to have spare parts in the vehicle

See the latest information on tolls and travel costs to Greece in our text HERE.

P.S. An international driver’s license for Greece is no longer needed, and a green card for Northern Macedonia is still necessary.

See a large selection of accommodation on Thassos by clicking HERE.

Have a nice trip!

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