The long-awaited vacation and summer holiday begin as soon as you start the car and head towards your favorite seaside resort. Therefore, the journey to the sea itself should be enjoyable.

Although you holiday in Greece every year, and often in the same place, you can take different routes to reach your chosen destination, thus making the journey more interesting.

We have already suggested several travel options to Greece, so you can read about them here:
Overnight stay on the way to Greece
Overnight stay and lunch breaks on the way to Greece
Route to Greece via Dojran
Overnight stay and sightseeing on the way to Greece via Bitola
Overnight stay on the way to Greece via Bulgaria
Break and overnight stay on the way to Greece - Hotel Romantik
By car to Thassos and back
How to get to Sithonia by car
Driving to Kassandra
Driving to Lefkada
To the Ionian Coast via Niki Pass
Route to Parga and Epirus
Route to Kefalonia
Route to Athos
Route to Thessaloniki region
By car to Kavala
Route via Vlasina Lake and Bulgaria

As we have previously mentioned, the route to Thassos and Kavala, and back, is definitely best and shortest through Bulgaria. There, you have two options, two border crossings: Promahonas-Kulata and Exochi-Ilinden. Both routes can be interesting if you like to make stops along the way.

When returning from Thassos, we often use the Exochi-Ilinden border crossing because we enjoy stopping in Bansko. Here is what our journey back to Serbia looks like using this route.

We depart from Thassos late in the afternoon, with our first stop being Kavala. We always stop in Kavala because we simply love this city and feel great in it. Kavala is especially interesting in the evening, when it is liveliest. Summer evenings are beautiful when temperatures drop, lights come on, promenades come to life, restaurants and cafes get busy… If you have never been to Kavala, we highly recommend you to make a stop. An evening in Kavala will stay in your memory. To find out more about how to spend time in Kavala and what to visit, take a look at our guide for Kavala.

Accommodation can be booked for one night, and it is ideal to stay in the center of Kavala. To find suitable accommodation in the center, it is necessary to book in advance and avoid weekends, as the accommodation options become limited then. After you settle in, make the most of the afternoon and evening to stroll around the city and by the sea, and sit in one of the local taverns.

If it is your first time in Kavala, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the old town the next day, have a coffee at Briki cafe, and climb up to the fortress to see the city from the highest point. You will certainly enjoy it.

After breakfast in Kavala, you can head towards Bulgaria. If you plan to stay overnight in Bansko, which we recommend, then you have time to visit the archaeological site of Philippi on the way to Bulgaria. This is one of the most significant archaeological sites in Greece. For more information about it, read here. Within the site, there is a nice space to relax with a drink or coffee, as well as a grassy area for children, plenty of shade, so you can have a nice break here.

Best accommodation offers for this summer.

Check out the accommodations in Thassos we have available.

Continuing on to Drama, we recommend that you take a break and visit the Park of Saint Barbara (Agia Varvara) in Drama. This park will impress you with its natural beauty. Within the park, there are small ponds with ducks, a clear stream with fish, lovely gardens, plenty of shade, beautiful paths for a relaxing walk - in short, the park is an ideal place to refresh and rest before continuing towards Bansko.

Bansko is a large winter ski center with over 120 hotels and more than 300 other accommodation facilities. Not all are open in the summer, but there are always enough options available at any time without prior reservation. Prices are very favorable, for example, bed and breakfast in a 4-star hotel with a heated pool costing around 50€ for two people. Or, you can rent a 3-star apartment without meals for 4 people (two adults, two children) for 25-30€. In the evenings, you can walk through the well-organized pedestrian zone with many restaurants at very decent prices. When we arrive in Bansko late, we usually do not stay in hotels with pools and saunas, as we simply don’t have time to use those facilities. For this reason, we opt for apartment accommodation with a good breakfast. Last year, we booked a stay at Villa Vera Guest House. This is simple, clean, and tidy accommodation, with an excellent breakfast, something that is important to us. The breakfast includes authentic dishes like sour milk, butter, homemade jams, and French toasts. The rooms and apartments are neat and clean, the owners are friendly. The price in September 2019 was 24€ for two people with breakfast. If you are not picky, we recommend this accommodation. Villa Vera is a 5-7 minute walk from the center of Bansko.

If you prefer higher quality and luxury accommodation, you can find plenty of luxury hotels online. Some of them belong to well-known chains.
There are numerous restaurants and taverns in Bansko. We prefer local cuisine, so we often visit Baryakova Tavern or Masurev Han. In the evening, there is music, a pleasant atmosphere, and traditional food at reasonable prices, comparable to prices in Serbia (Belgrade).

Depending on the time you plan to spend in Bulgaria and your further plans, we recommend that if you have time, after breakfast in Bansko, you should visit the Rila Monastery. This is the largest and most important Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. The monastery is less than 100 km from Bansko and lies halfway to Sofia. Taking a detour to visit the monastery and return will take about an hour plus the time spent at the monastery. We believe that spending an hour and a half to visit this significant place is definitely worth it. Read more about the monastery HERE.

The monastery is located in the valley of the Rila River, surrounded by fantastic mountain scenery and forests. It is always crowded with visitors from all over the world. Its exterior looks more like a fortress, as it is surrounded by walls 24m high, and the complex has over 300 rooms. The monastery is so significant that you should make an effort not to miss it.

On the way from Bansko to the monastery, and further to the border, you will see signs with the inscriptions “sheep’s cheese and sour milk”. These are local products for which this part of Bulgaria is known. We don’t have a specific place where we buy these products, but we always stop somewhere along the way where it seems convenient to buy.

After visiting the monastery, if you are from the south, you can travel further across the Vlasin Lake to one of the two border crossings (Strezimirovci and Ribarce). This road passes through villages and towns that you will think were left in another time. Lake Vlasina is extremely beautiful, so you will want to stay there. If you have time, you can stop by the Narcissus Hotel by the lake and ask for a room if you haven’t booked something else in advance.

After that, via Surdulica and Vladičina Han, you continue towards your city.
If from the monastery you want to continue straight to Niš or Belgrade, drive towards Sofia, then continue on via Dimitrovgrad.
We hope that you will enjoy your trip back to Serbia and that this return will contribute to making your vacation an even better memory.
Of course, we recommend an overnight stay in Bansko on the way to Greece, not only on the way back.

The most comprehensive offer of accommodations on Thassos see HERE.