Home » Euro Truck Simulator 2 – West Balkans – Is it worth it?

Euro Truck Simulator 2 – West Balkans – Is it worth it?

Screenshot of the West Balkans map expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2

It’s been well over two years since Euro Truck Simulator 2 last received a new map expansion. Following the (still) indefinite delay of the Heart of Russia DLC, SCS has been hard at work putting together the now released West Balkans package.

This expansion 30 visitable settlements across the eight countries that make up of the region. Half of those settlements are rendered in immaculate detail. After spending over 10 hours with this DLC and driving hundreds of virtual kilometres, I believe it’s safe to say that this release has been worth the wait.

Starting off in Slovenia

My journey commenced in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It turns out that this is the country’s largest city, and serves as a major point in a trade route that stems from the Adriatic Sea into the Danube region. Fittingly enough, each new city one visits throughout this expansion is aptly titled “Road to the Adriatics.”

My adventure through the West Balkans comfortably started in the rain.

From here, I collected a trailer filled with silica (that stuff that’s put in packets you’re not supposed to eat,) with its destination being Rijeka, Croatia. Though this drive was mostly done in the rain, I did still get to admire the scenery of this first part of my West Balkan journey.

As soon as I hit the countryside not too long into the drive, I took note of the series of winding mountain roads, a preview of what a good chunk of the rest of my trip would look like. It didn’t take long to hit the border of Slovenia-Croatia, where I slipped into the now second country of the trip with no issue.

After arriving in Croatia, one peculiar sight was that of a tall bridge near Trsat Castle, as it had a windsock on it—the same you’d find near a runway at any given airport.

Never have I ever seen one used on a bridge, but considering this particular bridge’s tall height and the fact that it was nestled between mountains, I could only imagine in real life the crosswinds must be extreme. My assumption is that the windsock lets drivers know where high-speed winds are coming in from.

Seeing a windsock on a bridge here was a first for me, but it seems to be a common occurrence in this region.

Before long, I delivered the trailer to its destination and then picked up another job that would take me deeper into Croatia. This time, it was a trailer of rye that needed to be moved to the city of Zadar.

Cruising through Croatia

Once again I found myself meandering through the winding roads of the countryside, with scenery not too dissimilar from what I had just seen in Slovenia.

As it was still raining and I continued making my way through some hilly terrain, I observed some beautiful low clouds that were below me, seemingly being generated by the rain. I have no idea if the weather engine in Euro Truck Simulator 2 actually accounts for that, or if it’s just a persistent effect. Either way, it was beautiful to see.

Screenshot of the West Balkans map expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2
You can make out the low-hanging clouds in the distance. It’s a ‘blink and you miss it’ sort of detail, but adds to the atmosphere of the scene rather nicely.

Leaving the mountains, I then hit the coast where Zadar is. It’s a quaint place, though pretty. As it turns out, it also happens to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the country.

Shortly after delivering the trailer of rye in Zadar, I was able to secure another job to take a load of non-alcoholic beer (because this game is rated E, for the kiddies!) over to the city of Sarajevo in Bosnia, the nation’s capital. This leg of the journey would break the southernly trot I’d been making up until now, moving eastward, well away from the coast into the almost completely landlocked Bosnia & Herzegovina, as it’s officially called.

Breaking into Bosnia, apparently

It was this drive into Bosnia where I encountered my first controlled border crossing. My documents didn’t need to be checked earlier when I had crossed into Croatia from Slovenia, but from here on out, all crossings would require an inspection.

It’s only fitting then that this first control point would be where I’d get smacked with a hefty “unauthorized border crossing” penalty, despite the fact that I had already completed the document check and was driving away when it had happened. Not sure if I crossed into the car-designated lane by accident rather than staying in the truck-only lane, but either way, at least I wasn’t detained.

Legal troubles aside, I then made my way into the countryside under the cover of night. On the way to Sarajevo, I passed through the smaller city of Mostar. Not too long after, my trailer was successfully delivered.

In order to pick up my next job, however, I’d have to make my way back through a portion of the route I had just taken, as the next trailer was in Mostar. There was a benefit to this, however, as I’d taken a virtual rest and now I’d be redoing the drive with some actual daylight. Thus, the beautiful scenery of both cities and the winding mountain roads were properly viewable.

Backtracking isn’t always fun, but in this case, getting to see the sights in daylight was worth it.

Once I made it into Mostar, I picked up a trailer of sand that needed to get to Kragujevac in Serbia. I once again headed northward and then later on eastward, driving along a portion of the same route for the third time now. I needed to get through Sarajevo to continue heading east and this allowed me to see the city in its entirety.

As mentioned at the onset of this article, about half of the mapped cities in this expansion are highly-detailed and Sarajevo is one of them. It has beautiful architecture through and through, with well-crafted buildings and objects that make up its various districts.

Screenshot of the West Balkans map expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2
The detail in Sarajevo is quite high. Homie here is appreciating the work, too.

Initially, I had just seen the more humble areas with very weathered buildings and structures, but eventually I made my way more into the city centre where the surroundings are better kept.

That said, I found the more rustic areas to look rather charming because the wear and tear adds depth and character to the overall scene. In other words, it looks much more realistic than virtual areas that are too clean and pristine. Very pleasingly, I found this overall aesthetic to be well maintained throughout the other areas of the map expansion.

Sweeping through Serbia

Finally leaving Sarajevo behind, I continued meandering through the mountain paths, to eventually make it to the Bosnia-Serbia border. Unlike before, this controlled checkpoint process went through without any unexpected hiccups and it didn’t seem like the Bosnian government held anything against me for the earlier kerfuffle.

After crossing into the Serbia, the mountainous terrain didn’t let up and I continued my now expected series of serpentines, admiring the scenery along the way.

If it wasn’t clear already, mountain terrain is the name of the game throughout the West Balkans.

Before long, I laid the trailer down in Kragujevac and was able to find another job that would take me onward into the next (and smallest) country, Kosovo.

Quickly covering Kosovo

This part of the journey called for transporting a trailer of concrete to the Kosovan city of Pristina, which is the nation’s capital in the real-world, and the only map dot location in Euro Truck Simulator 2’s rendition of Kosovo.

Once again heading south, I encountered the flattest terrain of the journey so far, with the countryside scenery now consisting of farmland. I also ran through a small city named Prokuplje, which although not being a map dot location in-game, is still rather detailed and even contains its own Viewpoint cutscene to unlock.

Screenshot of the West Balkans map expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2
Despite not even being a location on the in-game map, this small Serbian city has a lot of attention-to-detail.

After taking in the sights of Prokuplje for a bit, I continued to make my way to the Serbia-Kosovo border checkpoint and passed through with no issues. Considering the tiny size of Kosovo, it didn’t take long before I came upon Pristina.

Quite fittingly, it lives up to its name as the views of its surroundings do not disappoint. Just like Sarajevo, this city is well detailed. It even turned out that the trailer of concrete I was transporting was for a construction project happening in the heart of the city. Therefore, I feel like I’ve directly added to the progression of its beauty.

Kosovo might be small, but its capital city of Pristina has been given a great bit of coverage here in the game.

With this single delivery to Kosovo complete, I picked up another job that would take me to the next country, one of very similar small stature, Montenegro.

That said, I didn’t realise just how much scenic variety would be in store for this particular leg of the journey.

Making the way to Montenegro

The job at hand here was transporting a trailer of vinegar from Pristina to Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. In the real world, there are roads that connect the two countries, but here in Euro Truck Simulator 2, I ended up having a tri-country expedition due to the very limited road networks of Kosovo in-game.

Upon leaving Pristina, I made way by heading southwest, coming upon the border with Albania. Interestingly enough, although being another controlled border checkpoint, my documents were only checked once rather than twice like the other times (one for the exiting country, and one for the arriving country.)

After crossing, I took a gorgeous drive through Albania’s northern region, which consists of, you guessed it, more mountainous terrain. However, this time I found myself crossing over what appeared to be either a lake or even large river. This was absolutely the highlight of this leg of the journey, especially with the view of the lake being crowned by the towering mountains just off in the distance.

Screenshot of the West Balkans map expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2
The objective might have been to head to Montenegro, but this brief tease of Albania was quite the treat.

As the drive continued, the elevation continued to vary with a series of twists and turns combined with ascents and descents. Certainly not a ride one would want to take while sleepy.

I couldn’t help but notice a series of residential structures and what seemed to be even old forts built directly along the sides of the mountains that loomed all around.

Wonder if the cannons are still operational?

Despite me gawking at the scenery seemingly at every second, eventually I had to leave the majestic views of northern Albania behind and continue on to my second border crossing of this leg, finally making it into Montenegro.

I didn’t have time to even miss Albania, however, as my next job would have me take a trailer of luxury SUVs from Podgorica to Tirana, Albania’s capital.

It should go without saying then that I ultimately didn’t see much of Montenegro at all, though I did at least come across this cool-looking gas station that seemed to be somewhat modelled after an aircraft hangar (at least to me.) Rather fittingly, it sat just outside of what appeared to be Podgorica Airport off in the distance, denoted by the planes rising above the near horizon.

Screenshot of the West Balkans map expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2
I’ll take a tank of Jet A1, please.

Now fuelled up, it was time to start the next, and very short leg of the journey. Here, I’d be taking a trip to the south, heading towards the centre of Albania.

Assignments in Albania

It didn’t take long to hit the border, then continuing on throughout the Albanian countryside. Although there were yet another series of serpentines, the terrain here was less mountainous and was straddled with farmland on both sides. The mountains to the north from earlier were still quite visible, however.

Before long, I was finally rolling through the capital city of Tirana, yet another highly-detailed area on the map. It was at this point that while I noticed the architectural similarities between here and all the other settlements I had passed through in the other countries, it’s hard to come up with a real description. Personally, it reminds me a lot of the architectural style I enjoyed when I actually lived in South America; Ecuador and Peru, to be specific.

Nevertheless, that authentic rustic look-and-feel mentioned before was still very much on display here in the core of Albania, albeit with a few more modern-looking urban designs.

Screenshot of the West Balkans map expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2
While I don’t know how describe the architectural style found throughout the countries of the West Balkans, the fact of the matter is that SCS’ scenery designers never disappoint.

By the time I set down my trailer at its destination, night had fallen and I was having trouble finding a new job that would take me into the next and final country, North Macedonia. This led to me finding myself in a similar situation to what happened before in Bosnia—backtracking.

I took a job in the dead of night to move a heavy load of stone dust from one part of Tirana to another. Along the way, I got to just skirt pass the port city of Durrës, which also happens to have ferry connections to Italy (if you have the Italia DLC for Euro Truck Simulator 2.)

Although I typically don’t like driving at night in-game due to not being able to properly enjoy the scenery, at least doing it in a heavily urban environment such as this allowed me to take in the charm of glowing city lights.

Screenshot of the West Balkans map expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2
Night drives are a vibe.

Finally, my interesting inter-city delivery was complete and since I unlocked a new city along the way, I thought I’d for sure find a route into North Macedonia. Alas, my hopes were quickly smashed, as there was still not a single generation of a route I needed.

After taking some more virtual rests and trying one last time, I gave up on hopping the border for now and instead took a job even deeper into Albania—delivering a trailer of bricks to the coastal city of Vlorë.

Interestingly, I noticed that Vlorë just so happens to be the most southernmost point of the entire expansion. That said, in real life, there’s a lot more of Albania before you get to its southern neighbour, Greece. Perhaps this will be further fleshed out whenever Euro Truck Simulator 2 heads into that Aegean territory.

Nevertheless, taking this job would at least allow me to proudly claim I got from the most northernmost point all the way in Slovenia, down to the in-game tip of southern Albania. In real life, that’s a journey of 13.5 hours and 1,056km using the most direct route.

The drive was pleasant overall and I couldn’t help but notice the somewhat tropical vibes along the way. Even my truck’s thermometer read a temperature of 89F, which this, combined with seeing palm trees in the urban area of Durrës, totally blew my mind for a second.

These are just factors I wouldn’t typically associate with this part of the world. After taking a look at a world map, however, I noticed that this region is at a similar latitude as the Northeast Atlantic region of the US. They both have similarly hot temperatures in the warmer parts of the year, and thus can support certain kinds of palm trees (if they’re planted by someone.)

“The more you know.”

West Balkans map expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2 palm trees
Palm trees and high temps weren’t what I was expecting for this region, but that’s why geography is so fascinating.

Geography lesson aside, the trailer of bricks were finally delivered to Vlorë and it was here that I managed to score a job in North Macedonia. Forr my final leg of the journey, I’d be taking a large trailer of plumbing supplies from Vlorë to Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia.

Nestling into North Macedonia

Trailer locked and loaded, I made my way north one last time to hit the Albania-North Macedonia border. The in-game road leading into Skopje is rather close to the border, initially leading me to believe I’d be seeing similar sights to what I had previously experienced, but more on that in a second.

Before crossing, my truck and trailer had to undergo an X-Ray scan. This is the first time such a thing happened at any point during the journey. Once that was done, I made progress northward, being pleasantly surprised to find that the winding road was nestled between tall trees that flanked either side. It was a lot different than most of the other scenery I had experienced throughout the rest of this adventure.

More twists, more turns, more rises and dips in the hilly terrain, all being capped off by a beautiful unlockable Viewpoint near a quarry that overlooked a farm-laden valley below.

Screenshot of the West Balkans map expansion for ETS2.
This Viewpoint not too far from Skopje was a great way to cap off all of the beautiful sights of this journey.

Not too long after descending from this perch, I entered into the city limits of Skopje, navigated a bit through its industrial sector and rested the trailer into the confines of a railyard (which required another security check to enter.)

This wasn’t too far from a Photo Trophy, the Skopje Shopping Mall. After riding past to take a look at it, I found a little gas station near a bridge to finally put my Actros down for a much-needed rest.

Screenshot of the West Balkans map expansion for ETS2.
I think my truck doesn’t want to see a road for at least a good month after all that driving.

Wrapping up the journey through the West Balkans

As mentioned before, the West Balkans expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2 has been a long time coming. Since its predecessor, the Iberia DLC, was released all the way back in 2021, American Truck Simulator players have enjoyed the arrival of four large map expansions, including the monolith that is Texas.

The arrival of these eight countries into Euro Truck Simulator 2 finally bring the game extremely close to covering nearly the entire European continent. Russia aside, there’s only a handful of regions left, before the game will fully live up to its name.

SCS has been carving away at this goal for a whopping 11 years at this point and it has only gotten better with each subsequent release. For me, this was a reminder of how its products still dominate the truck sim genre.

Screenshot of the West Balkans map expansion for ETS2.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the West Balkans expansion is the bees knees.

The West Balkans expansion is no different. SCS’ scenery designers have once again done a stellar job at providing a new area of the game’s virtual world that feels alive and authentically lived-in. Considering over 10 hours of time spent only allowed me to discover just about half of the cities, there’s more than enough content just in this region alone to keep you exploring for hours on end.

Now then, when can we expect the release of the Greece expansion? I probably won’t be able to afford a real vacation anytime soon, so consider me very excited to take a virtual road trip in the near future.