When we hear the word “Europe”, we always think about the Western European countries. Of course, with its beauty and fanciness, it’s understandable that traveling to these countries is always on the bucket list of every traveler. But have you considered going to the Balkans? You might have never encountered something about this region.

Photo by Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie CC BY-SA 2.0

The Balkan Peninsula is an area in Southeast Europe. Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Greece, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Kosovo are the countries in the Balkans. These countries are boasting with mountains and a lot of historical destinations. If you are curious to know more about these places then we listed down the 10 Reasons why you should travel in the Balkans. These reasons would make you want to explore this region more.

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1. Some of the best sceneries in Europe are in the Balkans

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The Balkans is home to some of the best sceneries in Europe. Here, you can find the southernmost fjord in all Europe which is the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. Seeing this stunning view seems like a postcard came to life. And speaking of Montenegro, it is also the home of the second-longest canyon in the world, next to the Grand Canyon. It is called the Tara Canyon. 

Who wouldn’t want to see the turquoise seawater in the Albanian Riviera? The warm blue waters of the river are a unique find in all of Europe. 

Don’t be surprised as even the landlocked countries like Kosovo, Serbia, and North Macedonia offers some of the most stunning rivers and lakes in the Balkans. Lake Ohrid on the border between Albania and North Macedonia is the best example. 

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Photo by Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie CC BY-SA 2.0

Are you fond of mountains? The Balkans got you! These countries in the Balkans are known for being mountainous. Don’t miss the chance to see and visit the Dinaric Alps or Dinarides that range from Italy to Slovenia all the way down to Albania. Meanwhile, Bulgaria is the home to the highest mountains in the Balkans, the Musala Peak is a must-see.

2. The Balkans is a lot cheaper compared to Western Europe

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We all know that traveling to Europe is absolutely not cheap. However, the Balkans surely is a budget-friendly destination. Especially Albania, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria being the cheapest.

From dorm rooms to transportation and activities, you’d enjoy wandering around the Balkan countries without breaking your bank. You can surprisingly spend only at least $5 for a dorm room or $15 for a private room. 

Although Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, and Montenegro are a little bit expensive than the other Balkan countries, they’re still cheaper compared to western European countries.

3. It has some of the oldest yet still inhabited cities in the world

10 Reasons Why You Should Travel in the Balkans

Traveling around the Balkans feels like going back in time. And what’s more interesting is that some of the places are still inhabited! Yes, the Balkans have some of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. 

Plovdiv in Bulgaria, Athens, and Argos in Greece are just some of the best examples. Plovdiv is known to be inhabited for more than 8,000 years now. It was settled by Thracians, then ruled by Persians, Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, and a lot more. A glimpse of history is everywhere in the town like the Ancient Theater of Philippopolis that was built in the 90s AD.

Another best-preserved medieval town in the Balkans is Kotor in Montenegro. This town is heaven for cat lovers. You can see a lot of our feline friends walking freely on the streets waiting for your attention. Upon going around Kotor, you’ll be stumbled upon some of the most popular historic places like the San Giovanni fortress, a medieval castle that was used to protect the town. 

4. The Balkans is safe for all tourists; solo or female travelers

If you’re planning to travel to the Balkans as a solo or female traveler, you don’t need to worry about anything bad that might happen. While exploring the places, it is rare for tourists to experience unfortunate events like street harassment (especially for female travelers).  

The number one problem that you might encounter during your trip in the Balkans might be the language barrier. However, you’re traveling to a non-English speaking country, so it is likely that you’re fully aware of this inconvenience. If you’re the type who likes adventure and doesn’t mind this kind of circumstances then you’ll probably have a smooth trip. Plus, there are also people who speak English. There’s still a possibility that you’d encounter one.

5. It’s a history buffs’ paradise

Having a long and rich history, this could be one of the main reasons why you should travel to the Balkans. The fact that the Balkan peninsula has been ruled under countless empires like the Greek, Ottoman, and Roman, it’s not surprising to see various relics all in one region. 

For a historical adventure, visiting the old towns or popular ruins are all worth the trip. Never miss the chance to see the Stari Most Old Bridge in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The Butrint National Park in Albania that would let you travel back in time by seeing some relics from the 50,000 BC. And who wouldn’t want to walk through the Dubrovnik Old Town in Croatia? Considering it as one of the finest preserved medieval cities, history lovers would definitely experience goosebumps from the moment they set their feet on it.

This rich history has shaped the Balkans into what it is now. The culture, language, food, and a lot more are all parts of the historical past of this wonderful region just waiting for you to be explored. 

6. It is perfect for those adrenaline junkies

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I’m pretty sure that the Balkans always have something for tourists! If you’re not into historical places, then why don’t you try some outdoor activities? Are you ready to hike some of the highest mountains in Europe? If yes, then take the challenge to climb Bulgaria’s Musala Peak, it measures nearly 3,000 meters. 

For some water adventure, rafting would be the best choice. The ideal place for that? It’s the Tara River Canyon in Montenegro! This canyon is the deepest one in Europe. And if you’re not afraid of heights, bungee jumping off the Tara Bridge, and Paragliding over the mountain top of Bosnia is a must-try!

7. The Balkans is the best place to visit whatever the season is

10 Reasons Why You Should Travel in the Balkans
Photo by Boyko Blagoev CC BY 2.0

You might be wondering when is the best time to go to the Balkans. Well, I can say that anytime is ideal! Whether you come in winter, there are tons of skiing or snowboarding opportunities for you! Do you know that the Balkans is also home to some of the most awesome ski resorts in Europe? Try and enjoy skiing at some of these ski resorts; Poiana Brasov in Romania, Zabljak in Montenegro, Brezovica in Kosovo, and Bansko in Bulgaria. 

For your summer getaway, stunning and clean beaches await you in the Balkan peninsula. Yes, most Balkan countries are landlocked, but they still have some of the most gorgeous lakes like in North Macedonia, the Bulgarian Black Sea, and the ever beautiful Albanian Riviera. Greece and Croatia are also loved because of their beaches.

Although summer is considered the peak season in the Balkans and you will most likely see a lot of tourists during your trip, no need to worry as it won’t stop you from enjoying your travel. But if you want to avoid the crowd, the spring and autumn season is ideal. Both season also offers the same excitement of adventures that you can experience in the Balkans.

8. Nightlife is extremely affordable and fun!

If you’re a night owl and love to party, the Balkans got you! Young Balkan people love to party that makes the Balkan countries perfect for a night out. Whatever nightlife you like, you’d surely enjoy the moment. Bars or nightclubs, you’ll have the best night of your life until the dawn. For the perfect nightlife, Sarajevo, Skopje, and most especially Belgrade would be the best spot. 

But the most interesting part is that partying in the Balkans is absolutely cheap! You can spend an amount of not more than $10 for a fancy cocktail. You can even have a bottle of beer or a glass of wine for at least $3. The prices would depend on what country you are in, most of these drinks have pretty much the same prices in all Balkan countries. However, Greece, Croatia, and Slovenia are slightly expensive.

9. You can find some of the most stunning monasteries, churches, and mosques while you’re in the Balkans

Things To Do in Herceg Novi, Montenegro

The Balkan is a region that’s full of diversity. From people, language, culture, and of course, religion. Because of this fact, you’ll find tons of stunning monasteries, churches, and mosques in the Balkans. You’ll see a touch of Catholic churches, especially in Croatia and Slovenia. While most Eastern Orthodox Style is in Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and North Macedonia. Some of these monasteries that you shouldn’t miss are the Rila Monastery in Bulgaria, the Zica Monastery in Serbia, the Ostrog Monastery in Montenegro, and the Monasteries of Meteora in Greece. 

Meanwhile, the Ottoman Empire left certain Balkan countries the Islam religion. These countries include Kosovo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Albania. The Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque in Sarajevo is a must-see! The Tombul Mosque in Shumen, Et’hem Bey Mosque in Tirana, and Ferhat Pasha Mosque in Banja Luka are also some of those stunning mosques that you shouldn’t miss.

10. Traveling around the Balkan is so easy!

 

Going to any Balkan country is not as difficult as you think it may be. There are actually plenty of budget airlines that offer a flight going to any major cities in the Balkans. Ryanair and EasyJet both serve plenty of Balkan countries. 

If you can’t directly fly to your target Balkan destination, it is very easy to travel around the Balkans by bus, which is also possible. Although it is obviously not fast and would probably eat a lot of your time, it’s absolutely cheaper.

Bonus: They have one of the strongest drinks in Europe

10 Reasons Why You Should Travel in the Balkans
Photo by Quinn Dombrowski CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re in the Balkans, don’t forget to try their famous drink ‘Rakia’. This potent fruit brandy has an alcohol content of at least 40%, BUT home-made rakia is much stronger. If you love alcoholic drinks, then you’ll definitely want to have a sip in this Balkan beverage. Just remember to be cautious as this drink is absolutely strong.

Having all these reasons why you should travel in the Balkans, it is not surprising that it’s quickly getting the recognition it deserves. Surely the Balkan peninsula is a region that’s never off the track. There is always something to do. So book a flight now and prepare for your next Balkan adventure!

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By Sarah