5 Great Places To Visit In The Balkans

Katherine Kooistra

By Katherine Kooistra
10 Jan 2020

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The beautiful and quirky Balkans are an absolute must to explore. Most of these incredible destinations used to be uncharted territory, but have now turned into travel hotspots, brimming with beautiful beaches, quaint towns and hundreds of fortresses. Here are some places to consider going to on your next trip.

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor in Montenegro is an incredibly beautiful harbour town with an amazing mountain range. Fill your days by going on boat trips around the bay to check out the Montenegrin landscape, people-watching in the squares or wandering around the quaint streets. If you’re a fan of cats, check out the quirky Cat Museum or just walk down any road and find a litter of kittens ready to be patted. Enjoy hikes? Hike up to St John fortress and be rewarded with amazing views at the top - it's the perfect spot to watch the sunset too! Allow yourself 45 minutes to get up there and have a celebratory drink when you reach the top. Be careful not to have too many beverages, otherwise the walk back down may be more challenging than the walk up. For a day trip nearby to Kotor, head to Budva. Imagine many Borats in a Vegas-esque beautiful turquoise beach town: that’s Budva in a nutshell.

Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Sarajevo has got a little bit of something for everyone. Do you like history? Sarajevo Tunnel Museum and the sobering War Childhood Museum will prove to be very interesting. Think of yourself as a bit of a foodie? Grab the best burek from Buregdžinica Bosna and local favourite cevapi from Petica. You’ll be thanking me later. Enjoy street art in quirky settings? Hike or jump on a gondola to the top of the hill and walk down through the abandoned bobsled track from the 1984 Winter Olympics. This place is a street art haven, but be careful though as this hillside has many unexploded mines. Fancy yourself a relaxing drink and some shisha? Sarajevo has many bars to spend your evenings chatting with friends or getting to know the locals.

Transylvanian region, Romania

Transylvania is the land where all good Halloween stories were created. This region of Romania is the home of Dracula, former inhabitant of Bran Castle. The castle is a popular tourist spot with people coming from near and far to learn about this popular vampire. While you’re in the region, spend some time at the world’s biggest brown bear sanctuary. The Libearty Bear Sanctauary in the Carpathian Mountains above the Transylvanian town of Zarnesti is a must if you’re eager to get up close with these amazing creatures.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Often voted as one of the most picturesque lakes in Europe, Lake Bled is definitely a sight for sore eyes. Try your hand at rowing around the lake by hiring one of the local Pletna boats or jump right in from the lakeside. Watch the sunset or sunrise by hiking up the Ojastrica path to get the best snap of the lake possible. Make sure that you try some of the delicious Bled cake. The Park Restaurant & Café is the best place to try this local cake made up of vanilla cream, butter dough and whipped cream. Don’t worry about the extra calories – Bled will have you getting your steps up in no time.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

In Dubrovnik, spend your days following in the footsteps of King Joffrey and enter the world of Game of Thrones. Many different locations around the town were used to film the hit tv show turning Dubrovnik into King’s Landing. Get ready to recreate the ‘Walk of Shame’ scene from season 5 down the Jesuit staircase or act out the Purple Wedding scene from Season 4 in Gradac Park. Dubrovnik also has excellent watering holes to go for a dip in, such as Banje Beach or the Old Port. However, don’t make the rookie mistake of wearing your bathers down the streets. It’s actually illegal, so ensure you cover up! For excellent views of the town, walk the City Walls, take the cable car up Mt Srd or find the Old Town basketball court. For those with a sweet tooth, head to the main street in the Old Town and visit Sladoledarna – massive portions of delicious ice-cream! Croatians are big believers in enjoying life and taking it easy, so sit back, relax and enjoy Dubrovnik.

If you're planning a trip to the beautiful Balkans, make sure you check out our itineraries. You'll explore these fantastic destinations with expert knowledge from a legendary guide and an awesome group of people to experience it all with!