The Balkans isn’t exactly the first region you visit when going on a trip around Europe.
However, those that do make the trip, say that it is, as the cliché goes, a diamond in the rough.
From the Adriatic to the Dinaric Alps, these overlooked countries distinguish themselves from more popular destinations such as Germany, France and most of the Western part of the EU.
As with most places that are slowly getting attention, there are obstacles to overcome, but it is advisable to visit sooner rather than later because the crowds will come and the prices will soar by the time it reaches peak popularity.
Ljubljana is a quaint city with an old world charm; walk or bike around its charming streets and take in the beauty of the architecture and color of the houses, stores, and restaurants.
The local market has great and delicious food to reinvigorate your body after a tiring day of exploring.
The old town will enthrall you with its charm, its tight and small lanes have eye-catching street art and there are a number of shops that sell decorations and gadgets.
Belgrade is the biggest city and the capital of Serbia, it is situated at the intersection of two rivers, Sava and Danube.
The literal translation of its name is the ‘white city’.
Its history dates back centuries; history buffs and culture lovers will have several things to do and see in this charming European city.
The metropolis is fast-becoming a popular tourist destination in the region, with many changes to come, it is best to visit the country while it is on the cusp.
Some of the things to see and do include a trip to the Nikola Tesla Museum, Crkva Svetog Marka, St. Sava Temple, the Tower of Sibinjanin and the Belgrade Fortress.
Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina; it is a vibrant metropolis with plenty to offer tourists of all types and budgets.
The rich and long history of the city led to an amalgamation of culture and religion, which led to different monikers for Sarajevo such as the Jerusalem of the Balkans and Europe.
What makes it one of the most unique major European cities is that it has a synagogue, Catholic and Orthodox Church, and mosque in one neighborhood.
Some of the places to visit while exploring the country include Sebilj Brunnen, Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, the Sarajevo City Hall, Vrelo Bosne, the Sarajevo War Tunnel and the Bascarsija.
Include this city in your itinerary to see a different side of Europe outside of the typical destinations on the western side of the continent.
If you plan to go to a national park in Croatia, let this be the first or the only one you visit.
This park was put on UNESCO’s Heritage List in the 1970s, rightfully so, because it has many natural wonders, such as waterfalls, and clear, blue, glass-like lakes.
You could spend hours exploring the park by walking on the hiking trails and taking Instagram-worthy photos.
Plitvice should be in your itinerary if ever you decide to visit Croatia, especially if you’re a nature lover.
Macedonia is a fascinating country with a deep history and rich culture.
If you were to visit this country, make sure to add Ohrid to your itinerary.
The historic town features the oldest Slav monastery, preserved ancient architecture and Byzantine-style icons; Ohrid is also on the list of UNESCO’s Cultural and Natural World Heritage Sites.
The town gives you a lost-in-time feel, with its old world charm.
Some say that Plovdiv is one of the oldest uninterrupted inhabited cities on the continent.
It makes its case once you visit Philippopolis, a 2nd-century amphitheater.
The charming city has plenty of things to do and see for the intrepid wanderer some of which include; the Tsar Simeon Garden, Atanas Krastev House, Ethnographical Museum and the Balabanov House just to name a few.
The Balkans is, as the cliché goes in travel circles, a hidden gem in Europe.
It has yet to reach the pinnacles of development and popularity of its more modern counterparts in the region.
This is a charming trait that makes it an alternative or next adventure destination after you’ve ticked off France, Germany, Spain and other famous places in Western Europe.
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