The Balkans is such an underrated secluded part of Europe. The landscapes are vast and will blow your mind as soon as you step from the plane. It’s like entering another world compared to the rest of Europe. Earlier this year, I decided to explore Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania after getting a taste of Slovenia last year.
The Balkans are made up of approximately (I say approximately because it’s never clear which countries do and don’t!) 10 countries including Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. This is a backpacker’s paradise. It’s affordable, the food is delicious, the locals are incredibly friendly, the countries are safe to visit and the best thing, it’s not overly crowded (except for Dubrovnik!). Here are 10 photos that confirm the Balkans is in fact paradise and will make you want to explore the Balkans.
1.Beaches that mirror paradise
The Adriatic and Ionian coastlines are where some of the most incredible secluded beaches are to be seen, especially this one which is called Ksamil and situated in Southern Albania. Bright turquoise water, white-sand beaches and no hordes of people.
2. The history that will leave you speechless
It wasn’t too long ago that the wars in these regions ended so the remains are still very apparent in the buildings. Make sure you take the time to learn more about what happened in these regions as it will help you better understand how the country sits today. Always be respectful as the wars only finished in the 90’s so it’s still a very recent subject to talk about as many locals would have been directly affected.
3. It won’t break the bank
This is a backpacker’s paradise as many places in the Balkans you can get a room for what you would pay for a coffee in western Europe. If you are on a budget The Balkans are a great place to explore.
4. The National Parks are out of this world
The Balkans are home to incredible landscapes meaning their National Parks are off the chain! I took a tour to see Montenegro’s Durmitor Park and it was incredible. My guide also told me you can buy land for €8 a square meter here!
5. The hospitality is something that these regions are incredibly proud of
Help is always right next to you. Be expected to be invited into people’s homes and people’s lives. Make sure you say yes to all opportunities that arise!
6. Travel back in time
One of the best things about travelling in the Balkans is that it’s like travelling back 20 years ago. It’s simple, not everything is on the internet and you just have to go with the flow!
7. Natural phenomenon’s
Located in Albania are natural springs that still cannot be confirmed how they occur and how deep the spring is! Natural phenomenon’s like this are a common occurrence.
8. Pyramids in Bosnia?
Located in Visoko (about an hour bus ride from Sarajevo) is a pyramid complex complete with underground tunnels. There is HUGE controversy regarding the authenticity of the pyramids because if they are real that’d make them older than Egypt’s, which would totally confuse history as we know it. So, I suggest you visit the location and make up your own mind on the topic like I did (they are real 😉).
9. The food is fresh, delicious and affordable of course!
We need to eat to survive so travelling and eating go hand in hand. Make sure you try the fresh seafood caught on the coast of the Balkans countries. Each country offers different cuisine that is delicious. I don’t think I ever had a bad meal in the Balkans!
10. Incredible sunsets
When staying in Sarandё (Saranda) in Albania I stayed at the Hairy Lemon Hotel (highly recommend!) and every night there would be incredible sunsets. Every location I stayed at the sunsets would be so incredible. If you travel to Dubrovnik make sure you hike or grab the cable car up the hill and enjoy the classic Dubrovnik sunset, it’s unbelievable!
So, what are you waiting for? 2017 is the time to explore the Balkans. Don’t forget Albania, it was a personal favourite of mine!
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