The Balkans is a place known for the rich history and an extraordinary mix of cultures and religions. Situated in south-east Europe and named after a chain of mountains it is really an unexplored gem for travelers. Over thousands of years, it was an important area for business and religion. Many important empires have been fought battles for its control. Since it connected the Mediterranean with central Europe and was one of the major transit lines connecting Europe with Asia many civilizations and empires have ruled over it and left their trace. You can feel these different influences mostly in culture, music, food, and customs of the local people. Be it orthodox chants, ottoman saz music, Jewish melodies, Austrian desserts or Mediterranean wine you will find everything in the Balkans. In short, if Balkans travel is something you’re considering this blog is perfect for you.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a long name for a small country. Situated in the heart of Balkans it can be seen as the small condensed version of the whole region. Consequently, it is known as a meeting place of Islam, Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, and Judaism. The whole region is mountainous so this country is no different. A chain of Dinaric Alps runs through the middle separating Bosnia in the north from Herzegovina in the south. Nature is the first thing that captures your attention. Mountains, lakes, and rivers provide plenty of possibilities to explore and enjoy this country.
The most popular place in Bosnia is the capital, Sarajevo. Known for its beauty and exquisite blend of influences it is widely known for many historic events that have shaped the lives of both the locals and the people around the world. In conclusion, if you’re going to explore Balkans you shouldn’t miss Bosnia.
With its unusual shape and a very long coastline, Croatia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Balkans. Probably the most visited destination in this country is Dubrovnik. It is an ancient city republic that was thriving in the age of renaissance. This small but influential city-republic pioneered many advancements in diplomacy, trade, etc. The city walls still stand and therefore, many movies and series have been using it as a setting for their plots including the world popular Game of Thrones series. In summary, the long coast and over seven hundred islands and reefs, this Balkan country attracts tourists from all around the world. Numerous sites in Croatia are enlisted as UNESCO world heritage. You can visit them on your own or join local experts who can show you the sights and much more.
The Republic of Serbia is partly in southeast Europe and partly in central Europe. Therefore, it shares borders with Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro. Vojvodina with its capital city – Novi Sad is Serbia’s northern autonomous region. In different historical periods, Austrians controlled it and as a result, there is a presence of Hungarian and Austrian heritage in this region. The capital of Serbia is Belgrade, one of the most populous cities in the region. Flowing through Belgrade and most of northern Serbia the river Danube is a great potential for tourism. It is navigable and connects Belgrade with many other big European cities.
Medieval monasteries are this country’s proudest heritage. Most of the population is Christian orthodox and the currency in use is the dinar. You can explore this country in tour packages which enable you to do much more than you could by traveling by yourself during your visit to the Balkans.
Montenegro simply means black mountain in old Venetian. The name was in use since the 13th century and for the Montenegrins, the name is Crna Gora which has the same meaning. Like the rest of the Balkans, it was conquered by the ottomans in the 15th century. Nevertheless, Montenegro contained a level of autonomy and prince bishops (Vladika) ruled over it for centuries as a theocracy.
Since in the south part, Montenegro has access to the Adriatic sea this is where you will find some of the most interesting places to visit. From the bay of Kotor down to the Skadar lake, which Montenegro shares with Albania, this Mediterranean jewel won’t let you forget the Balkans.
This Balkan country recently underwent a name change. Before being North Macedonia, its official name was Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Most of the people in the Balkans simply call it Macedonia. The majority of the population are Macedonians but there is a sizable Albanian population as well. Amongst the minorities, there are Bosniaks, Serbs, Turks, and others. Macedonians speak the Macedonian language, a Slavic language closely related to Bulgarian.
The cities to visit are Skopje, the capital, and Ohrid, famous for being an open museum with a very important history. Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. UNESCO designated the natural and cultural heritage of the Ohrid region as a World Heritage site in 1980. If you really want to dig deeper into the UNESCO protected heritage of this region you can book tours guided by local experts.
In conclusion, you should consider Balkans as your next destination. The reasons are numerous. If religions fascinate you can explore important pilgrimage sites, monasteries and tekkes. For instance, if architecture is your thing Balkans will show you a variety of styles and monumental buildings. Still, if you are looking for delicious food, original music, and welcoming people, once again, Balkans is for you. In short, the top Balkan tours are at your fingerprints so join in.
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