Considering that Serbia borders eight countries, it is an attractive destination for everyone who is looking to start a Balkan Tour there. And while it might be true that Serbia has an amazing tourist offer, our neighboring countries are beautiful and worth visiting as well. You can spend months on your Balkan tour without seeing all the attractions, vibrant cities, and pristine nature.
Balkan is a great place to visit if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There’s no need to worry about finding accommodation, food, or entertainment because everything you’ll need is just minutes away. You’ll find yourself surrounded by beautiful nature, friendly locals, historical cities and amazing views. The culture of the Balkans is diverse. Each nation has its unique traditions, customs, language, and religion. It is a truly special blend and a European melting pot of traditions.
So, what are the most important sites you should visit on your Balkan tour? As the weather is still nice and even a bit warmer than expected in October, today we will give you some practical information. In addition, we will introduce you to some of the gorgeous natural sites of the Balkans.
Starting your Balkan tour
Balkan cities are very well connected with Europe – and the world. Most importantly, they are inexpensive to visit, and low-cost airlines such as Wizzair and Ryanair are flying to all major Balkan cities. So, you can just book your next flight without any hassle. Unfortunately, the rail network is underdeveloped, however, there are still some scenic routes that are worth visiting. Hence, the main mean of transportation in Balkan countries is the bus and they frequently run between major cities and sites. But for the best experience and flexibility, we recommend the car. You can rent a car very easily in every country, but most companies do not allow driving across borders.
There’s no need to worry about finding accommodation, food, or entertainment because everything you’ll need is just a few clicks away. It is important to note that countries in Balkan have border crossings. They are not in Schengen, and only some of them are in the EU. Make sure to have proper documentation (ID, passport, and visa) required for your destination. Also, some countries have their own currency, but it is quite simple to exchange euros and dollars for the local currency.
Plitvice lakes – Croatia
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is the largest, oldest, and undeniably most beautiful national park in Croatia. It is well-known for its numerous blue lakes that are divided by natural barriers and waterfalls. Due to the unique hydrological characteristics and remarkable biodiversity of its karst topography, the Plitvice lakes deserve a special place on your Balkan tour.
The number of visitors to this remarkable place is visited and demand is huge, especially in the summer. The advantage of visiting outside of tourist season is not just the fewer crowds, but lower prices as well. For example, the single ticket price, which includes the transport with the electric boat and panorama train, is just around 10 euros from 1.11 until 31.3. During summer, it is 40 euros, so it definitely pays off to visit Plitvice now.
National park Durmitor – Montenegro
What is your first association with Montenegro? Of course, it is the Adriatic sea and beautiful coast. But, Montenegro is more than shiny resorts and charming cities. While we agree that there is no better place to spend summer than in Bar, Budva, or Kotor, Montenegro offers more than that. When the temperatures get too cold to enjoy magnificent sandy beaches it is time to head to the mountains. Even the country’s name derives from Venetian and translates as “Black Mountain”. Nomen est omen, and indeed, Montenegro is a place of stunning mountains. Untamed rivers, and national parks with opportunities for wild adventures that will leave you awestruck. Rare endemic species and different animals – even the brown bear, are native to the park.
Durmitor National Park is on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list since 1980. As such, it is one of the must-see places on your Balkan tour. Glaciers, rivers, and subterranean streams formed the unique landscape. Bobotov Peak is the highest among the dozens of peaks higher than 2,000 meters above sea level that rise over plateaus, alpine meadows, and forests. Numerous glacier lakes, called locally “mountain eyes,” dot the terrain. Durmitor is home to Europe’s deepest canyon – the Tara river canyon. Durmitor is a well-known tourist destination for its excellent hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and canoeing activities. Montenegro’s main ski resort is in the nearby town of Žabljak, so winter is the best place to visit it.
Ohrid Lake – Macedonia
Ohrid is a lake nestled among the hills between North Macedonia and Albania. It is one of the deepest and oldest lakes in Europe, with a globally significant aquatic environment including over 200 indigenous species. Its magnitude may first deceive you, leading you to believe it is a sea. Of course, it is also on the UNESCO World Heritage site list. This magnificent natural wonder is also the site of one of Europe’s earliest human settlements. Ohrid is not just the name of the lake, but also of the town laying on its shores. You will be enchanted by this beautiful town with a lovely promenade and plentiful historical monuments going back centuries. Just sit in one of Ohrid’s cafes, hear the waves, and gaze into the boundless blue to fall in love with it.
Ohrid is also a very important place for Orthodox Christians. It has 365 churches – so every day of the year, you can visit a different one. Impressive, isn’t it? The Church of Saints Clement and Panteleimon, the Church of Saint John the Theologian, and the Cathedral of Saint Sophia are just some of them which deserve a place on your Balkan tour list. The centuries-old frescos will give you a glimpse into the life of medieval monks, and you will enjoy the same breathtaking views as they did, hundreds of years before you.
Perućica – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Perućica is a site like no other. In fact, it is on the UNESCO Strict Nature Reserve list. And there is a very special reason for it. Perućica is one of Europe’s remaining primeval forests. Simply said, it is a real jungle, i.e rainforest. These “lungs of Europe” are a part of wider Sutjeska National Park, the oldest and biggest in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Due to the extremely rough terrain, very few individuals have had the opportunity to find this location. Some portions of the rainforest are even unreachable due to the thick vegetation. However, do not let this deter you! You may only visit it with a professional tour guide, so they will help you navigate your way around this amazing site. Perućica safari, exhilarating off-roading with all-terrain vehicles, is maybe the greatest way to view Europe’s last jungle.
Continue your Balkan tour
As you continue driving through the Balkan countries and exploring fantastic natural sites, you will also decide to visit some of the cities. Of course, the capital of every country is its main cultural and historical center. But, we want to show you more than that. Dare to visit some off-the-beaten-path towns and not-so-tourist cities. Stay tuned, as soon we will introduce you to some of the most interesting cities which should be part of your Balkan tour.