Have you visited the Balkans yet? If not, now is the time to start planning a trip! This fascinating destination is growing in popularity with travellers every year, thanks to its enticing offering of exciting countries, breathtaking scenery and unforgettable activities. Island hopping in Croatia, dancing the night away in Belgrade in Serbia, walking the medieval streets of Kotor in Montenegro and much more – it’s all happening in the Balkans!
The Balkans Peninsula is in southeast Europe. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia make up the region. Many of these countries are off the beaten tourist track but they most definitely deserve a spot on your travel bucket list. A tour to the Balkans will show you why!
Visit the Balkans and you’ll experience a revitalized, resilient spirit. It’s a destination just waiting to be explored; each country offers something new. We’d say it’s Europe’s most intriguing destination!
Here are six reasons a group tour to the Balkans should be on your bucket list:
On a tour to Europe, you’re guaranteed to encounter incredible destinations anywhere you choose to go. The Balkans region has no shortage of bucket-list-worthy places! Here you’ll find both top tourist attractions and hidden gems.
Relax on the islands and beaches of Croatia, experience the natural beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park and wander through the historic walled city of Dubrovnik (made famous by Game of Thrones). Explore the fairytale-like city of Ljubljana, complete with hilltop castles and dragons, and marvel at Slovenia’s incredible Lake Bled. Travel to Montenegro and visit this small and picturesque country’s medieval fortified town, Kotor, and its gorgeous coastline.
Journey slightly off the beaten path to Serbia where you can discover Belgrade and Novi Sad. Head to Albania and spend an intriguing 24 hours in Tirana. Bosnia and Herzegovina has emerged from a tumultuous recent past and is home to must-see destinations like Mostar and Sarajevo. The options are endless!
Related: Set sail and go island hopping on a Croatia sailing tour!
Learning more about the history alone would keep you busy for weeks in the Balkans! This area, where Europe begins to meet Asia, has long been settled, conquered and fought over by many different powers; the Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans and Austro-Hungarians and more have each influenced the culture and history in many different ways. The long and storied history can be seen in relics and monuments standing across the region today; from medieval fortifications to war memorials. Varied architecture scatters the region including Roman ruins, Byzantine churches, Socialist blocks, and cobblestoned streets leading to Ottoman mosques.
A number of significant events have taken place in this intriguing region – too many to even begin to summarise fully! Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina was the setting for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand which was the catalyst of WWI. Most of the Balkan countries made up Yugoslavia which held strong for over 80 years, and Albania was isolated from the rest of the world for decades under communism. The harrowing events of the Bosnian War took place only a few decades ago and the scars of conflict can still be seen in many places.
Embarking on city tours, discovering the Balkans on foot and engaging with the locals is the best way to learn more about the history and fascinating cultures of the region!
A trip to the Balkans is a treat for the senses! The diverse scenery will have you mesmerized from the moment you arrive. Along the coast lie golden beaches and deep blue waters (not forgetting the thousands of islands off the coast of Croatia!) and the Albanian Riviera is a quiet but even more beautiful alternative to Italy or France! Marvel at the fjords in Montenegro and rolling hills in the various countrysides. There are a number of stunning national parks in the Balkans along with striking mountain ranges including the idyllic Julian Alps in Slovenia. You’ll find the eerily named but breathtakingly beautiful Accursed Mountains in Albania.
The outdoor activities are sure to keep nature lovers happy! Enjoy hiking, cycling, mountaineering and even skiing in winter!
The cuisine is one of the highlights of visiting the Balkans! The region has had many cultural influences across different countries. Balkan cuisine is a mix of Turkish, Eastern European, Meditteranean, Greek and central European flavours – it’s a real melting pot! Dishes will vary from country to country but there is a theme of grilled meat, pastries and flavourful spices across the board. Vegetarians need not worry as there are always huge salads and fresh vegetable dishes available to enjoy! The Balkans also enjoy a strong coffee culture. The drink itself and the act of enjoying an authentic cup of coffee (served in unique ways depending on the country) plays a big role in everyday Balkan life.
Related: Take a look at the best Eastern European food to try on your next trip.
A Europe trip can often become pricey! However, the Balkans is incredibly budget-friendly compared to its western European counterparts. While some destinations, such as Dubrovnik, may be more expensive thanks to their growing popularity, the majority of the Balkan region is affordable to visit; from the accommodation and transport to restaurant prices and the cost of various activities. There are options for travellers on all kinds of budgets.
The incredible scenery, destinations and activities combined with the affordability of group travel (more on that below!) make the Balkans a top option for travellers looking for great value for money!
Group travel is popular because it’s convenient, affordable and connects people around the world! You’ll get to worry less about planning your trip and stretching your budget while on tour because the itinerary is planned and the accommodation, transport and many meals and activities are included in the tour price. Focus more on having fun! You can also rest assured that you’ll meet like-minded people on your group tour. Whether you are travelling as part of a group or are a solo traveller, there will be people from around the world ready to experience the magic of travel together on tour!
On group tours, you’ll get the added benefit of expert knowledge. Learn from your tour leaders and local guides. Better yet, look forward to an itinerary that has been designed to showcase the highlights of your chosen destination, along with hidden gems and an authentic slice of everyday life. This expert knowledge is especially beneficial in a region like the Balkans that is still relatively off the beaten track.
On top of all of this, when you travel with a group like Expat Explore, you’ll also benefit from having access to the support of the Expat Explore team. They’re available to help make planning your trip as hassle-free as possible.
Related: Find out more about the magical benefits of group travel to Europe here.
If the reasons above have piqued your interest, take a look at Expat Explore tours such as the Balkan Explorer and Croatian & Eastern Delights. For something nearby, why not take a look at the Eastern Europe tours or think about an adventure to Ukraine, Moldova & Romania? The choice is yours on a tour to Europe!
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