Are you thinking of finally pushing through with your dream vacation to the Balkans? Here are some of the most fun, scenic, and unique things to do in the Balkans. These sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for a truly memorable vacation experience.
The Balkans, a region that’s often overlooked, is a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Things to do in the Balkans range from the cobblestone streets of ancient towns to the breathtaking landscapes of national parks. The Balkans offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that’s hard to match. This region, which includes countries like Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, and Montenegro, is known for its warm hospitality and the genuine warmth of its locals. Whether you’re exploring the luxurious feel of the small fishing village of Perast in Montenegro, the picturesque city of Ljubljana in Slovenia, or the romantic Lake Bled, there’s something for every traveler in the Balkans.
This region is a testament to the fact that sometimes, the road less traveled offers the most unforgettable experiences. So, if you’re looking for your next travel destination, the Balkans might just be the place for you. Get ready to embark on an adventure that’s sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in the Balkans.
Ready to deep dive into all the coolest things to do in the Balkans? As noted above, this fascinating vacation destination offers something for everyone. So keep reading to discover all these unique Balkans places to visit.
Are you looking for iconic historical attractions and diverse cultural sites? Or maybe you’re into exhilarating outdoor activities? Or perhaps you prefer a tranquil getaway in nature? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in the Balkans can cater to your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in the Balkans that you should know about.
If you’re wondering about the best places to go in the Balkans, Krka National Park in Croatia should be at the top of your list. This park, named after the Krka River that meanders through Southern Croatia, is a natural wonderland boasting seven breathtaking waterfalls. Covering an area of about 142 square kilometers, the park is home to the crystal-clear waters of the Krka River, nestled amidst the mountains, creating a sight that’s truly awe-inspiring.
To make your visit to Krka National Park truly unforgettable, don’t miss the chance to take a dip in the river. Yes, you heard it right! Swimming is allowed in certain parts of the park. So, remember to pack your swimwear and get ready for a refreshing experience.
Visiting the Krka National Park is one of the most unique things to do in the Balkans that promises an unforgettable encounter with nature’s splendor. So, when you’re planning your Balkans itinerary, make sure this park is on your list. You won’t regret it!
Berat, known as the city of a thousand windows, has an impressive count of Byzantine churches, the Red Mosque, and Ottoman houses. This city, considered the most beautiful in all of Albania, is a must-see in the Balkans. As you wander within the city walls, you’ll love the unique architecture and the rich history that permeates every corner.
The city’s charm lies in its ability to transport you back in time, with its well-preserved structures and the stories they tell. The Red Mosque, with its intricate designs and historical significance, is a testament to the city’s rich cultural heritage. The Byzantine churches, on the other hand, offer a glimpse into the religious history of the region.
But it’s not just the historical sites that make Berat special. The city itself, with its narrow, winding streets and the thousand windows of its Ottoman houses, is a sight to behold. These windows, which light up at night, give the city a magical, almost ethereal, glow.
So, if you’re looking for the best things to do in the Balkans, don’t forget to make a stop at Berat. It’s a journey back in time, a step into a different world, and a truly unique experience you won’t want to miss.
Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” is a must-visit destination in the Balkans. This city has a wealth of history and culture, with its old town being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you step into its historical walls, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time. The main street, Stradun, is a pedestrian area bustling with cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. As you explore, you’ll come across significant landmarks such as the Sponza Palace, Rector’s Palace, Dubrovnik Cathedral, and the Onofrio’s Fountain.
Dubrovnik is also famous as the filming location for King’s Landing in the popular series Game of Thrones. This has added an extra layer of charm to the city, attracting fans from all over the world. But beyond its fame and glamor, Dubrovnik is a city of stunning coastal landscapes, terracotta rooftops, and a laid-back coastal way of life.
If you’re wondering where to go in the Balkans, Dubrovnik is definitely one you should consider. Its mix of history, culture, and natural beauty makes it one of the coolest Balkans things to do. So pack your bags and get ready to explore this gem of the Adriatic!
Perast, a small town in Montenegro, is a hidden gem in the Balkans that you simply cannot miss. This quaint fishing village, nestled in the heart of Boka Bay, exudes a luxurious charm that sets it apart from other towns in the region. Often referred to as the cooler cousin of the more touristy Kotor, Perast offers a more authentic and less crowded experience.
As you stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll be captivated by the blend of Venetian and Baroque architecture, the quiet charm of the local cafes, and the stunning views of the bay. The town is home to several well-preserved palaces, churches, and museums, each telling a story of the town’s rich maritime history.
One of the coolest activities in the Balkans is to take a boat ride to the two islets off the coast of Perast – Our Lady of the Rocks and St. George. Our Lady of the Rocks, a man-made islet, is particularly noteworthy. It houses a charming church and a museum that showcase local seafaring traditions and folklore.
Perast is a place to slow down, soak in the beauty, and immerse yourself in the local culture. It’s a unique place in the Balkans that offers a blend of relaxation, history, and stunning natural beauty.
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a hidden gem that is a must-see in the Balkans. This city is a delightful blend of rich history and modern vibrancy, making it a perfect destination for travelers seeking a unique European experience. The city’s charm is undeniable, with its picturesque old town, a castle perched on a hill, and the emerald-green Ljubljanica River crisscrossed by ornate bridges.
One of the best places in the Balkans, Ljubljana is a city that’s small in size but big in heart. It’s so incredibly picturesque that you’d think you’ve stepped inside a postcard. The city can be discovered in one day if you’re short on time, but if you’re planning in advance, be sure to give yourself two days to get gloriously lost in the streets, visit the public parks, and slow down while you discover Slovenian culture and hospitality.
From the iconic Dragon Bridge to the bustling Central Market, Ljubljana is a city that invites exploration. The city’s vibrant café culture, thriving art scene, and numerous festivals add to its appeal, making it one of the best places to go in the Balkans.
For an experience like no other, you’ll want to check out this top place to visit in the Balkans: Mostar. This city is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after destinations in Europe, and it’s not hard to see why. Mostar is a city that beautifully blends the old with the new. Its iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge) is a testament to the city’s resilience and a symbol of unity in a city that has seen its fair share of conflict.
Walking through the cobbled streets of Mostar, you’ll be captivated by the Ottoman-style houses, the vibrant marketplaces, and the aroma of traditional Bosnian coffee wafting through the air. The city is also home to a number of historical sites, including the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, which offers panoramic views of the city from its minaret. It’s one of my favorite Balkans destinations for these reasons.
But Mostar is not just about history. The city has a vibrant nightlife scene, with numerous bars and restaurants lining its streets. And for the adventurous, there’s the annual diving competition from the Stari Most into the Neretva River below.
Mostar is a city that has something for everyone. It’s a place where history, culture, and adventure come together to create a truly unforgettable travel experience. Is this one of the most unique things to do in the Balkans? You bet!
As far as things to do in the Balkans go, this activity is among the coolest! Nestled in the southwestern corner of Macedonia, the city of Ohrid has an abundance of Balkan history and culture. The city’s most iconic landmark is the Church of St John at Kaneo, perched on a cliff edge, offering panoramic views of the serene Lake Ohrid. The church’s architecture is a testament to the region’s rich Byzantine heritage, and its location provides a tranquil setting for contemplation and admiration of the natural beauty that surrounds it.
But Ohrid is not just about the church. The city itself is a labyrinth of narrow, cobblestone streets lined with traditional houses, their red-tiled roofs adding a splash of color to the cityscape. As you wander through these streets, you’ll come across numerous other churches, each with its own unique charm and history.
The city’s old bazaar is a must-visit for anyone interested in local crafts and cuisine. Here, you can find everything from handmade jewelry and ceramics to delicious Macedonian pastries and wines.
Ohrid is also a city of festivals. From summer music and theater festivals to winter carnival celebrations, there’s always something happening in Ohrid. Make sure to check out the event calendar when planning your visit to Ohrid.
Ohrid truly has something to offer to every kind of traveler. It’s a place where the past and the present coexist, creating a unique blend of experiences that make it one of the best places to go in the Balkans.
One of the best activities in the Balkans is exploring the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a natural wonder that will leave you breathless. The park is a labyrinth of 16 interconnected lakes, cascading waterfalls, and lush forests. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, gray, or blue, changing constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.
As you wander the wooden pathways, you’ll love the sounds of rushing water and the serene beauty of the park. The park is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including bears, wolves, and numerous bird species. It’s a paradise for nature lovers and photographers alike.
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is a place where you can immerse yourself in nature and escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The park is open year-round, and each season offers a different yet equally stunning view of the lakes. However, to avoid the crowds, it’s best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Remember to wear comfortable shoes and bring a camera – you won’t want to miss capturing the enchanting beauty of this place. The Plitvice Lakes National Park is not just a must-see in the Balkans, it’s a must-see in the world!
Meteora, a rock formation in central Greece, is a breathtaking spectacle that combines the beauty of nature with the ingenuity of human construction. The name ‘Meteora’ means ‘suspended in the air’, and it perfectly describes the six monasteries that are perched on top of these towering rocks. These monasteries were built by monks who sought solitude and a closer connection to God, and they certainly found it here, amidst the clouds and the eagles.
The monasteries are a testament to the determination and faith of the monks who built them. They used ropes, pulleys, and their bare hands to lift the building materials up the sheer cliffs. Today, you can visit these monasteries and marvel at the stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The sight of the monasteries, silhouetted against the sky, is something you won’t soon forget.
Meteora is not just a place of historical and religious significance, but also a place of extraordinary natural beauty. The rock formations themselves are a sight to behold, with their unique shapes carved by wind and water over millions of years. The area is also home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, making it a paradise for nature lovers.
So, if you’re wondering where to go in the Balkans, consider Meteora. It’s a place where you can experience the awe-inspiring power of nature, the profound peace of monastic life, and the thrill of standing on top of the world.
Please note: Always respect the sanctity of the monasteries when you visit. Dress modestly, keep your voice down, and follow any other rules posted by the monks.
Hvar, a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, is a must-visit destination in the Balkans. Known for its 13th-century walls and terracotta roofs, Hvar is a place that exudes charm and history. The island is a popular tourist spot during the summer months, attracting visitors from all over the globe.
As you step foot on this island, you’ll be greeted by the scent of lavender, which is grown in abundance here. The island is also known for its vineyards and olive groves, offering a taste of the Mediterranean lifestyle.
The town square, St Stephen’s Square, is one of the largest and most beautiful in Croatia. The square is surrounded by Venetian-style buildings and the 16th-century St Stephen’s Cathedral.
Hvar’s nightlife is another reason to visit. The island is known for its vibrant and lively party scene, with beach bars and clubs that stay open until the early hours.
Visiting Hvar, with its blend of history, natural beauty, and vibrant nightlife, is one of the most fun things to do in the Balkans that is sure to be a highlight of your trip.
Zakynthos, a Greek island in the Ionian Sea, is a must-see destination in the Balkans. Known for its vibrant nightlife and stunning beaches, Zakynthos is a paradise for both party-goers and nature lovers. The island’s most famous landmark is the Shipwreck Beach, a cove on the coast that houses the rusting remains of a cargo ship. This spot is a favorite among Instagrammers, thanks to its dramatic cliffs and clear, turquoise waters.
But Zakynthos is not just about the beaches. The island is also home to a rich biodiversity. The National Marine Park of Zakynthos is a haven for the endangered loggerhead sea turtles, which come to the island’s sandy beaches to nest. The park also protects the Mediterranean monk seal, one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world.
For those who love history, Zakynthos offers a glimpse into Greece’s past. The island’s main city, also called Zakynthos, is filled with historical buildings like the Byzantine Museum, which houses a collection of artwork from the Byzantine period to the modern times.
So, if you’re wondering where to go in the Balkans, consider Zakynthos. With its blend of natural beauty, vibrant nightlife, and rich history, it’s a destination that offers something for everyone.
If you’re seeking unique places in the Balkans that offer a blend of tranquility and charm, then Skopelos, Greece, is your destination. This lesser-known island is a hidden gem that has managed to retain its authentic Greek charm, despite gaining some fame as the filming location for a few scenes from the movie “Mamma Mia!”.
Skopelos is a place where you can immerse yourself in the slow-paced life of a traditional Greek island. Wander through the narrow, winding streets of the town, lined with whitewashed houses and blooming bougainvillea. Visit the numerous chapels and monasteries scattered across the island, each one offering a peaceful retreat and stunning views of the surrounding sea and landscape.
The island’s coastline is a mix of pebbly coves and sandy beaches, lapped by crystal-clear waters. The beaches are less crowded than those on the more popular Greek islands, providing a perfect spot for a relaxing day under the sun.
Skopelos is also known for its delicious local cuisine. Don’t miss the chance to try some of the island’s fresh seafood, locally produced cheese, and famous Skopelos pie.
In Skopelos, you’ll find that the best places to go in the Balkans are often the ones less traveled. This charming island offers a unique and memorable experience that will make your trip to the Balkans truly unforgettable.
Looking for more content on the top things to do in the Balkans? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to the Balkans:
Absolutely! The Balkans are generally safe for travelers. However, like any travel destination, it’s always important to stay aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.
What is the most beautiful country in the Balkans?
Looking to discover the coolest countries in the Balkans? Here’s an overview of some of the notable beauties in various Balkan countries:
- Croatia: Known for its stunning Adriatic coastline, historic cities like Dubrovnik and Split, and beautiful national parks such as Plitvice Lakes.
- Montenegro: Features breathtaking fjord-like bays, medieval towns like Kotor, and the striking Durmitor National Park.
- Slovenia: Home to the beautiful Lake Bled, Triglav National Park, and charming cities like Ljubljana. Slovenia offers a mix of Alpine mountains, lush forests, and unique caves.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: Features a blend of Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian architecture in cities like Sarajevo and Mostar, as well as natural wonders such as the Sutjeska National Park and the Neretva River.
- Greece: Famed for its islands like Santorini and Mykonos, ancient historical sites like the Acropolis, and beautiful beaches and mountains.
- Albania: Known for its unspoiled Riviera, historic sites like Gjirokastër, and the dramatic Albanian Alps.
- North Macedonia: Offers stunning lakes like Lake Ohrid, mountainous landscapes, and rich cultural heritage.
- Serbia: Home to vibrant cities like Belgrade, beautiful landscapes such as Tara National Park, and historical sites like the Studenica Monastery.
- Bulgaria: Known for its diverse landscapes ranging from the Black Sea coastline to the Rila and Pirin mountain ranges, as well as historic sites like Plovdiv and the Rila Monastery.
- Romania: Although partially in the Balkans, it features stunning landscapes like the Carpathian Mountains, the unique Danube Delta, and beautiful castles like Bran Castle.
Each of these countries has its unique beauty and charm, and the “most beautiful” will likely depend on what you’re looking to experience.
The best time to visit the Balkans is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) when the weather is pleasant and the tourist crowds are smaller.
Different countries in the Balkans use different currencies. For example, Croatia uses the Croatian Kuna, while Montenegro and Kosovo use the Euro. It’s always a good idea to check the currency for each country you plan to visit.
Visa requirements vary depending on your nationality and the countries you plan to visit in the Balkans. Always check the visa requirements before your trip.
The Balkans are renowned for their rich history, which includes ancient civilizations, diverse cultures, and significant events. They’re also famous for their stunning landscapes, from pristine beaches and turquoise waters to rugged mountains and verdant forests.
Absolutely, the Balkans are a wealth of experiences waiting to be discovered. With its unique blend of history, culture, natural beauty, and warm hospitality, it’s a region that offers something for every type of traveler, making it a destination that’s more than worth the visit.
The Balkans, with its rich history, diverse cultures, and stunning landscapes, offers a unique travel experience that is hard to match. From the sun-soaked beaches of Croatia to the rugged mountains of Montenegro, from the ancient ruins of Greece to the vibrant cities of Slovenia, there is something for everyone in this fascinating region. Regardless of your taste and preference, the Balkans will not disappoint. So why wait? Start planning your Balkan adventure today and discover the many wonders this region has to offer.