Travel off the Beaten Track in Europe in the Balkans Peninsula

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Photo of Travel off the Beaten Track in Europe in the Balkans Peninsula by Amrita

The Balkans is one of the least visited destinations in Europe. The Balkan peninsula still remains unexplored and yet it has something to offer to every type of traveller. From sprawling metropolitan cities and ancient ruins to pristine blue seas and picture perfect landscape, the Balkans are the perfect place to get off the beaten track. And you can even travel in this region in sticking to the tightest of budgets.

Six countries fall entirely in the Balkan Peninsula while seven others have certain portions falling into the peninsula. This region is good for slow travel while appreciating the places and the culture. But a tight schedule should not deter you from visiting the place. The Balkans can offer you diverse experience that can be quite unique to any other European destinations. Here is a guide to 10 days itinerary to the Balkans peninsula that you can consider while planning your Balkan trip.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1

Day 1 and 2: Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia is one of the most beautiful cities of Adriatic Balkan and has a lot to offer to travellers. It can be a great start for your Balkan trip. The city is diverse with impressive architecture and impressive locals. You can wander around the old town, visit the museums to know about the history and culture of the city.

You can start your tour with the Upper Town. The place has old architecture, narrow cobbled roads and historical buildings to charm you. Also visit the Maksimir Park and Zagreb Zoo, the oldest public park in the city. Zagreb Eye is an observation desk that offers a 360 degree view of the city. You the see the entire city from the 16th floor of the building – from the historic buildings to the modern skyscrapers.

Day 2

To experience the local life, visit the Dolac Market, an open air market selling the local produce. It is great place to visit if you want to see and observe the local people. Finally, do not forget to visit the Zagreb cathedral and the Museum of Broken Relationships.

The nightlife at Zagreb is one of the best things to do because Croatians really know how to have fun. If you are staying at any hostel, they will give you a suggestion about where to go to check the party scene. Two days in the city is enough to get a feel of the city and visit all the major attractions.

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Photo of Zagreb, Croatia by Amrita

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Photo of Zagreb, Croatia by Amrita

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Photo of Zagreb, Croatia by Amrita

(c) Shutterstock

Photo of Zagreb, Croatia by Amrita

(c) Shutterstock

Photo of Zagreb, Croatia by Amrita
Day 3

Day 3 to 5 - Split, Croatia

Next on the list is the beautiful coastal city of Split. It has a lot to offer to tourists and definitely more affordable and less crowded than Dubrovnik.

Visiting the old town is one of the first things to do at Split. This is the oldest part of Split set in the roman palace dating back to the early 4th century. The Roman emperor Diocletian had built the palace and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia. There are a lot of landmarks within the palace worth exploring. Do not miss the Peristyle, an open-air pavilion (see this at the night time), the four town gates, Gregory of Nin (Grgur Ninski) statue, Jupiter Temple, Piazza or People’s Square and the Vocni Trg or Fruit Square.

Day 4

Another interesting thing to do is to explore the neighbourhoods of Varos, Dobri, Lucac and Manus. These neighbourhoods have been developed in the 16th century around the town walls. Bacvice is Split’s neighbourhood of beach having quaint cafes.

Next on list should be a visit to the Marjan Hills, set at the small peninsula, northwest of the old town. You can explore the old and beautiful churches at the Marjan Hills. There are also a number of museums at Split that you can explore.

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Photo of Split, Croatia by Amrita

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Photo of Split, Croatia by Amrita

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Photo of Split, Croatia by Amrita

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Photo of Split, Croatia by Amrita

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Photo of Split, Croatia by Amrita

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Photo of Split, Croatia by Amrita
Day 5

If you have time, then you can also visit the nearby natural sites like Krka National Park, or the islands of Brac or Hvar.

Day 6

Day 6: Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

After enjoying the beauty and charm of the coastal Croatia, head inland towards the historic city of Mostar. The most iconic attraction of Mostar is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Stari Most, or Old Bridge. The bridge was reconstructed in 2004 after being destroyed by the Croatian force during the Balkan Wars in 1993. Before then, the same bridge had connected the two sides of Mostar for over 400 years.

Photo of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Amrita

Mostar is a small and incredibly picturesque town known for its natural beauty, architecture and of course Stari Most. The city is full of quintessential Ottoman architecture with plenty of traditional restaurants, buildings and markets. After a visit to Stari Most, have a look at the “Don’t Forget” Stone. This small stone is found near to the Stari Most, and serves as a reminder of the civil war. Next in your list should be the Blagaj Monsatery, Kravice Falls, Muslibegović House and Koski Mehmed Paša Mosque. In the heart of the old town is the market or čaršija. The market is a great place to get a glimpse of the traditional Bosnian life. Mostar is a really compact city and you can visit the place in a day.

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Photo of Travel off the Beaten Track in Europe in the Balkans Peninsula by Amrita

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Photo of Travel off the Beaten Track in Europe in the Balkans Peninsula by Amrita

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Photo of Travel off the Beaten Track in Europe in the Balkans Peninsula by Amrita

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Photo of Travel off the Beaten Track in Europe in the Balkans Peninsula by Amrita

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Photo of Travel off the Beaten Track in Europe in the Balkans Peninsula by Amrita
Day 7

Day 7-8: Kotor, Montenegro

After knowing the history of the divided city of Motsar, head towards the historic port city of Kotor in Montenegro. Kotor is the most beautiful town in Montenegro. This fairytale like place is a perfect example of the union of past and present. The old town of Kotor, an UNESCO World Heritage site was built between 12th and 14th century is a beautiful monument. You can simply roam around and explore this historic gem. After exploring the old town, climb the fortress of San Giovanni (also known as Saint John and Sveti Ivan). You can reach the top of the fortress by climbing 1355 steps! No doubt you will get a stunning view from the top. The Bay of Kotor and the old town looks simply breathtaking and are worth every step you climb.

Day 8

Next you can visit the Saint Tryphon’s Cathedral, Saint Nicholas’ Church, Saint Luke’s Church, Maritime Museum. For all those who are fond of cats, the Cat Museum of Kotor is a must visit.

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Photo of Kotor, Montenegro by Amrita

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Photo of Kotor, Montenegro by Amrita

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Photo of Kotor, Montenegro by Amrita

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Photo of Kotor, Montenegro by Amrita

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Photo of Kotor, Montenegro by Amrita
Day 9

Day 9-10: Tirana, Albania

The final destination of the Balkan trip is Tirana at Albania. The country is gradually coming up in the tourist map. Skanderbeg Square is the main square of the city and is located in the heart of the city. The square is named after the national hero of Albania and there is statue of Skanderbeg in the middle of the square. There is an opera house, a national History Museum in the huge square and is perfect for a stroll. Visit the National History Museum to know about the history of Albania. You can discover the best and hidden secrets of Albania by taking a walking tour. Nature lovers can visit Mount Dajti, a 1,613-meter peak just east of Tirana. You can reach the peak by a cable car ride also. From the top of the peak, you will get breathtaking panoramic views of Tirana.

Day 10

Another interesting attraction is the Enver Hoxha Pyramid, also known as the Pyramid of Tirana. You can also visit the Artificial Lake, Toptani Street and visit the markets.

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Photo of Tirana, Albania by Amrita

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Photo of Tirana, Albania by Amrita

(c) Shutterstock

Photo of Tirana, Albania by Amrita

Best time to visit the Balkans

March to June is the peak season in the Balkan countries and at that time most of the destinations get a significant number of tourists. For a budget friendly trip, you can consider visiting during the shoulder season in March to May or September to November. You can even plan your trip in the winter if you are fond of skiing, because Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia offer world-class skiing at a much lower cost than their western European counterparts.

Places to Stay

If you are not travelling in the high season, it is not required to book your stays much in advance. There are different types of accommodation options, you can choose according to your taste and budget.

Getting around

Train routes are lacking in Balkans. The best way to move around cities are by buses and cars. Intercity buses in the Balkans are frequent and affordable throughout the region, but not all bus routes are listed online. You need to check at the bus station or ask at your accommodation beforehand. If you are thinking of renting a car, then make sure that the car has a proper insurance to cross the borders. Do check about this from the rental company.

Have you been to the Balkans? Tell us all about it here on Tripoto!

1 Comment(s)
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Traveling is this country is not as easy at it looks, First you have to travel across three borders and In summer or vacation time it has some delays. In Montenegro and Albania public transportation is a mass and time consuming, so best practice I'll recommend is renting a car and exploring the destination in fast and low cost way because now you can find for 15 euro/day an economic car rental in Albania https://www.rentpoint.al/ You will need also green card insurance for the car that cost 35-40 euro per 15 days. The last you have to consider is reserving the hotel and the car early to avoid high charge on the last minute reservation.
Wed 04 24 19, 17:57 · Reply · Report
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