Top 10 Things to See and Do in the Balkans

Top 10 Things to See and Do in the Balkans

The Balkans Peninsula covers a good part of Europe and is one of the oldest settlements in the continent. No wonder it is one of the most popular tourist destinations, as it features numerous historic towns and natural wonders. From mountains to pristine beaches, from ancient buildings to luxurious resorts – there is something for everyone’s taste.

10. The Balkan Flexipass, Serbia, Montenegro

The Balkan Express has plenty of options, that enable easy traveling in the Balkans. Consider a trip from Belgrad – a hip city with fun nightlife – to Bar – a historic town on the Adriatic coast in Montenegro. The train runs though the picturesque sites.

Why to go there?

This is one of the most beautiful train routes in Europe.

How to get there?

The train runs through Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Turkey.

Top 10 Balkans-Express-Photo by Nebojsa Mrdja

Photo by Nebojsa Mrdja

9. The Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

Situated in the remote Rila mountains, the Eastern Orthodox monastery was founded in the 10th century. It is one of the most popular sites in the country, attracting around 1 million tourists annually.

Why to go there?

Culturally and historically significant site, beautiful architecture. Great views to the mountainous landscape opens from the monastery.

How to get there?

The Rila complex is only 117 km (73 mi) away from Sofia. Get there by bus from the capital or Blagoevgrad.

Top 10 Balkans-Rila-Photo by Ben Kovski

Photo by Ben Kovski

Top 10 Balkans-Rila-Photo by Stancho Enev

Photo by Stancho Enev

Top 10 Balkans-Rila-Photo by Plamen Petkov

Photo by Plamen Petkov

8. Vrelo Bune, Blagaj, Bosnia and Herzegovina

A unique natural and architectural ensemble is situated on the Buna river. The Blagaj Tekke – a monastery, built in the 17th century – is the most popular and famous feature. The site also features a beautiful nature, diversity of species and great views.

When to go there?

All year round – the town drops into a pleasant zone of Mediterranean climate.

Read more: Vrelo Bune – a Unique Historic Ensemble

Top 10 Balkans-Vrelo Bune-Photo by Talha Samil Cakir

Photo by Talha Samil Cakir

Top 10 Balkans-Vrelo Bune-Photo by praccus

Photo by praccus

7. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Originally built as a Greek Orthodox church in 360, later served as a mosque, now it is a museum and the most famous landmark in the city. Hagia Sophia is significant culturally, historically and architecturally.

Why to go there?

A must see once in Istanbul.

How to get there?

Easy access to the museum, which is found in the Old City. Get there by bus, train, metro or even a boat.

Top 10 Balkans-Hagia-Photo by Shishir Sathe

Photo by Shishir Sathe

Top 10 Balkans-Hagia-Photo by saeed bafadel

Photo by saeed bafadel

6. Ohrid, the Republic of Macedonia

The historic town is sprawled on the eponymous crystal clear emerald lake. The town features numerous ancient churches and monasteries. Ohrid is announced the Cultural and Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Why to go there?

A beautiful cultural and recreational site.

When to go there?

In summer, when the weather is great and various festivals take place.

Top 10 Balkans-Ohrid-Photo by Marc Morell

Photo by Marc Morell

Top 10 Balkans-Ohrid-Photo by Amer Demishi

Photo by Amer Demishi

5. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Besides being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mediterranean, Dubrovnik is also protected by UNESCO for its historic prominence. There is a lot to do and see here: from exploring amazing architecture with a cable car, visiting exciting summer festivals, to sailing and relaxing on the beaches.

Why to go there?

Historically and culturally diverse town, with great beaches and resorts.

Read more or book: Hotels in Dubrovnik

Top 10 Balkans-Dubrovnik-Photo by Cory Schadt

Photo by Cory Schadt

Top 10 Balkans-Dubrovnik-Photo by Zsolt Varanka

Photo by Zsolt Varanka

Top 10 Balkans-Dubrovnik-Photo by Kevin McClish

Photo by Kevin McClish

4. Meteora, Greece

The impressive complex of six Eastern Orthodox monasteries is built on the tall sandstone pillars, soaring in the mountainous landscape. The monasteries were built by the monks, that inhabited area in the 9th century.

When to go there?

The weather is extreme here – very hot in summer, cold in winter. Go there in spring and autumn.

How to get there?

By car, bus or train from Volos to Kalampaka.

Top 10 Balkans-Meteora

Photo by Unknown

Top 10 Balkans-Meteora2

Photo by Unknown

Top 10 Balkans-Meteora-Photo by Jaume Martí

Photo by Jaume Martí

3. Lake Bled, Bled, Slovenia

A true gem in the Julian Alps is one of the favorite and popular tourist destinations in the country. Not only the lake is beautiful, there is a church on the Bled island built in the 17th century. On the side of the lake a Medieval Bled castle overlooks a great panorama.

Why to go there?

Beautiful nature, historic architecture, popular tourist destination.

How to get there?

Lake Bled is only 35 km from Ljubljana International Airport and 55 km from Ljubljana.

Top 10 Balkans-Lake Bled-Photo by Cory Schadt

Photo by Cory Schadt

Top 10 Balkans-Lake Bled-Photo by Csilla Zelko

Photo by Csilla Zelko

Top 10 Balkans-Lake Bled-Photo by Janez Tolar

Photo by Janez Tolar

2. Sveti Stefan, Budva, Montenegro

The island is a one big resort situated on the beautiful Adriatic coast. Sveti Stefan has soft pink sandy beaches, crystal clear water and historic villages scattered on the coastline. In the 1970’s it was a popular site among celebrities and even Hollywood stars.

When to go there?

The town drops into the Mediterranean climate zone. Weather is mild all year round.

Read more or book: Hotels in Sveti Stefan

Top 10 Balkans-Sveti Stefan-Michel Cavalier Hemis

Photo by Michel Cavalier Hemis

Top 10 Balkans-Sveti Stefan-

Photo by Łukasz Kempny

1. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

One of the most famous parks in the whole Europe features stunning turquoise lakes, waterfalls, caves and mountains. It is constantly inundated with the visitors, who explore the park by completing the hiking trails.

When to go there?

The most popular season is summer. Frozen lakes and waterfalls in winter also promise a lot of spectacular sites.

How to get there?

Get there by bus from Zagreb, Zadar or Split. If asked, the driver will stop at the entrance to the park.

Top 10 Balkans-Plitvice-Photo by Boris Frkovic

Photo by Boris Frkovic

Top 10 Balkans-Plitvice

Photo by Unknown

Top 10 Balkans-Plitvice2

Photo by Unknown