The Southeastern part of Europe known as the Balkan Peninsula or just the Balkans for centuries has been a historical and cultural center of the continent. The region is famous for its well preserved historical sites, excellent sea, ski and spa resorts, local hospitality and of course the tasty food. Every country on the Balkans has something to offer to the travelers so these are our Top 10 Things to See in the Balkans.
Top 10 Things to See in the Balkans
Ohrid is nestled between high mountains on the shore of an amazing lake. It combines the natural beauty of the region with the ancient history of the town. Sometimes it is called The Balkan Jerusalem due to the many churches that surround Ohrid. The most famous of course is the monastery St Pantaleymon – the oldest Slav monastery in the world.
Only part of Istanbul is situated on the Balkan Peninsula, the other part is in Asia, but still this list can’t go without the most cosmopolitan city in the region. There is plenty to do and see in Istanbul but the most fascinating thing is probably the atmosphere: it is a city that’s always in a hurry and can offer historical and architectural tourist attractions that had been built for thousands of yours by many civilizations.
Situated in central Romania Bran is a small village famous for its castle. It is a monument and landmark in Romania but tourists come here because it is the home of the legendary Count Dracula or in other words Vlad Tepesh who lived there in the 15th century. The exterior of the castle is really impressive but this part of Romania is also great for farm and agritourism.
And if you prefer the sea tourism, head straight to Dubrovnik. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. And in addition to that you will also get some of the best beaches on the continent. Dubrovnik is full of old historic buildings. During the Middle Ages Dubrovnik was the rival of Venice and hasn’t stop developing since then.
Meteora has to be seen to be believed. This complex of Eastern Orthodox monasteries literally hangs in the air, situated on the edge of solid rocks, split millions of years ago by nature. They say Meteora is built not by human hand but by God’s. Once there were 24 monasteries in Meteora, now there are 6 of them admired by thousands of tourists every year.
Athens is also a must in every traveler’s list for the Balkans. The capital of Greece is considered the birthplace of the Western civilization. The Acropolis, the Syntagma Square, the Ancient Agora, the Temple of Olympian Zeus are just small part of the landmarks in Athens.
Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria after the capital Sofia and the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe. It is situated on seven beautiful hills and was formed as a small town over 8000 years ago. The old city impresses the tourists with its brilliant colorful architecture and the Roman Amphitheater which was discovered in 1970’s still amazes the visitors.
The name of the Serbian capital Belgrade means “The White city”. It is beautifully situated at the confluence of two major rivers: Sava and Danube. The main fortress in the city is a pleasant place to walk since it is now a park. The main street Knez Mihailova is a pedestrian zone with many restaurants and cafes which will give you the chance to try the famous Serbian cuisine.
The Slovenian capital is a charming place but don’t expect some major tourist attractions there. It is just a city where you can wander around the beautiful streets and enjoy Slovenia. It is a cultural center full of museums, galleries and artists.
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a big cosmopolitan city but often it is part of the hidden gems lists in Europe. It is surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and the Miljacka River. It is the historic place where the flames of World War I started after the assassination of the Archduce of Austria in 1914. Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1984 but just 8 years later started the Bosnian War and Sarajevo suffered the longest siege of a city in the modern warfare from 1992 to 1996.