Although not as well-known among travelers as other popular destinations, the Balkans truly are at your disposal to discover. We have made up a list of our favorite places to visit if you are seeking adventure as a starting point. It is up to you to discover what a gem the Balkans are.
SOČA VALLEY, SLOVENIA
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful locations that attracts thousands of adventurers and nature enthusiasts, Soca Valley in Slovenia deserves a place on our list. Situated in the northwestern part of Slovenia, the Valley is carved by the river Soca. Its distinct emerald color makes it look otherworldly, and its rapids are the reason why it is the top pick for many local adrenaline junkies. Visit the town Bovec, also known as “the adventure capital of Slovenia”, where white water rafting, kayaking, and mountain biking can be added to your list of activities.
If you are planning a trip through Dalmatia, the southern most region of Croatia, make sure that you stop by this historic town. This small island city was founded by the Ancient Greeks, but was for the most part occupied by the Venetians. A day trip is more than enough for you to explore the city’s biggest attractions, like climbing to the top of the Town Clock Tower at St. Sebastian’s Church. In the evenings, most tourists love to walk along the harbor on the promenade, or enjoy the view off the top of Kamerlengo Castle, the city’s fortress. Trogir is situated on a beautiful little island, so there are plenty of picturesque beaches for you to explore while there.
POCITELJ, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
As long as you are in Dalmatia, think about visiting the less popular, but equally exciting, neighboring country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yet to be discovered by tourists, this country is a real diamond in the rough, and its natural and historic attractions will leave you breathless. One such attraction is the historic medieval village Pocitelj, surrounded by rugged nature and a UNESCO World Heritage designate. But for our adventurists, we recommend the adrenaline-packed Tara Canyon rafting, since its white-waters are very popular among the locals and tourists from the whole Balkan area.
KOTOR BAY, MONTENEGRO
Even more to the south, Kotor Bay in Montenegro is another UNESCO World Heritage site, and is beloved by tourists looking for a place where mountains meet the sea. In the recent years, the government has invested a lot of funds into making “Boka Bay” a refuge for wealthy yacht owners and the upper class. Luckily, its fjord-like scenery and its attractions can be enjoyed by all, since there are accommodations for all walks of life. You can go on hikes and overlook the Bay from the high mountain trails, or rent a boat and explore the many wild beaches and tiny islands scattered near the shore.
TARA NATIONAL PARK, SERBIA
Tara National Park, located in the western part of Serbia, is a jackpot for all nature-lovers and explorers. With its rich flora and fauna, mountain Tara is a favorite among biologists and zoologists, and its untouched nature will make you forget about your day-to-day problems. Besides hiking and bird-watching, Tara is very popular in Serbia among adventure-seekers, especially rafting on the river Drina or camping in one of the numerous campsites Tara has to offer.
THE BUZLUDZHA MONUMENT, BULGARIA
Besides its Black Sea coast and picturesque cities and villages, Bulgaria has some of the most fascinating and, we must admit, intimidating remnants of the former Communist government, such as the grandiose monument Buzludzha. An impressive example of social brutalist architecture, the quirky monument looks like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, and is a contrast to all the ancient medieval historic sites that the Balkans are known for. Surrounded by nature, three hours form Sofia, this former symbol of communist power is a favorite among digital nomads.
This list does not begin to cover all the places you could visit in the Balkans. We made it as a kind of starting point for travelers eager for adventure. All the things we left out are yours to add here.