The south-eastern region of Europe is so often overlooked by travelers searching for bigger cities and busy coasts. But the beautiful Balkans are a quiet corner ready to be explored by intrepid adventure-seekers wanting to experience a slice of Europe that isn’t frequently visited, but is no less lacking in interesting character and varied sights. We are kind of scratching our heads about why the Balkans are so often ignored, so we are letting you in on their secret. View our exclusive itinerary and plan a journey before the rest of the world catches on.
Your journey starts in Zagreb, a city with rich history dating back to the Roman times. There’s so much to see in Zagreb, especially museums; it has the most of any other city in the world. Don’t rush your coffee; you will want the time to sip and take in the Medvednica mountain range and Sava River views.
Split. the second largest city in the country, is an attractive blend of past and present. A private guide will take you through the Diocletian Palace’s narrow streets.
Outside the city, the landscape is just as appealing. Plitvice Lakes National Park is a heaven of lakes, waterfalls, and woods. Keep an eye out for the deer, bears, wolves, boars, and rare birds.
Croatia’s coastline is pretty dreamy too. Sail to hidden beaches, caves, and local islands (there are more than 100) then jump out of your private boat into the crystal clear sea.
And of course no trip is complete without sampling the country’s cuisine. Roll up your sleeves in a traditional Dalmatian cooking class. Wine tastings at a vineyard near Korcula is just the treat you need before finishing off your Croatian portion of the journey in Dubrovnik. The “Pearl of the Adriatic” is a UNESCO-listed treasure of Baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture. Catch your breath as the cable car rises above the city. If you watch Game of Thrones, you’ll recognize the view.
Montenegro is a tiny nation, but it’s a big hitter when it comes to natural sights. Picture this: pretty coastline, glassy lakes, picturesque parks, and snow-capped mountains. You will feel as though time has stood still in the sleepy 17th-century fisherman’s village of Perast. Kotor’s medieval architecture put it on UNESCO’s list of World Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites. St. Tripun Cathedral, built in 1166, is a monument of Roman culture rising against a backdrop of craggy mountains. Go even further back in time in Budva, one of the oldest settlements in the Adriatic.
Albania is the last stop on our multi-country Beautiful Balkans itinerary.
It’s not the first place you think of when it comes to beach time, but Albania’s Riviera is something to see. A lucky few (including you) will discover just how gorgeous it really is. Silky sand meets sea in varying shades of turquoise, emerald, and cobalt. It’s nearly unfathomable to think that there aren’t throngs of tourists vying for every available sunny spot.
The ancient Greeks had a feeling that Albania was pretty special. Their city of Apollonia is now an archaeological park where remarkably intact temple columns, mosaics, and marble statues are on display.
Dinner with a view takes on a whole new meaning in the Likurs Castle, built in 1718 during the times of Ottoman ruler Ali Pasha. The Ottomans had a strong hold here for several centuries. Shop for handmade patterned rugs in the old cobblestone bazaars.
Berat shows off Albania’s multi-faith fabric. Minarets soar into the sky alongside Byzantine churches. Faded painted icons and golden embellishments are revealed in the darkened interiors. Ottoman-style stone houses appear to be stacked upon one another as they crawl up the steep hill. Albania feels like a cross between Europe and the Middle East.
This is our condensed roundup of all there is to see in the Beautiful Balkans. To learn more and to plan your journey, contact a Ker & Downey designer today.