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Visiting the Balkans

Travel Forums Europe Visiting the Balkans


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1. Posted by VagabondPT (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y

Hello everybody, my first post here!

This Summer I'm planning to visit the Balkans and vicinity. I will start in Slovakia in the 4th of August. After Slovakia I'm going to do follow one of two plans (or maybe some other plan you help me sort out! :) )

I have to be in Venna in the 25th of August, so I have 21 days

Plan 1: Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria

Question: Too many countries, to too little days?

Plan 2: Slovakia, Hungary, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia

Is this plan better than the first?

Furthermore, what are the highlights in each countrie? And I don't mean those I will find on a LP guide, I mean those that you like, those special places you go in your own country.

Thanks very much!

2. Posted by Eleniki (Full Member 125 posts) 9y

Hi Pedro

I was in the Balkans last summer - we visited Montenegro, Albania, Croatia and Bosnia. Very briefly, I can tell you that Montenegro is stunning, but there's something 'claustrophobic' about the country - because there are so many enormous mountains, especially near the coast (Kotor is a beautiful medieval town in the fjordal bay of Kotor) it makes everywhere difficult to reach, and difficult to get out of without a car. Albania was as you would expect - poor and quite grim, the part we saw. Croatia is very mediterranean in feel, with a lovely coastline and old towns which are well-preserved. Dubrovnik is a must-see, but it is absolutely thronged with tourists. I mean, it is difficult just to walk down the pristine white streets, it is so crowded with people, which took from the whole experience a little. If you go in to Dubrovnik, make sure you have swimming gear with you, as there are fantastic sea terraces off the walls of the city, where the sea is so magnificent and blue and tempting, you will be very frustrated if you haven't got your togs! The most beautiful of the four balkan countries for us was Bosnia. Because we had booked a room in Cavtat in Croatia and it was extremely hot and crowded, we left there as soon as we could, and took a bus to Sarajevo, passing through some gorgeous countryside, and Mostar. Sarajevo is a fantastic city, such an amazing experience. We loved it so much, we stayed 5 days. We took the war tour, and learned a lot, which was very sobering but so interesting. The culture is very eastern in flavour, and it is the only place I know of where orthodox christians walk arm-in-arm with muslims, and the church and the mosque are side-by-side in the street. Sarajevans have a strong identity and culture, no matter what their religion/background and it is this which was a major factor in bringing them as a people through the siege, which killed so many. Oh, and have some 'borek' while you're there!
Have a great trip!


3. Posted by VagabondPT (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y

Thanks for you answer Helen!

However you didn't answer one thing: Are 24 days too little for Hungary+Serbia+Montenegro+Bosnia+Croatia+Slovenia? I was thinking of cutting the number of countries short, eliminating Serbia and Montenegro. But your post and things I've read makes me want to go sooo much to Montenegro.

4. Posted by happy_mel (Budding Member 25 posts) 9y


Im really interested in this Thread. I am planning to get a ferry to Greece from Italy and rail up through Albania, Montenegro through to Croatia where I have a boat trip excursion booked for the 14th July.

I will definatly keep posted to this thread

many thanks


5. Posted by Eleritz (Full Member 55 posts) 9y

olá vagabond,

i made quite a similar trip, but it was divided into two parts.

i would suggests the following:

1. bratislava (1-2 days is enough, bratislava is nice, but seen between vienna and budapest it may not impress you as much as it could)
2. budapest (it's a big city and full of attractions, 2 days is a minimum, 3 days is better)
3. sarajevo (there is a direct night train from budapest to sarajevo) - it is a fascinating and unique place, muslim europe as you will see nowhere else. 1-2 days
4. mostar (1 day) - lovely little town, and contrary to sarajevo it has a mediterranean feel, which will prepare you for the charms of croatia.
5. split (2 days)
6. beautiful island of hvar (one day trip from split)
7. dubrovnik (1 day)
8. montenegro (boka kotorska - 3 days)
9. one day of travel along the coast from montenegro via dubrovnik and split to plitvice national park (absolute must in croatia)
10. plitvice - 1 day
11. travel from plitvice to ljubljana via zagreb (zagreb is nice, but after split and dubrovnik it will probably not impress you much, so if you're short of time, skip it)
12. ljubljana - 1 day
13. one day trip from ljubljana to bled

if you still have time, make another one day trip from ljubljana to bohinj lake.

it can be done within 3 weeks

i would skip serbia - it is, in my opinion, less attractive than all other countries. belgrade is, like all big urban centres in the balkans (sofia, bucharest) not very interesting, or you can leave it for another balkan trip, when you will visit it together with macedonia and bulgaria.

6. Posted by VagabondPT (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y

It was exactly something like that I wanted to see. A makeshif itinerary in order for me to see how much time I should spend in a place.

I really apreciate the comments on Montenegro and Bosnia, those are my main motivators for the trip to the Balkans. As far as Serbia is concerned, I was thinking of doing what you suggest: Including it in another trip, but alongside with Montenegro. However, after what you and Eleninki I will for sure visit the country.

Thanks a lot for the info, if someone else has something to add, feel free do so!

7. Posted by Eleritz (Full Member 55 posts) 9y

you're welcome. montenegro is really stunning, but croatia is no worse (and being much bigger than montenegro, it has much more to see - it is in my opinion the most beautiful country in the balkans).

8. Posted by BlankFrack (Respected Member 280 posts) 9y

If you have time, I would say spend more days in Sarajevo. I spent 6 nights in Sarajevo when I was there and I didn't want to leave. You can also visit some of the smaller towns in Bosnia from Sarajevo as a daytrip. Bosnia is interesting in that respect because there's a lot of diversity between different places as opposed to other countries in which you can travel through 10 different towns and not see anything to distinguish the next one from the last. One of the nicest places I visited in that regard was Travnik (about 1.5 hours from Sarajevo by bus).

From another perspective I would say that getting to Sarajevo by train was an adventure in itself (a very slow moving, 14 hour long, excessively hot adventure) so it would be a shame to go to all that effort and only spend a couple of days there. Also I'd advise that you buy a lot of food before you make that train journey as there wasn't a restaurant car when I made it and I was absolutely famished by the time we arrived.

9. Posted by VagabondPT (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y

This is really troubling me... I really want to go to Montenegro, but... I feel like I don't have the time and that I might miss out on some of the other countries because of that. Help me with this:

Should I skip Montenegro and visit the country later alongside with Albania, Macedonia, etc?

Or should I squeze Montenegro into my trip? Remember, I only have 21 days for visiting Hungary, Bosnia, Croacia, Slovenia and perhaps Montenegro (I will be in Slovakia for a while before this part of the trip starts)

[ Edit: Edited on May 29, 2007, at 2:18 PM by VagabondPT ]

10. Posted by Eleritz (Full Member 55 posts) 9y

Quoting BlankFrack


From another perspective I would say that getting to Sarajevo by train was an adventure in itself (a very slow moving, 14 hour long, excessively hot adventure) so it would be a shame to go to all that effort and only spend a couple of days there. Also I'd advise that you buy a lot of food before you make that train journey as there wasn't a restaurant car when I made it and I was absolutely famished by the time we arrived.

i didn´t find anything bad about that train travel. just a regular normal train, like anywhere in the balkans or eastern europe. on that train i made acuaintences with fellow travellers from portugal and a romanian basketball player (said he was the second tallest man in romania, and looked like this;) any several-hour train travel is tiresome, and i guess any train/road travel from budapest to bosnia/montenegro/south croatia takes a lot of time. no alternative (unless somebody goes by air, but it would be costly).

visiting 4-5 balkan countries must involve a lot of travelling i guess.