The Balkan coastline is home to several culturally vibrant countries that have immense natural beauty. Their breathtaking beaches have turquoise waters, rocky coves, and rugged mountain backdrops. A rich history and nearby ancient ruins add a dose of adventure once you’ve had your fill of rest and relaxation on the pebble and sand beaches. From Croatia to Greece, here is a collection of my favorite beaches in the Balkans!
We’ve been on several extended travel adventures to date and have found that determining which items to pack and which to leave behind is incredibly stressful. And while we’ve improved over time, we still don’t always get it right. So we’ve compiled a list of the things that we would never ever consider leaving behind plus some helpful tips that we’ve developed after making our own packing mistakes.
Albania is everything you are looking for when you vacation – it’s safe, inexpensive, the people are lovely, the beaches beautiful, the food delicious, you can shop until your hearts content – what more could you ask for?
We actually really enjoyed Macedonia, even though it wasn’t nearly as cheap as we’d been led to believe. However, we have a lot of time and it was easy to get to. Would I take a plane trip halfway around the world and use my allotted 2 weeks per year to vacation there? Probably not. So if you’re in the Balkans and have some extra time, definitely stop off and most definitely see Skopje. That city will likely change drastically in the next 10 years. But don’t make an entire vacation out of it…
GET A SAK YANT TATTOO FROM A BUDDHIST MONK: I have to be a smidge cheesy for a minute to say that I first learned of the Sak Yant tattoo because of Angelina Jolie. I saw photos of her being tattooed by a Buddhist Monk with a giant needle and I was intrigued. I figured that…
Montenegro is small, full of culture and history, and fairly easy to cover with a car and Google Maps. We loved the freedom of driving around, stopping for photos at sunset, and exploring little towns that we would otherwise never visit if we were relying on public transportation. But driving in Montenegro is also pretty horrifying so prepare to be aggressively passed no matter how fast you are going and how winding the road is and get over your fear of heights if you want to visit the more popular landmarks. It’s easy to travel in Montenegro, it’s cheap, great food, good people, great experience!
We LOVED Mostar. It was everything you want a city to be; friendly people, fantastic shopping, delicious food, inexpensive prices, pedestrian-friendly, decent public transportation, loads of things to do, etc. It was kind of what I expected Dubrovnik to be. We originally booked 3 nights and then added one more and probably should’ve stayed longer. In hindsight, we should’ve gone to Sarajevo. We did hear one negative review as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, but we also heard a ton of glowing reviews about the city.
To sum up our 12-day Croatian experience… Croatia seems to be everything you think it will be… lovely old cities that are rich in history; wonderful and helpful people; a place where you feel safe and generally welcome; fantastic cuisine; generally reasonable prices in most cities; and most people speak English so it is easy enough to communicate and to get around. BUT I mentioned at the beginning of this post that my draw to Croatia was because I assumed it hadn’t gotten all crazy touristy yet, and that is most definitely not the case. We visited at the very beginning of their peak season and I cannot even imagine what the old city of Dubrovnik will look like in a month or two. I’m fairly certain I’ll want to be as far away from there as possible…
One of the most common (and frankly, frustrating) questions that we get about our travels is “what is your secret to being able to afford to travel like you do?”. This question takes several forms including “did you win the lottery?”, “are you trust fund babies?”, and “do you have a long lost Daddy Warbucks?”….
Want to get one of only twenty daily permits to visit “The Wave”? Here’s our tale of how we did it!