London, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris. Well-known and highly visited cities in Europe. They have it (almost) all – historical sites, museums, art galleries, pubs and famous parks. Everyone wants to visit all the famous places and must-sees. It’s all a stereotype, don’t you think?
As always, I was thinking about travelling and my next trips. Considering how little I have travelled but how much I’ve enjoyed it, I always find myself wondering about the Balkans. And having thought about this part of Europe pretty much, I came across 6 reasons, why especially you should visit it immediately.
Reason no. 1: It’s amazingly cheap
I haven’t been to any European country in which I’d pay less than 300€ for a week (including transport, food and accommodation). BUT, in the Balkans, everything is so affordable that travellers from other parts of Europe can enjoy all the best for a very low price.
To give you an example, I’ve paid 20€ a night for a whole appartment near sea and only one other person was with me. For the rest of the trip we always found hostels or flats for under 15€ a night for both. And I must add that this trip wasn’t planned beforehand at all, we just opened Booking.com and bookend a room one day ahead.
Reason no. 2: You’ll have all the best places for yourself
And that includes no crowds, no ridiculously noisy tourists that have money and aren’t afraid to show it, no Asian visitors with huge cameras in their hands. I mean, people come and visit this part of the world, but it’s nothing compared to European metropolis.
In addition to this, restaurants and tourist offices are often glad for any potential customers and you can often discuss a discount or a gift off-season.
Reason no. 3: Untouched nature
Lovers of hiking and mountains will prove me right, the south-east of Europe really is untouched and not often frequented by tourists. This comes with some complications, including worse transportation options and unmarked paths or even outdated tourist maps. However, you should not be put off by this and plan your next adventure to Triglav, Galičica or Bobotov Kuk.
Reason no. 4: Purity of people is unbelievable
Here comes my confession – the people in Balkans are the most pure, humble and inspiring people I know. Due to poverty, wars and socio-political issues, these countries are full of wonderful people that live off minimum wages but still share great stories and dozens of smiles.
Either it’s your guide, waiter or a shopkeeper, I’m sure you’ll find how well-behaved and smiley these people are. How much they have to say and how much more you should value YOUR life in YOUR country. My life has changed after I spent 3 hours in the Matka Canyon in Macedonia, with wild range of people of different professions. But each one of them said something to me and changed my world-view inevitably.
Reason no. 5: There is much more to explore than Wikipedia can ever show you
I’m pretty sure 80% of us prepare for their travels using TripAdvisor, Wikipedia or other platforms. I am no exception, but in every Balkan country, my plans were so…so unecessary, that in almost every instance I changed or adjusted to them to actual needs and discoveries.
Because even though Google tells you to visit “these three top ranked places in Bosnia,” there are other twenty more beautiful, astonishing and hidden. And it only takes time to find them, effort to reach them and a bit of money to enjoy them (sometimes not even that). This way, I discovered that you can spend hundreds of Euros wandering in Budva or Dubrovnik, but it is uncomparable to swimming under the waterfalls in Kravica or climbing the snowy mountains of Durmitor in June. And if you think about it, the things that are for free are the best, you only have to find a way to them.
Reason no. 6: Go NOW, don’t wait ’till others come sooner
I’ve read a very interesting book by Jennie Dielemans “Welcome to Paradise,” which was about the destroying trends in tourism and tourists that shape the present and future of famous destinations. I’m sure the Balkans is on the rise, but that’s even more the reason to visit it now, not waste time and wait for the crowded villages and destroyed nature that the fame brings.
Because as soon as thousands of people start to travel to the Balkans, all of the previous reasons are invalid.