On September 2015, I have traveled to my better half aunt living in Greece. For sure, I have decided to make a road trip instead of taking a plane. I love to drive, especially through wilderness and mountains. Preferable long distance so for me the decision was obvious… Starting from Poland I was heading through Czech Republic, Slovakia and all countries of old Yugoslavia. I was driving across Europe many times but truly that trip was the best one. So many beautiful landscapes, wild roads I have chosen and great people I have met around.
Just a history view … The six constituent republics that made up in the history the Republic of Yugoslavia were the Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. Serbia contained two Socialist Autonomous Provinces, Vojvodina and Kosovo, which after 1974 were largely equal to the other members of the federation. After an economic and political crisis in the 1980s and the rise of nationalism, Yugoslavia broke up along its republics’ borders, at first into five countries, leading to the Yugoslav Wars. From 1993 to 2017, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia tried political and military leaders from the former Yugoslavia for war crimes, genocide and other crimes.
In 2003 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was renamed to State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The union peacefully broke up when Serbia and Montenegro became independent states in 2006, while Kosovo proclaimed its independence from Serbia in 2008. ~wiki
The Balkans! Balkans are home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Europe. It’s home to the southernmost fjord in Europe, the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, which looks like a postcard come to life. Montenegro is also home to the second longest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon, the Tara Canyon, which is absolutely stunning.
The sparkling turquoise sea all along the Albanian Riviera has some of the warmest, bluest waters you’ll find in Europe, but the coastline everywhere from Croatia down to Greece is absolutely stunning. Even landlocked countries like North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Serbia have stunning rivers and lakes, the gem of which would have to be the stunning Lake Ohrid on the border between North Macedonia and Albania. ~sofiaadventures.com
Did I mention a lot of delicious and super cheap food? From Croatia to Montenegro, or from Bosnia & Herzegovina to Serbia, the menus of local restaurants all look rather similar. Ćevapi, ajvar, dolma; they are all found throughout the Balkans. There are variations, and side dishes or condiments may change slightly, but the Balkan food basics remain the same… ~driveontheleft.com/balkan-food/
Balkan cuisine is fairly meat-heavy and it can be difficult to eat like a local if you are a vegetarian Fortunately, I am not and trust me … I have never eaten so great food than during my visit there!
It took so long but Balkans are just getting noticed as a great European travel destination. You may not know much about that region right now, but once you have been there, you will be hard-pressed to stop talking about everything you will see during your trip.
I have seen Bratislava and Budapest. Traveled to Sarajevo, one of the most diverse cities in the region. Than headed through beautiful countryside to reach charming Mostar. Experienced the Pearl of the Adriatic in Dubrovnik. Checked beautiful mountains and landscapes in Montenegro. Soaked in the scenery of Albania but watch out on the road because driving there is super dangerous! Than finally landed in the amazing and colorful Greece. Finally, visited Zakhyntos… one of the most beautiful island on my list. Really looking forward to making that trip again. This time, hopefully, for a longer period of time.