Plan Your Holidays In The Balkans Around These 39 Idyllic Balkan Cities

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Plan Your Holidays In The Balkans Around These 39 Idyllic Balkan Cities

The fact that the whole Balkan region is super-beautiful and cheaper than the rest of Europe makes the Balkans the perfect place to enjoy a weekend getaway – or an entire vacation.

With soothing scenes of beauty, beautiful beaches, snow-capped mountains, links to ancient history, pristine lakes, gushing waterfalls, medieval buildings and architecture, well-known and small unspoiled islands, as well as idyllic villages, the Balkans is one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit

Popularly known as The Balkan Peninsula, it is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and the Marmara Sea to the south, the Adriatic Sea to the west, and the Black Sea to the east.

The rivers Danube, Sava, and Kupa are usually referred to as its northern boundary. It is endowed with natural beauty and has umpteen pristine beaches, mountains, and historic settlements. In short, it is a traveler’s paradise. It’s the stuff exquisite holiday memories are made of.

With tourism on the rise in the Balkan region, there’s a growing number of accommodation choices. It’s not a secret how inexpensive it is to backpack your way around the Balkans, but it’s also a vast region where you can spend a long weekend. If you have more than a weekend, the cities in the Balkans featured in this post all have plenty to keep you busy for much longer.

Most of the places in this Balkan cities guide are easy enough to get to. We picked cities that have direct airports or excellent road links. 

To help you decide where to go on your Balkan holidays, let’s check out a few of the best urban destinations in the Balkans.

Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb in Two Days - Croatia Travel Blog

No holidays in the Balkans would be complete without a visit to Croatia’s capital and its largest city; Zagreb has more than enough to keep a visitor busy for a few days, if not more! Home to some beautiful 18th-century architecture, Zagreb is also packed with modern fun, such as shopping and catching a coffee in the sunshine.

Head to Zagreb Cathedral, St Mark’s Church, and Tkalciceva Street as a few hotspots, as well as Ban Jelacic if you have kids, for some outdoor parks they will love.

Closest Airport

Zagreb Airport

Drive From

Dubrovnik (6 hours), Ljubljana (2 hours), Sarajevo (5 hours).

Best Hotel To Stay

Esplanade Hotel: Stay in profound grandeur at this beautiful hotel, complete with a spa and wellness center.

Zagreb Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Zagreb

Zadar, Croatia

Balkan Cities - Holidays In The Balkans

Located on the beautiful Dalmatian coast, you can have a beach and city break all in one here with ease. Check out the Venetian and Roman ruins, as well as the 2000-year-old Forum and the city walls.

St Anastasia’s Cathedral is also another hotspot, but if you simply want to chill the hell out in the sunshine, you’ll find plenty of laidback fun too. Zadar combines old and new seamlessly.

Closest Airport

Zadar

Drive From

Lake Bled (3.5 hours), Sibenik (1 hour), Tirana (8 hours)

Best Hotel to Stay

Almayer Hotel: Fans of art and architecture will love this hotel, a top-class on-site restaurant, and seriously modern decor.

Zadar Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Zadar

Rovinj, Croatia

Things To Do In Rovinj - Croatia Travel Blog

Rovinj is a gorgeous spot to head to all year round, a perfect destination for a laidback and chill vacation.

Located on the western Istrian peninsula, Rovinj started life as a small fishing port but has grown into a tourist hotspot, albeit a relatively chilled out one. Check out Lone Bay, a beautiful pebble beach that’s perfect for families, as well as a day, spent meandering the Old Town’s cobblestone streets.

Closest Airport

Pula (40 minutes away)

Drive From

Zadar (4 hours), Dubrovnik (7.5 hours), Ljubljana (2.5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Lone Hotel: Five stars, ocean views, total luxury – do we need to explain further?

Rovinj Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Rovinj

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Cable Car in Dubrovnik

The ultimate in Croatian city breaks, Dubrovnik is a place you won’t want to leave.

Walk around the city walls, enjoy the history, check out the food, and of course, the stunning beaches. It’s a good idea to avoid July and August if you don’t want too much in the way of crowds, but if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, this is a must-visit, as one of the filming locations!

Check out St. Blaise Church, Stradun, and the Gothic Rector’s Palace as just a few hot spots in Dubrovnik.

Closest Airport

Dubrovnik

Drive From

Zagreb (6 hours), Sarajevo (4 hours), Skopje (8 hours), Dubrovnik (3 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Royal Blue Hotel: With everything you need on-site for a luxury stay, the Royal Blue Hotel combines city break fun with all the relaxation of being close to the Adriatic Sea. An onsite wellness center helps you relax further.

Dubrovnik Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Dubrovnik

Split, Croatia

How to Get from Split to Zadar Croatia

The second-largest city in Croatia, Split is a significant destination on the Dalmatian Coast. There are plenty of attractions in this bustling city, from several great beaches to fascinating museums and world-class nightlife.

However, the main highlight in Split is Diocletian’s Palace, constructed by Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 4th century AD and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once a thriving Roman settlement, this is now the beating heart of Split, home to numerous bars, shops, restaurants, squares, courtyards, houses, and hotels.

Closest Airport

Split

Drive From

Dubrovnik (3 hours), Sibenik (1 hour), Mostar (2.5 hours), Zagreb (4 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Hotel Vestibul Palace & Villa: Situated in Diocletian’s Palace’s heart, Hotel Vestibul Palace boasts an unbeatable location in Split. You’ll be within walking distance from all significant Split attractions as well as countless restaurants, bars, and shops. Amenities and services range from complimentary Wi-Fi to breakfasts and arranging tours.

Split Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Split

Šibenik, Croatia

As the third-largest city in Dalmatia, Šibenik makes for a strongly recommended destination on this spectacular stretch of Adriatic coastline. This city is filled with incredible historical sites, beautiful seaside hang-outs, and quaint alleys and squares—just what you may expect from a medieval coastal city in Croatia.

Šibenik is a city of sun, sea, and stone, a unique combination of characteristics that make this a city unlike any other in Croatia.

Closest Airport

Split Airport

Drive From

Split (1 hour), Zadar (1 hour)

Additionally, intercity buses are very accessible in Croatia. Wherever you are in the country, you’ll be able to reach Sibenik by bus.

Šibenik Accommodation

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK FALL BEST PHOTO

No trip to Croatia is complete without visiting the oldest national park in Southeast Europe, Plitvice Lakes National Park. Plitvička Jezera, as it’s known in Croatian, is the largest of the eight national parks in Croatia, and it has to be one of the most delightful ways to spend time outdoors in Croatia.

A limestone canyon, waterfalls, and 16 terraced lakes make for the perfect adventure hiking, boating, or just walking around this UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Closest Airport

Zadar Airport

Drive From

Zadar (2 hours), Zagreb (2 hours 20 minutes), Split (3 hours), Dubrovnik (9 hours)

Plitvice Lakes Accommodation

More Plitvice Lakes Information

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Balkan Cities Perfect For Your Holidays In The Balkans

The capital city of Slovenia is a vast and exciting place to visit. With modern shopping and nightlife, and plenty of old-world fun to explore, you certainly won’t be bored.

Tivoli Park is the spot to head to for a much-needed chill time while sitting and sipping coffee on the banks of the Ljubljanica River is a must-do, too. Check out the Museum of Modern Art and the National Museum of Slovenia to learn more about the city’s history.

Closest Airport

Ljubljana Joze Pucnik 

Drive From

Lake Bled (1 hour), Dubrovnik (7 hours), Zagreb (2 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

InterContinental: For a weekend break with a little luxury, it’s sometimes best to choose a big brand name, and you can’t beat the InterContinental. With an on-site wellness center and spa, you can chill the hell out and enjoy the view over the entire city.

Ljubljana Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Ljubljana

Lake Bled, Slovenia

BEST BALKAN CITIES_Holidays In The Balkans - LAKE BLED

If you love nature, then Lake Bled has to be the ultimate weekend destination for you. Located within the Julian Alps of the north-west of Slovenia, Lake Bled is a beautiful destination for outdoor fun, especially hiking, mountain biking, and camping. The nearby town of Bled is also packed with history and culture and some beautiful architecture. Check out the authentic restaurants in Bled for a hearty meal!

Closest Airport

Ljubljana (45 mins)

Drive From

Ljubljana (40 minutes), Zagreb (2.5 hours), Mostar (5.5 hours), Belgrade (4 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Adora Luxury Hotel: You are literally on the lake, almost in it, by staying at this beautiful hotel, which gives you a real home from home experience. Authentic Slovenian architecture, the hotel is quiet and quaint but close to all the tourist area’s fun.

Lake Bled Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Lake Bled

Balkans Travel Blog_Things to do in the Balkans_30 Idyllic Balkan Cities to Visit

 

Bohinj, Slovenia

Just down the road from Lake Bled lies Bohinj, Slovenia’s most underrated adventure town (actually a collection of villages). Bohinj encompasses a rectangular basin in the beautiful Julian Alps, including Lake Bohinj, which might just be Slovenia’s most beautiful lake.

This is the gateway to Triglav National Park, the only national park in Slovenia and home to Mount Triglav, its highest mountain. Other highlights include picturesque farmsteads, waterfalls, alpine lakes, and epic hiking and skiing.

Closest Airport from 

Ljubljana (45 mins)

Drive From

Ljubljana (1 hour), Zagreb (2.5 hours), Venice (4 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Hotel Gasperin: The 3-star Hotel Gasperin is located in Ribčev Laz’s village, within Triglav National Park and near the shore of Lake Bohinj. People staying at this charming chalet-style hotel are less than a 10-minute walk from the lake, while amazing hiking and other outdoor activities are a short drive away. There’s free Wi-Fi, a daily breakfast, and complimentary coffee and tea.

Bohinj Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Bohinj

Piran, Slovenia

Sunset Over Adriatic Sea and Old Town of Piran, Slovenia

Croatia’s big tourist resorts might dominate the Adriatic coast, but Slovenia has a few of its own. And Piran is one of the most beautiful.

With the huge pier perfect for sunshine walks, and photo-worthy architecture dating back to Venetian times, Piran is ideal for anyone who wants to relax . Check out Tartini Square, as well as the aforementioned coastal pier, as a few must-visits. Oh, and be sure to enjoy some delicious seafood while you’re there as well. It’s phenomenal!

Closest Airport

Ljubljana (1.5 hours)

Drive From

Zagreb (3 hours), Rijeka (1.5 hours), Lake Bled (2 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Hotel Piran: The stunning rooftop of the Hotel Piran is enough to make you want to stay there, as the ideal spot to chill out and soak up the sun or enjoy a cocktail. The on-site spa and wellness center are another perk, but overall this hotel is high quality.

Piran Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Piran

Prizren, Kosovo

Balkan Cities - Prizren_Kosovo

Kosovo’s second-largest city is a hidden gem place to visit, and if you want to get there before everyone else realizes this fact, now is the time to go!

Located in a beautiful setting, with the Shar Mountains to one side and the fantastic Rahovec wine region to the other, Prizren is packed with foodie fun. Gastronomy is delightful, wine is impressive, and there are opportunities to get out into the mountains and enjoy the fresh air—the perfect weekend destination.

Closest Airport

Pristina International Airport

Drive From

Pristina (1.5 hours), Sarajevo (8 hours), Skopje (2.5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Hotel Albatros: The ideal spot for families, Hotel Albatros has a huge outdoor pool, with space for children to roam free. It’s also very centrally placed so that you can explore the area with ease.

Things To Do In & Around Prizren

Tirana, Albania

THINGS TO DO IN TIRANA - Skanderberg statue in the center, Tirana, Albania

The capital city of Albania is a melting pot of cultures, thanks to its rich history. You can check out Ottoman architecture and other examples, including Skanderbeg Square and its pastel-colored buildings.

The National History Museum is a top spot, explaining the turbulent history of the city, and you can also check out the famous Pyramid of Tirana! There is plenty of modern fun to be had, too, with shopping, dining, and nightlife on offer.

Nearest Airport

Tirana International Airport

Drive From

Berat (2 hours), Skopje (4 hours), Dubrovnik (6 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Hotel Villa D: With a huge outdoor swimming pool and beautiful views of the mountains, this hotel will give you a vacation feel, right in the heart of the city. You’re within easy reach of all the main Tirana sights also.

Tirana Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Tirana

Berat, Albania

Panel Houses in Berat City ALBANIA

Visiting Berat feels like going back in time, thanks to the huge number of old ruins and architectural examples.

Located in the center of the country, on the Osum River, be sure to check out the huge Berat Castle, the Red Mosque, the churches dating back to Byzantine times, and the 18th-century Ethnographic Museum.

However, it’s not all history as the nature around this area is simply jaw-dropping, so you can quickly head out and do a spot of walking or hiking too.

Nearest Airport

Tirana International Airport

Drive From

Tirana (2 hours), Skopje (5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Hotel Rezidenca Desaret:  Set in beautiful gardens and traditional architecture, this hotel sets the historical scene of Berat perfectly and gives you a relaxing place to stay.

Things To Do In & Around Berat

Kruje, Albania

Balkan Cities - Kruja castle in Albania

Shtame Pass, Lake Bovilla, are Kruje Castle just a few of the most-visited spots in Kruje, in the north of Albania. With plenty of history and culture to explore, nature is everywhere you look, so Kruje is a good idea for a weekend break in total peace and serenity.

Check out the huge Mount Kruje for hiking and walking opportunities, and enjoy the peace and quiet on the Ishem River banks.

Nearest Airport

Tirana International Airport

Drive From

Berat (2 hours), Skopje (4.5 hours), Tirana (1 hour)

Best Hotel To Stay

Hotel Group Veshti: With stunning mountain views when you open the curtains every morning, this hotel is luxurious and central in equal parts.

Things To Do In & Around Kruje

Saranda, Albania

What To Wear In Albania_Sarande

One of the biggest tourist destinations in the Albanian Riviera, Saranda, sits in an open gulf in the Ionian Sea, not too far from Corfu’s Greek island.

The city is well-known for its deep blue water and historic sites. In the city center, you’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants, but the real attraction lies a short drive southward. Saranda is the gateway city to the Ksamil Islands and Butrint National Park, one of Albania’s best national parks and top tourist attractions.

Nearest Airport

Tirana International Airport

Drive From

Tirana (4 hours), Berat (3.5 hours), Skopje (7 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Hotel Seaside Saranda: Situated only 2 minutes from Mango Beach, Hotel Seaside is one of the top Saranda hotels. It lies only 15 minutes from the border with Greece, a boat ride to Corfu is merely 30 minutes, which can be arranged by the hotel staff. Rooms have all modern amenities like cable TV, air-conditioning, and bathrooms.

Saranda Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Saranda

Durres, Albania

The second-biggest city in Albania, Durres is one of the country’s premier seaside resorts. It’s home to one of the Adriatic ports, which allows for easy connections to Italy and other nearby countries.

The city itself dates back to Ancient Greece. It has several historical sights, of which the iconic Durres Amphitheater, the largest surviving Roman amphitheater in the Balkans, is the star attraction. Additionally, there are also many kilometers of wonderful beaches that attract thousands of sun-seekers, beach-goers, and other summer visitors.

Nearest Airport

Tirana International Airport

Drive From

Tirana (35 minutes), Saranda (4 hours), Skopje (5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Hotel Boutique Vila 8: Boasting a fantastic location only 6 minutes on foot to the Durres Amphitheater, 4-star Hotel Boutique Vila 8 puts guests right in the touristic heart of the city. All modern amenities and conveniences are present, from free Wi-Fi and free bike rentals to an on-site Italian restaurant, air-conditioned rooms with a bathroom, and a daily breakfast.

Durres Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Durres

Sofia, Bulgaria

Bulgaria Travel Blog_Sofia Bulgaria

The capital city of Bulgaria, Sofia, has a tremendous amount of history to explore within a weekend! You’ll be able to see examples of Greek Ottoman, Roman, and Soviet history, including architecture at every turn.

Check out St. George Rotunda Church, dating back to the 10th century, and Boyana Church, from the 13th century. You’ll also find vibrant nightlife, shopping, gastronomy, and a vibrant feel, with the Vitosha Mountains in the background.

Closest Airport

Sofia Airport

Drive From

Belgrade (4.5 hours), Bucharest (5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Grand Hotel Sofia: A city break in a capital deserves luxury, and this hotel ticks that box. With a very central location, on-site spa and wellness center, and a range of restaurants on site, you won’t want to leave!

Sofia Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Sofia

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

By staying in Veliko Tarnovo, you get to see the beautiful nature of Bulgaria first hand. Located in the northern portion of the country, check out Tsarvets, a huge 12th-century fortress, the Yantra River, with an ancient monastery, kayaking opportunities, fishing, and the Trapezitsa, which is a set of old ruins dating back centuries.

For somewhere with a difference, somewhere traditional and completely natural, this is a great choice.

Closest Airport

Plovdiv Airport (3 hours)

Drive From

Sofia (3 hours), Plovdiv (3 hours), Skopje (5.5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Meridien Hotel Bolyarski: Set on a hillside, this hotel has beautiful views to wake up to every morning, and guests always rave about how good the breakfast is!

Varna, Bulgaria

Things to do in Varna - Cathedral

Varna, the third largest city in the country, has it all – pretty coastlines to towering mountains, gushing waterfalls to lush greenery, not to mention parks, beaches, museums and a happening nightlife. Varna is the perfect place to be if you want to get close to the center of the action but far from the maddening crowd.

Closest Airport

Varna Airport

Best Hotels To Stay

City Boutique Inn: Located a few minutes walk from Varna Opera House, City Boutique Inn is in a prime location in the center of Varna for excellent sightseeing and a great spot to take in a day in the life of a local. 

For an all inclusive option, check out Aqua Hotel. It’s 900 meters from Varna beach and less than a kilometer from Tabanata, Port of Varna, Naval Station Varna, Varna Opera House, City Garden, Musala Square, Roman baths, Varna Cathedral, and Saints Cyril and Methodius Square.

Things To Do In & Around Varna

Bucharest, Romania

Balkan Cities - Bucharest

Bucharest’s Romanian capital is a must-visit for anyone interested in rather gory history, and this is where Vlad The Impaler once imposed rule. Check out Curtea Veche Palace if you are interested in Vlad The Impaler’s story.

Besides that, it’s easy to see why Bucharest is called “Little Paris.” The sweeping avenues and Art Nouveau architecture style on many of the prominent buildings feels quite French. But when you look deeper, you’ll find that Bucharest is so much more than Paris’s little sister. From the architecture to the food, the parks to the museums, Bucharest is brimming with character for you to discover.

Check out the huge government building as the city’s principal landmark, which is as impressive on the outside as the inside! However, it’s not all about history as Bucharest has a very vibrant nightlife scene, with relatively low prices for a weekend away.

Nearest Airport

Henri Coandă International Airport, Bucharest

Drive From

Sofia (5 hours), Belgrade (8 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Athenee Palace Hilton Bucharest: Big name, big hotel on luxury. With a huge swimming pool, spa and wellness center, on-site restaurants, and fantastic rooms, this hotel is the ideal central spot to stay for the weekend.

Things To Do In & Around Bucharest

Brasov, Romania

Romania Travel Blog_Things to do in Romania_Transylvania_Brasov Panoramic
Photo Credit

If you have always wanted to head into the deepest, darkest Transylvania and explore the gothic architecture and vampiric fables, Brasov is for you!

A medieval town surrounded by the Carpathian mountains, Brasov has architecture from Saxon times, and the Black Church is a must-visit and world-famous Bran Castle.

Generally, however, Brasov is about immersing yourself in the feel of the place and the whole Transylvanian vibe. The natural scenery here is entirely jaw-dropping, and you can’t help but feel serene and peaceful.

Additionally, Brasov is a beautiful medley of culture and history, yet its small-town mountain vibes make it feel much more laid back than busy Bucharest.

Nearest Airport

Brasov Airport

Drive From

Belgrade (7 hours), Bucharest (3.5 hours)

Best Hotel to Stay

Hotel Aro Palace:  The only five star in Brasov’s whole has to be the place to stay for luxury and chill out time, including access to the huge indoor swimming pool.

Brasov Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Brasov

Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Backpacking The Balkans - Mostar

Located in the south of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Mostar is a very popular place to visit for many reasons, but not least because of the stunning nature.

Mostar is home to the Neretva River, and over it, you will find the Stari Most, the Old Bridge, which suffered so much damage during the war. Now rebuilt, it’s the key place to start your visit.

The bridge has now been reconstructed to its former glory, and the ‘jumping off the bridge’ tradition among locals is something to see. (Don’t you do it, though!) Check out the narrow streets and the various markets, as well as an amazing view from the top of Mehmed-Pasha Mosque.

Nearest Airport

Sarajevo International Airport (2 hours)

Drive From

Sarajevo (2 hours), Dubrovnik (2.5 hours), Tirana (6 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Hotel Mepas: This is the only five star in the hotel of Mostar, so if you want to stay somewhere high quality, it has to be this one! You’ll also find a huge entertainment center downstairs, so you’re sure never to get bored of an evening!

Mostar Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Mostar

Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Sarajevo City Hall - Things to do in Sarajevo

Bosnia & Herzegovina’s capital is a history-laden place, but also somewhere which has a vibrant nightlife scene, excellent cafes and restaurants, and plenty to see and do. For so long, a city was a no-go zone that has now re-built itself and created a fantastic weekend hotspot.

Sarajevo is easy to walk around, and it sits on the banks of the Miljacka River, with the Dinaric Alps to one side. You’ll find many museums giving you information about the history and the recent wars, as well as architecture which dates back centuries, including the Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque

Nearest Airport

Sarajevo International Airport

Drive From

Mostar (2 hours), Dubrovnik (4.5 hours), Zadar (6 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Pino Nature Hotel: This beautiful five-star hotel is modern to the max and is set in beautiful natural surroundings. Check out the wellness center, the on-site restaurant, and the general vibe of the place!

Sarajevo Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Sarajevo

Bihac, Bosnia & Herzegovina

BIHAC TOWN CENTRE

If you love the pavement cafe vibe, then Bihac is the place for you. It’s an adorable town during the warmer weather.

Located on the Una River banks, Bihac has a history dating back to Roman times, with plenty of ruins to explore. However, a weekend in Bihac should be about checking out the scenery and enjoying nearby Una National Park.

Nearest Airport

Bihać Golubić Airport

Drive From

Sarajevo (5 hours), Mostar (4.5 hours), Zagreb (2.5 hours

Best Hotel To Stay

Kostelski Buk Hotel: Nature at every turn is the single reason why you should stay at this hotel. There are also countless outdoor activities you can do directly from the hotel, as well as one of the best on-site restaurants around.

Things To Do In & Around Bihać

Belgrade, Serbia

Holidays In The Balkans - Belgrade

Serbia’s capital is now a cosmopolitan affair, packed with fun to be had, both old and new. With a vibrant nightlife scene, you can enjoy the history and have a few drinks at night.

Check out the history, dating back to Roman times, with many nods to Serbian and Ottoman times, too. Kalemegdan is also a top spot, a huge urban park with plenty of space to roam. Also, make sure to head to Knez Mihailova Street and Belgrade Fortress.

Nearest Airport

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport

Drive From

Sarajevo (5 hours), Sofia (4.5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Hotel Metropol Palace: If you want to feel like you’re staying in an actual royal palace, this is the closest you’re ever likely to get! The exterior is jaw-dropping, and the interior just as impressive, with fantastic facilities on site.

Belgrade Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Belgrade

Novi Sad, Serbia

Novi Sad Serbia - Travel Serbia Blog

Sitting on the Danube River banks, you will find Novi Sad, in the north of the country.

Novi Sad is on a hilltop, so you get to see amazing views of nature at every turn. You can explore the Petrovaradin Fortress, which dates from the 17th century. Check out the colorful buildings around the town center, and be sure to explore the other architecture, such as the neo-Renaissance City Hall.

Additionally, Danube Park is a fun place to explore, as is gorgeous Fruska Gora National Park.

Nearest Airport

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport

Drive From

Belgrade (1 hour), Sarajevo (5 hours), Zagreb (4 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Prezident Hotel: With a huge swimming pool, wellness center, and a chilled out vibe, this central hotel is a great place to stay. The hotel also does airport shuttles to help you get out and about.

Things To Do In & Around Novi Sad

Niš, Serbia

As the third-largest city in the country, Nis is a place to visit with plenty of history.

If you like the gory side of life, check out Skull Tower, or head to Niš Fortress for amazing views. Bubanj Memorial Park is also a must-visit, a memorial to WWII, and a huge natural park for plenty of fresh air. Overall, Nis is a great place to enjoy history and culture and somewhere with a quiet and authentic vibe.

Nearest Airport

Niš Constantine The Great Airport

Drive From

Skopje (2.5 hours), Belgrade (2 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Best Western Hotel My Place: For a central and modern place to stay in Nis, this is the ideal spot. Check out the health and wellness center for a real treat on your weekend away.

Budva, Montenegro

Budva, Montenegro Travel Blog

Budva, set in the middle of the coast of the shimmering Adriatic Sea in Montenegro, it’s the center of tourism in this small Balkan country. Filled with hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs, and shops, there are plenty of things to do in Budva

With almost 20 beautiful sandy beaches and shining blue waters, a medieval fortresses, national parks, and a thriving party scene – you just have to visit Budva on your travels.

Nearest Airport

Tivat Airport

Drive From

Podgorica (1 hour 20 minutes), Kotor (25 minutes), Dubrovnik (2 hours 15 minutes)

Budva Accommodation

Tivat, Montenegro

Places To Visit In Montenegro - Tivat

Located in Kotor’s picturesque Bay, Tivat is a fantastic place to visit for those who want to enjoy coastal views with a peaceful vibe.

Check out Vrmac Mountain, with stunning panoramic views, as well as Selfanovo, a beach that will make you never want to leave! Head over to the Island of Flowers for a totally relaxing time and explore the ruins of an old monastery. Overall, Tivat is a great place to visit in the southwest of the country for those who want to enjoy beach time in a quiet setting.

Nearest Airport

Tivat Airport 

Drive From

Podgorica (1.5 hours), Dubrovnik (2 hours), Sarajevo (5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Porto Montenegro Hotel: If you’re looking for amazing views, a modern and luxurious place to stay, and a home away from home feel, this hotel is the one for you.

Kotor Bay Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Tivat

Kotor, Montenegro

KOTOR BAY MONTENEGRO - CROATIA TRAVEL BLOG

Often referred to as a ‘fjord,’ Kotor is a beautiful place to visit, with many small islands and beaches to explore within the sunshine! The winding, cobbled streets are also fantastic for exploring, and the old town dates back to medieval times, with Kotor Cathedral a must-visit. Be sure to explore the islands off the coastline, with Sveti Dorde one of the most beautiful.

Nearest Airport

Podgorica (1.5 hours)

Drive From

Podgorica (1.5 hours), Sarajevo (4.5 hours), Dubrovnik (2 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Boutique Hotel Astoria: If you’re traveling with a partner, this is the ideal spot for a romantic weekend away, with cozy, luxurious surroundings. It’s also a very central place to stay.

Kotor Bay Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around Montenegro

Lustica Bay, MontenegroThe Chedi Lustica Bay_Marina

Located very close to the Bay of Kotor, Lustica Bay is a recently created area for entertainment and total relaxation. With a huge marina, a soon to be golf course (the only one in Montenegro), and a waterfront pier with cafes and restaurants, this is a great place to relax. The beach is one of the most beautiful you’ll set your eyes on, totally private for residents and guests of the area.

Nearest Airport

Tivat Airport

Drive From

Dubrovnik (2.5 hours), Sarajevo (5 hours), Zadar (6 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Chedi Lustica Bay: Part of the entire development along the bay, the Chedi Lustica Bay, is ideal for luxury in totally modern surroundings. A five-star establishment, you’ll have everything you need to hand.

Accommodation

Things To Do In & Around The Bay

Skopje, Macedonia

Visiting Macedonia Alexander the Great_Macedonia Square_Skopje_Macedonia

The capital city of Macedonia is a great place to visit for anyone into history and nature. With the nearby Matka Canyon full of walking, hiking, and wildlife spotting opportunities, the city itself is packed with nods to Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman times gone by.

The Stone Bridge dates back to the 15th-century, and the Old Bazaar is from Ottoman times. Check out the statue of Alexander The Great, Skopje Fortress, as well as the many modern nods, such as shopping, nightlife, and gastronomy, to be enjoyed.

Did you know: One of the most famous personalities to have come out of the Balkans is Mother Teresa, now referred to as Saint Teresa of Calcutta. She was actually born in Skopje before she moved to India.

Nearest Airport

Skopje International Airport

Drive From

Tirana (7 hours), Sofia (3.5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Hotel Arka: With a very modern yet comfortable feel, right in the center of Skopje, the Hotel Arka is a fantastic base for exploring the city, with a wonderful traditional restaurant on site.

Things To Do In & Around Skopje

Ohrid, Macedonia


If you love photo moments, the hilltop in Ohrid is the place to be for you.

Head to Samoil’s Fortress and watch the sunset, with amazing reflections over the water. Overall, Ohrid is a great place to visit for anyone wanting to check out a hidden gem, and it is located to the southwest of the city.

Ohrid is relatively small, so you can easily walk around, exploring the churches and ruins from days gone by. There are also many fantastic traditional restaurants where you can try authentic cuisine.

Nearest Airport

Ohrid St Paul the Apostle Airport

Drive From

Skopje (1 hour), Sofia (5 hours), Tirana (2.5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Park Lakeside Hotel: With fabulous views over the water to wake up to every morning, this is one of the best hotels in the whole of Ohrid. For quiet surroundings in luxury, this is the one.

Things To Do In & Around Ohrid

Istanbul, Turkey

Blue Mosque, Istanbul

By far the largest and most populous city in Turkey and the biggest in Europe, Istanbul is a phenomenal destination. You could spend weeks exploring its numerous neighborhoods, squares, alleys, and markets. Previously known as Constantinople and Byzantium, it lies in both Europe and Asia, at the Bosporus Strait.

More than 12 million people visit Istanbul each year, many of them focusing on the city’s main tourist area: the historic core. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is where you’ll find iconic buildings like the massive Hagia Sophia and the striking Blue Mosque. Other top attractions of this fantastic metropolis include the bustling Grand Bazaar and imposing Topkapi Palace.

Nearest Airport

Istanbul International Airport

Drive From

Bursa (2 hours), Ankara (5 hours), Sofia (6 hours), Thessaloniki (6.5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Millennium Istanbul Golden Horn: Featuring an on-site hammam, business center, garden and terrace, and car rental service, this top-rated Istanbul hotel is ideal for both leisure and business travelers alike.

Things To Do In And Around Istanbul

Bodrum, Turkey

Located on the Bodrum Peninsula that extends into the Aegean Sea, the city of Bodrum is a popular beach destination in southwestern Turkey. It’s home to stunning beaches, busy seafront bars, and excellent restaurants. On the other hand, Bodrum is also a magnificent historical destination.

A top attraction is Bodrum Castle, which was built partially with stones from the 4th-century-BC Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. Other ancient landmarks include the Myndos Gate and a restored 4th-century amphitheater, which is now a popular concert venue.

Nearest Airport

Milas-Bodrum Airport

Drive From

Izmir (3 hours), Antalya (5.5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Lujo Hotel A`la Carte All-Inclusive Hotel: A five-star hotel that could be considered one of the top hotels in Turkey, this resort has four different outdoor concept swimming pools, three private beaches, its water park, restaurant, bar, wellness center, and kids’ club featuring laser tag, lego room, workshops, and music classes. 

Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Cost & Tips - Sunset Over Cappadocia

Turkey is packed with must-do experiences, but without a doubt, one which features on many a Turkey bucket list is to head to the fairy-tale landscape of Cappadocia and enjoy a hot air balloon ride of the area.

It’s a sight which has been featured in many a travel magazine and website, and as a result, millions of people head to the central Turkish area every single year. The Goreme National Park is packed with beautiful rock formations that look like fairy chimneys, and even gazing over the park is enough to get your Insta-worthy pics flowing.

Though it’s the main reason, people flock to Cappadocia, here are plenty of other things to keep you occupied if you would rather keep your feet on the ground, from walking trails to museums.

Nearest Airports

Nevsehir Airport and Kayseri Erkilet Airport

Drive From

Istanbul (9 hours 15 minutes by bus, 8 hours 30 minutes by car), Pamukkale (10 hours by bus, 8-9 hours by car)

Best Hotels To Stay

Staying in a cave hotel is pretty iconic on its own, which is why it’s hard to pick just one of these incredibly unique and luxe cave hotels as “the best”. You can’t go wrong with any of these options!

Corfu, Greece

The largest town on Corfu Island, one of the largest Ionian Sea islands, Corfu Town, is a place filled with history, going as far back as Greek mythology. Its heritage is chock-full with conquest and war, myths and legends. It’s easily one of the top historical destinations in southeastern Europe.

Corfu Town’s historic heart is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an area home to countless ancient buildings and landmarks, from Ancient Greece to the Venetian Age, including churches, palaces, gardens, and sculptures. Additionally, Corfu Town is the gateway to other places on Corfu Island, such as the beach and cliffs of Sidari, Mount Pantokrator, the hilltop Angelokastro castle Palaiokastritsa.

Nearest Airport

Corfu International Airport

Drive From (Includes Ferry Ride)

Saranda (2 hours), Thessaloniki (5.5 hours), Tirana (6 hours), Athens (6.5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Angelo Del’Arte Estate: One of the best-rated hotels in Corfu Town, this superb accommodation boasts a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, barbecue facilities, free WiFi, a daily continental breakfast, complimentary private parking, and units equipped with a kitchen, patio, private bathroom, and so on.

Things To Do In And Around Corfu

Athens, Greece

The capital of Greece, Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world, its history going back almost 3,500 years. It’s one of the most famous Classical cities. Ancient Athens was a powerful city-state well known for being regarded as the birthplace of democracy and the “cradle of Western civilization.”

Nowadays, Athens is a sprawling capital, an important financial and economic hub in southeastern Europe. To visitors, the historic city center is of most interest. This is where you can still see many ancient buildings, most notably the Parthenon at the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Other points of interest include Mount Lycabettus, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the alleys in Plaka. There are also various modern landmarks, as well as some world-class museums.

Nearest Airport

Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport

Drive From

Patras (2.5 hours), Meteora (4 hours), Thessaloniki (5.5 hours)

Best Hotel To Stay

Emporikon Athens Hotels: Popular Neoclassical hotel in the heart of Athens within easy walking distance from numerous restaurants, bars, the Acropolis, and Syntagma Square.

Things To Do In And Around Athens

 

Of course, there are even more dope Balkan cities to hit up – which others should we add to this list?

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