Balkans Backpacking Travel Guide

Information on hostels, transportation, cheap food and drinks, sights to see, activities and more.

About


The Balkans region of south-east Europe rich in natural beauty and full of interesting history and culture. The Balkans is an area relatively free of tourists but with a strong backpacking community and lots of good hostels to choose from. It is great for travelling on a budget, particularly in comparison to other regions of Europe. Accordingly it sits along side Southeast Asia and South America as one of my top travel destinations for backpacking on a budget.

Transport in The Balkans


The primary method of transportation through the Balkans is buses. They are easy, cheap and efficient. Check bus schedules and purchase tickets through getbybus.com or balkanviator.com. There is nowhere that you can't get to by bus in the Balkans.

There is a rail network through the Balkans linking up some some of the major cities but they are infrequent and slow. The Balkans is a mountainous area which is part of the reason that buses are the way to go. My favourite resource for getting an idea about the rail network in any country in Europe is seat61.com.

Money


Getting access to your savings in the Balkans is dead easy. Just like anywhere else in Europe, rely on your bank cards. Credit cards are accepted in a lot of places and in those that don't, there are always ATM's that will accept foreign bank cards of all sorts.

There are a bunch of different currencies in use in the Balkans:

  • Greece and Slovenia use the Euro. Kosovo and Montenegro also use the Euro, though not with permission from the EU
  • Countries with their own currencies are Albania (lek), Bosnia and Herzegovina (convertible mark), Bulgaria (lev), Croatia (kuna), Macedonia (denar), Romania (leu), Serbia (dinar) and Turkey (lira).

Destinations


Albania

Albania has a beautiful coastline on the Adriatic, every bit as beautiful as that found in Croatia. Albania is the kind of country that you really want to visit within the next 5 years before tourists realise [...]

Bosnia

Bosnia is a mostly landlocked country with and has borders with Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. Bosnia is a country still striving to recover from Balkan conflicts of '90s. But it is a wonderful destination for backpackers.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria is not as regularly visited compared to other European nations, but it is a beautiful place, with a wide range of activities for travellers.

Croatia

Croatia in on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea. Croatia has some beautiful sights to visit and some stunning coastline making it a very popular destination during the summer months. A backpackers dream.
The Meteora in Greece

Greece

Greece is a country in Southern Europe, on the southernmost tip of the Balkan with a mountainous mainland and idyllic island beaches.
National Library in Pristina, Kosovo

Kosovo

A land locked country sandwiched between Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia. A beautiful country to visit off the beaten track for most tourists but is growing rapidly as a backpacking destination.

Macedonia

The Republic of Macedonia boasts a natural paradise of mountains, lakes and rivers, amidst rich historical ruins and idyllic villages. Macedonia represents the Balkans in the truest sense and a fascinating mix of cultural influences.
View over Kotor, Montenegro.

Montenegro

Montenegro is a country in the Balkans, on the Adriatic Sea. The coastline of Montenegro is stunningly beautiful but there is also some beautifully locations inland in the Durmitor Mountains.
Belgrade, Serbia

Serbia

Serbia is one of the six countries forming the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The capital, Belgrade, was also the capital of the former Yugoslavia and has a very rich history. Famous for its excellent nightlife.

Slovenia

Slovenia lies at the crossroads of Balkans and Central Europe in the eastern Alps at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea, bordered by Austria to the north, Italy to the west, Hungary to the northeast, and Croatia to the southeast.

Map


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