The Balkan region of Europe contains some of the continent’s best beaches, beautiful mountain ranges, and diverse cultures. The countries of Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Greece are typically considered part of the Balkans, with Serbia, Slovenia, and Turkey having close-enough territory.
While Croatia has become a summertime hotspot in recent years, there are plenty of great places to enjoy throughout the entire peninsula, including holiday classics like Greece and Turkey. From the turquoise waters of Dalmatia to the “Bosnian Himalayas,” the Balkans have a bit of something for everyone to enjoy. Ready for your summer vacation in the Balkan Peninsula? Start planning here!
The beaches of the islands of Dalmatia in Croatia are unique, diverse, and completely accessible. Reached by ferry or private yacht, the Dalmatian islands have plenty of places to spread out and spend a few hours under the sun. Favorite spots with locals and tourists alike are Zlatni Rat on Brač, the secluded coves of the Pakleni Islands, and Pag’s Strasko Beach.
The Balkan’s have world-famous beaches, such as on the Grecian Islands, but what about lesser-known spots? Sunny Beach in Bulgaria has a luxurious metropolitan feel, with high rise resorts and water parks in abundance. Visit Side, Turkey for white sand and inspirational ruins to explore. While there’s not much of Montenegro touching the coast, the entire shoreline is full of amazing places to spend the afternoon. Local favorites are Petrovac near Sveti Stefan and Jaz Beach.
The word Balkan is actually Turkish for “mountain,” so you can expect the entire peninsula to have extraordinary views and epic trails. The Dinaric Alps stretch the entire coastline of the Adriatic Sea, from Croatia to Albania. The craggy limestone peaks of Orjen are outstanding, with rock climbing in the Subra amphitheatre as a favorite activity of the region.
The fortified city of Dubrovnik is a one-of-a-kind holiday experience. Enter the gates of what serves as “King’s Landing” in the Game of Thrones television show. The most famous attraction is mounting the aged walls of the city and walking their entire perimeter, which gives an impressive view of both the charming city streets and the glistening Adriatic Sea.
It’s technically an island, but the pure whitewashed cubist houses of Santorini are unmissable. Get lost in one of two cities (Fira and Oia) and walk the cobbled side streets, take in the overwhelming blue views of the Aegean Sea, and find a moment to relax at a cafe or two. Santorini is notorious for it’s lava-pebble beaches and sweeping vistas, so your holiday here will surely make your Instagram friends jealous!
Created by Mandy Burkholder