From snow-capped mountains to ancient seaside fortresses, sun-kissed beaches to hillside hikes, the Balkan peninsula boasts a breadth of experience. Exploring the Balkan fairy tale scenery is an unforgettable adventure.
Taking its name from Bulgaria’s Balkan Mountains, the region spans from Slovenia in the north, to the Ionian Sea in the east and south to Greece and the Aegean. It is a popular destination for holiday makers from across the globe.
Balkan Fairy Tale Scenery
The Middle Adriatic Islands, Croatia
Just off the Dalmatian coast in the sheltered Adriatic lie a group of stunning islands, waiting for you to explore. They include Hvar, Mljet, Korcula, Brac and many more—each with their own personality and charm.
You can fly directly into Split and catch one of the ferry lines that operate. But if someone in your party is skipper certified, hands down the best way to experience these islands is from the helm of your own vessel.
Captaining your own boat means you can update your own itinerary at leisure and hop spontaneously, island to island. Bareboat Yacht Charter, Split gives you the freedom to do so.
BorrowABoat has a choice of yachts, catamarans and motorboats to allow you to explore everything these magical islands have to offer at your own pace.
Split, itself is a beautiful city, steeped in history—from the Roman ruins to the Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After sampling some of what Split has to offer, set sail from the port to your first island destination.
Hvar, the longest of the islands, was first inhabited 7000 years ago. Consistently hitting top ten lists, it’s an unmissable spot.
Disembark and explore alluring towns, lavender fields and a bustling nightlife—which wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of the local Rakija.
Mljet island is a national park and offers kayaking opportunities in salt lakes and picturesque coves to drop anchor and picnic on the deck.
The crystal clear, blue waters of the Pakleni Islands make it one of the best places to snorkel in Croatia and captaining your own boat means you can choose the perfect spot.
Also, if scuba diving is on your agenda, the underwater caves that can be found on these islands provide a more adventurous experience.
Durmitor National Park, in the north of Montenegro encompasses the 48 peak Durmitor mountain range complete with turquoise glacial lakes. Hiking trails in the area range from deep woodland rambles to challenging mountainous treks.
At 1200m above sea level, the largest and best known of the 18 lakes in the park is CrnoJezero or Black Lake.
The pine and peat moss of the local ecosystem accumulates and the lake can look inky black despite its crystal clear waters. At other times of the year the waters can be otherworldly shades of greens and blues.
A 3.5 km walking path runs around the perimeter of the lake and is joined from many of the mountain trails in the area.
Traditional Montenegrin cuisine is served at the Katun restaurant on its shore. July to September are the best months to come. Make sure your path includes a visit to this breath-taking slice of nature.
Long a destination favourite, Corfu, just off the coast of the Balkan peninsula still guards many well kept secrets waiting to be discovered. You’ll be well rewarded for looking just a bit further than the stunning beaches it’s renowned for.
From the Greek Orthodox Monastery at Paleokastritsa to the tiny islet of Pontikonisi, the modest island is bursting with magical potential.
Built to protect the city from pirates and other enemies, discover the Old Venetian Fortress in Corfu Town. The Venetians built the fortress on the site of a Byzantine castle in the 15th century and built a pit to separate it from the mainland.
Views of the old town from the clock tower, the highest point in the city, are well worth the walk. The battlements are the first and last thing you’ll see of the settlement when travelling by ferry. It is regarded as one of the most impressive fortifications in Europe.
If you are looking to experience a true Balkan city and an underrated gem, Serbia’s capital is waiting for you.
A bike tour is the ideal way to take in the many facets of Belgrade. See the Roman, Ottoman, Austrian and modern influences on the city from your saddle.
Visit the Nikola Tesla Museum in central Belgrade honouring the life and work of a prodigy the modern world has much to thank for.
Also, the final resting place of Tesla and containing over 160,000 original documents, spend an afternoon here, electrifying your curiosity.
KnezMihailova is the main commercial street of Belgrade but it is more than brands and shopping bags.
Named one of the most beautiful pedestrianised zones in South East Europe, the road is lined with romanticism and renaissance architecture and notable points of interest and is constantly buzzing with locals and tourists.
Ada Ciganlija, or simply Ada to the locals is the recreational peninsula in the Sava river that courses through the heart of the capital. With peak summer temperatures in the thirties, the beaches and sports activities found here are extremely popular.
As it stands, Croatia still leads the way as the Balkans top tourist destination. With many lesser known islands, towns, cities and villages, the peninsula and its surrounding archipelago are an untapped treasure trove.
Each of these locations is full of must-see landscapes and architectural feats that are reminiscent of the fantasy such beauty inspires. You truly must witness this Balkan fairy tale scenery first hand.