Speaking of Balkan holidays often we tend to exclude Turkey and Greece though geographically parts of both countries are included in the peninsula too. Culturally and politically the term Balkans relates to Bulgaria, Romana (though only a tiny part of the country is geographically bounded within the peninsula), Albania and all those republics of the former Yugoslavia. And even wiping Greece and Turkey off the map there are still plenty of possibilities to travel around and enjoy a journey or vacation somewhere in the region.
What are the primary options for Balkan holidays? The sea is still there in the picture – Bulgaria offers nearly 400 km of coastline on the Black Sea. Albania, Montenegro, and Croatia are situated on the shore of the beautiful Adriatic Sea. The eastern and the western geographical boundaries of the peninsula, these places are for the most part more affordable than the luxury resorts and even village houses in Greece and Turkey. Well, enough with those two countries, many tourists are familiar with their charms and know little or nothing about the opportunities of Balkan holidays in the central, eastern, western and northern part of the region.
Actually, Bulgaria is already famous among British people as the “new Ibiza” with the cheaper liquor and accommodation for less money than practically anywhere else on the seashore in Europe. Not the best reason to be remembered and even within the country the people aren’t that happy that crowds from the UK are coming every summer to blow their heads off on boozing and reckless behaviour. Sunny Beach (called Slanchev Bryag in Bulgaria) represents one of the main Balkan holidays as a party destination but what if you wish for a more quiet vacation there are still plenty of options on the eastern coast of the Balkans – you can check some of the best offers here – www.balkanholidays.co.uk
The traditional and famous beach resorts of Bulgaria are Albena, Golden Sands (Zlatni Pyasaci), St. Konstantin and in the recent decade St. Vlas is catching up in the competition to offer high-quality holiday packages and overrun the others in the conditions of accommodation. You can go to small towns with lots of history around and miles of sands in their areas like Sozopol and Nessebar. Have in mind that in the high season these places happen to be crowded so you need to book earlier. Varna and Burgas are the biggest cities on the coastline – the first in the northern part of the country, the latter being the focal point of the southern seashore of Bulgaria. Both have airports with lots of flights during the summer but book sooner rather than later if you consider that type of Balkan Holidays. You need to be on a plane to Varna if your stay is at Albena, Golden Sands, St. Konstantin or Cape Kaliakra. Burgas is the airport you need to make a connection to Sunny Beach, St. Vlas, Nessebar, Pomorie, Sozopol, Elenite, and Duni. Both airports are situated within less than 100 km to any of the mentioned resorts and towns.
Balkan Holidays in Western Part
Lots have been said about the beauties of the Adriatic coastline. Looking for some seaside Balkan holidays options closer to the western part of the peninsula would lead to wonderful places in Croatia and Montenegro. So-called Dubrovnik Riviera is not famous only as the area where one of the main sites to shoot Game of Thrones is situated. Budva and St. Stefan are the jewels in the crown of the small but wonderful country which name is translated as Black Wood – yes, it’s Montenegro.
Summer vacation is the agenda so far but is it possible to find better choices at the time of the hottest weather? Yes, it is, and actually, one particular place would make you forget about the sea and throw away all the headaches of the daily routine. Lake Bled represents a tiny piece of paradise somehow brought down to our planet and whoever been there once never forget it and is always craving to return. One of the Slovenia’s points of pride and main sources of legends actually is located very close to the Austrian border and because of that is also on the borderline when we talk about Balkan holidays. The distance to the nearest airport – the one at the capital city Ljubljana, is only an hour away.
The small lake is surrounded by dazzling scenery and every hill in the vicinity stays tall with its own legend. Sure, one of the main attractions is the Castle Bled, considered the oldest in the country and situated 130 meters above the lake level. Undoubtedly the site centring all gazes on it is the island in the middle of the pond. A trip on boat dubbed “pletna” and operated by standing rowers heading to a tiny, tiny chunk of land represents the definite must-do thing for a vacation at Slovenia and among all Balkan holidays options as a whole. The only island on the map of the country which is not river bound or seaside located is another source of myths as you might expect and the magnet for the tourist is the walk of 99 steps from the shore to the Assumption of Mary Church – ring a bell and make a wish, the local legend says.
A site as Lake Bled is busy any season but there are always some good offers to be found. One of the most famous resorts in Slovenia attracts skiers in the winter and golfers when the weather is warmer. In the list of Balkan holidays, all-rounder places except Lake Bled the Bulgarian mountain prides Bansko and Borovets also deserve honorable mention. Although popular mostly as ski resorts, these places offer plenty of options in the summer too – biking and hiking in the mountains of Rila and Pirin, charming the tourists with their beauty and challenging them to climb on the highest peaks located on the Balkan peninsula.
But skiing is the main agenda anyway coming to mind seeing the name of some of the top 3 Bulgarian mountain resorts. Oh, you didn’t know it before reading this article? Well, then we guess you haven’t been interested in winter sports before because Bansko occurs to be one of the hottest – but not in temperature meaning, places among winter vacation options around whole Europe. Leading the list of choices for Balkan holidays, the Pirin mountain resort gained a popularity being the cheapest winter centre in Europe. For seven years in a row, Bansko was the most affordable snowy option on the continent and even stepping down from the top position, it’s still a leading preference for skiers and snowboarders. With average daily expense below 100 Euro for the combined value of the lift pass, equipment hire and accommodation the slopes of Banderishka Polyana continue to attract tourists from everywhere.
But the competition among winter resorts in Bulgaria is fierce – Borovets and Pamporovo also have a lot to offer for a nice vacation during the months of negative Celsius numbers. Looking for a place situated nearest to an airport so you don’t have to travel much after the plane lands, the logic points to Borovets. The oldest snowy sports centre in the country is just an hour away from Sofia – an important condition when searching for Balkan Holidays. The Rila mountain centre is famous for one of the best ski-schools and welcomes its guest in a certain user-friendly manner. Flexible prices are on the list to fit every pocket and spare time. Borovets holds a little cheaper price (55 BGN = 28 Euro) for the daily lift pass compared to Bansko (58 Euro) but the accommodation on average cost more money. Some special offers to stay over emerge here http://www.balkanholidays.co.uk/winter_ski_holidays/index.html.
Pamporovo keeps the same daily fee as Borovets and the main drawback of this resort is the distance to the main airport of the country – 230 km, not less than 3 hours from Sofia. The Rhodopes resort is accessible from Plovdiv too but the airport there operates on a really small scale and with limited destinations. But the advantages are more the inconvenience – gazing for winter Balkan holidays choices, you wouldn’t find a brighter one. Pamporovo is flooded in light with more than 100 sunny days and the lift pass combines two areas – the main and that of the Mechi Chal resort in the vicinity of the nearby town of Chepelare.
Every place you choose from the top 3 winter resorts in Bulgaria will bring on the table also the chance to taste some of the specialities of the local cuisine. In Bansko and the nearby town Razlog besides the skiing, the fame of the region comes also from the meat-rich specific local dishes like “Kapama” and “chomlek”. The Rhodopes answer with potatoes and the distinct “patatnik” meal could be found anywhere in the area of Pamporovo and Chepelare. Great excitement on the snow and delicious cooking make for a wonderful combo to choose from Balkan holidays!
Actually, there is a lot to taste on random spots on the map of the peninsula. Since the people in the region lived close to each other even been from different ethnicity and/or religion, the influences in cuisine, architecture, legends, music, etc., fused in a mixture that makes it really hard to tell what and where were the origins. In terms of Balkan holidays, there are occasions celebrated in every country but called by different names and using varying rituals to it.
Well, Bulgaria compared to Slovenia and Croatia, for example, is rather different – the first has substantial Turkish and Greek impact in every aspect of life, while the last two borrowed much from Italy and Austria. So this overtly advertised these days diversity has been rooted long ago in the colourful Balkans and this might be the main reason to charm someone who visits the region for the first time. For a guy coming from the west, not all might look well set up during a Balkan holidays experience – there is more inconvenience in terms of travelling and comfort in certain areas. On one hand, the scent of the old times still can touch you and the trip could turn into an adventure. There is a lot of history on every corner – ancient and more recent, so sunbathing on the beach or skiing on the slopes could be enriched by the flavour you didn’t expect.
But if the conditions of the accommodation and transport are important to you and there is no compromise allowed – check for some great offers here http://www.balkanholidays.co.uk/winter_ski_holidays/winter-savings–discounts.html. Places like Lake Bled in Slovenia, the marbles on the shore of the Dubrovnik Riviera or the Bulgarian winter resorts like Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo are prepared to deliver for a luxurious stay. And the price for a 5-star experience is significantly lower than on similar sites around Europe. Despite the obvious attempts to catch on the Western European standard the mentioned resorts and many other sightseeing locations preserve some unique spirit which definitely plays a leading role to book yourself some Balkan holidays vacation.
We pointed out just a few examples to prove it’s worth coming to the region for travel and vacation. Once compared to a “barrel of gunpowder”, the peninsula has gone a long way from being that mysterious and dangerous area as most of the westerners thought of it. Thousands of people discover the rough and widely unrefined beauty of the Balkan holidays every year but more and more rely on better conditions and travelling options. Situated on the southeastern edge of the continent, a link between Europe and Asia, a fusion of Western and Eastern worlds, a trip to the Balkans might present you with an excitement and memories to stay forever in your mind.
Last Updated: April 8, 2018