Last year during my trip through Central America my friend Hyden told me a lot of very wonderful things about his trip through the Balkan region and made me really want to check it out.
Since I moved back to Italy from the States I thought it would be pretty close to visit the Balkan region.
The Balkan Adventure
- Plitvice Lakes
- Sibenik and Krka
I started in Florence with a 9 hour bus ride to Ljubljana (Slovenia) which I came to find out is a really nice city to visit. Very clean and deeply charming. I was able to participate in their free walking tour and learn a lot about the city history.
From Ljubliana I took a bus to Zagreb in Croatia. The bus ride was only a couple of hours. Someone told me that Zagreb looks and feels more like Vienna. I am not really sure I agree with that but I have to say that Ljubliana was way more charming than Zagreb.
Next stop after Zagreb was Zadar. I spent only one full day there. I went to see Ugljan, an island right off the coast of Zadar. I had a great adventure hiking to the top of the castle eating figs along the way.
From Zadar I moved to Sibenik as a base to get to Kirka National Park. The park is easily reachable from Zadar as well but I preferred to be closer and move a bit more south since I was going to end up in Split anyway. There are few things to see in Sibenik but I wouldn’t spend too much time there other than Kirka.
Split was again more of a stepping stone for me in this trip. It is a good location to go to the islands. I went from there to Hvar and it was also a good location to start the journey inland to Bosnia. Infact after Hvar I went back to Split to get the bus to go to Mostar.
Hvar is just 1 hour and 10 minutes off of the coast of Split. It is a very charming island where you can enjoy a very nice rocky beach. From Hvar you can visit little islands in the vicinity using the water Taxi for 40 to 60 kunas or rent a 6 person boat for 400 to 500 kunas.
Mostar was one of my favorite places together with Sarajevo. I started this trip mainly to learn more about the recent history of Ex-Yugoslavia and its fall. Both Mostar and Sarajevo are very historically important cities and I recommend spending more than a few days there especially Sarajevo. If you are into skiing you can have a wonderful ski trip there. They just built new lifts for the runs from the 84 Olympics.
My last stop was Dubrovnik. I really loved that city. They were able to preserve the medieval feel of the place. It is something you won’t be able to find very easily around the world. Unfortunately, it is overrun by tourists that arrive with cruises. They are there for the day from 8 to 6 so if you want a bit of tranquillity you need to plan around that. There are many things to see there from the walls, the Game of Thrones locations, the islands to hiking around the city.
In the end to go back to Italy I used the ferry from Split. It is the best way to go to Italy. Since it was low season I paid only 50 euros for the overnight trip in a two bed cabin. Usually I don’t go for such luxuries while I travel but the price was right and I decided to splurge a little.