Discovering the Balkans with Travel Talk
When Travel Talk asked if I wanted to go on a trip with them to explore the Balkans, I immediately said yes! The Balkans is a region of Europe that I never was particularly interested in visiting, however, I thought it was a great opportunity to see a part of the world I probably wouldn’t have gone to on my own. Before taking this trip, I didn’t know much about the countries in the Balkans and wasn’t sure which countries were considered to even be a part of it!
For those who were like me and not even sure which countries the Balkans covers:
My Travel Talk tour was a quick whirlwind two-week trip to see the highlights of these countries. It was the perfect way to get a taste for each one and to see which countries I’d be interested in revisiting! If you’re interested on going on the same trip then check it out here!
Here is an overview of my trip and my thoughts on each place we visited:
Our trip started in Sofia, Bulgaria. As this was the starting point , I didn’t get to see too much of the city but did get to go out for some delicious food. This was also where I met up with the group I was going to be traveling with for the next two weeks! From what I saw of Sofia, it was a super cute city, especially the old town where the streets were cobblestoned and there were a ton of old bars and restaurants. I definitely want to go back to get to know this country more!
Belgrade is a super lively city! I had a lot of fun exploring the streets and going out for dinner at a traditional Serbian restaurant where there was live music and dancing. A unique aspect of the city that I enjoyed was the nightlife. On the Belgrade river as far as the eye can see, there are nightclubs situated on houseboats. These don’t open until midnight so prepare for a late-night of dancing.
There’s so much history in Sarajevo as it’s the town in which the archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated (which is what started WWI, if you were paying attention in history class ). I loved learning about the history of each place we visited, but this was one of my favorites. Additionally, the town itself is incredibly beautiful. It was so unique and reminded me somewhat of a mix of Spain and Switzerland in its architecture. The food here is also so delicious! Super fresh with a lot of variety.
Walking around Mostar is like walking around a fairytale. It truly was such a beautiful, unique place! It is also home to one of the most famous bridges in Europe called Stari Most. If you're brave enough, you can jump from it, but be warned, it’s nearly 100 ft tall! This was a town I wish I had more time exploring and would love to go back to. There were a ton of cute river-side restaurants and shops to see. The only downside was that it was extremely crowded when we went!
Spending the day in Dubrovnik was the highlight of my Balkans tour! It was such a fun city to explore, especially as a major Game of Thrones fan. The city itself is so incredibly beautiful with its towering castle walls, cobblestoned streets, and sparkling Mediterranean waters. I had a blast cliff jumping, basking in the warm summer air and people watching from a cafe. It made me feel like I was having a real European summer by being there.
Kotor is a romantic town that has its unique charm! Being surrounded by mountains on each side, it is one of the most beautiful towns we visited. I would recommend walking up the steep path of the mountain to get some insane views of the quaint town below, however it was too hot to do so when we were there. Kotor also had some of the most beautiful medieval churches that were a blast to explore.
Budva is a quaint beach town with some of the best seafood. It also has a great nightlife scene with some awesome bars and clubs right on the water. Montenegro itself is extremely beautiful and going on this Travel Talk tour allowed me to see all the spots I want to go back and revisit!
Although we didn’t spend too much time in this cute town, what stuck out to me was visiting the church of St. John. It’s perched on top of a hill overlooking the beautiful sea and it’s quite a sight.
Skopje was the most surprising place we visited. There are these massive monuments scattered around the city and grandeur buildings replicating Roman architecture! It was quite something. Skopje is also a really fun city to go out in at night. This was our last night all together so we went out for one last night on the town and had a blast running around the huge monuments and bar hopping!
I went on an extended version of the Balkans Travel Talk tour, which meant that I and a few others got to see the part of Greece that is considered part of the Balkans. I recommend doing the extended Travel Talk tour as I got to see a magical part of Greece. In particular, Meteora was mind-blowing! We got to visit a monastery built on this insane cliff. I have never seen anything like it.
Delphi was one of my favorite places we visited in Greece. It had the quintessential Greek vibe, built on a cliff overlooking a vast valley of olive trees. Although Delphi itself is extremely small, it left a lasting impression, especially getting to enjoy a beautiful sunset overlooking the valley. In the morning we also got to experience visiting the ancient ruins of Delphi and learn about the history of the Oracles of Delphi. Learning about ancient Greece was one of my favorite parts of this trip! I’ve always found it so fascinating so getting to see that part of history in person was amazing.
The trip was wrapped up in Athens and went out with a bang! Athens turned out to be one of my favorite parts of this entire trip. I’ve heard some negative things about the city so I didn’t know what to expect, but I found it to be so vibrant and alive with Greek culture. We also got to explore the famous colosseum, which was a once in a lifetime experience.
If you’re interested in seeing a part of Europe that’s not the typical beaten path then Travel Talk Tours Balkans Discovery is perfect. I met some people that I’ll stay in touch with forever and I now consider my dear friends. When I first agreed to go, I didn’t know what to expect, especially going by myself, but I’m now convinced it’s a great way to travel, especially if you’re solo!