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Balkans or popularly known as Balkan Peninsula as well, comprises of easternmost Europe’s three great southern peninsulas.
All or part of each of those countries - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria Croatia Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia, located within the peninsula. Portions of Greece and Turkey are also positioned within the geographic region of the Balkan Peninsula.
Even though historians and geographers’ interpretations differ, the region is defined culturally, historically and geographically. Moreover, ‘Balkans’ was termed by some with negative nuances connected with the region’s history of ethnic divisiveness and political turmoil.
‘Balkan’ is a Turkish word, which means ‘mountain’ and the peninsula certainly prove it right especially in the west. The Balkan Mountains lie east-west across Bulgaria, the Mountains extend along the Greek-Bulgarian border and the Dinaric range extends down the Adriatic coast to Albania.
In general, the Balkans is bordered on the northwest by Italy, on the north by Hungary, on the north and northeast by Moldova and Ukraine and on the south by Greece and Turkey or the Aegean Sea.
The Balkan countries are Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, and Greece. The European section of Turkey also lies within the Balkan Peninsula.
Albania is located along the Adriatic Sea, Tirane is its capital. Bosnia and Herzegovina's capital is Sarajevo. Bulgaria is located along the Black Sea, Sofia is its capital. Croatia has an hourglass shape squeezed between Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zagreb is its capital. Greece is on the southwest tip of the Balkan Peninsula, its capital is Athens. Montenegro is on the Adriatic Sea north of Albania, with Podgorica as its capital. Romania has the largest land mass and a western shore on the Black Sea, its capital is Bucharest. Serbia is landlocked in the center of the peninsula, its capital is Belgrade. The smaller country of Macedonia is landlocked south of Serbia, and its capital is Skopje.
A little section of Turkey lies within the Balkan Peninsula, with its largest city, Istanbul, the only city to overlap Asia and Europe, with the European side lying on the south-east of the Balkan Peninsula. The countries on the Balkan Peninsula are frequently known as the Balkan States.
Around 3000 years before, the Greeks are the first known tribes to move south through the Balkans. In the early Christian centuries, the Goths and Huns and Slavs all crossed this way, while some settled down. This was the historical area where tribes confront settled civilizations and clashed as well.
The Balkans is at the heart of a single Greco-Roman civilization during classical times. But later on they have been in a distressed crossing point between Roman and Greek Christianity and between Christianity and Islam. They have been a seismic fault between Europe and Asia.
While Spain and Italy are apparent geographical regions, defined in the north by mountain ranges, the third peninsula projecting south into the Mediterranean is more unstructured.
In the Balkan Peninsula on the west lie the Adriatic and Ionian seas and the Aegean and the Black Sea on the east while stretch the open plain at the north. The line of the Danube is termed as the northern boundary of the region. Through these open plains there were waves of people entering into Europe from Asia, whether from Anatolia or along the steppes north of the Black Sea.
Balkans Culture and Tradition
The Balkans constitute group of countries of great diversity but still have admirable cultural heritage in common. With deep History and rich Culture, Balkans encourages many to travel. Balkan people are more physical and affectionate; possess a special philosophy of independence, pride, courage and honour. Due to them, the Balkan region is today known as typical multi ethnic and multicultural area. Balkans culture is traditionally male-dominated. It is customary for several generations to live together in a compound of houses.
The skilful hands of the Balkan masters have created wonderful pieces of art from wood, stone and metal and the Balkan women wove in the fibres of rugs decked up with decorative elements. The Balkan culinary products collected from the fragrant alpine lawns and century-old forests, offered in some suitable ceramic pots.
Balkan folklore dances are beautiful danced in a line or circle linked by hand or shoulder hold, without the need of a partner. Gypsy musical culture has been influenced by exposure to so-called “civilized” West European and American musical cultures.
Balkans Climate and Weather
The mountains play a big role in the region's climate as well. To the north, the weather is similar to that of central Europe, with warm summers and cold winters. To the south and along the coastlines, the climate is more Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and rainy winters. Balkan has a significant amount of rainfall during the year.
The driest month is August, with 27 mm of rainfall. With an average of 66 mm, the most precipitation falls in November. The warmest month of the year is July, with an average temperature of 22.4 °C. January has the lowest average temperature of 1.2 °C the year.
The difference in precipitation between the driest month and the wettest month is 39 mm. During the year, the average temperatures vary by 21.2 °C.
Spring (March through May): Humidity and temperatures combine to make this season feel very cold.
Summer (June through August): The middle-year months have cold weather with high temperatures.
Fall (September through November): It rains or snows a significant amount, 3 to 6 days per month.
Winter (December through February): Weather is far too cold this time of the year.
Where new expansions in European tourism are concerned, the considerable growth of the Balkans as a destination for vacations and travel is one of the most noteworthy inclinations in recent years. With approximately 105 million visitors to the Balkans each year, the region has become an important tourist destination.
Economically, travel and tourism promote employment, exports, supplemental foreign currency reserves, advanced technology, enhanced domestic supply chain, domestic consumption, private capital investment and public sector expenditures including capital investment for budget items like museums, national parks and transportation infrastructure.
Evidently, it is natural that more and more people are discovering the Balkans following centuries of local experience in cultivating the great traditions of hospitality. It is well known that in ancient times, travellers from ‘outside world’ who brought news and entertainment were welcomed by their hosts and favoured with preferential food, drink and accommodations.
Balkan Tours and Travels
The overconfident hospitality is what that makes each day unanticipated spent in the Balkans. This is the region abundant with fresh adventures, available than ever before. Regarding outdoor tour and holiday activities in Balkan, there are Rocky Mountains and terracotta towns attractively includes the Adriatic Sea along the Croatian and Montenegrin shorelines.
Albania is perhaps Europe’s most undiscovered treasure. Albanian travel in the heart of the Mediterranean, on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, offers something increasingly rare, a glance into a culture heritage. Besides, Albania's and Macedonia's mountain peaks are there for trekking and cycling and rivers to raft in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia or Slovenia. Some boat trips in the Balkans can be enjoyed with picturesque surroundings matchless to any worldwide. Landscapes of Bosnia and Serbia provide a journey rich in history and tradition. Lying at the crossroads of eastern and western cultures, they present a mix of Ottoman influences, Austro-Hungarian history and a warm hospitality that cannot fail to captivate. Though modification is coming on rapidly, timeless traditions and cultural custom-made aren't falling by the wayside. It's a region where one can hardly keep up with the night life, but still get stuck behind a horse and cart.
Balkans is the hidden jewel of Europe, yet to be explored by the Indian traveller. Frequent flight connections, easier visa formalities and friendly prices of the hotels and sightseeing excursions are some of the reasons for interest from the Indian travel and holiday package market. In fact Serbia has a facility of Visa on arrival for Indian travellers.
Balkan Tour and Holiday Packages
The exceptional natural, historical, cultural, ethnic, religious, linguistic, social and political diversity of the Balkans help converting the region into transnational tourist destination. Travellers can reach this region with Air India flights into Vienna, Turkish Airlines offering flight connectivity to Balkan States and excellent connectivity to Budapest and Greece by major carriers including Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Qatar and most European Carriers.
Regional Balkan Tour Packages can start and end in all the neighbouring countries airports like Sarajevo, Athens, Venice, Skopje, Podgorica, Istanbul, Ljubljana, Budapest, Tivat, Vienna, Tirana, Timisoara, Sofia, Dubrovnik, Bucharest, Zagreb where guides welcome groups and take them along the imaginative itineraries.
Balkan Tour Packages are created from experiencing lifestyle of different cultures and environments, meeting with true locals and sharing their attitudes, feelings, customs, beliefs, legends, myths and way of life.
More than 300 inspiring trips with tour packages can be created all through Serbia and the Balkans overall. Balkan Tours are guided by professional travel guides and travel advisers, while some groups explore rich cultural heritage of the Balkans, guided by the Serbian Orthodox monks, art historians, historians and archaeologists.
Balkan heritage trails focused on the local culture, art, architecture, music, hospitable people of the Balkans, food and wine and plenty of memorable surprises and excitements one can experience only in the Balkan countries. Handicraft workshops, Balkan traditional food and homemade products, touring the ancient prehistorically, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman sights and landmarks of the Balkans, local events and festivals, amaze all. Rural households featuring traditional lifestyle, icon painting, Cyrillic calligraphy and woodcarving, music and folklore courses are the rare experiences one can collect while exploring the Balkans.
Dook International - Leading Balkans Tour Operator
Dook International, one of the Leading Balkan Travel Agency and destination management companies, in India. The organisation specializes in authentic travel programs to the Balkan region including Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Serbia and Macedonia.
The timing is perfect to have a reliable company like Dook International to help travel agents and tour operators in India in planning unique itineraries for their end customers who are on the lookout for new destinations. From culinary tours to local music immersions and private tours, Dook International is the ideal partner to introduce the Balkan region.
The services include everything from meet and assist at the airport to accommodation, transfers, excursions, sightseeing, tour guides. All operations and land arrangements are handled by well-trained, highly motivated and personally involved, multilingual and professional staff with knowledge and understanding of the customers business and market.
Balkans Travel Guide and Tips
Balkans are safe, affordable, interesting, stunning, rich in history and culture, full of delicious food. Of late low cost airlines (Ryanair, Wizzair, Easyjet) started flying to the Balkans, hence easy to get into the Balkans. The best time to travel the Balkans is in most cases the spring and summer season. But sometimes it becomes difficult to get public transport out of the airport. Very often it’s nonexistent and taxis are overpriced, but the only option. There are also bus and train connections from neighbouring countries (Austria, Hungary, Greece) but take hours and are expensive Trains operate only very few routes so best option are buses.
Crossing borders during Balkan travels shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. As the region is becoming more and more popular in most of the places lots of accommodation options are found. The Balkans are food heaven for all the meat lovers. Places near the coast are known for excellent fresh fish and seafood.
Balkans is very safe as the people are super friendly and helpful. Prices are moderate across the Balkans, far more cheap than in Western Europe. During off season affordable accommodation and food are abundant in touristy places.
General views are - Macedonia and Albania to be the cheapest countries while Croatia is the most expensive one, the rest is simply fine. Expensive is the transport between the cities. Worth mentioning that Kosovo, Montenegro and Slovenia use Euro as their currency.
Best Time to Visit Balkans Countries
The Balkan region spreads over 500,000km², so climate does vary, particularly between the mountains and the coast. Many Balkan countries are small, too, like Montenegro or Macedonia, so they get busy in July and August. Generally spring and autumn are the perfect time for cultural and national park visits.
During spring everything is green and blooming and the air smells like flowers. Early autumn is also best time for one to visit and enjoy in the Balkans. Basically from end of March till mid June and from September till late October is the apt and preferable time to travel to the Balkans.