15 Adventure Activities You Can Do in the Balkans
We all know that Europe is one of the dream destinations of travelers around the world. Offering numerous experiences and awesome places, it’s the ideal place to unwind. And in this continent, there is this wonderful region that is yet to be explored.
It’s the Balkans! It’s a region in Southeast Europe. Its countries include Albania, Romania, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Serbia, Greece, Croatia, Bulgaria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Kosovo. With these countries, there’s always something to do and new knowledge to learn.
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In this article, we made a list of 15 adventure activities you can do in the Balkans. This will help you fix your itinerary as you visit this region.
If hiking is your main agenda when traveling, the Balkan is one of the regions that you should visit. Its countries are boasting with mountains. Actually, every country in it offers a great opportunity for hiking. However, most of the mountains here are not really well-maintained or well-marked, except Slovenia. But with the help of local tourists and national park offices, you can have an idea where you should hike depending on your level of ability. The best time to hike is from May to September. For a less crowded hike, late August to early September is recommended.
2. Cycling & Mountain Biking
If hiking is not your forte, then why not try cycling and mountain biking? Since it is becoming popular in the region, Some hills and mountains are quite challenging, but the scenic views are really rewarding. The places you should consider are Pelister National Parks in North Macedonia, the Lovcen in Montenegro, Biokovo Nature Park in Croatia, Bike Park Kranjska Gora in Slovenia, and Tara in Serbia. And the best time to do this activity is in March, April, May, September, and October. Summer can get really hot and crowded since it’s the peak season.
Although ski resorts in the Balkans are not really huge and challenging compared to other ski resorts in the Western European countries, they are relatively cheaper and they provide easier access. You can try and enjoy skiing at some of these ski resorts; Poiana Brasov in Romania, Zabljak in Montenegro, Brezovica in Kosovo, and Bansko in Bulgaria. The ski season starts from December until March. But the best time to ski is in February since more reliable snow happens during this month.
When it comes to rafting, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina are the ideal countries to visit. It’s because they both have the Tara River. In Montenegro’s part, it includes the 1,300 m deep Tara Canyon. And in Bosnia, you can go to Vrba Canyon and the Una and Neretva Rivers for an exciting water rafting. Other places that you can go to for rafting is the Soca River at Bovec in Slovenia. Sava, Kolpa, Savinja, Krka, and Drava Rivers.
In Southern Serbia, the Drina, Libar, and Lim rivers have nice white-water rafting opportunities. The Cetine River in Croatia and Vjosa and Osumi Canyons are also some of the places you should go to for rafting. The best time to do this is from April to October.
Of course, if there is rafting, kayaking is a must-try adventure activity in the Balkans as well. And for this, we couldn’t think of any best places in the Balkans to do this other than the fjord-like Bay of Kotor in Montenegro for a dramatic kayak. But if you want a more romantic kayak experience, we recommend you to try it at the foot of the Dubrovnik walls during sunset.
Can you imagine how lovely is that? As for inland kayaking, Canyon Matka in North Macedonia, Zagreb’s Jarun Lake in Croatia, Gazivode Lake in Kosovo, Uvac Canyon in Serbia, and Lake Skadar in Montenegro and Albania are the ideal destinations.
6. Scuba Diving
Because of richness in marine life, diving is also one of the best adventure activities you can do in the Balkans. But what are the interesting things that you can find underwater? You can see wrecks from the ancient times down to WW 2 planes. Reefs, caves, springs, sea snails, conger eels, sea slugs, octopuses, scorpionfish, rare giant mussel, colorful sponges, and red gorgonian fans are just some of the few species that you will see there.
You can try going to some of the diving centers in the Croatian Coast. In Montenegro, you’ll most likely find diving centers in Przno, Budva, and Ulcinj. While in Slovenia, they are available in Piran, Portoroz, and Ankaran, or you can also try diving in Kolpa River.
Of course, if there is diving, snorkeling is also possible. If you don’t have the courage to try diving, this would be the best adventure activity that you can do in the Balkans. You will also find some of the most stunning marine life in the Balkans when you try snorkeling. This activity is always available anywhere in the Balkans as well the same with diving.
If you got the money, then why not try sailing? Before, sailing was considered an activity only for the rich and wealthy, but there’s good news. In the Balkans, especially in Croatia, there are more affordable sailing opportunities and organized multiday tours. But of course, if you want a more luxurious sailing experience, you can see them in Porto Montenegro in Tivat. Considered as one of the best superyacht marinas in the world, you can rent a boat if you want to, either with a captain or you alone, if you’re considered experienced.
9. Birdwatching & Wildlife-watching
Are you an animal lover? Then that’s great because you can do birdwatching and wildlife-watching as an adventure activity in the Balkans. Through this activity, you can see some of the endangered animals such as the griffon vulture in Croatia’s Kvarner islands and Serbia’s Uvac Canyon, and Dalmatian Pelican in Lake Skadar in Albania and Montenegro. As for bear watching, consider going to Tara National Park in Serbia, Mavrovo and Pelister National Parks in North Macedonia, and the Loz Valley in Slovenia.
Of course, with the Balkans’ great natural resources such as lakes and beaches, swimming is one of the great adventure activities you can do in the Balkans. There are plenty of good swimming spots from Slovenia to Albania. Even throughout the Croatian islands. Depending on the type of beach you like, whether it be; rocky, pebbly or sandy. The Balkans has it for you.
You can visit some of the famous swimming spots such as Zagreb’s Jarun Lake, Kravic Waterfall in Bosnia & Herzegovina, the lakes at Krka National Park, and the Danube near Vukovar. Even a landlocked country like Serbia even has some good swimming spots. The best examples are Novi Sad’s Strand, Silver Lake in eastern Serbia, Zaovine Lakes in Tara National Park, and Ada Ciganija in Belgrade.
11. Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
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If you want some adrenaline rush, this may be the best option. Windsurfing and Kitesurfing are not for the fainthearted. But if you want your Balkan trip to be more memorable, this is really a recommended activity. For the best windsurfing opportunities, Viganj on Peljesac Peninsula and Bol on Brac Island in Croatia is the place to be. While Montenegro’s Velika Plaza is the great choice for Kitesurfing.
Again, not for the fainthearted. Rockclimbing is for the braves and determined individuals. For this activity, we recommend you to visit Mount Triglav’s north face in Slovenia. If you’re in Croatia, go to Paklenica National Park, you’ll find climbing crags on Krk Island, Split’s Marjan Hill, and the Zumberak Samoborsko Gorje range. For a challenging rock climb, you should head to Kosovo, and try climbing the Mokra Gora mountain.
13. Horse Riding
As for horse riding, Slovenia is the best country to be in the Balkans. You can go to Lipica Stud Farm which is the birthplace of the Lipizzan Breed and the Mrcina Ranch in Studor. There are also numerous options in Serbia such as Vojvodina Salasi and horse farms or mountains like the Zlatibor.
Of course, for relaxation, the Balkans also has that for you. Boasting with 20 thermal-spa resorts, Slovenia will make you guarantee a relaxing vacation. In the countryside part of Serbia, there are also some thermal spas available, Vrnjacka Banja is the most famous one. Istria and Zagorje in Croatia are also recommended places to visit.
15. Extreme Sports
If you’re in for some extreme sports then why don’t you try canyoning, hydroseeding, and paragliding? These extreme sports are most popular in Slovenia. You can also try paragliding above Crikvenica or Motovun in Croatia and Mount Galecica in North Macedonia.
With all these 15 Adventure Activities You Can Do in the Balkans, you’ll surely have a great and wonderful stay in the Balkans.
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About the Writer
Hi there! I’m Fatima. My first major travel was in 2016 in the beautiful city of Cebu. After that, I got interested in traveling. Now I enjoy learning languages and other country’s cultures. My goal is to visit at least one country each year and to share my experiences with other people through writing or blogging. Witness my journey by following me on Instagram.
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