While most of us remember Balkans and its countries Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia mostly from the news featuring wars, protests and ethnic problems which have started back in early ’90 which resulted with independence of all of them, beside Albania all above mentioned countries were “living” together under Yugoslavia but since change of the regime it all felt apart and now we have 7 independent countries.
What is interesting with the Balkans now is that It is now becoming the hotspot for tourism and all these places are unique on its own and have a long lasting traditions to share with the tourists, Yahoo travel and CNN have been reporting lately very often about their findings in the Balkans and I am going to point just a few of their findings
In 2011 CNN and Lonely Planet have ranked Albania on their top 10 list as a must visit place and the comments were that the top pick on Lonely Planet’s list of top 10 countries for 2011 may be a surprise for many people, but Albania gives travelers a taste of the Mediterranean without the crowds and the prices,
Albania has some of the most incredible beaches the breath taking views in the region of Saranda where beside beach and sea the food is delicious mostly the sea food with Italian recipes and quality at very very low prices and need to mention that the accommodation cost is also cheaper than everywhere in the region for e.g. a standard room costs about 40 EURO per night at most of the hotels in Saranda
Getting to Saranda if by plane you will need to fly to Tirana International Airport and there are some great fares available with Fly-Albania from some Italian cities, and then continue with a car or bus to Saranda a trip from Tirana to Saranda will take approx. 4 hours , and its worth every second spent there.
One of the last news from Yahoo travel regarding Albania is saying that “Land of Albania! Let me bend mine eyes on thee, thou rugged nurse of savage men.”
Those were Lord George Gordon Byron’s words in his famous poem, “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,” in which Byron chronicled the ragtag journey that he and his friend, the diarist and future politician John Cam Hobhouse, took through the mountainous regions of southern Albania in 1809 on their way to visit the despot Ali Pasha.
Kosovo, was the last country to declare independence which was done in February 2008 and since 1999 after the war it was under UN mandate, by traveling around Kosovo today you will not be able to notice that there was a war just 14 years ago, everything has been rebuilt and there are construction sites everywhere you go, a country with a large number of youth has some incredible mountains both Brezovica ski center and Rugova valley, people very friendly and believe it or not the Best Machiato in the world is made in Kosovo, and it comes in many options small or big, with hot or cold milk, with cream or no cream, small one in a large cup, Machiato is a long espresso with milk, but the way milk is prepared and added it makes it unique different and very tasty, one thing you will notice as soon as you go out in Kosovo is that majority of the people drink only Machiatos during the day so you have been warned in Kosovo you will be getting a lot of Machiatos.
Montenegro is another highly interesting country that has a long seaside to Adriatic Sea where during the last years huge investments towards a luxury resorts is being done specially with a booming numbers of Russian tourists Porto Montenegro is a high exclusive residence and Yacht Port, the port of Kotor is also well known place where luxurious yachts get parked during the high season in summer. The iconic hotel Splendid was used in Casino Royale – James Bond movie.
Croatia in 2014 become the 27th member of European Union so it has moved faster than all other neighboring countries towards the EU what makes Croatia very unique is the number of islands, Croatian Hydrographic Institute reports that there are 1246, and below is the list of top 10 Islands in Croatia:
So if you are going to Croatia soon add to your list visiting some of these islands, and while you are in Croatia already plan on visitng these cities as well Rovinj, Split Dubrovnik, Zadar and Pula you will be enjoying every aspect of it.
So as started this story you should remember that 20 years ago none of these countries existed and we are talking for countires which today make up to the top of the travel lists and are visited by large number of turists, so keep traveling and exploring. Will continue soon with the second article regarding the rest of the New Balkan Countries.
PhotoCredits: © cescassawin/Fotolia