Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Balkans Road Trip: A Balkan Travel Itinerary With Coasts, Parks, & More


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Dori Jasinski



Welcome to the Balkans, a vibrant and culturally diverse region in Southeast Europe. This enchanting area, known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality, is the perfect destination for an unforgettable road trip. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a unique adventure, the Balkans have something for everyone.


Stretching from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea, the Balkans are home to a plethora of countries, each with its own distinct charm. From the ancient ruins of Greece to the medieval villages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Balkans offer a captivating mix of old-world charm and modern attractions.


Embark on an epic road trip through the Balkans and experience the beauty and diversity of this fascinating region. This itinerary will take you on a journey through historic cities, picturesque coastlines, breathtaking national parks, and authentic local experiences.


As you explore the Balkans, you’ll encounter architectural wonders, vibrant markets, delicious cuisine, and friendly locals who are eager to share their traditions and stories. Whether you choose to visit popular tourist destinations or venture off the beaten path, the Balkans will leave a lasting impression on your heart.


With its stunning scenery, architectural marvels, and rich cultural heritage, the Balkans offer a unique and immersive travel experience. So, pack your bags, buckle up, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime as we embark on a memorable road trip through the Balkans.


Day 1: Arrival in the Balkans

Welcome to the Balkans! Your adventure begins as you arrive at the airport in one of the region’s major cities, such as Zagreb, Croatia, or Belgrade, Serbia. Take a moment to soak in the excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead.


After clearing customs, collect your rental car and start your journey. If you arrive early, take the opportunity to explore the city you landed in before hitting the road. Wander through the charming streets, sample the local cuisine, and visit iconic landmarks. This will give you a taste of the Balkan culture and help you transition into the vibrant vibes of the region.


Once you’re ready to venture further, start driving towards your first destination – the historic city of Dubrovnik, located in Croatia’s southernmost region. Known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its well-preserved medieval walls, charming old town, and breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea.


As you approach Dubrovnik, the magnificent city walls will come into view. Park your car and take a stroll along the fortifications, immersing yourself in centuries of history. Explore the maze-like streets of the old town, where you’ll find stunning churches, picturesque squares, and bustling markets.


Be sure to take a ride on the cable car that ascends to Mount Srd, offering panoramic views of Dubrovnik and the surrounding Adriatic coastline. As the sun begins to set, find a cozy restaurant nestled within the city walls and indulge in delicious local seafood while enjoying the magical atmosphere.


After a day filled with exploration and discovery, retire to your accommodation in Dubrovnik or its nearby coastal towns. Rest up and prepare for the next leg of your Balkan adventure, as there’s much more to see and experience in the days to come.


Day 2: Exploring the Historic Cities

Today, get ready to delve into the rich history and architectural wonders of the Balkans as you explore some of the region’s most captivating historic cities.


Begin your day with a drive to the city of Mostar, located in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Known for its iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge) that spans the Neretva River, Mostar is a symbol of unity and resilience. Walk across the bridge, admire its intricate design, and take in the stunning views of the turquoise waters below.


Explore the streets of the old town, where you’ll find centuries-old Ottoman architecture, charming cobblestone alleys, and bustling bazaars. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste traditional Bosnian cuisine, such as cevapi (grilled meat skewers), burek (a savory pastry), and baklava (a sweet pastry soaked in honey).


After soaking up the culture and history of Mostar, make your way to the city of Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo is a tapestry of diverse cultures and traditions, influenced by its Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Yugoslav heritage.


Embark on a walking tour of the city’s historic center, where you’ll see the iconic Baščaršija Square, the Sebilj fountain, and the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque. Visit the Sarajevo City Hall, a stunning example of Moorish Revival architecture, and the Tunnel of Hope, a reminder of the city’s resilience during the Siege of Sarajevo.


Take a moment to learn about the tumultuous past of the city at the Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum, which provides insight into the Siege of Sarajevo and the Bosnian War. This poignant experience will give you a deeper understanding of the resilience and spirit of the Sarajevo people.


As the day comes to an end, find a quaint café in Sarajevo and indulge in Bosnian coffee and traditional desserts like tufahija (stuffed apple) or baklava. Reflect on the history and culture you’ve encountered throughout the day as you prepare for the next leg of your Balkan journey.


Day 3: Coastal Wonders and Beaches

Get ready to soak up the sun and enjoy the stunning coastal scenery as you embark on a day of exploration along the beautiful Adriatic coastline.


Start your day by driving along the picturesque Dalmatian Coast, making your way to the charming city of Split, Croatia. Split is known for its impressive Roman landmarks, including the iconic Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander through the narrow streets of the palace complex, marvel at the ancient architecture, and discover hidden courtyards filled with charming shops and cafes.


Continue your coastal journey by heading south to the seaside town of Trogir. This tiny, UNESCO-listed gem is like a living museum, with its well-preserved medieval architecture, stunning waterfront, and narrow cobblestone streets. Visit the grand Cathedral of St. Lawrence and explore the Kamerlengo Fortress, which offers panoramic views of the town and surrounding islands.


From Trogir, make your way to the enchanting town of Šibenik. Here, you will find the majestic St. James’s Cathedral, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the intricate stone carvings that adorn the cathedral, and take a stroll through the charming old town, immersing yourself in the authentic Dalmatian atmosphere.


After exploring Šibenik, continue your coastal adventure to the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park, located inland but well worth the drive. This breathtaking natural wonderland is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its cascading lakes and waterfalls. Take a leisurely stroll along the wooden pathways and soak in the tranquility and beauty that surround you.


As the day comes to an end, make your way to the coastal town of Zadar, famous for its beautiful sunsets and unique Sea Organ. Enjoy a romantic walk along Zadar’s waterfront promenade, called Riva, and witness the mesmerizing sounds produced by the waves against the organ’s pipes as the sun sets on the horizon. It’s a perfect way to end a day filled with coastal wonders and the beauty of the Adriatic.


Find a local seafood restaurant for dinner, where you can indulge in fresh catch-of-the-day dishes and raise a glass of local wine to toast to the beauty of the Balkans’ coastal treasures.


Day 4: Discovering National Parks

Today, get ready to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Balkans as you explore some of the region’s most stunning national parks.


Begin your day by driving to Plitvice Lakes National Park, a true gem nestled in the heart of Croatia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its ethereal turquoise lakes interconnected by cascading waterfalls. Embark on a guided tour or explore the park independently, following the network of wooden walkways that wind through the park’s lush forests and over the pristine waters. Keep an eye out for diverse wildlife, including rare bird species and playful otters.


After experiencing the tranquility of Plitvice Lakes, continue your journey to Durmitor National Park in Montenegro. Known for its rugged mountains, deep canyons, and glacial lakes, Durmitor offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Hike along the impressive Tara River Canyon, one of the deepest in Europe, and marvel at the stunning views from the peaks of Bobotov Kuk or Prutaš. If you’re feeling adventurous, try whitewater rafting down the Tara River for an adrenaline-pumping experience.


Next, make your way to the picturesque Žabljak, the highest town in the Balkans and the gateway to Durmitor National Park. Enjoy a traditional Montenegrin lunch at a local restaurant, savoring dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.


After lunch, continue your exploration by driving to the beautiful Biogradska Gora National Park, also located in Montenegro. Biogradska Gora is one of the last remaining untouched primeval forests in Europe, home to an abundance of plant and animal species. Take a leisurely walk through the ancient woodland, breathing in the fresh mountain air and immersing yourself in the tranquility of nature.


As the day winds down, make your way to the city of Kolašin, situated near Biogradska Gora National Park. Check into your accommodation and enjoy a relaxing evening, reflecting on the wonders of the Balkans’ national parks that you’ve had the privilege to witness.


Savor a delicious traditional meal, accompanied by a glass of locally produced rakija (fruit brandy), as you celebrate the beauty and preservation of these natural treasures.


Day 5: Immersing in Local Culture

Today is all about immersing yourself in the local culture and traditions of the Balkans. Get ready to connect with the people, sample authentic cuisine, and experience the vibrant customs of this diverse region.


Start your day by exploring the charming city of Ohrid, located on the shores of Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its rich history, medieval architecture, and beautiful Orthodox churches. Take a leisurely stroll along the cobblestone streets of the old town, visit the iconic Church of St. John at Kaneo for panoramic lake views, and browse through the vibrant local market to discover unique crafts and souvenirs.


After exploring Ohrid, make your way to the city of Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia. Skopje is a city of contrasts, where modern architecture blends with historical landmarks. Start your exploration at Macedonia Square, home to the iconic statue of Alexander the Great and the enormous Triumphal Arch. Visit the Old Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest marketplaces in the Balkans, where you can taste traditional Macedonian dishes, such as tavče gravče (baked beans), ajvar (red pepper relish), and pite (savory pies).


As the afternoon unfolds, venture to the city of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. Pristina is a vibrant and energetic city, brimming with youthful energy and a thriving art scene. Visit the iconic Newborn monument, erected to commemorate Kosovo’s declaration of independence, and explore the charming pedestrian street of Mother Teresa Boulevard. Witness the mix of cultures and religions as you visit the Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and the Great Mosque of Pristina.


Indulge in a traditional Kosovo meal at a local restaurant, savoring dishes like flija (layered pancake) or gjellë me presh (slow-cooked lamb with pumpkin). Engage in conversation with the locals, learning about their customs, unique traditions, and the history of Kosovo.


As the day comes to a close, reflect on the meaningful experiences and connections you’ve made during this day of cultural immersion. Each interaction and taste of local cuisine has added a new layer to your understanding and appreciation of the diverse Balkan culture.


Rest and recharge, as there are more adventures awaiting you in the days ahead.


Day 6: Mountain Retreats and Scenic Drives

Get ready to embrace the beauty of the Balkan landscapes as you embark on a day of exploring mountain retreats and taking in breathtaking scenic drives.


Start your day by driving through the picturesque countryside to the stunning mountain town of Kotor, situated in Montenegro. Nestled at the end of a fjord-like bay, Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its well-preserved medieval old town and dramatic mountain backdrop.


Take a leisurely stroll along the ancient city walls, offering panoramic views of the bay and the red-roofed buildings below. Explore the cobblestone streets, visit impressive churches, and soak in the atmosphere of this charming coastal town.


After exploring Kotor, continue your journey towards the spectacular Durmitor National Park. As you drive through the winding mountain roads, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring views of rugged peaks, deep canyons, and pristine alpine lakes.


Arriving at Durmitor, take some time to breathe in the fresh mountain air and admire the majestic beauty all around. Enjoy a scenic hike through the park, following well-marked trails that lead to viewpoints overlooking the Tara River Canyon or to the tranquil Black Lake.


For those seeking adventure, you can also try your hand at mountain biking, rock climbing, or even paragliding, immersing yourself in the adrenaline-pumping activities available in this stunning natural playground.


As the day draws to a close, make your way to the charming town of Zabljak, the gateway to Durmitor National Park. Here, you can relax and unwind in cozy mountain lodges, surrounded by the tranquility and serenity of nature.


Indulge in traditional Montenegrin cuisine at a local restaurant, enjoying hearty dishes like cicvara (a local polenta-like dish) or locally sourced grilled meat. Reflect on the natural wonders you’ve encountered throughout the day, and take a moment to appreciate the beauty and grandeur of the Balkan mountains.


As you rest and recharge, let the peaceful ambiance of the mountain retreats prepare you for the final day of your Balkan adventure.


Day 7: Farewell to the Balkans

It’s the final day of your unforgettable Balkan road trip. Today, take some time to reflect on your incredible journey as you bid farewell to this enchanting region.


After enjoying a leisurely breakfast, take the scenic route back to your starting point, whether it be Zagreb, Belgrade, or another city where your adventure began. This drive will provide one last opportunity to soak in the stunning landscapes and reminisce about the diverse destinations you’ve explored over the past week.


As you make your way back, consider taking a detour to one of the charming towns along the route. Stop in a local café, indulge in some traditional pastries, and purchase souvenirs to remind you of the Balkan hospitality and memories you’ve made along the way.


Arriving at your final destination, return your rental car and take a moment to appreciate the full circle of your journey. The experiences, sights, and interactions you’ve had throughout the Balkans have undoubtedly left a lasting impression.


As you bid farewell to the region, take some time to capture your thoughts and memories either in a travel journal or through photographs. Reflect on the people you’ve met, the cultural encounters you’ve had, and the natural wonders that have taken your breath away.


While your road trip through the Balkans may be coming to an end, the memories and experiences you’ve gained will stay with you forever. The vibrant cities, stunning coastlines, national parks, and rich cultural heritage have left an indelible mark on your journey.


As you leave the Balkans, carry the spirit of adventure and exploration with you. Remember the warm hospitality of the locals, the awe-inspiring landscapes, and the vibrant tapestry of cultures that make this region so special.


Farewell, Balkans, until we meet again. This journey has been an incredible ride, filled with unforgettable moments and a deeper understanding of the beauty and diversity that the Balkans have to offer.


Safe travels, and may your experiences in the Balkans continue to inspire and enrich your future adventures!



As your Balkan road trip comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on the incredible adventure you’ve had and the memories you’ve made along the way.


The Balkans are a captivating region, filled with rich history, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality. From the historic cities steeped in culture to the breathtaking coastal scenery and the untouched wilderness of the national parks, every corner of the Balkans offers something unique and special.


Throughout your journey, you’ve experienced the architectural wonders of Dubrovnik’s old town, marveled at the cascading lakes of Plitvice, and immersed yourself in the local culture and cuisine of the region. You’ve explored historic cities like Mostar and Sarajevo, soaked up the sun along the Adriatic coast, and embraced the natural beauty of the majestic mountains.


But beyond the sights and attractions, it’s the connections you’ve made and the experiences you’ve had that truly make the Balkans unforgettable. The warm smiles of the locals, the mouthwatering flavors of traditional dishes, and the stories shared by the people you’ve encountered along the way have added depth and meaning to your journey.


As you leave the Balkans, may the memories of this incredible road trip stay with you forever. May they inspire you to continue exploring the world and embracing the beauty and diversity of different cultures.


Remember, the Balkans are only a small part of the vast tapestry of Europe, and there are many more adventures waiting for you. Whether you venture to other European destinations or return to the Balkans to explore further, may your wanderlust continue to be fueled by the experiences you’ve had on this road trip.


As you continue your travels, carry the spirit of adventure, curiosity, and openness. Embrace the unknown, embrace new experiences, and embrace the beauty of the world around you.


Thank you for joining us on this incredible journey through the Balkans. We hope it has sparked a lifelong love for this region and has left you with cherished memories that will last a lifetime.