When Peter Duncan took up a friend’s invitation to make his first visit to the Balkans, he was faced with an abundance of surprises. He happily admits: “Whilst I had visited many other regions of the world, this was a part of Europe, almost on my doorstep, which I knew so little about”. Peter’s initial visit revealed to him the area’s immense potential as a self-guided hiking or adventure holiday destination, as well as the opportunity to discover its rich and ancient culture.
This is the region where it all started – and still the Balkans remain a special place for us.
Our featured adventure holidays in the Balkans
Why adventuring in the Balkans?
From the Carpathian mountains in the North to the region that stretches to the Black Mountains in the East, and from the Black Sea in the West, to the shores of the Aegean in the South. This part of the Old continent includes some of Europe’s most ancient and unspoiled natural environments. There are some of the continent’s oldest mountain ranges, last primaeval forests, glacial lakes, largest caves and unique natural rock phenomena. Europe’s largest canyon – Vikos Gorge (second only to the Grand Canyon), and the world-famous Danube river.
As Peter Duncan travelled through the area, he discovered its rich history, culture, and importance as a crossroads of civilisations and empires. Although sometimes perceived as the “New Europe” this part of the continent includes some of the most ancient countries and civilizations, being the one time home of: Ancient Greeks, Illyrians, Thracians, Romans, Alexander The Great, Spartacus, Saxons and parts of the Byzantine and Venetian, Austro Hungarian, and Ottoman empire.
The region is awash with myth and legend and abounds in archaeological sites, as well as ancient monasteries, fairytale castles, fortresses, museums, and galleries. Many rural areas still maintain their traditional customs and way of life, along with the warmth and hospitality for which the people have long been known. Folk singing and dancing play a large part in the region’s calendar. The participants in those events are often adopting their local costumes to take part in the festivals and rituals that have been a part of community life for centuries.
The region’s large number of accredited UNESCO natural and cultural world heritage sites have also assured its recognition on the world tourism stage.
The region is home to a beautiful mix of food and wine. From traditional Polish, Slovakian, and Romanian cuisine in the north, to Greek, Turkish, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern influences in the South. This part of Europe has a well-deserved reputation for diverse and distinctive cuisine. The region has been famed and respected for wine production since ancient times!
In addition to the spectacular nature, ancient culture, and excellent cuisine the area has a climate that ranges from continental in the north, to sub-tropical in the South. Offering long hours of sunshine, mild nights and some of the cleanest air in Europe.