The Balkan Peninsula, or the Balkans, is a peninsula and a cultural area in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea.
The Balkan Peninsula is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea to the west, the Mediterranean Sea (including the Ionian and Aegean seas) and the Marmara Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the east. Its northern boundary is often given as the Danube, Sava and Kupa Rivers.The Balkan Peninsula has a combined area of about 470,000 km2 (181,000 sq mi) (slightly smaller than Spain). It is more or less identical to the region known as Southeastern Europe.
Turkey (European part)
Territories in the time zone of UTC+01:00: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia
Territories in the time zone of UTC+02:00: Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey
The best time to travel the Balkans is in most cases the spring and summer season – especially if you want to go for a swim at the coast. Nevertheless you can also spend your winter in one of the winter resorts. City Breaks are an option all year round: the capital cities are great spots in all countries mentioned.
Balkan is very attractive as most of the beauty is still totally off the beaten European tourist paths: low prices, warm-hearted locals, tasty food and loads of beautiful landscape is just waiting to be discovered by you.
Like in many other European countries you are fine with English in Hotels/Hostels and with Tour operators – often also basic English is spoken by locals, most likely in touristic hot spots.
In general people in the Balkans are very welcoming, friendly and will help you getting around if you are running into problems. I often used gestures and hand signs to communicate and have been quite successful with it. As the locals are very hospitable they sometimes even invite you for drinks or dinner after you met them.
The Balkan region is very budget friendly compared to Western Europe, though there are huge differences between the countries and the popular tourist destinations (the places off the tourist paths are much cheaper).
Given the number of different cultures in such a small area you can expect to have a big selection of various food to try on your trip. One thing all countries have in common: they love meat and hearty food. Nevertheless you shouldn’t miss the local food, also Vegetarians will find good options as the Balkans are also well known for their fresh salads.
The common mode of transportation for long distances is the bus. In cities taxis are another fairly cheap option. The travel times within the countries are sometimes quite long as the infrastructure isn’t the best, you also need to plan some waiting time for the border crossings (especially during holiday season and on the weekends).