Home Tourism Five breathtaking natural wonders to visit in the Balkans

Five breathtaking natural wonders to visit in the Balkans

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When it comes to tourism, the Balkan countries tend to be overshadowed by some of Europe’s larger Western countries, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a world of spectacular beauty throughout the peninsula. Lush green valleys, towering mountains and a wide range of native Balkan species are just some of the highlights that await visitors to this historic region. When planning your next trip to Europe, don’t miss all the abundant natural beauty that the Balkan Peninsula has to offer.

Una National Park

In western Bosnia, Una National Park offers some of the most beautiful waterfalls on the Balkan Peninsula. Some of the reserve’s most iconic canals can be found in the small village of Martin Brod, while the Štrbački buk is the largest waterfall in the park, measuring 82 feet high. Una National Park is perhaps best known for its bodies of water, but the area is also home to some fascinating man-made structures. In the small village of Ostrovica, visitors can stroll to Ostrovica Castle, a ruined 15th-century fortress that offers magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.

Tara National Park

About four hours southwest of Belgrade, an oasis of pristine natural beauty exists in the form of Tara National Park. The eastern outskirts of the park are home to fascinating historical remains like the 11th-century Rača Monastery, but for those seeking wildlife, there is a world of opportunity in the heart of the park. The region is covered in immense virgin forests of pine, fir and spruce, with a wealth of iconic Balkan species all thriving within its borders. Lynxes, wolves and hawks are just some of the creatures lucky visitors might spot, and when it comes to Serbian brown bears, there’s no better place to observe them than the Tara National Park.

Pirin National Park

The southwestern regions of Bulgaria are home to some truly spectacular mountains, and there’s no better place to experience them than Pirin National Park. There are approximately 150 square miles of land to explore here, with vast expanses of old-growth pine forests that are home to more than 200 different animal species, including brown bears, gray wolves, and golden eagles. Trees are a common sight around Pirin National Park, but one specimen in particular is an absolute must-see for first-time visitors. Known as the Baikushev pine, this Bosnian pine is approximately 1,300 years old, making it the oldest conifer living in Bulgaria today.

Lake Kerkini National Park

Lake Kerkini is a birdwatcher’s paradise today, but this idyllic body of water is actually a relatively recent invention, created in 1932 by the construction of a dam on a nearby river. Over time, Lake Kerkini has become one of the most sought-after birding spots in all of Greek Macedonia, with over 300 different avian species recorded along its waters over the years. Birds, including white pelicans and flamingos, are the main attraction here, but lucky visitors may also spot a herd of introduced water buffalo.

Valbona Valley National Park

Although the towering peaks seen above wouldn’t look out of place in Switzerland or Austria, this range is actually part of the Accursed Mountains, a formation also called the Albanian Alps. There’s no shortage of idyllic villages to explore in the Valbona Valley, from Dragobi to Valbona, but this iconic park is home to more than just humans. The rich biodiversity of the Western Balkan Peninsula is on full display here, with brown bears, chamois and lynx all calling the park home.

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