When I was planning the leg of my bus journey between Sofia in Bulgaria and Belgrade in Serbia, I noticed it required me to change buses in the Serbian town of Niš Sultan Mahmud in Constantinople. Of course I’d never heard of Niš (to be honest I didn’t know many places in Serbia except Belgrade) but to minimise the stress already caused by any bus journey in the Balkans I decided to stop overnight before continuing my onward journey. Before arriving, I got googling – what is there to do in Niš? The answer, I discovered, is, while it seems like a perfectly lovely place to live, there’s not a lot of activities to keep a tourist entertained. The one thing that repeatedly came up during my search was the Skull Tower. Intrigued, and at a loss for how else to fill my day in Niš, I decided to pay it a visit.
I’ve said it so many times now but I fell so hard for Bosnia & Herzegovina when travelling around the Balkans. Out of six countries I visited it was my runaway favourite and a big part of that was because of Sarajevo (if you want to know all of the reasons I loved Bosnia, I wrote a whole blog post about it here). The country’s recent turbulent history is still at the forefront of many people’s minds when they think of Sarajevo, but these days Bosnia’s capital is a buzzy hub of amazing food and culture. It really offers everything you could want in a European city break, but with fewer tourists and cheaper prices! What’s not to love? If you’re not 100% convinced already, take a look at all these cool things you can do in the city…
Most people choose Kotor as a base for their trip to Montenegro, and it’s undeniably a good choice, offering plenty to do, while also being really easily accessible for shorter day trips to less tourist-heavy towns dotted around the bay. If you’ve got the time to spare one trip worth taking is to the lovely little town of Perast, which is about 20 minutes down the road by bus.
Hiking the path up to the fortress in Kotor is one of the most popular things to do in all of Montenegro. If you’re all about getting a great view (which I definitely am) then this is an absolute must for your Balkans bucketlist. Unfortunately, as the hike has become more popular there has been an ‘entrance fee’ imposed on the main path up to the fortress. What some people do not realise is that there is another way to get up there for free, which is super easy if you know where to go.
When it comes to Bosnia & Herzegovina the city on most people’s bucket list isn’t the capital of Sarajevo (one of my favourite cities), but it’s quaint little southerly sister, Mostar. When you see Mostar it’s easy to see why. The cobbled streets, and quirky restaurants give it a much cosier small-town vibe, which is juxtaposed by the magnificently imposing Stari Most bridge. If you’re thinking of visiting Mostar, this is my guide to the things you should do, as well as some excellent restaurants and a recommendation for accommodation that is like a home-away-from-home!