10 Reasons why you should do a joint trip to the countries of the former-Yugoslavia
The former Yugoslavia region (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro) is full of History and stories and deserves to be visited in depth, entirely, instead of just visiting it superficially. To visit a couple of cities only, with the objective of checking them out of your list of “places to be visited” is to lose the opportunity to truly see it and get to know it beyond the obvious.
Thus, we have elaborated a list of reasons why the region should be visited as a whole.
- Up until 1991 we’d be in a single country
For most of us, living in old stable countries it is quite difficult to assimilate the pace at which borders change in this part of the world. Nowadays when we travel through Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia (for instance) we pass by 3 countries, and we need 3 different currencies: Euros, Kunas and Convertible Marks, respectively. Until 1991 we wouldn’t ever leave the same country, we’d only pass through different regions.
- Historical ties don’t disappear easily
So, 27 years (1991 to 2018) are not enough to erase the historical, economic and social ties among these countries which spent the majority of the 20th century together. During Yugoslavia people could, obviously, travel freely through the several regions and chose different places to live, which makes it easy, nowadays, to find true “Yugoslav” families, whose ancestors came from several different places, nationalities and even religions. To understand this diversity is to understand the region.
- Common culture and gastronomy
So many years together (most of the 20th century) and before that so many centuries of presence of foreign powers, namely Turks and Austrians, would have to leave marks. Thus, in any of these countries we’re able to find delicacies which don’t belong to any of them but to all of them instead like Burek (puff pastry stuffed with meat, cheese or spinach) or Cevapi (meat rolls served with kajmak, something between butter and cheese, which, melted on the meat makes it delicious), or even the coffee, which is something important here! Usually Bosnia is appointed as the place with the tastiest food and coffee!
The music scene is also immune to borders. Current bands and singers are very famous in all these countries (the fact that all speak the same language, Serbian/Croatian, or at least understand it well makes it easier) but also the ones before the disintegration of the country. The old school classics from the 80s and 90s are still part of daily life in all the countries.
- Bosnia is a melting pot of nations and religions…
It is impossible to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina without speaking, permanently, of nationalities and religions. It’s the Bosniaks – populations of Muslim faith, the Croats – Catholics, and the Serbs – Orthodox religion. All of them live there, for centuries, but in the 90s they placed themselves in extreme positions originating a civil war.
Then, to understand the peculiarity of such a country we need to understand why these 3 religions cohabit throughout history and which implications that fact had in the 90s’ wars. It seems, then, interesting to visit Croatia and Serbia also when visiting Bosnia, right?!
- … and it’s not the only one
Bosnia is the clearest case of this mixture of peoples and religions, but it is not the only one. Montenegro can be easily included on a trip to Serbia (specially in summer 😊) being the population, religion and language, etc shared by both. It’s not a fortuity that both countries constituted a single country until 2006.
On the other hand, it might also be interesting to include Montenegro on a trip to the Adriatic coast, which will allow to understand why the neighbors to the north – Slovenia and Croatia – have catholic populations but Montenegro is mainly orthodox.
We could go on and include others: Macedonia and Serbia itself, and in a lesser degree Croatia, include, within their borders, population of other nationalities and religions which constitute in a certain way a continuity with bordering countries, making sense to visit it them together, not by separate.
- The past is always present
The best thing to do is to prepare the trip before coming, to research a little bit, so that you’ll be aware, upon arrival, of so much diversity and History. To understand the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s we need to understand, firstly, why that country was created. That’s almost an impossible mission!
Why was it that important both geo-strategically and politically during the Cold War, between the 2 antagonistic blocks?
What was its role during the Second World War and why did the First World War start here? Or even before that, why did the Turks and Austrians fight for centuries across these lands?
Only by understanding all of that we’ll be able to understand the German-like organization of Slovenian cities, the “Italian” architectonic style in Slovenian and Croatian coasts, the strong presence of Muslim populations or even the usage of 2 alphabets (latin and cirilic).
- Some countries are too small to justify a single visit
Some of these countries are really small and therefore are only worth dedicating them a single visit if you really want to go deep into that country, but most travelers won’t.
Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro and the region of Kosovo are smaller than Belgium, the last 2 way smaller! Even the other ones: Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia are smaller than Ireland.
That means it is easy to combine several countries in one single trip.
- It’s right there!
Zagreb (capital of Croatia) is around an hour drive from Ljubljana (capital of Slovenia).
If you go to Dubrovnik (Croatia) you’ll be 2 hours away from Kotor (Montenegro) or from Mostar (Bosnia) and from there it’s just a little bit more to Sarajevo.
And we’re just mentioning capital cities or UNESCO World Heritage sites which clearly justify a trip but there are many other examples!
- Because the time is now
Now is the right moment to visit these countries. From the 6 only 2 belong to the European Union: Slovenia and Croatia. And we know that when new countries join the European common space all countries become more attractive and seen as a new touristic destination. This happens mainly with Croatia in high season. The other countries are still fairly unknown which means that visiting them now still offers the opportunity to have an authentic experience, almost personalized.
The gastronomy is still local, the habits are still authentic, and the tourists are seen with some degree of curiosity. The locals are still willing to start a conversation with a tourist which makes the experience way more enriching.
Furthermore, the prices are still “nice” in most of these destinations.
- At first it’s a “not so popular destination”, then you won’t have enough!
Visiting the former Yugoslavia is na unique experience and therefore you will not want to go back home! You’ll be fascinated with any of the countries where you’ll start from and then you’ll wish to keep discovering them!
Drop us an email to arrange a tour for you around the beauties of the former Yugoslavia!!! firstname.lastname@example.org