Back to backpacking through Europe! You´ve ever been in Albania, Montenegro or Bosnia and Herzegovina? I want to tell you about those three countries and the cities if been to in this edition of A Beginner’s Guide to Europe. This will hopefully give you some inspiration for your own backpacking trip!
For all of you enjoying nature, hiking or history Gjirokastër in southern Albania is a must see. Its old town is on the World Heritage List as an example of a well-preserved Ottoman town. I stayed at a nice B&B called “Bed and Breakfast Kotoni”. You should definitely climb on top of the castle to enjoy a panorama view over the town.
Albania in general has an interesting history where you can still experience the impacts of communism (the Republic of Albania was established in 1991). 70% of the country are covered in mountains – it´s a perfect place for all outdoor-lovers. Albanian people are nice and hospitable (for example: I couldn’t find my way so I asked someone for help and he accompanied me to my hostel!), but some people do not speak English, so it wouldn’t hurt to learn a view Albanian phrases (in particular on the countryside). Also, try the food! It’s fantastic and very cheap.
If you want to read a more detailed account of my time in Albania, you can do that here.
Kotor IS AMAZING! GO ThERE!
The small coastal town is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited during my trip. Take a stroll through the old town itself and some small shops. Kotor has one of the best preserved medieval old towns in the Adriatic and is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The area surrounding Kotor is a picturesque Mediterranean landscape. I day-tripped around the Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska) with the bicycle. It’s a great way to spot some hidden beaches and catch a glimpse of the other towns around the area.
You can read more about my adventures in Kotor here.
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA
The cultural capital of the Herzegovina region is Mostar and the Old Bridge (built by the Ottomans in the 16th century) is one of it’s most recognizable landmarks. I stayed in the small hostel “Rooms Deny“.
Deny took some other backpackers and me on a full day tour around Herzegovina where we could discover all the beauty and charm of this part of the country. One of the highlights of this day was the traditional Burek breakfast – yummy!!
At 40° Celsius we also dived directly into the Kravica Waterfalls.
I´ve spent three nights in Mostar I then travelled to Sarajevo with some people I´ve met in Mostar. Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina and therefore the leading political, social and cultural center. In Sarajevo I learned a lot about the First World War (the assassination of the Archduke of Austria took place here in 1914) and the genocide that happened in Srebrenica in 1995 (more than 8.000 Muslim Bosniaks were killed during the Bosnian War). To learn more about these terrible things was very moving for me. I was also shocked about how little the media in Germany report about such events and how little we learn at school about it. Therefore I can only recommend to travel to Bosnia & Herzegovina once in your lifetime! You need more reasons for Bosnia & Herzegovina? Just check out this blog post from my lovely friend Lydia.
Have you ever been to one of those countries or cities? What other tips can you add? Let me know in the comment section below!
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