21 Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Balkans

Are you considering traveling to the Balkans? If yes, do you know some facts about this peninsula? If no then we have them for you! Having plenty of beautiful places and exciting activities, it will make your next holiday enjoyable as ever.

The Balkans surely has a lot of surprising and interesting facts that are ready to be explored by a traveler like you! Having tons of castles historical, and archaeological sites, it offers an exciting and meaningful trip to anyone staying here.

Facts about Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Just to be prepared before your trip, we listed the facts about the Balkans and the countries in it for you to know what to expect when you go there. These facts are surprising and interesting at the same time. But these will also help you have a wonderful stay and will help you learn more about the region’s culture that of course, we need to respect. Here are the facts about the Balkans:

1. “Balkan” is a Turkish word that means “mountain”. 

2. The languages that are widely spoken in the Balkans are Albanian, Greek, Roman, and a lot of Slavic languages.

3. Two countries in the Balkans use the Euro. They’re Slovenia and Montenegro. 

Facts About Montenegro
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4. The Balkans is bordered by Italy, Hungary, and Ukraine. 

5. The approximate population in the Balkans is 55 million people.

6. The whole region has a combined area of 550,000 km².

7. The main religions in the Balkan Peninsula are Christianity (Eastern Orthodox and  Catholic) and Islam. 

8. Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia have Eastern Orthodox as their main religion.

9. Croatia and Slovenia have Roman Catholicism as their principal religion.

10. While Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Turkey have Islam as their main religion. 

11. If you wish to travel around the Balkans, a Schengen Visa would be the best visa that you can have. Although most of the Balkan countries are not included in the Schengen zone, having a two or multiple entry Schengen visas will allow you to wander around each Balkan country without worrying. 

Requirements for Schengen Visa application (For Filipinos):

  • A completed visa application form.
  • A valid passport. It should have at last 2 blank pages. 
  • Two photos are taken within the last 3 months. 
  • Proof of constitucional residence in the Philippines. It can be a National ID.
  • A round trip flight itinerary. It should have your entry and exit date. (a reservation is fine)
  • Europe travel health insurance. Your insurance should have at least 30,000 EUR medical emergencies.
  • Proof of Accommodation. It can be a hotel booking, letter of invitation, etc.
  • Proof of sufficient funds. (a bank statement, bank certificate, etc.)
  • Cover letter. Make sure that your cover letter has all the information regarding your trip. Such as the reason why you want to visit the Schengen area, the countries in which you’re traveling to, how long you will stay, and other details regarding your trip. 

Additional requirements for Filipinos who are employed:

  • Employment contract
  • Bank statement of the last 6 months.
  • Permission leave from your employer.
  • Income Tax Return or ITR

For the self-employed:

  • A copy of your business license in the Philippines.
  • Bank statement of your company for the last 6 months.
  • Income Tax Return or ITR

For students:

  • Proof of enrollment.
  • A ‘No Objection Letter’ from your school or University.


12. In Albania, there is this thing called ‘Xhiro’ wherein people walk in the evening. They do this to burn their excesses, stretch their legs after a long day and to catch up with their neighbors. It’s a traditional thing that even some of the roads are closed to cars for certain hours until people have finished walking and talking.

13. When you visit Albania, you might be very confused with this one so you need to remember this. Albanians nod their heads when they disagree with something, and they shake their heads when they agree.

14. There is this one city in Albania that doesn’t have any traffic lights. It is the city of Shkodra. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe. The restoration of the old town will make any history buffs excited!

15. Macedonia was a part of Yugoslavia from 1918 until 1991. The good thing was when it got its independence, no blood was shed.

16. Ohrid Lake, which is considered to be the oldest and deepest lake in Europe is located in Macedonia. Scientists say that Ohrid Lake is 4 million years old. It has over 200 endemic species.

Facts about North Macedonia
Milana Jovanov

17. There’s a village in Serbia wherein everything you see is all made of stone. It is called the “Stone Village of Gostusa”. It is situated on the slopes of Mt. Stara Planina. All houses are built out of stone, mud, and other natural materials. These houses are still in use up to this day. 

18. If one of your bucket lists is to see the Grand Canyon of Colorado but you’re worried about the expenses to go there, then worry no more. You can find it in the Balkans. Serbia has the Temstice River, this river will remind you of the grand canyon as it looks exactly like it!

19. One of the largest Orthodox Churches in the world can be found in the Balkans, and it’s in Serbia. It is called the Church of Saint Sava.

Facts about Serbia
Photo by watchsmart CC BY 2.0

20. The last remaining jungle in Europe can be found in the Balkans, and it’s in Bosnia & Herzegovina. It’s the Perucica. Perucica is a not so massive forest that consists of many trees that are believed to be more than 300 years old. Most of the forest’s parts are inaccessible to humans because of the density of the flora and fauna.

Facts about Bosnia and Herzegovina
Photo by Erwan Martin CC BY 2.0

21. One of Europe’s oldest tram network is located in Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was opened on New Year’s day in 1885.

Facts about the Balkans
Photo by sbamueller CC BY-SA 2.0
Facts about Bosnia and Herzegovina
Damir Bosnjak

These are the things to know about the Balkans and the countries in it that would get you ready when you decide to visit and explore this beautiful region. Make sure to make the most out of your adventure and bring home great memories as you leave this place and went back to your homeland.

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