The Balkans

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The Powder Keg

The Balkans is the area of Southeast Europe from Croatia to Romania and down to Greece. Historically, this area is referred to as a  "powder keg" which was dominated by the Ottoman Turkish empire for several centuries before these nations began declaring their independence in the 19th century, sometimes with Russian assistance.  The powder keg exploded in 1914, and is often accused of starting the outbreak of World War One, when Austrian-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serb nationalist on the streets of Belgrade.

An Area of Diversity

The region is a mix of religious beliefs (Catholic, Muslim and Orthodox Christian) and Slavic and other ethnic groups (mainly Serb, Croat, Bosnian, Greek, Turk and Albanian). The former Yugoslavian nations have by and large transitioned peacefully after the 1990's wars of independence moving towards development and EU membership, likely due in part to increased tourism in the region. Basically, the Balkans is a cheap, friendly and colorful place to travel. in the seaside areas you can find everything from beautiful islands to bustling seaside resorts, party beaches or small coastal towns. Inland lies an array of castles, historic cities, ski resorts, iconic bridges, monasteries and even the world's second largest canyon. Belgrade is famously crowned as the party capital of Europe if you want an intense late night vacation.
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Balkans Final Map

Trip 2015

Turkey -> Bulgaria -> Romania -> Hungary -> Croatia -> Montenegro -> Albania -> Macedonia -> England
The pictures and information in this section are from a summer 2015 trip from Turkey through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia. Each country had a different level of transportation development, but usually the best way to travel was by rent a car, second best bus, third best train and of course by plane is the best if you can afford it. Although the region is small, it can be difficult to get around, so it's important to contact hotels/hostels ahead of time for current transportation information.  Like the other sections, hopefully this will give you some ideas and motivation for your next trip!
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Buzludzha Monument, Bulgaria
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Town Hall in Zagreb, Croatia
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Corvin Castle, Transylvania, Romania
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Ancient Building, Hierapolis, Turkey
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Ulcinj Castle, Montenegro
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View Across the Danube River, Budapest, Hungary

What to do next?

For more photos and information on current, recent and past trips, check out the Travelinman86.com youtube page and extended photo album.