Travel tips for Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia.
June 12, 2009 4:50 AM   Subscribe

What are some interesting (frugal) things to do and see in Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Slovenia?

I´m headed to these four countries in a few weeks and haven´t really prepared for the trip. I like walking and could happily walk 30 or 40 km or so each day, exploring. Tentatively I´ll be in Belgrade, Sarajevo, a whole bunch of cities in Croatia, Ljubljana and Bled, although that is totally open to change. Seeking recommendations for food, clubs, outdoor activities, neighborhoods to walk in, etc. As background, I´m 21 years old, particularly interested in the recent history of the area, and planning to hitchhike, bus, walk, and couchsurf for most of two months. Any other tips appreciated!!
posted by acidic to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I stopped over in Split, Croatia last year. It's fully of history (both Roman and Medieval) and really picturesque.
posted by PenDevil at 5:35 AM on June 12, 2009

If you are going to Slovenia, consider taking a bus or somehow getting to the Postojna Caves. They are wonderful tourist caves (guided tours through phenomenal caverns).

See this link:
posted by mbarryf at 5:51 AM on June 12, 2009

Do not miss Bled, Slovenia. It's literally the most beautiful place I've ever been. Spend a few hours walking around the lake, and take the rowboat tour out to the castle.
posted by elmer benson at 6:20 AM on June 12, 2009

I hosted two great young Serbian guys (now in their mid-20s) from Belgrade who were Global Freeloaders. MeMail me if you want their contact info. They are super nice and we still keep in touch; they would probably be very happy to return the favor. One of them runs a Belgrade hostel now I believe. Their English is pretty good, so they can probably give you lots of current info about this area.
posted by HeyAllie at 9:51 AM on June 12, 2009

I once saw an episode of PBS Nature set in Plitvice Lakes National Park, and I've been dying to go ever since.
posted by jillsy_sloper at 11:02 AM on June 12, 2009

Memail Dee Xtrovert.
posted by kldickson at 11:10 AM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

In Bled, I can highly recommend staying in the Travellers Haven. Nice place, the staff are AMAZING. In fact I made friends with some people, we stayed in Bled an extra 3 days, the staff helped us negotiate a car rental (argued with the guy in Slovenian to get us a reduced price as he was two hours late with the car), gave us tips on where to drive etc.

I left my shirt in the dryer there, they emailed me and posted it to Australia for me. So they are really willing to go above and beyond.

I did my best to make up for that gesture by sending them cuddly toy kangaroo and koalas.

If you have time in Slovenia, getting to Piran is lovely, or going for a drive through the alps close to Italy is nice too. Mefimail me if you want to see some of the pics I took.

Have a great time!
posted by Admira at 4:13 PM on June 12, 2009

Mostar is worth seeing, if a little touristy. I haven't done it myself but backpackers I met raved about the scenery between Mostar and Sarajevo. Southern Montenegro has some really spectacular scenery, around Kotor and Citenje. Both areas are pretty accessible from Dubrovnik.

Lake Bled is as good as everyone else says. (Links are to my photos from a trip last year.)

Buffet Fife in Split does terrific meals for not much money. The Split Hostel is also good, well located and doesn't have bedbugs. Villa Veselova in Ljubljana is a good hostel if you're doing the backpacker thing.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 3:06 AM on June 13, 2009

Seconding Plitvice National Park and adding Krka Waterfalls to the list. :) If you like nature, try to visit Soča Valley and Bovec in Slovenia.

Btw, you say you like walking. Ljubljana has a 30 km footpath around the city where the barbed wire was set up during WW2. The history is mostly forgotten, but the path is very popular among the walkers, bikers and runners.
posted by gakiko at 11:39 PM on June 14, 2009

Response by poster: Update from the OP: I ended up saving Slovenia and Croatia for another time, aside from a quick day trip to Zadar, where I went on a quite blissful boat ride and swim around the Kornati archipelago, and swam next to the amazing Sea Organ. I skipped these countries because it seemed that in August it would be too expensive and busy to really enjoy myself.

Serbia was glorioius: In Belgrade, I stayed at the extremely friendly Hostel Captitan, recommended by a poster in this thread, and enjoyed clubbing on barges on the river Sava and WWOOFing at 2 farms. Also recommended is taking a bus from Belgrade through Novi Pazar to Kosovo, which houses the very interesting city of Prizren along with the capital Prishtina. It's a good place to try to talk to some locals.

For more intrepid travelers I would also recommend Albania, which is a fun/terrifying place to hitchhike and do things like sleep on a wild beach.

Bosnia was the best-- not Mostar, which is tiny and teeming with tourists, but Sarajevo, which is walkable, beautiful, and steeped in history (MILITARY history) that jumps out at you everywhere. It's quite a privilege to be able to shake the hand of the man who opened his home to the Tunnel to freedom. The Ljubjica hostel, which has several locations in the hills around the city center, is stuffed with information about the region. They're terribly kind if you're the only one waiting to be helped, but hilariously stressed and brusque if you're not. One useful tip: if you're coming from Serbia and forget to exchange your dinars, head to the Uncredit Bank Banja Luka, which is the only bank that will do it (because the bank is based in Banja Luka, the RS capital).

PM me if you have questions about anything else, I took copious notes.
posted by acidic at 4:39 AM on December 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

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