Fun Travel Experiences On The Balkans
The Balkan Peninsula is a truly magical place full of pristine, natural beauty, attractions, medieval architecture and plenty of historical sites. Travellers from all over the world have been exploring this part of the Old Continent for centuries and with countries such as Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia and Bulgaria, we can certainly agree there is plenty to do and see. If you’ve been thinking about taking a trip down here and seeing for yourself, here are our best picks with the top travel experiences on the Balkans – festivals, theme parks, even rafting!
1/ Bulgaria: Historical Park (Neofit Rilski village)
The Historical Park near Varna is the first and biggest attraction of its kind to have opened on the Balkans (quite possibly, in the whole world!). The beautiful and very large complex is situated on a 500-acre area, just 33 km from the city of Varna.
The park’s most fascinating feature includes impressive replicas of archaeological, historical, and cultural monuments and sites from all over Bulgaria. Visitors can go on an interactive trip back into the past and see 5 separate eras of history come alive right in front of them. The park covers history spanning over 10,000 years from the Neolithic (New Stone) Age all the way through to the Second Bulgarian Empire in the Late Middle Ages.
Visitors will be delighted by the incredible variety of activities that are available within the park. Those familiar with the bow and arrow can test their skills at archery. For an authentic experience, try dressing up in costumes as your favourite heroes from the Antiquity or the Middle Ages. You will also get a cool weapon from the era. Tourists and visitors will be able to enjoy an open demonstration of the skills and mastery of raptors (7 of them). During a special guided tour, handlers will tell you more about these fascinating birds of prey.
Other activities include coin mining (making and mining your own coin), a fun archaeology workshop, horseback riding, a medieval duel, and a wine tasting experience.
The park is considered to be a revolutionary step in cultural and historical tourism. The whole experience is very enriching and a great chance to get familiar with ancient cultures. You will have the opportunity to trace the development of all the civilizations that have once lived inside the borders of Bulgaria and even beyond.
2/ Croatia: Aquapark Istralandia (Novigrad)
This incredible Waterworld is located near the town of Novigrad in Croatia, just off an exit on the highway. The park spreads over the impressive 81 000 sq. m and is pretty close to the beach too (Adriatic Sea). Here you can enjoy high-quality entertainment for both children and adults.
Attractions at the park
The park features an outstanding selection of attractions that are suitable for all family members. The complex has been designed in a way that offers the perfect balance between fun activities as well as areas for recreation where people can just relax. The picnic area is very cosy and a great place to sit down and refuel. The children’s area is a favourite amongst parents and little ones. Those looking for refreshments can visit one of the many snack bars which offer food and beverages.
Istralandia is a preferred destination for many families and the fans of adrenaline. There are over 20 different slides on the premises of the park, many of which have tubes over 1.6 kilometres in length. Those looking for some excitement will surely enjoy the higher slides. One of the park’s most impressive features is the wave pool which happens to be the largest in all of Europe! There are a total of 6 pools in the park, suitable for children and adults.
One of Europe’s best award-winning aquaparks
The impressive park is no short on rewards either. One of the most prestigious European fairs of attractions (EAS 2015 and EAS 2016) awarded the aquapark with 5th place in the category ‘’Europe’s Best Water Parks’’. In 2014, it also won the ‘’entrepreneur project of the year’’ in the category of ‘’new water parks’’.
3/ Bosnia and Herzegovina: Rafting Center Drina-Tara (Foca)
If you’re looking for an all-inclusive experience with plenty of adrenaline, Rafting Center Drina-Tara is a good choice. The camp is located on the beautiful mountain slopes of the town of Foca, just near the river Drina. The camp structure is very nice, and the bungalows are cosy, with plenty of space and all the necessary facilities. If you decide to stay for a day or more you can also enjoy some authentic local cuisine (with hearty portions), made with fresh local produce.
You will be provided with all the necessary equipment you would need for your rafting experience (wet suit, shoes, etc.) and the guides are super friendly. They will gladly take you through the whole process and make sure you get the best out of your stay.
The canyoning and rafting experience features multiple stops along the way where you can enjoy incredible mountain views, waterfalls, go swimming, try cliff diving, and generally just socialize and have fun. If you’re in need of adventure, some good time with friends, all while spending time in nature, then this is the place for you.
4/ Bosnia and Herzegovina: Funfly (Sarajevo)
Ever thought of flying over one of Bosnia’s most stunning mountain towns? With Funfly you can enjoy truly stunning views of Sarajevo’s neighbourhood and the unique geographical terrain surrounding the city, all from a bird’s-eye view! Flying in this little wonder called gyrocopter is actually pretty safe and many people prefer this type of aircraft when it comes to alternatives to extreme air sports. The experience as described by many is truly unique, exciting and yet completely safe. The captain is a true professional and will make sure you enjoy this incredible adventure to the fullest.
5/ Greece: Aristotle’s Park (Stagira)
Aristotle’s Park is located in the historic village of Stagira, on the Northeast of Halkidiki. The theme park is positioned at an altitude of about 500 meters and is certainly a very interesting place to visit. The unique concept and structure of the park have turned it into a favourite destination for visitors and many schools since it combines recreation, entertainment and education.
Visitors will get a chance to see various instruments including a compass, telescope, prism, sun clock, different lenses, pentaphone, pendulum, optical discs, water turbine and inertia spheres. The unique interactive instruments were placed in the park in 2003 by the Municipal Corporation of Stagira-Akanthos. They are considered experimental and operate according to the rules of physics mentioned in Aristotle’s textbooks (particularly the book called ‘’The Naturals’’).
6/ Croatia: Seasplash Festival
The Seasplash Festival has a long tradition with over 17 past editions. The event draws in visitors from all over the world and is a truly unique experience set in the magical medieval fortress – Punta Christo, near the seafront city of Pula.
The festival’s programme features daily music shows, free camping areas, art workshops, a cool bazaar, zones for recreation and many ongoing cultural and sports programmes that keep visitors busy and entertained throughout the duration of the festival. The annual event takes place every July (19th – 22nd) in Punta Christo.
7/ Serbia: Dev9t Festival
The Dev9t Festival is an incredible interactive artistic event that’s unlike any other in the region. The festival’s slogan ‘’keep creating’’ is set to bring together many artists, entrepreneurs, creators and free thinkers for yet another year.
The festival’s impressive programme features plenty of street art, music, and performances in the heart of Serbia’s capital – Belgrade. The events aim to promote the arts, creativity and the process of creating. For nine consecutive days, visitors of this unique festival can enjoy a series of workshops and many organized activities that are very fun and engaging. The events take place in a rather unique setting – inside of an old, unused factory.
8/ Serbia: Elysium Island Festival
Elysium Island Festival is yet another amazing festival in Serbia that is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits it. The global event brings together all kinds of open-minded people who share the same love for music, arts, knowledge and freedom. Interestingly enough, the festival takes place on a beautiful, uninhabited island on the Danube river in Sremski Karlovci.
For five days every July (18th – 22nd), the festival’s programme offers its visitors a rich selection of events, including musical, educational, creative, healing and many other workshops. The festival is a great place to meet new people, share some ideas, experiments with art, culture and generally expand your own horizons with an exciting and enriching experience.
The Balkans are no doubt a fascinating place where you can travel through many countries, new cultures, all whilst gathering amazing memories and experiences. As you can see, there is plenty to do and see on this part of the Old Continent, so don’t hesitate about booking a trip down here and seeing for yourself! And if you happen to make a stop in Bulgaria, make sure you know where to go and what to see!