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Walking and Climbing in the Balkan Peninsula

The Balkan Peninsula offers hiking along superb coastal areas in the Adriatic, the Black, Ionian and Aegean Seas, along fjords and through mountains in the Julian Alps, the Pindus and Carpathian ranges. The historical sites you’ll come upon while exploring the natural world are equally riveting.

Slovenia is green in almost every direction and well endowed with trails to enjoy the leaf-and-needle paradise. Even from the cities you can be on a hiking trail within a few minutes. The choice of trails is remarkable: from easier short walks along the valleys and foothills to highly challenging trails in the high mountains where you can enjoy views of the Alpine peaks. It’s rare that you meet large numbers of fellow hikers, so you can simply enjoy the peace and beauty. Slovenia has almost 10,000 kilometres of sign-posted trails, so walk around a little, not just straight across. What’s the rush? That’s the charm of hiking in Slovenia, from seaside ramble to lakeside stroll or alpine ascent, take your time, enjoy and breathe deeply in Slovenia.

Croatia iscriss-crossed with hiking trails. Beginners might start near Zagreb after a tour of the capital, or at the UNESCO listed city of Split on the Dalmatian Coast. The heights on the islands of Mljet, Brač and Vis are gorgeous places to stretch your legs. Walking along the lakes at Plitvice National Park is an idyllic green odyssey; whereas a ramble among the rocky fields and lavender on Hvar is an up and down quest for the next fantastic view– but don’t pick those flowers, they’re probably someone’s cash crop! Passionate climbers can choose from over 400 organised mountain trails, counted as some of the most demanding in Europe. Anića kuk offers a legendary climb up its 350 meter cliff face, at the top of which is the reward of vast sea views to remember all your life.

Montenegro’s Transversal Route was inaugurated to lure visitors mesmerized by the stellar coastal scenery into the equally dazzling interior. The 182 km path starts in the coastal mountains at Orjen, north of the Bay of Kotor, continuing through Lovćen andn south to Rumija. Even a day-trip along this path affords breathtaking views; you can also spot rare Mediterranean plants and herbs as well as historical caravan routes, old military fortifications and places of ethnological interest. 6,000 km of trails are being adapted to a national trail network in Montenegro, so hikers, get ready for exciting discoveries in the paradise of Montenegro!

On your feet! Explore remote coves and the ruins of ancient cities, walking in Greece! Greek islands and the mainland are a hiker's dream come true, with numbered routes and well-organized trail systems. Discover “the unspoiled Greece” while walking paths through wild flowers, lush valleys, ancient sites, watermills, and old pathways. Get to know the locals, drink wine with them, and taste the food in restaurants and tavernas. You can also find local guides who lead botanical tours along the ancient paths of the islands, while sharing with you their knowledge on folklore, history, agriculture, and archaeology. Master with them the ancient art of bee keeping and find out how old remedies made from herbs and flowers heal new wounds.

Walking is the best way to get to know a country, its people and their customs. Serbia’s centuries-old forests, vast plains, villages, towns and cities and mountain peaks are a real challenge for even for experienced hikers but so worth the effort! Besides recreation, physical satisfaction and enjoying beautiful natural sights and phenomena, you will also have the chance to see many historical monuments, such as the fabulously painted churches and lovely monasteries tucked in the forest and scattered across the countryside.

Bulgaria on foot requires a hike of some sort in the Stara Planinia Mountains, the highest peak being Pirin, at almost 3,000 meters. You know there’s going to be dramatic mountain scenery and the interesting, altitude-adapted plants and animals that thrive in this environment. Pirin National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has trails for all ability levels. Treks in Bulgaria can take in not only the abundant and beautiful natural scenery but its unique cultural and historical treasures such as monasteries, painted wooden churches, rock churches, tombs and the Madara Horseman.

The Carpathian mountains forms a huge arc in the centre of Romania. In fact, 31% of the country is mountainous. Within this range are innumerable places of natural beauty: mountain peaks, gorges, lakes, forests, caves, mud volcanoes and fossil deposits, and thankfully finding a great hiking trail is a breeze. The variety of terrain, from mountainous to gentle, offers something for every hiker regardless of skill or level. Rock-climbing enthusiasts should head for the main rock-climbing gateways: Busteni, Sinaia, Zarnesti and Petrosani. Over 400 parks and reserves assure that there is loads of protected natural area for you to enjoy under your own steam on a hike in Romania.

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