The Mediterranean region which was once known as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was renowned for its stunning mountains, dazzling cities and tranquil lakes. It was a hot spot for holiday-makers however, in the 90’s, Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence and there followed a bloody war that led to the break-up of the region into six socialist republics: Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia.
These days, the separate countries have mainly stabilised and are once again beginning to enjoy the fruits of their incredible landscapes and fascinating cultural heritage. Below is a quick guide to each of the countries that once made up Yugoslavia and from adventurous families to amorous couples, you’re bound to find a reason to uncover some forgotten treasures.
Situated to the east of Italy, just over the Adriatic, lies the celebrated country of Croatia which boasts warm weather, beautiful beaches and plenty of medieval architecture. This is a fascinating country that more than deserves the attention of families and couples alike. Thanks to its scintillating Dalmatian coastline, Croatia is regarded as a mecca for sailors and as such you’ll find lots of scenic seaside villages and well-equipped marinas ready to welcome anyone looking for respite on their sailing holidays.
Just to the north of Croatia, the picturesque country of Slovenia is far more mountainous than its southern neighbours and is best known for its lakes, caves and Alpine landscapes. Much of the country is covered in beech forest and many of Europe’s finest cycling and walking routes can be discovered under the shaded tree-top canopy. Thanks to Slovenia’s wonderful natural sites, lovers of outdoor activities will be in their absolute element and from canoeing and windsurfing to climbing and abseiling; this is a great option for anyone looking for family adventure holidays.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Neatly tucked into the southeast of Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina features numerous national parks as well as some fascinating heritage and religious sites. The capital city of Sarajevo is regarded as one of the ‘must see’ cities in Eastern Europe and contains museums, galleries and places of worship which emphasise the city’s cultural diversity. If you’re looking for a holiday destination where your time is divided between sightseeing and peaceful wilderness then you won’t be disappointed.
To the south of Bosnia & Herzegovina, is the smallest of the former Yugoslavian states, Montenegro. Once regarded as one of the finest tourist spots on the Adriatic, you’ll discover there’s still a wealth of historic buildings, verdant forests and beautiful beaches just waiting to be enjoyed. Trekking trails are simply sublime and if you fancy exploring one of Europe’s only remaining rain forests or enjoying the stunning views from the continent’s deepest canyon, then Montenegro is simply a must.
Located to the north of Greece the mountainous and rugged terrain of Macedonia is often overlooked as a holiday destination however, with an abundance of lakes, waterfalls and scenic mountain ranges there’s more than enough to keep visitors busy. Natural sites are not the only reason to visit Macedonia and from cultural festivals to fascinating religious architecture, city sightseeing is an excellent alternative to the countryside.
Thanks to its revolutionary and often gruesome past, Serbia, located to the west of Bosnia & Herzegovina, is a fascinating location for lovers of medieval history. With over eight sites listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage list, this is indeed a ‘must visit’ country for culture buffs. And, with beautiful natural sites such as Kopaonik national park providing some excellent skiing slopes in the winter, there’s plenty of options away from city sightseeing. From the architecture of Belgrade to the tranquil banks of the River Danube, Serbia is a gorgeous place to visit.
Our guest author, Nicola, is interested in visiting Croatia’s Dalmatian coastline and checking out Dubrovnik on her next sailing holidays.