Few weeks back, I traveled across several countries in the Balkan Region in Europe. I was able to cover four Balkan Countries in eight days. Well it took a few days of planning like booking all accommodations and transportations in advance to get the cheapest deal available.
As a Philippines Passport holder, I needed to have a valid visa to be able to visit these countries. But fortunately, all of these countries allow passport holders from several countries to enter without having the need to obtain a visa for each, as long as they are holding a valid multiple-entry Schengen Visa. And obviously in my case, I used my valid Schengen Visa to travel across these countries.
Traveling to several countries in a single trip doesn’t need to be tough, especially when you are traveling across Europe. Whenever I go on a trip, I try to cross-out at least two countries in each trip to save on flight costs. And countries in Europe are pretty much situated near each other and can easily be accessed through land transportations such as buses, trains, etc. which makes it more easier. I travelled pretty much through buses across these countries with seven hours being the longest time.
Crossing the border to some of these countries can be quite tough though, especially to people who are holding passports from third-world nations. So I highly suggest that you should always have all the useful documents like onward tickets, accommodations etc. ready with you whenever you cross a border to prove that your main purpose of visit is merely for tourism.
Skopje, North Macedonia
My first stop was in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia. Skopje is a pretty compact capital surrounded by beautiful mountains. I spent a total of two days exploring this city. It is also quite affordable to travel in this city, like a pint of beer ordered from a pub or restaurant would only cost you less than a Euro.
So far, the best places that I recommend in Skopje are Canyon Matka and Skopje’s Old Town. Canyon Matka is one of the main highlight of North Macedonia, it is also one of the most beautiful canyon I’ve ever seen. It can easily be reached through a 20-minute taxi ride from Skopje’s Town Center. The old town is just located in the city-center itself. Here you can see countless different giant statues and stunning cobbled streets.
My second stop was in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. I arrived in Pristina through a two-hour bus ride from Skopje and spent a day exploring everything that this city has to offer. Crossing the border from North Macedonia to Kosovo is one of the quickest and easiest border crossings I’ve ever done in my whole life of traveling.
Pristina is a beautiful city, you can pretty much explore everything in this city within a day. Mother Theresa Boulevard is a must-visit when in Pristina. Here you can find countless hip cafes and authentic local restaurants where you can have a taste of amazing Kosovo cuisines. The same as Skopje, this city is also quite affordable to travel to.
My third stop, Sofia! Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria and one of the most beautiful European cities. I spent a total of three days exploring everything that this city has to offer. Sofia can easily be reached through a four-hour bus ride from Skopje in North Macedonia or Pristina in Kosovo.
Sofia has so much history, and you can see it from the ruins which still remain intact until today. Some of the few things I recommend worth visiting in this city is the Vitosha Boulevard, their main street and the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the whole of Europe.
Belgrade or Beograd, the capital of Serbia is my final stop on this trip. I arrived in Belgrade’s main bus station after a seven-hour bus ride from Sofia, Bulgaria. From the bus station, the city center can easily be reached in less than ten-minutes by foot. I stayed for a total of four days exploring and discovering everything this city has to offer.
Belgrade is a big and beautiful city, I know it’ll be beautiful prior to visiting it but I wasn’t expecting it to be very vast. It has also been dubbed as ‘the city that never sleeps’. The capital has two main areas worth exploring, New Belgrade and Old Belgrade. New Belgrade is on the left side of the Sava river while Old Belgrade is on the opposite.
Although the whole city itself is worth exploring, there are few things in Belgrade that I highly recommend worth visiting. The Knez Mihailova Street and the Belgrade Fortress shouldn’t be missed when you are visiting Belgrade. The Knez Mihailova Street is one of the oldest and most valuable landmarks of the city and there you can find countless shops, restaurants, cafes, pub, etc. While the Belgrade Fortress is one of the most beautiful spots in Belgrade for sunset viewing and it can easily be reached from the other end of the Knez Mihailova Street.