Top 10 Former Yugoslavia Must-Sees When Visiting

Tags: #Yugoslavia ,   #Zagreb ,   #Belgrade ,   #EXITFestival ,   #traveltheworld

Alex O'Brien

Alex O'Brien

Last updated:  2024-01-16 11:49:56

You might have heard of the beautiful land in the Balkans, earlier known as Yugoslavia. However, during the 1990s, this country was divided into Slovenia, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Croatia. Yet from the tourist point of view, we can still see it as one country connected on many levels. You'll find the Adriatic Coastline, skiing resorts, glacial lakes, national parks, great city breaks, secluded villages, and much more in this relatively small area. The former Yugoslavians are hospitable and cheerful regardless of the dire economic situation in most countries. So let's take a peek at the top ten things they offer. 

10. Zagreb

St. Mark's Church in Zagreb, Croatia
Capital of Croatia has a beautiful old part of the city (Photo: TheoRivierenlaan/

Croatia's capital and largest city is Zagreb. The Upper Town is its old part, with cobblestone streets and historical monuments, making it an excellent starting point. There you'll find the most recognizable monument of Zagreb - St. Mark's Church. What makes it attractive is its unique roof with coats of arms.

The largest park in the city is Maksimir Park, a place for recreation and relaxing nature sounds. The most recognizable and longest street in Zagreb is Ilica street. This boulevard is full of shops, designer boutiques, restaurants, and cafes.

9. Eat and Drink

Grilled minced meat
Grilled minced meat dish called cevapcici is a region's specialty (Photo: RitaE/

But what about the cuisine? Well, you won't be hungry in these parts of the world! The cuisine mainly consists of grilled meat or bakery goods stuffed with cheese and meat. There are no weird surprises here, but every region has its specialty. Furthermore, you'll find Mediterranean influence in Slovenia's, Montenegro's, and Croatian cuisine as they are partially on the Adriatic coastline.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, dishes are based on bakery goods and meat meals, often without pork, because of the sizable Muslim population. However, in Serbia and Macedonia, you will be stuffed with pork meat dishes. The drinks are all based on sljivovica – the plum schnapps, good wines, and beer.

8. Festivals

Petrovaradin fortress in Petrovaradin, Novi Sad, Serbia
Exit Festival is one of the best-known festivals in the area (photo: Ana_J/

Former Yugoslavia can brag about its festivals' diversity, as they all try to create a unique atmosphere. The most famous one with an international reputation is the Exit festival in Novi Sad, Serbia. The event's location is an old Petrovaradin fortress, settled above the Danube River. The Festival attracts famous bands from all over the world and, therefore, many visitors.

Also notable is the Hideout Festival on the island of Pag in Croatia, with beach parties during the day and night. Moreover, the impressive surroundings are close to lake Jarun, as the IN Festival location is right here in Zagreb.

7. Nightlife

A look at Belgrade, Serbia from the river in the evening
Most of the parties in Serbia's capital, Belgrade, revolve around the Danube River (Photo: stevanaksentijevic/

Is Belgrade worth visiting? Well, many people who visited Belgrade (Serbia's capital) have stated that there's no better place to have fun than this city. Many rafts on the Danube river called "splav" are the place to be on weekend nights, as the best parties are there. Belgrade tourist attractions include the old city (Skadarlija) with cute old-fashioned clubs, a cheerful atmosphere, and live music till the early morning. 

Moreover, countless pubs offer a diversity of tap and bottled beer, with many nightclubs with DJ sets. No wonder people love to party and drink like there's no tomorrow in this city!

6. Mountains

Ski gondola in winter
Former Yugoslavia has beautiful mountains suitable for ski sports and hiking (Photo: PhotoMIX-Company/

Slovenia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina have the most developed skiing mountains. Many of them have built new resorts to fulfill all the vast customers' needs, even if they can't compare to Austria, France, and Switzerland regarding the length of skiing slopes. 

However, they are an excellent choice if you are not passionate about snow sports. Plus, the mountains offer many hiking opportunities in preserved nature, caves to explore, waterfalls, and much more.

5. Belgrade

Belgrade at night - a view from Kalemegdan fortress
Belgrade has vivid nightlife. However, it's also full of historic places, like Kalemegdan Fortress (Photo: Djordjeuuu/

While Serbia's capital is best known for its nightlife, it offers much more. Beautiful Kalemegdan fortress with surrounding park overlooks the Sava River's junction into the Danube river, so it's quite lovely to spend the afternoon there. Moreover, you can visit the Belgrade Zoo while in Kalemegdan.

The city has its beach on the river island Ada Ciganlija, a central recreational spot in Belgrade. The city's heart is full of stores and several shopping malls nearby.

4. Sarajevo

Bascarsija in Sarajevo
Sarajevo has the most charming old market, as it's very colorful and unique (Photo: chriswanders/

The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina has the most charming old town called Bascarsija. This traditional bazaar settles on the Miljacka river's bank with a beautiful Gazi Husev-beg Mosque and Sahat-kula. This is the city's major tourist attraction where you can relax and drink coffee in the old-fashioned style. 

Moreover, we recommend trying some local food, including burek (pastry dish), cevapcici (grilled meat dish), and baklava (dessert). Besides the old town, the Miljacka river stroll is pleasant, with a few fascinating bridges.

3. Lakes

A lake in Montenegro
You'll find the most stunning lakes in Montenegro (photo: Tania_pl/

Durmitor mountain in Montenegro is a National Park with breathtaking views. This location is settled on high altitudes and surrounded by thick forests and 18 glacial lakes. We can only say that Mountain Eyes, as they are called, are simply stunning. The Black Lake is the best known among them, as excellent hiking paths surround it. 

Moreover, it consists of two parts connected with a narrow strait that dries out during the summer and divides it into Big and Little lakes. You can also find the stunning scenery around Slovenian glacial lakes Bled and Bohinj. The lakes look magnificent, tucked away between the high mountain peaks and surrounded by forest trees.

2. Beaches   

Boka Kotorska bay and a view of Perast town
Beautiful Boka Kotorska Bay has fairytale scenery (Photo:  Montecason/

Croatia has the longest coastline among former Yugoslavian countries, which is beautiful and includes many islands. Furthermore, Croatia's beach, Zlatni Rat, is among the most attractive in Europe, so get your outfits ready. The Croatian seaside towns attract mainly German, Italian, and Czech tourists during the summer months as the magnificent sea makes them come back.

Montenegro, with its Boka Kotorska Bay, is quite stunning too. Beautiful beaches, old coastal villages, and towns with preserved architecture are impressive. Slovenia has a small part of the coastline with a beautiful Portoroz. However, seawater is a bit colder than in the southern regions. Bosnia and Herzegovina have only one seaside town, charming Neum, with a lovely beach and many hotels.

 1. National Parks

Plitvice Lakes (Plitvička jezera) national park in Croatia
The astonishing beauty of Plitvice Lakes is simply breathtaking (Photo: hhach/

Regarding the national parks, every region has something to offer. However, we must emphasize the beauty of National Park Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. Consisting of 16 terraced lakes connected with waterfalls and surrounded by a forest, Plitvice Lakes is an impressive natural wonder.

It is also a less-known fact that Perucica in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the largest rainforest in Europe. In Perucica, trees are more than 300 years old and over 164 feet high. Some of the rainforest parts are yet to be explored.

As you can see on our top ten, former Yugoslavia has diverse sightseeing and opportunities to relax in relatively small spaces. We didn't have enough room to recommend the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, and its lovely city center. The same goes for North Macedonia's capital Skopje. In Montenegro, the capitol Podgorica and Niksic are what you have to experience. 

Have you ever been to this part of the world? What were your impressions? Feel free to write to us in the comment section, as we would like to hear about your adventures first-hand.

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SomeoneDownBelow Says:

Went to Zagreb in 2019 - the city looks wonderful during the winter holidays.

June 28 at 01:11:04 PM

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