Top 10 Things You Must See When Visiting Former Yugoslavia

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

Alex O'Brien

Alex O'Brien

Last updated:  2022-08-17 06:00:04

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 (birthplace of Melania Trump), North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia. Yet from the touristic point of view, we can still look at it as one country connected on so many levels. You'll find 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 quite hospitable and cheerful regardless of the poor economic situation in most countries. So let's take a look 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. The most recognizable monument of Zagreb - St. Mark's Church, located in the Upper town, is so attractive because of 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 the longest street in Zagreb is Ilica street. This boulevard is full of shops and designer boutiques, as well as restaurants and cafes.

9. Eat and Drink

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

What about cuisine, hmmm? Well, you won't be hungry in these parts of the world! The cuisine mainly consists of grilled meat or some sorts of 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 without pork because of the sizeable Muslim population. However, in Serbia and Macedonia, you will be stuffed with pork meat dishes. Regarding the drinks, they 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 all of them try to create a unique atmosphere. The most famous one with an international reputation is the Exit festival in Novi Sad, Serbia. The location of the event is an old Petrovaradin fortress, settled above the Danube River. The Festival attracts famous bands from all over the world and therefore, a lot of visitors.

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

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/

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

Moreover, countless pubs offer a diversity of tap and bottled beer, as there are many nightclubs with DJ sets. It's no wonder people really 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, suppose you are not too passionate about snow sports, as you're more into relaxing and having fun during the winter. In that case, it's highly recommendable to visit. 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/

Serbia's capital is best known for its nightlife, yet it has a lot more to offer. Beautiful Kalemegdan fortress with surrounding park overlooks 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 river island Ada Ciganlija, a central recreational spot in Belgrade. The city heart is full of shops, and across it, there are several shopping malls.

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 a coffee prepared 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's stroll is quite 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 the high altitudes and surrounded by thick forest 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 lake. You can also find the stunning scenery around Slovenian glacial lakes Bled and Bohinj. Tucked away between the high mountain peaks and surrounded by forest trees, the lakes look magnificent.

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 might also be a less known fact that Perucica in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the largest rainforest in Europe. In Perucica, there are trees 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 widely 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 capital Skopje which is also worthy of visiting. 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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