Very often when someone is looking for information about traveling the Balkans, they're going to be backpacking the region or have at least a week to explore. However, don't overlook how great the Balkans are for enjoying a quick city break! While I could easily spend weeks in any of these cities, each of these is a perfect place to enjoy three or four days, or even two if you're pressed for time. So whether you're looking to savor a long weekend or want to dig into the Balkans and string a few of these together for a delightful Balkan itinerary, here are our nominees for the best Balkan city breaks.
Sofia, Bulgaria. If you're going to come here for three or four days, make sure to start with the Free Walking Tour, which will give you a great overview of the central part of the city from Vitosha Boulevard all the way to Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. During the day, you can explore the city's museums, go on a day tour to Rila Monastery, or simply wander around the city. Make sure to check out Sense Rooftop Bar, which is one of our favorite bars in Sofia and offers amazing views of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
Athens, Greece. When planning a trip to Greece, a lot of people have a hard time deciding which Greek destination to pick. If you’re going for less than a week, then I say Athens is tops. Four days is the perfect amount of time to introduce yourself to the city. You can explore the Parthenon and historic sites by day, enjoy dinner in the Plaka in the evening, and then head to a rooftop bar to enjoy a cocktail and Acropolis views at night.
While in the city, enjoy Athen’s great street art, and make sure to check out Exarchia, the anarchist neighborhood full of hip cafes. If you have four days, I suggest taking a day trip to Delphi, Cape Sounion, or even go for a day cruise to the three islands closest to Athens.
Belgrade, Serbia. It’s no secret that we are obsessed with Belgrade. From charming Zemun all the way to the Ada Bridge, from the Eastern City Gate to the Western City Gate, we are absolutely in love with the White City. If you have three days, we recommend spending them exploring. Check out the four neighborhoods of Dorcol, the Stari Grad, Novi Beograd, and Zemun, to get a feel for how diverse and eclectic Belgrade is. We never run out of things to do here during the day, and after dark, the city has some of the best nightlife in Europe.
If you have four days, spend one on a day trip to Vojvodina, the region to Belgrade’s north. We suggest you pick either Novi Sad or Subotica if going by public transportation. If you rent a car in Belgrade, you can visit both cities in one day.