If you know a thing or two about Europe, then there’s a chance you’ve already heard of the Balkans. But which countries are covered by the region?
The Balkans covers a region that’s likely bigger than you imagine – at 466,877 square km, there’s a lot of ground to cover, and certainly plenty of choice when it comes to vacationing!
You might also know that the region is well known for being both very old and very hilly – it’s actually named after the mountains that cover the area!
Whether you are new to the region or visit regularly, we’ve set up a stack of fun facts about the Balkans for you to pore through at your leisure – for the historians and the culture vultures out there!
1. Which countries make up the Balkans?
The Balkans covers a lot of ground. These include Croatia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Slovenia, Serbia, Romania, parts of Greece and parts of Turkey.
2. There’s lots to ‘sea’ here, too.
Seas connected to Balkan countries include the Black Sea, Adriatic Sea and Aegean Sea.
3. The Danube is an important point of contact.
The long Danube River connects several countries in the Balkans as it flows through the Balkan Peninsula. It connects Balkan countries to the sea ports vital for trade and distribution!
4. What’s the wealthiest country in the Balkans?
The wealthiest Balkan country is Croatia. In recent years prior to the global pandemic, it has become a popular destination for vacationers all over the world – much of its money comes from tourism! It has quaint villages and towns with a beautiful coastline and is not as expensive as some of its more glamorous or artificially commercialized competitors. Worth a visit!
5. Romania is popular too – in different ways!
Romania is home to more than 19 million people, making it the most populated country in the Balkans bar none.
6. Montenegro is absolutely tiny.
It has a population of only 622,000 – barely 10% of the UK’s population! It was part of Serbia and Montenegro for the longest time, and is therefore the youngest country in the region, too.
7. Which Balkan country has the biggest military presence?
When it comes to military control and influence, Bulgaria is said to be the biggest on the map.
8. The region is home to some endangered animals.
The Balkan Lynx is considered a critically endangered species. It’s currently under serious conservation – let’s hope they can bring the feline back from the brink!
9. It’s a wild and wonderful region all over!
There are in excess of 2,000 species of plants in the Balkan area – which also has the largest area of mountains in Europe! Move aside, Alps!
10. In fact, the word ‘Balkan’ is pretty telling.
‘Balkan’ as a word actually means ‘mountain’ in Turkish – thanks to the rocky, rolling region!
11. Ever danced to a bit of Truba?
Truba is the popular brass music of the Balkans. Trubas – like trumpets – make a distinct sound and are often heard at military events or at folk music events.
12. Cool for Kolo!
People across the Balkans also enjoy unique dances and performances that fall under the ‘Kolo’ – you’ll often see this display at weddings and celebrations, so do be willing to give it a go if you get invited!
13. Some of the world’s oldest cities are Balkan.
Yes – Istanbul in Turkey, Athens in Greece, Zadar in Croatia and Constanta, out in Romania, are some of the oldest cities not just in Europe, but on the planet. There’s some incredible history out here!
FAQs about The Balkans
What exactly is Rajika?
Rakija is a popular alcoholic drink produced on the Balkan Peninsula. It tastes like flavored Brandy! Usually, red fruits are added to the drink, and the variation flavored with plums is called Slivovica.
How many people live in the Balkans, total?
The population of the Balkans is approximately 55 million people! That falls short of the total number of people crammed into the UK - meaning some of the region is seriously sparse!
What is the highest natural point in the Balkan region?
The highest natural point of the Balkan region is Botev in Central Bulgaria. It reaches a height of 2,376 meters!
Do you know any fun facts about the Balkans? Share them in the comments below!
Are you interested in finding out more? Check out these interesting facts about Slovenia