Planning the trip

Balkans Trip (1)

You might wondering why travel to the Balkans… or even where are the Balkans? So, here’s a quick post to set up the next seven weeks of my journey. Let’s dispense with the easy stuff first!

Where are the Balkans?

Located in southeast Europe, the Balkan Peninsula is largely bordered by three major seas: Adriatic on the west, Aegean to the south and Black to the east. The region takes its name from a mountain range — you guessed it, the Balkan Mountains — that runs through Bulgaria from the Black Sea westward to Serbia.

What countries make up the Balkans?

Good question. But not one with an easy answer. So I’ll amend your question (we attorneys do that frequently) and tell you what countries I’ll be visiting instead. This trip will take me to:

  • Albania
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Kosovo
  • Macedonia
  • Montenegro
  • Romania (not strictly in the Balkans)
  • Serbia (not strictly in the Balkans)

Why the Balkans?

Simply put: By American standards, these countries are cheap. Cost was the primary factor in my decision-making process because I knew I’d be on the road for seven weeks. But, a number of other things also played into my decision, including weather, ease of travel between countries, proximity to Qatar and the “off-the-beaten-path” nature of the region.

What’s the plan?

Before leaving, I’d only loosely planned the trip. Here’s what I’ve got nailed down:

  • One-way airfare from Doha (where I live) to Bucharest, Romania on July 8
  • AirBnB reservations in each country I plan to visit
  • One-way airfare from Sarajevo (where I’ll end my trip) to Doha on August 26

All the rest, including what to see, where to eat and how to get from one country to another will be decided in real-time while I’m on the road. So, follow along. It’s sure to be an adventure.


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American expat. University professor. World traveller. Dog lover. Eating and drinking my way through the Balkans for 7 weeks.

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