From exploring the sand pyramids of Bulgaria to trekking to ancient castles in Macedonia, these are just some of the best day hikes in the Balkans.
For lovers of the outdoors, there are plenty of great choices of destinations in Europe.
While tonnes of people flock to check out the hiking in Switzerland or elsewhere in the alps, there are tonnes of other great options to check out if you love getting off the beaten path.
One region that still seems sorely under-appreciated though is the Balkans, the peninsula in the continent’s south east.
Home to a dizzying array of mountains, rivers, lakes and forests, the Balkans have everything you could want in an outdoor playground.
While places like Albania and Montenegro are known for longer hiking routes, there are also heaps of possibilities for day hikes in the Balkans as well.
Many of the region’s major cities have pockets of nature in their backyards but I think to enjoy the best spots it often means venturing to smaller and less common parts.
Admittedly, the following day hikes are just a few to get you started, since each country seems to have countless options themselves.
The Best Day Hikes In The Balkans
If you’re making your adventure plans to explore the Balkans, don’t miss these awesome day hikes!
Sand Pyramids Of Melnik, Bulgaria
Why not start with the most unusual first?
Hidden away in the foothills of Bulgaria’s Pirin Mountains lies one of its strangest landscapes that you just have to see, the Sand Pyramids of Melnik.
And of course, the best way to see it is with one of the most majestic day hikes in the Balkans.
Officially the smallest town in Bulgaria, Melnik is surrounded by rippling sandstone hills that often are actually shaped like pyramids.
The best way to appreciate these geological oddities is with a hike that brings you up a valley outside the town to a view point that looks out across the entire area.
The nearly unmarked trail actually leads to the historic Rozhen Monastery, taking you along river beds and up almost concealed stairs.
It may only be about 3 km as the crow flies, but with the deviations and hills it can take close to an hour to reach the monastery from town.
The trail lets you see different sides of the terrain from dry to dense and from vantage points below and above.