The Balkans, that multinational patch of land in the southeast of Europe, are still considered an off-the-beaten-path destination, which is one of the best reasons to add them to your to-visit list. This is a land of beautiful coasts, lush national parks, amazing waterfalls and an undiscovered art and cultural scene that can make for a perfect romantic getaway at the fraction of the cost you will pay anywhere else in Europe. Whether you want to spend the whole weekend in a luxury hotel at the price of a three-star hotel in Western Europe, or you love exploring together and you need a romantic place to stay after a long day, here are our picks of the best romantic hotels in the Balkans.
The Pucic Palace, Dubrovnik
Hotel, Boutique Hotel
The Pucic Palace, Dubrovnik | / James G. Milles/Flickr
Dubrovnik’s Old Town is one of the most romantic places in the Balkans, which, along with the endless opportunities for island cruises and beaches in the area, makes it perfect for couples who love sunny coastlines. What makes the Croatian town so special is its rich history, and what a better place to immerse yourself into it than staying at the Pucic Palace’s historical Baroque building from the 17th century? Your 5-star luxury stay will be set among original olive wooden floors, hand-woven rags, and stone walls and is only five minutes from the beach.
Athens, Greece, is one of the cradles of European history and a perfect weekend destination for two. For maximum privacy and some of the best views over the city, book one of the apartments of 5inAthens. It is located in the city center and close to all the main attractions, so you can afford a late breakfast before you set off exploring the ancient history and modern culture of Athens. Each of the five apartments has a unique design with country and vintage details; some of them have an outdoor dining area with a panorama of the capital.
Bucharest is another Balkan state capital worth at least a weekend visit. Among the many hotels in the city, the 4-star Phoenicia Grand Hotel is an ideal “home away from home,” much as it promotes itself and quite different from most impersonal big hotels. Its more than 300 rooms are designed to resemble an opulent residence rather than a hotel room. The spa center is your relaxing station after a long day out in the streets of Bucharest. The three restaurants will take you on an international culinary tour with their menus from the Italian, Lebanese, and world cuisine. The hotel is conveniently close to the airport if you travel by plane.
Boutique Hotel Casa del Mare - Blanche, Herceg Novi
Montenegro has world-famous sea resorts, but you can skip the crowds and find a more tranquil spot for two in the small town of Bijela, halfway between Herceg Novi and Kotorthe. This is where the Mediterranean ambiance of Boutique Hotel Casa del Mare – Blanche will set the mood for sunset walks, lazy days basking on the sun terrace, and massages. If you want to experience the party atmosphere of the Bay of Boka, you have all the big resorts and attractions close at hand — Kotor, Tivat, Porto Montenegro, etc. The hotel will happily organize a romantic dinner for two by the sea if you want.
How does staying at a luxuriously restored hamam (old Turkish bath) sound? The edifice of the Isa Begov Hamam Hotel in Sarajevo was built more than 120 years ago and sticks to the notion that the past should be preserved and honored. The boutique hotel is fitted with hand-woven carpets and carved furniture to make the experience lavish and memorable. There is a free hot tub available for all the guests to use in the hamam, and you can also choose from their massage menu.
Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is a culturally rich city, perfect for a romantic weekend getaway. To fully immerse yourself into the spirit of the city, stay at the heart of the old-time bohemian area Skadarlija where since 1989 a monument to the traveling actor and writer Joakim Vujic stands. This is where you will also find the cozy, vintage apartments called “Travelling Actor.” There is a restaurant and wine bar on site serving local and Italian food. Upon request, the owners will arrange a luxury river cruise on a yacht for you.
Boutique Hotel, Spa Hotel, Winery with Rooms, Hotel
Courtesy Todoroff Wine & Spa
Bulgaria is famous for its wine, and what would be more romantic than staying at a boutique hotel in a rural area among vineyards? Todoroff Wine & Spa is located in the village of Brestovitsa, 150 km (93 mi) from the capital Sofia. Its spa menu doesn’t contain the usual therapies but is based entirely on natural products from the wine producing process — grape oils, grape seeds, wine baths, etc. The hotel is specially focused on couples and has a range of wine therapies for two. Don’t leave before enjoying a wine-tasting session in the underground tasting room.