Einstein once said, “Logic will lead you from point A to point B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” The Balkans have proven that imagination, art and culture can survive through all circumstances. If you are a culture buff, follow our guide to the best cultural spots in the Balkans.
Plovdiv has long been a cultural hub in Bulgaria, so it was no surprise when it was named the European Capital of Culture for 2019. The city transforms into an open-air art museum venue during the Night of the Museums and Galleries festival in September. If you’re still in town at the end of the month through mid-October, be sure to stop by One Dance Week. In the summer, visit an open-air opera or theatre performance at the Ancient Theater in Plovdiv’s Old Town. The city also recently designated a small quarter called Kapana for arts, cultural venues and craft workshops.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Sibiu was a European Capital of Culture, too, back in 2007. The picture-perfect Romanian city in Transylvania is a treat for the culture traveller, with art galleries; weird museums, such as the Pharmacy Museum and Museum of Hunting; and a collection of beautiful churches with towers to climb for great views over the city. May is reserved for the Sibiu Jazz Fest and the Este Film Fest, and the Classics for Pleasure festival takes place in the main square in August.
Whether you’re in the mood for some ancient Medusa heads at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, or for traveling back in time and delving into Byzantine art at the amazing Museum of Byzantine Culture—one of the most impressive museums in Greece—Thessaloniki is always a good idea. Although it lacks the island atmosphere often associated with Greece, the city has an overall feel of calm, which is surprising for the second largest city in the country. Don’t miss the famous White Tower, one of the symbols of the city, for a spectacular panoramic view and some history of the city.
Maribor is the second largest city of Slovenia and the European Capital of Culture for 2012. Take a walk in the historic centre, where the Austro-Hungarian past of the city is apparent in the architecture. Maribor is most famous for the music and art festivals that take place here every year. Lent Festival is among the biggest music festivals in the Balkans, with Stereo MC’s and James Brown among its headliners in years past. For classical music, Festival Maribor officially opens the art season in September.
When travelling, many come to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, or to Novi Sad, but for a dose of Serbian cultural life, you must visit Niš. Every summer, Niš hosts one of the best Balkan jazz festivals, Nisville, which has a decades-long tradition. At the beginning of September, the walls of the Niš Fortress tremble in the rhythm of pop, rock and electronic music during the Nisomnia Festival. As the birthplace of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, Niš also organizes the annual Days of St. Emperor Constantine and Empress Helen (June 1-5) with many cultural and sports events.
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.