Thursday, 08 October 2015

Featured Destination

Five great escapes from the winter in the Balkans

Dark, damp days are awaiting Northern Europe, and it is much easier to survive them, when one has planned at least a short break in a sunnier place. The Balkans boasts some of the cheapest great options. From the endless Greek coast, some of which overlooks in clear days Africa, to the alluring lagoons of Turkish Fethiye, there are a number of obvious spots to accumulate your precious sun. Next to them though stand other, less apparent, but also excellent places to take a relaxing break from your Channel climate “mildness”. Full Story


Balkan Culinary Wars II: The Epic Battle over a Vegetable Relish

Ajvar, lyutenitsa, zacuscă or biber salçası? The peppers, tomatoes and aubergines purée is to inflame as much hostility as the Macedonian issue a century ago. Full Story

Routes Less Travelled

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Balkan Mysteries: The Bosnian Pyramids of Semir Osmanagić

Visoko, around 30 kilometres away from Sarajevo, became the empire of an adventurer who attempted to turn ideas about Europe’s history upside down

I drive along, like a snail, on the only stretch of highway in Bosnia, surrounded by ancient trucks spewing out toxic smoke, and the thirty kilometres start seeming like a hundred. After following the directions of a competent guidebook – “drive straight for fifteen minutes and then turn right,” I enter Visoko. Full Story

The 12 Balkan Contenders for the New 7 Wonders
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia’s Dark Icons: The Bridge on the Drina, Višegrad

Curiosity Chest

The Balkans' Street-Renaming Obsession

The battle over renaming streets in Eastern Europe since the fall of communism reflects their importance as symbols of identity, history and power. Full Story

Hidden Sofia

Bulgaria’s Capital Sofia: Queen of the Balkans

Alive and stirring, Sofia is like a butterfly about to emerge from its chrysalis. Neon lights, posh hotels, fancy restaurants and brightly lit shop windows now illuminate its avenues, but a walk through the city gives visitors a glimpse into its varied past – from medieval churches and mosques dating to Ottoman rule to a newer, golden-domed cathedral, from ornate nineteenth-century façades to communist-era architecture.
Full Story

Sofia, Bulgaria: A City of Ecumenical and Earthly Delights
Some 20 Reasons to Feast in Sofia

Hidden Bulgaria

The Crystal Heartbeat of a Mountain Lake

With summer slowly melting behind us, September often awakes craving for fresher waters, for landscapes more sensitive towards the change of seasons than the uniform, uniseasonal sea coast of sand and blue water. Full Story

Bulgaria’s Most Contested Monastery, St Ivan of RIla
Bulgaria in 3 Days: Sofia and Mount Vitosha

Balkan Coasts & Mountains

Ararat: The Mountain Where Noah’s Journey Ended


Eastern Turkey, 10 kilometres from the Iranian border. The raven-strewn landscape is a barren yellowish red. On one side rises Ararat, the twin-topped dormant volcano that is rightly considered as one of the world’s most impressive sights. Full Story

A Blue Cruise in Turkey's Magic Waters
Fresh Fish, Olives, and the Albanian Bay of Ksamil: All to Yourself

Balkan Towns

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Three is a Magic Number in Sarajevo

Bosnia and Herzegovina

While attending the Sarajevo Film Festival this July, for an afternoon, I escaped the red-carpet razzle-dazzle, the glamorous cocktail parties, and the sitting in front of the silver screen in dark cinema halls, which transported me to other times and worlds, and went on a tour of Sarajevo. The tour also brough me to another time - through the city's distant past and recent history, and then back to its hopeful future. Though of the same city in which I had already spent several days, Full Story