Full of green havens and paradisaical seclusion along beautiful shores, the Balkan is home to some of the loveliest cities on the planet. No matter what kind of town meets your description of beauty, you’re sure to find it within the region. To help you out with that, we’ve rounded up a trio that has impressed in recent years:

1) Bled, Slovenia


The quiet Slovenian town of Bled has risen up the tourism ranks so rapidly, proving a nice place to go for a relaxing holiday away from the crowds that suffocate Europe this time of year. It is eclipsed by snow-capped peaks and inter-colored canopies offering pristine hiking trails and scenic picnicking spots. The town itself is, however not the main attraction, as the beautiful Lake Bled some distance off it hogs all the spotlight and for an excellent reason. Now frozen solid with the cold of winter, Lake Bled is typically a shimmering green lake with a little islet right in the middle of it. The islet is home to a medieval castle, privy to the most amazing sunsets in the world. The lake is now a reflective white that runs for miles, wonderfully mirroring the overlooking alps and the vegetation that gathers around it. A similar tale of beauty is evident in the nature across Bled, providing perfect companionship for the cobblestone streets and serene urban centers.

2) Dubrovnik, Croatia


Croatia has so many fantastic cities that it’s hard to pick one, but Dubrovnik comes out on top this round. The city center right away hits you with this past-century magic that’ll have you checking to see if you somehow wound up on a Game of Thrones set. The stone walls and lovely promenade look foreigners in the present time, while the seafront views are nothing short of breathtaking and spectacular.

What’s more, the streets are adorable and punctuated by Roman cathedrals of yesteryear, while the fresh sea air feels refreshingly different. Historical structures lie quietly at every corner as lovely nature takes up residence along the buildings to providing lots of floral appeals extending down into the beautiful shoreline. It sure would be a dream to have a home away from home in this city to your name!

3) Gjirokastra, Albania


Nestled in a lovely hilly enclave within the magnificent Drino Valley to the south of Albania, the ‘City of Stone’ is a true work of art. The cityscape is a collection of whitewashed Ottoman architecture and paints the picture of a time firmly in the past. Around it spring foregrounds and backgrounds of gentle mountains watching in the misty distance, as if standing in admiration of the masonry around them. The town is rustic with constructions from time immemorial and it wouldn’t look out of a place in an old Viking movie. This UNESCO-listed city has been labeled by many as having the best-preserved Ottoman culture, and it’s a place where stone tower clocks and castles are the norm. Rife with museums, galleries, and rooms that have been around since the turn of the 19 th century, this a city for history buffs and lovers of nature!

There you have it! If you have sights set on the Balkan this December, you should have no problem choosing a good holiday spot!