I’m very happy to announce that the Blonde Gypsy has finally made her return to the Balkans!
It’s been over a year and a half since I was in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia and I’ve been dying to come back and check out some of their neighbors ever since – so here I am.
This trip was a pretty last minute one and therefore thrown together very quickly (as they usually are), but so far so great. I just arrived in Skopje yesterday and from here will be traveling on to Pristina and Prizren in Kosovo, back down to Ohrid in the south of Macedonia, and then up through Albania ending in Tirana just in time for the country’s 100th anniversary of independence. Should be an awesome few weeks!
I’m really excited to be working with my friends over at HostelWorld this time around along with various top notch hostels/hotels/B&Bs/apartment owners in the region. Let us not forget – HostelWorld is not just all about hostels! You can book all kinds of accommodation on their site and seeing as variety is the spice of life, I thought I’d take the opportunity to try out as many of the different options as I can.
Right now I am staying in a hostel though, one of the coziest I’ve ever been in called Shanti Hostel which is situated in one of the oldest neighborhoods of Skopje. I was a bit worried before I arrived that I was getting over/too old for this and that I wouldn’t be as comfortable as I would in a hotel or an apartment, but that couldn’t have turned out to be further from the truth. I’ve come to the realization that it is actually MORE comfortable staying in hostels when traveling through less-traveled places like this where tourist information is scarce and where people are more likely to notice right away if you go missing. Plus, if they are anything like this one, you do feel more “at home” than hidden in some cold hotel room.
With that said, I am chilling out right now in the “chill room” drinking some Macedonian Roze (rosé) with some new friends I made over breakfast this morning and discussing what we should do this evening. From what I can tell so far, Skopje is a pretty interesting place that is very slowly, but VERY surely making its way onto the tourist radar.
Hope you’ll follow along! I’ll be posting photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as much as I can, so watch those spaces for live updates. Please let me know any recommendations you may have for any of these places, whether first hand/from friends/friends of friends…I will need them.
MeganNovember 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm
very very exciting! cant wait to steal some tips from ya in the future (not making it down there as planned during christmas…going to belarus instead). please keep us all posted throughout your trip!!! have fun and be safe!
LarissaNovember 14, 2012 at 9:59 pm
Thank you! I am excited! Really cool thus far. Reeeally awesome about Belarus, then I will be stealing tips from you. Just had a pretty interesting convo with the head of tourism from there. Will keep you posted for sure :)
MeganNovember 14, 2012 at 10:56 pm
i cant wait to hear more about kosovo. i have wanted to visit there for so many years (a friend of mine in the US was from there and was a refuge from the war).
ohhh if you get the chance go to go to belarus through a dmo or something, DO IT that way. the visa process has become harder for americans as of sept this year. such a pain and headache haha. it’s much easier for norwegians (boyfriend’s going w/ me) im not going to be there that long and im only going to be in minsk…but ill let you know how it is :) very excited to say the least!
enjoy your time in the balkans!!
LarissaNovember 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm
Wow, your plans sound great! Sucks it’s such a nightmare but hopefully it will be worth it for you in the end. Enjoy your time as well and we’ll KIT x
AntonioDecember 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm
How is your trip,i hope you have great time? :) i see that you still havent wroted anything about Ohrid on your blog?
LarissaDecember 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm
Trip is going well, thank you! Post on Ohrid probably won’t go up for another couple of weeks as I am still traveling. Will be in touch soon.
ChristianJune 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm
At the gate of the lake town in ohrid there is a bar with a amstel beer sign infront of it is a hotel called villa vorum. It’s owned by my grandpa and if i ask maybe you could stay there for free he is very nice and he just wants some company. He wil probably even cook for you if you don’t veel hungry at that time you just have to say no for about 40 times.
LarissaJune 27, 2014 at 11:59 am
Haha, sounds like an amazing offer – I may have to take you/him up on it! :)
KirstenMarch 16, 2015 at 11:25 am
I am a South African travelling to Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia in April this year (2015). I came across your blog while searching for interesting info and stories about Albania, and would like to just say thank you for the information and personal comments on your visits to the Balkans. It is not an area of the world that many South African’s have visited – or even heard about – so it’s been superb to read something from someone who has visited and done so on a relatively low budget.
I look forward to reading some more.
LarissaApril 3, 2015 at 1:27 am
Thanks so much for the comment, Kirsten. Love hearing things like that and inspires me to write more soon as I am so aware of the lack of information out there. Wish you a wonderful trip and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any travel related questions I might be able to help you with.
DusanApril 19, 2015 at 9:04 pm
I just stumbled upon this blog and your infor on travelling to Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia this April made me curious to learn about your impressions and experiences since I plan to make a trip by car from Greece thru Albania to Montenegro this June.
I sincerely hope you’ve been enjoying your trip very much….
mariosMay 4, 2015 at 7:42 pm
i come from Cyprus and this year I will be doing opposite than Kirsten in 10 days driving from London through Europe down to Dubrovnik and through bosnia hererzegovina Montenegro Albania and Greece!!!
LarissaMay 15, 2015 at 11:08 pm
Awesome, have a great trip! :)
jeff dJune 15, 2015 at 8:48 pm
Just found this site & am heading to Balkans next week. Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania & up the coast to Slovenia. Great tips!
LarissaAugust 12, 2015 at 8:39 am
Great choices! Hope you had an awesome time.
JasonDecember 5, 2017 at 7:23 pm
Planning a trip to Macedonia next summer. Can you pay with visa at restaurant or cash only in most cases?
LarissaJune 19, 2018 at 7:10 am
Cash is king in the Balkans. Many restaurants in the bigger cities accept visa, but to be safe I would also carry enough cash.