For travelers who do not get to experience autumn colors in the fall or holiday markets in the winter, one great way to do this is to visit the former Yugoslavia in Central Europe in October or November. The beauty of Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Slovenia is breathtaking in the fall, and the winter Christmas markets are on display in Slovenia in Ljubljana.
All four of these countries are immensely beautiful. Their beauty shines just as brightly during the different seasons. Croatia is known in the region for its eight beautiful national parks. The Plitvice National Park with all its many hiking trails is a must-see for the nature and hiking enthusiasts with its 16 lakes and multiple waterfalls. However, this is just one of the eight parks with autumn colors on display in the fall. A trip there includes a hike that is nearly three hours in length, walking over bridges that cross rushing rivers and pass cascading waterfalls.
Montenegro is a quick day trip from Dubrovnik. While the autumn colors abound in the vast stretches of empty land between the two countries, it is vacant land because it was never rebuilt after the people evacuated during the Bosnian war in the 1990’s. It is in many ways, beauty that has come with a price. Amid this sober realization, much of Montenegro is off the beautiful and sun-drenched Adriatic coast, such as the drive to Kotor, so fall colors can only be seen more inland.
The drive from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo, Bosnia follows the path of several rivers. Perhaps the most beautiful part of the drive is from Mostar, Bosnia to Sarajevo, and again from Sarajevo, Bosnia back to Zagreb, Croatia. Many homes are located on the river banks, and hiking trails are not far away, but less obvious than what the national parks offer. Still it is breathtakingly beautiful, and a great way to see this part of the country in the autumn. The scenic drive is rugged and spectacular.
Slovenia itself is a revelation. During autumn Lake Bled’s scenic hiking trails are a fantastic spot for enjoying nature’s beauty among the crunchy leaves, and the capitol city of Ljubljana has winter Christmas markets to delight the traveler’s senses. As a destination, they offer a complete package: with amazing tastes from the fantastic foods and brandies local to the region; sights from the festive holiday displays in the streets of Ljubljana to the simple beauty of Lake Bled; and the sound of music literally everywhere in the capitol city due to their musical heritage. A musical walking tour is available from Ljubljana Guidesall year round, with a special added touch during the Christmas markets
To discover these countries in depth, Overseas Adventure Travel and Grand Circle Travel offer several trips. Prices during the fall are less than the summer months, but the experience is so spectacular, it is worth wearing gloves and wool scarves in the morning hours. Their tours provide scenic hiking experiences as well for those who enjoy a brisk hike. For those who do not want to hike, there is plenty of time to just enjoy the fall foliage and cultural adventures. Click on the above links for further details.