About the site...
The aim of Balkanology is to help anyone considering a trip to one or more countries in Southeast Europe. It is not intended to replace a guidebook; the descriptions of places to see are based on my own experience and interests, and I do not claim that they are comprehensive or objective. By providing annotated links to other websites, and details of available guidebooks, I try to ensure that you will be able to find more detailed information where necessary.
I try to make sure that the site is as accurate as possible, but do bear in mind that it is the work of one person - there is no team of researchers keeping it up to date. So don't book a long-awaited holiday based solely on a passing comment on this site! I welcome feedback about Balkanology, so feel free to contact me.
In Šipan, Croatia
Contribute to Balkanology
I hope to increase the usefulness of Balkanology by including content from outside contributors. If you feel you have something to say about travel in the Balkans, please contact me with your ideas. I would be happy to hear from residents of the Balkans as well as travellers. Contributions will appear on a separate page and the author will be clearly identified (example). Some possible topics:
- Special interest travel, for example hiking, skiing, sailing.
- Aspects of culture of interest to visitors, for example food or festivals.
- Cities or regions not already covered in the site. I would particularly like to add content about places in Albania and mainland Greece. I would also be interested in contributions about Maramures and the Danube Delta (Romania), and the Rila Mountains (Bulgaria). But feel free to suggest other places, perhaps your home town or somewhere you feel is underrated by travellers.
About Me ... the egotistical bit
I am originally from Dublin, Ireland and until quite recently had lived my whole life there, apart from absences for travel. Since 2011 I have lived in Malaga, Spain with my Chilean-Irish family. My real-world job as an actuary has absolutely no connection with building websites, taking photos, or writing about travel, so all aspects of this site are the result of rank amateurism. Contrary to what these pages might lead you to believe, I'm not obsessed with the Balkans. Honestly. I've enjoyed travelling and taking photographs in many other places too. If you don't believe me, have a look at my full collection of travel photos.
Balkanology has its roots in my first trip to the Balkans in 2002, when I spent three weeks travelling around Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro. I particularly remember seeing the Bay of Kotor for the first time and wondering "why did no-one ever tell me about this?" I also remember getting the photos from the trip developed and being disappointed that they fell so far short of being a true reflection of the places I had seen. As a result I bought my first digital camera, learned a little bit about f-stops and exposure times, and started to think more carefully about my holiday snapshots. I also began reading about the Balkans, a region I knew shamefully little about. As a cold war child I grew up with the idea that all the countries east of Trieste were more or less the same; it didn't take long travelling in the region to put that idea to rest.
In the following couple of years I visited Serbia and Bulgaria. Eventually I decided to mark ten years of working life by taking some time off work, which gave me the opportunity for a couple of extended trips around the Balkans. I noticed that it was relatively difficult to find information about some areas of the region. I also began to receive queries from people who had seen my photos of the Balkans and wanted to know more about travelling there. Gradually the idea of Balkanology took shape. In early 2006 I put in some serious hard work to get the site together, and unveiled it to the public in February 2006.
All text and photography copyright Alan Grant 2006-2013, except where other contributors are identified.