Visiting the site of Europe’s most recent war might not sound like a relaxing vacation, but you'd be surprised. The Balkans is a land where the people are as varied and complex as the landscapes, where a calico demography of ethnicities and creeds spots the hillsides and valleys, and where recent and terrible tragedy is belied by lavish hospitality and wry cynicism. By some tokens, it might be the best place to get a feeling for the Europe that once was.
Most tourists make a few stops along Croatia’s glittering Adriatic coastline, or hightail it all the way down to Istanbul or Greece. The rest of the peninsula lurks in murky indistinctness: post-Communist, Eastern European, familiar yet strange at the same time. There’s much more to the Balkan Peninsula than Dubrovnik city tours and cruises on the Adriatic. Here are 11 of the best places you should visit.