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Four countries, three religions and three climates – a week in Europe’s undiscovered natural paradise

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There cannot be many other places in the world where you can dine by a beautiful wetland meadow, walk through a series of stunning underground caverns, and swim in front of a jungle waterfall – all in one day.

Jungle waterfall. © Nina Jensen

But this is the Dinaric Arc, in the Western Balkans, a region so diverse in both its cultural history, peoples and it’s amazing nature that it is often hard to comprehend.  But a week here, spent with passionate and committed WWF staff, has opened my eyes to a new part of the world to which I will surely return.

Balkan. © Nina Jensen

From orchid tea in Sarajevo, where the East meets the West in a fusion of cultures, to Mostar and a wonderful bridge over the river, to a wonderful Adriatic Sea, where the waters are crystal clear and already good for a swim, to the beautiful old city of Dubrovnik, and finally to Kotor, a town surrounded by walls crawling up a mountainside so steep to defy belief, this is a region truly blessed with delights.

Balkan. © Nina Jensen

While the region is fast changing, hopefully there will still be room for all this diversity, both of people and their cultures, and of stunning nature, making a melting pot well worth visiting, and certainly worth working to sustain for the benefit of both people and nature.

And all this in five days in four countries, on one tank of fuel – truly marvellous!


Andrew Fitzgibbon is Conservation Director, Programmes, in WWF-Norway’s International Department for Environment & Development.

He has a Masters of Science Degree in Agriculture, Environment and Development; Resource Management, and nearly 15 years working in mainstream development organizations in East and Southern Africa.

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  • Andrea

    sounds like fun!
    It was travel in green and blue part of Europe, not to mention great driver who took a burden to drive in the early mornings…. 🙂

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  • Deni Porej

    We also saw a Norwegian lady and an Englishman swimming in 11 C cold water during this trip! Marvelous, too

  • http://wwf.croatia.panda.org Petra

    It’s a pity that sometimes we need to listen from foreigners about our region to understand what we have. Precisely because of that, we will do our best through Dinaric Arc Parcs project to open eyes of local people to appreciate what they have. Thanks for this beautiful words! I will share this to our dinaricarcparks.blogspot.com