The following is a reposted article originally from PASTE Magazine written by Nevena Bosnic.

Just in case you’re still on the fence about going to the Balkans for your next beach getaway, take a moment to come to your senses. It may make the difference between having a ho-hum holiday or an epic vacation. This corner of Southeast Europe is not only the new adventure travel haven on the continent, it has arguably its best coastline.

Why are these patches of shoreline the best on the continent? They are isolated, they are still chock full of Old World charm, and have food that other, more touristy locales, could only imagine.

Whether you’re looking for an extravagant blowout or budget-friendly seclusion, you will find something that accommodates you at these top 10 seaside destinations in the Western Balkan countries of Albania, Croatia and Montenegro. Take a tour with our friends from Balkan Vibe, the region’s premier travel platform—offering the widest range of tours, a seamless booking, and a credit-card payment system.

Nevena Bosnic is the co-founder and business development manager at Balkanvibe. She is also a first-generation American—now living in Sarajevo—passionate about exploring, maintaining and investing in her Balkan roots.

AuthorNicolas Segura

The following is a reposted article from Adventure Travel News on July 11, 2017.

In May 2016, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) hosted the AdventureNEXT Balkans regional event. After only one year, the ATTA is able to report a significant impact as a direct result of the gathering, which brought more than 40 adventure tour operators (buyers) and 20 international journalists to the Balkan region.

© ATTA / Lukasz Warzecha

© ATTA / Lukasz Warzecha

During AdventureNEXT, which was held 10-12 May in Ohrid, Macedonia, special focus was on 12 countries, and delegates had an in-depth opportunity to experience and learn about adventure travel in the region. Last September, the ATTA shared the early outcomes from the event.

To track progress and report to the event’s partners and participants, the ATTA reached out to participating buyers and asked them about their new partnerships as a result of their attendance at AdventureNEXT Balkans. Close to 50 new trips were developed between May 2016 and the beginning of 2017, 35 experiences in 2017, and 24 for 2018. Not all participating buyers responded when the ATTA got in contact, and there are likely even more trips.

AdventureNEXT Balkans 12-months Report summarizing newly developed tours.

AdventureNEXT Balkans 12-months Report summarizing newly developed tours.

Price and size of the excursions varies based on the types of experiences, their length, level of sophistication, number of destinations included, and more. For example, a long weekend enjoying the summits in Bulgaria, offered by the United Kingdom’s leading adventure operator KE Adventures, costs a bit over $400 USD while the United States-based TSC World Travel offers an exclusive 23-day Kingdoms and Cultures of Eurasia trip by private jet visiting Albania, Romania, Portugal, Lithuania, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Oman, and Spain for $80,000 USD, a price point that has increased since the report was published.

The branding and media exposure surpassed the investment a destination makes for hosting such an event.

AdventureNEXT Balkans 12-months Report summarizing media ad value.

AdventureNEXT Balkans 12-months Report summarizing media ad value.

Some of the highlights from the media coverage include:

It is the mix of sensational media coverage and buyers’ ability to cooperate with local partners that has sparked the impact and progress in the area.

Ivana Milicevic Kalić from Travel Agency Rams in Montenegro said, “These kinds of happenings, like the one in Ohrid, can give great opportunity to all the tour operators from the Balkans to meet buyers and journalists who are still not aware of the wild beauty we have to offer. My wish and proposal would be that you consider organizing the next AdventureNEXT Balkans in Montenegro.” In fact, this is how the conversation started about holding a regional gathering in the wider Balkans region, and Macedonia took the opportunity to host the first one.

The ATTA will continue to monitor developments and plans coming out of the Balkans region, and we anticipate more interest and new experiences in the coming years. However, monitoring sustainable progress will require months and years of cooperation, investment in sustainable tourism development, and consistency on behalf of the destinations in their marketing focus and direction.

If you haven’t see it yet, take a moment to view the wrap-up video from the AdventureNEXT Balkans event.

AuthorNicolas Segura
CategoriesArticle, Event

The following is a reposted version of an article from Paste Magazine by By Erica Jackson Curran.

Skopje, Macedonia isn’t just Europe’s Capital of Kitsch. Besides a wide and curious range of architecture and that signature brand of Balkan cool, the city offers some strikingly affordable apartment rentals—we’re talking less than $20/night for some places. Here are 10 of our favorite whole-home rentals, most priced under $30/night.

Paste’s Airbnb columnist Erica Jackson Curran is a former alt-weekly editor turned moonlight freelancer based in Richmond, Virginia.

AuthorNicolas Segura

The following is an excerpt of an article originally posted on The Telegraph by Oliver Smith. The article lists Moldova and Georgia among the top 20 fastest growing travel destinations.

The Top 20 Fastest Growing Travel Destinations

  1. Sierra Leone +310%
  2. Nepal +39.7%
  3. Iceland +39%
  4. South Korea +30.3%
  5. Moldova +28.6%

  6. Chile +26%
  7. Vietnam +24.6%
  8. Japan +21.8%
  9. Liechtenstein +21.7%
  10. Kiribati +21.6%
  11. Kuwait +20.7%
  12. Madagascar +20%
  13. Cyprus +19.8%
  14. Georgia +19%

  15. Turks & Caicos +17.5%
  16. Cook Islands +17.1%
  17. Slovakia +16.9%
  18. Kenya +16.8%
  19. Tanzania +15.6%
  20. Indonesia +15.5%


Only two countries in Europe (San Marino and Liechtenstein) receive fewer visitors than Moldova – but things are going in the right direction. Around 121,000 people went there in 2016, compared with 94,000 the year before. What does it offer?

Orheiul Vechi is a crumbling open-air monastic complex that dates back more than 2,000 years; it is home to an impressive array of birds, with roughly 300 different species calling it home; and its capital, Chisinau, has some truly brutal Soviet-era architecture.

    AuthorNicolas Segura

    The following is a reposted version of an article from Paste Magazine by Sarah Bennett.

    Top photo by Klovovi/Flickr CC BY

    Top photo by Klovovi/Flickr CC BY

    The Republic of Macedonia is regarded as one of the world’s oldest and most culturally rich civilizations. For travelers, “this landlocked country, which sits in the center of the Balkan Peninsula, is paradise. Each town throughout the country holds a different opportunity to celebrate ancient traditions and the spots between—with some of region’s highest peaks and deepest waters—is heaven for adventure travel. And, at the end of each day, explorers will enjoy superb domestic wine and absolutely the freshest cuisine.

    Skopje, the capital city, has both ancient and modern sites and a population that hovers around 500,000. Since most towns are much smaller, Macedonia’s untamed natural beauty remains a secret. Traveling alone or in a group, a trip to this region is inexpensive and easy to navigate. Make sure to experience these five activities from tourism operator Macedonia Experience during your next European excursion.

    1. Fill Up on Traditional Foods 

    Whether you’re beginning a day of exploring or ending a long night of partying, Macedonia boasts some delicious dishes. One of the country’s best-known delicacies is moussaka, a casserole oozing with layers of eggplant, potatoes and red meat (often green peppers and tomatoes, too). Another favorite is burek—a thin, flaky pastry filled with a combination of onion, potatoes, feta, spinach, ground beef or lamb and a side of homemade yogurt for dipping.

    For those avoiding lamb and red meat, check out Kaneo on the breathtaking shores of Lake Ohrid. This Mediterranean restaurant serves up plentiful helpings of fish caught right outside of its walls and colorful salads with the fresh tomatoes and peppers the country is known for.

    2. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

    If you’ve been wanting to take an athletic route through the historic hills of Europe, Macedonia is the place to do it. There are multiple races throughout the summer months, like the Tour de Galicica bike race through Galicica National Park in June. Trail running events are also popular—and you’ll have continual photo ops in the Sharr Mountains, a range that connects the country to Albania and Kosovo. Jeep safari tours are a great option for large groups and often offer scenic rides to remote villages.

    And one of the best parts of Macedonia is that you can view its incredible terrains from more than just the ground level. Take a dive into Lake Ohrid (pictured at top), one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes. Under the serene waters you’ll see paleolithic settlements scattered among the sandy banks that date back an estimated 2 million years.

    Don’t feel like getting wet? Opt for a tandem paragliding adventure through clear skies to get a aerial view of the Balkans. You’ll spend anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour coasting by mountains like Jablanica.

    3. Explore Matka Canyon

    Photo by Jason Rogers/Flickr CC BY

    Photo by Jason Rogers/Flickr CC BY

    Treska River flows southwest out of the Vardar River, eventually tapering off after flowing through a total of 82 curvy miles. This vast river flows through many different lakes, including Lake Matka (pictured above), which is cradled in one of Macedonia’s most popular destinations for tourists and locals, Matka Canyon. Just 20 minutes outside of the busy streets of Skopje, this serene getaway offers endless hiking, self-guided kayaking trips, and boat rides to the canyon’s caves. If you look around from the stone-paved paths carved into the canyon’s walls, you’ll see churches and monasteries tucked into the hills. There’s also a restaurant next door if you want to eat wonderful local dishes or drink a glass of wine.

    If you’d like to see the area on two wheels you can also rent a bike from a local company for about $30 a day or a boat for about $6 a person. Whatever your medium is, a visit to Lake Matka is a must.

    4. Celebrate Wine Country and Drink Local Liqueur 

    Fruit brandy isn’t the only thing that stems from the region’s rich soils. In the southeast town of Kavadarci, you’ll find Tikves Winery, where over 50 different wines are produced. The winery is the oldest in the surrounding area of Tikves Lake, which is the heart of Macedonia’s famous wine country. These rolling hills are home to grapes with an ideal sugar concentration, which might explain why people have been making wine here for over 2,000 years.

    If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, the country’s most popular brew is a 4.9% lager-tasting pils called Skopsko. Now owned by Heineken, the beer is highly regarded by many locals and has been around since 1924.

    5. Be a Tourist, See Skopje 

    Photo courtesy of Municipality of Skopje

    Photo courtesy of Municipality of Skopje

    Downtown Skopje has recently gone through a drastic reboot—this bustling part of the city has been labeled “Vegas-like” due to the bright lights and newly erected statues. One example is a prominent 72-foot depiction of Alexander the Great that stands in Macedonia Square.

    However, if you walk toward the northeast corner of the city, you’ll find its most well-preserved sector: Old Bazaar. As one of the Balkans’ largest bazaars, the streets are filled mosques, galleries and museums housed by Byzantine and Ottoman architecture dating back to the 12th century. Whether it’s jewelry, souvenirs or authentic food you’re shopping for, you’ll find it here.

    Beyond this neighborhood you’ll also find the Museum of Contemporary Art. Closer to center, you can visit the Memorial House of Mother Teresa, near the site of where the famous nun was baptized.

    To see the city from a different perspective, catch a bus in Skopje to Mount Vodno. A cable car will deliver you to a breathtaking view next to Millennium Cross, pictured above, a religious metal sculpture bigger than the Statue of Liberty. You can ride an elevator up the cross for a better view, or stay behind for a snack or beer at the mountain’s restaurant … either way, this adventure costs a mere $4.

    Sarah Bennett is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia, with a small budget and a big appetite for the world.

    The following is a re-posted article originally from Paste Magazine by Zorica Lončar

    Photo credit: Shutterstock/ADfoto

    Photo credit: Shutterstock/ADfoto

    Every person who has passed through Serbia can testify to two things:

    1. Serbian food is delicious; and
    2. Serbia’s hospitality is unparalleled.

    Some believe that that famously welcoming spirit is due to ancient pagan beliefs. Serbs use to believe that a host will not gain any favors from the Gods if he doesn’t offer a bed and food to a guest.

    Whatever the case may be, Serbs still insist on maintaining their reputation as good hosts. As such, they spoil their guests with incredible food and drink. When traveling to Serbia, pack pants that are two sizes too big. Don’t worry, you’ll fill them out in no time.

    Here are 10 Serbian delicacies you must try:

    1. Turkish Coffee

    Photo credit: Zorica Lončar

    Photo credit: Zorica Lončar

    Serbs are not exactly like Swedes when it comes to coffee consumption, but they still love to sip a cup of this warm drink every day. People call it “domestic coffee” or “Turkish coffee.” The first coffee shops in the city, better known as “kafanas” originate from the Ottoman Empire and one of the oldest ones is called Question Mark.

    2. Kajmak

    This dairy dish is a popular appetizer. It is very similar to clotted cream and it’s mostly eaten with bread or with some dishes—usually pljeskavica (Balkan burger) or in pita bread with cevapi (a grilled dish with minced meat). Lepinja sa kajmakom (bun bread with kajmak) is a specialty in Zlatibor region. Nowadays you can buy kajmak in any large supermarket but you’ll find the best one at farmers’ markets across the country.

    3. Ajvar

    Photo credit: Zorica Lončar

    Photo credit: Zorica Lončar

    Serbs love their ajvar and they produce 640 tons of it each year. It is a spread made of red bell peppers and it may also contain garlic, chili peppers or eggplant. It’s mostly eaten on flat bread or as a side dish. There are two kinds of ajvar: one is made from roasted red peppers and the other has a more spicy kick to it as they add hot peppers.

    4. Rakija

    Photo credit: Zorica Lončar

    Photo credit: Zorica Lončar

    Rakija is a fruit brandy with 40% of alcoholic content. It is mostly made out of grapes but other fruits such as peaches, pears, cherries, figs, quince are also commonly used. Some of them are sometimes mixed with herbs, honey or walnuts. People drink it as aperitif, at parties, in bars and at weddings. An average Serbian grandmother uses it as a cure against heartburn, sore throat and pretty much everything else.

    In my opinion you must try these three types: 1) honey rakijamedovaca 2) raspberry rakijamalina 3) apricot rakijakajsija.

    5. Serbian Salad

    Photo credit: Zorica Lončar

    Photo credit: Zorica Lončar

    This vegetable salad consists of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions and is seasoned with olive oil, salt and a hot pepper called feferon. Salads in Serbia are usually eaten as a side dish along with roast meat or other dishes.

    6. Karadjordje’s steak

    Karadjordje’s steak is probably one of the main reasons Serbians are rated high for suffering from cardiovascular diseases. It is a rolled veal or pork steak, stuffed with kajmak, and then breaded and fried. It is served with roasted potatoes and tartar sauce.

    It was made by accident by a famous Serbian chef Mica Stojanovic who cooked for the likes of Tito, Queen Elizabeth II and Gaddafi. He had a guest that ordered the Chicken Kiev but he didn’t have all the ingredients and he improvised and created Karadjordje’s steak. When he garnished the steak he noticed an uncanny resemblance to “the order of the Star of Karadjordje, which is how the dish got its name.

    7. Sarma

    Photo credit: Zorica Lončar

    Photo credit: Zorica Lončar

    Possibly the most popular dish on our list is sarma. This old Serbian dish has been around as long as anyone can remember. Sarma is a cabbage roll with minced meat and rice. There are many versions of sarma, some prefer to make roles out of chard with rice and tuna. Usually it’s served with a side of sour cream.

    8. Burek

    Burek is the most common breakfast order in any bakery in Serbia. The French have croissants and the Serbians have this incredible pastry with think flaky dough. It’s usually filled with minced meat or cheese. The best place to try it is in the city of Nis, where it originated here as early as 1498. It was introduced to Serbia by a Turkish baker called Mehmed O?lu.

    9. Podvarak

    Podvarak is an easy dish to prepare, but what makes it incredible is the quality of its ingredients. Serbians mostly eat only seasonal. In the winter there isn’t much variety in farmer’s markets, so they prepare large quantities of food preserves. In this case, barrels of fermented cabbage. Every family has at least a barrel of fermented cabbage, they use it throughout the year to prepare sarma, cooked cabbage or podvarak. Usually made from fermented cabbage, smoked pork and some other type of meat such as pork ribs or sausages.

    10. Slatko

    In most Serbian households when they welcome a stranger to their home they greet them with a spoonful of slatko and a glass of water. Slatko meaning sweet in Serbian is a homemade fruit preserve. Most popular fruit preserves are made from quince, white cherries or blackberries. If you’re keen on acquiring a jar to take back home, visit any local farmer’s market.

    Zorica Loncar is an author behind EuroTribe, a website that showcases European destinations, great local experiences, off the beaten path destinations and budget travel advice. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

    The following is a re-posted version of an original article from PASTE Magazine, and written by Francesca Masotti.

    Breathtaking shores, great cuisine, and beautiful historical towns only scratch the surface when describing this Balkan country. Montenegro (the correct name is Crna Gora) has it all: rich history, fabulous beaches, stunning views and natural parks.

    Backed by a fjord-like landscape and surrounded by a bay, Kotor is arguably the crown jewel of this tiny country in southeastern Europe. Once home to one of the Mediterranean’s busiest harbors, today it is the star of Montenegro’s Adriatic coast and a UNESCO World Heritage site oozing with charm from every cobblestoned street.

    1. Old Town

    Kotor is famous for its deep fiord-like waters, rugged mountains and the Old Town, where history, culture, and tradition are well preserved. Tourism is picking up here, to be sure, but the numbers are still much less than nearby Dubrovnik, Croatia.

    A must-see in town is the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, a Roman Catholic church rebuilt after an earthquake in 1667. After letting the standing for a moment and letting the architecture melt into the surrounding cliffs and sea, take a blind walk down one of the multitude of narrow streets, into a square, or enter one of the many bookshops, museums and cafes. You won’t be disappointed. For excellent local fish go to Trpeza, one of the best restaurants in town.

    2. Outdoor Green Market

    Head to the Outdoor Green Market, where citizens come to catch up with neighbors and shop for fresh fish, vegetables and local cheeses. The market runs along the city walls from the Sea Gate and is open every morning. It’s also a paradise for slow food fans and the perfect place to buy a cool souvenir like a bottle of oil olive or a good indigenous red wine: Vranac.

    3. City Walls & Sveti Ivan Fortress

    The old nucleus of Kotor is considered one of the best preserved medieval urban entities in the Mediterranean and is protected by Unesco. Kotor’s fortifications, from the 9th century, head up to Sveti Ivan’s HillPro tip: Make the nearly 4,000-foot ascent up the fortifications along 1350 steps. The views from here are fabulous … but remember to avoid the midday heat of the day and bring lots of water.

    4. Perast

    One of the best things about Kotor is the abundance of equally stunning locations just around the Gulf of Kotor, such as Perast (pictured at top). This charming town—one of the most beautiful places on the Kotor bay—has narrow streets and baroque palaces, which testify to the region’s former wealth.

    5. Our Lady of The Rocks

    The Island Gospa of Skrpjela (Our Lady of the Rocks) is one of two gorgeous islands in Boka Kotorska (the Bay or Kotor). The story of this island begins on July 22, 1452, when two sailors returning to Perast discovered an icon of the Madonna and Child resting on a rock in a shallow part of the Bay. The sailors dropped stones around the spot of the “miracle,” and slowly created an islet and, later, built a small chapel. It soon became a tradition for sailors to drop stones in the water around the chapel before a voyage. This ritual remains alive today and forms part of one of Europe’s oldest sailing regattas: the Fasinada.

    Francesca is a journalist and blogger based in Florence, Italy, with a love of travel and an addiction to the Balkan countries.

    AuthorNicolas Segura

    The following is a reposted portion of an article from Trip Advisor.

    Planning a holiday in Europe is no easy feat.

    With so many great destinations to choose from, it helps to first narrow down the goal of your trip. Culture hounds and history buffs will undoubtedly head to one of the continent’s world-class cities, while sunbathers and beach bums will opt for a seaside escape—one of TripAdvisor’s recent award-winning beaches, perhaps?

    However, what if you’re not a sand-between-the-toes type of person, but still want to relax under the sun or take a dip in the water? Consider a lakeside home from TripAdvisor Rentals. You’ll be smitten with the cosy properties available to book. The calming, romantic atmosphere and incredible views of a waterfront stay will wash away your daily stresses.

    But don’t just stay by any body of water. We’ve rounded up eight beautiful lakes in Europe, each with stunning holiday homes on offer. And the cherry on top? None of these rentals will break the bank, especially if you’re splitting the cost with friends or family.

    Lake Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia (Fyrom)

    Imagine sipping your morning coffee on the terrace of this stunning lakeside villa, or ending the evening with a sparkling night cap. Considered to be one of Europe’s oldest and deepest lakes and an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, Lake Ohrid has long been one of the go-to locations for lazy lakeside holidays for residents of Macedonia and Albania, the two countries it touches. While visitors now come from across the Balkans and further afield, there is still charm, beauty, and most importantly peace and quiet to be found along the banks of these turquoise waters.

    AuthorNicolas Segura

    The following is a reposted version of an article originally posted by PASTE Magazine and written by  Nevena Bosnic.

    Like every other part of the world, the Western Balkans region is experiencing a surge in the popularity of festivals. Each passing summer brings more gatherings and more innovation. Some festivals have been around for decades, while others are just getting started.

    Unlike the other corners of the globe, however, the countries of the Western Balkans bring a completely new flavor of culture, traditions and history. What this means for you—as you consider visiting this up-and-coming, though still under-the-radar, destination—is that each spot here has its own way of throwing down and having a good time. Despite the differences, one thing is universal about the spot where the East meets the West: There is no party like a Balkan party.

    There is truly no place in the world like the Balkans, and if there is one thing we do best, it’s celebrate. We throw a party for just about everything under the sun—including the sun: from film and music to wine and poetry. These are some of the best festivals in the region, so add them to the bucket list and start planning.

    Read more about Music & Festivals at Balkanvibe, the premier travel platform for the Western Balkans, offering the widest range of tours for the region as well as a seamless booking and credit card payment system. In a partnership with Paste Travel, Balkanvibe will bring readers a biweekly, insider look at the ways in which this magical corner of Europe retains its authenticity and undiscovered charm.

    Nevena Bosnic is the co-founder and business development manager at Balkanvibe. She is also a first-generation American—now living in Sarajevo—passionate about exploring, maintaining and investing in her Balkan roots.

    The following is a reposted version of an article from Lonely Planet by Brana Vladisavljevic.

    A new series of monthly webinars has been launched to promote adventure travel and sustainable tourism in the Western Balkans, as this region in south-eastern Europe has become the continent’s newest adventure playground over the last few years, increasingly attracting independent travelers.

    Climbing the limestone crags of Paklenica National Park in Croatia. Image by © diamirstudio / Getty Images

    Climbing the limestone crags of Paklenica National Park in Croatia. Image by © diamirstudio / Getty Images

    Industry professionals and travel enthusiasts from several countries are already cooperating through the cross-border Via Dinarica Alliance to help develop responsible tourism in the Western Balkans. They are building on the positive momentum created by the Via Dinarica hiking trail, a recently completed trans-Balkans hiking route that also serves as a cultural corridor linking eight countries from Slovenia to Macedonia. A trans-Balkans cycling route that will be the counterpart to the already established hiking trail is currently being developed.

    Mountain biking in Montenegro’s Durmitor national park. Image by © courtesy of Montenegro National Tourism Organization

    Mountain biking in Montenegro’s Durmitor national park. Image by © courtesy of Montenegro National Tourism Organization

    Launched in April, the free 45-minute webinars will focus on a different topic related to adventure travel each month and feature various guest speakers, with the aim to educate as well as encourage networking. Alex Crevar, a Balkans-based US journalist moderating the webinar series, told Lonely Planet: ‘as the region has become more and more popular, a handful of tourism professionals wanted to provide a platform for operators and travellers to intersect and have a conversation about the finer points of tourism development. The free, archived webinars make this forum both continual and useful as reference material, and easily accessible.’

    Travellers sharing lunch in the Macedonian village of Galičnik. Image by © courtesy of Novagenus

    Travellers sharing lunch in the Macedonian village of Galičnik. Image by © courtesy of Novagenus

    The primary focus of the series is on the Western Balkans region, but the issues covered are universal. ‘Webinars about subjects like cultural awareness, sustainable approaches and partnerships among international operators tackle the positives and challenges with each regardless of one’s area of the world’, said Crevar. The June webinar’s topic is product development and innovation. Anyone interested in sustainable tourism is welcome to participate in future webinars by posting questions and making suggestions.

    TVF has received the following awards and nominations. Way to go!

    Global Finalist (Best Use of Hardware)


    Build a fire-monitoring and crowdsourcing tool that will allow local fire managers to respond to wildfires.

    Sensors placed in local areas with high danger of fires, communicating with a GPS box connected to the main server, warning people close by to evacuate, contacting local firefighters and drones, using self-made Smart Ball Extinguishers to fight the fires

    Using the provided NASA database about "Fire danger forecast" and EOSDIS Worldview with added layers for "Fires and Thermal Anomalies" we pinpointed the locations of dangerous areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    On those location we will be placing smart fire extinguisher balls that can detect fire, activate them self and shut down fire in area around. Smart placing of these balls on areas that are not accessible to fire crews can be great help in country like Bosnia and Herzegovina cause there is a lot of not accessible terrain and most fires are started on those locations.

    Also, there is a firefighters online applications that allows other people to report fire. App gets their location based on longitude and latitude and sends a notification to control station. Fire is displayed on screen with directions and controls by control station. Also, users near by fire are getting notification with directions how to avoid getting near fire and evacuation routes.

    Node Prototype:

    AuthorNicolas Segura

    By Francesca Masotti  |  June 2, 2017  |  12:15pm

    Photos by Francesca Masotti

    Stunning shores, fabulous beaches, great food and a wallet-friendly economy only scratch the surface when describing this lively Balkan country. While it is becoming more popular with tourists, Albania (the correct name is Shqipëria or, more officially, Republika e Shqipërisë) remains undiscovered. Certainly there are the terrific coastlines and historic attractions, but the best reason to come to Albania is to discover a completely unknown country wrapped in mystery after decades of isolation.

    Prepare to fall in love with this wonderful place: from the capital city Tirana to the stunning clear waters of the south through to the ancient towns, an excursion through Albania is a real adventure. Let’s have a look at the best places to visit.

    1. Tirana


    Forget London, Paris or Rome. For a city break rich with culture, history and gastronomy—yet unspoiled by the tourists masses—try Tirana instead. The Albanian capital city is the Balkans Peninsula’s (southeastern Europe) next upcoming travel spot. The vortex of this lively destination is Blloku, the Block, the most famous neighborhood in town. One must-stop in this area is the Colonial Café, a beautifully design spot to chill out, where the staff will help you to pick one of their custom-made cocktails based on a very specific series of questions about your personal tastes.

    The heart of the town is Skanderbeg Square with the Mosque, Skanderbeg statue and Clock Tower. Take a tour in the National Historical Museum, adorned with a terrific mosaic, to learn more about the history of the country. Check out the Bunk’Art2, a recently opened museum dedicated to the victims of Communism, located in a bunker in the centre of Tirana. Best restaurant in town? Go to Padam, a new point of reference for the Albanian gastronomy housed in a villa with a gourmet menu. The best thing you can do here is to ask for a recommendation by the genial chef Fundim Gjepali.

    2. Berat


    Few people can resist the unique charm of the UNESCO-designated old town of Berat. The heart of this lovely city, Mangalem, is an impressive Ottoman center with typical white houses with small windows climbing up to the hill to its castle, earning it the title of ‘town of a thousand windows’, and many mosques. Albania is a country with a Muslim majority but it was also the only European country to end the WWII with more Jews than it had at the start of the war. It is also tolerant of the other prominent religions in the region; Orthodox and Catholic.

    During Communist era, dictator Enver Hoxha banned religions altogether. Even after the temples were reopened in the 1990s, Albanians keep their religion private. You will see more women in headscarves in London or Paris than in your travel through Albania. Berat is the symbol of this religious tolerance. This is one of the reasons it was included on UNESCO’s list.

    But despite now being a big tourism center, Berat has managed to retain its pleasant atmosphere. If you want to learn more about the history of this wonderful town remember to visit the Muzeum Ethnografik, housed in an Ottoman-era home.

    3. Gijrokastër


    Reach the citadel of ancient Gijrokastër for dazzling vistas. Once here, you’ll understand why it is UNESCO world-heritage site. One of the oldest cities of Albania, the name means Silver Fortress, and it clearly shows the confluence of Albanian, Greek and Turkish cultures. But Albania is not an extension of Greece or Turkey: the country has a big national identity, the Albanian language, Shqip, is Indo-European in origin but is totally different from other languages in the area. Even though the alphabet is based on Latin, the sounds the letters make are very different.

    Gijrokastër owes its preservation to the fact it is the birthplaces of the former Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha who ordered that the city remain untouched during the Communism, except for destroying the mosques (the city today has only one mosque). The former house of the Communist dictator is now the beautiful Ethnographic Museum that deserves a visit. The city is also the hometown of the most important Albanian writer, Ismail Kadare (nominated five times for the Nobel Prize), who wrote Chronicle in Stone, which is set in Gijrokastër and tells the history of the city during the Italian and Greek occupation in World War I and II.

    4. The Albanian Riviera

    Driving along the Albania’s coastline means rolling past striking landscapes filled with traditional villages, golden beaches lapped by turquoise waters, small orthodox churches and mountains that rise dramatically. The Albanian Riviera is a revelation for many travelers because these are among Europe’s last untouched beaches. The exploration of this magnificent shore, where the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet, is a must.

    Start your journey from the city of Vlora (two hours by car from Tirana) and head into the unspoiled Karaburun Peninsula and Island of Sazan with the help of Teuta Boat. This area was once a military base, but today is a National Park and the best place to visit in Vlora.

    Then it’s time to head into the south. Despite the Riviera’s transformation in the past few years, there are still idyllic and breathtaking spots along this rugged coast. Palasa is the first accessible beach on the Riviera after negotiating the extraordinary descent through the Llogara Pass. For dazzling vistas go to Dhërmi. This is one of the most famous beaches in Albania (here you’ll find also good restaurants, the best is Sofra e Pashait, remember to order the linguine with sea fruits). Outside peak season, it is very quiet, and while the summer months now get very busy, the beach is long enough for those looking for a quiet spot away from the crowds (including the beautiful Drymades beach). The seven-kilometer beach near the village of Borsh is the largest in the Riviera. Despite its dimensions, the tourism has barely touched this area. On the contrary, Ksamil, a wonderful beach close to Saranda (the unofficial capital of the Albanian Riviera) is a big tourism centre and it can get very crowded in summer.

    5. The Archaeological Park of Butrint

    Before leaving Albania you have to spend few hours in the Butrint Archaeological Park. It is close to the Greek border and less than an hour from Saranda. The ancient ruins of Butrint are in a fantastic natural setting and from a variety of periods, spanning 2,500 years. Although it was inhabited long before, Greeks from Corfu settled on the hill of Butrint in the 6th century BC. Within a century the site had become a fortified trading city. Butrint’s prosperity continued throughout the Roman period and the Byzantines made it an ecclesiastical centre. Then the city went into a long decline and was abandoned until 1927 when Italian archeologists arrived. The most amazing ruin is surely the 3rd century-BC Greek theatre, secluded in the forest below the acropolis. The park, famed for its beauty and tranquility, is a microcosm of the Mediterranean culture, surprisingly devoid of tourists even in the peak of summer and the viewing points are the perfect place to snap your last photo of this incredible country.

    AuthorNicolas Segura

    The following is a re-posted portion of an article by Lonely Planet. 

    Europe is a treasure trove of incredible travel experiences, which can make deciding where to go a challenging task. Thankfully Lonely Planet’s travel experts have been on the case to bring you the best spots to add to your bucket list for 2017.

    If these ancient wonders, coastal escapes and off-the-beaten-track adventures have you reaching for your passport, sign up for our free Zagreb ebook chapter to find out more about why this dynamic city made number one.

    4. Northern Montenegro

    If the cruise ships queueing by Kotor’s bay are anything to go by, the cat is definitely out of the bag for Montenegro’s stunning Adriatic coastline. Fortunately, overlooked Northern Montenegro is brimming with off-the-beaten-track adventures – without the crowds. What’s more, the country’s compact size and good roads make this remote region more ripe for exploration than you might have thought.

    Adventure hunters can raft through Europe’s deepest canyon at Tara, or cycle through lunar landscapes around the Durmitor ring. Foodies are catered for in highland towns where you can savour Montenegro’s growing slow food scene with mountain cheeses and hearty beef stews; while history buffs can take a pilgrimage to stunning monasteries etched into cliff faces at Ostrog or nestled in breathtaking valleys at Morača.

    Epic experiences are writ large in Northern Montenegro's rugged landscapes © dellaliner / Getty Images

    Epic experiences are writ large in Northern Montenegro's rugged landscapes © dellaliner / Getty Images

    8. Moldova

    This country of secret wine cellars and cliff-perched monasteries is truly Europe’s final frontier: little visited, lost in time and always surprising. In Moldova’s capital city Chişinău, leafy boulevards interlace with looming concrete. Its unexpectedly Parisian-style cafe and bar scenes brim with local wine, which continues to rise to acclaim as Moldova plays host to 2017’s Black Sea Wines and Spirits Competition as well as the annual ExpoVin.

    Sip the best drops in Mileștii Mici’s gothic-attired cellars, housing the world’s largest wine collection. Explore sacred Orheiul Vechi, encircled by chalk cliffs, or lonely riverside monasteries like Saharna and Tipova. East of the Dniestr River is the self-declared (though unrecognised) republic of Transdniestr, a region locked in the Soviet past. Even experienced travellers to Europe will be amazed and disoriented by Moldova.

    Orheiul Vechi's dramatic, rocky perch seems befitting of such a magical site © Uladzik Kryhin / Shutterstock

    Orheiul Vechi's dramatic, rocky perch seems befitting of such a magical site © Uladzik Kryhin / Shutterstock

    This is an article originally posted on

    These companies are supported by REG AgTech partners BioSense Institute Novi Sad, who are in the process of implementing 2 huge EU funded projects, one supporting AgTech startups from the whole region and the other establishing the organization as an AgTech Center of Excellence.


    Drone-Based Stand Counts Offer Accurate, Cost-Effective Alternative to Ground Sampling

    It’s May. In fields across the northern hemisphere, corn and soybean crops will soon emerge in full force. As we enter this year’s growing season, stand counts are on the mind of every farmer. Evaluating plant emergence through stand counts is an important early season management question. Accurate counts and early intervention can mean the difference between a successful harvest or major crop losses. But traditional ground sampling is imprecise and often involves a high margin of error. AgriSens Plant Insights, available on the DroneDeploy App Market, offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional stand counts that is proactive and accurate. Drone-based stand counts let growers pinpoint areas of potential yield loss and take corrective action at key times during the growing season.

    Agrisens is an ag-focused technology company whose research and development team includes PhDs in Agriculture, Bio-technical Science and Data Science. They leverage their expertise to develop new technologies that improve agriculture production through remote sensing solutions.

    “AgriSens is about making agriculture better and more in line with what today’s technology has to offer. Our ultimate goal is to help farmers achieve higher outputs with high-end technology that is easy to use, easy to grasp, and easy to run.” -Rastko Carapic, AgriSens Chief Operating Officer

    Thanks to AgriSens’ partnership with DroneDeploy, the company’s powerful stand count tool — as well as its sowing quality and weed stress reports — is available on the DroneDeploy App Market. With the app, users can count plants across an entire field using maps produced in DroneDeploy. In a matter of hours, growers receive a detailed report with information on plant counts and sowing quality. This level of data, delivered quickly and easily, has made AgriSens the most popular agriculture app on the DroneDeploy App Market among growers and ag-focused drone service providers alike. Read more about the most popular apps in our recently published Commercial Drone Industry Trends report.

    This stand count report allowed a corn grower to take action quickly to avoid major yield loss.

    This stand count report allowed a corn grower to take action quickly to avoid major yield loss.

    AuthorNicolas Segura

    The following is a reposted portion of an article from Wanderlust travel magazine written by Graeme Green.

    From Australia to Brazil to Macedonia, there are incredible cities all but ignored by travelers. Here are the 8 most underrated cities and what to do in them, selected by the world's top travel bloggers.

    5: Skopje, Macedonia

    Anna Phipps (Global Gallivanting-

    Statues lining bridge in Skopje (Dreamstime)

    Statues lining bridge in Skopje (Dreamstime)

    Macedonia is a small but beautiful and diverse country that’s also one of the cheapest and best value destinations in Europe. But it usually gets overlooked by travelers.

    The capital, Skopje, must be one of the most under-rated destinations in Europe. 

    This quirky, fun, unpretentious and multicultural city has undergone a unique transformation in recent years as huge civic buildings and hundreds of huge, quirky and kitsch bronze statues have been built as part of Project 2014, a controversial attempt to attract more tourism and increase patriotism and national identity.

    This has made Skopje a fun, interesting city to explore, with brand new, neo-classical architecture that wouldn't look out of place in Athens or Rome, historic Ottoman-era mosques and Albanian-influenced bazaars, a Parisian style 'Arc De Triomph’, red London-style double decker buses that ply the streets, a huge 66 meter-high cross on top of a hill that is Macedonia's version of Rio's Christ the Redeemer, and even a London Eye-esque Skopje Eye in the pipeline.

    AuthorNicolas Segura

    The following is a reposted version of an article from Paste Magazine written by Nevena Bosic.

    The chase to discover the next new thing is a constant in the travel industry. For many travel experts, the Balkan Peninsula—in Southeastern Europe—is that thing: largely untouched, incomparably beautiful, and still clinging to old-world customs.

    Balkanvibe is the premier travel platform for the Western Balkans, offering the widest range of tours for the region as well as a seamless booking and credit-card payment system. In a partnership with Paste Travel, Balkanvibe will bring readers a biweekly, insider look at the ways in which this magical corner of Europe retains its authenticity and undiscovered charm.

    The Western Balkan region is an amalgam of cultures, languages, ethnicities and biodiversity. Despite these differences, there is one characteristic all Balkan countries share: No matter what you say, Grandma will remain convinced that you haven’t eaten enough.

    Though architecture and museums might provide a glimpse into a new culture, nothing is quite as revealing as food. In the last 150 years, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been part of six different empires, kingdoms and republics. As can be expected, the impact of these influences is reflected in the country’s culinary customs.

    Everybody knows that when visiting Sarajevo, you absolutely must not leave without a taste of the legendary cevapcici, grilled sausages served with pita. However, though Sarajevo is the Grill Capital of the Balkans, meat is not the only food for which the city is known.

    Bujrum in Bosnian loosely translates to “you’re welcome to join me,” especially in the context of eating. So, bujrum as we dive into, and uncover, Sarajevo’s gastro world.

    Top Image: Maggie Cormack
    Lead ImageAida Ibisevic

    Nevena Bosnic is the co-founder and business development manager at Balkanvibe. She is also a first-generation American—now living in Sarajevo—passionate about exploring, maintaining and investing in her Balkan roots.

    AuthorNicolas Segura

    The following is a reposted version of an article from  

    From left, Stephen Little, Economic Growth Office, USAID Europe & Eurasia, Tim ter Stege of GreenYard, Dennis Wesner, USAID Albania General Development Officer, Ardian Çitozi of LEA 2011. Photo: AgroWeb

    From left, Stephen Little, Economic Growth Office, USAID Europe & Eurasia, Tim ter Stege of GreenYard, Dennis Wesner, USAID Albania General Development Officer, Ardian Çitozi of LEA 2011. Photo: AgroWeb

    The success of each business is based on a special law. It is called the law of supply and demand. It can make you a billionaire or leave you empty handed. The whole business world goes around this axis. Sometimes, Albanian merchants face higher offer and low demand, or a surplus in production and a small market. Merchants are forced to lower prices and as such their margins move closer to zero.

    If Albanian farmers sell their produce solely to domestic market, they would be able to meet the demand of merely 1.5 million consumers. That is all. If they were to export to Balkan countries, they would supply a market of 40-50 million consumers.

    Imagine a market much bigger than Balkans that gathers nearly half a billion consumers. Imagine a bigger market, greater demand, higher production rate, guaranteed sales, job openings and huge profits. We are not talking about a distant future. The future has already started now.

    Golden export opportunities to EU through European giants.

    These are the golden days for Albanian and Balkan farmers. The EU giants that supply large supermarkets in the union are here. Representatives of GreenYard based in Belgium are eyeing agricultural products from Albania, Macedonia, Serbia and the entire region to export to Europe and provide a direct supply to international famous supermarkets such as ALDI, BILLA, etc.

    They have a strong condition: quality products! They have arranged meetings in Durres and Divjaka with representatives of Lea 2011, AgroDivjaka, ELKOS and AgroCon Albania. Those farms are certified in line with standards of quality through the regional USAID’s B-Redi regional project for Global GAP, HACCP and ISO 22000 certifications, project implemented from CBS organization in Albania.

    The project has marked significant progress in the certification of Albanian and regional products and as a result, USAID’s highest representatives for Europe and Eurasia will be part of these important meetings.

    The first meeting was held at the village of Shën Vlash in the district of Durrës. Tim terStege and Mihai Rades Sales Managers of GreenYard, Stephen Little, Economic Growth Office, Europe and Eurasia, USAID and Dennis Wesner, USAID/Albania General Development Officer together with representatives of CBS organization visited the premises of ‘Lea 2011’ company headed by Ardian Çitozi.

    He is a businessman with a clear vision. Çitozi exports chestnuts and watermelon, mostly to the Czech Republic and Italy. The HACCP certification awarded through the B-Redi project means that chestnuts exported by Lea 2011 have received the seal of quality.

    The upcoming Global GAP certification for watermelons will boost export opportunities to other EU countries.

    “You can not enter big markets without the Global GAP certification. Supermarkets in Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Italy demand such certified products,” GreenYard representatives told Ardian.

    The chestnuts processing unit is the next stop. Ardian exports roughly 2,000 tons of chestnuts to Italy. The produce is collected mostly in Tropoja and Kukes. After they are delivered to Italy, the chestnuts are processed by steaming and packed.

    Albania suffers from lack of processing structures, therefore Ardian sells his Albanian chestnuts to an Italian brand and has been able to sell them in the local market as well. Nevertheless, Ardian’s success does not rely merely on chestnuts.

    Just few kilometers away, he takes pride on the watermelon farm, the biggest in Albania. Ardian Çitozi’s 25 hectares farm is the biggest one in Albania. He grows watermelons of Krispie variety (4-5 kg) which delivers 300-400 tons of produce, Bostana variety which delivers 150 tons of produce and Zucchero variety (4-7 kg) which generates 100 tons of produce.

    The farm provides 50-80 tons of produce/hectares. This is a satisfactory output. May 20th will mark the beginning of harvesting the very first watermelon that has been planted mid-February. The crops that have been planted later on will be harvested until August. Ardian aims to boost his production but above all he is interested to diversify his produce. Growing chick peas is his next experiment.

    “I have planted 3 hectares of chick peas. I plan to plant another 500 hectares due to high export demand,” Ardian told “Albanian farmers do not know the European market,” he says.

    “We should know more about what they are looking for, competitors and exact demands,” he adds. GreenYard representatives are experts when it comes to knowing what the market wants and needs.

    Market Drive as a magic key

    Do you have small watermelons weighting 2-3 kg? Do you have small cucumbers? What about broccoli and cauliflower? Do you grow avocados?

    These are some of the questions asked by GreenYard representatives. Albanian farmers raise their shoulders and keep notes. These are the products that are mostly sought after in Europe. These markets demand quality products in line with standards that can be consumed by households.

    This is the reason why USAID’s B-Redi project goes beyond certification. The objective is deliver market orientation, or a guideline on what to grow so that their offer meets the demand of EU countries.

    The current interest is mostly about produce such as watermelon (small and seedless), cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, small cucumbers, seedless grapes, cherries, figs and melon.

    The project helps farmers to understand the importance of selecting and packaging keeping in mind the preset weight of the product.

    The latest freeze in Europe’s main suppliers, Italy and Spain caused shortcomings in the supply of agricultural produce. This is an extraordinary opportunity for Albanian and regional exports.

    The Balkan great potential. 

    Safety and Economy – these are the two most important matters involving the present and the future in Balkans.

    The region seems free of conflicts of the past, but economy is still a challenge. Investors and exporters would rather prefer a big joint market, rather than addressing each market one by one.

    This is a key mission for representatives of GreenYard. They plan to bi direct supplier of products from Albania, Macedonia and Serbia to large supermarkets, by guaranteeing a safe market that delivers competitive prices. Furthermore, GreenYard aims to provide a shortcut enabling the farmer and consumer to meet halfway.

    The increase of quality is beneficial to Albanian consumers. They will reach the market that offers similar quality products such as Germany, Austria and Italy. This is the time for Albania and Balkans to no longer export conflict but original and quality products so they can march towards a solid economic growth./

    AuthorNicolas Segura

    Following the trade mission coordinated in October 2016 through UNIVEG’s distribution centers in Poland, Czech Republic and Austria, REG continued to work with UNIVEG GROUP (now re-branded to GREENYARDFOODS) and participating companies that are competent to fulfill their requirements and committed to long term partnership.  In order to secure that companies are ready to supply products to GREENYARD, from 7-10 May 2017, REG is coordinating an inbound visits for purchasing managers responsible for GREENYARD‘s centers Bekker in NL& CZ and GREENYARD AUS to visit companies in AL and MK to help with necessary adjustments in the preparations of products and shipments per required specifications. 

    On Monday, they visited and had B2Bs with four leading Albanian companies, producers of spring cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, had a chance to observe the early season operations, discuss quality requirements and estimate yield throughout the forthcoming season. Later in the day they traveled to Macedonia and today continued inbound visits to five MK companies. On all meetings GREENYARD buyers provided expected product specification, confirm varieties, packaging and agree expected shipping dynamics. 

    Before the season, REG will work with the companies selected by GREENYARD as most prospect suppliers and assist them in adoption of BSCI standard for social compliance.  This will enable the companies to fulfill the requirements, at the moment mandatory for exporting to GREENYARD in the Netherlands and Czech Republic and increase their capacity to become sustainable suppliers to one of the biggest global trading networks for fresh fruits and vegetables.

    AuthorNicolas Segura
    CategoriesTrade Misson