Monday, October 15, 2007

New Kosovo guidebook

Bradt Guides have recently published the first guidebook in the English-speaking world dedicated to Kosovo. The authors promise that the curious traveller will find "Ottoman mosques, Tito-esque administration buildings, Serbian Orthodox churches, monasteries, vineyards and extravagant KLA war memorials", as well as "some of the best skiing in southeastern Europe". It seems unlikely that Bradt will be overwhelmed by a rush of tourists eager to get their hands on the new guide, but it should find a market among the many "internationals" currently resident in the region.

Bradt have now achieved complete coverage of the Western Balkans, with seven separate guides to the countries of the former Yugoslavia, as well as one on Albania. They are also turning their attention to the eastern half of the peninsula, with the first edition of their Bulgaria guide due out later this year.

A little piece of Narnia in Slovenia

The next instalment in Disney's Narnia series, Prince Caspian, is due for release in 2008. Some of the battle scenes were filmed earlier this year on location in the So&x10d;a Valley in western Slovenia. This has prompted a lengthy article in yesterday's Sunday Times.

The write describes the So&x10d;a as a "beautiful, unknown valley". Unknown? Hasn't he heard of Balkanology? The valley is a firm favourite of mine and has had its own page on the site for some time. That aside, the article is a useful survey of the many and varied attractions of the valley, from something called "hydrospeeding" to tours of the battle sites - from World War One, not the Disney film.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The tourist industry in Southeast Europe

A recent article in the Southeast European times surveys recent developments in the tourist industry in a number of Balkan countries. In general the article presents a picture of steady growth, albeit from a very low base in the case of Macedonia, which still attracts few foreign visitors.

Of course not all the effects of increased tourism are positive. The article points out that residents of Dubrovnik struggle to find a parking space or a reasonably-priced cup of coffee during the summer crush. Meanwhile there are signs that on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast, too many hotels have been built too quickly - a problem previously covered in an earlier article on the same website.