The Balkans are in southern Europe. The Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe is located between the Adriatic and Black Seas. The natural landscapes of the region are mixed landscapes with many high mountain ranges, as well as dense forests, plains and rivers.

Some strict geographic descriptions define the Balkan Peninsula as the lands south of the Sava in Serbia and the Danube below Belgrade. However, the description of the peninsula is not an appropriate division when considering the historical-administrative and cultural division. Slovenia is sometimes considered part of the Balkans, but more often considered part of Central Europe. Greece occupies the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula; however, most of Greece's main tourist destinations lie on its islands, which, along with a shared culture, separate it from the Balkans. And the most southeast of the Balkan Peninsula is Eastern Thrace - the European part of Turkey.



Bosnia and Herzegovina
North Macedonia
Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic



The modern name of the Balkan Peninsula comes from the name of the mountains of the same name. The origin of the word Balkans is unclear; it may be related to Persian bālk "mud" and the Turkish suffix -an "marshy forest", or Persian balā-khana "big high house". Related words are also found in Turkic languages. In modern Turkish, balkan means "chain of wooded mountains".

The name was used mainly during the Ottoman era. In antiquity, Stara Planina (the Balkan Mountains) was called other Greek. Αἶμος, lat. haemus.



The shores of the Balkan Peninsula are strongly dissected, have small bays. The shores of the Adriatic and Aegean seas are the most indented; The shores of the Black Sea are slightly indented. There are many islands off the coast of the Balkan Peninsula (their total area is 21.5 thousand km²).

The relief of the Balkan Peninsula is dominated by mountains stretching from the southwest to the northeast. In the west of the peninsula is the Dinaric Highlands (on the territory of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro; karst landforms are widespread here), south of the Dalmatian Highlands (in Albania, Greece and North Macedonia) - the Pindus Mountains; the latter in the south pass into the mountains of the Peloponnese peninsula (Greece). In the north of the peninsula (mainly in Bulgaria), the mountains are represented by the Rila massifs (with the highest point of the Balkan Peninsula - Mount Musala, 2925 m), Pirin (alpine-type relief), Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains; border in the north with the Danube Plain) and The Rhodopes (Rhodope Mountains), facing south to the Aegean Sea. These mountains are mostly low and gently sloping. There are few plains, they are located mainly along the outskirts of the peninsula and in intermountain basins (the main ones are the Thracian, Thessaloniki, Albanian and Thessaly lowlands; partly on the territory of the Balkan Peninsula - the Middle Danube and Lower Danube plains).

Geologically, the Balkan Peninsula belongs to the Alpine folded region (on its territory there are three ancient massifs formed in the Precambrian era: Pelagonic, Rhodope and Serbo-Macedonian).

The climate in the north of the Balkan Peninsula and in the central regions is temperate continental, with cold and snowy winters and hot and dry summers. The average July temperature is 22°C; the average temperature in January is -1 °C in the plains and -5 °C in the mountains.

The climate in the south and west is subtropical Mediterranean with hot summers and cool winters. The average July temperature is 26°C; the average January temperature is 10 °C.

The climate in the northeast is oceanic and subtropical with warm summers and cool winters. The average July temperature is 22°C; the average January temperature is 5 °C.

In the mountains, altitudinal zonality. The west is highly humid (annual precipitation reaches 5000 mm), in the east and south there is much less precipitation (sometimes less than 500 mm per year).

The rivers are mostly mountainous, with numerous rapids and rifts; food is mainly snow and rain (full-flowing in winter and spring; in summer, small rivers in the south of the peninsula often dry up); have great energy potential, are used for irrigation, the largest (Danube, Sava, Maritsa, Iskar, Struma, etc.) are navigable. Tectonic, (Shkodra, Ohrid, Prespa, etc.), karst, glacial lakes.

Flora and fauna
The vegetation of the Balkan Peninsula is extremely diverse; many endemic species. In the south, in the coastal belt, there is vegetation of the Mediterranean type (pine and oak forests, shrubs), higher - broad-leaved forests, deciduous shrubs. In the northern and central regions of the peninsula there are broad-leaved forests (in the mountains - beech, fir and pine forests). The upper border of the forest is at an altitude of 1800-2300 m. On the plain, the forests are largely reduced; steppe vegetation occurs. The plains of the northern and eastern parts of the peninsula are plowed up (the soils are poor, in some places strongly saline, require irrigation; wheat, corn, tobacco, grapes are cultivated, in the south - also olives and citrus fruits).

The fauna is also diverse: there are many species of mammals (wolf, wild boar, fox, otter, bear, wild cat, etc.), reptiles (lizards, snakes, Greek tortoise), amphibians, birds, mollusks.

The bowels of the Balkan Peninsula are rich in stone (especially in Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Turkey) and brown (widespread) coal. Oil and natural gas deposits are rare (mainly in Romania, Serbia, Albania), so hydroelectric power stations predominate in the energy system of the peninsula. There are few iron ores, but there are often deposits of non-ferrous metal ores (copper, zinc, tin, chromium, manganese, magnesite, bauxite).