How to spot Balkan people abroad

3 minutes to read

Balkan countries share a common past, similar languages and similar traditions, meaning that Balkan people have more things in common than other surrounding countries. These similarities especially shine out when we, people from the Balkans, travel abroad. It’s easy to spot a Balkanian amongst other tourists, and here are the most common things uncovering our homeland.

Balkan people sound angry

Yes, we are loud. We talk loudly, and to someone who is not used to it, it could easily sound like we are fighting or screaming at each other. In reality, there is nothing wrong, and that’s just our way of communicating. Curiously enough, we have way too many words to use as insults than to show love. If someone sounds angry and yelling and moves his hands while talking just a bit too much, the chances are you’ve come across the regular expressive person from the Balkan countries.

I can't keep calm, I am from the Balkans. Anonymous

Balkan people put ketchup on pizza

Some people may be shocked with some of our eating habits (e.g. the famous cream salad-topped pizza Bucko in Belgrade,) but we keep them even when we travel abroad. Balkan people may ask for ketchup or even mayonnaise when they order pizza.

Pizza Bucko in Belgrade
Pizza Bucko in Belgrade
Francuska 18, Beograd, Serbia

These food curiosities don’t stop there: we drink tea exclusively in winter and eat ice cream only in summer. The salad is a side-dish; it could never be a whole meal or else you would starve within two hours of eating. The term “real food” is often mentioned when referred to meat.

Balkan women can outdrink an average European

The majority of people from the Balkans drinks a lot. It’s not only a social thing; it is as well traditional and medicinal thing. Everybody drinks: women and men, young and old. The alcohol is very affordable, and almost every family makes their strong liquor - rakia. That’s how you build a tolerance from the early years. There is not a set difference between men and women, and girls start drinking early as well. The result - trained with Rakia, and from the early adult years, they can easily outdrink an average European. After many years of practicing daily in places like Rakia Bar i Monogram we take pride in showing off our strong drinking spirit abroad.

Monogram, Banja Luka
Monogram, Banja Luka
Svetozara Markovića 5J, Banja Luka 78000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Rakia Bar, Belgrade
Rakia Bar, Belgrade
Dobračina, Beograd, Serbia

We maintain our drinking habits when traveling abroad. Balkan people, both men and women, are the heaviest drinkers in any pub, and almost certainly the loudest ones.

Balkan people are touchy and expressive

My friends from Denmark found it extremely weird to kiss someone on the cheek, the very first day that they meet. Well, it’s not just Serbia, it’s other Balkan countries as well. We kiss when we see each other every day. We shake hands. We hug. We randomly pinch and poke and jostle a little bit our dear friends. We will touch your hair if we like it, or your shirt when it looks good, basically anything that drives our attention. It’s normal.

It’s a Balkan thing. You wouldn’t understand.

We may be loud and a bit stubborn about letting go of our habits and beliefs, but once you accept that, we start to grow on you. If you do recognize a person from the Balkan country with the help of this list, join them. It’s a guarantee that you'll have a long and fun night out.


The author

Milena Mihajlovic

Milena Mihajlovic

I am Milena, and enjoy traveling, hiking and everything coffee-related. Through my writing, I want to inspire fellow travelers about Serbia, my dear country.

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