Balkan women come in all shapes and forms—not just the blonde, blue-eyed, Slavic type. Since we already did Slavic Vs. Balkan girls in a previous article (go check it out, it’s fun and very educational), let’s now look at the differences within the Balkans.
Or, in the words of Dubioza Kolektiv:
“No escape from Balkan!”
The Balkans are a cultural and political region. Geographically, we call the region Balkan peninsula. Some of the Balkan countries only have a small percentage of their territory on the peninsula. Culturally, they are still Balkan.
So, for sake of clarity, here are the countries I include in “the Balkans”:
For Turkey, we really should just include the European part. 97% of the country is in Asia and they are drastically different from the Balkans.
Balkan people love to be the best. They have suffered through numerous wars, with each country having plenty of reasons to dislike its’ neighbours. Thus, national identity and pride are extremely important. To Balkan girls and guys alike it’s not enough to embrace your culture. There is a constant strive to prove your country is the best. No matter where you go, you will notice this.
Secondly, you have high maintenance. Balkan women take great care of their appearance. They wouldn’t be caught dead in greasy hair, dirty clothes, or with chipped nails. The women of the Balkans know that presenting yourself in the best way possible is essential.
Finally, there is a sense of independence but Balkan girls are also very relationship and family-minded. While some Northern Slavic girls like Russians and Ukrainians expect their husband to be the main provider, in the Balkans it’s about the partnership. At the same time, Balkan women prioritize their relationship and family over their career.
The majority of the Balkans are Orthodox Christian. This comes with a whole set of beliefs and traditions. Most of those are similar to what you’ll see in Russia. One notable exception is wearing scarves and generally modest clothing in churches. Not only do women not cover their hair in a temple but unless they’re wearing booty shorts, there is no “dress code” for visiting a church. This goes for guys too – as long as it’s not flip-flops and no shirt, you’re welcome to enter.
In general, Balkan women are less religious than their other Slavic counterparts.
Croatia and Slovenia are Roman Catholic countries but also a lot less conservative. A 2017 poll in Croatia showed that only a small portion of self-declared Catholics support the church’s stance on contraception, abortion, and ordination of women, or go to mass regularly. The influence of the Catholic church in Croatia and Slovenia is notably smaller than in, say, Italy or Spain.
Kosovo and Turkey, as well as roughly half of Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, are Muslim. Though Islam is practised and it helps bring communities together, here too, people are not as conservative as most Muslims. Balkan women rarely wear the hijab, and the children of mixed marriages (say between a Serb and a Bosniak) are usually atheist.
There is some religious revival in the Balkans, especially in Muslim countries. For the most part, though, religion is something Balkan women were raised to respect and practice as a part of their culture. It’s not, however, a big factor when it comes to deciding on a spouse, following certain moral teachings, or supporting the church’s views on controversial issues.
More traditional Balkan women were raised with pleasing their future mothers-in-law as a top priority. Sounds crazy? Let me explain.
In smaller towns and tighter-knit communities, people are:
a) more conservative
b) a lot more into gossip
Thus, earning the community approval is key to happiness.
When a young couple gets married, they usually live at the groom’s parents house at first. Yes, I do think this is awkward. Living with your spouse’s family means that as a young bride, you’d be responsible for a lot of chores. Yes, Balkan women still do most of the housework along with working a day job.
In Slavic countries especially, there is the stereotype of the malicious mother-in-law that judges a young bride’s every move. That’s why “What will your mother-in-law say?” is a frequent warning to girls in the Balkans. There are two important takeaways from this:
Balkan women throughout the region are all very emancipated. It’s not even a question if she’ll keep her job after she gets married.
As for housework and taking care of her boyfriend/ husband, though, Balkan women take these responsibilities very seriously. The smaller the places she comes from, the more TLC you’ll get. Of course, the downside is that small town Balkan women are hard to find – there is sometimes a language barrier, and even without it, you’d have to get into a tighter knit community. Online dating is a great alternative. Here’s a site we really love.
Chances are, she’s heard enough of “impress your mother-in-law” speeches already. Your mom is a bit of a taboo. You can talk about how much you love her but never compare your girlfriend or wife’s cooking/cleaning/looks/anything else to “how my mom used to do it”. It’s unpleasant and it will give her tons of anxiety.
Each country on the Balkans has its’ unique features. Still, what you might classify as “typical Balkan” applies most to Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, and maybe Slovenia (though Slovenia is smaller and more advanced than other countries).
Romanian women differ in a couple of key characteristics. They look different – they’re usually curvier and tend to have more “exotic” features. While most other Balkan girls are classic beauties, Romanian women have a bit more character.
The culture is quite similar in all non-Muslim counties, though. There is a lot of drinking, you dress up and act to impress others (Balkan women love showing off), and barbecued delicacies are key to any successful dinner party.
Greek girls are Balkan but they’re not Slavic. You’ll notice that right away from their looks. They have a darker complexion, thick black hair, and a lot more prominent features. I’m happy to tell you, though, that the “Greek women don’t shave” myth is not true. Though Greek girls are not as vain as most of their Slavic counterparts (I say that with all the love I have for Slavic women), personal grooming is still important to them.
But the biggest difference between Greeks and other Balkan women is the Mediterranean influence. Greek culture is a fascinating mix between the Balkans and the Mediterranean. They have one of the longest coastlines in Europe and are a “naval nation”, unlike other Balkan countries that are “inland” nations. Their cuisine reflects that perfectly. There is no better place for seafood on the Balkans. Well, Turkish people might disagree, but I stand by that.
Greek girls don’t really like to be called Balkanic. The adjective has a bit of a negative connotation. Economically, Greece is not doing so great. Still, they’ve spent decades receiving tons of funds from the EU and they haven’t been in the Soviet area of influence. There is a visible difference in the quality of life. Though Greece is not super rich right now, it definitely still looks and feels wealthier.
For that reason, among others, Greeks don’t identify too strongly with the Balkans. It’s also true that Greek girls are not typical Balkan women. So, if you’re into the whole “slightly conservative, not feminazi” thing but you also like Mediterranean girls, definitely try dating Greeks.
All of the Balkanic countries have a Muslim minority. In Bulgaria, where I’m from (and it’s a beautiful destination full of amazing women), we have entire regions that are predominantly Muslim. Though most of these people aren’t actively practising Islam, dating within the communities is tricky.
The same goes for Islamic majority countries like Turkey, Kosovo, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Culturally, they are a lot different from Orthodox Christian Slavs. In Kosovo and Bosnia especially, people have an extremely strong sense of identity. Communities are tightly knit and dating outside of them is sometimes seen as shameful for a girl.
If you do want to try though, make sure you’re honest and upfront from the very beginning. Are you religious or not? Do you want kids? Are you willing to relocate? What about converting? The answers to some of these questions may be deal-breakers for her. Accept that and move on. Ultimately, you want a partner that you’re compatible with.
I said that last time and I’ll say it again. Balkan women make some of the best girlfriends…
But, whether you agree with me or not, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
Balkan Girls vs Slavic Girls: What You Need to Know
Romanian Models: The 10 Most Famous