EER096: Living, Camping & Hiking in Eastern Europe with Kids

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Living in Serbia. Camping in Kosovo. Hiking in Eastern Europe with kids. Hitchhiking, too. Diane Vukovic has lots of experience in all of these, and that’s what we’ll talk about today.

EER096: Living, Camping & Hiking in Eastern Europe with Kids

Hiking in Eastern Europe with Kids

Diane moved to Serbia when she was 22 years old. An avid hiker, camper, and outdoor lover since childhood, she found many beautiful places to go hiking in Eastern Europe with kids. Her daughter Isabel is now six years old, and they have camped at 20 sites together in the past three years.

They have slept in a cave in Bulgaria, traversed mountain waterways by boat in Albania, hiked through canyons in Montenegro, and camped next to a glacier lake in Kosovo. In all her time camping in Europe with kids, Diane and Isabel have only encountered a few venomous snakes along the way.

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Taking kids into nature – whether for hiking, camping, or play – isn’t as common in Eastern Europe as it is in parts of the USA and Western Europe. However, that hasn’t stopped Diane from finding spectacular natural beauty, adventure, and amazing hiking in Eastern Europe.

They have hiked, camped and slept under the stars in countries like Kosovo, Albania, Romania and other great Eastern Europe camping locations.

Hiking in Eastern Europe with kids isn’t as common as it is in some parts of the world. And camping in Eastern Europe, she explains, often involves staying in buildings you reserve in advance. The area’s natural beauty, however, is spectacular, and the Slovenian mountain trails are beautiful.

EER096 Living, Camping and Hiking in Eastern Europe with Kids PIN 1

The Different Styles of Camping in Eastern Europe

Diane explains some of the different forms of camping and hiking in Eastern Europe that she comes across. Most locals join hiking and camping clubs. Others do “car camping,” where you pitch a tent right next to where you park.

When Diane and Isabel go camping in Eastern Europe, they prefer to hike in. By hiking in, they get away from the noise of cars, people, and the city so that they can truly enjoy the natural world. This kind of backpacking and “wild camping” is what they enjoy best.

There are other classifications of hiking and camping in Europe that she’s come across. Some people classify their style as thru-hikers or ultralight campers. This is a style of hiking and camping in which weight and mobility are key.

While Diane appreciates the passion of the thru-hikers and ultralight campers, the best camping in Eastern Europe she’s found is at a slower, more relaxed pace.

The Joy of Camping in Eastern Europe with Kids

Diane details a typical camping trip and talks about some of the best camping in Eastern Europe she’s found so far. Does she come across many others camping and hiking in Eastern Europe with kids? Not often — but she did lead some mom friends and their kids on a camping trip, and it inspired her to start her family camping blog.

As she describes in the interview, she went hiking with friends and their children, aged four and five. While apprehensive at first, she watched her friend open up and enjoy the experience. The worry for her child’s safety in the woods soon turned to joy. Both the kids and the moms had a great time. After that, Diane knew she needed to encourage more parents – especially mothers – to go outdoors with their kids.

What You Need for Hiking & Camping with Kids

A lot of people think you need expensive and specialized gear to go hiking in Eastern Europe or anywhere else. You don’t. Diane talks about the hiking boots, clothes and other camping gear they use, but emphasizes that it doesn’t have to break the bank to enjoy camping in Eastern Europe.

There are a few pieces of equipment that are very important, however. If you’re planning on hiking in remote areas, a good water filter is crucial, she says. Good boots, too. A well-prepared first aid kit is also recommended, and Diane has a great piece on the kit she put together. Look for that in the show notes.

Hitchhiking with Kids

Occasionally, Diane and Isabel do some hitchhiking in Eastern Europe, as well. In the West today, hitchhiking is not even considered by many travelers, but you can still find hitchhiking in Europe. Diane talks about hitchhiking in Eastern Europe with Isabel. It not only saved them long walks to the entrance to some of the best Balkan camping spots, but Diane says that it also taught Isabel the importance of trust and opening up to people.


  • 02:02 Intro & origins
  • 05:21 What’s great about living & traveling in Eastern Europe
  • 08:16 The different definitions of camping
  • 10:24 How Dianne & Isabel camp in Eastern Europe
  • 14:59 Outdoor & camping culture in Eastern Europe
  • 20:15 Water filters: Her most important piece of camping gear
  • 23:36 Boots & when to buy them
  • 28:25 Don’t need fancy gear
  • 31:55 Backpacking & camping in Eastern Europe with young kids
  • 37:55 Education & self-directed learning while camping with kids
  • 43:58 Hitchhiking with kids
  • 48:20 Tips for hitchhiking
  • 54:34 Working in Serbia and the cost of traveling in Eastern Europe


  • Names: Diane Vukovic & her daughter Isabella (now 6)
  • Hold passports from: USA & Serbia
  • Type of travel: Lives in Serbia — camping, hitchhiking, & hiking in Eastern Europe
  • Bulgaria, Montenegro, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Recently in Peru.




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Want to go camping with Diane and Isabel? They are organizing a 5-day outdoor event with camping, workshops, hiking, games, and more. More info at the event page.

EER096 Living, Camping and Hiking in Eastern Europe with Kids PIN 2
EER096: Living, Camping & Hiking in Eastern Europe with Kids 2

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you,  we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help your travel.


  1. I love your post. Thanks for your explanation of great living, camping, and hiking in eastern Europe with kids. It’s really awesome tips for helping and safety who go outdoor adventure with kids. I inspired to your great tips. I hope could help your advice who go outdoor hiking with kids.

  2. Well, in her case it is “with kid” not “kids” since she only has one child with her on the trips.