From location, geography, climate, people, culture and landform, here is your guide to how Baltic and Balkan countries differ.
Baltic and Balkan countries are geographical terms given to groups of different countries belonging to Europe.
The persisting confusion between the two makes us differentiate them for you on certain basis of comparison:
Baltic states lie in the north-eastern region of Europe containing the countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea.
The Baltic states are covered on the west and north by the Baltic Sea — which gives the region its name, on the east by Russia, on the southeast by Belarus, and on the southwest by Poland and an exclave of Russia.
Balkans, also called Balkan Peninsula, lies in the easternmost part of Europe’s three great southern peninsulas, and is usually characterized as comprising Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia; with some parts of Greece and Turkey belonging to the region as well.
Generally, the Balkans are bordered on the northwest by Italy, on the north by Hungary, on the north and northeast by Moldova and Ukraine, and on the south by Greece and Turkey — or the Aegean Sea (depending on how the region is defined, as per Britannica).
In the north, clear geographic demarcation of the Balkans becomes difficult because the Pannonian Basin of the Great Hungarian Plain extends from central Europe into parts of Croatia, Serbia, and Romania.
- The climate across Baltic states is cool and damp, with greater rainfall in the interior uplands than along the coast
- Temperatures are moderate in comparison with other areas of the East European Plain, such as in neighbouring Russia
- The northern and central parts of the Balkans have a central European climate, characterized by cold winters, warm summers, and well-distributed rainfall
- The southern and coastal areas, however, have a Mediterranean-type climate, with hot and dry summers and mild and relatively rainy winters
Baltic: Majority: Balts, Finnic, Baltic Finns, Roman Catholics
Balkan: Majority: Illyrians, South Slavs
The underlying geology of the Baltic region is characterised by sandstone, shale and limestone, proven by hilly uplands that alternate with low-lying plains due to the impact of the glacial era.
In fact, glacial deposits in the form of eskers, moraines, and drumlins occur in large numbers and disrupt the drainage pattern, which results in frequent flooding in the region.
- The region also hosts more than 7,000 lakes and countless peat bogs, swamps, and marshes
- Despite its extensive agriculture, the Baltic region is more than one-third forested
- It is common for trees like birches and conifers to adapt to the often poorly-drained soil of the region
- The region lacks natural resources
The word Balkan is Turkish for ‘mountain‘ and the peninsula gets its name for being dominated by this type of landform, especially in the west.
The Balkan Mountains stretch east-west across Bulgaria, the Rhodope Mountains lie along the Greek-Bulgarian border and the Dinaric range runs down the Adriatic coast to Albania.
Allegedly, the region’s northern boundary expands to the Julian Alps and the Carpathians.
Among these mountain ranges, however, there isn’t really a lot of arable land, excepting the valleys of the Danube, Sava, and Vardar rivers, eastern Bulgaria, parts of the Aegean Sea coast, and especially the Danubian Plain.
- There are some similarities between the cultures of the Baltic States and the Balkans
- Both suffered heavily from imperialism
Baltic: The Baltic States offer a mix of old European charm and soviet memories, as per Baltic Run.
Balkan: Balkans are a cultural mosaic, Central European, and Mediterranean influences.
The region is also reportedly characterised by fluidity of ethnic groups, the inability of the people to agree and cooperate among themselves, a tendency of the political authority to devolve to local levels as soon as central power is weakened, the influence of foreign powers, and the difficulty of introducing different political and social concepts.