Balkan Explorer

Mention the Balkans to anyone and it can conjure up a plethora of images - flashpoint of the First World War, the atrocities of the recent civil war, Tito’s and Hoxha’s Communist dictatorships. Look beyond these clichéd stereotypes on our two week trip through five countries – Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. Explore the crossroads of Europe’s East and West mosaic to cultures inherited in millenniums starting from Illyrians (Albanians), Romans, Byzantines, Slavic, and Ottoman inheritance, in fascinating historical cities such as Shkoder, Dubrovnik, Sarajevo and Belgrade, as well as some of the best landscapes in Europe at Durmitor and Biogradska Gora. Step back into age old traditions in the highlands at Lukomir, with its excellently preserved village where many people still sport a style of dress that has changed little over centuries. Learn about the recent tragic history of the region in old Mostar and explore the medieval walled city of Kotor. But most of all meet the people who live here, be bowled over by their hospitality, and shatter your preconceptions of the Balkans. Balkan Explorer trip is a unique experience for those people who want to discover, enjoy and learn better those small different countries in language, religion and history, but very similar in habits, traditions, and hospitality.

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Overview

Tour Name: Explore the Hidden Europe

Type: General, nature, history, archeology, culinary, walking, etc.

Duration: 15 days

Aviability: Available every 1st Monday of each month, all year around.

 

Day by Day Itinerary:

Day 1 – Tirana

 

Arrive in Tirana and transfer to your hotel. Depending on when you arrive there may be time to explore the city. Overnight Hotel Kruja or similar.


Day 2 –Tirana - Kruja – Shkoder

Start the day exploring Albania’s capital. We visit Skanderbeg Square, dedicated to Albania’s national hero, the Mosque of Ethem Bey, one of the oldest buildings in Tirana, and the Archaeological Museum among other sites. We then head to Kruja, one of Albania’s most important towns due to the part it played in resistance against the Ottomans. Visit the Skanderbeg Museum and castle as well as the old bazaar. Today lunch will be included and the opportunity to eat some traditional food in Kruja. Then continue to Shkoder. Shkoder is one of the oldest cities in the Balkans and was once a capital of the Illyrian state. It also considered the “Florece of the Balkans” due to its cultural inheritance and richness. We visit its old bazaar, cathedral and mosque before heading to Rozafa castle for spectacular views of the city, lake and the surrounding mountains. Overnight Hotel Tradita or similar. (BL)


 

Day 3 - Budva - Kotor 

Sightseeing of Budva city. Then, we continue to Kotor. Visit the former palace of King Nikola, now Montenegro’s National Museum before heading to Kotor, whose lovely mediaeval walled city has been recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. After Kotor, we continue to Dubrovnik. City tour: visit the Old Town through the Stradun which is the main street of the city, in front of it is the Onofrio Fountain, built in 1438, the Franciscan Monastery, with one of the oldest functioning pharmacies in Europe, in operation since 1391. Overnight Hotel Marija II or similar. (B)


 

Day 4 – Dubrovnik.  

This morning we take a cruise around some of the islands in Kotor bay. Later we head to Dubrovnik, one of the most attractive cities in the region, where we have time to explore. Overnight Hotel Lero or similar. (B)

 

 

 

 


 

Day 5 – Pocitelj – Mostar 

 

Cross the border to Bosnia-Herzegovina and visit the village of Pocitelj, an old Turkish settlement with many interesting monuments - damaged during the war but rapidly being restored to its former splendour. We then travel to Mostar, where we explore on a walking tour through the old Turkish town. Overnight Hotel Amicus or similar. (B)

 


 

Day 6 – Sarajevo  

 

Head back to the capital, arriving around lunchtime. The afternoon is free to wander the streets of Sarajevo and take in anything that you’ve not yet seen. Overnight Hotel Hecco or similar. (B)


Day 7 – Sarajevo 

This morning we take a tour through the old oriental part of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital city, with its beautiful architecture, sweet shops and cafes. We also visit the Princip Bridge, site of the start of World War I, and spot various markings on the pavements which are ‘mini-memorials’ to the sniper victims of the recent war. We also visit the tunnel museum, a section of the tunnel that was the only way of accessing the city during the siege of 1992-1995. Later there is free time to explore the city on your own. Overnight Hotel Hecco or similar. (BL)


 

Day 8 – Srebrenica - Belgrade  

Today we travel to Belgrade (Serbia) by stopping first to visit Srebrenica. 

Continue to Today we travel to Serbia and Belgrade, arriving in the late afternoon. Belgrade is the largest city in the Balkans, and is an intriguing mix of the traditional and the modern, with its museums, galleries and lively nightlife. Overnight Balkan Hotel Garni or similar. (B)


 

Day 9 – Belgrade  

 

We explore Belgrade today, taking in the temple of St Sava, the parliament buildings and Republic Square. We then head to Kalemegdan Fortress, the oldest part of Belgrade, where we explore on foot. This afternoon we take a cruise on the Danube to see more of the city’s sights, before some free time to explore the city on your own. Overnight Balkan Hotel Garni or similar. (B)


Day 10 – Matckat Village - Zlatibor 

Continue to Zlatibor, an area of valleys and forests where we spend time walking around the local villages and enjoying the stunning scenery. Overnight Hotel President or similar. (B)


 

Day 11 – Biogradska Gora National Park 

Today we cross into Montenegro – a hidden gem in the heart of Europe where nature rules. Biogradska Gora is an isolated area of forests and mountains which surround nine glacial lakes, known as ‘mountain eyes’. We take a short walk around the park’s only low-lying lake, and then have the opportunity to swim in its crystal clear waters. Later we continue to Kolasin where we spend the night. Overnight Cilje Hotel or similar.


 

Day 12 – Durmitor National Park  

Explore Durmitor National Park with its breathtaking scenery of mountains, forests, lakes and high pastures. This area is inhabited by many species of birds and animals, and we may see eagles, white-headed vultures, foxes, deer or chamois, a type of mountain goat. Overnight Hotel Enigma or similar. (B)


 

Day 13 – Ostrog – Lovcen – Razem. 

Visit the Ostrog monastery, with chapels set in a sheer rock face and linked by beautifully decorated caves, passages and stairways, before heading to Lovcen National Park. We end our day in Cetinje, an important historical centre dating from the 15th century and the cultural and spiritual heart of Montenegro.Then continue to Razem, where we can have a walking tour of local outdoor attractions including caves, a waterfall, and hazelnut forest. Overnight in Hotel Natyral Razma Resort, or similar. (B)


 

Day 14 – Lezhe - Durres.  

After breakfast drive to Lezhe. Later we continue to Lezha where we visit the mausoleum of Skanderbeg and the castle before heading to Durres. This port city has the largest Roman amphitheater in the region (20,000 seats), dating back to the 2nd century built during Trajan Emperor rule. Visit  archeological museum, amphitheater, roman Baths, Byzantine Bazar, etc. Overnight Hotel Arvi Hotel 4*, or similar. (B, D)


Prices:

Single room supplement: €297

 

Included:

 

 

 

 

Arrival and departure transfers

 

All accommodation on twin share basis

 

Services of English speaking guide / tour leader

 

Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)

 

Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

 

 

Excluded:

 

International flights

 

Any airport taxes

 

Travel Insurance

 

Visas

 

Drinks 

 

 

Please note that you should also read the Country Notes in association with this itinerary for practical information about your trip and the destination you will be visiting.

The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and our company.

    Activity
  • Land Activity