Discover the Balkans 16D/15N
This 16-day Balkans tour takes you on a historical and cultural journey through seven different countries – Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Macedonia.
We’ll start in Greece, browsing through its capital city of Athens, visiting some of its popular attractions such as the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, the Parliament buildings as well as a visit to the Acropolis. After spending time in Athens, we’ll head to Meteora to take in the beauty of 24 mountaintop monasteries, six which are still being used today.
The next stop on our seven country journey through the Balkans takes us to Albania, where we’ll explore the Ottoman town of Gjirokastra and its capital city of Tirana. From Albania, we make our way to the small country of Montenegro, visiting its ancient towns of Budva and Kotor and driving around the spectacular Bay of Kotor.
We’ll cross the border once more as we head to Croatia – visiting the walled city of Dubrovnik, which offers beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea and excellent cuisine. Our time in Croatia also takes us along the scenic Dalmatian Coast to the town of Split, famed for its 4th century-old Diocletian’s Palace – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From Croatia, we make our way to Bosnia and Herzegovina, seeing the Stari Most bridge en-route to the small, but vibrant capital city of Sarajevo, situated on the Miljacka River. A short stay here sees us head to Serbia, as we make our way through its capital city of Belgrade – where ancient history merges with medieval times, which again merges with the contemporary age.
Our busy journey through the Balkans then sees us head to Macedonia’s capital city of Skopje, which lies at the heart of the Balkan Peninsula, before we make our way to Ohrid, a small resort city on the hilly shores of Lake Ohrid in Macedonia’s southwest. Orhid is packed with old churches and has been known as the ‘Macedonian Jerusalem’.
After spending time in Macedonia, we go full circle as we return to Greece, firstly to the port city of Thessaloniki, situated on the Thermaic Gulf of the Aegean Sea. We’ll also visit the ancient town of Delphi – home of the Oracle of Apollo, one of the most popular ancient sites and destinations in Greece before we make our way back to Athens to end our Balkans adventure.
- Experience a seven country journey through the Balkans
- Explore some of Europe’s oldest cities
- Explore the Croatian coastline & ancient cities of Greece
Max group size:
- - All accommodation as stated in the itinerary in approx. 3 to 4-star level hotels
- - All transport and transfers in AC non-smoking vehicles
- - 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service in Athens
- - Services of a professional local tour guide for all sightseeing tours
- - Meals as indicated in the itinerary (15 breakfasts)
- - Tipping kitty (except driver & guide)
Dates - Small-Group Adventure:May to Oct (contact for latest dates)
Day 1: Your Balkans Adventure starts in Greece, airport to hotel transfers included
Once you arrive at the airport, one of our staff members will be there to meet you and take you to your hotel in the Greek capital city of Athens.
You’ll have some time to settle in before the rest of the day is free to explore the city independently.
Day 2: Explore Athens
Our first full day of the Balkans tour begins with a city tour of Athens, as we make our way to its marble Panathenaic Stadium, which hosted the very first modern Olympics in the late 1800’s.
We’ll also make our way to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, the Parliament buildings and the Memorial to the Unknown Soldier before we explore the Academy, the University, the National Library and Constitution Square.
Later in the day, we make our way to the Acropolis, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and the Parthenon, which was built in 438 BC to commemorate Athena Parthenos – the Greek goddess of wisdom, courage and warfare.
Day 3 : Travel to Meteora
After a day in the Greek capital, we say goodbye for now as we travel to Meteora, one of the most important monastic locations of the Eastern Orthodox faith. Meteora boasts 24 monasteries with spectacular settings on clifftops and mountainsides – six which are still in use today.
After spending some time in Meteora, we’ll make our way to Kalambaka – a traditional Greek village which is commonly known as the gateway to Meteora. We’ll have some time to walk around the village, taking in the beauty of its cobblestoned streets and its traditional architecture which has stood the test of time.
Day 4 : Onwards to Albania
After spending a few days in Greece, it’s time to make our way to Albania. During our journey, we’ll make a pitstop at the town of Gjirokastra (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) – nestled in a valley between the Gjerë mountains and the Drino, 300 metres above sea level.
After spending some time in Gjirokastra, we’ll head to Tirana – Albania’s capital city. You have the rest of the day free to explore the city, or simply relax at your hotel.
Day 5 : A walking city tour of Tirana, travel to Montenegro
The fifth day of our Balkans tour starts with a walking tour of Tirana, visiting some of its top attractions such as the Clock Tower, the Et’hem Bey Mosque, St Paul’s Cathedral and the National Historical Museum. We’ll also visit the Piramida, the National Art Gallery and Mother Teresa Square.
We’ll then say goodbye to Albania, as we make our way to Montenegro’s coastal town of Budva, famed for its turquoise-coloured beaches and buzzing nightlife. Our time in Budva sees us explore the Church St. Trojica, the Churches of St. Ivan, St. Bogorodica and St. Sava.
Today ends with a short drive to the ancient fortified and cobbled town of Kotor, where we’ll spend the night.
Day 6 : The Bay of Kotor and Dubrovnoik
Our day starts with a guided tour through Kotor taking in the old town as well as the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, built in 1166.
We’ll also drive around the edge of Bay of Kotor, which together with Kotor town forms a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The inlets and bays are positively fjord-like and beautiful to behold. We then continue across the border to Croatia, driving along its beautiful southern coast until we reach the legendary, stone-walled city of Dubrovnik.
We’ll enjoy a guided city tour on foot, before visiting the Big Onofrio’s Fountain – a large fountain which was built in 1438 as part of a water-supply system that involved bringing water from a well approximately 12 kilometres away.
Day 7 : Follow the Dalmatian Coast to Split
Our second day in Croatia takes us on another scenic journey to the town of Split located on the Dalmatian Coast. Split is famed for its breath-taking beaches and its Diocletian’s Palace, A UNESCO World Heritage Site which was built in the 4th century.
We’ll explore the southern section of the Diocletian’s Palace, as we delve into the history of its Bronze Gates, the Vestibule of the Emperor’s Palace, The Mausoleum, St. Dujam’s Cathedral, Cathedral Treasury, Temple of Jupiter and St. Martin’s Church.
We’ll finish the day with a visit to the fruit square before stopping at the Venetian castle, Milesi Palace and the Monument of Marko Marulic.
Day 8 : Mostar, the Stari Most Bridge & Sarajevo
After our time in Croatia, we cross the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina to the town of Mostar, which straddles the Neretva River. Famed for its iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge) built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, Mostar was one of the most heavily bombed locations during the war and has since become another UNESCO World Heritage Site (we certainly pack them in on this tour!).
After time to look at and photograph the bridge, and learn about the wartime history here, we’ll make our way to its capital city of Sarajevo, a compact city located on the Miljacka River, surrounded by the Dinaric Alps.
Sarajevo was once war-torn place, but has since become one of Europe’s most vibrant cities, boasting numerous minarets, mosques, bazaars and coffee shops. We’ll spend the night exploring Sarajevo’s old bazaar known as Bascarsija, trying all its unique dishes. You can also try the local speciality of ‘bosanski cevapi’, which is grilled minced meat mixed with mild spices.
Day 9 : Sarajevo to Belgrade
We’ll start our day with a hearty breakfast before we say goodbye to Bosnia and Herzegovina and travel to Serbia. We’ll stay in its capital city of Belgrade, famed for its impressive Orthodox churches and historical museums.
Tonight, we’ll make our way to Skadarska Street to try some of its authentic cuisines. You’ll be mesmerised by its buzzing atmosphere and vibrant nightlife, which runs alongside its Orthodox churches.
Day 10 : Exploring Belgrade
We’ll spend the entire day exploring Serbia’s capital city of Belgrade today. Belgrade is one of Europe’s oldest cities, boasting settlements which date back at least 7,000 years. Travellers flock here to immerse themselves in its rich culture, with ancient monuments at almost every step.
We’ll browse through its boulevards and squares, before we make our way to Kalemegdan Park located on a 125-metre-high cliff, at the junction of the River Sava and the Danube River.
We’ll spend the rest of the night in Belgrade before we make our way back to Macedonia tomorrow.
Day 11 : Through Nis to Macedonia & Skopje
We start the day with a journey to Nis, Serbia’s third largest city. We’ll go on a sightseeing tour of Nis, as we delve deep into its Ottoman past. Nis is known for being the birthplace of Constantine the Great, a Roman Emperor of Illyrian-Greek origin from 306 to 337 AD.
We’ll cross the border into Macedonia, as we head to its capital city of Skopje, situated in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula. Skopje was founded at the time of the Romans and became capital of the Serbian Empire in the 14th century before it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1392, and incorporated into Yugoslavia in 1918.
You have the rest of the day free to explore Skopje independently.
Day 12 : Exploring Skopje
You have the morning free to do some exploring or get some extra sleep in before we head out in the afternoon for a walking tour of Skopje, where we’ll visit the Kale Fortress – situated on the highest point in the city overlooking the Vardar River, the Church of the Holy Saviour with its iconostasis, the Old Bazaar and the Stone Bridge.
You have the evening free to do some exploring and we’ll once again overnight in Skopje.
Day 13 : Explore lakeside Orhid's churches, the 'Macedonian Jerusalem'
We start our day with a drive to the small lakeside resort city of Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ohrid is often known as the ‘Macedonian Jerusalem’, due to the sheer number of churches in the city, at one stage having 365, one for each day of the year.
We’ll explore Ohrid, visiting the 11th century Church of St. Sofia – one of the most important monuments of Macedonia, which houses architecture and art from the Middle Ages.
We’ll spend the rest of the night in Ohrid, getting some rest in as we make our way back to Greece tomorrow.
Day 14 : Back to Greece & Thessaloniki
After finishing our time in Macedonia we make our way back to Greece, this time visiting Thessaloniki – Greece’s second largest city famed for UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments and its breath-taking foreshore which boasts numerous cafes, cocktail lounges, bars and restaurants.
We’ll spend the rest of the day in Thessaloniki.
Day 15 : Exploring ancient Delphi, then travel back to Athens
Today we say goodbye to Thessaloniki as we make our way to the town of Delphi, which serves as the home of the 4th century BC Temple of Apollo and the former home of the legendary oracle.
We’ll explore the Temple of Apollo, before we visit the Museum of Delphi. We’ll also make our way to the sanctuary of Delphi, which was once the religious centre of the ancient Greek world.
Later in the day, we’ll travel back to Athens, where we’ll spend the night.
Day 16 : Your Balkans adventure ends, hotel to airport transfers included
After an eventful journey through the Balkans, the tour unfortunately, comes to an end.
After breakfast at your hotel in Athens, your time is free until we transfer you to the airport to board your flight back home.