BALKAN EXPLORER • 12 DAYS FROM 900 EUR

ALBANIA, NORTH MACEDONIA, BULGARIA, ROMANIA and SERBIA. 

FIVE OF THE MOST CHARACTERISTIC BALKAN COUNTRIES IN ONE SINGLE JOURNEY. DISCOVER A LAND OF INCREDIBLY RICH HERITAGE. 

   


ITINERARY AND VISITED SITES:

01 TIRANA Pick up from Tirana airport and transfer to Kruje – the capital of the Kingdom of Albania in 12-th century. After lunch visit Kruje castle and learn about Gjergj Skanderbeg, the national hero of Albania. Back to the capital of Tirana to do a city tour, visit: Skanderbeg Square, The Great Mosque, The Pyramid of Tirana etc. the old quarteretc. After lunch we enter the Tirana History Museum – the museum holds many of the country's archaeological treasures and a breathtaking collection of statues, mosaics and columns from ancient Greek and Roman. Free time, dinner and overnight in Tirana.

02 OHRID Morning departure to OhridWe drive for 150 km east from Tirana to Kafasan Pass where we enter Macedonia at altitude of 1300 m and descents to Ohrid Lake – the deepest lake on the Balkan Peninsula, declared World Heritage Site in 1979. Lunch on the bank of the lake followed by relaxing afternoon walking tour of Ohrid. During 10 century Ohrid was an episcopal city and a cultural center of great importance for the Balkans. We visit: St. Sofia Church, The Old Town, Samuel’s Fortress etc. Dinner at hotel and free time.

   


03 SKOPJE Departure to the capital Skopje via Matka Canyon – one of the most popular outdoor destinations in Macedonia, home to several medieval monasteries. We stop here for a traditional barbeque lunch before going to the capital of Skopje. City tour of Skopje – an unique mixture of styles with plenty of charm and places of interest. Its Ottoman- and Byzantine-era sights are focused around the city's delightful Čaršija, bordered by the 15th-century Stone Bridge and Kale Fortress – city’s guardian since the 5th century. Dinner and overnight. 

04 SOFIA Today we depart early in the morning to enter Western Bulgaria around lunch. At elevation of 1,147 m above sea level we stop at the magnificent Rila Monastery - the biggest in Bulgaria and one of Europe's oldest, UNESCO Site. This is a place for massive pilgrimage for people coming from all over the world - an outstanding and vivid spiritual, cultural and religious center with impressive historic, architectural and artistic values of world significance. Afer lunch and visit we depart to the capital of Sofia for early evening arrival, dinner and overnight.

   
 

05 SOFIA Start the day with a walking tour of Sofia – Orthodox and catholic churches, pagan temples, mosques and synagogues, Sofia has it all within walking distance. It is also surprisingly green city , with huge parks dotted around the city centre and ski slopes and hiking trails of the mighty Black peak right on its doorstep. We visit: Roman Ruins, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, St. Sofia church, the 4-th century St. George Rotonda, the Mosque, the Synagogue, the old quarter, etc. In the aftenoon we drive to the foot of Vitosha Mountain to see the amazing medieval frescos of the UNESCO listed Boyana church. Back to Sofia, free time and dinner.  

06 VELIKO TARNOVO Morning departure to the medieval capital of Veliko Tarnovo. During the Middle Ages Veliko Tarnovo served as a capital of the Second Bulgarian kingdom and it became the most important political, economic and religious centre for nearly 200 years. After lunch we tske a walk down the Old Town of Tarnovo, visit the Arts and Crafts street, hike up Tsarevets Fortress  the former seat of the medieval tsars hosts the remains of more than 400 houses, 18 churches, the royal palace, an execution rock and more. Dinner and overnight.

   
 

07 BUCHAREST Today we’re heading North passing through the beautiful Danubian plain to cross the Danube river via The Danube bridge – a steel truss bridge connecting Bulgaria and Romania at the city of Ruse. Arrival in the capital of Romania at lunch. City tour of Bucharest – The Palace of Parliament, Revolutionary square, Romanian Atheneum etc. We explore some wonderful art nouveau buildings, ancient churches and monasteries hidden in a very well preserved old town area full of vibrant life, bars and restaurants. Dinner and overnight. 

08 BRASOV Departure for Bucegi Mountains and the wonderful Sinaia – a town and a famous mountain resort in Prahova County, situated in the historical region of Muntenia. A lovely melange of crayon-coloured wooden houses and beautiful 19th-century buildings. Here we visit The Peleş Castle – once home to Romania’s first king Carol I. One of the best preserves castles in Europe. After lunch in Sinaia we drive for another hour to end the day in Brasov – the regional capital of the Transylvanian Saxons. We take a walk in the old town through the mixture of gothic spires, medieval gateways and numerous bohemian cafes.  

   
 

09 SIBIU Morning departure through the picturesque fields and untouched Saxon towns of Transilvania. We stop and take a walk through the cobalt streets of the lovely town of Sighisoara – World Heritage site. Found in 12th century by the German Saxons, uniquely preserved until today. Sighisoara is also famed for the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, whose name was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s iconic Count Dracula. After lunch in the old town we continue our trip to arrive in the medieval Sibiu – one of Romania's most important cultural capitals. Walking tour including Huet Square, the Large Square, the Evangelical Cathedral, the Liars’ Bridge. Dinner and overnight.

10 BELGRADE Departure for Timisoara – our last stop in Romania before going to Serbia. Timisoara is the3rd largest city and the main social, economic and cultural centre in Western Romania. The city was built around a series of beautifully restored public squares, lavish parks and gardens. In December 1989, the city witnessed a series of mass street protests in what was to become the Romanian Anti-Communist Revolution and became the first city free of Communism in Romania. Our stop includes lunch and a short city tour of Timisoara. Continue to Serbia to end the day in Belgrade. Dinner and overnight.

11 BELGRADE The capital of Serbia Belgrade (The White City) is situated at the confluence of two major rivers the – Sava and the Danube. Since ancient times it acts as an important intersection between Eastern and Western Europe. A city where a socialist blocks are squeezed between art nouveau masterpieces, Habsburg legacy contrast with Ottoman relics. We start the day with a tour of Belgrade including visits to Kalemegdan Fortressthe old quarter, Central Republic Square, Prince Mihailo Street, Terezije Square, the Old Palace and St. Sava Cathedral. Free time in the afternoon; enjoy our last eveining before departure. 12 BLEGRADE Transfer to airport according flight schedule.   

TOUR DETAILS AND INCLUSIONS:

ACCOMODATION: 9 nights in comfortable 4 * city hotels with amenities such as restaurant, bar, relax center, garden or swiming pool 
TRANSPORT: Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer. 
MEALS: 11 hotel breakfasts, 11 local lunches, 11 local dinners in specially selected restaurants with varied menu and great service.
* Traditional dinner with folklore programe available on request in Sofia, Bucharest or Brasov
ENTRANCE FEES: Kruje Castle, Tirana History Museumurch, Samuel’s Fortress,  Kale Fortress Skopje, Rila Monastery museum    Boyana Church, The Palace of Parliament Bucharest, Peles Castle, Bran Castle
TRIP STAFF: Professional licenced English speaking guide + driver. 
 * THE TOUR CAN BE MODIFIED ON REQUEST
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