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Balkans In Two Weeks

From US$ 1,909 US$ 1,632
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The Balkans in Two Weeks tour starts and ends in Sofia. The Balkans in Two Weeks is an Explorer tour that takes 15 days taking you through Sofia, Bulgaria and 7 other destinations in Bulgaria.

New for 2017 Discover the beauty of the Balkans on this adventure starting and ending in Sofia. Cruise through the Matka Canyon, explore the history behind the Dubrovnik City Walls and marvel at Stari Most. Enjoy free time at Lake Ohrid and visit the Kalemegdan Citadel in Belgrade. This tour combines the rich history and beautiful landscapes of this fascinating region in Europe.

Day 1 Arrive Sofia

The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.
The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.
Welcome to Sofia. The city offers a wealth of cultural entertainment, including Byzantine churches, museums full of ancient archaeological treasures, towering monuments and numerous mineral baths adjacent to the magnificent Mount Vitosha. Laid back and cosmopolitan, Sofia offers a thriving and diverse street life, including open-air cafés, busy markets such as the famous Ladies’ Market, rattling trams and buskers all adding to the ambience. At the foothills of Mount Vitosha about 8 kilometres from the city centre you can visit the 900 year-old Boyana Church, considered among the masterpieces of medieval European painting, which features murals and frescoes dating back to 1259 AD, medieval architecture and monumental art. Also at the base of Mt. Vitosha is the splendid National History Museum, with antiques dating back to the Thracian period.
Sofia also offers many beautiful gardens to relax in, such as Boris Gardens and the South Park, which starts just behind the Palace of Culture.

Day 2 Skopje

In Skopje, Macedonia’s capital, you can enjoy 2,000 years of history spanning Oriental and Western cultures, neatly divided by the Vardar River through the centre of the city. Skopje has many historical monuments including the Kale Fortress dating back to the 6th century and the Daud Paša Amam, a 15th century bathhouse now converted into the city art gallery. You can also see the Mustafa-pasha's mosque, the 16th century Clock Tower and the Kamen Most (Stone Bridge) over the Vardar River.

Day 3 - 4 Lake Ohrid

Before heading to Lake Ohrid we can enjoy a visit to the Matka Canyon. Cruise down Matka lake admiring the large rock walls towering beside the water. Keep an eye out for the fascinating caves that are found within the canyon. We then travel on to the gorgeous lake side town of Ohrid, perched on the border of Macedonia and Albania. This unassuming, picturesque settlement has been the setting of thousands of years of human history and the ancient churches, fortress walls, bazaars and old quarters are testimony to its past.
Lake Ohrid itself is Europe’s oldest lake having formed over three millions years ago. Wander the streets and squares of its compact centre before hiking up to the ancient walled fortress that overlooks the day to day life of the city and explore the famous old churches, monasteries and basilicas.

Day 5 Tirana

On the way to Tirana we stop off at the small town of Berat. Straddling the mountainside this charming ottoman town was listed as a UNESCO Heritage site in 2008 and it is not hard to see why. Its hillside is blanketed with picturesque white house’s giving it the nickname “the town of a thousand windows”. Hike up to the Fortress or spend your time wandering its narrow cobbled streets.
Continuing onwards we arrive into Tirana in the evening, the trendy capital and largest city of Albania, which has transformed from a grey, dismal ex-communist city, isolated by the regime until the 1990s, to a colourful capital buzzing with life. While the city has a long history, you can enjoy its modern outlook, with fashionable bars, and wander boulevards lined with relics of the city’s Ottoman, clubs and boutiques, Italian and communist past. Tirana’s massive main square, Sheshi Skënderbej, is bordered by the National History Museum, the Palace of Culture, the National Bank, the Et'hem Bey Mosque and Skanderbeg's statue. A short bus ride from the city centre, the Martyr’s Cemetery offers marvellous panoramic views over the city.

Day 6 - 7 Kotor

After spending the morning exploring Tirana, our group will move onward to our next destination - the picturesque town of Kotor in Montenegro. It is a walled city nestled at the bottom of Europe’s deepest fjord. Experience Stari Grad, the old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with it’s tricky labyrinth of cobbled alleys, squares and ancient churches, including St Tryphon's Cathedral built in 1166.
The steep mountains provide a dramatic backdrop to this beautiful town and you can admire them from the waterfront. You could spend the day drinking espresso in the shade of the medieval walls watching people go by, or if you are feeling more adventurous try climbing the walls of the ancient fort of Sveti Ivan which spans some 4.5 kilometres above the city on almost vertical cliffs. Your efforts will be rewarded by an excellent view of Kotor and the bay.

Day 8 - 9 Dubrovnik

We now continue to the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, the UNESCO World Heritage listed walled city of Dubrovnik.
With a paved town centre enclosed in fortress-like 13th century stone walls, the city is easy to explore on foot and is full of character. Founded in the 7th century, for a time in its glorious past the city was a serious rival for Venice in terms of maritime trade. It is hard to believe now but in 1991, two out of every three buildings were damaged during the bombardment of the Yugoslav War. Since then the buildings and walls have been painstakingly restored to pristine condition and represents one of the most beautiful and solid fortress systems on the Mediterranean. There are several other historic attractions worth a visit near the main street (Stradun), such as the 14th century Franciscan monastery which houses a treasury full of sacred art and artefacts, as well as one of the oldest continually working pharmacies in the world, dating back to 1317.

Day 10 - 11 Sarajevo

Crossing the border into the ‘heart-shaped land’ of Bosnia and Herzegovina we head towards the capital Sarajevo, a fascinating mixture of western and eastern cultures. Known as the ‘Jerusalem of Europe’, the city was once famous for its religious diversity, with people of Islamic, Orthodox Christian, Catholic and Jewish faiths coexisting relatively peacefully for centuries. The atmosphere of calm and tolerance changed dramatically when violence erupted in the mid-1990s and the city underwent the longest siege in modern military history during the Yugoslav War.
En route to Sarajevo we will make a short visit to one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most popular sites, Blagaj Tekke (Dervish Monastery). It was built around 1520 with the influence of Ottoman design and perches on the side of river spring providing a mystical setting. It was built as a monastery for the Dervish cults.
Onward from Blagaj Tekke we make a stop in Mostar, widely felt to be the prettiest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is situated on the Neretva River and is the fifth-largest city in the country. It is particularly famous for this beautiful single span bridge, Stari Most, which collapsed into the Neretva River during the Yugoslav War in 1993. Built in 1556 by the Ottoman ruler Suleiman the Great, Stari Most had been a globally recognised landmark and a national symbol for Bosnia-Herzegovina. It had survived centuries of conflict including both world wars and proved that, whatever happened, the mainly Christian west bank and mainly Muslim east remained united. The destruction of the bridge was a huge blow to the local people, but in 2004 the bridge was rebuilt as a replica of the original using pieces of masonry salvaged from the riverbed. Its reopening represented the hope that Muslims, Croats and Serbs could once again live side by side and that Mostar would be healed after a decade of ethnic division.
We end our day arriving into Sarajevo. Today the city is largely recovered and is packed with fascinating museums bazaars, markets and bridges. During your time here you could explore the cobbled streets, mosques and Oriental style shops of the Old Town, visit the Bosnian Historical Museum to learn about the siege of Sarajevo and discover the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum, the tunnel which was used to ferry supplies into the besieged city during the conflict, next to the airport. For history buffs a must see is the “Latin Bridge" spanning the river in the downtown area. The bridge bears a plaque commemorating the assassination of Archduke of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Ferdinand, the event that sparked the beginning of World War I.

Day 12 - 13 Belgrade

Today we drive across the border into Serbia to explore its dynamic capital city, Belgrade. It is located at the crossing point of the Sava and Danube rivers and during the course of its long history, Belgrade has been captured 60 times, burned down around 40 times, and has risen like a phoenix from the ashes every time.
Looming over the old city is the ancient Kalemegdan Citadel, which was built in stages from the 1st century BC and was finally finished in the 18th century. We will visit the well-preserved ruins and may even see graffiti made by bored medieval guardsmen. As well as this, we have the opportunity to explore the military museum inside the fortress. The view of the city from the fortress is fantastic and not to be missed. If time allows it is definitely worth a visit to St Sava Church, one of the largest Orthodox churches in world. The city itself offers excellent shopping opportunities, from luxurious upscale boutiques through to an enormous bazaar and a Saturday farmer’s market at Zeleni Venac selling an assortment of seasonal produce.
When you’re ready for a break, you can relax on the beach at ‘Belgrade Hawaii’, Ada Ciganlija, an island in the middle of the Sava River. During the summer the island attracts hundreds of thousands of people looking for a place to cool down, so it can be crowded on hot days. Belgrade is very well known for its nightlife and is a major draw card for Europeans looking for a party. There are countless nightclubs, bars, and cafés that stay lively into the wee hours of the night, many of which are located on river barges.

Day 14 Sofia

We return to Sofia for one last night. Pick up last minute souvenirs and head to the outdoor restaurants for one final meal with your group.

Day 15 Depart Sofia

Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.

what’s included
  • Accommodation:
    • 12 night(s) in hotels
    • 2 night(s) in apartments
  • Meals:
    • 14 Breakfast(s)
  • Excursions:
    • Matka Canyon Boat Ride
    • Visit to Berat
    • Entry to Dubrovnik City Wall
    • Visit to Mostar
    • Entry to Blagaj Tekke
    • Entry to Kalemegdan Citadel
  • Transport:
    • Private Vehicle
what’s excluded
  • Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
  • International flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes
  • Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.
  • Optional excursions - On each trip, you may find there are some excursions that are not included. This might be because they are not to everyone's taste or there may be various options of differing value to choose from. More information on the excursions we recommend is listed under each day of your itinerary though prices may vary. If you are after something in particular, don't hesitate to ask your tour leader.
  • Airport transfers and pre and post tour accommodation
Tour details
Booking Type Instant Booking  
Duration 15 days
Tour Type Group Tour  
guiding method Live guide/instructor
guide language English
Starts/Ends Sofia, Bulgaria/Sofia, Bulgaria
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Cancellation No additional cancellation fees apply for this Balkans in Two Weeks tour. You can cancel the tour up to 61 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 60 days of departure.
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