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Central Europe & Balkans

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The Central Europe & Balkans tour starts in Warsaw and ends in Dubrovnik. The Central Europe & Balkans is an Explorer tour that takes 25 days taking you from Warsaw to Dubrovnik and 14 other destinations in Europe.

New for 2017 Discover a diverse selection of Europe on this 25 day long adventure. Travelling through 11 countries from Warsaw to Dubrovnik, this tour includes the chance to see beautiful mountain landscapes, ancient fortresses, spectacular lakes and historical citadels.

Day 1 Arrive Warsaw

Warsaw, Poland's capital, has been revitalised as a tourist destination. The city was almost entirely destroyed in World War II but a lot of effort has gone into its rebuilding. Since the fall of communism many old buildings have given way to modern skyscrapers, the dilapidated old town has been brightened up, and entertainment and services transformed to match that of other western capitals.
Home to various palaces, castles and citadels, Warsaw is noted for the Soviet-era Palace of Culture and Science, as well as the marketplace at the 10th Anniversary Stadium, a converted festival site where you can buy all sorts of interesting items. Also recommended is a visit to the Old Town, which was rebuilt between 1949 and 1963 after being destroyed in World War II in the Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque styles of architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries. You can visit the Historical Museum of Warsaw and Royal Castle at nearby Old Town Square.

Day 2 - 3 Kraków

Poland's more famous and cultural city is Kraków, which has managed to preserve centuries of amazing architecture and artistic traditions as most of the historic buildings and monuments emerged unscathed from World War II. Kraków was the royal capital for 500 years so a must-see is the royal Wawel Castle, a beautiful renaissance palace which now houses a museum. During the evening the cosmopolitan city offers a wild nightlife, with plenty of restaurants, music clubs and bars to explore.
Kraków is our base to visit the UNESCO listed Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp, a sobering tribute to the people that perished there during the Holocaust. Situated close to the Polish town of O?wi?cim, the camp was originally designed for Polish political prisoners but became the most notorious camp of World War II because an estimated 1.6 million people of 27 nationalities, including 1.1 million Jews, 150,000 Poles and 23,000 Roma were killed by the Nazis.

Day 4 High Tatras Mountains

The High Tatras constitutes of a large mountain range which forms a natural border between Slovakia and Poland and is the highest mountain range of the Carpathians. The tallest mountain is Gerlach at 2,655 metres, located in Slovakia just north of Poprad.
After making our way to Starý Smokovec (Nový Smokovec) we have time to relax and unwind. For the energetic there is an opportunity to go to the nearby mountains for some hiking. There are various paths ranging from gentle to highly demanding, winding among spectacular peaks and rock walls. Alternatively you can admire some of the beautiful natural sites of the region, such as the glacial lake of Strebske Pleso.

Day 5 Overnight train to Prague

After getting our fill of the crisp mountain air we board an overnight train to Prague.

Day 6 - 7 Prague

Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and you will have plenty of free time to visit the stunning City of 1,000 Spires, including the bustling Old Town Square where you can find a beautiful astronomical clock, the enchanting Charles Bridge where you can watch artists and buskers at work and Wenceslas Square. There is also time to wander the lofty heights of Hradčany Castle and St Vitus Cathedral for magical views over the city.
Prague is a town that loves to party so you may also want to experience the nightlife as there are many great bars and restaurants and plenty of pulsating night clubs to enjoy. Czechs have been brewing beer since the 9th century and invented the world's first Pilsner, so Prague offers a great opportunity to sample some of the world's finest beers.

Day 8 - 9 Vienna

Welcome to Austria! Birthplace of some of the greatest classical musical compositions, Vienna charms with its cultural history and opulent beauty. Known as the 'city of music' many composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss were born or worked here and you can learn all about their works in places such as Haus der Musik and Mozarthaus, Mozart's main apartment in Vienna which holds an insight into his celebrated life.
Perhaps you would like to catch a jaw-dropping orchestra performance at the Vienna Philharmonic, or watch a ballet or opera performance at the Wiener Staatsoper? You may also choose to visit the Schloss Schönbrunn, the palace of the Habsburg family, and discover the Baroque grandeur of the Austrian dynasty. Once you have delighted in the culture and beauty of Vienna, there are a host of a lively restaurants, cafes and bars to soak up as you watch the world go by in this vibrant city.

Day 10 - 11 Budapest

Budapest, Hungary's stylish capital is known as the 'City of Spas' for its abundance of natural thermal springs.
Straddling the Danube River, the city is comprised of two very different historic cities, Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east bank. Highlights here include Castle Hill, Matthius Church, Fisherman's Bastion, the Liberation Monument, the fabulous St Stephen's Basilica and the much photographed Parliament Building.
Sample some Hungarian cuisine in a local restaurant. Goulash is the most popular Hungarian meat dish. It is a delicious stew made from meat and vegetables with Hungarian paprika powder as the main spice.

Day 12 Novi Sad

Serbia's cultural centre, Novi Sad, is overlooked by the magnificent Petrovaradin Fortress. Built during the 18th century, the fortress was repeatedly attacked but never taken by an enemy. Although it has long since lost its strategic military value, since 1951 it has been an important cultural centre and one of the largest art colonies in the world with over 88 art studios. Visitors can buy art, talk with the artists and feel the atmosphere of studios while works of art are created. There are also three interesting restaurants, a museum, catacombs, great views of the Danube. Novi Sad is also known for its international music festivals, underground military galleries and above ground, such as the International Street Musicians' Festival in September offering diverse music genres, funny instruments, jugglers, street shows and acrobatics.

Day 13 - 14 Belgrade

Located at the crossing point of the Sava and Danube rivers is Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, where you will have plenty of time to explore. In 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.
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 cafes that stay lively into the wee hours of the night, many of which are located on river barges.

Day 15 - 16 Pristina

Today we are travelling to Pristina, Kosovo but first we visit Devil's Town in Serbia. The natural phenomenon, whose real name is Djavolja varos, got it's unique name to the strange formation of soil pyramids. Wander amongst the stone-capped pillars, whose appearance is due to a rare from of erosion.
We then continue our journey to Pristina. Europe's youngest capital, it has a buzzing energy and a small but fascinating number of attractions to see. Visit the Ethnographic Museum for exhibits on life in Kosovo between the 15th and 20th century and marvel at the iconic design of the National Library. Wander down Bill Clinton Boulevard and wave back at the 3m-tall bronze statue of the former president, before stopping for one of Pristina's famous coffees in any one of the number of cafes found here.

Day 17 - 18 Skopje

Before heading to Skopje we can enjoy a visit to the Matka Canyon. Cruise down the river admiring the large rock walls towering beside the water. Keep an eye out for the fascinating caves that are found within the canyon. 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 Pasha 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 19 - 20 Lake Ohrid

Today we 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 21 Tirana

Today we head to Tirana, 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, Skanderbeg Square, 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 centre city, the Martyr's Cemetery offers marvellous panoramic views over the city.

Day 22 - 23 Kotor

On the way to Kotor we stop off at the small town of Kruja. Built on a mountainside, you can discover the old town and explore Kruja Castle where we include entry to the Skanderbeg Museum located inside. Skanderbeg was a war hero of Albania, helping defeat the Ottomans, and this museum focuses on his bravery and importance to Albania.
After spending the morning exploring Kruja, 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 24 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. A great start to your exploration of Dubrovnik is with an included walk around the city walls. Stretching almost 2 kilometres around the old town, the walls offer stunning rooftop and city views out to the turquoise blue Adriatic Sea. 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 25 Depart Dubrovnik

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:
    • 20 night(s) in hotels
    • 1 night(s) in a guesthouse
    • 1 night(s) on overnight sleeper trains
    • 2 night(s) in apartments
  • Meals:
    • 23 Breakfast(s)
  • Excursions:
    • Guided Tour of Auschwitz Concentration Camp
    • Petrovaradin Fortress guided tunnel tour
    • Visit Devil's Town
    • Matka Canyon boat ride
    • Free time at Lake Ohrid
    • Visit to Kruja (Entry to City Walls and Skanderbeg Museum)
    • Guided tour of Kotor Old Town
    • Entry on to Dubrovnik City Wall
  • Transport:
    • Overnight Train
    • Public Bus
    • Taxi
    • Foot
    • Train
    • Private Vehicle
    • Ferry
    • Metro
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 25 days
Tour Type Group Tour  
guiding method Live guide/instructor
guide language English
Starts/Ends Warsaw, Poland/Dubrovnik, Croatia
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customer reviews
5.0 - Excellent Based on 1 review
Excellent
5 - Excellent
“This is our first Tucan tour and we both are close to 70 years old. Before leaving for the tour, we were kind of worried. However, the tour turned out to be very enjoyable! Most of the cities/places we visited are very interesting and worth visiting. It is obvious that Tucan had made lots of efforts to find them and organized this tour! We surely appreciate Tucan's efforts! In addition, our tourist guides (Marina & Bee) are very helpful, and their existence had made our visiting of every cities/places much easier and much more fun! So, please make sure to thank them for us and send them our best regards! In short, we have stated liking Tucan, and will travel with Tucan again and also recommended it to our children and friends!”
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Good to know Payment

A deposit of 500 USD is required to confirm this tour. For any departures within 20 November 2017 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Central Europe & Balkans tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Central Europe & Balkans tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

Cancellation No additional cancellation fees apply for this Central Europe & Balkans 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.
other information
Tucan Travel / Product Category: Explorer
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