HOP THROUGH THE BALKANS
Your trip to the Balkans will be a mix of colors and cultures. You will see 6 capitals, Unesco sites, nature, sea and beaches, and cultural cities, coupled with good gastronomy and friendly locals. Come with us to get a deep knowledge of 7 countries in one trip, whether you come as an individual traveler and come to do the route privately and tailor-made or in a group. Imagine how many memories, how much knowledge, and how many souvenirs you will bring back home.
DAY 1: LJUBLJANA – ARRIVAL
Arrival at one of the airports in the region. Transfer to the hotel and accommodation in Ljubljana.
DAY 2: LJUBLJANA
Today in the morning we start your trip to the Balkans with a guided tour of the green city of Ljubljana, the cultural, financial, and industrial center. It has a beautiful medieval castle that we will visit in a short funicular ride. From there, you have an excellent panoramic view of the city and the surrounding nature.
You will see the old town with its medieval and baroque part and the most important sights, such as the Prešeren Square, the Three Bridges, the Robba Fountain, the Town Hall, the Dragon Bridge, and the Cathedral.
Then we will walk along the banks of the Ljubljanica River to Congress Square, where you will pass the University Building and the Philharmonic. Continue your walk to the French Revolution Square and the Roman Wall and pass the National Library, the work of the Unesco-recognized architect – Jože Plečnik, who with his various urbanistic works turned the city into a kind of work of art.
You will finish the tour by passing the Parliament, the National Museum, and the National Gallery until you reach the beautiful Tivoli Park. In the afternoon there will be free time to enjoy everything the capital has to offer, have a coffee in one of the many bars along the river, visit some of its beautiful parks and taste the typical food.
DAY 3: LJUBLJANA – BLED – BOHINJ – LJUBLJANA
After breakfast, departure to Bled, one of Slovenia’s most popular tourist places. Here you can enjoy the splendid natural beauty of the lake and visit the island by boat with the traditional boat, called “Pletna” to reach the church of the Assumption of Mary, built in Baroque style. There you can ring the bell of wishes. Visiting the castle of Bled, you can enjoy an excellent panoramic view. The castle dates back to the 12th century. Inside the castle is the Museum of Printing. It is also an important protocol site where meetings and weddings are organized. We recommend tasting the famous local dessert, the Bled cream cake, “kremšnita”.
Later we will visit Bohinj, a typical alpine region, entering from the southeast of the Triglav National Park. There you will see the largest glacial lake in Slovenia, surrounded by the Julian Alps, beautiful forests, and its two medieval churches. Return to the capital in the afternoon. Overnight in Ljubljana.
DAY 4: LJUBLJANA – SLOVENIAN COAST – POSTOJNA
Departure to the Slovenian coast and stop at the castle of Socerb, from where there is an excellent panoramic view of the Gulf of Trieste. We start with Koper, one of Slovenia’s oldest towns, with a rich history dating back to the Middle Bronze Age. It is the largest city in Slovenian Istria and home to the only Slovenian port and the best preserved and most significant remains of the Venetian culture.
We will also pass through Izola and Portoroz and visit the city of Piran, formerly the territory of the Republic of Venice, where the scent of the Adriatic gives a special charm to its narrow streets and neighborhoods. Piran has one of the most famous buildings in Tartini Square, the impressive Venetian House, the most beautiful example of Venetian Gothic architecture in Piran. This town is adorned by a sensational and timeless romance with a deep-rooted salt tradition which merges with countless stories of the town’s narrow streets and picturesque views of the Slovenian Mediterranean. In the afternoon we depart for Postojna. Arrival at the hotel and overnight in Postojna.
DAY 5: POSTOJNA – ZAGREB
In the morning we will visit the striking Postojna Cave with its stalactites and stalagmites forming a true subway paradise, carved by the river Pivka. It is impressive for its magnitude of 24 kilometers of intercommunicated caves. The tour is done by train and the rest of the tour is on foot. Later we will visit the Predjama Castle, located and built on a cliff 123 meters high and connected to a cave. It is one of the most beautiful and unique in Central Europe. In the afternoon transfer to Zagreb and start the Croatian part of this trip to the Balkans. Arrival in the capital and free time. Overnight in hotel.
DAY 6: ZAGREB
Your tour of the Balkans continues with a guided tour of the city of Zagreb, the capital and largest city in Croatia. It is a very modern city, but at the same time has a charming medieval old town with beautiful architecture. The city center is divided into two parts. One is the Upper Town, where you can visit the Government House, the iconic St. Mark’s Church, the Croatian Parliament, and many museums and galleries. The second part, called Lower Town, is the livelier part, where we will see stores, parks, and theaters and walk around the most famous square of Ban Jelacic.
We will have free time for lunch in one of the restaurants with local food and in the afternoon possibility to visit the botanical garden, the museum of the inventor, electrical engineer, and mechanic – Nikola Tesla or relax by walking through the zoo, a few minutes from the central part of the city. Overnight in Zagreb.
DAY 7: ZAGREB – NOVI SAD – BELGRADE
Breakfast before departure to Serbia. Departure to Belgrade, but first we make a stop in the city of Novi Sad. In the city, the European Capital of Culture in 2022, you will see the spectacular Petrovaradin Fortress, which is the symbol of the city and dates back to the Middle Ages, but it was the Austro-Hungarians who gave it the appearance it has today. Novi Sad, also known as “Serbian Athens” for its remarkable culture and history, attracts visitors from many countries. We continue in the afternoon to the capital of Serbia – Belgrade. Overnight in Belgrade.
DAY 8: BELGRADE
Visit the capital of Serbia, once the capital of Yugoslavia. After breakfast, we will start the tour by visiting the Mausoleum of Josip Broz, known worldwide as Marshal Tito, who was head of state of the former Yugoslavia from the end of World War II until he died in 1980. You will see the exterior of the Marakana stadium, where the Red Star of Belgrade plays its matches.
We will continue the tour to the Temple of St. Sava, which is the largest Orthodox church in the Balkans, passing by St. Mark’s Church, the National Parliament of Serbia, and Republic Square. We will walk along Knez Mihailo Street, one of the most beautiful pedestrian streets in the Balkans until we reach the park and the Kalemegdan Fortress. From there you will observe the mighty walls and have a beautiful view of the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. Free time to enjoy the city. We recommend a boat trip, which is made by the rivers surrounding the city or just enjoying the atmosphere of the capital. Overnight in Belgrade.
DAY 9: BELGRADE – NIS – SKOPJE
After breakfast, we will depart for the south. On the way, we will enjoy the scenery of the heart of the Balkan Peninsula. We will pass through several villages where you will be able to observe different cultures living in the region. We will continue to Nis, one of the oldest cities in Europe. There you will have free time to visit the old town and have lunch in one of the typical restaurants. Continue to Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia. Overnight in Skopje.
DAY 10: SKOPJE – OHRID
After breakfast, we will start the guided tour of Skopje, the capital and the largest city of Macedonia. We will see the Kale Fortress, the old Bazaar, and the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Memorial Center. You will walk along the banks of the Vardar River and pass the beautiful Stone Bridge. The city’s architectural appearance changed after the project called “Skopje 2014”, which has generated a lot of controversies and to this day is still part of the public debate. One of the changes is the more than 136 statues located in the city center. Departure to Ohrid in the afternoon, free time and overnight.
DAY 11: OHRID
After breakfast, we will tour Ohrid and its surroundings the whole day. The city is famous for its rich cultural heritage and is protected by UNESCO. From the port, we will walk to the 11th-century Hagia Sophia Church, one of the most important monuments of Byzantine architecture on Macedonian territory. Then we will go up to the Samuel Fortress. Then we will see the churches of St. John Kaneo and St. Clement. In the afternoon we will take a boat on the lake and go 30 kilometers south of Ohrid to visit the Monastery of St. Naum. Return and overnight.
DAY 12: OHRID – TIRANA
The trip to the Balkans will continue across the border to Albania, arriving in the city of Tirana. There you will have a guided tour of the capital Tirana which has a mixture of Ottoman, socialist and modern architecture and was formed around Skanderbeg Square. We will visit the National Museum which shows the whole Albanian history from the Illyrians to the period of communism. You will pass by the central market, the monument to Mother Teresa, and the picturesque Et’hem Bey Mosque, famous for its rich interior decoration. Finally, you will visit one of the most special museums in the world, the BunkArt 1 museum, which is composed of an anti-nuclear bunker and a 5-story subway system, built by the communist government. Overnight.
Hop on this trip to the Balkans – it might be just what you need
DAY 13: TIRANA – KOTOR – BUDVA
Breakfast and departure to the beautiful country of Montenegro. The first stop will be in Kotor, a city that is located in one of the most beautiful bays of the Adriatic coast. The city was part of the Venetian Republic when it reached its greatest splendor. The old town has medieval architecture and numerous historical monuments that have led it to be part of the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage. We will continue the trip to Budva, one of the most touristic cities of Montenegro, where we will visit its walled center. Overnight in the Bay of Kotor.
DAY 14: BAY OF KOTOR – DUBROVNIK
After breakfast, we depart for Croatia again with a guided tour of Dubrovnik, a city that has hardly changed since medieval times and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Being one of the smallest states in the Mediterranean, but at the same time one of the most important, it has contributed to a very rich history of the city that is reflected at every step. You can visit the Rector’s Palace and the Franciscan Monastery with the oldest pharmacy in the world, and you can also climb its intact city walls that offer an incredible route of 1,940 meters, surrounding a place without comparison in the world, which holds the title of “Pearl of the Adriatic”. Overnight in Dubrovnik.
DAY 15: DUBROVNIK – NEUM
After breakfast, free day to enjoy the city of Dubrovnik. We also recommend a boat excursion to the nearby Lokrum Island. In the afternoon departure to Bosnia and overnight in Neum.
DAY 16: NEUM – MEDJUGORJE – MOSTAR – SARAJEVO
After breakfast on your trip to the Balkans, we will visit Bosnia. The first visit will be to the pilgrimage center Medjugorje, famous because of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1981. On the way, we will make a photo stop in the small, but beautiful medieval village Počitelj and continue our journey to Mostar to discover this interesting city famous for Stari Most, a majestic stone bridge between medieval towers, magnificently reconstructed and converted, again, into a symbol of the cultural and ethnic identity of the Bosnians.
Free time to stroll along the lively Kujundžiluk street, visit different stores, cafes, and see the Muslibegovica house, one of the best-preserved buildings of the Ottoman heritage. Continue to Sarajevo and overnight.
DAY 17: SARAJEVO
Breakfast. Sarajevo is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Start the day on the outskirts of the city, where you will visit the famous Sarajevo tunnel, built in 1993, during the siege of the city in the Balkan War. You will tour the historic center along the Miljacka River and visit the place where, in 1914, Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Austro-Hungarian crown prince, Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
From there continue your way to the picturesque old town, called Bascarsija, and its surroundings where you will witness the cultural fusion of 4 religions. See also the exterior of the Catholic Cathedral and the Orthodox Church from the late 19th century. Not far away is the synagogue of the Sepharadis, Jews expelled from Spain who settled there. We will visit the Museum of the Jews.
Finally, we enter the courtyard of the Gazi Husrev-bega Mosque, one of the most beautiful monuments of Ottoman architecture in the Balkans. We recommend not leaving without tasting the typical food of the region: cevapcici, burek and try the rich Bosnian coffee, served in typical coffee pots. Overnight in Sarajevo.
DAY 18: SARAJEVO – SPLIT
After breakfast, we will drive back to Croatia to visit Split, the second-largest city in Croatia. In 305, when the Roman Emperor Diocletian, having almost the whole world under his feet, decided to build his country villa and spend the rest of his life there, he did not hesitate about where he should build it: in this special place on the Adriatic.
The old town is included in the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage. Optionally you can enter the cellars of Diocletian’s Palace, which served as his retirement home. You will see the exterior of the Temple of Jupiter and St. Diocletian’s Cathedral, which by an irony of fate was once the mausoleum of the last great persecutor of Christians. Free time to enjoy the afternoon in this exclusive locality of the Adriatic Sea. Overnight stay.
DAY 19: SPLIT – PLITVICE – ZAGREB
Breakfast and departure to Plitvice Lakes, a national park on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The park has 16 small lakes, which are divided into upper and lower lakes and descend about 130 meters in height difference, as well as 92 waterfalls and multiple streams. The visit is done on foot along the trails inside the park and part of it is done by boat. In the park, you can enjoy crystal-clear water, rich fauna and flora, and lush forests. After you continue to Zagreb. Overnight in Zagreb.
DAY 20: ZAGREB
Breakfast and free time until transfer to the airport for your return flight. End of the trip.
and start to plan your trip to the Balkans.
HOP THROUGH THE BALKANS
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