Best of Balkans and Southern Europe

12 countries in 14 days

From/To: Private Group Tour

Duration: 14 days

Countries Visited: Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, FYR Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania. The major capitals and dramatic scenery of the Balkans and Southern Europe.

Individualy priced
Guided Tour
Travelling Party Name
 

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

DEPART HOME

Overnight flight to Venice, Italy

Day 2

ARRIVE VENICE

Welcome to Venice, Queen of the Adriatic! Relax after the journey. Join your companions and your Travel Director later for your cruise by private launch to St. Mark’s Square. Venice is a remarkable Byzantine city with a rich cultural and maritime history. See the island of St. George, the elegant Customs House, the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and the Byzantine Basilica. Watch the Venetian craftsmen at a glassblowing workshop on Giudecca Island. This evening enjoy Welcome Reception.

Day 3

VENICE - LJUBLJANA - ZAGREB

Arrive Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. View the Central open-air Market, Baroque Town Hall, Robba’s Fountain, the Three Bridges and the Parliament during your orientation. Continue to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Enjoy evening orientation drive including a stroll around Ban Jelačić Square. This will be the perfect introduction to this fascinating city!

Day 4

ZAGREB - BELGRADE

Zagreb is a traditional medieval European city with a wealth of historic monuments. Your Local Expert Guide shows you the highlights including the upper and lower town, the majestic Cathedral, Archbishop's Palace, St. Mark's Church and the Opera House. Continue to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia and the former capital city of Yugoslavia from its creation in 1918 to its final dissolution in 2006. After arrival enjoy orientation tour of the city. Dip into the city’s nightlife. Belgrade has a reputation for offering a vibrant nightlife. The most recognizable nightlife features of Belgrade are the barges splav, spread along the banks of the Sava and Danube Rivers.

Day 5

BELGRADE - SARAJEVO

See the historic areas and buildings of Belgrade including Skadarlija, a vintage street considered the main bohemian quarter, similar to Paris’ Montmartre, National Museum building and adjacent National Theatre, Nikola Pasic Square, Terazije, Students’ Square - central town squares, Kalemegdan Fortress, the Belgrade Fortress, Knez Mihailova Street or Prince Mihailo Street, the main pedestrian and shopping zone, the Parliament, the Church of Saint Sava, and the Old Palace. Travel south from Serbia into Bosnia and Herzegovina before arriving in the fascinating capital city Sarajevo. Due to its rich religious and cultural history Sarajevo is often called the Jerusalem of Europe. The city contains synagogues, mosques, orthodox as well as Catholic churches – all in one city! In 1914 the city was the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand which prompted the start of the First World War.

Day 6

SARAJEVO - MOSTAR - DUBROVNIK

Enjoy an insider tour of the Sarajevo war tunnels with a Local Expert Guide. During the Siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian War in the early 1990's, the Sarajevo Tunnel was constructed by the Bosnian Army in order to link the city of Sarajevo, which was entirely cut-off by Serbian forces. The tunnel allowed food, war supplies, and humanitarian aid to come into the city, and people to get out. Hear some of the incredible stories to come out of the city during this time from your Local Expert Guide. Travel towards the Dalmatian coast and the spectacular city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. Stop en route to see the magnificent bridge at Mostar. This city grew up around a trade and bridging point over the Neretva. Mostar is named after this Old Bridge, the 'Stari Most', built by Sinan the great Ottoman architect and one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's most recognizable landmarks. Destroyed during the war it has been rebuilt using the same methods as during the 16th century. Arrive in Dubrovnik, a city on the Adriatic Sea in the region of Dalmatia, Croatia, the youngest European Union member state.

Day 7

DUBROVNIK - TIRANA

Admire the magnificent city of Dubrovnik, that according to CNN is one of ten best medieval walled cities in the world. See Pile Gate, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin, the 16th century Sponza Palace, originally customs house, Dominican Monastery & Museum, St Ignatius Church, Onofrio Fountain, St Blaise’s Church and Banje Beach. Admire wonderful views of the Adriatic Sea coast driving south to Albania.

Day 8

TIRANA - OHRID - THESSALONIKI

Tirana has a rich mosaic of historic natural landmarks. See Tirana Castle, Clock Tower of Tirana, Skanderberg Square, Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard, a major boulevard of Tirana built by Italian architects, formerly called Bulevardi Mussolini. In the afternoon continue to Ohrid in the Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Ohrid and Lake Ohrid were accepted as Cultural and Natural World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. In fact, Ohrid is one of only 28 sites that are part of UNESCO's World Heritage that are both Cultural and Natural sites. Arrive in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Day 9

THESSALONIKI - ISTANBUL (2 NIGHTS)

Thessaloniki, often referred to internationally as Salonica, is the second-largest city in Greece. An important metropolis by the Roman period, Thessaloniki was the second-largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the seafront, Aristotelous Square, the Church of Saint Demetrius, patron saint of the city, built in 4th century, said to be the largest basilica in Greece, Hagia Sophia Church erected in 8th century, Panagia Chalkeon Church built in 1028, Alaca Imaret Mosque, the Metropolitan Church of Saint Gregory Palamas. Depart to Istanbul in the afternoon. Arrive in Istanbul in the evening.

Day 10

ISTANBUL

Today explore the delights of Istanbul, the former capital city of Byzantine Empire. Istanbul is an ancient city located on two continents, Europe and Asia, straddling the Bosphorus - one of the world’s busiest waterways - between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. It is the largest city in Turkey constituting the country’s economic, cultural and historical heart. Its historic centre is partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a population of 13.9 million, the city forms one of the largest urban agglomerations in Europe and is the second largest city in the world by population within city limits. Explore the magnificent St. Sophia’s Basilica, Hagia Sophia, former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later an imperial mosque, and now a museum, built by Constantine the Great. Discover the wonders of the Blue Mosque - Sultan Ahmed Mosque - famous for its six minarets and beautiful blue Iznik tiles. See the Topkapi Palace, former primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years. Spend free time afterwards exploring on your own and shopping for souvenirs at the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops. The real deal include gold, leather and textiles. Later why not to soak up the city’s culture and nightlife?

Day 11

ISTANBUL - SOFIA

Depart to Sofia. Arrive in the capital city of Bulgaria in the evening.

Day 12

SOFIA - BUCHAREST

Today explore the capital city of Bulgaria. Visit the National Historical Museum. See Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral built in Neo-Byzantine style, one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world, Church of St George, Early Christian red brick rotunda that is considered the oldest building in Sofia, the Saint Sofia Church, the second oldest church in the Bulgarian capital. Continue to Bucharest, the capital of Romania, often called Paris of the Balkans.

Day 13

BRAN (TRANSYLVANIA)- BUCHAREST

In the morning enjoy excursion to Transylvania and see the famous Bran (Dracula’s) Castle, return to Bucharest in the afternoon. Your Local Expert Guide takes you on sightseeing tour, which includes Piata Unirii Square with a giant fountain, one of the largest squares in Bucharest, bisected by the Boulevard Unirii, so called Bucharest Champs-Elysees, Boulevard of the Victory of Socialism, and renamed after the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the Parliament of Romania, world’s second largest building after the Pentagon. In the afternoon take a stroll along the Dambovita River and Lipscani Quarter, the old part of Bucharest. The rest of the day is yours to explore, shop for souvenirs or relax.

Day 14

BUCHAREST - HOME

It is time to bid farewell to your Tour Director and new found friends as your unforgettable Balkan and South European holiday comes to an end. Transfer to Bucharest airport. Depart home.

What’s Included

    Insider Experiences
  • Hidden Treasure Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure experience, unique to your itinerary, courtesy of your expert Tour Director.
  • Local Speciality Cruise by private launch to St. Mark’s Square in Venice.   
  • Local Speciality Watch the Venetian craftsmen at a glassblowing workshop on Giudecca Island in Venice.
  • Local Speciality Taste traditional Serbian Rakia in Belgrade.
  • Local Speciality Taste Enjoy Belgrade’s vibrant nightlife.
  • Local Speciality Taste traditional Croatian Slivovitz in Dubrovnik.
  • Local Speciality Taste homemade jams, and cheeses at your hotel in Tirana, Albania. Let the landlady show you peach and orange trees in the garden, the source of the organic fruits.
  • Local Speciality Taste Greek Metaxa or Ouzo in Thessaloniki.
  • Local Speciality Shop for souvenirs, or perhaps with the emotion of the oriental surroundings, a jewel, a typical artisan product, ceramics, leather clothing at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.
  • Local Speciality Taste Turkish Raki in Istanbul.
  • Local Speciality Taste traditional Bulgarian wines in Sofia.
  • Local Speciality Taste traditional Romanian wines in Bucharest.
  • Local Speciality See the world-famous Bran (Dracula’s) Castle in Transilvania, Romania.
  • Local Speciality See the Parliament of Romania, world’s second largest building after the Pentagon.
    Sightseeing Highlights
  • Venice
    See the island of St. George, the elegant Customs House, the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, the Byzantine Basilica.
  • Ljubljana
    View the Central open-air Market, Baroque Town Hall, Robba’s Fountain, the Three Bridges and the Parliament.
  • Zagreb
    Enjoy a stroll around Ban Jelačić Square. See the upper and lower town, the majestic Cathedral, Archbishop's Palace, St. Mark's Church and the Opera House.
  • Belgrade
    See the historic areas and buildings of Belgrade including Skadarlija, a vintage street considered the main bohemian quarter, similar to Paris’ Montmartre, National Museum building and adjacent National Theatre, Nikola Pasic Square, Terazije, Students’ Square - central town squares, Kalemegdan Fortress, the Belgrade Fortress, Knez Mihailova Street or Prince Mihailo Street, the main pedestrian and shopping zone, the Parliament, the Church of Saint Sava, and the Old Palace.
  • Sarajevo
    See the city often called the “Jerusalem of Europe”. View its synagogues, mosques, orthodox as well as Catholic churches. See the Sarajevo Tunnel, constructed by the Bosnian Army, linking the city during the Siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian War in the early 1990's.
  • Mostar
    See the magnificent Old Bridge - “Stari Most” at Mostar.
  • Dubrovnik
    See the Pile Gate, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin, the 16th century Sponza Palace, originally customs house, Dominican Monastery & Museum, St Ignatius Church, Onofrio Fountain, St Blaise’s Church and Banje Beach.
  • Tirana
    See Tirana Castle, Clock Tower of Tirana, Skanderbeg Square, Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard, a major boulevard of Tirana built by Italian architects, formerly called Bulevardi Mussolini.
  • Ohrid
    See the city of Ohrid and Lake Ohrid, both UNESCO's World Heritage Cultural and Natural sites.
  • Thessaloniki
    See the seafront, Aristotelous Square, the Church of Saint Demetrius, patron saint of the city, built in 4th century, said to be the largest basilica in Greece, Hagia Sophia Church erected in 8th century, Panagia Chalkeon Church built in 1028, Alaca Imaret Mosque, the Metropolitan Church of Saint Gregory Palamas.
  • Istanbul
    Explore the former capital city of Byzantine Empire. See the magnificent St. Sophia’s Basilica, Hagia Sophia. Discover the wonders of the Blue Mosque - Sultan Ahmed Mosque - famous for its six minarets and beautiful blue Iznik tiles. See the Topkapi Palace, former primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans.
  • Sofia
    See Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Church of St George, the Saint Sofia Church, Sofia Synagogue and National Historical Museum.
  • Bran
    See the famous Dracula’s Castle in Transilvania.
  • Bucharest
    See Piata Unirii Square, one of the largest squares in Bucharest, bisected by the Boulevard Unirii, so called Bucharest Champs-Elysees, Boulevard of the Victory of Socialism, the Parliament of Romania, world’s second largest building after the Pentagon.
    Dining
  • Welcome Reception in Venice, Italy.
  • Be Spoiled Dinner with Entertainment, which includes a traditional, local three-course meal, music and more...
  • 13 breakfasts, including full breakfasts, hot buffet breakfasts and continental breakfasts.
  • 13 three-course dinners which include Traditional and Regional Meals.
  • Farewell Dinner with entertainment in Bucharest.
    Travel Highlights
  • Air travel from any major North American airport.
  • First class hotel accommodation featuring twin rooms and private facilities.
  • All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes included.
  • Travel by luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and an onboard restroom.
  • The services of our professional Tour Director throughout your journey.
  • A qualified Local Expert Guide in Belgrade, Bucharest, Sofia, Dubrovnik, Tirana, Thessaloniki, and Istanbul.
  • Capture treasured memories of your trip with complimentary group photo taken at landmark locations.
    Disclaimer
  • These prices are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking.
  • All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking.
  • For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Terms & Conditions page. Terms & Conditions can be found in the footer.
  • The major capitals and dramatic scenery of The Balkans and Southern Europe are encountered on this multi-country-trip showing you the contrasts and nuances between the places once laid behind the Iron Curtain. This trip reveals a rarer side of Europe, in its more unusual and unvisited countries of Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania. It is filled with colour, unique cultures and enthralling history. Get to know secret places of Bucharest, Sofia, Tirana and Thessaloniki, gain an insight into the Ottoman Empire’s power and influence during your guided tour in Istanbul, enjoy the exotic atmosphere and shop for souvenirs at the bustling Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest markets.