Balkan tour 16 days

16 Days

1-8 People

Leisurely Walking Pace

Day 1 – Arrival to Belgrade

Upon arrival in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, our driver will welcome you and drive you to your hotel. You will enjoy the short ride from the Nikola Tesla airport and along the way, you will hear some stories about Belgrade’s landmarks you will see on the way to your hotel. Check-in at your hotel.
Upon arriving at the hotel, take some time to rest, because it will be fun and busy 16 days ahead. At 7 pm in the hotel reception, you will be greeted by your guide who will give you all the necessary information about your trip. For the rest of the evening, we recommend you take a short walk through one of the oldest Belgrade quarters, the bohemian heart of Belgrade – Skadarlija. In this picturesque cobbled street, you will find numerous restaurants – ‘kafanas’ where you can try delicious local specialties while listening to traditional music. Overnight.

Day 2 – Belgrade Sightseeing

After breakfast starts the tour (driving and walking) around Belgrade. Serbia’s capital city is known for its various architectural styles, dynamic history and fantastic view from Kalemegdan fortress on one of the biggest river confluences in Europe. We start the tour by visiting the Museum of Yugoslav History, a memorial complex devoted to the life and deeds of Josip Broz Tito, the political leader of former Yugoslavia. Next, you will pass by the stadium of FC Red Star – the former European and World Cup champions, and proceed to the Temple of Saint Sava, Belgrade’s patron saint. This impressive building can be seen from any part of the capital and represents the symbol of Belgrade. After a short break at the Temple’s plateau, the panoramic tour will then take you from Slavija Square, to Saint Mark’s Church, the Serbian National Parliament and White Palace, and on to Republic Square. This most central point of Belgrade is surrounded by such cultural institutions as the National Theatre and National Museum. The tour will then head along the main pedestrian and shopping zone, Knez Mihailo Street, before stopping for a visit to the Orthodox Cathedral Church of Saint Michael the Archangel, which is located just across from the Building of Patriarchate. Your guide will tell you about the tavern around the corner, the oldest in the city and intriguingly known as “?” (Question Mark), before continuing on to Kalemegdan Park and Belgrade Fortress, the most important cultural-historic complex of the city, situated on the confluence of the rivers Sava and Danube. Overnight 

Day 3 – Belgrade – Fruška Gora – Sremski Karlovci – Novi Sad – Belgrade

Breakfast. Today’s tour starts with exploring the most interesting sights of Vojvodina, a province in the north of Serbia. The first place on our stop is Krušedol Monastery. This is a Serbian Orthodox monastery, the biggest and the most important one out of 17 monasteries on the Fruška Gora Mountain, in the province of Vojvodina. This is the pearl of all the monasteries in Fruška Gora and the most beautiful one. Fruška Gora is also known as the holy mountain because of the number of monasteries built there and Krušedol is the most unique of all of them, being the Patriarchate of the Serbian Orthodox church and the cultural and spiritual center of the Serbian people. After Krušedol we are headed to city of Sremski Karlovci. Sremski Karlovci is a small whimsical city, built in a baroque style situated on the banks of the Danube, 8 kilometers (5 miles) from Novi Sad. The town has traditionally been known as the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Habsburg Monarchy. At the main square of Branko Radicevic, we will visit the earliest school (gymnasium) in Serbia as well as the church where the former Serbian Orthodox Patriarch resided. Sremski Karlovci and the whole area are well known for their wines. This city of just 10.000 people has over 30 wineries. The area in which the city is located is perfect for wine production due to its climate and the nearby Danube River. Only here, will you be able to taste-test the desert wine Bermet, specifically made in the area of Sremski Karlovci. During the wine tasting, we will enjoy this beautiful town and find out more about crucial historical events that happened here.
After the wine tasting in Sremski Karlovci, we are headed to Novi Sad and Petrovaradin fortress, the symbol of Novi Sad. Petrovaradin Fortress is a fortress in the town of Petrovaradin, itself part of the City of Novi Sad. It is the second-largest fortress on the Danube River, nicknamed Gibraltar of the Danube. What makes this fortress so special are around 16 kilometers of underground tunnels, 8 levels underground. We will also visit the landmark of the fortress, the Clock Tower, at the top of the fortress and enjoy the amazing and breathtaking view of the city of Novi Sad from that spot.
After the fortress, we are headed to the center of the city of Novi Sad. We will visit the Theatre square, the Liberty square, Zmaj Jovina Street, and the Name of Mary Church, as well as Saint George’s Cathedral. After the sightseeing, we will be having lunch in Novi Sad, which will be optional.

Day 4 – Belgrade – Timișoara – Sibiu

Breakfast. Hotel check-out. Timișoara’s charm lies in its distinct cultural life, with an impressive combination of Byzantine, Baroque and Modernist architecture. Some of the city’s most interesting sights are the elegant Baroque buildings around the city’s grand squares. Timișoara is located in the south-east of the Pannonian Plain (i.e. in the south of the Western Plain), in the area where the Timișș and Bega rivers diverge. The city has a rich history that dates back to ancient times, mentioned back in 1212. Throughout its history, Timișoara has been a melting pot of cultures. An important Muslim community in the 17th century during Ottoman rule, and later, Hungarians, Serbs, Germans and Jewish all called the city their home. Due to its distinctive architectural character and vibrant cultural life, it is frequently referred to as ‘Little Vienna’. A guided tour will leave from Unirii Square, the city’s main square surrounded by beautiful mediaeval buildings among which the Catholic Cathedral of Saint George is a decorative highlight, then we are headed to Liberty Square, Victory Square home to the Romanian National Opera and National Theatre, and the 15th century Huniade Castle which today represents the best example of Gothic architecture in this region. After Timisoara we continue on to Sibiu, the European Capital of Culture in 2007. Before sightseeing tour check-in to the hotel and take a short rest.

Sibiu, also known by the German name Hermannstadt, was and is one of the most representative cities in Romania, both in terms of tourism, as well as from a cultural and economic point of view. Sibiu has a wonderful location at the foot of the Southern Carpathians. Here is the most important center of the German minority in Transylvania. The city lies on the river Cibin (Zibin) Sibiu was the largest and richest of seven fortified towns built by German settlers in the 12th century. In Sibiu, the first hospital and pharmacy in Romania were established, the first Romanian book was printed and the oldest museum in Romania, the Brukenthal National Museum, was built. Parts of the mediaeval walls still surround the historic center, where narrow streets intersect 17th century buildings. During the tour you will visit the Large Square with Brukenthal National Museum, the Small Square, the Council Tower, the Bridge of Lies, Stairs Passage and the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, modeled on the magnificent Agia Sofia. Overnight.

Day 5 – Sibiu – Sighișoara – Brașov

Breakfast and check-out. From Sibiu you will travel to Sighișoara, a town in Transylvania, with a history dating back to the 1100s. Prehistoric traces can be found in various parts of this city. There were finds from the Bronze and Iron Ages here. In the time of the Roman Empire, in the early second century, the Sighișoara Castle stood on the city’s territory, in a field just outside the modern settlement area. The city of Sighişoara was founded in the second half of the 12th century by German settlers brought to Transylvania to protect the old borders of the Hungarian kingdom in writing. When it comes to the history of the city, one must not forget the most legendary resident of Sighişoara. Vlad III, better known as “Dracula” was born here. The house where he was born is located near the Zitadellenplatz. You will also visit the Church of the Dominican Monastery, the Clock Tower, Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, the Tailors’ Tower, the Covered Stairway and other important sights of this city.

The tour continues to Brașov. Brasov is one of the most visited cities in Romania; thousands of people come here every year. Its beauty, charm and passion will leave you speechless. A mixture of architectural styles gives authenticity and brilliance to the city making it unique by the presence of Gothic, Baroque or Renaissance style buildings. Founded by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century and built as one of the seven walled citadels, this amazing city exudes a distinctive mediaeval setting and has been used as a backdrop in many recent films. Relaxed cafes that line the main square are surrounded by the baroque buildings and churches. In Brasov, your sightseeing will start with the story of the main square and the House of Council (Casa Sfatului). You will then walk down one of the narrowest streets in the world toward the Gothic style cathedral Biserica Neagră, famously called the Black Church, and further on to Catherine’s Gate, the only original city gate to survive from mediaeval times. After a pleasant afternoon spent in this picturesque city, check-in to the hotel. Overnight.

Day 6 – Brașov – Bran Castle – Peleș Castle – Bucharest

After breakfast, check-out and drive through the beautiful landscape to Bran Castle, the former residence of the Romanian royal family and commonly known as Dracula’s Castle. The fairy-tale appearance of this gothic fortress built in the 13th century, set strategically atop a 60 meter cliff, provides visitors with an irresistible journey back to middle ages and an era that housed Bram Stoker’s horror novel, entitled ‘Dracula’. Stoker was fascinated by stories of the dark mysteries of the Carpathian Mountains and the legend of Vlad Cepes, a Romanian hero known as a very cruel ruler, and used it all as inspiration for his world-famous novel.

Afternoon hours will be devoted to the visit to Peleș Castle in Sinaia. Nestled at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains in the picturesque town of Sinaia, Peles Castle is a masterpiece of German new-Renaissance architecture, considered by many one of the most stunning castles in Europe. Commissioned by King Carol I in 1873 and completed in 1883, Peles castle served as the summer residence of the royal family until 1947. Its 160 rooms are adorned with the finest examples of European art, Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows and Cordoba leather-covered walls. Peles Castle was the first European castle to have electricity; it even has its own power plant. It also has hot and cold running water, central heating and a central vacuum system. The stain glass roof of the foyer opens mechanically and there is a small elevator for the royal family. Each room is decorated in a different style or theme. There is a mini-Theatre, Music Room (India), Turkish Salon, Great Salon (Italy), Council Room (Switzerland), Moor Hall, and so much more.
After sightseeing, we depart for the Romanian capital, Bucharest. Hotel check-in and free time. Overnight.

Day 7 – Leisure day – Bucharest Sightseeing Tour

Breakfast. Start the sightseeing tour of Bucharest. Bucharest is often referred to as ‘Little Paris’ or ‘Paris of the East’ thanks to an abundance of Haussmannian style architecture and Art Nouveau buildings to be found across the city.
The name ‘New Berlin’ is as a result of the large amounts of fantastic street art which can be found at various points throughout the Romanian capital. The nickname ‘New Berlin’ also derives from the fact that the city is home a buzzing ‘Berlinesque nightlife’ scene, particularly in the old town where you can find dozens of night clubs and bars which are open well into the early hours of the AM. While exploring this magnificent city adorned with parks, you will see the fascinating blend of French, Byzantine and communist architecture in the many stylish building. Though much of the center is modern and garish, you will find splendid 17th and 18th century Orthodox churches and graceful art nouveau villas tucked away in quiet corners.
You will visit all of the city’s best-known sights, including the Piața Unirii for a view of the colossal Palace of the Parliament, the second-largest building in the world (after the Pentagon). From there, the tour continues to the mediaeval Old Town, one of Bucharest’s earliest settlements, which has been the seat of Romanian princes. You will see the Old Princely Court and its church, the peaceful Stavropoleos Monastery, Lipscani Street and the National Museum of Romanian History. Continue toward the Calea Victoriei Avenue, and see the beautiful French-style buildings. When you arrive at Revolution Square, hear the story about what communist rule meant for Romania and how this square earned its name.

In the afternoon, use your free time to rest or head to the old city center and enjoy the open air terraces, bars, coffee shops, pubs and clubs that can be found at every turn. This is the perfect place to go out for dinner and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Bucharest while sipping Țuică, Romania’s national drink made from plums.

Day 8 – Bucharest – Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo – Arbanasi – Veliko Tarnovo

Breakfast and check-out. This tour day of Northern Bulgaria starts with some its most important sights. The first one is the village of Ivanovo. Here we will visit the UNESCO World Heritage site, a complex of rock-hewn churches, chapels, monasteries and cells. The Rock Hewn Churches of Ivanovo are a series of caves cut into a mountain near the village of Ivanovo, Bulgaria. Once home to monks in medieval times, this complex had up to 300 rooms at its peak. Today there are about 20 rooms remaining. This rock-hewn complex dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries. It is thought to have been founded around 1220. Beyond these dates, not much is known.

We continue our tour with a short photo stop in the small village of Arbanasi. The village is situated 4 km north east of Veliko Tarnovo, on a high plateau which reveals beautiful view to Tsarevets and Trapezitsa hills. The village is very popular for its remarkable old houses and churches with detailed wooden ornaments and wall – paintings. The whole complex is a monument of the Bulgarian architectural art and it was built during the period 16 – 18 century, when Arbanassi is in its apogee. That’s why Arbanasi is declared to be historical settlement of national significance.

The final stop of the day will take you back in time to the rise and fall of the mighty capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185 — 1396), Veliko Trnovo, also known as The City of Kings. In the old town, you will have the opportunity to explore unique cultural memories and many beautiful places that have kept the city’s history for centuries. Numerous churches, museums, cultural monuments, ancient fountains and houses of worship where some of his most respected artists have given life to his works. A symbol of the city of Veliko Turnovo and one of the most visited monuments in Bulgaria is undoubtedly the fortress of “Tsarevets”. It is located on the same hill that bears his name and is just a few steps from the ancient city. It was the main fortress of the aforementioned, Second Bulgarian Kingdom. Its walls protect a total of 120 hectares; in some points, they are 3.4 meters wide and 10 meters high. 
Check-in to the hotel and free time to enjoy the evening in this charming town. Overnight.

Day 9 – Veliko Tarnovo – Etar Ethno Village – Plovdiv Sightseeing – Sofia

Breakfast and check-out from the hotel. Drive to the Open Air Ethnographic Museum Etar, the first open air museum of this kind in Bulgaria. It was established in 1964. Do you want to feel the whiff of the past, to see the miraculous power of the water, flowing in a chute, to enjoy the Renaissance architecture, to observe ancient national customs? This is what you will experience in thin magical place. The museum territory covers an area of 7 ha and comprises 50 sites – water technical equipment, houses with craftsman’s workshops, places with social importance. The aim of the museum display is showing the architecture, the life style and the economic past of Gabrovo region during the Revival period – the second half of 18 and the 19 centuries. More than 26 main crafts were developed in the town and the goods were sold in different parts of the country and in the region – Bucharest, Vienna, Marseille, Anatolia and other.

Continue the tour and explore the beautiful and ancient city of Plovdiv. Plovdiv is the cultural heart of Bulgaria. Only here can you see ancient history, beauty, lively spirit, and modern culture all blend into one. Plovdiv is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe and one of the oldest cities in the world.  The most significant monument of the cultural capital of Bulgaria is certainly the Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis; built in the 2nd century with perfect acoustics, in which theatrical performances, concerts and various cultural events are still held today. You will also visit the Roman Stadium and the Church of Saint Constantine and Helena before finishing the tour in Kapana, the creative heart of the city and a pedestrian area full of shops, restaurants and galleries.
Drive to Sofia and check-in to the hotel.

Day 10 – Leisure day – Sofia Sightseeing – Rila Monastery (optional)

Breakfast. Today, you will explore Sofia, a modern, youthful Eastern European capital, distinguished by a unique combination of communist-style architecture, Ottoman mosques and onion-domed churches. Sofia is known for the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, its hot mineral springs, ancient Roman history, and countless museums. The Bulgarian capital is also famous for its lush parks, Viennese-style architecture, unusual bridges, and the jaw-dropping Vitosha Mountain. From centuries-old churches to royal gardens, and from Roman pathways to fascinating museums, Sofia will leave you wanting more. We will visit the Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the colourful Church of Saint Nicholas the Miracle-Maker, the Ivan Vazov National Theatre, the Church of Saint George, the Banya Bashi Mosque, the Sofia Synagogue, the National Palace of Culture and Largo, one of the prime examples of Socialist Classicism architecture and one of the Sofia’s main landmarks.

Day 11 – Sofia – Niš – Belgrade

Breakfast and check-out. Return to Serbia, this time to the eastern region. We come to Niš the third biggest city in Serbia. Niš, mostly known for being the birthplace of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, is a crossroad between East and West and therefore sometimes called the ‘Gate of East and West’. You will remember it for its frequent restaurants and cafés, always filled with the warmth and hospitality of the local people. During the tour of Niš, you will see several unique sights. The most important landmark of Niš is the archaeological park Mediana, a cultural property of exceptional importance as it contains the remains of the residence of one of the most important Roman emperors, Constantine the Great. Another landmark you won’t forget easily is Skull Tower. Made of 952 human skulls, it is one of the most macabre historical sites in the world. You will also visit the Niš Fortress, the largest monument in the city of Niš and the best preserved Turkish military fortress in Serbia, located in the city center, on the bank of the Nišava River.
At the end of the sightseeing of Niš, head to the cobbled Tinkers Alley and feel the spirit of the only remaining part of Niš’s old čaršija (market), now home to numerous cafés and restaurants. If you want to experience the local food, try the grilled meat, arguably the best in the country.
After an exciting day, drive to Serbia’s capital city, Belgrade. Check-in to the hotel. Overnight.

Day 12 – Belgrade – Šargan Eight – Wooden-town – Zlatibor

Breakfast and check-out. After breakfast, we depart from Belgrade and are heading west towards the unique Ovčar-Kablar Gorge, through which the West Morava River meanders. The tour will continue on to Tara National Park. You will have time to enjoy its beauty from aboard the authentic, retro ‘Nostalgia’ train which runs along the narrow-gauge heritage railway, Šargan Eight. Traveling from the bottom of Šargan mountain on a route shaped like a number eight (hence the name), you will be transported back in time while enjoying the stunning mountain scenery and numerous tunnels and viaducts. This railway used to be a part of the railway from Belgrade to Sarajevo during the 20th century. After enjoying the incredible nature, you will arrive at the ethno village Drvengrad (Wooden Town), built by prominent movie director Emir Kusturica. The village, which includes the Mećavnik Hotel, houses, galleries, shops, a cinema, and a church, is a town of dreams, a town that has turned an image of utopia into reality. Since 2008, the village plays host to the annual Küstendorf Film and Music Festival and Drvengrad has been visited by many internationally acclaimed actors and directors, such as Johnny Depp, Monica Belucci, Jim Jarmusch, and many others.
After exploring Drvengrad, there will be a short drive to Zlatibor Mountain, home of the first royal resort in Serbia. You will have some free time to take a walk around the city center, enjoy the fresh mountain air and in the evening, a dinner of traditional Serbian food typical of the region will be served in the hotel. Overnight.

Day 13 – Zlatibor – Višegrad – Sarajevo

Breakfast and check-out. Our tour continues to Bosnia and Herzegovina and after a short drive we come to Višegrad, where again, the acclaimed director Emir Kusturica used his imagination and creativity to build Andrićgrad (also known as Stone Town). It is a cultural center with numerous buildings and facilities built on the banks of the Drina River near the famous bridge (a monument under the protection of UNESCO). The bridge is referenced in the title of Ivo Andrić’s novel The Bridge on the Drina and in honor of the Nobel Prize-winning author, Kusturica’s town was called Andrićgrad or Andrić Town. In Andrićgrad, the tour will stop for lunch at an unusual restaurant called Zlatna Moruna, the interior of which is decorated with frescoes by well-known artist Bisenija Tereščenko.
After lunch, the tour continues to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Check-in at the hotel. After a short rest, we continue with the sightseeing tour of the city, covering all the main sights including Vijećnica or Sarajevo City Hall, the building of which was finished during the Austro-Hungarian period; the old downtown of the city called Baščaršija; the historical and cultural center of Sarajevo with authentic shops; the Orthodox Church from the 16th century; the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque; the Sahat Tower from the 17th century; and the first public toilet in Europe. After that we head to the Latin Bridge where Gavrilo Princip shot the successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne Franz Ferdinand, consequently starting the First World War. After crossing the bridge, you reach Bezistan, a market complex from the 16th century, and then on to the main pedestrian zone Ferhadiya with the Sarajevo Synagogue from 1580 and a Catholic cathedral from 1881. Return to the hotel and overnight.

Day 14 – Mostar – Blagaj – Trebinje

Breakfast and check-out. We start the day with a drive to one of the most beautiful cities of the Balkan Peninsula, Mostar. During the walking tour, you will visit the symbol of the city, the most photographed sight in the country – the Old Bridge (a UNESCO-protected landmark). Next, we will visit Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, the Crooked Bridge, and the old Tanner’s quarter Tabhana. Free time in Mostar and lunchtime on the banks of the Neretva River, with an amazing view of the bridge that rises above you.

Our excursion continues to Blagaj (a site on the UNESCO Tentative List), an old town from the 15th century. Blagaj was also the crib of Islam of today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, when dervish Sari Satluk built a khanqah at the Riverhead of Buna. During the short tour, you will enjoy the views of the beautiful shores of the emerald green river Buna and the monastery located beneath the cliffs of this truly breathtaking environment.

Our final destination of the day is Trebinje, a picturesque town that dates back to the 10th century. Being the town on the caravan road between Kotor and Dubrovnik to Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro, the town has a rich history and a very picturesque feeling. The tour starts with a visit to Arslanagića Bridge, a dream for artists and photographers alike. During the leisurely walk through the narrow streets of the old town, you’ll see the most important sights of Trebinje as you make your way to the so-called ‘Poet’s Square’ where you can sit under the 115-year-old trees, which are the symbol of the town. Overnight in the hotel.

Day 15 – Perast – Kotor – Dubrovnik

Breakfast and check-out. On our next to last day of the Balkan tour we are headed to the Republic of Montenegro, a country that boasts of rich heritage and immense natural beauty. The Bay of Kotor with its unique landscape is a must-see location for more than 500 cruisers per year. On the way to the stunning town of Kotor, you will make a stop at the town of Perast, a charming settlement baroque in style. From Perast, you’ll start a relaxing boat ride along the Bay of Kotor to the one-of-a-kind island of Our Lady of the Rocks. This manmade island is home to a church with valuable paintings by local artists, silver votive tablets, and a famous votive tapestry.

After the boat ride, we arrive in Kotor, an old Mediterranean town that dates back to the 12th and 14th centuries. A walking tour will allow you to explore this UNESCO site, including the churches of Saint Nicholas and Saint Luke, the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, and other cultural monuments. You will have free time to explore this wondrous town, its narrow, paved streets, as well as many cafés, restaurants, and beautiful stores.

Our final destination of the day is Dubrovnik, situated on the southern Adriatic Sea coast; it is usually regarded as the most picturesque city on the Dalmatian coast and is referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.”. The old town is surrounded by a 2 km long wall that gives a great opportunity to see old Dubrovnik from above during a one-hour relaxing walk; the city’s churches, fortifications, and monuments are a real must-see. A great flourishing of art and literature, in the 15th–17th century, earned it the title of ‘the South Slav Athens’. You will find numerous art galleries and unique shops here and in the historical center of Dubrovnik, you will visit the main street Stradun, the main square Placa, Pile Gate, the Rector’s Palace, Sponza Palace, the walls of the Old Town, the church of Saint Blaise, the cathedral, the Jesuit church, Orlando’s Column, Big Onofrio’s Fountain, the city port and other hidden gems. Hotel check-in and overnight.

Day 16 – Departure

Breakfast and hotel check-out.

Tour includes

Tour excludes

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