DAY 1: BELGRADE ARRIVAL
Welcome to the city of tasteful restaurants and rich cultural heritage! Good food and delicious wine is served here from dusk till dawn on its world-famous floating clubs on its two rivers and bohemian street Scadarlia. But, Belgrad has much more to offer – as you will soon discover. Belgrad might be young at heart, but it is one of the oldest cities in Europe, packed with historical sites and interesting architecture.
Overnight in Belgrade
DAY 2: BELGRADE EXPLORER TOUR
After breakfast, the expert local guide will reveal incredible facts from a turbulent history of Belgrade, tell interesting stories about its royal dynasties, Serbia’s first king and show the most monumental buildings. Belgrad’s appearance is by no means polished or fancy. It is a bit chaotic and somewhat rough product of stormy clashes of the worlds. The Ottoman and Habsburg empires, the socialist experiment and shiny new contemporary world co-live in a dynamic and exuberant Beograd.
A city of Belgrade started its turbulent history in the small area inside Belgrade Fortress, built on the white ridge above the confluence of the Sava and the Danube, surrounded with beautiful Kalemegdan Park.
Starting from ancient Belgrade Fortress the streets of Beograd a grandiose coffee houses, restaurants and bars line the streets all the way to Knez Mihailova, the center of the Belgrade social life. Very close is the party-oasis, Skadarlija, picturesque “Belgrade Montmartre.” The bohemian cobblestone street is lined with restaurants and bars, wrapped in live music and the inviting aromas of tasty food. This is the place to go if you want to party.
For the enjoyment in architecture, culture, and history, the best places to visit are a The Royal Palace, a residence of Serbian King built-in characteristic Serbian-Byzantine style, Church of St Sava, Serbia’s largest Orthodox church and lovely cobblestoned Kosancicev Venac with Princess Ljubica’s Residence, a typical example of Balcan architecture.
After Belgrade sightseeing afternoon at leisure.
Overnight in Belgrade.
DAY 3: ALONG THE DANUBE RIVER AND NATIONAL PARK DERDAP
The third day of the Balkan tour is reserved for a spectacular journey along the Danube from Belgrade to Iron Gates and the most famous Serbian National Park Đerdap. Majestic cliffs over the Danube, medieval Golubac Fortress, Mesolithic settlement of the Lepenski Vir and the remains from the Roman era offer an enriching experience in stunning nature.
On the very entrance to the National Park is a stunning medieval Golubac Fortress with ten towers. Enjoyable stroll along the majestic walls provides a spectacular view of the Danube and the spectacular cliffs.
The Mesolithic settlement of Lepenski Vir is a valuable archeological site with a lot of well-preserved artifacts from the middle stone ages. Fish-like idols with a human face, trapezoid houses and preserved tools reveal a very well organized early human community.
Dinner in a local restaurant, with authentic, hearty food of eastern Serbia will wrap beautiful Đerdap experience.
Overnight in Belgrade.
DAY 4: BELGRADE – SARAJEVO
Welcome to Sarajevo, “The Jerusalem of Europe”! Here divergent cultures of the East and the West coexist throughout the thousands of years, creating an eclectic and dynamic city. As each culture leaves its trace in architecture and cultural heritage, Sarajevo is a living monument of the turbulent history of the Balkans.
You’ll see Catholic and Orthodox churches, Mosques, and Synagogues, next to each other. Ottoman, Roman, Venetian, Austro-Hungarian and the Byzantine cultural influences blend into a unique Sarajevo, built on the intersection of many cultures of the East and the West.
Sarajevo is well-known for the vibrant street life, which irresistibly evokes the Middle East, with its open-street markets where people enjoy street food or loudly discuss the daily actualities over a cup of coffee.
Overnight in Sarajevo.
DAY 5: SARAJEVO HISTORY TOUR
Sarajevo survived the horrors of the 1990s Bosnian War thanks to the courage and determination of its citizens. The local tour guide will tell the stories about the heroism of its people during horrifying 1992-96 Siege, rebuilding of the neo-Moorish style National Library, and show you Green Berets Street, named after Sarajevo’s resistance fighters. The tour includes a visit to the main marketplace, the scene of a terrible 1994 massacre and a Tunel Spasa.
After the city center sightseeing, the tour will proceed to a Tunel spasa sightseeing. Underground 800 m long tunnel was built during Serbian 1993 siege. The army decided to dig the secret tunnel as it was the only possible way to provide supply with food, humanitarian aid, and war supplies. It saved Sarajevo people with its enormous military, political, psychological significance.
Overnight in Sarajevo
DAY 6: SARAJEVO – MOSTAR – DUBROVNIK
In the morning hours, the tour departures to Mostar. Mostar is the largest city in Hercegovina a home to an Old Bridge, the most famous bridge of the region. As you cross the bridge, you’ll enter the living past – a cobblestoned street in which coppersmiths are embossing the copper with detailed ornaments in the traditional way, just like their ancestors did. A bit further, you’ll enjoy the colorful streets full of oriental rugs, countless shops, and bazaars.
Mostar is a multiethnic city where Mosk, Churchs, and Synagogues stand to each other. Unfortunately, we can not say that this city is a place of tolerance and acceptance. The consequences of the Bosnian war are still palpable here. Although there is no visible division, a front line from the war across the river Neretva still divides the city on Croatian and Bosniac part, at least in the heads of the people.
This lovely ancient town bustles with life, colorful shops, and restaurants, but the war wounds still are not healed completely.
After Mostar, continue to Dubrovnik.
Overnight in Dubrovnik.
DAY 7: DUBROVNIK UNESCO TOUR
Just a simple walk on the streets of Dubrovnik or along the city walls awakens the sense of awe and exhilaration. Stunning views of the Old Town and the shimmering blue Adriatic Sea are genuinely marvelous and breathtaking. Dubrovnik, “The Pearl of the Adriatic” is the most beautiful Croatian town and one of the most famous tourist sites in Europe.
Dubrovnik is overflowing with historical places, unique buildings, and cultural heritage. A guided tour will offer an opportunity to discover an inspiring Dubrovnik history, the historic beauty of Old Town, renaissance harmony of the main street – Stradun and sophisticated elegance of the Rector’s Palace.
The architecture of Old Town bears witness of the glory days of Dubrovnik when the city became one of the most prosperous all the historic maritime republics. The second part of the tour unravels the grandeur and beauty of City Walls, UNESCO World Heritage Site, overlooking the shimmering blue Adriatic Sea.
Overnight in Dubrovnik.
DAY 8: DUBROVNIK – KOTOR
The Natural and Cultural-Historical Region of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known as a place of superior beauty, diversity, and uniqueness. Boka Kotorska – The Bay of Kotor is considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Azure sea under the high, steep mountains, meandering folds of the bay that slowly discover its stunning beauties, crystalline lakes, medieval citadels and island monasteries surrounded by lush Mediterranean greenery – Boka is a place of diversity and contrasts that harmoniously fit together into one of the world’s most beautiful places.
After the arrival, the rest of the day is at your leisure.
Overnight in Kotor.
DAY 9: BOKA BAY MONTENEGRO TOUR
A lot of majestic architectural Boka Kotorska heritage is telling compelling stories about its glorious past. The tour visits Perast, “The Pearl of the Venetian baroque,” island church “Lady of the Rock” and finally charming Kotor Town.
Sixteen churches and seventeen grand palaces were built during the golden era of Perast when it was a crucial Venetian harbor. Modest fisherman’s village bloomed into the proud capital of courageous Montenegrin mariners under the rule of the Republic of Venetia (15-18th Century). Lovely church islands in front of the beautiful Perast add another level of magic to Perast’s splendor. The tour visits one of them, Church of Our Lady on the Rock built in the 17th Century.
After Perast, the tour continues with a Kotor sightseeing. Kotor’s Old Town is UNESCO’s World Heritage Site and one of the most significant old towns on the entire Mediterranean. It is famous for its medieval architecture, majestic walls snaking the up surrounding slopes, St. Tripun Cathedral from 12th Century, Venetian palaces and the maze of the cobblestoned streets, alleys, and piazzas.
Majestic slopes of the surrounding mountains and quiet Kotor Bay are incredibly scenic. Kotor’s cultural heritage and dreamlike nature join into an incredibly romantic ambiance unique in this part of the world.
Overnight in Kotor.
DAY 10: BUDVA AND SKADAR EXPLORER – TIRANA
“Montenegro Miami” – Budva, is the most visited Montenegro place. Thanks to its numerous beaches and restaurants, clubs and resorts, Budva is very popular summer destination.
After lively and modern Budva, the tour heads towards the Skadar Lake. Skadar is a beautiful lake where preserved nature, booming biodiversity, rich historical heritage, and sustainable tourism coexist in harmonious balance. The biggest lake of Balcans is so beautiful that the legends say it was created from a tear of a pixie.
Right after breakfast, a tour starts with a “Montenegro Miami,” once a small, fortified coastal town that is today a popular holiday getaway for the rich and the famous. Its seventeen beaches and ideal climate make it a popular summer destination, filled with countless bars, restaurants, and places to party as much as you’d like.
After a fancy buzz of Budva, the tour heads towards picturesque Virpazar, the main gateway to Skadar Lake. Although the area looks incredibly quiet and peaceful, for the better part of its history, it was a frontline in long wars between Montenegrins and the Turks. As you look around, you will notice long walls, towers, and fortifications, witnesses of the turbulent history.
Fortunately, today, Skadar is a place of joy and hedonism in locally produced organic food and wine and active vacations in a relaxing nature.
Overnight in Tirana.
DAY 11: KRUJE TOUR
After breakfast, the tour continues in Albania, a country of mighty mountains with ancient castles and defensive structures, beautiful beaches and rich with Greek and Roman heritage.
The first stop is Shkodër the oldest and most historic of all Albanian towns. It is famous for its ancient Rozafa castle, perched high above the rivers Bojana and Drin.
Next sight is Kruja, the birthplace of legendary national hero, Skenderbeg who fought the Turks 500 years ago.
Finally, the tour arrives in Tirana, the capital of Albania. Once the capital of an isolated dictatorship, Tirana reinvented itself into a colorful and buzzy city.
Rozafa Castle, near the city of Shkodër, in northwestern Albania rises imposingly on a rocky hill, 130 meters (430 ft.) above sea level, surrounded by the Bojana and Drin rivers. It bears silent witness to thousands of years of battles and wars that were raging here since the Illyrian times.
After an optional lunch, the tour continues to the ancient town of Kruje and its the ethnographic Museum. Georgi Kastrioti Skenderbeu, a beloved national hero, who fought against the Ottoman invasion, was born here. Kruja is a charming village situated on the slopes of mount Sari Saltiki at the height of 560 meters above sea level with a green valley that stretches all down to the Adriatic sea. The view from Sari Saltiki is incredibly scenic.
Walking across the street of Old Town Kruje, leading to the castle, feels like a travel back in time. “Old Bazaar” market bustles with traditional souvenirs, beautiful jewelry, handmade rugs and embroidery, silver filigree and copper products, handcraft made of alabaster and antiques. With many interesting historic sites, remains from the Roman and Illyrian times, medieval hammam, mosque, church and tower, Kruje is a real delight for history and architecture buffs. After Kruje sightseeing, the tour continues to Tirana.
Overnight in Tirana.
DAY 12: TIRANA –SARANDË
After breakfast, the tour begins with a walking tour of Tirana, continues with a ride, passing by numerous picturesque towns and villages and stops for a visit to an archeological park Apollonia, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
By the end of the day after a hearty meal, the tour reaches Saranda and Albanian Riviera.
Almost thirty years after the communist era, in Tirana, you can still notice the consequences of repression and isolation. Luckily, Tirana decided to be a modern European city that lives a full and colorful life, and the painful memories slowly fade away.
Along with shiny new buildings, there are the remains of its Ottoman, Italian and communist times. Bold socialist murals and elegant minarets together with modern buildings, create a unique profile of lovely Tirana.
On the way to Albanian Riviera, the tour passes by the essential sites of Albanian history and its beautiful nature. And of course, Apollonia, the fascinating archeological park. Well-preserved ancient Greek city gives precise insight into old greek architecture and urbanism.
In nearby Llogara our tour will take a break for an optional lunch. Tasteful meals, full of authentic tastes, are made of locally grown food according to traditional recipes. In the evening hours, the tour arrives at Saranda, the capital of an Albania Riviera.
Overnight in Saranda.
DAY 13: NATIONAL PARK BUTRINT
Butrint is the place to experience ancient Greek and Roman architecture at its best. Ancient greek streets and homes, the remains of the theatre, sophisticated floor mosaics and beautiful houses with elegant arches overlooking ravishing Mediterranean nature bear witness to the glory and architectural genius of Old Greece.
The most romantic and beautiful of numerous Albania’s ancient sites is also the biggest and most important one. Butrint, UNESCO World Heritage Site, was home to humans since prehistoric times. Greek settlers built their structure and gave it a unique ancient urban layout.
Romans brought their strong economy, and finally, Byzant made it a religious center. The legend says that the town was built by the Trojans who fled from the destroyed Troy in search of a new homeland.
The highlight of the day will be dinner at Lecuresi castle in Saranda, built-in 1718 during the times of Ali Pasha. The atmospheric villa overlooking the Saranda and the sea is a beautiful place to fully enjoy rich and savory Albanian delicacies and rich wines.
Overnight in Saranda.
DAY 14: DAY AT LEISURE
Day at leisure in Saranda is a great opportunity to discover the beaches and enjoy the deep blue Ionian sea.
Overnight in Saranda.
DAY 15: FLY OUT
Private transfer to the airport.
Fly out of Albania