Serbia – Croatia – Montenegro – Albania – Macedonia – Greece
Meet cultures, people, languages, traditions, religions, churches and mosques, in so close but yet so distant countries, for centuries living in a relatively small area. We will visit some of the important medieval or ancient cities, like Dubrovnik, Thessaloniki, or big metropolises like Athens. This is a dynamic trip, including 6 countries, visiting as many local sites, natural beauties, UNESCO sites, national parks, seas, rivers, lakes and mountains, as possible.
Day 1Belgrade (D) (20 km)
Welcome at the Belgrade Airport and transfer to the hotel. After the accommodation, we start the city tour, which includes the Belgrade Fortress and the Kalemegdan Park with a beautiful view of the Danube and Sava rivers. We go on towards the main pedestrian street, Knez Mihailova, one of the most vibrant areas of Belgrade, filled with cafes, shops and charming sites. We will get to see the impressive sights of the Republica and Castle Square, Istanbul Gate and the Clock Tower, pass through the Leopold or Dungeon door. Tonight we have a group dinner in a restaurant in the famous street of Skadarlija. Overnight in a hotel in Belgrade.
Day 2Belgrade - Sarajevo (B, D) (295 km)
After the breakfast, we leave Serbia and we drive for Sarajevo (295 km, around 5 hours), the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There, with a local guide, we start the tour from the Latin Bridge. We will see the Eternal Flame, which is a memorial to all those who lost their lives during the World War I. On the way, we will admire beautiful examples of Austro-Hungarian architecture, like the architecture of the City Hall. After exploring the center of the city, in the afternoon we take the bus to visit the Tunnel Museum depicting life during the Sarajevo Siege in 1992-1995 and showing how the resident civilians managed to keep themselves supplied during the longest siege in modern history. Tonight we have organized dinner in a restaurant in the central area of Sarajevo. Overnight in a hotel in Sarajevo.
Day 3Sarajevo – Dubrovnik - Kotor (B, D) (350 km)
After breakfast we will have a long drive (260 km, around 4 and half hours) to the Croatian pearl on the Adriatic, Dubrovnik (450 km). With its well-preserved majestic walls encircling the whole town and its sea of terracotta roof tiles, giving life to the King’s Landing, the whole town is an amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site. We start our guided walking tour of Stari Grad (old town), learn all about the millennial history of this incredible town with influences of the Romans, Byzantine, Ottomans and Venetians. We walk inside the walls, visit the castle overlooking the port, and all the attractions of Dubrovnik. After the lunch break, we continue to Montenegro and the first town we visit there is another UNESCO site – Kotor (90 km). Kotor is a town with unique characteristic architecture. Tonight we will have a group dinner in a restaurant in the very center of the town. Overnight in a hotel in Kotor.
Day 4Kotor – Kruja - Tirana (B, D) (215 km)
Our next destination is Albania and its capital, Tirana. We cross the border and first we make a stop to the medieval capital of the Albanian kingdom, Kruja (180 km). High in the mountain cliffs, we will visit the castle of the national hero of Albania, Skender-beg. Exploring the narrow streets, we will walk through the unique Ethno bazaar. After a short break, we continue to Tirana (35 km). We start with a panoramic city tour, later visiting the Ethem Bey Mosque, one of the best preserved and most beautiful samples of Albanian architecture; as well as the Clock Tower, and the Skander-beg central square. The tour includes a visit to the so called Pyramid of Enver Hoxha, the former dictator of Albania, and the secret bunkers of once totalitarian regime. Group dinner and overnight in Tirana.
Day 5Tirana - Ohrid (B, D) (135 km)
Today we continue our journey towards Macedonia. We arrive in Ohrid, the city of UNESCO, with centuries old history and its millennia old natural lake Ohrid. We check into the hotel, and start a walking tour in the old part of the town. In this ancient area, we will visit the medieval St. Sofia church, the Ancient Theatre, the Ohrid Fortress, the St. John the Theologian Church in Kaneo, and we get back to the town center with small boats. Group dinner in a national restaurant, including Macedonian folklore ensemble. Overnight in a hotel in Ohrid.
Day 6Ohrid – Bitola – Tetovo - Skopje (B, D) (265 km)
After breakfast, we depart for Bitola (70 km). Today we will explore the Ottoman market, Bedestenot, Yeni Mosque, the Clock Tower and the wide alley and the military academy, a place where once Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey finished his military school. Bitola has always been an administrative, cultural, commercial, and educational centre in the region. As many European countries had consulates in Bitola, this town is commonly known as the City of The Consuls for centuries. We will also visit the local site of Heraclea Lyncestis, an ancient Macedonian town with an important strategical position during the Hellenistic period. The next stop will be Tetovo (150 km) and visit the unique and impressive painted Colourful Mosque. An example of early Constantinople style, the mosque is adorned with an elaborately painted facade and interior. Late in the evening we arrive in Skopje (45 km), the capital of Macedonia. Group dinner. Overnight in a hotel in Skopje.
Day 7Skopje – Matka canyon - Skopje (B) (40 km)
In the morning we start with the city tour of Skopje. We walk through the main square along the popular Macedonia Street and learn about the diverse history of the ancient settlement, we visit the Memorial House of Mother Teresa – Skopje native and Noble Peace Prize winner; and reach Macedonia square. Look around closely as the square hosts many buildings and monuments representing the cultural heritage and history of Macedonia, including museums, sculptures, the famous statue of Alexander the Great. We slowly get to the Fortress Kale, and continue towards the Old Bazaar passing over the famous Stone Bridge, and witness incredible churches and mosques along the way, such as Mustafa Pasha Mosque, The church of Holy Salvation, and few hamams. In the afternoon we head to Matka Gorge, where we will have a lunch break. After the lunch break, we take a boat ride through the canyon and visit one of its numerous caves. Back in the city. Organized dinner in a national restaurant. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 8Skopje - Thessaloniki (B, D) (245 km)
Early in the morning we depart for Greece, and arrive in Thessaloniki in the afternoon. We start with a panoramic driving tour around town and see the famous White Tower, and the main landmarks of the city such as the Galerius Arch, the Rotunda monument, the Old Town (Ano Poli) and the City Walls – with a great view of Thessaloniki. Free afternoon in Thessaloniki and a group dinner in one of the famous taverns in the central square, including traditional Greek music. Overnight in a hotel in Thessaloniki.
Day 9Thessalonika – Kalambaka - Meteora - Delphi (B, D) (460 km)
After breakfast, we'll be on the way to Meteora, Kalambaka (230 km), famous for its breath-taking scenery and ageless monasteries, almost suspended between the earth and sky. The town hosts one of the largest and steepest complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries. We will admire unique landscape of monolithic pillars and huge rounded boulders. Each monastery has a central courtyard surrounded by chapels and living cells of monks, who have inhabited the region since the 11th century. We drive on to Delphi (230 km). Group dinner and overnight in Delphi.
Day 10Delphi - Athens (B, D) (185 km)
Today we discover Delphi and all its wonders. Built high in the cliffs, the town got its name in ancient Greek mythology. Chosen as the centre of the earth, ancient Greeks built the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi, where the famous Oracles of Delphi resided. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Delphi had a tremendous influence in the ancient world, uniting many city-states under the Hellenic spirit. In the afternoon, we depart for Athens. Dinner with Greek music is included. Overnight in a hotel in Athens.
Day 11Athens (B)
After the breakfast, we start a city tour with a local guide, who will provide much information about the capital. Today we will explore the ancient local sites around the central square Sintagma, including the most popular Athens’ attraction – the Acropolis. Free afternoon and evening! Overnight in a hotel in Athens.
Day 12Departure from Athens (B) (40 km)
Transport to the Athens International Airport and farewell.