Croatia - Hercegovina - Montenegro - Albania - Macedonia - Greece
Day 1Zagreb Airport – Zagreb (16 km) (D)
Welcoming you at the airport of Zagreb and transfer to Zagreb. After the accommodation, we take a relaxing short tour starting from the modern Donji Grad, or Lower Town, whose well-designed street grid was laid out in the 19th century. This area is home to many of city civic and historic monuments. We will continue to Gornji Grad, or Upper Town. In this older part of the city, there are two medieval settlements, Gradec and Kaptol. Among the highlights of Upper Town are the tall twin spires of the Cathedral of St. Stephen, an ancient church dedicated to the Assumption. Organized welcoming dinner and overnight in Zagreb.
Day 2 Zagreb – Moslavina region - Zagreb (120 km) (B, L)
After the breakfast, we drive to Moslavina region, southeast of Zagreb, full of picturesque small towns, family farms and amazing wildlife. In local vineyards everything revolves around the native white variety called Škrlet, a light and crisp dry wine with floral aromas. There are also the usual continental varieties typical for central Croatia: Graševina, Chardonnay, Pinot blanc, Furmint, Muscat, Pinot noir, Blaufraenkisch. Today’s tour is for curious wine enthusiasts seeking new experience off the beaten path, but also for those who love countryside peacefulness. Specialties you can taste on this tour include: Moslavina version of orange wines, especially Škrlet, homemade brandies (cherry, honey, peach, strawberry, cornelian cherry), combined with cheese and meat. Back to Zagreb and overnight in a hotel.
Day 3Zagreb - Split (409 km) (B, L)
From Zagreb we drive to Split, an ancient city, one of the richest archaeological sites in Croatia. In this town we can feel the Roman and early Christian spirit that takes you back to the past as we walk by the old Basilica Urbana, its baptistery, the Forum… One of the three Roman amphitheatres on the east Adriatic coast gives you the chance to experience the emotions of the ancient gladiators that pervaded this magnificent construction. In front of the Tusculum, there is a beautiful garden where you can take a rest and let the peaceful atmosphere relax you. In the afternoon we will be guests of Diocletian’s wine house, famous of its history of 1700 years. It is a combination of different Croatian wines and true Dalmatian cuisine in one. Have a taste of the true Dalmatian hedonism! A professional sommelier will introduce you to the finest wines and will tell you all about this region’s history of wine preparation and grape picking. Free evening and overnight in Split.
Day 4Split – Dubrovnik - Trebinje (264 km) (B, D)
We start with a morning drive from Split to the Old Town area of Dubrovnik. The coastal town is surrounded by ancient walls. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been remarkably well restored. We explore the town on our own, with a prior explanation of our tour leader. From Dubrovnik, we drive to nearby town of Trebinje in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our panoramic city tour will start from the old fortresses and old stone Arslanagić bridge from 16th century, than the Old Clock Tower, the urban core castle built in 18th century, Osman pasha’s mosque from the 18th century and city walls, reaching the Poets’ square lined with 115-years-old plain trees. This evening we are guests of Berak Winery, a family winery. Their tradition of wine production dates back several hundred years. They produce several varieties of wine, including Zilavka, Vranac, Chardonnay, Merlot and Rose. Their latest innovation is bio-wine produced with a blend of old vine varieties. In addition to making wine, they also produce domestic brandy and bitters. Overnight in Trebinje.
Day 5Trebinje – Njegusi – Kotor (125 km) (B, L)
This morning we drive to Montenegro to visit the town of Njegusi, known around the country for its famous smoke-dried hams and cheeses and wine and brandy. Stop into a smokehouse, where the owners take you on a tour and explain their production process, dating back for centuries, and will also take you for a tasting of their famous Njegusi smoked hams, cheeses and home-made wine and grape brandy. Later, we drive on to Kotor, with free time later in the day, exploring this small UNESCO town, or perhaps climbing the hills behind the city to experience Kotor’s ruined fortification walls. A hike up the stone steps, to the Fortress of Sveti Ivan at the top rewards you with views across the Bay of Kotor. Free night and optional dinner at a Kotor wine bar. Accommodation in a hotel.
Day 6Kotor – Budva - Podgorica (98 km) (B, L)
Today we drive along the coastal Montenegro to its capital. First we stop in Budva with a short sightseeing of the old town, including clock tower - the bell tower of St. John's Church, the Citadel Fortress, built 2500 years ago, with preserved watchtowers, ramparts, stairs and barracks, built by the Austrians in 1836. Before we taste some more Montenegrin wine, we take a bus panoramic sightseeing of the capital Podgorica, then nearby we take you to one of the largest vineyard in one complex in Europe, which covers an area of 2.310 ha with 11 million grapevines, both domestic and world famous varieties. We reach the Šipčanik wine cellar. This wine cellar is situated in the center of the biggest vineyard of Montenegro. Before we enter Šipčanik, you will have a chance to enjoy the view to the entire vineyard. Šipčanik was an underground aircraft hangar of the Yugoslav Army until the 1990s. In 2007, it was reconstructed and converted into a wine cave by the Plantaže company. It has a shape of tunnel, which is 356 m long. In these rooms covering 7.000 square meters wine has been held and tended. In the wine cellar tasting of several sorts of wine is foreseen. Overnight in Podgorica.
Day 7Podgorica – Shkoder - Tirana (163 km) (B, L)
Today we drive to the neighboring Albania. Soon after we cross the border, in the area of the town of Shkoder, we visit Florian’s Guesthouse. Surrounded by vineyards and farms, we will enjoy in delicious and healthy local food right at the place where it was grown. We will taste wines in the shadow of the grapevines and see the place where the grapes are pressed and crafted. You will be served food and wine by the host family, among them, a professional Chef and a Wine Master with decades of experience. In the evening we eventually reach the capital of Albania, Tirana. After the accommodation to a hotel, we have a short orientation walk. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 8Tirana – Durres – Ohrid (220 km) (B, L, D)
After a short sightseeing of the central part of Tirana, we depart to Kokomani Winery. Overlooking a reservoir from its handsome stone facility, the Kokomani Winery, just inland from Durres, is a popular place to pick up north coast regional wines like the fruity red "Shesh i zi" or dry white "Shesh i bardhe". Olive trees and tables with thatch umbrellas offer a relaxed tasting experience in the garden. After the lunch, we depart to Ohrid, Macedonia, to enjoy in the beauty of the city of UNESCO, one of the oldest towns in Europe and full of history with traces of four thousand years of civilization. We will visit famous untouched medieval churches, fortress of King Samuel with a beautiful panorama, the ancient Macedonian-Roman theatre, sailing with small boats on the way back to the centre. Tonight we have a dinner in a national restaurant with a folk ensemble and traditional Macedonian songs and dances. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 9Ohrid – Dihovo - Bitola (81 km) (B, L)
After leaving Ohrid, we drive onward to Dihovo, another little village sitting in the foothills of Mountain Baba and National Park Pelister. A local Guest House Dihovo is member of the Slow Food organization for healthy food and produces home-made wine, brandy and beer as well as home-made organic food. Our lunch here will consists of variety of home-cooked Macedonian specialties, made with fruits and vegetables coming from its own private gardens, followed by domestic brandy and wine in wooden barrels, as well as a range of homebrewed beers. Continue to Bitola, arriving by mid-afternoon. Relax in one of the city’s many cafes, explore the stalls of the Old Bazaar or choose to take a guided tour of the ancient town and archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis, located on the outskirts of Bitola. Heraclea was founded by Philip II of Macedonia in the fourth century BC after he had conquered the surrounding region of Lyncestis. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles, whom Philip considered his ancestor. Accommodation in Bitola.
Day 10Bitola - Tikves Winery - Skopje (181 km) (B, L)
Breakfast. We are driving towards the biggest and the oldest winery in Macedonia, and one of the biggest in Europe, winery Tikvesh. The professionals from the winery will take us through the cellars; they will explain the history of the winery and the whole process. We will then have a chance to taste some of their wine in its own restaurant in beautiful atmosphere with some specialties cooked from their chef just for us. As early as in Roman times, a tradition in Macedonia was flourishing - a tradition to craft enchantingly powerful wines exhibiting the scent of the south, having a symphonic flavor and epitomizing the joyfulness of Macedonians. Tikveš Winery has been crafting and aging premium Macedonian wines ever since 1885. At the late 70's of the 20th century, agro-combine Tikveš is founded by merging several smaller agricultural cooperatives. Tikveš becomes the largest winery in Southeast Europe, produces 24 types of wine, out of which the most attractive are: T'ga za jug, Traminec, Kratoshija, Chardonay, Alexandria – Cabernet Sauvignon and Alexandria – Riesling, and the famous Tikveš grape brandy – Lozova rakija – Zholta. At the Wine Innovation Forum in Paris – 2008, Tikveš Winery is ranked among the world’s 30 most innovative wine brands. We finish the day in Skopje with a free evening. Overnight
Day 11Skopje – Kamnik Winery - Skopje (15 km) (B, L)
In the morning, after the breakfast, we take a walking tour to explore the central area of the Macedonia’s capital, Skopje. Amongst many statues and museums, we will have an opportunity to visit the birthplace and Memorial House of Mother Theresa. In the afternoon, just a few kilometers away from the capital, we visit Kamnik Winery. The winery and its vineyards stretch out across 13 hectares of hills with exposition of the slopes to the south, and with excellent microclimatic conditions all year round, where we will taste some wine varieties both local and international, like Golden Temjanika, Vranec, Pinot Noar, Pinot Grigio, or Rose wine, accompanied with delicious Macedonian national food.
Day 12Skopje – Shato Sopot winery – Demir Kapija (115 km) (B, L, D)
After the short sightseeing of the Macedonia’s capital, we drive to the winery Chateau Sopot to taste wines from Povardarie region and to enjoy perfect cuisine in its restaurant. The owner will take us through the cellars and the winery. It disposes of 100 hectares own wine plantation, and the selection of sorts includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Chardonnay and Temjanika. The next stop is the small town of Demir Kapija. After the accommodation in the winery hotel Popova Kula, we have a tour around the winery with an explanation about the wine producing process and the varieties of wine. Then we have organized dinner that includes few varieties of its own wine, cheese and meat. The oldest archeological findings proving that people in this area have grown vineyards and have made wine date 13 century B.C. Overnight in the Winery Hotel.
Day 13Demir Kapija – Thessaloniki (130 KM) (B, D)
Breakfast in the hotel. Today we drive to Greece starting with a sightseeing of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city. Filled with the reminders of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman rule, Thessaloniki is a city situated on the Thermaic Gulf. Today we visit some of the prime sites of the city with a local guide. The steep narrow streets of the district are all that is left of the city's 19th century period and a walk among the whitewashed houses and overhanging balconies leads to some quite magnificent views down into the gulf across the city. There is a possibility to visit the Byzantine Museum, Archaeological Museum etc. on own. We end the day in Thessaloniki to enjoy a dinner in a restaurant with traditional Greek music at the central square Aristotle. Overnight.
Day 14Thessaloniki - Naoussa – Thessaloniki (B, L) (202 km)
In the morning, we are heading to an important wine region in northern Greece, in the place called Naoussa.
Here we visit the Kiryianni wine cellar and the impressive view that opens to the surrounding mountains to the west and north and to the Aegean Sea to the southeast. The full potential of local Greek grape varieties is unleashed in Kiryianni's wines. They incorporate the balance between the 100-year-old family tradition and the latest wine-making techniques. Next, the road leads northeast to the outskirts of the pretty village of Gumensa in the Chatzivaridi cellar. The Chatzivaridi family winery embodies the traditions and modern technologies in wine production - its quality is ensured by the constant control of the ripening of the grapes, the fertility of the land on which it is grown, and the organic ways of its cultivation. Of the 120 hectares of its own vineyards, Chatzivaridi produces really good wines, including local Xinomavro, Negoska, Roditis and Assyrtiko. We drive back to Thessaloniki. Free evening and overnight in Thessaloniki.
Day 15Thessaloniki – Airport of Thessaloniki (21 km) (B)
Breakfast and transfer to the airport of Thessaloniki.