Croatia - Montenegro - Albania - Macedonia - Greece
This is a real Balkan wine tasting adventure tour. We will taste some of the best wines in 5 countries: Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece. We will explore some beautiful attractions on the way and will taste some local specialties as well. Enjoy!
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 from 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 - Dubrovnik (599 km) (B)
We start with a morning drive from Zagreb 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. Free evening in this lovely town! Overnight in Dubrovnik or its area.
Day 4Dubrovnik - Perast - Kotor – Budva (94 km) (B)
Today we drive along the coastal Montenegro. First we stop in Perast, a tiny town full of memories of the days when it was rich and powerful. Despite having only one main street, this town boasts 16 churches and 17 formerly grand palazzo. The next stop is in Kotor, the most historical city on the Montenegrin coast, UNESCO World Heritage. Every building, every square, every inch of the streets has long history dating from 1000 years B.C. We will take you around the Old Town and show you the most important historical monuments and buildings in town: Square of Arms, Byzantine Palace, Beskuca Palace, Pima Palace, St. Tryphon Cathedral, Maritime Museum, St Nicholas Church, Blessed Ozana Church as well as the North gate. Free time for lunch on your own. We finish the day in Budva with a short sightseeing from 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. Free evening and overnight in Budva.
Day 5Budva – Podgovrica - Tirana (230 km) (B, L)
We drive on to the neighboring Albania. But not before we taste some Montenegrin wine. We first take a panoramic sightseeing of the capital Podgorica, than 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 centre 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 7000 square meters wine has been held and tended. In the wine cellar tasting of several sorts of wine is foreseen. In the evening we eventually reach the capital of Albania, Tirana. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 6Tirana – 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 tows in Europe. 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 theater, sailing with small boats on the way back to the center. Tonight we have a dinner in a national restaurant with a folk ensemble and traditional Macedonian songs and dances. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 7Ohrid - Tikves Winery - Skopje (220 km) (B, L)
Breakfast. We are driving towards the biggest and the oldest winery in Macedonia, and one of the biggest in Europe, winery Tikves. 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 flavour 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. WINERY TIKVES produces 24 types of wine, out of which the most atractive are: T'ga za jug, Traminec, Kratoshija, Chardonay, Alexandria – Cabernet Sauvignon and Alexandria – Riesling, and the famous Tikveš grape brandy – Lozova rakija – Zolta. 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 8Skopje – Chateau 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 cousin 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 and then an organized dinner that includes few varieties of its own wine, cheese and meat. The oldest archaeological 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 9Demir 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 your own. We end the day in Thessaloniki to enjoy a dinner in a restaurant with traditional Greek music on the central square Aristotle. Overnight.
Day 10Thessaloniki – Airport of Thessaloniki (21 km) (B)
Breakfast and transfer to the airport of Thessaloniki.