Tour Croatia+ trip
Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro each boast distinct identity and cultural wonders but similar social openness to guests and travellers. Due to the fragmentation of the Balkans and its turbulent history, each country is fascinating, complex and deeply imbued with history. This is a journey to a breathtaking corner of the world.
There’s a rich history here with Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and Yugoslavian influences still deeply felt in the region. Take the time to understand the complicated story and to appreciate the complexity of the featuring countries, their presence and tumultuous past. Of course, this experience may be different from Western Europe, but travelling in the region is rewarding because of the history, culture and relatively affordable travel costs. You’ll quickly fall in love with the region.
Visit a little-known corner of the Balkans such as Albania, where you’ll experience hilltop fortresses, high alpine meadows and traditional rural life. In North Macedonia, the buzzing street life of Skopje awaits, as well as the soothing tranquillity of Lake Ohrid and the Church of Jovan Kaneo.
What can be said about Croatia? Try living the Croatian way and make memories that will last a lifetime. You’ll discover the mesmerising nature, the azure waters of the Adriatic, medieval architecture and sumptuous local dishes.
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Activities are taking place in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro
Šibenik is the oldest native Croatian town on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. It is famous for its fortifications and Cathedral of St. James
Belgrade has been battled over in 115 wars and razed 44 times, but is now known best for its spectacular nightlife and restaurants
The Vardar River divides Skopje into two parts: Slavic and Ottoman. Both parts are rich in monuments
Kotor is the city of traders and famous sailors, situated in Boka Kotorska Bay
Take a few minutes to learn some basics about the six countries you are about to visit.
With approximately 1,200 islands, azure waters and colourful villages rich in history, Croatia is drawing more and more travellers to its shores. Croatia is Mediterranean’s fastest-growing destination, luring travellers with its pristine national parks, adventure sports and UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the medieval Old Town of Dubrovnik. Croatia entered the European Union in summer 2013 as the 28th member state.
The mere mention of Croatia conjures up images of colourful landscapes, sparkling waters and fortified towns furnished with quaint outdoor cafés. Many of Europe's greatest empires including the Romans, Venetians, Ottoman Turks and Habsburgs, left their mark on Croatia in the form of architecture, language, art and food. Situated at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Central Europe and the Balkans, Croatia has it all, from beautifully preserved medieval cities to stunning natural wonders.
Its capital city is the charming city of Zagreb, which forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, along with its twenty counties. Croatia has a population of 4.28 million, most of whom are Roman Catholics.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina is an almost landlocked country – it has a narrow coast at the Adriatic Sea, about 20 kilometres long surrounding the town of Neum. It is bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south; Serbia to the east; and Montenegro to the southeast. In the central and eastern interior of the country, the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, and the northeast is predominantly flatlands. The inland Bosnia is a geographically larger region and has a moderate continental climate, with hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The region's climate has given Bosnia and Herzegovina a wealth of diverse flora and fauna. Approximately 50% of the land is forested.
The capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, is located near the centre of the country.
The country's population is 3.84 million, most of whom are Bosnians, then Serbs and the least of all are Croats and all three languages are spoken in the country. Islam is the majority religion in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the remaining population identifies as Christians. There is a small Jewish community as well.
The Republic of Serbia is one of the former Yugoslav Republics that kept the name of the federation. Serbia is a sovereign state situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe in the southern Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. It borders Hungary to the north; Romania and Bulgaria to the east; Macedonia to the south; Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro to the west and claims a border with Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo. Serbia numbers around 7 million residents. Its capital, Belgrade, ranks among the oldest, the largest and the most eventful cities in Southeastern Europe.
Archaeological sites across Serbia showcase the remains of the different great civilisations that once ruled this region, starting from the Neolithic culture of Lepenski Vir (dating back more than 9,000 years) and the Starčevo culture to artefacts left behind by ancient Romans to medieval Serbian, Turkish and Austro-Hungarian fortresses.
Five hundred years of Ottoman rule, followed by a tug of war over its territory and being part of Yugoslavia, have left the Republic of Macedonia and its capital seeking an identity. But, for the visitor, it is all part of the fascination of land that is a melting pot of Christians and Muslims, old and new. The capital is Skopje, its most famous “daughter” is Mother Teresa. A reconstruction of her home houses a commemorative museum.
Back in 1963, a major earthquake struck Skopje just before dawn, destroying around 80% of its buildings; the replacements were typically concrete and Communist in style. However, that is gradually changing thanks to the controversial Skopje 2014 project. Hundreds of millions of euros have been spent on constructing or makeovers of buildings in a Neoclassical style as well as building new monuments and features.
Less than three hours from Skopje, there is lovely Ohrid and the lake of the same name, both part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Albania, on the Southeastern Europe’s Balkan Peninsula, is a small country with Adriatic and Ionian coastlines and an interior crossed by the Albanian Alps. The country has many castles and archaeological sites. Capital Tirana centres on sprawling Skanderbeg Square, site of the National History Museum, with exhibits spanning antiquity to post-communism, and frescoed Et’hem Bey Mosque.
After World War II, Albania became a Stalinist state under Enver Hoxha and remained staunchly isolated until it transitioned to democracy after 1990. The 1992 elections ended 47 years of communist rule, but the latter half of the decade saw a quick turnover of presidents and prime ministers. In 2014 the European Commission recommended Albania as a candidate for European Union membership.
Montenegro or the „Black Mountain“ is a small and beautiful country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea and it is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast, Kosovo to the east and Albania to the southeast. The official name of the country is Crna Gora with the largest city which is also the administrative and economic centre, Podgorica that counts 173 000 inhabitants.
The old Royal Capital is Cetinje and in the present days, this is the historical and the cultural centre. Up to the middle of the year 2006, the country had been a part of the Confederate State Union of Serbia and Montenegro but on 3 June of the same year, it declared its independence.
The country of Montenegro has a huge array of both natural and man-made wonders. This land of fairytales will take your breath away with its gorgeous mountains, beautiful beaches, clear sea and remains of its long history.
Arrival in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. After check-in proceed with sightseeing walking tour of Zagreb including Upper Town-historical centre of the city, the Stone Gate, Church of St. Mark with the famed multi-coloured roof, Cathedral (from outside).
Overnight at a hotel in Zagreb.
After breakfast, departure towards Adriatic coast. Stop and sightseeing of Plitvice Lakes National Park, the most famous Croatian national park, registered on UNESCO's List of World Heritage Sites. The park is a magical world of lakes, waterfalls, moss and forests. Entrance fee included. Nestled in the embrace of the surrounding wooded mountains are sixteen smaller and larger crystal turquoise lakes, interconnected by foaming cascades and deep falls. The park includes the headwaters of the Korana River in an area surrounded by dense forests and is additionally ornamented by several caves, springs and flower-filled meadows, which show the vast diversity of flora and fauna in the park.
A sightseeing walking tour includes a boat ride and allows you to experience first-hand the magical beauty of the lakes and waterfalls, each spectacular in its own right. Proceed to Zadar, overnight at a hotel.
Breakfast and morning sightseeing tour of Zadar which includes the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, the most impressive basilica in Dalmatia, the church of St. Donat, the ruins of Roman Forum. Proceed south towards Šibenik with the famous Cathedral of St. James. A short sightseeing tour follows. Entrance fees are not included. Šibenik is the oldest Croatian city on the Adriatic with the famous Cathedral of St. James, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the only cathedral in Europe that is made entirely of stone. You won't find any traces of mortar, wood, iron or roof tiles, even in its complex structural frame. This cathedral is the most important architectural monument in Croatia, dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, and it was constructed using methods that wouldn't be applied elsewhere until centuries later. Entrance fees are not included.
Continue to Split, the „capital of Dalmatia“, famous for Diocletian's Palace which is the most important and preserved Roman building in Croatia, built between AD 295 and AD 305 and registered on the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage. Walking tour of the centre of the city is next. Besides the Palace visit to the Peristyle, Cellars, the Temple of Jupiter and the Cathedral of St. Domnius follow. Entrance fees are not included. Overnight at a hotel in Split.
After breakfast, departure through impressive Croatian and Bosnian landscapes to Mostar. Situated between Sarajevo and Dubrovnik, Mostar is the main centre of Herzegovina and was founded by the Turks in the 15th century. Explore UNESCO protected Old Town, once the centre of the city's Islamic culture and visit Mostar's 14th-century bridge which was destroyed in 1566 and painstakingly rebuilt.
The city was named after the guardians of the bridge ("mostari" in Croatian). The Old Bridge is the city’s unique landmark and offers an impressive view of the city. It is also a member of UNESCO World Heritage sites list for Bosnia and Herzegovina (one of total three sites). It was built by the workers from Dubrovnik as ordered by Suleiman the Magnificent and following the project by Hajrudin, the pupil of Sinan, a great Turkish builder from the 16th century. Overnight at a hotel in Mostar.
After breakfast drive through the beautiful Neretva Valley to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. After arrival, a city tour of the town which has a rich and fascinating culture and which has been home to Muslims, Croats, Turks, Jews and Serbs. The city of many diversities shows the unique link between the East and the West. Visit Baščaršija, old Sarajevo merchant streets from the 15th century, when Isa-bey Isaković founded the entire city, the historical and cultural centre of the city, as well as oriental Svrzina House and Princip Bridge. The word Baščaršija stems from the word "baš", which in Turkish means main so that the word Baščaršija means the main market. The market was categorized and organized based on the crafts so that every street had shops dedicated to one or more complementary crafts (for example the streets called Smiths, Coppersmith, Leathersmiths, Jewellers).
Overnight at a hotel in Sarajevo.
After breakfast, continue through Eastern Bosnia and Drina river valley to cross the border into Serbia. Entering Serbia you touch Pannonian lowland on the way to Novi Sad. Novi Sad is a city in northern Serbia on the banks of the Danube River. Standing atop a riverside bluff, much of Petrovaradin Fortress dates to the 17th and 18th centuries, with an iconic clock tower and a network of tunnels. Across the river is the old quarter, Stari Grad, the site of the Gothic Revival Name of Mary Church and the Neo-Renaissance City Hall. Entrance fees are not included.
Late afternoon arrival, overnight at a hotel in Novi Sad.
Breakfast and sightseeing of Novi Sad, the second largest city in Serbia with many famous buildings- the University, the National Theatre and Petrovaradin Fortress, which dominates the town.
Proceed to Belgrade. On the way to Belgrade, visit the Honey Museum (entrance fee included). The capital of Serbia is situated on the mouth of the river Sava and Danube.
You will have a chance to see the famous Belgrade fortress and Kalemegdan, the new socialism-influenced part of the city, the Temple of St. Sava and other sites. Next will be the visit to the final resting place of Marshal Tito, i.e. the House of Flowers, and the Museum of Yugoslavia (entrance fee included). The House of Flowers serves as a mausoleum for Marshal Josip Broz Tito, lifelong president of Yugoslavia, the commander-in-chief in World War II, and one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Visit of the Military Museum in Kalemegdan established back in 1878 ensues (entrance fee included). The Museum collects, studies and exhibits various objects for military purposes such as arms, uniforms, flags of war, war documentation and logs as well as works of art with a war theme. Surrounded by the city walls and the city's largest park Kalemegdan, the Museum is considered to be one of the symbols of the Belgrade fortress. In the evening you will have dinner at one of the famous restaurants in Belgrade in Skadarlija (accompanied by live music), a bohemian city quarter in central Belgrade. Drinks are not included. Overnight at a hotel in Belgrade.
After breakfast and check-out, travel to Šumadija region, also known as the “heart of Serbia”. Due to its position and historical significance, it is one of the most important agricultural and wine-growing regions in Serbia. Its nickname is “Serbian Tuscany” - its wine tradition and the soft outlines of the hilly terrain is highly reminiscent of the Tuscan region. You will there visit one of the most respected wineries for wine tasting.
Šumadija is also known by very prominent figures and events in Serbian history, all of them connected to the Karađorđevic dynasty. You will the visit to the Museum Complex of the Karađorđević family located on the Oplenac hill. It is well known that Karađorđe, the founder of the dynasty, had a vineyard at the very beginning of 19th century. The visit to the vineyard keeper’s house and the Royal winery will be crowned with the famous “Chardonnay” and “Suveren” tasting as well as a look into the wine archive.
Continutinuation of the drive to Vrnjačka Banja. Vrnjačka Banja has many hot springs with temperatures measuring exactly that of the human body. At its hot mineral springs the Romans built the health resort Aquae Orcinae, visited both by legionnaires and aristocracy. The remains of antique pools and thermal waters are preserved to this day. After check-in at the hotel, time at leisure. Overnight at a hotel in Vrnjačka Banja.
Breakfast and departure for Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia. On the way to Skopje visit of the Monastery Žiča founded by the Serbian King Stefan („the First-Crowned“) at the beginning of the 13th century and Monastery Studenica founded by Stefan Nemanja (who was ordained in that monastery choosing the name Simeon) which is considered to be the crowning achievement of medieval culture and art in Serbia. The trip continues further through the river Ibar valley and the famous Kosovo Polje to Skopje. Overnight at a hotel in Skopje.
Breakfast and sightseeing in Skopje. The Vardar River divides the city into two parts: Slavic and Ottoman. Both parts are rich in monuments to be visited: The Stone Bridge, Daut-Pašin Amam (Turkish bath), Feudal Tower, Isa-bey's Mosque, Mustafa-Paša Mosque, Old Skopje Bazaar, Skopsko Kale Fortress, St.Nikita Monastery, St.Spas Church. Whether exploring the many museums, browsing the shops of the old Turkish bazaar or hanging out in a café sipping a macchiato, Skopje will reward the curious in spades.
Proceed to to Ohrid. Rightfully referred to as the „Jerusalem of the Balkans“, Ohrid abounds in churches, the walls decorated with wonderful frescoes dating back from 11th, 13th, 14th and 19th centuries. Lying on the shore of the lake with the same name, it is the oldest centre not only for Macedonian culture but for all Slavic nations as well. Settlements around Ohrid, churches along the Ohrid Lake and springs of river Crni Drim complement the magical beauty and attractiveness of Ohrid. Overnight at a hotel in Ohrid.
After breakfast sightseeing of Ohrid and Lake Ohrid (entrance fees are not included). Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest lakes in the world, almost certainly the oldest in Europe, and the deepest too. Not surprisingly, it has a rich history and is a UNESCO World Heritage site, along with the jewel that is Ohrid town. Here you will find churches galore (it is believed that Ohrid once had 365, one for every day of the year) as well as a medieval fortress, a Roman theatre, Ottoman architecture and fine cobbled streets. There is the imposing Samoil's Fortress, the Amphitheater, Gallery of Icons.
Proceed to the magnificent Monastery of Saint Naum, an Eastern Orthodox monastery etablished in 905 by St Naum of Ohrid himself, who is buried in the church. Located 30 kilometers south of Ohrid, on a plateau close to the Albanian border and overlooking the Lake of Ohrid, the monastery walls provide breathtaking panoramic views of the entire bay area. Entrance fee is not included.
After sightseeing proceed towards Albanian border and continue to Tirana following the steps of Kara Ben Nemsis. Tirana, the capital of Albania, is known for its colourful Ottoman-, Fascist- and Soviet-era architecture. Pastel buildings surround the city's focal point, Skanderbeg Square, which is named for its equestrian statue of a national hero. On the square's north end is the modernist National History Museum, covering prehistoric times through Communist rule and the anti-Communist uprisings of the 1990s. Overnight at a hotel in Tirana.
Breakfast and sightseeing of Tirana visiting the most important institutions and different buildings of historic value, two major archaeological collections at the National History Museum and Archaeological Museum, Bazaar.
Leaving Albania in the afternoon and crossing the border to enter Montenegro. Drive through the colourful landscape of the Adriatic coast to St.Stefan, a jewel on the Riviera of Budva. In the mid 20th century, the island was renovated and opened in 1960 as a hotel. It quickly became a favourite gathering place for movie stars, royalty, athletes, politicians from the 60s such as Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti, Doris Day, Princess Margaret, Alberto Moravia.
Although you cannot visit the island, you will enjoy walking through the Milocer park filled with olive groves and various exotic trees. The entire amazingly beautiful area was used as the summer residence of the Serbian royal dynasty Karadjordjevic.
Next, you will be visiting the Old City of Budva, one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic. Walking tour of this two and a half millennia old town. The influence of great cultures (Illyrians, Greeks, Romans, Slavs…) shaped the past of this town, while the spirit of ancient times and civilizations can be felt even now. Entrance in Old Town is allowed through one of the five gates, two of which are fully preserved ancient gates. Overnight at a hotel in Budva or Bečići.
After breakfast and check-out sightseeing of Cetinje with two of the most representative buildings: the Monasteries of Cetinje and Bilijarda. Cetinje was founded in the 15th century and became a centre of Montenegrin life and both a cradle of Montenegrin culture and an Orthodox religious centre. Its status as the honorary capital of Montenegro is due to its heritage as a long-serving former capital of Montenegro. Situated in the fields of Cetinje, at the base of the Lovćen mountain, Cetinje is a treasure of Montenegrin cultural and historical heritage.
Continue to Tivat, the youngest town in the Bay of Kotor. The town is quite small and colourful and is based around the centre and waterfront. With its position in the Bay of Kotor, numerous coves, peninsula Prevlaka, island St Marco, the famous beach Przno, and the Porto Montenegro marina, Tivat is an exceptionally attractive touristic destination.
Next is Perast, the homeland of many world-known sailors and a town whose destiny has always been related to the sea. Its sailors were well-known for their skill and courage. By its lifestyle, it resembled Venice and there are a lot of remains of the old aristocratic palaces that now bear witness to its ancient splendour and richness.
Two small picturesque islands are located in front of Perast: St. George (Sv. Djordje) which is a natural island, and Our Lady of the Rock (Gospa od Skrpjela) a manmade island. The island of Our Lady of the Rock was artificially built by piling stones over a sea rock. The church was erected in 1630. The sanctuary was dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin because this cult was greatly venerated by the Venetians. Most of the present-day church was erected after the great earthquake of 1667 when the original sanctuary was destroyed.
Continue to Dubrovnik and overnight at a hotel.
After breakfast, a city tour of Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic. The walls of Dubrovnik girdle a perfectly preserved complex of public, private, sacral and defensive buildings representing all periods of the city's history, beginning with its founding in the 7th century. Famous are the city's main promenade Stradun, the Rector's Palace, the church of St. Blaise, the Cathedral, three large monasteries and the City Hall. The Republic of Dubrovnik was the centre of a separate political and territorial entity, and was proud of its culture, its achievements in commerce and especially of its freedom, preserved down so many tempestuous centuries. In the afternoon visit Cavtat and the native house of Vlaho Bukovac, the great Croatian painter. Overnight at a hotel in Dubrovnik.
Breakfast and time at leisure until transfer to the Dubrovnik airport.
If you have some spare time, buy some unique souvenirs or gifts- arancini (candied orange peel), sugared almonds or Konavle-style embroidered tablecloth.
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