Balkan Kaleidoscope Tour
The Balkans are a wonderful choice of holiday destination, particularly for those with an interest in the rich culture, history and politics of this region. However, the natural beauty of the Balkans is equally likely to delight and enthral visitors.
Once upon a time people said that the Balkans were the «Powder-keg of Europe». This geography hosted huge incidents in history from the splitting of Roman Empire into two, to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand that sparked World War I, and witnessed many wars and struggles.
Indeed, history is full of sudden burst of the strong Balkan passions. But wars are left in the past. We can now only enjoy the beautiful features of the sunny face of the Balkans – beautiful and preserved nature, old monasteries, cozy towns – a different and slightly old-fashioned Europe. We offer you to tour together several countries and see the most interesting places in each of them – Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia – all alike but at the same time very different in their own way. This is the place, where Europe meets the Orient, where Christians and Muslims have lived together for centuries, where old traditions coexist with the rhythm of XXI century.
– Tour package taking you through 7 countries and 23 destinations.
– You will find something gorgeous and fascinating, whether you’re looking for nature, history, or culture…
– You will enjoy the magnificent natural beauties and very different landscapes – like a diamonds…
– You can admire medieval towns, where Eastern culture meets Western culture, where medieval cities with imposing fortresses and ancient monasteries ooze charm…
– You will visit an impressive number of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
– Imagine a region where nature, landscapes, tastes and smells are so intense and diverse.
– Here you’ll discover the friendliest, most hospitable people you could hope to meet.
Join us to discover the hidden gems of the Balkan Peninsula!
Arriving to Belgrade in the morning, the capital and biggest city of Serbia, which you’ll absolutely admire from the first moment. After meeting with your guide on the Nikola Tesla Airport and accommodating in hotel we will go on an orientation city tour where you’ll see the main sights and get the impression of Belgrade culture, people, atmosphere and also cuisine.
Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia and has a population of around 1.7 million. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe and has since ancient times been an important crossing of the ways where the roads of eastern and western Europe meet. The city lies on two international waterways, at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, which surround it on three sides. Because of this position, Belgrade is fittingly referred to as the Gateway to the Balkans and the Door to Central Europe. Overnight in Belgrade.
After breakfast Belgrade city tour – Kalemegdan Fortress, remarkable view to the confluence of Sava and Danube rivers
Museum of history of Yugoslavia with Tito’s tomb
Saint Sava Orthodox Cathedral, National Theater, Republic Square, Terazije Square…
The Belgrade Fortress was built as a defensive structure on a ridge overlooking the confluence of the Sava and the Danube rivers during the period from the 2nd to the 18th century.
Today the fortress is a unique museum of the history of Belgrade.
The complex is made up of the Belgrade Fortress itself, divided into the Upper and Lower Town, and the Kalemegdan Park.
Temple of Saint Sava is the largest Serbian Orthodox church built in the Serbian-Byzantine style, with four 44 m-high steeples. At its highest point the dome is 70 m in height, while the main gilded cross is an additional 12 m high, giving the Cathedral a total height of 82 m and a height above sea level of 134 m.
The church occupies an area of 3500 m² at floor level, with an additional 1500 m² in the three galleries on the first level.
The domes are decorated with 18 gilded crosses of three different sizes, while the belfries house 49 bells. For this reason the church occupies a prominent place on Belgrade’s horizon and can be seen from all approaches to the city.
The Museum of Yugoslav History has a collection of more than 200.000 items that illustrate Yugoslav history throughout 20th century...
...with the special accent on life and work of Josip Broz Tito.
Free time for lunch in down town Belgrade, leisure time.
Overnight in Belgrade.
After breakfast drive through the mountainous landscape, along the Valley of Lilacs.
The ancient road was built during the rule of Nemanic Dynasty, passing Raska where the Serbian Medieval state was maintained between the 11th and 14th century.
Sitting among low hills where the River Raska has its confluence with the Ljudska, is the large town of Novi Pazar (New Bazaar).
Novi Pazar is the town with the most pronounced Islamic atmosphere in the country - instead of church domes, it is minarets that stab the skyline.
Tangible reminders of Raska's pre-Islamic period are the Church of St Peter, St George's Pillars and Sopocani Monastery. Tour of the St. Peter's church in Novi Pazar and the ecclesiastical complex of Sopocani Monastery, built in 13th century, whose frescoes are considered to be the masterpiece of European fresco painting of the time.
St. Peter's church near Novi Pazar is one of the oldest churches on the territory of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Parts of the building dates back to the 8th century, while most of the church was built in the 9th and the dome from the 10th century.
The church has many layers of frescoes from different periods, the oldest from the 9th century.
The Sopocani Monastery, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is an endowment of Serbian king Stefan Uros I (1243-1276). The monastery was built near the source of the river Raska, 17 kilometers from the town of Novi Pazar. The frescoes in the monastery are a true masterpiece of art that have brought international fame to the Sopocani monastery.
Today this is one of the most important cultural monuments that was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
Hotel accommodation and overnight in Novi Pazar.
After breakfast scenic drive takes us to Kosovo. The Medieval Monuments in Kosovo are world renowned for their beauty. Drive to Pec and tour of the Patriarchate of Pec - complex of four Medieval churches, UNESCO Heritage site.
The Monastery of the Patriarchate of Pec is located at the very entrance of the Rugova gorge near Pec.
The complex of the Pec churches is the spiritual seat and mausoleum of Serbian archbishops and patriarchs.
Continue to Visoki Decani Monastery, the most magnificent Serbian monastery and sightseeing. The monastery is settled in the picturesque valley of the Bistrica river surrounded by the mountains and forests of the Prokletije mountain range It is the largest and best preserved medieval monastery in Serbia.
It was built between 1327 and 1335 by the Serbian medieval king St. Stephen of Decani and was dedicated to the Ascension of the Lord. Today a young brotherhood of 30 brethren lives in the monastery continuing the centuries old tradition of the past.
The brotherhood has developed various activities: wood carving, icon painting, book publishing and is also active in the missionary work. The beautiful monastic services are served according to the typicon of Mount Athos.
Drive through central Kosovo to Pristina and Tour of Gracanica Monastery, a masterpiece of the late Byzantine architecture with wellpreserved frescoes. Gracanica Monastery is one of King Milutin's last monumental endowments. It is situated in the village of Gracanica, 5 km from Pristina. Gracanica was constructed on the ruins of an older 13th-century church of the Theotokos, which was built on the ruins of a 6th-century early Christian three-naved basilica.
Hotel accommodation and overnight in Pristina.
After breakfast drive to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia and city tour – The Clock Tower, Daut Pasha’s Bath, The Aqueduct, The Stone Bridge, Kale Fortress, Mustafa Pasha’s Mosque, Saint Savior Church.
The town with the beautiful quay of the Macedonian river «Vardar», the narrow streets in the Old Bazaar which is the biggest bazaar preserved in the Balkans today, the town is internationally famous for being the birthplace of Mother Teresa.
He has blossomed into a thriving, stimulating city to explore, defining itself as an exciting tourist destination with the 1500 years old fortress Kale and monastery St. Pantelejmon with the fresco «Lamentation of Christ», with the first signs of the Renaissance, the Islamic monuments Sultan Murat’s - Hjunkar Mosque, the Daut Pasha’s bath.
Hotel accommodation, dinner and overnight in Skopje.
After breakfast tour of St Panteleimon Church. High on the forested slopes of Mt. Vodno, the 12th century church of St. Panteleimon overlooks the city of Skopje.
The church which is one of the oldest and most important in Macedonia was built and painted in 1164 under the patronage of Byzantine Prince Alexios Komnenos whose name is made immortal by being carved in marble, right above the entrance in the church. It was dedicated to St. Panteleimon, the protector of health.
Drive on to Ohrid. Ohrid’s major attractions are all located within a remarkably concentrated and eminently walkable area, among and above the narrow streets of the Old Town lined with restaurants and cafés perfectly suited for relaxing in the cool summer evenings.
Numerous churches alongside Ohrid’s lake shores make for fascinating side trips and walks. The wooded ridge above the lake’s eastern shore is largely taken up by the National Park of Galichica.
The uniqueness of Lake Ohrid and the city’s historical architecture has been attested by UNESCO, honoring it with an official designation as one of the few places on the cultural institution’s list «World Inheritance».
Hotel accommodation and overnight in Ohrid.
After breakfast morning tour of old town of Ohrid and its most prominent and significant well-preserved Byzantine churches – Bogorodica Perivlepta Church, Icon Gallery, St. Demetrius and Mali Vrachi Church, St. Sophia Church, St. Clement’s monastery, St. Panteleimon, St. John in Kaneo village…
One of the most magnificent churches in all of Macedonia Saint John at Kaneo is situated on the cliff over Kaneo Beach, overlooking Lake Ohrid.
The church which was consecrated at the end of the 13th century was named after the old fishing village Kaneo. St. Jovan Kaneo is a combination of Byzantine and Armenian architectural styles.
Built in the honor of St. John the Theologian, St. Kaneo with its sublime atmosphere and views of the placid lake below, remains an inspiring place for spiritual contemplation.
After the sightseeing the group continues to the Monastery of St. Naum. The monastery complex lies on rocks, surrounded with the wonderful nature created from the springs of the river Crni Drim which inculcates in the Lake of Ohrid, creating excellent nature images.
The whole place is specific by the biggest springs on the Ohrid coast, the clean water and the wonderful nature.
The original Naum’s church was dedicated to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel. The church was built on this site in 900 A.D. as his memorial by the Slavonic educator St. Naum of Ohrid, the disciple of Cyril and Methodius, the contemporary and associate of Clement of Ohrid.
After sightseeing a small coffee and refreshment break, Departure to Ohrid. Overnight in Ohrid.
After breakfast drive via the Cafasan border crossing to Albania and Elbasan to Berat – «The city of one-thousand windows», an UNESCO Heritage site. As two of the oldest cities in Albania, Durres and Berat both have their own fascinating history.
Berat, known as the city of «one thousand windows», is a treasure of history and culture. Located in central Albania, bears witness to the coexistence of various religious and cultural communities down the centuries.
It features a castle - locally known as the Kala, many Byzantine churches most of which was built in the 13th century, several of which contain valuable wall paintings and icons, as well as several mosques built under the Ottoman era which began in 1417. Sightseeing of Berat - Saint Trinity Church, Citadel, Old Bazaar, Onufri Museum…
Drive on to Durres.
Hotel accommodation and overnight in Durres.
After breakfast sightseeing of Durres.
Durres city lies on the Adriatic coast and is main commercial port of Albania. Town was a vital Roman port of The Egnatian Way (Via Egnatia).
This trade route was one of the main roadways which connected Rome with Byzantium and as times flourished Durres did as well. A result is Durres being home to the largest Roman amphitheater in the Balkans.
Modern Durres, is much different than its past. It is shortly acquired capital notoriety, after independence in 1912, but then lost it to Tirana. Durres is a modern city with developed boulevards, soft sand beaches for tourism, and calm, warm Adriatic waters.
After sightseeing of Durres departure to Tirana, the capital of Albania and tour of the Tirana main square with the Old mosque of Ethem Bey and the Clock Tower.
Tirana is relatively new city established in 1614 by Sulejman Pasha, feudal of the area at the time.
The city began to grow at the beginning of the 18 century, but it remained an unimportant town until it was proclaimed Albania's capital in 1920.
Departure to Shkoder. Close to the border with Montenegro, Shkoder in Albania is the point of entry for the sublime natural landscapes in almost every direction from the city. East is Drin River that flows through canyons, right to the west is the Adriatic Sea and its sandy beaches, and northeast are the Albanian Alps where the country’s tallest peaks can be conquered.
For history buffs there’s plenty to catch the eye as Shkodra has been on a key trading post for millennia, and both the Ancient Greeks and Romans settled here.
Inside Shkodra you can acquaint yourself with Albanian history and culture, visiting mosques, cathedrals and workshops.
Sightseeing of Shkoder. Brake for short walk. Drive via the Muriqan border crossing to Montenegro and city of Bar to Budva. Hotel accommodation and overnight in Budva.
After breakfast departure to Cetinje historical capital of Montenegro. The city is located in the field located under the mountain Lovcen, at an average altitude of 670 m.
Because of its authentic architecture and a large number of historic buildings, relics, monasteries, churches and museums, this city was named «Museum city». Sightseeing of Cetinje.
Visit of the King's Nicholas palace – State museum.
After Cetinje drive along Lovcen National Park which provide spectacular vistas of surrounding mountain peaks.
Climbing up 461 stairs to the Mausoleum of Petar Petrovic Njegos, chosen by eminent poet and philosopher for his rest, from where spreads magic panorama to Kotor Bay.
Drive via Njegusi village to Kotor, UNESCO town-museum and sightseeing.
Kotor has one of the best preserved medieval old towns in the Adriatic and is home to several sights of interest, including the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, beautiful palaces and squares as well as the ancient walls which stretch for 3 miles on the steep hillside directly above the city.
After Kotor You will drive through the areas of the inner part of the Gulf of Kotor (Boka Kotorska) with its high mountains and scenic coastline dotted with little villages. This amazing landscape was created 300,000 years ago by tectonic forces crashing together and creating the «Fjords of the Mediterranean».
The little town of Perast was one of the earliest inhabited areas in this region. This once seafaring town has grown into a modern town in its past. The two islands in front of Perast are the most photographed view in the central place of this fjord. Your tour guide will walk you through famous Boka and Perast history.
At the end of history lesson you will embark on a small boat and go to the Island of Our Lady of the Rocks, which was created thanks to the Perast sailors who threw stones in the sea and created today's island where the shrine of Our Lady of the Rocks was built. While on the island you will have opportunity to enjoy breathtaking view on Boka Bay.
After visiting Island we would start our ride back to Budva. Overnight in Budva.
After breakfast departure to National park Skadar Lake with photo break above Sveti Stefan a famous island hotel.
Arrival to Virpazar and boarding in the boat. Boat ride along the Skadar Lake while observing the natural habitat of rare and endemic birds. National Park Skadar Lake is a natural playground for lovers of outdoor adventure, nature and beauty. This largest of Balkan lakes offers an incredible 400 square kilometres of spectacular national park to explore, as well as being home to Montenegro's wine country.
After a cruise on the lake drive on via Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro to Northern Montenegro along wonderful landscape of Moraca River Canyon to Moraca Monastery from 13th century. Moraca Monastery with some of its most accomplished religious art is one of the largest medieval Orthodox monuments in Montenegro. It was built on the right bank of the River Moraca, in the wider part of the canyon, on a natural plateau with a picturesque landscape.
Our journey continues through the famous canyon of the river Tara (The cleanest European river) to the Djurdjevica Tara Bridge. Photo break on the Bridge.
After photo break drive to Zabljak city on the highest altitude of the Balkans. It is located in the very centre of enormous mountain of Durmitor – and in the middle of Durmitor National Park. Eighteen glittering glacial lakes known as gorske oci (mountain eyes) dot the Durmitor range. The spectacular Black Lake is the largest and most visited part of the national park. The rounded mass of Medjed (the Bear 2287m) rears up behind it, casting an inky shadow into the pine-walled waters. An easy 3.6 km walking track circles the lake. Walk along the beautiful Black Lake.
After breakfast drive along National Park Durmitor which provide spectacular vistas of surrounding mountain peaks and tour of Ostrog Monastery – one of the most frequented spiritual places in the Balkans.
Ostrog Monastery, a miracle built by nature and human interaction, carved almost in its entirety in a vertically positioned mountain cliff, is today the pearl of Montenegrin spirituality which is visited by more than a hundred thousand pilgrims from around the world and of travellers of all religions every year.
It is one of three most visited Christian destinations on the planet with its cave-like chapel and the Monastery complex that preserves the sanctity of Saint Basil the, Orthodox Christian Saint of Miracles.
We continue our journey towards Croatian border and the pearl of Dubrovnik. After accommodating in hotel we will go on dinner in traditional restaurant within city walls.
Overnight in Dubrovnik.
After breakfast Dubrovnik city tour. History is alive in every part of this city - as museum city and at the same time a live stage, it represents a perfect cross between the past and the present. Every corner and cranny of this Pearl of the Adriatic, as it is known, hides a treasure.
Dubrovnik is surrounded by 1940 meters of unique medieval ramparts preserved in their original form and open to visitors as the citys flagship attraction. Protected by UNESCO World Heritage status since 1979, Dubrovnik can boast one of the first such listings in Croatia.
Dubrovnik has numerous legends and beauties that should not be missed. In the historical center of Dubrovnik we will see main Square Stradun, also called Placa, Pile Gate, Rector’s Palace, Sponza palace, Old Town Walls, the church of St. Blaise, the Cathedral, the Jesuit church, Orlando’s Column, Onofrio’s Large Fountain (Great Onofrio Well), the city port and other hidden gems.
Afternoon will be free for self exploration of the city or some individual program.
Overnight in Dubrovnik.
After breakfast drive on to Trebinje. Trebinje is the situated at the south of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entities within the Serbian Republic. Through the town flows Trebisnjica River. Since the sea is situated about 25 km (by road to Dubrovnik) it is famous for its sunny days and plane trees.
From the city center of Trebinje, there is a 2 km road that winds up the hill Crkvina where you reach the church «Hercegovacka Gracanica» (the Gracanica of Hercegovina) a copy of the famous Gracanica Church in Kosovo and Metohija. The Church Complex includes an amphitheater, the Vladicin (Bishop's) home, a gallery with icons, a summer garden, a library and a belltower. There is a marvelous view of the whole town from here.
Drive on to Mostar and sightseeing. The historic town of Mostar, spanning a deep valley of the Neretva River, developed in the 15th and 16th centuries as an Ottoman frontier town and during the Austro-Hungarian period in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Mostar has long been known for its old Turkish houses and Old Bridge, Stari Most, after which it is named. In July 2005, UNESCO inscribed the Old Bridge and its closest vicinity onto the World Heritage List.
Drive to Sarajevo with stop over for observation of Neretva River Canyon. The Neretva River carves its way through the centre, dividing the massive mountain ranges.
It was at Jablanica that Tito and the partisans, burdened with 4,000 wounded others, won the unlikely Battle of the Neretva during World War II. The blown-up bridge that the partisans used to trick the Nazis still hangs from the high cliffs as a reminder of one of the partisans' greatest victories.
Arrival to Sarajevo the capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina and hotel accommodation.
Overnight in Sarajevo.
After breakfast a walking tour through the center of the Bosnian capital - Sarajevo, whose mosques and old Turkish bazaar with shops and cafes still keep the traditional oriental atmosphere of the region.
Sarajevo is situated on the Miljacka River nestles among dramatic peaks. During the Roman Empire Sarajevo together with Bosnia was a border city between the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. On the 28th of June 1914 WWI was triggered by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria with his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg.
The city has 10 bridges over the Miljacka River. The most famous one is the Latin Bride or Princip Bridge, the name of assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
The city-wide tram service was the very first in Europe. Locals proudly insist that the Austro-Hungarians modelled Vienna’s tram system on theirs. War took its toll, with the 1992-1996 siege hitting hard, but the lively, diverse city has been almost entirely reconstructed.
Departure to Visegrad and photo stop at the famous bridge of Mehmed Pasha near Visegrad, praised in the novel «The Bridge on the Drina» of the Nobel laureate - Ivo Andrich.
Famous Serbian film director Emir Kusturica used his imagination and creativity here as well and built Andric-grad complex. It is a cultural center with numerous buildings and facilities built in 2012 on the banks of Drina River nearby the famous Bridge.
Crossing into Serbia and drive to Zlatibor Mountain a well-known air spa. Hotel accommodation, dinner and overnight.
After breakfast we drive towards Mokra Gora – picturesque mountainous village hidden between mountains Zlatibor and Tara.
After arrival in Mokra Gora we change our vehicle and one part of the way pass on old train called «Ćira». The train travels of the bottom of Sargan mount, on a retro way shaped in the form of number eight, this is why it is called «Sargan Eight». It used to be a part of railway from Belgrade to Sarajevo. Journey on «Ćira» brings you back to past and lets you enjoy mountain sceneries and numerous tunnels and viaducts.
Train journey is over at Jatare station and get to Kustenforf, our next destination. This is one of the most popular touristic destinations in Serbia, mainly because of Ethnic village «Drvengrad» or «Kustendorf». All the objects, including hotel, apartment houses, galleries, shops, cinema and churches are made of natural materials, mostly from wood, the reason Drvengrad is called this way (Drvo – wood, grad – town). Here the traditional film festival «Kustendorf» is held, biggest movie stars from all over the world come here to enjoy Drvengrad.
Drive to Belgrade and hotel accommodation. Optional: Serbian night (bohemian quarter Skadarlija).
After breakfast free time until transfer to Belgrade airport, where we will finish the tour.
– 16 Overnights in comfortable 4**** hotels – all overnights are based on double rooms with private WC/shower. Single Rooms are available with payment of a «Single Supplement».
– 17 meals: 16 breakfasts, 1 dinner (Dubrovnik – Croatia)
– Transportation with high tourist class coach, minibus or van
– Local transport in Ostrog Monastery (Montenegro)
– Boat ride in Perast and Skadar Lake (Montenegro)
– «Sargan Eight» Railway Mokra Gora (Serbia)
– Entrance fee for all sites included in the program
– Adria Line Tour Manager and Local Guide
– Tour organization and logistics
What is not included:
– Other meals, drinks, personal expenses