WESTERN BALKANS TOUR

Western Balkans Tour

On the crossroads between east and west, the Balkan Peninsula is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. These 12 rich days are the ideal introduction to the dramatic history of Albania, natural beauty of Montenegro and stunning Dalmatian coast of Croatia. Join us on this magical journey to discover these picturesque destinations.

Dalmatian Coast Croatia

This unique and interesting itinerary will enable you to explore preserved nature and stunning landscapes and get you acquainted with the history, art, ancient architecture and local tradition.

Western Balkan Tour - Skadar Lake

Experience the friendly but diverse cultures of Western Balkan and explore some of the most famous spots in this part of Europe like Budva and Zagreb. Enjoy the colorful houses of Tirana and the marbled streets of Dubrovnik.

Rinia Park Albania

Immerse yourself in the magic of Kotor Bay and its ancient cities that blends colorful homes, medieval towers and magnificent Baroque Palaces.

Bujovic Palace Perast Montenegro

Plus, enjoy an exclusive experience walking through Roman ruins of Diocletian’s Palace in Split.

Diocletian’s Palace in Split

Visit the most popular national park in Croatia in the region of Lika and spend the day in the fresh air, surrounded by 16 lakes, numerous streams and cascades of Plitvice.

National Park Plitvice

The Balkans is a region of such great diversity and textures that one gets the blown up by the colors, cultures, hospitality, food and landscape.

Landscape from the surroundings of Split

Whether you’re in it for the food, the history, the culture, or the nature, this adventure’s got it all.

Sveti Stefan Montenegro

Introduction:

– Western Balkans Tour package taking you through 3 countries and 12 destinations.

– In this Western Balkans Tour you will explore the best of Albania, Montenegro and Croatia in 12 Days.

– Visit UNESCO cities and immerse yourselves in their history

– Walk the City Wall and feel like you’re in the fictional King’s Landing from the popular TV show Game of Thrones, which is filmed in Dubrovnik.

– Experience amazing hospitality as you travel in Western Balkans Tour

– Taste delicious local products

– Meet interesting people

Leave your everyday worries behind and join us on this attractive Western Balkans Tour!

Map of Western Balkans Tour

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival in Tirana

Arrival to «Mother Teresa» airport  Tirana.

Pick up at Tirana airport and transfer to Hotel in Tirana. Tirana International Airport is located 17 kilometers outside Tirana, the capital of Albania, and is easy to reach via the new access road from the Tirana - Durres motorway. The journey from the airport to Tirana takes 20–25 minutes, depending on traffic.

Western Balkans Tour - Tirana Albania

Sightseeing of the city - Clock Tower and Skenderbeg Square.

Skenderbeg Square in Tirana - Albania

Positioned in the city center, this tower has become a symbol of Tirana. It is one of the oldest constructions in Tirana, built in the 1820. Et’hem Bey Mosque, construction of this mosque took about 28 years and finished in 1821.

Ethem-Bey Mosque in Tirana Albania

It is considered one of the most beautiful mosques in Albania with very interesting decorations and art-work within it .

Ethem Bey Mosque in Tirana, Albania

National Historic Museum, the main museum in Tirana, it is in the center of the city, easily recognizable because of a huge mosaic standing on top of its front facade. It contains many artifacts ranging from ancient times through Hoxha’s regime. Free evening, overnight.

The National History Museum, Tirana

Blloku  (The Block), among the apartment blocks, one can find some of Tirana’s best cafés, shops, and restaurants. Here is also located the villa of the former dictator, Enver Hoxha. During communism, the area was reserved solely for government officials and was not allowed to be entered by the commoner. It was opened to the public in 1991 and since became the number one spot for Tirana’s youth.

Blloku Tirana - Albania

At night the area gets full of people especially on weekends when most night clubs are full. From the Block you can go almost anywhere for less than 10-15 minutes. If you need to have a coffee or relax while taking a look at the parade of trendy and elegant people, the block is a perfect place for you.

Tirana at night

Day 2. Tirana – Berat – Ardenica Monastery – Durres (265 km)

Tirana - Breakfast at hotel. Check out and morning departure to Berat. In 2008 it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site  as it is a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town. It is one of the country’s most beautiful towns, and is known as the «Town of a thousand windows».

Berat-Albania

Visit the Castle, built on a rocky hill on the left of the Osumi River. Berat Castle in its current condition, even though it has sustained some damages, remains a magnificent site which attracts a great number of visitors. The population of the fortress was Christian, and had more than 20 churches (most of which were built during the XIII century).

Berat Castle

There is also one mosque, built after the Ottomans conquered Berat. The only reamains that survive today are parts of the foundations and the base of the minaret. Visit the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, which has been restored and today is the musem dedicated to Onufri, the greatest fresco painter of the sixteenth century in Albania. Here you can find  art works made by Onufri, his son Nicholas, and other fresco painters. There can be found a large number of icons and silver works with religious themes (sacred vessels, icons, silver book covers etc.).

Cathedral of St. Nicholas Berat, Albania

Proceed to Ardenica – where is a medieval monastery surrounded by stonewalls. Built by Byzantine Emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos in 1282 after the victory against the Angevins in the Siege of Berat, the monastery is famous as the place where, in 1451, was celebrated the marriage of Skenderbeg, the national hero of Albania.

Ardenica Monastery - Albania

After this interesting experience we depart for Durres one of the oldest (founded in 627 B.C.) and most important cities in Albania. Overnight in Durres.

Promenade by the sea Durres - Albania

Day 3. Durres – Kruja – Shkoder – Budva (218 km)

Durres. Breakfast at hotel. After breakfast check out and we will visit Durres one of the oldest cities in Albania, situated at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea, which gave him great importance in history.

Entrance of the Adriatic Sea - Durres

Great arena of 2 century marks it as the center of the Roman province of Epirus Nova. In the Middle Ages belonged to Byzantium and the Venetians, and Turks, as the last city in Albania, occupied by 1501.

Roman Amphitheater in Durres, Albania

Today, the city of Durres with over 200 thousand inhabitants, is a tourist center and the largest port in Albania. A tour of the Greek Romanesque amphitheater, the walls etc.

Ancient walls Durres - Albania

After Durres we will proceed to Kruja – the centre of Albanian resistance against the Turks under Albanian national hero Skenderbeg. He kept them from crossing into Western Europe for 25 years, thus earning the title «Protector of Christianity» given by the Pope.

Kruja Albania

In Kruja you will visit the Castle, built during the 5th and 6th centuries. It has an elliptical shape with a total area of 2,25 hectars. The surrounding walls were reinforced by nine towers, of which only one survives.It served as an observation and signaling post during times of war. Within its walls there can still be found the remains of a few houses. Inside the castle there is also Skanderbeg Museum.

Skanderbeg Mausoleum Kruja

The Old Bazaar - cobbled medieval bazaar where all shops are made of wood. It is situated on the way to the castle, a medieval - type bazaar with traditional handicrafts such as filigree, alabaster, silver, copper, wooden objects, wool carpets, etc.

Kruja Old Bazaar

After Kruja, departure towards Skadar the most important town of north Albania and the Illyrian capital, in the 3rd century BC. Sightseeing the most popular pedestrian street «Kole Idromeno» (Piazza), which has been preserved in the old style. It contains many bars and restaurants with terraces, flowers and fancy shops.

Shkoder Albania

In Skadar you will also visit he Rozafa Castle, founded in 3th century BC, built in a rocky hill and surrounding by the three rivers Drini, Buna and Kiri.

Rozafa Castle in Shkoder, Albania

After Skadar departure to Montenegro. Accomodation, dinner and overnight in Budva.

Budva’s pebble beaches, crystal-clear sea and mild climate place it among the most beautiful coasts in the world and it truly represents the crown of Montenegrin tourist offering. Old Town is a place of important historic and religious monuments, galleries, boutiques, cafes and during the summer it turns into a theatrical stage!

budva old town by night

 

Day 4. Budva – NP Skadar Lake – Ostrog Monastery – Budva (247 km)

Budva. Breakfast at hotel. After breakfast we will go to Sveti Stefan, where we will make photo break above famous island-hotel. Sveti Stefan (6 km east of Budva) is a rare geographical feature, made up of an island connected to the mainland by a stripe with two beaches, one on each side. Sveti Stefan, once a fishing village on a reef island, today a unique tourist attraction. It is popular with heads of state, important politicians, movie stars, famous athletes and other members of the elite.

Sveti Stefan famous island-hotel

After photo break the road takes us along the slopes of Pastrovska Gora toward National Park Skadar Lake, the largest lake on Balkan Peninsula. On the shore of the lake there is a small town Virpazar – old urban settlement with specific architecture where we board on the boat. Virpazar nowadays is famous for restaurants that offer traditional specialties.

Skadar Lake - Old Bridge in Virpazar

We will have a ride on Skadar Lake, where you can relax with the stunning beauty of the lake, blooming flora, fauna and the surrounding landscapes.

Boats in Virpazar - Skadar Lake

After boat ride departure to Ostrog Monastery through the central area of Montenegro and small city Danilovgrad by road which provides a view of the monastery, fruitful Bjelopavlici plain and river Zeta. Visit Ostrog Monastery. Visit begins from the parking lot of the Lower monastery, from where by local transport we go to the Upper Monastery. Possibility of organized lunch with traditional Montenegrin specialties in a restaurant located near the monastery complex.

Ostrog Monastery

After visit return to the hotel. Free evening, overnight.

Day 5. Budva – Cetinje – NP Lovcen – Njegusi – Budva (133 km)

Budva. Breakfast at hotel. After breakfast departure for Cetinje the historic capital of Montenegro. The city is located in the field located under the mountain Lovcen, at an average altitude of 670 m.

Old Royal Capital Cetinje, Montenegro

Because of its authentic architecture and a large number of historic buildings, relics, monasteries, churches and museums, this city was named «Museum city». Cetinje and Njegusi are a «must see» excursion called Montenegro tour.

Old Montenegrin Royal Capital Cetinje

This tour gives a complete impression of Montenegro because it includes both coast and mountains. Visiting this area you will understand how Montenegrin spirit, culture and identity survived turbulent history of Balkan.

Blue Palace Cetinje - Montenegro

In Cetinje, we will visit King's Nicholas palace – State museum where medals, impressive weapon, decorated furniture, portraits of dynasty members, different gifts from all over the world will illustrate you popularity that Montenegro earned at the end of 19th century.

The dining room in the castle of King Nikola Cetinje

Continuation to Njegusi. This charming village was the birthplace of Petar Petrovic-Njegos, considered the most important leader in Montenegrin history. Today the village is known for its delicious specialties including smoked ham, cheese, brandy, and wine.

Njegusi Village - Montenegro

You will visit the national park Lovcen as well Njegos’s mausoleum on Mount Lovcen. It has been built on the very top of this mountain and can be reached by crossing the 461 stairs.

Njegos mausoleum on Mount Lovcen

Deep breath of the fresh air and keep your eyes wide open. As you slowly turn all around, you will be amazed by the view of the Kotor Bay, Skadar Lake, high mountains in the northern part of Montenegro, even Albania.

Fascinating view from Lovcen Mountain

In the Mausoleum you will find the figures of two Montenegrin women made of black granite, as well as the figure and marble sarcophagus of Petar II Petrovic Njegos. By visiting of the Mausoleum we complete the story about Montenegrin royal family, great ruler and poet.

Njegos Mausoleum Lovcen - Caryatids at the entrance

The excursion continues along the curvy road one of the greatest engineering projects in Montenegro from the end of 19th century - road from village of Njegusi to Kotor, on the steep slopes of Mount Lovcen up to a belvedere at 900 m above sea level. It took five years of carving the steep slopes of Lovcen Mountain before the road was completed in 1884. This was astonishing work we still respect today, passing his 25 switchbacks. From each curve the view gets better and as a reward for taking this ride, we never miss a chance to stop and admire the road as the work of man and Bay of Kotor as the work of nature!

Beautiful view of Kotor Bay

On the way back to your hotel, we will visit Old Town of Budva a walled medieval town on the sea, like a mini Dubrovnik.

Budva Old Town - "Between the churches" Square

After visit return to the hotel. Free evening, overnight.

Day 6. Budva – Kotor – Perast – Dubrovnik (139 km)

Budva. Breakfast at hotel. Check out and departure for Kotor and Bay of Kotor.

Bay of Kotor, protected as a World Heritage Site, is the southernmost fjord in Europe, offers an excellent opportunity to see unique natural beauty in a small area, and at the same time become better acquainted with its history, culture, and architecture. Arrival in Kotor and sightseeing. Kotor  is classified as UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage, where you visit its Romanesque Cathedral St. Triphun dedicated to St. Triphun, the city’s patron saint.

The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon in Kotor

Your Kotor tour ends with a trip to the Maritime Museum, which is housed in the 17th century Grgurina Palace, and chronicles Kotor's glory days as one of the Adriatic's major naval forces.

Maritime Museum - Grgurina Palace Kotor

After Kotor  you will visit the beautiful baroque town of Perast sitting opposite the entrance to the inner Bay of Kotor. You will have the opportunity to see buildings and villas which were built during the city's prosperous years of the 17th and 18th centuries, churches built during that time, the history of this fascinating town, which was home to wealthy sea faring families.

Perast with islets St. George and Our Lady of the Rocks

You will board small boats to see the Church Islands of St George and visit the Island of Our Lady of the Rock -10 min away from coast, the islet is man-made, and its original church was built in 1452.

Boat at Our Lady of the Rocks in Perast

You'll see the stunning present church, built in 1632 and enlarged in 1722.  According to legend, seamen once laid a rock in the Bay of Kotor upon returning from each successful voyage, thus creating the islet that gradually emerged from the sea.

Our Lady of the Rock Island

In Perast we suggest you to take a break for lunch. Continuation to Dubrovnik driving along the picturesque Bay of Kotor.

Stunning picturesque Bay of Kotor

Arrival in Dubrovnik and accommodation in hotel. Free evening, overnight.

Day 7. Dubrovnik Sightseeing

Dubrovnik, Breakfast at the hotel. Dubrovnik sightseeing tour – the most important sights of downtown.  In front of the main entrance into the old town you will meet local guide who knows each corner of this gorgeous Mediterranean town.

Pile Gate in Dubrovnik Old Town

You will proceed with a walk along the famous Stradun street, pass by famous Onofrio fountain, Orlando’s column… Local guide will lead you through the very old town and discover you old legends and stories about the most attractive and most interesting sightseeings in the town – Onofrio Fountain, the main street Stradun, Orlando's statue... In 60 minutes the guide will present you history as well as nowadays life of this prosperous city. During this tour you will understand the «big picture» of how history interlinks with present in cultural, economic and religious aspect but most of all, you have a wonderful experience about this city.

Placa Street - Stradun - Dubrovnik

The green Mediterranean landscape, the azure depths of the Adriatic, white sea cliffs, fragrances of herbs growing in the clearings, historical gardens, the aquarium with the most intriguing species of the sea world are a part of the heritage which the visitors discover in Dubrovnik and its surroundings. The fact that it has been one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for more than thirty years, and that every part of its Old City is a remarkable site and part of the rich heritage makes Dubrovnik a special city - a living monument.

Sponza Palace facade in Dubrovnik Old Town

The rich historical monuments, attractive historic churches, cathedrals and city streets... Dubrovnik is both a treasury and museum that managed to preserve all of its historical buildings and their beauty, numerous baroque, renaissance and romanesque churches and palaces which are an essential part of the tourist programmes and sites that should be visited by all means.

Magnificent replica of a traditional Karaka ship Dubrovnik

Afternoon will be free for self exploration of the city or some individual program. Overnight in Dubrovnik.

Day 8. Dubrovnik – Elafiti Islands – Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, Breakfast at the hotel. Departure from Old Town Port on a boat trip to Elafiti Islands. On this half day trip you will meet the Elaphite archipelag consisting of 13 islands. Already at the beginning of the voyage your breath will take away the view on the old city walls, the cruise continues towards 3 Elaphite islands for which we can say that are the only inhabited. Afternoon will be free for some individual program.

Elafiti Islands Dubrovnik - Sipan Island

We suggest dinner at one of many restaurants in the Old Town. Located within the great walls of Dubrovnik with impressive views over the port, restaurants blends its historical setting with a culinary quality and variety that should be expected of such a luxury destination. Dubrovnik’s gastronomic offer is varied and versatile, adjusted to the wishes of the guests – some of them choose to try the original traditional food in taverns while some of them want the atmosphere of fine dining and top notch service, delicacies prepared to satisfy the most demanding gourmet.

Restaurant in Dubrovnik Old Town Port

Overnight in Dubrovnik.

Day 9. Dubrovnik – Neum (Bosnia and Herzegovina ) – Split (229 km)

Breakfast at the hotel. Check out and transfer to Split. After heading out of Dubrovnik in the morning, relax for the 3-hour drive and Admire the coastal scenery, as you pass over the contemporary Dubrovnik Bridge (also known as Franjo Tudman Bridge) and through rustic fishing villages.

Dubrovnik Bridge (also known as Franjo Tudman Bridge)

During the drive in the direction of Split, you will have the chance for short stay in Neum, the only town in Bosnia and Hercegnovina, located on the seashore. The territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina through which we pass is about 5 km long and there are border crossings on both sides. There are possibility for a coffee break in Neum.

Neum - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Arrival in Split and check in. City tour. Tour includes the Roman part of town and Medieval part of town (we visit City hall, promenade, Fish market, Diocletian palace,(enter) St. Duje Cathedral, city clock, city hall etc..).

Split - Spalato, Croatia

The story of Split is already 17 centuries old, dating to the time the Roman Emperor Diocletian decided to build his Palace right on the peninsula near the great Roman city Salona, where he wanted to spend the last years of his life. During these 1700 years the Palace slowly turned into a city, which to this day lures with its rich tradition, glorious history and beauty of its natural and cultural heritage. Diocletian Palace and the entire historical core of Split have been on the World Heritage UNESCO list ever since 1979, and not only for the extraordinary preservation of the Palace, but also because the Palace and its city (or the city and its Palace, if you like) continue to live a full life.

Diocletian Palace in Split, Croatia

All historical layers from the old Rome, middle ages till today are still visible and alive in this structure. A walk through the ancient city takes you through time, along the great examples of ancient architecture like Peristyle, the middle aged Romanesque Church and Gothic Palace, Renaissance portals of the noblemen’s houses, Baroque facades and modern architecture superbly merged in the rich heritage.

Split Old Town

Such stratification is mirrored in everyday life of Split. Local inhabitants sit in the same cafes, restaurants, shop in the same stores as tourists, giving them the impression that, by arriving to Split, they became a part of the city and its rhythm.

Split Riva

The vegetable market and the fish market represent the centre of each family’s life in Split, just as the entire social life of this city of 200 thousand reflects on the Riva (waterfront), where every guest should endeavour to have his coffee alongside noisy, temperamental folk of Split.

Split By Night

Overnight in Split.

Day 10. Split – National Park Plitvice – Zagreb (423 km)

Breakfast at the hotel and check out. Continuing our diverse journey through Croatia, our next stop is to explore Plitvice National Park, a beautiful reserve featuring 16 spectacular blue lakes surrounded by forest.

National Park Plitvice Croatia

The lakes are linked by natural dams which create beautiful low level waterfalls joining one lake to another. Due to the varying mixtures of minerals in the water, each lake has a distinctive colour ranging from azure to green, grey or blue.

Plitvice Lakes - Croatia

The surrounding forest features a mix of beech, spruce and fir trees and is home to 126 species of birds and a number of rare animals including European brown bears, wolves, eagles and wild cats. Due to its natural beauty and significance, the park was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

The entire park can be seen in about 4 hours and you can ger beautiful views from any vantage point. Don’t miss the Veliki Slap, 50 metre wide waterfall surrounded by boulders - a great place for photos.

National Park Plitvice lakes

After our time exploring the narional park we continue to the Croatian capital of Zagreb, a vibrant cultural centre with a long history, located on the crossroads of important toures between the Adriatic coast and Central Europe.

Zagreb by Night - Ban Jelacic Square

Overnight in Zagreb.

Day 11. Zagreb Sightseeing

Zagreb. Breakfast at the hotel. Zagreb sightseeing tour – the most important sights of downtown. Get an insider’s look at the Croatian capital, Visit the Zagreb Cathedral, the leafy Strossmayer Promenade, «Bloody Bridge», Stone Gate, Jelacic Square, the main public space in the city, Lotrscak Tower...

Zagreb's train station - Glavni Kolodvor

The streets and monuments of Zagreb proudly testify to its thousands of years of history. But their greatest value is not measured by mere history alone, but by the special moments these historic attractions give us as we stand back to enjoy their beauty. If cities had hearts – and some most certainly do – the beating heart of Zagreb would be Ban Josip Jelacic Square, one of the city’s symbols and the quintessential subject of its postcards.

Ban Jelacic Statue-Jelacic-Square Zagreb-Croatia

A huge equestrian statue of Ban (or viceroy) Josip Jelacic dominates the square. Both the Ban and his monument hold important places in the stormy history of Croatia. At Mandusevac Fountain, legend goes hand in hand with reality – a coin thrown into this wishing well might earn you happiness.

Ban Jelacic Square Zagreb

The Croatian National Theatre is another key symbol of Zagreb. When night falls upon the streets and squares of the city, another life is starting here – on stage. It has been this way since 1895, when the Habsburg Emperor Franz Josef ceremoniously opened the theatre with a silver hammer as if saying: «Let the show go on».

Croatian National Theatre Zagreb

Ilica Street is the backbone of Zagreb. You will never see it deserted – there is always traffic down it, whether it is just passers-by, young businessmen with their briefcases, flirty girls with their eyes cast on the glittering merchandise in the shop windows, or humming trams on the night shift.

Ilica Street Zagreb

Just a few steps away from Ilica is the city’s funicular, forever shuttling up and down between just two stops, the shortest link between the Lower Town and Upper Town. At the upper terminus, you will find yourself at the foot of Lotrscak, the 13th-century defence tower. For more than a century, the cannon mounted at the very top of the tower has been fired at noon every day.

The Lotrscak Tower Zagreb

Overnight in Zagreb.

Day 12. Zagreb Airport (15 km)

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the Zagreb airport. End of program and services.

Zagreb Airport

 

Price: 

June, July, August and September → 1.517,00 € per person

March, April, May and October → 1.365,00 € per person

January, February, November and December → 1.229,00 € per person

What’s included in Western Balkans Tour:

– 11 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».

– Meals: 11 breakfasts

– Transportation with high tourist class coach, minibus or van

– Local transport in Ostrog Monastery (Montenegro)

– Tasting of smoked ham, cheese and wine in Njegusi village (Montenegro)

– Boat ride in Perast and Skadar Lake (Montenegro)

– Boat trip to Elafiti Islands (Croatia)

– Entrance fee for all sites included in the program

– Adria Line Tour Manager and Local Guide

– Tour organization and logistics

What is not included in Western Balkans Tour:

– Other meals, drinks, personal expenses

– Personal travel insurance

– Flights before and after the tour are not included in the tour price. You can organize your flights separately at any point.

Guide

The trip is coordinated by a tour leader from Travel agency Adria Line, who is responsible for the logistics of the tour – updating you on the daily itinerary, arranging your passport checks at the border-crossings, handling the check-ins at each hotel, communicating with the driver and arranging the local guides as scheduled in the program. Detailed information about the countries and some of the sites will be presented by the local city guides included in the itinerary.

Customize Your Tour

If you would like to customize this tour (eg. add new places, extend your stay, change the hotel category, add other meals, adjust the program to the airport on which you plan to come…), please feel free to contact us at group@adrialine.me so we can make an offer that fits your wishes.

You decide where you will land, what to visit, how long to spend and what type of accommodation suits you best. We do our best to respond to requests within two business days during our regular business hours.

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