The Unique Beauty of the Balkan

The Unique Beauty of the Balkan

7 days / 6 nights

Zagreb – Slavonski Brod – Đakovo – Vukovar – Ilok – Osijek – Erdut – Bilje – Kopački Rit – Karanac – Tikveš Castle – Kneževi Vinogradi – Stara Kapela – Osijek – Zagreb

Day 1 : ZAGREB

Arrival to the airport, meet your guide/tour escort, transfer to the hotel. Overnight.

Day 2 : ZAGREB – VARAŽDIN – ZAGREB (140 km)

After breakfast at the hotel, sightseeing of Zagreb which includes old town, historical centre of the town with its St. Mark’s church with famous colourful roof with Croatian coat of arm Cathedral, Upper and Lower Town and Croatian National Theatre. After visit of Zagreb continue your drive to Varaždin. Lunch at local restaurant. Attractive baroque town jewel of harmony and piece, rich on its numerous facades, special atmosphere in its shade of alleys. Today the Fortress, known as the old Fortress, is one of the most beautiful castles in Croatia. King Bela IV had it built in the middle of the twelfth century. From the very beginning, this story of the turbulent history of Varaždin tells of a city exposed to a fruitful combination of influences from various Central European nobles. This combination led to the early construction of palaces, churches and beautiful buildings outside the Fortress. Varaždin saw its renaissance in the 18th century. As the seat of the Royal Council, Varaždin was also the capital of Croatia, while its image of a European metropolis helped the noblemen of Varaždin make their fashionable life more active. It was this active fashionable life that earned Varaždin the name of Little Vienna placed at the crossroad of Central Europe.

Return to Zagreb and overnight.

Day 3 : ZAGREB – LJUBLJANA – ZAGREB (280 km)

After breakfast drive to Ljubljana, sightseeing of Ljubljana with local guide. Walking through the city centre, the picturesque Central open–air Market and the Three Bridges, both designed by the famous architect Joze Plecnik, Baroque Town Hall and Dragon Bridge visit of Cathedral of San Nicolas. Return back to Zagreb, overnight.

Day 4 : ZAGREB – PLITVICE – ZADAR (335 km)

Breakfast at the hotel in Zagreb. Drive to Plitvice National Park and visit the most beautiful park in Croatia. The beauty of the National Park lies in its sixteen lakes, connected by series of waterfalls and set in deep woodland populated deers, bears, wolves and different bird species. Magnificent lakes lower and upper,visited by lake boat and small train. Lunch at local restaurant and drive to Zadar, overnight at the hotel.

Day 5 : ZADAR – ŠIBENIK – SPLIT (180 km)

Breakfast at the hotel in Zagreb, morning drive to Zadar, beautiful dalmatian town rich in archaeological sites from ancient time. We shall visit port and old town with its pre–romanesque church dates from around the 9th century which is a symbol of Zadar. Right in front of the Church of Saint Donat are the remains of the Roman forum dating from in the 1st century BC. At the end of the Western Quay is Zadar’s newest feature, the Sea Organ. This unusual organ is powered by the wind and the sea. When the sea pushes air through the whistles, a series of melancholy chords are played. With the sound emerging through the perforated stone stairs. Lunch at local restaurant and afterwards drive towards Šibenik. Visit of St. Jakov Cathedral the symbol of the town, a part of UNESCO’s world heritage, was being built for more than a hundred years and is a true evidence of the talent of its architectures, Juraj Dalmatinac and Nikola Firentinac. The whole cathedral was made of stone, without the use of other materials and it contains of more than 70 portraits on its apses. Drive to Split. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 6 : SPLIT – TROGIR – SPLIT (50 km)

Breakfast. Morning visit of town Split which beauty dated since IV century B.C. when roman emperor Diocletian decided to build his residential palace. This roman palace is very well preserved and today attracts with its constructions and original walls but also popular place for small shops which will be visited. After that we visit the Cathedral of St. Duje which is a complex of a church, formed from an Imperial Roman mausoleum with a bell tower; strictly the church is dedicated to the Virigin Mary, and the bell tower to Saint Duje. Together they form the Cathedral of St. Duje. Lunch at local restaurant and drive towards Trogir, the small Old Town so rich in history and culture that it is often referred to as a “city museum” so it is easy to see why the entire city was placed in the UNESCO world heritage list. Return to Split. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 7: SPLIT – MOSTAR (160 km)

Breakfast. Continue drive through beautiful landscape fruitful valleys to Mostar and visit of this beautiful historical centre with old stone bridge, Mosque and Turkish house. After lunch at local restaurant, sightseeing of the place with its different culture. Mixed orthodox, Muslim and Catholic influence. Accomodation at the hotel. 

Day 8 : MOSTAR – SARAJEVO – MOSTAR (280 km)

After breakfast drive towards Sarajevo. Upon arrival panoramic sightseeing with local guide of this strong Turkish influenced place, old mosques, medresas (schools) and bazaars (markets). We shall see “War tunnel –tunnel of salvation” symbol of courage and survival of people of Sarajevo during the war 1993. under the Serbian siege. Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon return to the hotel and accomodation.

Day 9 : MOSTAR – MEDJUGORJE – POČITELJ – DUBROVNIK (280 km)

Breakfast and drive to Medjugorje. Since the first apparition of Our Lady at the beginning of 1981., millions of pilgrims from all over the world have visited Medjugorje and have left spiritual strengthened and renewed.

Lunch at local restaurant and drive towards the Croatian coast with stop in small village Počitelj, the unique place included in the UNESCO World Heritage. After crossing the border, late arrival to Dubrovnik. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 10 : DUBROVNIK

Breakfast. Morning panoramic visit of the ancient town of Dubrovnik, pearl of Mediterranean sea where we shall see Onofrio fountain, Franciscan Monastery and Rector’s palace. Lunch at local restaurant. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 11 : DUBROVNIK – KOTOR – SVETI STEFAN -TIRANA (355 km)

Breakfast. Early morning drive to Montenegro. Cross the border. Beautiful coastal landscapes along the bay of Kotor. We shall walk through the old town of Kotor with strong Venetian influence visit Cathedral St. Tripun, Continue towards Tirana. On a way we make a short stop near Sveti Stefan, fabulous village–island circled by the sea. Time to have lunch at local restaurant, drive towards Albania. Crossing the border. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 12: TIRANA – KRUJA – TIRANA (90 km)

After breakfast we visit Tirana, capital of Albanija. The Sheshi Skënderbej city’s plaza. The square has popular clock tower and it is surrounded with famous landmarks of Tirana, such as the National History Museum and mosque of Ethem Bey and a lot of buildings with designs of Turkish architecture due to the fact that Tirana was ruled by the Ottomans in the early 1800s. After lunch at local restaurant drive to Kruja. The most important sight in Kruja is the semi–ruined citadel area, a fortress dating back to the fifth or sixth century and old bazaar. Afternoon return to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13 : TIRANA – POGRADEC – SVETI NAUM – OHRID (205 km)

After breakfast we continue towards interior of Albania. We will enjoy passing between the mountains with small villages. Very beautiful scenery skirting the lake Ohrid which is natural border between Albania and Macedonia. A break in Pogradec, Albanian place at the lake, lunch at local restaurant afer which we continue toward Republic of Macedonia cross the border and stop by the lake, visit small monastery Saint Naum, which was established in the year 905.We proceed towards Ohrid situated on the lake shores, place strongly influenced by Otomans, declared as a world heritage site. Accomodation at the hotel.

Day 14 : OHRID

Afer breakfast full day spending at the banks of lake Ohrid. This place is classified by UNESCIO as a world cultural herritage where in due to activities of Saint Climent and Saint Naum from Ohrid, were was founded the first Slavic university and famous literal school of Ohrid. During afternoon we shall visit the rest of the place and the church of St. Sofia one of the most important monument of Macedonia housing architecture and art from the Middle Ages. It was built during the first Bulgarian empire, after the official conversion to Christianity. The interior of the church has been preserved with frescoes from the 11th, 12th and 13th century, which represent some of the most significant achievements in Byzantine painting of the time. Lunch at local restaurant. Accomodation at the hotel.

Day 15 : OHRID – BITOLA – TIKVESH – SKOPJE (350 km)

Breakfast at the hotel continue towards Bitola, the second biggest place in Macedonia. Many of the landmarks in Bitola dated from the Ottoman rule of the city and you can certainly see the Turkish influence in the mosques, old bazaar and more. Some of the main sights of Bitola include Cloctower the symbol of the town, turkish market, open air market, central square. We shall visit the archeological site Heraclea Lyncestis an ancient Macedonian town found by the Macedonian King Phillip II in the middle of the 4th century BC, but most of the remains that can be seen in Heraclea Lyncestis are from the roman and the early Christian period. Continue drive towards Tikveš through wine district recognized as the most important wine growing region in Macedonia. Wine tasting and lunch in one of the most popular wine cellar. Drive towards Skopje. Accomodation at the hotel 

Day 16 : SKOPJE

Breakfast. Morning sightseeing of the capital of Macedonia. Tour includes panoramic views of Stone Bridge, symbol of Skopje, Fortress Kale, Old Bazaar,Old Rail Station. Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon free. Accomodation at the hotel.

Day 17 : SKOPJE – MONASTERIO DE RILA – SOFIA (295 km)

Breakfast and drive from Macedonia towards direction Bulgaria, visit of the Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila founded in the 10th century, The Rila Monastery is regarded as one of Bulgaria’s most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments. It is on the World Heritage list and is considered as a symbol of the 19th Century Bulgarian Renaissance which imparted Slavic values upon Rila in trying to re-establish an uninterrupted historic continuity. We shall visit church and museum, with its rich collection of old manuscripts, icons, jewelry, carved wooden masterpieces, ethnographic expositions of tissues and carpets. Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon stop at Sofia–capital of Bulgaria. Accommodation at the hotel.

Day 18 : SOFIA – PLOVDIV -(150 km)

Breakfast. Tour de Sofia the city of 7000 years of history which has numerous monuments built through different cultural and historical epochs. Visit the one of the largest Eastern Orthodoy cathedrals in the world, Alexander Nevsky, then the Church of St. George, late roman rotunda dated from 4th century with its medieval frescoes dating from 12–14 centuries. Lunch at local restaurant, drive toward Plovdiv, the second most important place in the country. We shall drive across the heights mountain Rila.

Accommodation at the hotel.

Day 19 : PLOVDIV – KAZANLAK – VELIKO TARNOVO (230 km)

Breakfast. Plovdiv sightseeing of the second largest city in Bulgaria, situated on the Maritsa River. Its unique location on these ancient crossroads has stimulated strong cultural and political influences from East and West civilizations, and yet maintained its unique cultural identity. Being older than most of the oldest towns like Rome, Athens, Carthage or Constantinople, an almost contemporary of Troy Its old part, called the Old Town, with houses from the National Revival period (18–19th century), is an imposing open–air museum situated on the three hills of the ancient Trimontium. One of the most remarkable sights of the town, the Ancient Theatre (a well–preserved Roman theatre), is located there and is still used for open–air performances. Drive to Kazanlak. After lunch visit the valley of the roses, which is the biggest producers of rose oil in the world. The soil and the climate in this region are quite suitable for the roses. Visit of the Historical Museum of Kazanlak with Treasury Hall, in which the newest golden, silver and bronze finds from the Thracian temple tombs in the region are exhibited. Among them is the unique golden crown of the Thracian tsar Sevt III (4th century BC) – found in the town of Sevtopolis. Afternoon drive to Veliko Tarnovo. Accommodation at the hotel.

Day 20 : VELIKO TARNOVO – ARBANASI – VELIKO TARNOVO (20 km)

Breakfast. Morning sightseeing of Veliko Tarnovo, visit the castle of the old bulgarian capital – Tsarevets and the old city itself which is a collection of traditional renaissance houses scattered over the hills around the river Yantra. Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon visit to nearby village Arbanassi on the hilltop 4 km away. It is also worth to visit the impressive church of Virgin Mary entire covered with frescoes. We shall visit also one of the brightest examples of the authenticity and magnificence of the Arbanassi houses is the Konstantsaliev’s house, marvelous example of the 17. st. architecture. Return to the hotel.

Day 21 : VELIKO TARNOVO – SOFIA – (240 km)

Breakfast. Drive towards Sofia. Lunch at local restaurant in Sofia. Individual free. Accommodation at the hotel.

Day 22 : SOFIA

Breakfast. Transfer to the airport for return flight.

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