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Cultural Tour from Serbia to Croatia

offered by supplier M21670 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 14 - 24 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 12 people
Destination(s): Serbia   Macedonia   Albania  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 4995 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 9585 US Dollar (USD)

The Balkans are a region of stunning landscapes, great ethnic and cultural diversity, which is reflected in a variety of religions, cuisines, colorful costumes and traditions and above all true hospitality. Travelling through the heart of former Yugoslavia and Albania, we discover countries that have been shaped by a rich but turbulent history. Against a backdrop of jagged mountain peaks and dramatic coastlines, we explore several UNESCO World Heritage cities, fascinating old towns, and great cultural diversity. We will discover the legacy left by Greco-Roman Antiquity, various Medieval Kingdoms, the Republic of Venice, the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, as well as the Twentieth Century, as we travel through Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania. A visit to the “Republika Srpska” has also been included. With 16 UNESCO World Heritage Sites included, our Balkan Mosaic tour has been tailored to offer you the region in three part, feel free to take the complete tour or choose individual segments of this incredible Mosaic.

Day 1: Arrive Belgrade (Serbia).
We are warmly received and transferred to our hotel. Charming Belgrade has been the capital of Serbia since 1403. The afternoon is free to explore this beautiful and romantic city. Overnight: Hotel Moskva, Belgrade (2 nights).

Day 2: Belgrade.
Our in-depth Balkan Mosaic tour starts with a drive through New Belgrade which is located on the left bank of the River Sava. Then at the old part of the town, we stop at the Memorial Complex of Josip Broz Tito, the legendary president of Yugoslavia. On our way to the center of the city, we will see the new St. Sava Church, the third largest Orthodox Church in Europe; the Former Federal Assembly Building of Yugoslavia, the Church of St. Marko, the Royal Palaces of the Serbian dynasties until WWII, and Terazije Square. In the afternoon we walk from elegant Republic Square, which is surrounded by the National Theatre and the National Museum. We will stroll along Knez Mihajlova Street, the main shopping and meeting place. We then visit the old quarter, walking by the 'Question mark sign' Inn, Princess Ljubica's Residence, as well as the Patriarchy and the Orthodox Cathedral, and explore at Kalemegdan Fortress, the symbol of Belgrade, situated at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. We start in the Upper fortress area followed by the Eastern Ward, the Nebojsa Tower, the Baroque Gate of Karl VI, and the remains of the medieval metropolitan palace. In the evening we enjoy a welcome dinner at the local Bohemian quarters of Skadarlija with Serbian cuisine and music. (B, D)

Day 3: Belgrade/Visegrad (Bosnia and Herzegovina)/Zlatibor (Serbia) (Drive).
Today will be for rail and steam buffs, photographers and nature lovers. We start with a ride on the “Sarganska Osmica”, an old and narrow gauge steam train, which travels through 20 tunnels, 10 bridges through beautiful landscapes. We cross the Drina River into the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina to visit the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge of Višegrad*. Built at the end of the 16th century, the bridge has 11 masonry arches and is a representative masterpiece of Sinan, one of the greatest architects and engineers of the classical Ottoman period. We then ascend Mount Zlatibor National Park and visit an open-air museum displaying traditional architecture, handicrafts, and world famous hand-knitted clothes. We walk through the village before checking into our hotel. Overnight: Hotel Staro Selo or Hotel Mecavnik, Zlatibor (1 night) (B, D).

Day 4: Zlatibor/Novi Pazar (Drive).
We visit the Monastery Studenica, a complex consisting of the Churches of the Virgin, Saints Joachim and Anne and St. Nicholas. We then head to Novi Pazar and take an evening walking tour of the town. Overnight: Hotel Tadz, Novi Pazar (1 night) (B, D).

Day 5: Novi Pazar/Pec (Kosovo) (Drive).
A short drive gets us to one of the most treasured sacral buildings of the Nemanjić era, the Monastery Sopoćani, featuring magnificent medieval murals. After the visit of the monastery, we continue to Kosovo, Europe’s newest country. The Medieval Monuments in Kosovo are world renowned for their beauty. Overnight: Hotel Dukagjini, Pec (1 night) (B, D).

Day 6: Pec/Pristina/Skopje (Macedonia).
We visit Dečani Monastery and the Patriarchate of Peć. Dečani Church boasts some of the richest and most well preserved Romanesque-Gothic sculptures. At the Patriarchate of Peć, we visit the oldest church built in the 13th Century. Drive to the capital city of Pristina we stroll along its streets and Main Square. We visit the 14th Century Monastery of Gracanica, which represents the apex of Serbian buildings that followed the spirit of the Byzantine tradition. We then head into Macedonia and drive to Skopje, its capital. Overnight: Hotel Solun, Skopje (1 night) (B, D).

Day 7: Skopje/Ohrid (Drive).
In the morning we walk through the old town “Charshi”, visiting the Stone Bridge built by the Ottomans, the Church of St. Spas, the Old Bazaar, Fortress Kale, Mustapha Pasha Mosque dating to 1492 and the Daut Pasa Baths (only from the outside). After our visit, we head to Ohrid. Overnight: Hotel Vila Mal Sv. Kliment or Hotel Royal View, Ohrid (2 nights) (B, D).

Day 8: Ohrid.
Start with a walking tour around the old town-museum of Ohrid. The old part of the town was known in ancient times as Lychnidos, the City of Lights. Slavs gave it the name of Arida in the 10th Century. It is here where the Cyrillic Alphabet was created by the brothers Cyril and Methody. Ohrid is also known as the City of 365 Churches, and we visit St. Kliment, St. Sophia and St. Panteleimon, as well as the Tsar Smuili Fortress. Our stroll culminates at the local bazaar. Afternoon is free at leisure. (B, D)

Day 9: Ohrid/Berat (Albania)/Tirana (Drive).
We drive around Lake Ohrid, enter Albania and visit Berat*, known as a “City of 1001 windows”. The town is built on the slopes of mountain Timori, with a castle dominating the city. We see paintings by Onufri, an outstanding painter from the 16th Century, as well as paintings from his son Nikolla. In the old part of the town, we visit several Byzantine churches and continue to Tirana. Overnight: Hotel Tirana International, Tirana (2 nights) (B, D).

Day 10: Tirana/Durres/Tirana (Drive).
We take a scenic drive to Durres (formerly Durrazzo), Albania’s second largest city and one of its oldest towns. It was for centuries the largest port on the Adriatic. Our visit here includes the Roman Amphitheatre. In Tirana we visit Skanderbeg Square in the center of the town, the 1789 old Mosque of Et’hem Bey, the 1830 Clock Tower and the Palace of Culture housing the Opera (view from the outside only). Evening at leisure. (B, D)

Day 11: Tirana/Kruja/Shkoder/Budva (Drive) (Montenegro).
Today we visit the charming little town of Kruja, perched high on the face of a hill. In the 15th Century, Kruja was the center of Albanian resistance led by Skanderbeg against the Ottoman Turks and we visit the museum named after him. We continue to Budva after crossing the border to Montenegro. Overnight: Hotel Budva, Budva (2 nights) (B, D).

Day 12: Budva/Cetinje/Kotor/Budva.
We explore Budva, a medieval town filled with narrow streets and stone buildings placed around the main cathedral with shops and taverns surrounding the streets. A scenic drive gets us to Cetinje, capital of Montenegro during the Njegoš era. We visit the royal palace of King Nikola II, last King of Montenegro and travel to Kotor*, a town inhabited since the Illyrian and Roman times. Our walk through the city takes us back to the Middle Ages. We visit the Cathedral of St. Tryphon and stroll through the lovely streets, before our return to Budva. (B, D)

Day 13: Budva/Trebinje (Bosnia and Herzegovina)/Medjugorje/Mostar (Drive).
We drive along picturesque Boka Bay and then head inland through the mountains where we cross the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina. Here we will visit the village of Medjugorje, a major Roman Catholic pilgrimage center. It is reputed that in 1981, several local children received messages from Virgin Mary. We then travel to Mostar to see the old Ottoman bridge, built in 1557 during the times of Suleiman the Magnificent to unify the communities residing along the Neretva River. Overnight: Hotel City or Hotel Eden, Mostar (1 night) (B, D).

Day 14: Mostar/Sarajevo (Drive).
We drive along River Neretva and the Bosnian Mountains to Sarajevo. Enchanting Sarajevo is a miniature version of Istanbul. We take a walking tour of Sarajevo. This magical town with all its charms takes us instantly back to the Ottoman days as we visit beautiful Ottoman mosques, old quarters and the authentic Turkish “carsija”, with its oriental sweets shops, cafes and traditional Bosnian food. Sarajevo is also a town where for over 400 years mosques, orthodox churches, roman-catholic churches, and synagogues have been standing together. We also visit the site where on June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie were assassinated, an event that triggered the First World War. Free afternoon. Overnight: Hotel Europe, Sarajevo (1 night) (B, D).

Segment Two: Croatia and Slovenia.

Day 15: Sarajevo/Dubrovnik (Drive) (Croatia).
For those taking only the first segment of the Balkan Mosaic, you are transferred to airport for your flight. For those continuing on the second leg, we start with a scenic drive to Dubrovnik, the enchanting resort and historical city on the Adriatic Sea. Overnight: Hotel Rixos, Dubrovnik (2 nights) (B).

Day 16: Dubrovnik.
Enjoy a walking tour through the old walled heart of Dubrovnik. Here all motor vehicles are banned. Our vehicle drops us outside the Pile Gate where we visit the old walled town, where we will be viewing from the outside of many of the sites including Franciscan Monastery, housing one of the world's oldest pharmacies, the Old Harbour, St. Laurence Fortress, the Sponza and Rector's Palace and other points of interest. Dubrovnik is the best-preserved walled city in Europe. Afternoon is free to explore on your own allowing to explore the many sites on your own. (B)

Day 17: Dubrovnik/Split or Trogir (Drive).
After a leisurely day on the beautiful Adriatic Coast, we drive to Split. A picturesque drive takes through coastal villages and we make a brief stop at the town of Makarska before reaching the old town of Split or Trogir. Overnight: Hotel President or Hotel Globo, Split or Hotel Pasike, Trogir (2 nights) (B).

Day 18: Split.
Split is a vibrant city, with Diocletian’s Palace* at its heart. The old town features some of the most outstanding classical architecture in the world. It was in 295 AD that the Roman emperor Diocletian started to build his palace on the Dalmatian Coast. After his abdication in 305, the retired emperor left Nicomedia and settled in the palace, intending to spend the rest of his life there. We visit the impressive cellars of the palace to get an idea of the original structure, the Baptistery of St. John and the Cathedral of St. Domnius. Afternoon is free to enjoy the traditional markets of Split. (B)

Day 19: Split or Trogir/Opatija (Drive).
Another interesting day ahead as we visit the medieval town of Trogir*, which has changed little over the years. Life here revolves around Narodni Trg, a creamy-white square flanked by the Cathedral, Communal Palace and Loggia. We visit the 13th Century Venetian Cathedral of St. Lovro, located on Ivana Pavla Square.
Our next stop is at the Cathedral of St James in Šibenik*. We continue to in Zadar, the ancient capital of Dalmatia. The town offers a variety of architectural styles, with Corinthian columns standing alongside Romanesque churches. We conclude our scenic drive along the Adriatic Sea to Opatija. Overnight: Hotel Cristal, Opatija (1 night) (B).

Day 20: Opatija/Pula/Rovinji/Porec (Drive).
We starts our tour with Pula, featuring an impressive 1st Century Roman Amphitheatre overlooking the harbour.
We drive to Rovinj to enjoy a walking tour of this mostly Italian speaking town, where shops line the narrow streets of the old town selling local wines, grappa, the region's tasty olive oil and truffles. Above the old town stands the Gothic church, the Basilica of Santa Euphemia, dating back to the Oratory of St Maur, a secret place of worship from the time when Christianity was banned. Overnight: Hotel Palazzo, Porec (2 nights) (B).

Day 21: Porec.
Today we get to explore the town of Porec, the ancient Decumanus still runs straight through the center and the Roman forum. We visit the Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Poreč*. Later we visit the picturesque old villages of Groznjan and Motovun. (B)

Day 22: Porec/Postojna/Ljubljana (Slovenia) (Drive).
We take a scenic coastal drive along the coast then cross into Slovenia. We then visit Lipica Stud Farm, and head to the Postojna Caves, an exceptional system of limestone caves and is one of the most famous area in the world for the study of karstic phenomena. The system is a series of caverns, halls and passages some 27 km long hollowed out by the Pivka River, which enters a subterranean tunnel near the entrance. Overnight: Hotel Union or Hotel City, Ljubljana (1 night) (B).

Day 23: Ljubljana/Bled (Drive).
We start the day with a tour of "Bela Ljubjana." A drive through the streets of this sunny city reminds us of the buildings of both Vienna and Prague. The difference, however, is that the Slovene capital is tiny by comparison, small enough to be easily visited on foot. We go up to the city's highest point to visit the 16th century castle, then descend to the lower city to see Trg Naradnih Herojev, the square housing one of the world’s newest parliaments. We continue on foot to visit the old town with its large university, philharmonic hall, the square of the three bridges and explore the open air and indoor city markets. Next, we travel to Lake Bled. Reflecting the high peaks of the Julian Alps, the lake has always been considered sacred to the locals. We start with a visit to the castle perched on a cliff overlooking the town. Offering stunning views of the lake, the castle is also home to a small historical museum with artifacts dating back to the time of the Romans. At the shores of Lake Bled, we embark on a boat ride to Slovenia's only island, home to a Baroque church dedicated to Our Lady of the Lake. Overnight: Hotel Park, Bled (1 night) (B).

Day 24: Bled/Plitvice Lakes (Croatia) (Drive).
Another interesting day as we leave Slovenia and cross back into Croatia and conclude our scenic drive in the enchanting Plitvice Lakes area. Overnight: Hotel Park, Bled (1 night) (B).

Day 25: Plitvice Lakes/Zagreb (Drive).
Today we walk through the Plitvice Lakes, sixteen lakes join the other in a series of cascading waterfalls surrounded by dense woods. Wooded paths follow the succession of lakes and waterfalls where streams burst out of rocks creating a unique place. In the afternoon we explore Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, visiting the Zagreb Cathedral, the Dolac Market, St. Mark’s Church and the Lotrscak Tower. Overnight: Hotel Palace or Hotel Dubrovnik, Zagreb (1 night) (B).

Day 26: Depart Zagreb.
Completing our remarkable journey through the history in the Balkans, we are transferred to Zagreb airport for our onward flight. (B)

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Tour Price Includes:
- Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
- 38 Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast, D=Dinner)
- All sightseeing and transfers by private transportation
- Services of local English speaking guides cum drivers
- Entrance fees to museums and sites included in the itinerary

Not Included:
- International airfares
- Insurance/visas
- Tips/gratuities

About This Supplier
Location: Canada
Joined InfoHub: Jul 2017

Since 1978, our company has been offering small group tours that bridge cultural divides through people-to-people contact.Bestway was voted as one of Canada’s Top Ten Adventure Operators by the Canadian Travel Industry in 2014 and holds long-standing memberships with the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies. They...

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