Day 1: ARRIVAL IN ZAGREB
Arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Free time to explore the capital of Croatia to kick off the Grand Balkan Tour. Accommodation in Zagreb.
Day 2: ZAGREB – OTOČEC – LJUBLJANA
After breakfast, a guided tour of Zagreb. Stroll through the old town of Zagreb called “Gornji grad” and get to know the Zagreb Cathedral, Saint Mark’s Church and King Tomislav Square. Finish the tour at the impossible-to-miss Josip Jelacic square in the heart of Zagreb and learn about the origin of the city’s name. Free time to experience the fusion of the continental and Mediterranean spirits that characterise this city. In the afternoon transfer to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. On the way, a short stop to visit the picturesque Otočec Castle situated on the island in the middle of the Krka River. Accommodation in Ljubljana.
Day 3: LJUBLJANA – BLED – LJUBLJANA
Breakfast. In the morning, transfer to the alpine village of Bled where you will visit its famous castle built on the high rock above the lake. Optionally you can also take a trip on the traditional boat, called “pletna”, to the island of Lake Bled and ring the wishing bell. In the afternoon, return to Ljubljana and stroll along the bands of Ljubljanica River, which runs through the old town. Among the numerous bridges you will cross, the one you will not forget is the miraculous Dragon Bridge, the symbol of Ljubljana. Accommodation in Ljubljana.
Day 4: LJUBLJANA – POSTOJNA – OPATIJA
After breakfast, visit the world-famous Postojna Cave, the largest European cave open to the public. Take a tour of the underground system, visiting the most beautiful parts of the cave, the Spaghetti Room, the Red Room and the White Room and admire the talented craftsmanship of Mother Nature. Before you leave, say hello to one of the most curious living beings that can be seen – olm or “the human fish” is a blind aquatic salamander that only lives in the karstic caves of the Balkan area. Later transfer to Predjama Castle – one of the most spectacular historical monuments in Slovenia – hanging on a rocky wall 123 meters above the creek. Learn about its most famous owner – lord Erasmus – known as the local Robin Hood, before heading back to Croatia. Opatija, an elegant town on the coast of the Adriatic Sea was a very popular place among the elite of Vienna at the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire due to its pleasant climate. Over time, its large palaces were turned into luxury hotels. Night in Opatija.
Day 5: OPATIJA – PLITVICE – SPLIT
Breakfast. Continue the Grand Balkan Tour with the visit of the unforgettable Plitvice National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The spectacular beauty of the lakes, waterfalls and channels that disappear and revive again will simply amaze you. After the visit of this aquatic phenomena, transfer to Split, the second largest city in Croatia with a long and impressive history. Accommodation in Split.
Day 6: SPLIT – TROGIR – SPLIT
Breakfast. In the morning, local guide will take you on a tour of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Split city center which used to be a magnificent Palace of Roman Emperor Diocletian built in the 4th century. A lot has changed since then, but you can still get the sense of the old times by peeking into the temple of Jupiter, old underground cellars and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius. In the afternoon, transfer to nearby Trogir – a harmonious stone medieval village located on an island, which is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage. It is known as a museum-city for its well-preserved Renaissance and Baroque buildings. Accommodation in Split.
Experience five countries of ex-Yugoslavia on this Grand Balkan Tour!
Day 7: SPLIT – DUBROVNIK
After breakfast it’s time to head south along the glorious Adriatic coast and meet Dubrovnik – the Jewel of the Adriatic, which has been attracting tourist long before it got known as The King’s Landing from the popular Game of Thrones series. In the UNESCO protected old town there are numerous elegant buildings including the Rector’s Palace and the Franciscan Monastery with one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. Afterwards, you can climb the walls of the old town to enjoy the spectacular views over the Adriatic Sea. Accommodation in Dubrovnik.
Day 8: DUBROVNIK – BAY OF KOTOR – DUBROVNIK
Breakfast. Take a daily excursion from Dubrovnik to the beautiful neighbouring country of Montenegro, with its southernmost fjord in the world. Visit the Venetian towns of Perast and Kotor and take a short boat tour to the small islet of Our Lady of the Rocks built by sailors in the middle ages. In the afternoon, return to Dubrovnik for the night.
Day 9: DUBROVNIK – MEDJUGORJE – BLAGAJ – MOSTAR
Breakfast. Departure from Dubrovnik to Bosnia and Herzegovina, stopping at the famous holy place of Medjugorje which attracts numerous Catholic pilgrims from all over the world due to most recent apparitions of the Virgin Mary. After lunch it’s time for a visit of the Dervish monastery located by the source of the Buna River and the famous town Mostar where ancient mosques and churches abound. Above all Mostar is known for its famous Old Bridge, which is the symbol of the union of two cultures, each on one side of the Neretva River. Night in Mostar.
Day 10: MOSTAR – SARAJEVO
After breakfast. Following the curves of the green Neretva River up north you will get to the capital city of Sarajevo. A local guide will show you the mysterious old town called Baščaršija, with the Turkish architecture that meets the buildings of Austro-Hungarian style. Sarajevo is characterised by three different cultures and religions as you will learn by visiting its mosques, Orthodox and Catholic churches. Sarajevo is also known as the city where WWI started when revolutionary activist Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife in 1914. After the tour it is time to try a typical local dish: čevapčiči or burek. Whitout this your Balkan Tour wouldn’t be complete… Accommodation in Sarajevo.
Day 11: SARAJEVO – VIŠEGRAD – DRVENGRAD – ZLATIBOR
Start the day with a cup of strong and delicious Bosnian coffee, served in artisan copper coffee makers. In the morning you will visit the famous War Tunnel that served as a connection for the inhabitants of Sarajevo with the unoccupied territory during the siege which lasted for almost 4 years in the 1990s Balkan War. Departing towards the border with Serbia, you will make a stop in Višegrad with its famous bridge listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon it’s time to pay a visit to Drvengrad or “Wood Town”, which was built by the famous film director Emir Kusturica. All the complexes are made with natural materials, mainly wood. We will continue through the Tara Natural Park, where you will board the Šargan 8 railway. This retro train from the 20th century will take you through Mount Šargan where you can enjoy mountain landscapes, tunnels and numerous viaducts. In the afternoon, we will make a short trip to the Zlatibor mountain, where Serbian royalty enjoyed their summer holidays. Accommodation at a local hotel.
Turbulent history, rich gastronomy and amazing landscapes – the Balkans awaits you!
Day 12: ZLATIBOR – SIROGOJNO – BELGRADO
After breakfast we will take a walk through the center of Zlatibor and then visit the town of Sirogojno, better known for its ethnological museum. We will visit the main exhibition of this fabulous open-air museum, where you’ll have free time to explore and enjoy the place at your own pace. Transfer to Belgrade. Free afternoon in the Serbian capital – enjoy a stroll through the city center and a traditional Serbian dinner in one of the local restaurants. Accommodation in Belgrade.
Day 13: BELGRADE
After breakfast it’s time for an extensive visit of Belgrade. To get a glimpse of its recent past we will first peak into the Yugoslavia History Museum and the House of Flowers – a memorial complex dedicated to the life of Josip Broz Tito. Later we will continue with the visit to the Temple of Saint Sava – one of the largest orthodox churches in the world, visible from practically any angle of the city. After lunch and a panoramic tour of central Belgrade we will continue the tour on foot along Knez Mihailova Street, an area of shops and bars. Last stop is the Kalemegdan Park and its fortress – a building of great historical and cultural value located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. Night in Belgrade.
Day 14: BELGRADE – SREMSKI KARLOVIC – NOVI SAD – ZAGREB
Breakfast. In the morning we will leave Belgrade and head to the Serbia’s northern province of Vojvodina, dotted with numerous orthodox monasteries. Quick visit to Sremski Karlovci, a baroque city of great cultural and spiritual treasure. Later it’s time for Novi Sad, probably the trendiest town of Serbia. Once part of both Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, Novi Sad is full of great architectural wealth completed with the mighty Petrovaradin fortress which guards the town from the rock above the Danube. Transfer to Zagreb to finish the circle of the Grand Balkan Tour. Night in Zagreb.
Day 15: ZAGREB – DEPARTURE
Free time in Zagreb before transfer to the airport for your return flight. End of Grand Balkan Tour.
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If you want to get to know the Balkans also from the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, combine this itinerary with a small ship cruise in Croatia.