We will begin our tour in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. First, we’ll head out on a walking tour, so we get a feel for the city. We will cover all the main attractions like the Serbian Orthodox church, the Temple of Saint Sava, the Old Palace, which was home to royal dynasties when Serbia was still a monarchy, the gorgeous Skadarlija Street – Belgrade’s very own Montmartre, the mighty National Theatre, the fortress Kalemegdan, and much more. After our comprehensive tour, you will have free time to roam the city on your own or visit one of its many great museums.
Overnight in Belgrade
Walking tour of Belgrade
Temple of Saint Sava
We will continue our exploration of Serbia on day two. We will take an hour-long drive north of Belgrade to reach Serbia’s second largest city, Novi Sad. We will then embark on a walking tour that will allow us to stretch our legs and see the sights. Novi Sad is famous for its cultural diversity, and this is exemplified in its different places of worship which we will see – the Roman Catholic gothic Church of the Name of Mary, the orthodox Bishop’s Palace, and the Novi Sad Synagogue. After covering the rest of Novi Sad’s main attractions like the Freedom Square, and the Petrovaradin Fortress, we will start our drive to Zagreb where we will spend the night.
Overnight in Zagreb
Walking tour of Novi Sad
Novi Sad city center
Entrance fee to the church on Bled Island
The third day packs a tour of not just one, but two capital cities. After breakfast, we will begin our tour of Zagreb, and see some of its most famous attractions like the centuries-old Ban Jelačić Square which is the center of Zagreb’s downtown pedestrian zone. We will also stroll through Zagreb’s beautiful Old Town and take a look at the monumental gothic Zagreb Cathedral. We will rest our feet during our approximately 2-hour long drive to Ljubljana. Ljubljana is a small city full of character and beautiful architecture. We will be able to compare the architectural and cultural influences of Ljubljana with those of Zagreb, as we walk around town and see some of Ljubljana’s most famous sights like the Prešeren Square and the Triple Bridge.
Overnight in Ljubljana
Walking tour of Zagreb
Walking tour of Ljubljana
Zagreb Old Town
Ljubljana Old Town
Predjama Castle entrance fee
After three days of city tours, it’s time to take a break in nature. After waking up in Ljubljana we will commence on our picturesque drive to Bled, where we will first marvel at the famously romantic Bled Lake with its Bled Castle and Bled Island. Afterwards, we will head even deeper into the Julian Alps, first to the breathtakingly beautiful and breathtakingly cold Lake Bohinj in Triglav National Park, the only national park in Slovenia, which is known for its crystal clear waters, bright green pastures, and monumental mountains. After getting our fair share of fresh air, we will return to Ljubljana to get a good night’s rest.
Bled Island boat ride
Vintgar Gorge entrance fee
Triglav National Park
Our next adventure awaits underground. We will visit one of the most famous caves in the world, the Postojna Cave, and with a bit of luck, we’ll even see the “baby dragons” that rule these underground halls. We will also stop by the Predjama Castle, a medieval castle that was built into the rock face and holds the title of the biggest cave castle in the world. A perfect place to spar up your imagination and revisit your childhood fantasies of knights and princesses. After our fairytale-like adventure, we will head on to Opatija, a seaside resort that was very popular among the 19th century upper classes who filled the town with pastel bourgeois Habsburg-era villas.
Overnight in Opatija
Postojna Cave entrance fee
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is famous for its stunning terraced lakes and incredible waterfalls that link them. A day in the serenity of this natural wonderland will recharge your batteries, and offer up views you won’t be able to stop thinking about for days to come.
After our Plitvice adventure, we will continue our journey and head to Zadar, where you will have a free evening to unwind and explore this beautiful historic coastal city.
Overnight in Zadar
Plitvice Lakes National Park entrance fee
We continue our Balkan adventure with another double feature, as we will see not one but two incredible historic harbor cities. We will first head from Zadar to Šibenik, famous for the Cathedral of St. James, a 15th century stone church decorated with 71 sculptured faces. Trogir’s old city center is known for its Renaissance, baroque and Romanesque architecture. You can also admire parts of the original medieval city wall. Trogir’s historic center is even protected as a UNESCO heritage site, because of its Venetian architecture.
Overnight in Split
Walking tour of Šibenik
Walking tour of Trogir
Šibenik Old Town
Trogir Old Town
Another day, another unforgettable historic city. On our Split tour, we will walk along the steps of history as we discover the Roman Diocletian’s Palace, the Riva promenade from Napoleon’s time, and Split’s Old Town which tells the story of a city that was under the rule of Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine, the Kingdom of Croatia, the Republic of Venice, the French Empire, the Austrian Empire, and Yugoslavia before it finally became part of independent Croatia.
Walking tour of Split
Temple of Jupiter entrance fee
Split Old Town
After experiencing a whirlwind of different cultures in Split, we will expand our horizons even further with Bosnia’s Turkish influences that are the result of the Ottoman invasions that started in the 14th century. We will start our day by driving through the incredibly scenic Neretva canyon and continue our way to Mostar. We will take a walk through Mostar’s Old Town, which is famous for its unique architecture, as the city is built around (and over) the Neretva River. It is not surprising that the Old Bridge which connects the two river banks is the central part of Mostar. We will end the day by driving to Sarajevo where we will spend the night.
Overnight in Sarajevo
Walking tour of Mostar
Koski-Mehmet Pasha Mosque entrance fee
Franciscan Church Bell Tower entrance fee
Mostar Old Town
Franciscan Church Bell Tower
Koski-Mehmet Pasha Mosque
We will wake up in one of the most fascinating places in the Balkans – the city of Sarajevo. Despite its tragic history, Sarajevo is a place that bustles with life, whether you’re just walking down the street or if you’re on the iconic Baščaršija marketplace. We will embark on a tour through Sarajevo’s history and also visit the war tunnels along the way. We will also visit the Svrzo House and see how a typical Muslim family in Sarajevo lived in the time of the Ottoman Empire. After visiting some more museums, the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, and the Cathedral of Jesus’ Heart we will head back to our hotel to spend another night in Sarajevo.
Walking tour of Sarajevo
5 museum ticket (Brusa Bezistan
Sarajevo Tunnel entrance fee
Sarajevo city center
Sarajevo war tunnels
Our next destination is Dubrovnik. We will reach the city by lunchtime. On our walking tour of Dubrovnik, we will explore the beautiful historic architecture and stone-paved streets of the Old Town, and pay a visit to the famous Dubrovnik City Walls. Dubrovnik is most famous for serving as one of the sets for Game of Thrones, so fans of the show are definitely in for a treat, but we are certain everyone will be enthralled by Dubrovnik, regardless of your TV preferences.
Overnight stay in Dubrovnik
Walking tour of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik city walls entrance fee
Dubrovnik Old Town
The twelfth day of our Balkan tour will be dedicated to the wondrous Montenegro. We will start the day off by driving around the Bay of Kotor, and taking in the views in a sedentary position before we continue our exploration on foot. Kotor is an ancient city, and it’s even included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list as part of the Venetian works of defense. We will be able to trace the steps of the Venetians as we climb the Walls of Kotor, the shell of this fortified city. As this is quite a demanding tour, only those who feel up to it will tackle the walls, while the rest will have some time off. After getting to know Kotor we will head off to Budva where we will spend the evening either strolling Budva’s beaches and old town for a relaxed night.
Overnight in Budva
Walking tour of Kotor
Bay of Kotor
Kotor Old Town
Budva Old Town
New day, new country. We will leave Budva in the morning and start our journey to Tirana, the capital of neighboring Albania. On the way, we will stop at Skadar Lake which lies on the border between Montenegro and Albania.
Once we reach Tirana we will head out on a walking tour to explore this fascinating city. Tirana is a true mixture of influences, from classic roman architecture, opulent mosques to communist architecture that often borders on brutalism. We will walk through the enormous Skanderbeg Square, pass the brutalist Tirana Pyramid, and the Roman Fortress of Justinian. We will also take some time to relax in the Parku i Madh – the Grad Park of Tirana.
Overnight in Tirana
Walking tour of Tirana
Tirana city center
We all know that feeling of becoming completely drained while traveling. You want to go out to explore, and you’re desperate not to miss anything, but even your curiosity doesn’t quite measure up with your tiredness. We will try our best to find the right balance between exploration and relaxation throughout our Balkan tour, but after two weeks we’ll all be in need of a chill day. And where better to chill but on a beach? Durres Beach, to be exact. We will spend the day lounging on the sandy Albanian shore and recharging our batteries for our final two days of travel.
Walking tour of Skopje
After basking in the Albanian sun, we will go to Northern Macedonia to bathe in its lakes. Lake Ohrid that is, an incredibly beautiful lake that has been the destination of holiday-makers for centuries, with a resort town of the same name resting on its shore. Ohrid is a historic little town by the lake, famous for its cobblestone streets, steep staircases, and its preposterous number of churches, like the beautiful Church of Saint John the Theologian, and the ruins of the Church of Saint Sophia. And of course, the Ohrid pearls, known worldwide for their unique production process.
Overnight in Ohrid
It wouldn’t be a proper “best of” tour if we didn’t finish with a bang. Our final day will be spent in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia. Skopje is a mighty capital that can compete with the grandest European cities, which you will be able to see for yourself on our tour. We will marvel at monumental architectural landmarks like the Porta Macedonia, the Macedonia Square, and the Stone Bridge, imposing statues of great leaders like Alexander the Great and Phillip II, incredible historic monuments, like the Skopje Fortress. After our 16-day exploration of the Balkans and final tour of Skopje, you won’t see the Balkans as the periphery of Europe anymore, but one of its most vital parts – in the past as well as the present.
Skopje city center
The Balkans have so much to offer it can seem impossible to make a Balkan travel plan that covers all the bases. And in some ways, it is, as it would take a lifetime to truly get to know this region and its ways. But we’re guessing you don’t have a lifetime to spare, so here’s the next best thing!
In this ultimate Balkan trip we’re going to explore the region’s nature, culture, and history, along with six amazing capitals in just sixteen days.
On our tour, we will visit all the former Jugoslav republics as well as the beachy Albania. We’ll start our adventure in Serbia, a former monarchy with all the mighty architecture to show for it. After exploring its two largest cities, Belgrade, and Novi Sad, we’ll head to the much smaller but equally impressive Slovenia. On our way, we’ll also stop in Zagreb, for a teaser of Croatia before we really dig into its heavenly seaside later on in the tour.
After getting to know Slovenia’s lovely capital Ljubljana, and its mesmerizing Alpine world full of breathtaking glacial lakes, magical forests, and awe-inspiring mountains, as well as the mysterious underground of the Postojna Cave, we’ll head back to Croatia. After a night in the bourgeois seaside resort of Opatija, we’ll head to the incredible Plitvice National Park for another dose of picture-perfect natural scenery.
Istria and Dalmatia, are a paradise for anyone who loves historic little towns with romantic narrow stone-paved streets, a relaxed, no-fuss atmosphere, and plenty of sunshine with sparkly blue seas offering refreshment just a step away. And since that is pretty much everyone, we’re guaranteed to have the time of our lives exploring the Croatian Adriatic coast in towns like Split and Dubrovnik, as well as Kotor and Budva in Montenegro, and the sandy Durres beach in Albania.
And that’s not all! Our Balkan holiday will also include the Turkish influences of Mostar and Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the fascinating mixture of Italian, Greek, Roman, Italian, and Brutalist architecture in Tirana, the capital of Albania, and the central European-like splendor of Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia as well as the country’s proverbial pearl, Lake Ohrid.
So, the only thing left for you to do is to book your tour, and join us on the trip through the best of the Balkans!