You will start this Balkan adventure with a bang. With 1.7 million citizens, Belgrade is the largest city in Serbia, and one of the most fascinating places in the Balkans. Your day will be spent sightseeing and exploring the attractions of this mighty capital like the Serbian Orthodox church, the Temple of Saint Sava, the artists’ Skadarlija Street, the Old Palace, home to royal dynasties in Serbia’s monarchic days, the monumental National Theatre, the fortress Kalemegdan, and much more. After the 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
You will continue your exploration of Serbia on day two. You 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 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 centre
Entrance fee to the church on Bled Island
After breakfast, you will begin the 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. You will also stroll through Zagreb’s beautiful Old Town and take a look at the monumental gothic Zagreb Cathedral. You will also stop at Zagreb’s lush Botanical Gardens. You can enjoy the afternoon at your pace, enjoying the city or some of its museums.
Overnight in Ljubljana
Walking tour of Zagreb
Zagreb Old Town
Predjama Castle entrance fee
Ljubljana is a small city full of character and beautiful architecture. You will be able to compare the architectural and cultural influences of Ljubljana with those of Zagreb, as you walk around town and see some of Ljubljana’s most famous sights like the Prešeren Square and the Triple Bridge. You will also pay a visit to Ljubljana Castle which rests on the top of a hill in the middle of the old city center. It even has its own little vineyard! To top it off, you will finish the tour of Ljubljana with a boat ride on the Ljubljanica River, which will give you a chance to rest your feet and enjoy Ljubljana’s attractions from another perspective.
Walking tour of Ljubljana
Boat ride on Ljubljanica River
Ljubljana Old Town
After four days of city tours, it’s time to take a break in nature. After waking up in Ljubljana, you will commence on our picturesque drive to Bled, where you will first marvel at the famously romantic Bled Lake with its Bled Castle and Bled Island. You will take a boat ride across the lake with a traditional “pletna” boat to reach the island. Depending on your wishes, you can also visit the church on Bled Island. Afterward, you 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, known for its crystal clear waters, bright green pastures, and monumental mountains. After getting a fair share of fresh air, you 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. You will visit one of the most famous caves in the world, the Postojna Cave, and with a bit of luck, you’ll even see the “baby dragons” that rule these underground halls. You 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, you 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 the Plitvice adventure, you will continue your journey and head to Zadar, where you will have a free evening to unwind and explore this beautiful historic coastal city. A tip: take the time to check out Zadar’s fortifications that are listed among the UNESCO heritage sites as part of the Venetian Works of Defence.
Overnight in Zadar
Plitvice National Park entrance fee
Plitvice National Park
You will continue your Balkan adventure with another double feature, as you will see not one but two incredible historic harbor cities. You will first head from Zadar to Šibenik, famous for the Cathedral of St. James, a 15th-century stone church decorated with 71 sculptured faces, a building so impressive it has been listed as a UNESCO heritage site.
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 also 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, you will walk along the steps of history as you discover the UNESCO-protected 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
The tenth day of this grand tour will be dedicated to Croatia’s crown jewels – its islands, scattered along its coast in the Adriatic Sea, offering perfect vacation spots to tourists from all over the world. You will embark on a sailing tour that will take you to the breathtakingly beautiful Blue Cave on Bisevo Island, the idyllic Vis island, and the postcard-worthy Blue Lagoon on Budikovac island, where you will explore the crystal clear waters more in-depth, by snorkeling in the lagoon. The sailing tour will then take you to Hvar, one of the most popular islands in Croatia, where you will get some free time to discover the picturesque town. To finish off the day’s trip, you will sail around the Paklinski Islands, a group of around twenty small islands that are a true holiday paradise. After a day full of sunshine and adventures, you will return to Split.
Water on the boat
Blue Cave – Biševo Island
After experiencing a whirlwind of different cultures in Split and the Dalmatian vacation paradise, you will expand your horizons even further with Bosnia’s Turkish influences that are the result of the Ottoman invasions that started in the 14th century. You will start the day by driving through the incredibly scenic Neretva canyon and continue your way to Mostar. You 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. The bridge is so iconic it has been placed under UNESCO protection. You will end the day by driving to Sarajevo where you 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
Koski-Mehmet Pasha Mosque
You will wake up in one of the most fascinating places in the Balkans – the city of Sarajevo. Despite its tragic history filled with war and conflict, 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. You will embark on a tour through Sarajevo’s history and also visit the war tunnels along the way. You 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, you will head back to the 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
Your next destination is Dubrovnik. You will reach the city by lunchtime. On the walking tour of Dubrovnik, you will explore the beautiful historic architecture and stone-paved streets of the UNESCO-protected Old City of Dubrovnik, 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 their TV preferences.
Overnight in Dubrovnik
Walking tour of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik Walls entrance fee
Dubrovnik Old Town
Now, despite all of the amazing views and experiences you will be having, after two weeks, you will be happy to get a day off. That’s why we will prolong your stay in the spectacular Dubrovnik for another day and have some leisure time. This day is meant for you to recuperate your strength, and enjoy yourself however you choose. If that means that you’ll go on a solo adventure for the day, that’s great, but you can also opt for some of our tried and tested activities if you would like to make the most of your day that way. You can ride the cable car to the top of the hill above Dubrovnik to get the best views, or take a boat trip and explore Dubrovnik’s surroundings by water. And if the mention of Game of Thrones above caught your attention, there is a fascinating Game of Thrones tour you can go on.
Walking tour of Kotor
Bay of Kotor
Kotor Old Town
Budva Old Town
The fifteenth day of our Balkan tour will be dedicated to wondrous Montenegro. You will start the day off by driving around the Bay of Kotor and taking in the views in a sedentary position before continuing the 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. You will be able to trace the steps of the Venetians as you 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, you will head off to Budva where you will spend the evening either strolling Budva’s beaches and old town for a relaxed night.
Overnight in Budva
Walking tour of Tirana
Ulcinj Old Town
You can never get enough of a good thing – especially if that thing is as good as Montenegro beaches. That’s why you’ll spend another amazing day lounging, swimming, and relaxing by the sparkling Adriatic sea. You will explore the old town of Ulcinj, an ancient seaport. Depending on your mood you can spend some time in the town, or head to the beach and take in the sun. Later, you will go to Ada Bojana, an island that is part of Ulcinj and was created by a river delta. You will spend the rest of our day in Valdanos Bay which is also in the same area and is a true Dalmatian wonder – a beautiful rocky beach in the middle of an olive tree forest.
Overnight in Ulcinj
Walking tour of Skopje
Tirana city center
A new day, a new country. You will leave Budva in the morning and start your journey to Tirana, the capital of neighboring Albania. On the way, you will stop at Skadar Lake which lies on the border between Montenegro and Albania.
Once you reach Tirana, you will head out on a walking tour to explore this fascinating city. Tirana is a true mixture of influences, from classic roman architecture, and opulent mosques to communist architecture that often borders on brutalism. We will walk through the enormous Skanderbeg Square, and pass the brutalist Tirana Pyramid, and the Roman Fortress of Justinian. You will also take some time to relax in the Parku i Madh – the Grad Park of Tirana.
Overnight in Tirana
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 weariness. We will try our best to find the right balance between exploration and relaxation throughout our Balkan tour, but after two weeks you will definitely be in need of a chill day. And where better to chill than on a beach? Durres Beach, to be exact. You will spend the day lounging on the sandy Albanian shore and recharging your batteries for the final two days of travel.
After basking in the Albanian sun, you will go to Northern Macedonia to bathe in its lakes. Lake Ohrid, to be exact, 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
The penultimate day of our tour will be an easy-going one. You will relax by the beautiful Lake Ohrid, and get a chance to catch your breath and reminisce on the wonderful Balkan adventure you just had. You will have the option to wander around town, stroll along the beaches of the lake, go on a boat ride across the lake, hike in the area or spend your day visiting some of Ohrid’s many churches and museums.
Skopje city center
It wouldn’t be a proper “best of” tour if you didn’t finish with a bang. The 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. You 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, and 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 as one of its most vital parts – in the past as well as the present.
The Grand Balkan Trip offers you an in-depth first-hand experience of the Balkans, but the duration of the tour also allows for a more easy-going pace. In this case, quantity enables quality, because taking the time for a longer tour gives you the ability to enjoy it more instead of burning out after the first couple of days of intensive sightseeing.
This Balkan travel adventure includes seven countries, six capital cities, two national parks, eight UNESCO heritage sights, and countless incredible moments. Our program will mix days full of sightseeing with free days and afternoons, to ensure that you get the most out of your Balkan trip, and see all the amazing sights, while also having the time to explore these unforgettable locations on your own.
You’ll start the tour in Belgrade, Serbia’s impressive capital, and continue to Novi Sad, the second-largest Serbian city after Belgrade. After a day in Croatia’s capital Zagreb, you’ll make your way to Slovenia. Apart from its capital Ljubljana, you’ll also explore Slovenia’s natural beauty, its mesmerizing Alpine lakes Bled and Bohinj, and its majestic underground world in the world-famous Postojna Cave.
You’ll continue bonding with nature in Plitvice National Park in Croatia, a breathtakingly beautiful place full of turquoise terraced lakes, and ethereal waterfalls. You’ll leave behind Croatia’s freshwater wonders, and spend some time by the salt water of the Adriatic Sea. Croatia’s historic coastal cities like Šibenik, Split, and Dubrovnik are destined to charm you and make you wish you would spend all of your summer vacations here. To steal your heart completely, you’ll also sail around Hvar and its nearby Dalmatian islands.
With all the adventures described so far, you will still have four countries to visit! It is a grand Balkan trip after all.
Mostar and Sarajevo, two of the most lively, fascinating cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Balkans at large, will give you an insight into the cultural influences of the Ottoman Empire on the Balkans. Montenegro’s gorgeous coastal cities of Kotor, Budva, and Ulcinj will give you another taste of the Adriatic. In Albania and North Macedonia, you’ll dive into the different cultures of these countries in their capitals Tirana and Skopje, respectively. But you’ll also make sure to take advantage of Albania’s beautiful Durres beach, and Macedonia’s incredible Lake Ohrid, and take some time to relax.
We’ve tried to convey the beauty of the Balkans in the itinerary above, but you’ll only really believe it once you’ve seen it for yourself. The only thing left for you to do is to book your trip and pack your bags!