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BALKAN TOUR (EX-YU)

  • Destination: Balkan tour, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Croatia
  • Duration: 13 days

Six countries, once a part of the Yugoslav federation, today independent republic with so much in common and yet with so many differences. Enjoy this voyage of diversities and beauty.

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Day 1
Arrival to Dubrovnik Airport. Transfer to hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 2
Breakfast and guided city tour. The Old Town of Dubrovnik, listed on UNESCO’s list of cultural heritage, surrounded by ramparts and fortresses, is a treasure of architectural and cultural masterpieces, well preserved over the centuries. Besides visits of the Franciscan Monastery with one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe as well as the Rector’s Palace many other sights of interest will make the group feel like they have been set back in time. Departure to Mostar. Lunch in Ston – village famous for its medieval fortifications and maybe even more for its oyster parks. An exhilarating journey full of contrasts – rugged coastal area gradually melting into fertile greens of Neretva Valley full of scented citrus fruit and kiwi plantations. On arrival to Bosnia and Herzegovina a brief visit to Počitelj will remind you of 5 centuries of Eastern cultural influence on these territories. The most memorable part of the trip is visit to Mostar itself, also known as the “melting pot of cultures”. Guided tour including Turkish house and one of several cities mosque followed by lunch in the Old town. Predominantly influenced by centuries long Turkish rule, tall, slim minarets reaching for the sky, cobbled bazaar street with rhythmic tapping of hammers against copper plates as they are being transformed into pretty souvenirs, houses with ornate wooden balconies will all remind you of times gone by. This truly is a place where East meets West. Continuation to Sarajevo. Accommodation in a hotel, dinner / overnight.
Day 3
This morning we will visit Sarajevo, a real crossroad of nations and cultures. For over four hundred years, mosques, synagogues, Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches have been built and have stood side by side here. However the population of this town often depended on the historical and geopolitical situations and the great-power interests. That is why in Sarajevo, on the banks of Miljacka the I. World War started by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in 1914. Assassination place, mosque and Svrzo house – an example of typical Bosnian home will be visited during the city tour. Lunch and continuation to Plitvice lakes National park. Upon arrival sightseeing of National Park Plitvice that is inscribed on the List of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. While on Plitvice lakes the group will have a possibility to see16 beautiful lakes of crystal blue-green color that lie in a valley between high forested mountains and cascade into 92 spectacular waterfalls. You will enjoy the exceptional beauty of the lakes and waterfalls, rich plant and animal life, contrasting colors, forests and the pure mountain air. An inescapable part will be a walk on the wooden promenades to view majestic waterfalls where every turn leads to breathtaking scenery and yet another waterfall. Diner and overnight in the hotel.
Day4
Breakfast and drive to Zagreb. Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of Croatia. Zagreb is the cultural, scientific, economic and governmental centre of the Republic of Croatia. Its favorable geographic position in the south-western part of the Pannonian Basin, which extends to the Alpine, Dinaric, Adriatic and Pannonic regions, provides an excellent connection for traffic between Central Europe and the Adriatic Sea. The historical part of the city to the north of Ban Jelačić Square is comprised of the Upper Town and Kaptol, a medieval urban complex of churches, palaces, museums, galleries and government buildings that are popular with tourists on sightseeing tours. The old town’s streets and squares can be reached on foot, starting from Jelačić Square, the central part and the heart of Zagreb, or by a funicular on nearby Tomićeva Street.
Day 5
Day excursion to Ljubljana – capital of ex Yugoslav republic of Slovenia, first one that voted for independence. Just a few people really know how many castles there are in Ljubljana, and it is said there must be about a dozen of them directly in the district. The best know is however the Ljubljana castle that dominates the old town is. Tromostovje (triple bridge district) is maybe the most unusual part of the town), St Nicolas Cathedral, Presern ‘s square are some of the sites you will have the opportunity to visit. Return to Zagreb for dinner and overnight.
Day 6
Early breakfast and drive to Serbia. After passing the fertile planes of Slavonia and Srijem we’ll reach Belgrade at lunch time. One of the oldest cities of Europe, with a continuous documented history of 7,000 years Belgrade’s wider city area was the birthplace of one of the largest prehistoric culture of Europe, the Vinča culture. Kalemegdan fortress constructed during Turkish domination at the place where Danube meets its tributary Sava, The Republic Square with the monument dedicated to Prince Mihajlo, National Theatre, St Sava – the third largest Orthodox church of Europe or the famous Knez Mihajlova street will be visited during this afternoon. Dinner in a Bohemian quarter Skadarlija. Overnight.
Day 7
Leaving the Serbian capital we’ll drive to Oplenac. The silence and shades of an old park became the last home of numerous members of Karađorđević dynasty that ruled in Serbia until the beginning of II world war. Six generations of the Karađorđević family have been buried in this church. Besides being the last home of the royal family the church of Saint George is also known by its mosaics representing the copies of most beautiful medieval frescoes. Lunch and continuation to Vrnjačka Banja – spa for dinner and overnight.
Day 8
This morning we will drive through the Republic of Kosovo, the youngest European country which proclaimed independence in 2008. Visit of the monastery of Gračanica and its fresco paintings from 14 the century. It was during the rule of Serbian emperor Dusan that the medieval state reached its Golden age including the territories between Danube river, Adriatic and Ionian sea. Dušan’s capital was Skopje, playing the same role today – as a capital city of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Dinner and overnight in Skopje.
day 9
Breakfast followed by guided city tour of Skopje. It lies on the upper course of the Vardar River and is located on a major north – south Balkan route between Belgrade and Athens. Already in II. cent. B.C: there had been a Roman settlement of Scupi which unfortunately disappeared in a disastrous earthquake in 518. However this would not be the only one to happen in Skopje. Again in 1967 the city lived the same tragedy. Today Skopje is the best example of Macedonian contrasts. There you can admire the skill of the author of wooden altar of Saint Savior church, the emperor Samuel’s fortress or mosques and Turkish baths dating from the period of Ottoman rule. Lunch and drive to Ohrid. Dinner and overnight in a hotel by the Ohrid Lake.
Day 10
The day will be spent visiting the town that was called Lychnidos already in Greek time. It is the rising sun and its splendid shine that gave the name to this real pearl of traditional architecture. Relations with Byzantine empire were stressed by the construction of Sainte Sofia church considered to be the master piece of Byzantine architecture. Lunch in a restaurant serving famous Ohrid trout. Afternoon continuation of the guided visit – Saint Clement church famous for its frescoes and Saint Naum .This last one was built on the place where two Greeks Cyril and Method, founders of cyrillique alphabet lived and taught their first disciples. Dinner/overnight.
Day 11
Today we will be passing through two countries and by two lakes. Leaving the town of Ohrid / Macedonia the tour continues through Albania and following the banks of the lake Skadar. Lunch in Shkodra well known by the Rozafa fortress where a young patrician girl had to be sacrificed so that the fortress could be completed. Two countries are sharing the Scutari lake: Albania and Montenegro where we will spend the night. Dinner and overnight in Montenegro.
Day 12
Morning visit of Cetinje – former montenegrian capital where the last King Nicolas lived untill 1916. Further we will visit of the most beautiful stone towns on Adriatic coast – Kotor. The Old City of Kotor is a well preserved urbanization typical of the Middle Ages, built between the 12th and 14th century. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor and UNESCO listed “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site”. Later in the afternoon arrival to Dubrovnik. Farewell dinner and overnight.
Day 13
After the breakfast transfer to Dubrovnik airport.
Service
Services: Half board, tourist tax, welcome drink, tour guide, guided tour of Dubrovnik, Mostar including Turkish house, Sarajevo, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Belgrade, Oplenac, monastery of Gračanica, Skopje, Ohrid, Cetinje and Kotor. Entrances to Plitvice lakes national park including electric boat and ship ride, Rozata fortress, lunch in Ston.