Home  »  By Country  »  Bulgaria  »  Balkans Highlights
Balkans Highlights
16 days / 15 nights
Bucharest - Sinaia - Veliko Turnovo - Sofia - Skopje - Ohrid - Tirana - Shkodra - Kotor - Dubrovnik - Mostar - Sarajevo - Belgrade - Szeged - Budapest

Day 1 Bucharest
Arrival at Bucharest airport and transfer to hotel.

Day 2 Sinaia and Bran Castle
Head north from Bucharest to discover if the popular image of Dracula's castle is true or, like the vampire story itself, only a myth, as you visit Bran Castle - said to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker's book. Later stop in the elegant alpine resort of Sinaia, where you admire the art, armour and tapestries of Peles Castle. Return to Bucharest early evening.

Day 3 Bucharest - Veliko Turnovo (180km/4h)
Your sightseeing tour includes views of University Square & the former Communist Headquarters plus a visit to the immense Parliament Palace, one of the largest buildings in the world. Now it's on to Bulgaria! Cross the Danube at Ruse & continue to Veliko Turnovo, the 'City of the Tsars', where houses cling to the riverside cliffs making it one of Bulgaria's most beautiful towns.

Day 4 Veliko Turnovo - Sofia (230km/4,30h)
Join your local guide for a stroll along Gurko Street with its cascade of restored old houses. Enjoy unparalleled views down to the Monument of the Assens - symbol of the city. A highlight is the visit to the Tsaravets Fortress, housing a host of archeological remains & a reminder of the town's former imperial status. At the UNESCO World Heritage village of Arbanassi, visit a traditional 17C merchants house & hear the enchanting acoustics in the Church of the Holy Nativity. Later cross the Balkan Mountains & continue to the capital city of Sofia.

Day 5 Sofia
Sightseeing with a local guide takes in the St Sofia Church across the square from the golden domed St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the archaeological complex, dominated by the church of St. George Rotonda . The afternoon is at leisure to shop or continue sightseeing.

Day 6 Sofia - Rila Monastery (120km/2h) - Skopje (240km/4h)
Head to the magnificent Rila Monastery, the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. It impresses visitors with its architecture of the interior, its unique location and history. Next, proceed to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia.

Day 7 Skopje (230km/5h) - Ohrid (180km/3,30h)
Enjoy a morning city tour of Skopje, an ultra modern city with an ancient bazaar where Turkish influences can still be seen & felt. Enjoy a guided walk through these enchanting streets to see the churches, mosques & old Turkish buildings. Then continue south to the lake side resort of Ohrid where you can view the cobblestone streets of the old town.

Day 8 Ohrid – Tirana (140km/3h)
Cross into Albania & drive to the capital of Tirana for a guided sightseeing tour before reaching your five-star hotel in the heart of the city.

Day 9 Tirana – Shkodra (120km/2,30h) - Kotor (130km/2,30h) - Dubrovnik (90km/2h)
Travel to the northern Albanian city of Shkodra, during its long history the city has played a very important role in Albanian culture & history. Then cross over to the Montenegro coast in former Yugoslavia to visit the old town of Kotor, perched beside the only European fjord outside of Norway. Tonight stay on the glorious Dalmatian coast overlooking the Adriatic Sea & choose from our selection of restaurants for your dining pleasure.

Day 10 Dubrovnik
A guided sightseeing tour in the Old Town explores the stone-paved streets inside the 16th century bastions. See Onofrio's fountain & the Rector's Palace, the city walls, as well as the Franciscan & Dominican monasteries. This afternoon is at leisure.

Day 11 Dubrovnik – Mostar (150km/3h) – Sarajevo (140km/2,30h)
Follow the marvelous gorge of the River Neretva to Mostar. Walk across the famous Stari Most (Old Bridge), reconstructed after being almost completely destroyed during the war. The cobbled old town stretches on both sides of the bridge & is filled with shops selling Turkish style souvenirs. Now it's on to Sarajevo - a city that has attracted its fair share of international attention over the years. In 1914 it was the site of the assassination that sparked WWI & more recently, it endured the longest siege in modern military history.

Day 12 Sarajevo
This morning your guided sightseeing tour shows you the Bacarsija, the cobbled old town market where the city was founded by the Ottomans in the 15th century. Admire Gazi Husrev-beg's Mosque & the Olympic Stadium before visiting the Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum, revered by the locals as an inanimate war hero. The afternoon is at leisure to try the Bosnian coffee & shop for traditional & h& crafted wares in the Turkish quarter.

Day 13 Sarajevo – Belgrade (310km/5,30h)
Your route today winds northwards through the remote villages & spa resorts which nestle in the forested Bosnian mountains. Your destination is Belgrade. On arrival transfer to your hotel and relax before dinner.

Day 14 Belgrade
Your morning sightseeing tour with a local guide shows you the city's main attractions: St Sava Church, Terazije Street, the National Museum & National Theatre in Republic Square. Finish your tour at the imposing Kalemegdan Fortress, dramatically situated at the confluence of the Sava & Danube Rivers. The afternoon is at leisure. Tonight, why not enjoy dinner with local live music in a typical national restaurant in the old bohemian quarter of Skadarlija.

Day 15 Belgrade - Szeged (220km/4h) – Budapest (170km/2,30h)
Head north today, past the town of Novi Sad & cross the Province of Vojvodina to the Hungarian border. Arrive in Szeged around lunch time. Maybe try the hearty fish stew for which the town is famous? Now traverse the vast wilderness of the Puszta, where cowboys rustle up goulash under the stars, on your way to the elegant Hungarian capital.

Day 16 Budapest
Take in the view across the Danube from the lofty Citadel atop Gellert Hill. Ascend Buda's Castle District to visit Matthias Church & look out over the immense Parliament building from the Fisherman's Bastion. Finally, visit Boulevard & Heroes Square in Pest. Tonight, enjoy a highlight evening of Hungarian music & cuisine.

Day 17 Budapest
Transfer to the airport.