Balkan Tour Bulgaria Macedonia Albania Montenegro Bosnia
Day 1, Tue, May 15 – Depart USA or Canada with flights booked on your own.
Day 2, Wed, May 16 – Arrival Sofia Bulgaria – 2 nights
Arrival transfer will be provided. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 3, Thu, May 17 – Sofia City tour
In the morning visit the Boyana church and admire its beautiful paintings from the 13th century. Then take a walking sightseeing tour of Sofia including the most significant landmarks of the capital.
After lunch – time on your own to explore the central pedestrian street with its numerous cafes and shops. In the evening enjoy dinner in a typical Bulgarian restaurant with a folklore performance.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B,L,D)
Day 4, Fri, May 18 – Sofia – Rila – Melnik – 1 night Melnik, Bulgaria
In the morning departure to the Rila Monastery – Bulgaria’s most visited religious nest and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in the 10th century by St. Ivan Rilsky, the monastery was at the center of Bulgarian culture and Orthodox belief for centuries. The monastery is the largest on the Balkans and has always been a center of high religious achievement. Our tour of the monastery includes a visit to the Church, which is of particular artistic value, for it was adorned by the foremost 19-century masters of the Samokov, Bansko and Debar schools of painting and woodcarving.
Proceed to Melnik in the afternoon. Include a visit to one winery for wine tasting.
B, L, D
Day 5, Sat, May 19 – Melnik, Bulgaria to Skopje, Macedonia – 2 nights Skopje; half day city tour Skopje
In the morning – departure to Skopje. Bagged lunch will be provided. Upon arrival, take a tour of Skopje including the Mother Teresa House, and the place where once stood her birth house, the Stone Bridge, the monument of Alexander the Great and his father Phillip of Macedonia. Dinner at the historical restaurant “Stara Kuka”. Overnight.
B, L, D
Day 6 – Sun, May 20 – Day trip to Pristina and Prizren, Kosovo (ensure that the guide is from Kosovo, not from Macedonia)
Firstly you will visit the monastery of Gracanica and after that you will arrive in Pristina. Here you will take a panoramic tour and see: the Kosova National Library that represents a modern architectural design, the Mother Teresa statue – born Gonxhe Bojaxhiu- (picture taking, if possible), George Kastrioti Skanderbeg statue, Open Air Archeological Park with artifacts from Neolithic period, the Kosova Museum that was built by Austrians for the Turkish army in 1898 and has an extensive collection of archaeological and ethnological artifacts including the Neolithic Goddesses on a Throne terracotta; Çarshi Mosque which is Pristina oldest building constructed on 15th century by Turkish Sultan Bajazit; the Academy Building which is a 19th century Ottoman konak style private houses; the Clock Tower, a 26 meter high built by Jashar Pasha on 1764; the Fatih Mosque or Imperial Mosque built on 1461 under the Turkish Sultan Mehmed II Fatih; The Great Hammam bath complex built in 1470 and graced with 15 domes with small holes to let light stream in. Also the ethnographic museum, Emin Gjiku complex is a extremely well preserved building from 18th Century and it’s a the only original building left in old bazaar area. The tour finishes with the visit of Gazimestan Tower. Picture taking opportunity at the Bill Clinton monument.
Lunch in Pristina or Prizren.
You continue to Prizren. Here you will do a walking tour which includes the attractive Ottoman Old Town, known for its gold and silver filigree craftsmen, the hammam, the museum of Prizren League, the Helveti Tekke, Sinia Pasha Mosque and the church of Our Lady of Ljevis. Prizren has the largest number of preserved Ottoman buildings in Kosovo, so simply wandering the old cobbled streets admiring the town houses, mosques and tekkes is a delight. After little break for resting, you will return in Skopje.
B, L, D
Day 7, Mon, May 21 – Canyon Matka; Skopje to Ohrid
Check out of the hotel in Skopje. Visit the Canyon Matka in the morning, including a short boat ride along the lake. After lunch in Skopje, depart for Ohrid, check in hotel, 2 nights. The rest of the day is at leisure.
B, L, D
Day 8, Tue, May 22 – Ohrid
In the morning – city tour of Ohrid – have a walking tour in the old part of the town including the church of St Sofia, the Greek theater, the Fortress of Samuel, the Church of St Ioan Kaneo, the Plaoshnik. Get back to the hotel by boat on the Ohrid lake. The view towards the town is just breath-taking.
Note that those who cannot join the walking tour may share taxi rides to the Fortress and other attractions located at the top of the hill at their own cost.
Free time in the afternoon, dinner on your own.
Day 9, Wed, May 23 – Ohrid, Macedonia to Tirana, Albania – 1 night Tirana
In the morning departure to the Albanian border. Bagged lunch will be provided. After custom clearance, proceed to Tirana. Take a sightseeing tour including Justinian fortress, the Ethem Bej Mosque, one of the most beautiful in the town and after a walking tour around the center continue towards the ex-block area, once an exclusive area for the communist leaders. The villa of the ex-communist leader Enver Hoxha is still standing next to tall buildings and loud bars. Check in the hotel. Evening at leisure to explore Tirana.
B, L, D
Day 10, Thu, May 24 – Tirana, Albania to Budva, Montenegro to Kotor, Montenegro – 2 nights in Kotor
Departure to the Albanian – Montenegrin border. Bagged lunch will be provided. There will be a stop and tour in the old town of Budva. Proceed to Kotor. Hotel check in, free time. Dinner. Overnight
B, L D
Day 11, Fri, May 25 – Kotor, Montenegro – walking tour in Kotor, boat ride to Perast
In the morning, sightseeing and walking tour of the town. Kotor is situated in one of the most beautiful bays in the world. The old town of Kotor is a well preserved city typical of construction between the XII and XIV century. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor a UNESCO town. Visit the St Tryphon Cathedral, with its magnificent Romanesque-Gothic architecture, and the 12th century Church of St. Luke.
After lunch departure to Perast, situated at the foot of St. Elijah Hill (873 m), opposite the narrow Verige strait, where the innermost bays of Risan and Kotor converge. This easternmost shore was the earliest inhabited area in the Boka. The remains of a Neolithic culture (3500 BC) have been discovered in the caves of Spila above Perast and various archeological finds provide evidence of civilization dating from Illyrian, Roman and early Christian periods. Visit the Roman Catholic church Our Lady of the Rock situated on the small island bearing the same name. It is an artificial island created by bulwark of rocks and by sinking old and seized ships loaded with rocks.
The rest of the day is at leisure.
B, L, D
Day 12, Sat, May 26 – Kotor, Montenegro to Medjugorje, Bosnia & Herzegovina – 2 nights Medjugorje
After breakfast departure to Medjugorje. A bagged lunch will be provided. Arrival, check in, free time.
B, L, D
Day 13, Sun, May 27 – Medjugorje – free time
You have the full day for independent activities. You can climb the apparition hill very early in the morning (suggested time – between 5:00 AM and 6:00 AM), go to church, or join the religious activities at night. For the non-Catholics, you can simply relax and choose your own activities. There are local tours available from the hotel reception. Lunch and dinner on your own.
Day 14, Mon, May 28 – Medjugorje to Mostar to Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina – 1 night in Sarajevo
After breakfast departure to Mostar (UNESCO World Heritage site). Visit the Old Bridge, a reconstructed medieval arched bridge. The nearby alleys are full of shops and market stalls. Take the narrow staircase of 89 steps of the minaret of the Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque. From here you will enjoy beautiful panoramic view over the town. Departure to Sarajevo. After lunch take a sightseeing tour of the town including the City Hall, Spite House, Sarajevo fortresses, the old handcrafts streets Bravadziluk and Kazandziluk, Saraci Morica han (caravan-saray), Ghazi Husrev Bey’s Mosque and Maddresah Clock tower, Sarajevo Assassination 1914, Ghazi Husrev Bey’s Bazaar, Sephardic neighbourhood and synagogues, Cathedral of Holly Hearth of Jesus Synod Orthodox Church, the Eternal Flame. Farewell Dinner. Overnight.
B, L, D
Day 15, Tue, May 29 – Fly back to USA / Canada from Sarajevo. End of service.
Departure transfer will be provided.