15878
Eastern Europe
Best of the Balkans: From Medieval Fortresses to the Majestic Adriatic Sea
Discover the rich cultural and social history of the Balkans, a place of ancient trade routes, architecture, breath-taking scenery and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Rating (4.94)
Program No. 15878RJ
Length
17 days
Starts at
3,999
Flights start at
925
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17 days
16 nights
43 meals
15 B 14 L 14 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive, Check-In, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Herceg Novi
D
Hunguest Hotel Sun Resort

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, enjoy a welcome buffet dinner. Unless otherwise noted, dinners on this program are typically a three-course set menu. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Herceg Novi
Herceg Novi
B,L,D
Hunguest Hotel Sun Resort

Activity note: 3 hours on the boat with one stop to get out in the morning. Herceg Novi is known as the ’city of stairs’ – please be prepared! The afternoon walking excursion is about 2 hours, if you feel it may be too challenging, you have the option of walking back to the hotel along the Adriatic (15 minutes).

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, the daily breakfast will offer a buffet with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: Enjoy an expert-led boat excursion on the Adriatic in Herceg Novi Bay. View an Austrian-built fortress on a small island, the Blue Cave, and then stop in Rose, one of the oldest settlements in the region, for a short stroll.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Herceg Novi, enjoy a light lunch of local fare. Unless otherwise noted, lunches on this program are typically a two-course set menu.

Afternoon: We will enjoy an expert-led walk in Herceg Novi. Founded in 1382, this medieval town was formerly known as Castel Nuovo, because of its many fortresses. Explore the winding streets, the Forte Mare, and the port of the city. Some free time to relax or explore. Then, back at the hotel, take in a lecture on the history and present day life of Montenegro.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, enjoy a buffet dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Kotor and Kotor Bay
Herceg Novi
B,L,D
Hunguest Hotel Sun Resort

Activity note: Approximately 2-3 hours of walking during the day.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: This morning we have a coach excursion along the Kotor Bay. We will admire the amazing morning views, and take advantage of photo stops, as we wind around the bay. We end up in Montenegro's coastal town of Kotor. A World Heritage Site, Kotor is situated at the head of Southern Europe’s deepest fjord, nestled at the foot of a high cliff. We explore its labyrinthine streets and piazzas.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Kotor.

Afternoon: Free time. Continue to explore Kotor before returning to the hotel for the remainder of the afternoon. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, enjoy a buffet dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Dubrovnik
Neum
B,L,D
Grand Hotel Neum

Activity note: Transfer time: 2 hours to Dubrovnik, 2 hours to Neum. Approximately 2-3 hours walking during the day.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: After breakfast, we continue our journey towards Dubrovnik. We will walk through the beautiful town of Dubrovnik, a World Heritage Site. Pass by the Onofrio Fountain, St. Blaise's Church and the city walls, and explore the inside of Rector's Palace.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in the Old Town.

Afternoon: Enjoy a lecture on the present day life of Croatia with a special focus on Dalmatia. Free time in Dubrovnik to explore on your own or walk along the walls. The famous city walls surround Dubrovnik's incredible old town, where the city's history and culture thrive harmoniously with present-day life. Travel along the coastline toward the west, to Neum, for an overnight.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Cetina Valley, Split
Split
B,L,D
Hotel Slavija

Activity note: Transfer time: 2 hours from Neum to Omis, 1 more to Split. Approximately 2-3 hours walking and some standing in the gallery during the day. Mestrovic Gallery: ca. 60 stairs lead up to the house from the entrance gate on the road below, plus some more to the upper floor.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Transfer to Split. Travel by coach along the beautiful seafront, enjoying the view of the picturesque islands and the rich Mediterranean vegetation. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Cetina River Valley during a boat ride between Omis and Radmanove Mlinice.

Lunch: En route, we will enjoy lunch at an old mill next to the Cetina River.

Afternoon: Continue your transfer to Split by coach. Upon arrival in Split, we will enjoy an expert-led excursion in the Mestrovic Gallery. The Gallery is situated in a magnificent villa - the former home of the sculptor - overlooking the Adriatic.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Diocletian’s Palace
Split
B,L
Hotel Slavija

Activity note: Approximately 3 hours of walking during the day.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: We enjoy an excursion to Diocletian’s Palace in Split (World Heritage Site). The palace and fortress was built by Roman Emperor Diocletian shortly after abdicating his throne at the turn of the 4th century, and today is considered one of the most significant living monuments of the Roman era. What remains of the palace is now the old town of Split. Explore the Peristyle, the Cathedral, former gates and rooms of the palace, as well as majestic statues by Ivan Mestrovic, the greatest 20th-century Croatian sculptor.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in the old town of Split.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions or directions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Mostar
Sarajevo
B,L,D
Hotel Bosnia

Activity note: Transfer time: 3 hours to Mostar, then 2 more to Sarajevo. Approximately 3 hours of walking during the day. In Mostar, be careful crossing the Old bridge as the stone work is smooth and slippery.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: We travel to Sarajevo. In the late morning, we stop in Mostar (World Heritage Site) and take an expert-led walk. The old bridge of Mostar symbolizes the unity of the different nationalities living in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The bridge was destroyed in the war, but was rebuilt in its original shape in 2004.

Lunch: En Route, we will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Mostar.

Afternoon: Free time in Mostar. We then continue on to Sarajevo to check into the Hotel Bosnia.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Sarajevo
Sarajevo
B,L,D
Hotel Bosnia

Activity note: Approximately 3 hours of walking during the day.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: We take an expert-led excursion in Sarajevo by bus and on foot. We will see such sights as the former Austro-Hungarian area, the Bascarsija bazaar and the former Jewish quarter. We will continue walking in the Old Town, and visit the "War Tunnel" which kept the city alive during the war.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, enjoy a two-course set menu.

Evening: At the hotel, enjoy a lecture on the history and present day of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

DAY
10
Dinaric Alps
Belgrade
B,L,D
Belgrade City Hotel

Activity note: Transfer day: approximately 6 hours on the bus.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: We travel to Belgrade. During this journey, we will cross the impressive Dinaric Alps.

Lunch: En route, we will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and settle in.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room.

Evening: At the hotel, enjoy a lecture on the history as well as current life in Serbia.

DAY
11
Belgrade
Belgrade
B,L,D
Belgrade City Hotel

Activity note: Approximately 3 hours of walking during the day.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Take an exciting bus excursion through Belgrade. See the main pedestrian street, Knez Mihajlova, which is always alive with activity. Explore on foot the old Kalemegdan fortress, St. Sava Church, and the Mausoleum of Tito.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: At a local restaurant on Skadarlija Street in the bohemian quarter of Belgrade. Enjoy live music with dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Novi Sad, Fruska Gora
Belgrade
B,L,D
Belgrade City Hotel

Activity note: Approximately 3-4 hours of walking during the day. 1.5 hour drive to Novi Sad, and 1.5 hours back to Belgrade

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Full day excursion to northern Serbia, where we will explore the city of Novi Sad during an expert-led walking excursion. We then visit Fruska Gora, a tranquil national park filled with monasteries and vineyards.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue our excursion in Fruska Gora. Visit the Krusedol Orthodox Monastery, and experience a wine tasting in the beekeeping museum, before going back to Belgrade.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Zagreb
Zagreb
B,L,D
Hotel Dubrovnik

Activity note: Transfer day: approximately 5 hours on the bus. Approximately 2 hours of walking during the day.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: We travel to Zagreb. Along the way we will cross the northeastern part of Croatia, the “bread-basket” of the country.

Lunch: En route, we will enjoy a picnic lunch.

Afternoon: Enjoy an expert-led excursion in Zagreb by bus and on foot. See such sites as the Mirogoj Cemetery, the Cathedral, and St. Mark’s Church. We will walk from the Upper town to the main Jelacic square that is always busy,

Dinner: At a local restaurant, enjoy a two-course set menu.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Plitvice Lake National Park
Zagreb
B,L,D
Hotel Dubrovnik

Activity note: Transfer time: 2-3 hours each way on the bus. Approximately 2-3 hours walking in the park. Lots of stairs, can be slippery, no railings at some points. Alternative option to view the lakes and waterfalls from above with some flat walking.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: An excursion to Plitvice Lake National Park (World Heritage Site). Plitvice is the most beautiful national park in Croatia, with crystal clear lakes, amazing waterfalls and cascades. We will hike a few hours in the park.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a unique lunch.

Afternoon: Drive back to Zagreb to enjoy some free time in the city.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Lake Bled
Ljubljana
B,L,D
City Hotel Ljubljana

Activity note: Transfer time: 3 hours to Bled, 1 hour to Ljubljana. Approximately 2 hours of walking during the day.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: We travel to Ljubljana. On our way, we will visit Lake Bled, one of the most famous sites in Slovenia.

Lunch: En route, we will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will enjoy the view of the tiny island in the middle of Lake Bled and the romantic castle on the hilltop. This postcard image is the most photographed part of Slovenia. Continue our transfer to Ljubljana.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
Lecture on Slovenia, City excursion in Ljubljana
Ljubljana
B,L,D
City Hotel Ljubljana

Activity note: Approximately 2 hours of walking during the day.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: At the hotel, we will listen to a lecture on Slovenia and have a discussion to wrap up the program. After the lecture, we will enjoy an expert-led excursion through Ljubljana on foot. We will walk through the charming downtown to appreciate its unique character designed by the famous architect, José Plecnik.

Lunch: In the hotel dining room.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a Farewell Dinner with folk music.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
17
Departures, Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.






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