Ancient gods, kings, and emperors were high maintenance. They’d demand tremendous temples, pompous palaces, and gargantuan gardens. But this is great for you, because they look flippin’ marvellous! On this adventure, you see the epoch of ancient art at Athen’s Parthenon, wander around the rich, ruined sanctuary of Delphi, and admire the ancient Diocletian palace of Split. What’s more is this trip isn’t just about the rich and famous, because you also get down and dirty in the tunnels of Sarajevo and neck shots with the locals of Belgrade.
We’ll kick off our epic adventure from Athens with Thessaloniki in our sights. For lunch we’ll stop off in Delphi and take in the sights. Perched on the slope of Mount Parnassus, Delphi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and - according to legend - home to the Oracle of Apollo. Here, many of history’s greatest leaders sought the council of the Gods. To truly experience this holy place, enjoy an included tour of the city followed by a roam of the local museum. Onwards, and we arrive at Thessaloniki in the early evening ready for a delicious Greek meal. Once full, set out to explore the capital of Greek Macedonia with its quirky vibe, rich history and many archaeological wonders and ruins.
We depart Thessaloniki early this morning, heading towards Macedonia on our jaunt to Ohrid. Situated on Lake Ohrid, Ohrid is a charming little city and a UNESCO-listed site. Here, we’ll discover an insane 365 churches, one for each day of the calendar year. If that wasn’t enough, we’ll also find a monastery, and the vestiges of many ancient basilicas. Take advantage of an optional walking tour to better appreciate the many sights available in this picturesque lakeside city. Later, we’ll enjoy a traditional Macedonian meal and views of the glistening water’s edge. With dinner done, you’re free to enjoy the rest of your time in this outstanding utopia. Take in some of the sites or relax alongside the lake and its calming waters.
Start your morning with a splash! Yep, you’ve got time for a swim in Lake Ohrid, as we won’t depart until late morning. We then set a course north for the Macedonian capital city of Skopje. Located on the Vardar River, Skopje is home to a several examples of Roman architecture. Upon arrival we have an optional walking tour, so you don’t feel quite so lost. Then feel free to explore the Roman ruins, aqueduct, and Skopje Fortress. Tonight check out the diverse nightlife on offer in Skopje, ranging from live music to casinos and nightclubs. There’s something for everyone here!
Rise and shine, we depart early today on our journey into the heart of Serbia! We’ll stop for lunch en route in one of the oldest Balkan cities, Nis. This ancient city was once considered the gateway between the East and West, and upon our departure it will be our gateway to Belgrade! We arrive in the Serbian capital in the afternoon, where will have an optional walking tour to help you get your bearings. Join us for dinner in a traditional Serbian restaurant before heading out for the evening to enjoy the entertainment options available, with a favourite being the party barges, or splav, as the locals call them! There’s an optional pub crawl to soak up Belgrade’s friendly party atmosphere (and cheap drinks!).
There’s a tonne to check out in Belgrade, including museums, churches, the old palace, the parliamentary buildings… the list goes on! Of particular interest to the budding mad scientists among you would be the Nikola Tesla Museum - this archive of his life’s work contains thousands original documents, designs, photographs and drawings that can’t be found anywhere else. Kalemegdan Park and Fortress are also attractive options for those who wish to delve into the history, or simply have a lazy walk through a beautiful and extremely culturally significant park. When the sun sets, head out into the city once again for some more splav hopping.
Today we head west to the Bosnia and Herzegovina border, along a route that would have been marched by Serbian soldiers during the atrocities of the 1990s. We arrive in the late afternoon, giving you some time to explore Sarajevo. This place is a true melting pot of faiths, containing churches, synagogues, and mosques. Having survived a four-year siege, the city has a painful history going back to the Bosnian War. Tonight explore the emerging, vibrant nightlife of the area. There are numerous cafes, clubs, and bars in which to share a drink and story with the locals.
Today we begin with an optional walking tour of the city as well as an excursion to the Tunnel of Hope, which linked Sarajevo to her allies during the siege. Sarajevo played host to the Winter Olympics in 1984 and hasn’t lost its Olympic spirit. Check out the old Olympic venues and grab some street food! There is also the Old Bazaar, or Bascarsija as it is locally known, which is the cultural and historical hub of the city. Tonight we will be enjoying the local cuisine at the (in)famous Sarajevo Brewery, so prepare for a few pints!
It’s time to roll out of bed, we depart for Split early this morning with a stop in Mostar around lunch! Here we’ll have an included walking tour with a local guide to fully acquaint you with the area. Visit the Bridge Museum, and watch as professional divers defy the odds diving from the famous bridge. We hop back on board after lunch and arrive this evening in the coastal gem of Split. With heavy hearts and fond memories we share our final dinner of the tour with some of the finest seafood Croatia has to offer. See the majestic walls of the ancient Diocletian’s Palace and then enjoy your final night out. Split comes alive at night with its varied selection of bars, clubs and cafes with something for everyone!
Check-out is after breakfast. If you’re continuing your journey on our Hop-on Hop-off network, the next stop is Venice via Zadar!
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Trip Name: Balkan Trail
Duration: 9 Days
From Price: $1,149
Supplier Tour ID: BK6/164816
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