The former Yugoslavia is a mix of ancient and modern history, alongside places of natural beauty and interest. Each of these five countries: Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia, has its own unique personality and cultural diversity. See Zagreb, Lake Bled, the Plitvice Lakes, Split, Hvar Island, Dubrovnik, the Bay of Kotor, Lake Ohrid and much more. This is our 7th escorted tour to the Balkans.
All airfares & taxes (Flying Emirates & Fly Dubai)
Stopover in Dubai on the way to Europe and on the way home
– Accommodation in 3-star, 4-star and 5-star hotels
– 21 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 11 dinners
– Touring by modern air-conditioned motorcoach
– Group tipping
– Services of English-speaking local guides and a Tour Director
– Assistance of your Tour Leader, Chas Morris
– Land Only price on application
– Extending your stay – before or after Tour Dates
– Group Size: 20 travellers (max)
After meeting up in Auckland and our short pre-tour briefing we board our Emirates flight to Dubai.
On arrival in Dubai early this morning we clear customs and immigration and transfer to our hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
We transfer to Dubai airport this morning for our flight to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. On arrival we travel to our hotel and the rest of the afternoon is at leisure. We meet up again for dinner this evening.
Our morning sightseeing tour will concentrate on the historic Upper Town, including visiting the 13th century cathedral with its medieval frescoes. This is a beautiful part of the city and walking around it will truly be a step back in time. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Our day begins with a border crossing into Slovenia; we continue to Ptuj, one of the oldest towns in Slovenia. Numerous archaeological remains prove that the city experienced its first period of prosperity as the Roman town of Poetovio. The present much admired appearance of the city originates from the Middle Ages when Ptuj experienced its second rise to wealth and prominence. We explore its beauty in a walking tour through the town, including a visit to Ptuj Castle with its superb views over the town. We then travel to Lake Bled and check in to our hotel.
This morning we have a walking tour and a typical “pletna” boat ride to the island in the middle of Lake Bled. This afternoon we travel to Lake Bohinj in the Julian Alps mountain range. Bohinj is a larger and much less developed glacial lake than Bled, so it’s a great place to avoid tourists en masse. It has a wonderful naturalness with some space to enjoy the stunning scenery. We visit Sheppard’s museum and taste local homemade cheese. As a special treat, we will end the day with a charming dinner in the Bled castle on the cliff above the lake.
The first part of the morning is at leisure at Lake Bled. You might like to walk around the lake. Late morning we travel to Ljubljana and have an independent lunch. This afternoon we have a walking tour of Ljubljana. Along the way we will visit the most significant sights of the old city centre. This evening we have a traditional Slovenian night. We experience Slovenian hospitality, enjoying a hearty meal, delicious Slovenian wine, and an entertaining evening of music and dancing.
Time for a change of landscape as we travel from Ljubljana into the Karst region of Slovenia. Here we visit the world famous Slovenian cave system – the Postojna caves. A two million years old and 27 km long system of subterranean caves is one of the most easily accessible network of underground caves in the world. A ride by electric train will be followed by a guided walk through a series of cave halls filled with stalactites and stalagmites. The underworld system is a home of the mysterious, unique and rare amphibian Proteus Anguinus, or human fish as it is popularly called here. Sadly we wave Slovenia goodbye and cross the border into Croatia. Our first stop is Opatija, a popular tourist resort in the bay of Kvarner. After a stroll along the riviera and an independent lunch we will proceed to Plitvice National Park. Dinner is at a local restaurant.
We have a whole day to discover the beauty of the Plitvice Lakes. There is time to enjoy the breathtaking scenery, take photos in the changing light or even some watercolour painting if you come prepared.
This morning we travel to Split. This city is considered to be the Adriatic’s liveliest and most alluring. Split has a long history – the Roman emperor Diocletian built a retirement home here between AD 295 and 305. The city has been listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. Needless to say we will be visiting the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace and take in the remnants of Split’s Roman heritage, its Renaissance and Gothic structures, Jupiter’s Temple, the Peristyle and the Cathedral. Dinner and overnight in Split.
Late this morning we take a ferry from Split to Stari Grad on Hvar Island. On arrival we transfer to our hotel in Hvar town. The town of Hvar has a unique cultural and historical heritage, plus a centuries-old tradition in tourism. An afternoon walking tour features views of the Fortress, Franciscan Monastery and more.
Today is a free day for your own pursuits.
This morning we take the ferry from Sucuraj to Drvenik on the mainland and head south to Dubrovnik. On the way we travel to the Pelješac peninsula and visit the town of Ston. Ston is well known for its medieval walls that circle the town. Its also known for its fine food and wine, and the fish is particularly good. Just off shore you can see the fishermen working the fertile waters in small wooden boats and a crop of poles mark the mass of oyster beds. After lunch at a local restaurant in Ston we continue to Dubrovnik.
Described as the most attractive settlement on the whole of the Croatian seaboard Dubrovnik has prospered for centuries. Backed by sweeping limestone cliffs and flanked on three sides by the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik’s setting is breathtaking. The water reflects the perfectly preserved fortifications and the city remains a living history book. Vehicles are banned within the walls, which makes its old world atmosphere more poignant. This morning is at leisure and this afternoon we have a walking tour of “Old Dubrovnik”. We will also see the Dominican Monastery and Franciscan Monastery with its Pharmacy, one of the oldest in the world.
Today our drive takes us into Montenegro and to the mouth of the Bay of Kotor and along the curving roadway through the towns of Risan and Perast to Kotor. We will visit the old town of Kotor, which is under UNESCO protection. We continue along the Lovcen serpentines, to the heart of Montenegro, with a panoramic view of Boka Kotorska Bay. Lunch today is in Bukovica, a tiny village with the oldest Montenegrin restaurant. After lunch we proceed to the old royal capital, Cetinje. Here we visit the home/museum of King Nikola. We then travel on to Budva.
This morning we have a short walking tour of the old town in Budva. We then depart and travel to Tirana in Albania. On the way we visit the town of Shkodra, a cultural centre and one of Albania’s oldest cities. We see the ruins of Rozafa Castle, set on a hill high above the city and have lunch at a local restaurant. This evening we have dinner at our Tirana hotel.
On a morning sightseeing tour of Tirana we see the Skanderbeg Square, the Mosque of Et’hemBey, the Clock Tower, the statue of G.K. Skanderbeg, Albania’s national hero and the Palace of Culture, built with Soviet assistance. We also visit the National History Museum. This afternoon we travel to Kruje. We visit the Castle, the Ethnographic Museum and the Bazaar. We then travel back to our hotel in Tirana. This evening we have dinner at a traditional Albanian Inn.
This morning we have an excursion to Durres, located on the central Albanian coast. Our sightseeing tour includes a visit to the Amphitheatre and the Archaelogical Museum. This afternoon we travel to Lake Ohrid in Macedonia. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant.
We start our Ohrid sightseeing tour with a walk through the cobblestone streets of the old town; including entrance to the Cathedral of St. Sofia, containing some magnificent frescoes from the 10th century. We then travel to the wonderful St Naum Monastery, first established in the 10th century, which is notable for its fabulous iconostasis with gold plating dating from 1711.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure at Lake Ohrid. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant.
We travel to and visit the archaeological site of the ancient Macedonian city of Heraclea Lyncestis (near Bitola). The first excavations in Heraclea Lyncestis were carried out before the First World War, but only since then have the full glories of the ancient city been revealed. We then go to Kavadarci, enjoy lunch at the Tikves Winery Restaurant and have a Tikves Winery tour and a wine tasting. We travel to Skopje and check in to our hotel. This evening we have dinner at the hotel restaurant.
This morning we have a sightseeing tour of Skopje: the old and new part of the town, the Old Stone bridge, Mustafa Pasha mosque, Skopje Fortress Kale, the Old Bazaar and the Memorial House of Mother Teresa. This afternoon is at leisure. This evening we have a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.
This morning we travel to Skopje airport for our flight to Dubai; on arrival we transfer to our hotel.
We return to the airport this morning to catch our Emirates flight to New Zealand.
Home to New Zealand with special memories of our time in the wonderful Balkans.
Chas works with New Zealand Search & Rescue and he was on the Otago Conservation Board, planning the management of the Mt. Aspiring National Park among other duties.
Chas has a passion for taking people to unusual destinations and learning about the culture, history, lifestyle and geology of the countries they visit.
Chas was always professional. He was helpful and knowledgeable.
A people person. He looked out for all individuals on the tour and strived to meet their needs.