Balkans Tour: Travel to Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia

Balkans Explorer Tour

Bosnia & Herzegovina:

Continue your fascinating in-depth exploration of the Balkans if you joined our Adriatic small group tour, or start your Balkans tour experience with us in Sarajevo, Bosnia.  The Balkans Explorer tour visits extraordinary monasteries and churches, important monuments and historical sites, and quaint picturesque villages as well as places of immense natural beauty.

From Sarajevo we visit magical Mostar and then cross the border into Montenegro. Driving along the gorgeous Adriatic coastline, the tour visits the charming towns of Kotor and Budva. From Budva, it is a short drive over the Albania border to Shkodër Lake which lies on the border of Albania and Montenegro. It is the largest lake in Southern Europe.

Albania:

The tour visits the small town of Shkodër and then continues to Kruja.

The name and the importance of the city of Kruja are closely related to the 25 years of activity of Albania’s national hero, Skanderbeg, who in the fifteenth century made Kruja a bastion of uncompromising resistance against the Ottoman. The Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg Museum is situated inside the castle walls, which date back to the fifth and sixth centuries A.D.

Within the walls of the castle are also the Ethnographic Museum and the Dollma Tekke. Near the castle’s entrance is a traditional market, which dates back to the period of Skanderbeg. Here, tourists can find Albanian craft products such as embroidered items, carpeting, silver objects, copper, alabaster, filigree, traditional clothing, antiques  at the traditional Old Bazaar of Kruja.

We travel throughout Albania with heritage influenced by the Greeks, Romans, Italians and Turks and then into Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia. Albania is a wonderful surprise!  There is great beauty, amazing archaeological sites and interesting history.

Macedonia:

Moving on, the tour crosses the border into Macedonia, one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991. We start with a visit to Ohrid, a small resort city on the hilly shores of Lake Ohrid. The compact cobblestoned old town of Ohris (UNESCO), is chock full with amazing medieval churches and monasteries.  Open-air ruins stand alongside traditional houses with red-tiled roofs. The massive walls of the centuries-old Samoil’s Fortress, at the top of the hill, dominate the city skyline. Additionally, we visit Skopje, the capital of Macedonia.

Kosovo:

And now, the fascinating tour continues into Kosovo, officially the Republic of Kosovo, is a partially recognized state and disputed territory in Southeastern Europe that declared independence from Serbia in February 2008. Kosovo is largely Albanian-speaking and Muslim. Graves and artifacts of Illyrian Dardans were found in Prizren’s vicinity, which shows that the area of Prizren has been inhabited since ancient times. It was for a while the center of the Serbian Empire.

The Ottomans occupied Prizren on June 21, 1455, and that is when the oriental urban development of Prizren began. From all the cities of Kosovo, Prizren has best preserved the architectural physiognomy of the past. Another special visit in Kosovo is to the Patriarchate of Pec (aka Peja), UNESCO site. The complex has four churches build from 1220 to 1330. There are currently twenty-five nuns residing here at this time.

Serbia:

And the tour keeps getting more interesting, as we venture into Serbia!  Due to political reasons we need to enter Serbia from Montenegro, not from Kosovo and a two-hour scenic drive down along the valley of the River Ibar, to Novi Pazar, capital of the southern area of Serbia called Sandzak. It is a predominantly Muslim community. The Old Town is very Turkish – more like Bosnia.

Lots more UNESCO sites as we travel deeper into Serbia including the 13th c. Sopocani Monastery, one of the best monasteries in Serbia and Monastery Studenica. Then a change of scenery as we ascend to Mount Zlatibor, a National Park of golden pines.

Now, we drive through central Serbia, to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.

Belgrade has been the Serbian capital for 6 centuries. It is a city of rich cultural activities including concerts, theater performances, galleries and fine dining. The tour spends three delightful days exploring Belgrade. We visit museums, markets, temples and churches, the old fortress, the New Belgrade. One evening we experience the authentic charm of Belgrade and its bohemian/artist quarters of Skadarlija, similar to the Montmartre in Paris. Another evening we dine on the shore of the Danube.

Want more of the Balkans? Join our Bulgaria tour to continue your adventure immediately after you finish the Balkans Explorer tour or sign up to enjoy our Adriatic tour prior to the Balkans Explorer tour.

Your tour of this amazing region of Southeastern Europe will be an enjoyable cultural experience long remembered.

BALKANS EXPLORER TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
  • Discover Kruja’s fortress, museums and the old bazaar
  • Explore the museum city of Gjirokastra.
  • Visit Butrint, one of the world’s archeological wonders
  • Marvel at ancient Apollonia which is among the finest archaeological sites of the Mediterranean
  • Visit Ohrid, one of the oldest human settlements in Europe and enjoy the gorgeous, peaceful ambiance.
  • A beautiful secenic drive through mountainous Kosovo with visits to monasteries and fortresses
  • Tour the Studenica Monastery; the crowning achievement of medieval culture and art in Serbia

View A Detailed Itinerary:

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  • 1
    Day 1: Sarajevo, Bosnia

    Arrival in the afternoon and a walking tour of the historic old town of Sarajevo.

  • 2
    Day 2: Sarajevo

    Visit to the War Tunnel (the tunnel of hope) - the tunnel that connected the Sarajevo Airport with the suburb of the town beneath the occupied territory. The 20 metres (66 ft) of tunnel that are left today now form part of a museum.

  • 3
    Day 3: Mostar

    A short drive to the magical town of Mostar for a guided walking tour with highlights such as the Stari Most (a reconstructed 16th century Ottoman bridge that gave the town its name), enjoy free time to wander and immerse yourself in the local culture.

  • 4
    Day 4: Kotor, Montenegro

    Continuing along the gorgeous Adriatic Coast, our knowledgable guide takes you on a walking tour of Kotor, one of the best preserved medieval towns in the Adriatic and a UNESCO world heritage site.

  • 5
    Day 5: Budva

    A guided walking tour of old town Budva (often referred to as the capital of Montenegro tourism) and an independent evening.

  • 6
    Day 6: Shkodra-Kruja-Tirana, Albania

    En-route to Tirana, visit historic Shkodra and the fortress of Kruja, the Skanderbeg and other Ethnographic Museums and the old bazaar full of local handicrafts.

  • 7
    Day 7: Durres -Berat

    This morning we tour the capital, including Ethem Bey Mosque, the Clock Tower and the National Historic Museum.

    Then after a short drive to Durres, our Balkans tour group visits the Amphitheater and the excellent Archeological Museum.

    We continue to the old town of Berat, a UNESCO world heritage listed site and one of Albania's most attractive traditional towns. On arrival, a guided tour including the wonderful citadel where people continue to live, and visit the Onufri Museum. Enjoy spectacular views and observe everyday life.

  • 8
    Day 8-9: Saranda

    Travel to the ancient city of Apollonia, founded in 558 BC by settlers from Corfu and Corinth. This was a very important learning center at the height of the Roman empire, with Octavian himself having finished his studies here. Continue to Vlora where important events in the struggles for Albanian freedom and independence have taken place. Then drive along the Albanian Riviera toward the coastal town of Saranda with stops at several coastal villages. On the 2nd day, an excursion to the World Heritage site of Butrint, Albania's most important archaeological site.

  • 9
    Day 10: Saranda - Gjirokastra

    We explore Gjirokastra, a museum city and UNESCO world heritage site, with its pre-Ottoman citadel.

  • 10
    Day 11 Korca

    In Korca visit the Museum of Medieval Arts and the Mosque of Mirahori (built in 1469 and one of the oldest in the country).

  • 11
    Day 12 Voskopoja - Pogradec - Ohrid

    Visit fascinating Voskopoja, one of the most important towns in the European part of the Ottoman empire. Enjoy Pogradec on the shores of Lake Ohrid and the traditional village of Tushemisht. A short drive to cross the border into Macedonia.

  • 12
    Day 13: Ohrid, Macedonia

    Wow-gorgeous Ohrid! We enjoy a guided walking tour, visit local museums, see the best of the many churches and monasteries and then a short boat ride on Lake Ohrid.

  • 13
    Day 14-15: Skopje

    A scenic journey through mountains with a view of the National Park of Mavrovo, to reach the monastery complex of St. Jovan Bigorski. The monastery complex is located in the beautiful valley of the Radika River among villages, surrounded by Bistra Mountain, lying above sea level of 740 meters. Sv. Jovan Bigorski (St. John Bigorski) Monastery is dedicated to Sv. Jovan Krstitel (Saint John the Baptist) and is known for its iconostasis, the most beautiful one in Macedonia.

    Continue to Skopje. On the 2nd day we have a morning tour to explore the historic town of Skopje. The afternoon is independent.

  • 14
    Day 16: Prizren-Pec, Kosovo

    Visit Prizren and enjoy extraordinary UNESCO sites: Patriarchate of Pec and Monastery Visoki Decani with its precious iconography.

  • 15
    Day 17: Novi Pazar, Serbia

    Journey to Novi Pazar, capital of the Southern area of Serbia called Sandzak.

  • 16
    Day 18: Kopaonik - Zlatibor

    A scenic drive along the valley of the River Ibar to the top of the mountain takes our small group tour to Kopaonik, a national park of unparalleled beauty. Visit the outstanding UNESCO world heritage listed Studenica Monastery before journeying to Mount Zlatibor.

  • 17
    Day 19-21: Belgrade

    full days touring Belgrade, capital of Serbia since 1403.

  • 18
    Day 22: Belgrade - Depart

Sarajevo, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Kotor, Montenegro

Budva, Budva Municipality, Montenegro

Albania

Berat, Albania

Sarandë, Albania

Korçë, Albania

Ohrid Airport, Ohrid, Macedonia (FYROM)

Ohrid, Macedonia (FYROM)

Skopje, Macedonia (FYROM)

Serbia, Novi Pazar

Kopaonik, Municipality of Brus, Kosovska Mitrovica District

Serbia, Belgrade

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