Day 1-3: Ljubljana - Bled - Piran
Our guided tour of Slovenia begins with scenic Lake Bled and Bohinj Valley. Tour members visit the castle on the cliff above the town of Bled as well as the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary on the island in the middle of the lake. Also included in this section of the tour are a visit to the old village of Lake Bohinj and a walking tour of historic center of Ljubljana. We also visit the unique Postojna Cave. The medieval pirate town of Piran is another highlight with its stone buildings, narrow streets and rich cultural heritage.
Day 4-5: Villages of Istria Peninsula
Visit the beautiful historic villages Motovun, Visnjan, Groznjan, Buje, Porec, Rovinj and Pula; includes the famous Basilica (UNESCO) and streets Cardo & Decumanus Maximus in Porec.We then head to Opatija, the oldest established and still one of the most popular Croatian resorts town, in the best tradition of seaside magnificence.
Day 6: Plitvice Lakes National Park
The tour group enjoys a walk in the gorgeous Plitvice Lakes National Park where sixteen lakes, each at different levels, join each other in a series of cascading waterfalls. Surrounded by dense woods, the region (on UNESCO's List of World Natural Heritage sites) is a natural phenomenon of rare and unique beauty.
Day 7: Adriatic Coast
Next we visit the historic towns of the Adriatic Coast including Zadar, Sibenik, Trogir and Split. Zadar, the ancient capital of Dalmatia and a beautiful example of a Venetian old town; picturesque Sibenik and the medieval architecture of the buildings of Trogir. The old part of the town of Spilt includes a beautiful Roman Palace.
Day 8-9: Hvar & Korcula Islands
We board a high speed catamaran for the island of Hvar where we have a walking tour through the narrow streets to the 15th Century Franciscan Monastery followed by a visit to the Renaissance Cloister. The old Rectory houses today a collection of lace, manuscripts, and books. The church also contains remarkable collection of paintings. We visit St Stephen's Cathedral and the Arsenal, a thick-walled fortress overlooking the harbor, where Europe's oldest community theater opened in 1612. Enjoy your free time to meander. Later we board a ferry for the one hour ride to the island of Korcula.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Day 11-13: Sarajevo & Mostar
Continuing our guided tour of the Balkans, our intrepid world travelers will enjoy a breathtaking drive from to the small village of Medjugorje which in recent times has become an important religious pilgrimage site. Continue to Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We explore the charming historic town that takes you instantly back to Ottoman times.
Next we head to the very magical and historic town of Mostar with its maginicent Ottoman built bridge and quaint narrow streets with cafes overlooking the river.
Day 14-15: Kotor, Njegusi, Budva
Our historic village tour continues along the Adriatic coast to Montenegro and the town of Kotor. Members of our tour of Montenegro will enjoy a marvelous drive around beautiful Boka Kotorska Bay, passing old fishing villages, churches, monasteries, marinas and beaches. Walking tour of the Kotor UNESCO World Heritage Site with its beatutiful Venetian influenced architecture. Visit the old Njegusi village (birth place of the poet King Njegoš) and Cetinje (the town often seen as the birthplace of Montenegrin culture and a past capital of Montenegro). Finally, enjoy the coastal Budva, known since Illyrian times, with gorgeous old-world architecture, narrow streets and stone buildings placed around the main cathedral.
Day 16-17: Shkoder - Kruja - Tirana
Our visit of Albania starts with a tour of Shkoder, the most important town of northern Albania and and the Illyrian capital in the 3rd century BC. Once part of the Venetian empire, Italian influence is evident everywhere in Shkodra.
Next is a stop in Kruja,the center of the Albanian resistance against the Ottoman Turks under the leadership of Albania's national hero Scanderbeg. We visit the Fortress and the Skanderbeg Museum.
A full day visit in Tirana including Et'hem Bey Mosque (beautiful and unusual exterior frescoes), the Clock Tower, and the National Historic Museum; the area of Tirana called Blloku ("The Block"), the location of former Communist dictator Enver Hoxha's villa.
Day 18: Tirana - Durres - Berat
Our tour of Albanian cultural sites continues in Durres where we visit the Amphitheatre (built by the Romans in 2nd century AD and one of the largest in the Balkan peninsula) and an excellent Archeological Museum. Continuing to Berat, we enjoy the Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site where people continue to live, as well as the Onufi Museum and the beautiful old town district.
Day 19: Berat - Apollonia - Vlora-Saranda
Our tour group visits the ruins of the ancient city of Apollonia, founded in 558 BC, before continuing our Albanian travel adventure to Vlora where we explore the town and where important events in the struggles for Albanian independance took place.
Then, we will enjoy a pleasant drive along the Albanian Riviera stopping for refreshments at one of the small coastal villages en-route to Saranda.
Day 20:Excursion to Butrint
A day excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint, Albania’s most important archaeological site with ruins that show both Hellenic and Roman origins.
Day 21: Saranda-Gjirokastra
We drive to Gjirokastra, a museum city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. There we visit the pre-Ottoman citadel that houses a fascinating weapons exhibit.We shall overnight in one of th characteristic houses of Gjirokastra with original wood and stone work.
Day 22: Gjirokastra - Korca
Breathtaking mountain scenery can be enjoyed on the way to Korca where our tour visits the National Museum of Medieval Arts.
Day 23: Korca - Voskopoja – Pogradec - Ohrid
A short drive brings us to fascinating Voskopoja which was once one of the most important towns in the European part of the Ottoman empire. We continue to Pogradec on the southern shore of lake Ohrid and then pass through the quaint village of Tushemisht, close to Macedonian border.
Our guided tour group will then travel into Macedonia to the beautiful city of Ohrid on the shores of Lake Ohrid.
Day 24: Ohrid
We shall enjoy a full day exploring the beautiful and fascinating town of Ohrid on foot. Situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid at 695m above sea level, the town is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. There is much to see here and its all very exciting! We begin our tour around the old town-museum of Ohrid, (UNESCO site) also known as "City of 365 Churches." We will stroll along the old narrow streets where, at every 100 meters, you will come across significant historical sights. Out of endless number of monuments and churches, we will visit the most important ones.
Day 25-26: Ohrid - St. Jovan Bigorski - Skopje
A scenic drive through the mountains and villages, following along the border with Albania, will take us to the Monastery of St. Jovan Bigorski (famous for its beautiful wood carved iconostasis) before reaching Skopje with its 6th century fortress and 15th century stone bridge.
A walking tour of Skopje, Republic of Macedonia.
Day 27: Skopje - Prizen - Pec (Peja)
Crossing the border into Kosovo, a walking tour of the town of Prizren where we visit its' archaeological heritage including the old Turkish Bath, Stone Bridge, Fortress and other remarkable architectural features.
We continue to Pec, also called Peja. In Pec we visit two magnificent monastery complexes both are living places of learning and worship. Monastery Visoki Decani, UNESCO, is a 13th century church in Romanesque-Gothic style. Monks have been living here continuously since the 14th century.
Day 28: Pec (Peja) - Novi Pazar - Kopaonik
This morning on our way to the Serbian border, we stop to visit the second monastery complex--the Patriarchate of Pec. The complex has four churches built between 1220 and 1330. The Patriarchate of Pec plays a major role in the church and state history of Serbia. There are currently about 25 nuns living here who returned to the Patriarchate in 1957.
Afterwards, a scenic drive takes us to Novi Pazar, capital of the southern area of Serbia called Sandzak with its Turkish-style Old town, before visiting the UNESCO Sopocani Monastery. We continue to Kopaonik for overnight.
Day 29: Monastery Studenica - Mount Zlatibor
Start the day with a visit to the UNESCO Monastery Studenica, considered the crowning achievement of medieval culture and art in Serbia. The tour group then journeys onward to ascend Mount Zlatibor National Park with its beautiful Golden Pines for an overnight stay.
Day 30-32: Belgrade
We drive through central Serbia, to Belgrade, the capital with sightseeing en-route, stopping in the towns of Oplenac and Topola.
Belgrade has been the Serbian capital for 6 centuries and the two days here are filled with culture and history: a walking tour of architectural masterpieces and monuments, The Fortress of Kalemegdan, ancient Roman remains, The Eastern Ward, Ethological Museum, Kaleniceva Pijaca (largest market in Belgrade), the royal compound, New Belgrade and much more.
Day 33: departure