A TASTE OF THE BALKANS

Tour

Countries:Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria

Duration:18 nights/19 days

Pace/Style:Moderate/Adventure

Group Size:4 - 16

Tour Code:VINO

Transport:Private minibus, 1 small tourist boat (optional), on foot

Age:Minimum 18 years – no maximum*

*Providing guest can obtain travel insurance and in certain cases an additional medical form signed by a doctor.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

The Balkans may not immediately spring to mind when it comes to wine, but throughout its turbulent history, there has remained one certainty...the robust Balkan vineyards. These are some of the oldest in the world and have varieties that many have never heard of, dating back to the Ottoman Empire.

Under Yugoslavian rule, wine was measured by quantity rather than quality. Now, wineries are concentrating on using indigenous grape varieties and traditional and modern winemaking techniques to highlight the diversity of the region.

On this tour we will visit six wineries in Serbia, Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria. Join us to sample some of the up-and-coming wines of this region, whilst also enjoying some beautiful scenery and UNESCO sights along the way.

TOUR DATES & PRICES

Tuesday 16 April – Saturday 04 May 2019£2,700
Tuesday 11 June – Saturday 29 June 2019£2,700
Tuesday 03 September – Saturday 21 September 2019£2,700
Tuesday 04 April – Saturday 02 May 2020£2,700
Tuesday 09 June – Saturday 27 June 2020£2,700
Tuesday 01 September – Saturday 19 September 2020£2,700
Single supplement £412
Discounts are possible for larger groups.

This can be taken as a private tour at a time to suit you…

AT A GLANCE

INCLUDED

Return airport transfers

All accommodation

All transport between hotels

18 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 2 dinners

Tour Leader to accompany group

Local Guides (as listed)

Excursions/sightseeing (as listed)

100% Financial Protection

EXCLUDED

Flights (unless specified)

Travel insurance (compulsory)

Meals not listed

Drinks

Single room

Optional excursions

Spending money

Visa and passport fees

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ex-Yugoslavian capital, Belgrade
  • Šargan 8 Railway
  • Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge (UNESCO)
  • Drive through Sutjeska National Park
  • Lake Skadar boat trip
  • Skanderbeg’s town, Kruja
  • Ottoman city of Berat (UNESCO)
  • Stunning Lake Ohrid (UNESCO)
  • 6 winery tours / tastings
  • Melnik, officially Bulgaria’s smallest town
  • Bustling Sofia, capital of Bulgaria

QUICK ITINERARY

1 Belgrade Arrival, welcome meeting and group dinner. D

2 Belgrade Free day. Sail down the Danube or enter Tito's military bunker on an underground tour. Free walking tour available. B

3 Belgrade/Valjevo/Bajina Basta/Zlatibor Winery tour, tasting and lunch in Valjevo, followed by a short photo stop at the ‘House on the Drina.’ See a unique hydro power plant and gaze over the Tara and Drina Rivers in Mitrovac. B, L

4 Zlatibor/Mokra Gora/Drvengrad/Zlatibor Spend the morning on Europe’s most attractive narrow-guage museum railway, Šargan 8. Visit Drvengrad (Wooden Town) built for the movie ‘Life is a Miracle,’ by director Emir Kusturica. B

5 Zlatibor/Visegrad/Sutjeska National Park/Trebinje Marvel at the famous Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge and wander around Andrićgrad, the town dedicated to Yugoslav novelist and Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andrić. Have lunch in Sutjeska National Park before a stop in Tjentište to see two 1970’s monuments commemorating Operation Fall Schwarz, or Battle of Sutjeska. B, L

6 Trebinje Drive to Hercegovačka Gračanica to take a peek inside. This Serbian Orthodox monastery overlooks the city. Winery tour and tasting in Tvrdoš Monastery. B, D

7 Trebinje/Virpazar/Kruja Drive to Virpazar for our boat trip on Lake Skadar, the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula. Have lunch in a local restaurant before heading to Kruja, a small town in northern Albania. B, L

8 Kruja/Berat Morning walk around the old fortress, restored bazaar or the museum celebrating Skanderbeg, a 15th century lord whose formidable military strategy skills defended Albania from Ottoman invasion for over two decades. Evening winery tour and tasting in Berat. B

9 Berat Guided tour of Berat Castle and historic quarters. Traditional Albanian lunch. B, L

10 Berat/Ohrid Drive to Ohrid, Macedonia’s prime destination and on the lake of the same name. B

11 Ohrid Free day to explore. Take a boat to Sveti Naum, hike in Galičica National Park or relax by the lake. B

12 Ohrid/Popova Kula Winery Pay a visit to the archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis in Bitola, founded by Philip II of Macedon. See 18th and 19th century colourful townhouses, Turkish Mosques and elegant buildings in town. Finish with a relaxing afternoon in Popova Kula Winery, sampling an array of their wines. B

13 Popova Kula Winery/Orbelia Winery/Melnik Tour and tasting in a winery at the foot of the Belasitsa Mountain, Bulgaria. Traditional lunch before our short drive to Melnik. B, L

14 Melnik Free morning for sightseeing. Take a walk to Kordopulov House, the largest Renaissance house in Bulgaria before heading to the wine museum. See the pyramids of Melnik en-route to Rozhen Monastery. Optional winery tour/tasting. B

15 Melnik Free morning. Visit a family-owned boutique winery near the villages of Dolno Spanchevo and Harsovo. Learn more about the production process and take part in vine pruning and harvesting. B

16 Melnik/Sofia Head for the capital of Bulgaria, making a stop at the famous Rila Monastery on the way. It is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. B

17 Sofia Free day to explore Sofia, one of the oldest cities in the Balkans. Visit nearby Boyana Church, Vitosha National Park or take a free tour where you will learn about the National Library, Sofia University, Parliament, St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, National Theatre, St Sofia Church and Sofia’s oldest building (St George Rotunda). B

18 Sofia/Niš/Belgrade Drive through picturesque Sićevo Gorge. Late lunch in Jelašnica. Guided tour of Niš, a visit to the Skull Tower and Red Cross Concentration Camp. B, L

19 Belgrade Departure. B

B = Breakfast(18)

L = Lunch(6)

D = Dinner(2)

Alternative arrangements: while every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary, political tensions in this area can heighten occasionally. If the Foreign Office advises against travel to a city or country we are to visit, we will not go. We also reserve the right to make alternative arrangements if we feel that any area we are to visit has become, or could potentially become, troublesome/violent. In this case we will arrange another activity in its place.

ACCOMMODATION

Day/sLocationAccommodation
1, 2Belgrade, Serbia4* Belgrade City Hotel
3, 4Zlatibor, Serbia4* Hotel Idila
5, 6Trebinje, Bosnia & Herzegovina4* Hotel Platani
7Kruja, Albania4* Hotel Panorama
8, 9Berat, Albania4* Rezidenca Desaret Hotel
10, 11Ohrid, Macedonia3* Luccia Apartments
12Demir Kapija, Macedonia3* Popova Kula Hotel & Winery
13, 14, 15Melnik, Bulgaria3* Guesthouse Holiday
16, 17Sofia, Bulgaria3* City Avenue Hotel
18Belgrade4* Belgrade City Hotel
19BelgradeDeparture
Pre/Post Tour RoomsTwin/DoubleSingle
Belgrade£60 (BB)£54 (BB)

Prices are per room, per night. BB = Buffet breakfast.

Hotels listed are a guide only and may change - before booking rooms in the joining hotel independently, please ensure it has not changed for your particular tour.

We have chosen well-positioned, comfortable accommodation within a 10 – 15 minute walking distance of the main areas of interest. The majority are 3*, some are 4*. Be aware that a 4* in some countries may not be of the same quality/standard as your own. Therefore, we class all accommodation as either 3* or 3*+. However, we have chosen what we consider to be the best option for location, cleanliness, and facilities and not necessarily for décor or nice views i.e. a hotel by the sea will not necessarily mean you will have a sea view.

All hotels/apartments have air-conditioning/fans and Wi-Fi. In almost all locations you will have a mini-bar (payable at check-out) or refrigerator, as well as a hairdryer and a TV with English channels. Some of the hotels do not have elevators but there will be someone on hand to help with your luggage.

All of our hotels are featured on www.tripadvisor.com – feel free to check them out!

Prices: on a twin share basis. If you are a single traveler and would be prepared to share a room with another guest of the same sex, the price will remain the same. If you would like your own space, we have single rooms available at an extra fee.

Hotel Restaurant/Meals: Please note that although most of the hotels include breakfast it is sometimes not possible to have lunch or dinner there. As you are traveling through new countries we realize you probably want to experience local cuisine, which is why your Tour Leader will organize or recommend a local restaurant/eatery in each location.

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