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Explore the Balkans

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Explore the Balkans

Was From $ 2,140 AUD
Now From $ 2,033 AUD
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Description

Veer off the beaten track and discover some of Central Europe’s up-and-coming hotspots on this ten-day adventure. Starting off in cultured and cosmopolitan Budapest, travel to the Serbian capital of Belgrade for a taste of a city on the rise. Learn about Bosnia and Herzegovina’s war years in Sarajevo, stop by the famed Old Bridge of Mostar and finish things up in medieval Dubrovnik of Game of Thrones fame. Melding the past with the present and the raw with the cultivated, this Balkans adventure gives you the power to see Central Europe your way, with a local leader on hand to steer you in the right direction.

Trip Name
Explore the Balkans
Last Updated
2024-03-02
Days
10
Capacity
16
Highlights
  • Delve into the communist past and progressive present of the Pearl of the Danube - Budapest, a city often underrated by travellers
  • Visit Novi Sad on the banks of the Danube River and maybe explore the Petrovaradin Fortress – one of the most important landmarks in the city with a great view over the river. Then, immerse yourself in the edgy street scene of Belgrade's Bohemian Quarter.
  • Explore the sobering Tito’s Bunker in Mostar – an underground facility that served as Yugoslavia's ‘Atomic War Command,’ designed to house a skeleton government who would manage the country in the event of nuclear war.
  • Admire the restored architecture of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kotor in Montenegro on a climb along the ancient city fortifications. Then, discover the glittering Bay of Kotor in your free time.
  • Hit the historic hotspot of Dubrovnik along Croatia’s Dalmatian coastline. With medieval walls, Game of Thrones tours, hidden swimming coves and alleyway restaurants, this is the perfect spot to end your adventure.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Humana Zagreb. Donations help provide job opportunities and education programs in sustainable fashion and textiles for people with disabilities.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. MUSEUM VISITS & OPENING TIMES Many sites, attractions and museums are closed on Mondays (and sometimes Tuesdays). We recommend checking the opening times of anywhere you're interested to visit and making reservations where required/possible.

Day 1 - Budapest
Szia! Welcome to Budapest, Hungary's vibrant capital. This city, split into two sides – Buda and Pest – sits right on the banks of the Danube River. Your adventure starts with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. After, maybe head out with your fellow travellers for dinner, then take a night walk along the Danube to see the buildings and bridges lit up in lights. Why not keep the night going in one of Budapest's ruin bars tonight, home to eclectic décor and a popular spot for a night out.
Day 2 - Novi Sad to Belgrade
This morning you’ll head to Belgrade – Serbia’s capital and one of the oldest cities in Europe. On the way, stop at Novi Sad on the banks of the Danube River. Head out on an orientation walk of the city with your local leader, then take a few hours to explore at your own pace. Maybe head to the Petrovaradin Fortress, one of the most important landmarks in the city, and enjoy the view over the river. There are also some great restaurants and cafes at the fortress where you can stop for lunch or a coffee. Then, continue to your destination – sitting at the junction of the Sava and the Danube, Belgrade is an important intersection between Eastern and Western Europe. Enjoy some free time to explore the city’s wide boulevards and squares, the historic green heart of Kalemegdan Park and Kalemegdan Fortress, which has overlooked the river for centuries. In the evening, head down to Skadarska Street in the bohemian quarter of Skadarlija to sample some authentic local food and enjoy the lively atmosphere in a place where Orthodox churches vie for space next to nightclubs.
Day 3 - Belgrade
Today is another day to discover Belgrade at your own pace. You might like to take a cruise along the Danube River, passing Kalemegdan Fortress, Pancevo Bridge and Zemun. Otherwise, the local market Zeleni Venac can keep you occupied for hours. Take a stroll through the Nikola Tesla Museum to learn about the life and work of Serbia's greatest inventor or check out the city's Ethnographic or Military museums. If the weather’s warm, you could brave the crowds on Ada Ciganlija beach, where you can swim, take up some water sports or soak up the sun. During summer, Belgrade hosts a variety of musical and cultural events, and the city is abuzz with people and activities.
Day 4 - Sarajevo
Travel through the countryside to Sarajevo this morning. The journey is long, so sit back and enjoy the scenery (and grab a window seat if you can!). Sarajevo is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s small but vibrant capital. The city often draws comparisons with Istanbul as a place that mixes east and west – dotted with minarets, mosques, bazaars and the aroma of coffee. When you arrive, maybe head on an optional guided tour to gain insight into the history and culture of the city and explore Bascarsija – Sarajevo's old bazaar. Tonight, maybe grab some of the local speciality – bosanski cevapi (local grilled and spiced meats).
Day 5 - Sarajevo
Enjoy a free day in and around Sarajevo today. You can take an optional day trip out to the thermal springs and green parks of Ilidza – the source of the Bosna River. You might prefer to discover local history with a visit to the History Museum, the Sarajevo War Tunnels and Sniper Alley, or learn about the tragedies faced by the city's Jews at the Jewish Museum. Maybe get cultural with a stroll through the Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or return to Bascarsija and get lost in the mosques, caravanserais and stone-vaulted bazaars while snacking on burek. The Pivnica HS brewery and restaurant is a good place to sample local award-winning beer and spend the night with your travel crew.
Day 6 - Mostar
This morning, travel to Mostar. On the way, stop at Tito's Bunker, named after the late leader of the communist country, for a 1.5-hour tour with a local guide. This underground facility served as Yugoslavia's ‘Atomic War Command,’ designed to house a skeleton government of 350 people who would manage the country in the event of nuclear war. Continue to Mostar – thanks to the river Neretva, this city was able to develop in the barren landscape of Herzegovina. When you arrive, maybe head to the famous Stari Most (Old Bridge), first built by the Ottomans in 1565 – it was the great architect Mimar Hajrudin who succeeded with the impossible mission to cross the Neretva River with a single span stone bridge. If you’re lucky, you might see the famous brave members of Mostar’s diving club hurl themselves into the icy waters below.
Day 7 - Kotor
This morning after breakfast, you’ll travel to Kotor. This fifth-century UNESCO World Heritage-listed city is set on a secluded bay, with towering peaks surrounding a rocky coastline dotted with waterside towns. When you arrive, explore Europe’s most southerly fjord, Boka Kotorska (Bay of Kotor) and Kotor town, with a free afternoon. Maybe check out the 12th-century Cathedral of St Tryphun, the South Gates of Kotor (the Gurdich Gate) and the Armoury Square (Trg od Oruzija).
Day 8 - Kotor
Today is another free day to get lost in the crooked alleyways of Kotor. Maybe check out the boutiques and cafes or climb the hills behind the city to visit Kotor's ruined fortification walls. A 1.5-hour hike up the stone steps, past churches, gates and bastions to the Fortress of Sveti Ivan at the top, rewards you with magnificent views across the town and the Bay of Kotor. Tonight, maybe hang out in a lookout spot and take in the lights – the city walls are lit up in the evening here to provide a unique night-time perspective.
Day 9 - Dubrovnik
Leave Montenegro by bus this morning, riding along the beautiful southern coast of Croatia to Dubrovnik. When you arrive, the day is free for you to explore this medieval city at your own pace. There is so much to see and do here, so ask your leader if you’re stuck for ideas. You might like to take a boat trip to nearby Lokrum Island, where you’ll find the French-built Fort Royal Castle, a monastery and a botanical garden that dates back to when the Austrian archduke Maximilian had his holiday home on the island. Tonight, maybe find a secluded beach spot to watch the sunset or enjoy a harbourside meal with the group for dinner.
Day 10 - Dubrovnik
With no activities planned for today, you are free to depart at any time. If you’d like to stay longer and explore more of what this gorgeous historical city has to offer, just speak to your booking agent.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
14-05-202423-05-2024AUD $ 2,310-
28-05-202406-06-2024AUD $ 2,310-
04-06-202413-06-2024AUD $ 2,270-
18-06-202427-06-2024AUD $ 2,225-
02-07-202411-07-2024AUD $ 2,250-
16-07-202425-07-2024AUD $ 2,250-
06-08-202415-08-2024AUD $ 2,033-
20-08-202429-08-2024AUD $ 2,140-
03-09-202412-09-2024AUD $ 2,405-
17-09-202426-09-2024AUD $ 2,310-
01-10-202410-10-2024AUD $ 2,140-
03-05-202512-05-2025AUD $ 2,245-
17-05-202526-05-2025AUD $ 2,245-
31-05-202509-06-2025AUD $ 2,245-
14-06-202523-06-2025AUD $ 2,245-
08-07-202517-07-2025AUD $ 2,245-
15-07-202524-07-2025AUD $ 2,245-
12-08-202521-08-2025AUD $ 2,245-
19-08-202528-08-2025AUD $ 2,245-
02-09-202511-09-2025AUD $ 2,245-
16-09-202525-09-2025AUD $ 2,245-

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights),Pension (2 nights),Hostel (1 night)

Transport

Public bus,Private vehicle

Map