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The Balkans Real Food Adventure

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The Balkans Real Food Adventure

Was From $ 3,510 AUD
Now From $ 3,334 AUD
Sale!

Description

Treat your palate to the culinary highlights of the Balkans on this nine-day foodie adventure. Dine on homemade meals and share stories with your hosts in North Macedonia, meet the makers behind famous Njegusi smoked hams in Montenegro and sample the charcuterie of Croatia. Take guided walks in Prizren and Skopje, exploring the cities where Balkan cuisine comes to life, and have ample free time to discover local markets and bazaars. With an expert local guide providing all the restaurant recommendations you could ask for, your Balkans adventure will not leave you hungry!

Trip Name
The Balkans Real Food Adventure
Last Updated
2024-02-14
Days
9
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Experience an authentic taste of the Balkans and a look at local life when you dine in family homes in Ohrid, Lake Prespa and Dihovo.
  • Take in a cooking demonstration in the village of Dolno Dupeni, then get a fresh taste of homemade North Macedonian cuisine.
  • See behind the scenes of local produce when you visit a centuries-old smokehouse, an olive mill, an apple farm and meet a local beekeeper for a honey tasting.
  • Explore the stunning landscapes and charming cities of the region, discovering the legendary Rozafa Fortress and going on guided tours of Prizren and Skopje.
  • Try the most iconic foods of Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo, including smoked and barbecued meats, cheese, honey, apples and locally produced wine.
  • 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.

Day 1 - Dubrovnik
Dobro Dosli! Welcome to Dubrovnik, a beautiful stone town surrounded entirely by fortifications. Although it experienced devastation in the early 1990s, the restored Old Town remains as charming as ever. With the sparkling water of the Adriatic in the background, Dubrovnik is picturesque, full of character and easily covered on foot. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6.30 pm today, but if you happen to arrive early, why not take a walk inside the city walls? After your important meeting, you could head out for a dinner to get to know your fellow travellers. Croatian cuisine varies between regions, but an unwavering favourite is the charcuterie. Traditionally created with pork, charcuterie involves using a lot of specially prepared meats, all of which showcase flavours specific to their preservation process. If the option’s there, why not give it a try?
Day 2 - Kotor
After breakfast, cross into Montenegro and visit the town of Njegusi, known around the country for its famous smoke-dried hams and cheeses. Stop at a smokehouse, where your leader will explain their production process, dating back for centuries, and will also take you for a tasting of their famous Njegusi smoked hams, cheeses and grape brandy. After, visit an olive farm in the village of Tici, located in the Lustica Bay area near Kotor. Discover the art of olive pressing as your hosts share their second-generation organic olive oil production techniques. Wander through the beautiful olive groves before arriving at an ancient stone olive mill, where olives were once milled by hand. A guided tasting will give you an insight into what makes for good oil. Back in Kotor, with free time later in the day, consider getting lost in the town’s crooked walkways, or perhaps climbing the hills behind the city to experience Kotor’s ruined fortification walls. With a free night, maybe have an optional dinner at a Kotor wine bar.
Day 3 - Prizren
Say goodbye to Montenegro and head to Kosovo. The first stop on the journey is Rozafa Fortress, Albania, one of the last strongholds of the allied Christian forces against invading Ottomans in the 15th century. In the afternoon, arrive in Prizren, the second largest city in Kosovo. This picturesque location remains the most culturally and ethnically diverse in all of Kosovo. The rest of the day is yours to explore Prizren at your own pace. The abundance of orange rooftops makes for an interesting sight, as do the impressive mosques and churches in the city. For dinner, perhaps ask your leader for some local restaurant suggestions.
Day 4 - Ohrid
Start the day with a guided tour of Prizren. Pass by the sights, smells and sounds of the bazaar, with a whole range of specialties on offer, including stuffed peppers, which are a big hit. After visiting the bazaar, continue to Pristina, Kosovo’s capital and largest city. Your leader will take you on another guided tour, exploring the city centre. A special experience then awaits with a delicious Kosovo-Serb barbecue, prepared by the local hosts who serve sausages and other pork delicacies from their personal smokehouse. Take some time to explore the surrounding Gracanica settlement and monastery. The area serves as the home of one of the few dominantly Serbian populations in Kosovo. After, leave Kosovo behind and travel into North Macedonia. Your first stop will be the St Jovan Bigorski Monastery (St John the Baptist), which is widely renowned as the most spiritual monastery in North Macedonia. Then drive onward to Ohrid where you will spend the evening.
Day 5 - Ohrid
Ohrid is Europe’s oldest lake and, as one of the oldest human settlements in the world, it’s got a wealth of historic sites and religious monuments to discover. The town is said to have once been home to 365 churches, one for each day of the year, earning it the nickname ‘the Macedonian Jerusalem’. Today is free for you to explore the town’s streets and churches, maybe picking up a bargain or two in the vibrant Old Bazaar. Alternatively, consider joining your leader for an optional day trip to Ohrid Lake and the mystical Sveti Naum Monastery – one of the most important places of pilgrimage in North Macedonia. Take in the ancient Tzar Samoil’s Fortress, which stands on the top of Ohrid Hill and looks across the town, along with a 2000-year-old Roman theatre that was uncovered near its upper gate. The Sveti Jovana Kaneo church, which sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the lake, is one of the most popular in North Macedonia. This evening, head to Kuratica – a village on the outskirts of Ohrid. Here, you’ll experience local hospitality and enjoy a home-cooked meal. Your host also brews his own rakija, which you’re welcome to sample for a quick warm up of your insides!
Day 6 - Bitola
After leaving your accommodation in Ohrid, head down to the green market for a traditional breakfast. You might like to try the best burek in town or enjoy a gjomleze pie (a traditional dish made from an old Ohrid recipe). Drive onward to Lake Prespa, a beautiful area that’s popular with Macedonian holidaymakers. Here, you’ll visit a local apple farm and have the chance to taste some of the fresh produce yourself. Then, head to the little village of Dolno Dupeni on Lake Prespa, where you will be invited into a local home for a cooking demonstration and some lunch. Continue to Bitola and relax in one of the city’s many cafes or explore the stalls of the Old Bazaar.
Day 7 - Bitola
Today you’ll visit Dihovo – a small village sitting in the foothills of Mt Pelister. A local beekeeper will teach you about the honeybee and you’ll get hands-on with an open beehive demonstration. After, enjoy a tasting of honey extracted straight from the comb before having a home-cooked meal in a traditional villa. All the ingredients are organic and come from the family’s private gardens. Return to Bitola in the afternoon. Perhaps choose to take a guided tour of the ancient town and archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis, located on the outskirts of Bitola. Heraclea was founded by Philip II of Macedonia in the fourth century BC after he had conquered the surrounding region of Lyncestis. The city was named in honour of the mythological hero Heracles, whom Philip considered his ancestor.
Day 8 - Skopje
Start the day with a trip out to the Stobi archaeological site for a short walk. Stobi, once known as Paeonia, was conquered by the ancient kingdom of Macedon and became the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia Salutaris. Continue to Tikves wine district – the production of grapes is prominent in North Macedonia, thanks to an abundance of sunshine and rich, rocky soil. Today’s adventure offers a taste of local varieties at two of the country’s finest wineries. Enjoy a pairing of delicious local cheeses and cured meats next to these wines this afternoon. Arrive in Skopje in the late afternoon and take a guided walking tour of the centre city, tasting traditional Macedonian sweets along the way. Head out with your fellow travellers for a final dinner in Debar Maalo, the bohemian heart of Skopje. Your leader will ensure all your favourite dishes are ordered for one last celebration.
Day 9 - Skopje
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to end! If you wish to spend more time in Skopje or want to explore the fascinating Matka Canyon, just speak to your booking agent.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
23-05-202431-05-2024AUD $ 4,035-
06-06-202414-06-2024AUD $ 4,125-
20-06-202428-06-2024AUD $ 3,760-
25-07-202402-08-2024AUD $ 3,334-
22-08-202430-08-2024AUD $ 3,510-
19-09-202427-09-2024AUD $ 3,655-
26-09-202404-10-2024AUD $ 3,655-

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights)

Transport

Private Vehicle

Map