Balkan Essentials – 10 days: Serbia – Bosnia & Herzegovina – Montenegro – Croatia
Upon arrival in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, you will be welcomed by your driver and escorted to your hotel. On the short coach ride from the Nikola Tesla airport, sit back, relax and enjoy the sights of New Belgrade with its prominent ‘blocks’ – a classic example of Socialist architecture, built after World War II – and modern business centres, including the imposing Ušće Tower. Along the way, your driver will show you and tell some stories about the Western Gate of Belgrade, the famous Belgrade Arena and the monumental Palace of Serbia. Check-in at your hotel.
Use your free time to rest and prepare for the trip. At 7pm in the hotel reception, you will be greeted by your guide who will introduce himself and provide you with detailed information about the entire trip. You will also meet the other travellers in the group. For the rest of the evening, we recommend you take a short, leisurely walk through one of the oldest quarters towards the bohemian heart of Belgrade – Skadarlija. In a charming 19th century cobbled street you will find many numerous ‘kafanas’ where you can try delicious local specialties while listening to traditional music. Overnight.
After breakfast, you will embark on a tour (driving and walking) around Belgrade, a capital city well known for its various architectural styles, dynamic history and fantastic views of one of the biggest river confluences in the whole of Europe. Start the tour visiting the Museum of Yugoslav History, a memorial complex devoted to the life and deeds of Josip Broz Tito, the political leader of Yugoslavia. Next, you will pass by the stadium of FC Red Star – the former European and World Cup champions, and proceed to the Temple of Saint Sava, Belgrade’s patron saint. Very much a symbol of the city, this impressive building can be seen from any part of the capital. After a short break at the Temple’s plateau, the panoramic tour will then take you from Slavija Square, to Saint Mark’s Church, the Serbian National Parliament and White Palace, and on to Republic Square. This most central point of Belgrade is surrounded by such cultural institutions as the National Theatre and National Museum. The tour will then head along the lively Knez Mihailo Street, the main pedestrian and shopping zone, before stopping for a visit to the Orthodox Cathedral Church of Saint Michael the Archangel, which is located just across from the Building of Patriarchate. Your guide will tell you about the tavern around the corner, the oldest in the city and intriguingly known as “?” (Question Mark), before continuing on to Kalemegdan Park and Belgrade Fortress, the most important cultural-historic complex of the city, situated on the confluence of the rivers Sava and Danube.
Belgrade – Zlatibor – Sargan 8 – Wooden-town
Breakfast and check-out. Morning departure from Belgrade, heading west towards the picturesque Ovčar-Kablar Gorge, through which the West Morava river meanders. The tour will continue on to Tara National Park, and you will have time to reflect on its beauty from aboard the authentic, retro ‘Nostalgia’ train which runs along the narrow-gauge heritage railway, Šargan Eight. Travelling from the bottom of Šargan mountain on a route shaped like the number eight (hence the name), you will be transported back in time while enjoying the stunning mountain scenery and numerous tunnels and viaducts. At the beginning of the 20th century, the railway used to be a part of the railway from Belgrade to Sarajevo. After enjoying the breathtaking nature, you will arrive at the ethno village Drvengrad (Wooden Town), built by prominent movie director Emir Kusturica. The village, which includes the Mećavnik Hotel, houses, galleries, shops, a cinema and a church, is made of natural materials, mostly wood. Since 2008, the village plays host to the annual Küstendorf Film and Music Festival and Drvengrad has been visited by the likes of Johnny Depp, Monica Belucci, Jim Jarmusch and many others.
After exploring Drvengrad, there will be a short drive to the famous Zlatibor Mountain, home of the first royal resort in Serbia. Here you can enjoy a relaxing walk around the quaint town centre of this picturesque air spa. In the evening, an enjoyable dinner of traditional Serbian food typical of the region will be served in the hotel.
Visegrad – Sarajevo
Breakfast and check-out. The tour continues to Bosnia and Herzegovina and a short drive takes you to Višegrad, where Emir Kusturica used his imagination and creativity to build Andrićgrad (also known as Stone Town). It is a cultural centre with numerous buildings and facilities built on the banks of the Drina river near the famous bridge (a monument under the protection of UNESCO). The bridge is referenced in the title of Ivo Andrić’s novel The Bridge on the Drina and in honour of the Nobel Prize winning author, Kusturica’s town was called Andrićgrad (literally translated as Andrić’s Town). In Andrićgrad, the tour will stop for lunch at an unusual restaurant called Zlatna Moruna, the interior of which is decorated with frescoes by well-known artist Biseniya Tereshchenko.
After lunch, the tour will continue on to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Check-in at the hotel. After a short rest, the Sarajevo sightseeing tour will start, covering all the main sights including: Vijećnica or Sarajevo City Hall, the building of which was finished during the Austro-Hungarian period; the old downtown of the city called Bashcharshiya; the historical and cultural centre of Sarajevo with authentic shops and souqs from the Ottoman era; the Orthodox Church from the 16th century; the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque; the Sahat Tower from the 17th century; and the first public toilet in Europe. Next you will head on to the Latin Bridge where Gavrilo Princip shot the successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne Franz Ferdinand, consequently starting the First World War. After crossing the bridge, you will reach Bezistan, a market complex from the 16th century, and then on to the main pedestrian zone Ferhadiya with the Sarajevo Synagogue from 1580 and a Catholic cathedral from 1881. Return to the hotel and overnight.
Mostar – Blagaj – Trebinje
Breakfast and check-out. Drive to one of the most beautiful cities of the Balkan Peninsula, Mostar. During the walking tour, you will visit the symbol of the city, Balkan TOP 10 and the most photographed sight in the country – the Old Bridge (a UNESCO protected landmark). You will then proceed to Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, the Crooked Bridge and the old tanner’s quarter Tabhana. Free time in Mostar for getting lunch on the banks of the Neretva river, with an amazing view of the bridge that rises above you.
The excursion continues to Blagaj (a site on the UNESCO Tentative List), an old town from the 15th century where the Kosača noble family ruled. Blagaj was also the crib of Islam of today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, when dervish Sari Satluk built a khanqah at the riverhead of Buna. During the short tour, enjoy the view of the monastery located in a fairy-tale environment, beneath the cliffs, on the shores of the emerald green river Buna.
The next destination of the day is Trebinje, a picturesque town with a wonderful mix of sights originating from a mix of different cultures. The tour starts with a visit to Arslanagića Bridge, a dream for artists and photographers alike; this stone bridge with its peaceful atmosphere will take you 400 years back in time. During the leisurely walk through the narrow streets of the old town, you’ll see the most important sights of Trebinje as you make your way to the so called ‘Poet’s Square’ where you can sit under the 115 year old trees, which are the symbol of the town. In this beautiful town, Emir Kusturica, the world famous movie director, made one of his last movies, with Monica Belluci in the leading role. Overnight in the hotel.
Perast – Kotor – Dubrovnik
Breakfast and check-out. This day is devoted to the Republic of Montenegro, a country that boasts of rich heritage and immense natural beauty. The Bay of Kotor with its unique landscape is a must-see location for more than 500 cruisers per year. On the way to the marvellous Kotor, you will make a stop at the town of Perast, a little settlement baroque in style. From Perast, you’ll start a relaxing boat ride along the Bay of Kotor to the picturesque island of Our Lady of the Rocks. This manmade island is home to a church with valuable paintings by local artists, silver votive tablets and a famous votive tapestry.
After the boat ride, you will arrive in Kotor, an old Mediterranean town that dates back to the 12th and 14th century. A walking tour will allow you to explore this UNESCO site, including the churches of Saint Nicholas and Saint Luke, the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon and other cultural moments. You will have free time to continue wandering around the old paved town, or have lunch in a restaurant on one of romantic squares.
The next destination is Dubrovnik, one of the most popular destinations in the world. After check-in at the hotel, use your free time to rest or head out for an evening stroll to Stradun, the main street of Dubrovnik. Enjoy walking the illuminated streets, surrounded by white stone, and take the opportunity to dine on fresh seafood in the fantastic setting of this incredibly romantic city. Overnight in the hotel.
Dubrovnik – Split
Breakfast. Start sightseeing tour of Dubrovnik, one of the most significant monuments in the world and one of Europe’s best preserved walled cities, known since the 7th century. The old town is surrounded by a 2 km long wall that gives a great opportunity to see old Dubrovnik from above during a one hour relaxing walk; the city’s churches, fortifications and monuments are a real must-see. Dubrovnik has enchanted a lot of famous persons to devote their pieces of art to the city, thus in this city of marble and light coloured stone, you will find numerous art galleries and unique shops. In the historical centre of Dubrovnik, you will visit the main street Stradun, the main square Placa, Pile Gate, the Rector’s Palace, Sponza Palace, the walls of the Old Town, the church of Saint Blaise, the cathedral, the Jesuit church, Orlando’s Column, Big Onofrio’s Fountain, the city port and other hidden gems. At the end of the tour, you will have time to sit and enjoy a coffee at one of the charming piazzas or explore Dubrovnik on your own.
At 2pm we continue further. Drive along the beautiful Makarska coast – with wonderful views of Croatian islands, wine & olive plantations and stone-made villages. Afternoon arrival in Split, the largest Dalmatian city, founded 1700 years ago, with a well preserved, enormously rich history. Check-in at your hotel. In the evening, relax in the charming Mediterranean atmosphere and while your free time enjoy coffee or dinner in a restaurant by the sea.
Split – Sibenik – Plitvice National Park
Breakfast and check-out. Split sightseeing tour – your guide will lead you through the narrow streets of Diocletian’s Palace (a UNESCO Heritage Site), built in the 4th century for the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and show you former Temple of Jupiter in the central square of the imperial complex. Today, the temple is now the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, regarded as the oldest Catholic cathedral that remains in use in its original structure. You will also pass through the Golden and Silver Gates and walk around lively markets and Riva, the city’s shopping zone.
The tour will then head towards Plitvice, with a short break in Šibenik, a medieval Venetian city famous for its narrow curvy streets, stone-made houses, stairs and remains of the city walls. It is home to many significant landmarks, among which the Cathedral of Saint James (on the UNESCO World Heritage List), constructed by locals for hundreds of years, has a special place. Šibenik is the perfect place for a short break. Spend your free time strolling through the charming streets and enjoying lunch in a square surrounded by Venetian architecture.
In the late afternoon, you will arrive at world-famous destination – Plitvice Lakes National Park. In the refreshing atmosphere, you can relax and enjoy dinner either in the hotel restaurant or a local restaurant nearby.
Plitvice – Zagreb
Breakfast. Start exploring Plitvice Lakes National Park, a beautiful park that contains 16 interconnected cascading lakes. On old maps, it was called ‘Devil’s Garden’ and it is the first site in the Balkans to get UNESCO World Heritage status. You will enjoy a 3-hour guided tour that includes a visit to the upper and lower lakes. While swimming is forbidden, you will find the best places for relaxing and contemplating the untouched beauty of this lush paradise.
The final stop on this great Balkan tour is the Croatian capital, Zagreb. This small gem of European culture and civilisation is located in the heart of the continent. Sightseeing around Zagreb, touring the city’s main attractions: Kaptol (the medieval part of Zagreb), the Franciscan monastery and the 13th century Church of Saint Francis. You will also get the chance to walk around Dolac, Zagreb’s best known farmers’ market, and admire the baroque architecture of the 18th century Church of Saint Mary. The tour will end in the heart of Zagreb, at Ban Josip Jelačić’s monument in the square named after him.
Breakfast and hotel check-out. As most of our clients decide to extend their trip within their own organisation, transfer to the airport at the end of the tour is not included in the overall price. Any guests who would like Serbia Tour Operator to organise a departure transfer on their behalf are welcome to contact us. End of services.
- 2 BB in Belgrade in double room in Hotel Royal Inn 4* / Hotel Life Design 4* / Hotel Prag 4* or similar,
- 1 HB in Zlatibor in Hotel Palisad 4*/ Hotel Mir 4* or a 4* mountain villa,
- 1 BB in Sarajevo in double room in Hotel Holiday 4* / Hotel Bosnia 4* / Hotel Old Town 4* or similar,
- 1 BB in Trebinje in double room in Hotel Platani 4* / Hotel Central Park 4* / Hotel SL Industry 4* or similar,
- 1 BB in Dubrovnik in double room in Hotel Lapad 4* / Grand Hotel Park 4* / Hotel Uvala 4* or similar
- 1 BB in Split in double room in Hotel Globo 4*/ Hotel President 4*/ Hotel Art 4* or similar,
- 1 HB in Plitvice National Park in double room in Hotel Grabovac 3*/ Hotel Macola 3*or similar,***,
- 1 BB in Zagreb in double room in Hotel Dubrovnik 4*/ Hotel International 4*/ Hotel Palace 4*/ or similar,
- Airport arrival transfer,
- All sightseeing tours and transfers that are written in this program, except those marked as optional tours,
- Entrance tickets to the Museum of Yugoslav history and Wooden Town and Blagaj
- Ticket for the 90-minutes ride on Museum Train – Šargan eight****,
- Boat trip from Perast to the Island Our Lady of the Rock,
- 3 hours tour to Nature Park Plitvice Lakes: entrance tickets, boat ride and tram ride,
- 1 bottle of water (0.5 l) daily for each passenger,
- Professional tour guidance throughout the tour,
- VAT, Accommodation taxes and City taxes in every country,
- Tour logistics and organization by licensed incoming agency.
- 1/1 Room supplement (on basic price): € 400 in Regular season; € 450 in High season.
- 1/3 Room reduction (per person on basic price): -40 € in Regular season; – 50 € in High season.
- Twin Room supplement (per person on basic price): € 70 in Regular season, € 80 in High season.
- Child from 0 to 2 years old – FREE of charge.
- Child from 2 to 12 years old, in existing bed – 50% discount on basic price.
- Child from 2 to 12 years old, in extra bed – 1/3 Room Reduction Policy.
- Child from 12 years old and above – 1/3 Room Reduction Policy.
- Tour duration: 10 days.
- Tips and porterage services are not included in price.
- Final choice of the hotels depends on current availability. Tour organizer reserves the right to change the hotel due to availability reasons, but warrants the same category, service quality and similar location of the accommodation unit.
- ** Due to limited choice of accommodation units at Mokra Gora in case of unavailability in Hotel Mećavnik 4* the overnight will be organized at Zlatibor Mountain Resort in a 4* Hotel or Zlatibor Mountain Vila 4*.
- *** Due to limited choice of accommodation units at Plitvice, in case of unavailability in high season the overnight will be organized in closest nearby accommodation.
- Tour departures are guaranteed for 2+ persons.
- Tour organizer reserves the right to change the itinerary of the tour due to unexpected slow-moving traffic at international borders. These changes will not affect the basic itinerary.
- **** Due to the limited capacity of the Museum Train – Sargan eight, in case of unavailability, tickets will not be booked, and the customer will be refunded an amount of ticket price (10 €). After/before the booking, the agency may, by costumer’s request, within 48 hours, inform the customer whether the agency will reserve the requested tickets.
- Tour passengers’ responsibility is to get acquainted with visa requirements of all the countries they are travelling to or transit.
- General Travel Conditions issued on January 25, 2019 by “Tour Operator doo” and reconciled with YUTA standards are valid for this program.
If you or any member of your party wishes to cancel your tour, you should notify us or the travel agent you made the booking with, in written. If you cancel the tour we will then apply refund policy as defined below. Cancellation schedule will be applied starting the date of written notification receipt. The refund amounts shown represent a percentage of the total tour price.
For cancellation up to 60 days before departure – 100% refund.
For cancellation from 59 days till 46 days before departure – 90% refund.
For cancellation from 45 days till 31 days before departure – 80% refund.
For cancellation from 30 days till 16 days before departure – 70% refund.
For cancellation from 15 days till 8 days before departure – 50% refund.
For cancellation from 7 days till the day of departure – 0% refund.
Beside all standard reasons, the above stated cancellation policy will also apply if tour participant cancels the tour for a reason with medical grounds, visa issuance, jury service etc.