Croatia and the Balkans
Day 1 Budapest
We recommend booking pre-accommodation to fully explore this breathtaking city. As your fellow travellers are arriving throughout the day, there are no planned activities until your welcome meeting this evening, so check-in to the hotel (check-in time is approx 3pm) and enjoy the city. Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact time and location of the group meeting. After the meeting, you can head out for a meal at a local restaurant with the group (optional). Please make every effort to arrive on time for this important welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us - contact numbers are provided in these notes. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up. We will depart early on Day 2, so if you would like time to explore this beautiful city, we recommend arriving a day or two earlier. Situated on a beautiful stretch of the Danube, Budapest consists of two parts: Buda and Pest. Buda is the older and more historical part of the city, with old narrow winding streets and medieval buildings. Here you can find Buda’s most ancient sights: the Royal Palace, St. Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion and Castle Hill with its old town. Across the Danube is grand Pest with its vibrant streets such as Váci Utca, which is the bustling main street of Budapest.
Day 2 Novi Sad (1B)
Travel to the second-largest city in Serbia, Novi Sad. Travel through beautiful countryside and arrive around dinner time. Enjoy the first opportunity for Serbian cuisine. There will be time in the morning of Day 3 to visit some highlights of this charming city. Estimated travel time: 5 hours
Days 3-4 Belgrade (2B)
Travel to the capital of the Republic of Serbia known as the 'White City'. Belgrade is emerging as a tourist destination as it recovers from a turbulent past. Stroll through the Kalemegdan, former Belgrade Fortress-turned central park. Here you can see the confluence of Sava and Danube rivers as you mingle with the locals. Walk down the pedestrian street of Skadarlija and continue to Republic Square to visit the National Theater or National Museum. The city offers a wealth of churches and cathedrals as well as an interesting Etnographic Museum for a chance to learn more about Serbian culture, traditions, costumes and tools used throughout history. Estimated travel time: 5 hours
Days 5-6 Sarajevo (2B)
The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a beautifully unique city famed for religious and cultural diversity. A place where Bosnians, Croats and Serbs are trying to live peacefully together setting examples for the rest of world. Visit the 'Tunnel of Life' which played a crucial role in the survival of the people of Sarajevo during the fairly recent civil war. Walk around the cobblestoned streets of the Old Town while taking in the architecture of diverse places of worship. The Latin Bridge is worth a visit as it is a direct link to history. This is the sight where the Archduke of the Austrian Hungarian Empire, Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated, leading to the beginning of World War I. Estimated travel time: 7 hours
Day 7 Mostar (1B)
Travel through beautiful countryside to charming Mostar. The city's symbol, a beautiful reconstructed Ottoman-style bridge, is a reminder of the tenacity of Bosnians in recent times. Wander the old city and visit the new, with reminders all over of what the people of the region have survived.
Days 8-9 Bay of Kotor (2B)
Continue to Montenegro and travel to the Bay of Kotor, a region that is listed as a World Heritage Site. On your free day opt to visit the city of Kotor, a picturesque town surrounded by a walled fortress built by the Republic of Venice. The city has a Mediterranean feel to it and the bay offers a stunning backdrop for the budding photographer. The bay is one of the finest natural harbors in Europe and therefore a fitting area to explore by sea kayak. Take a guided tour perfect for admiring the lush landscapes that surround you. If relaxing is more your style, the beaches of Herceg Novi offer a great escape. There are also local mud therapy spas nearby to test the natural healing properties of the area's sand. Estimated travel time: 7 hours
Days 10-11 Dubrovnik (2B)
Cross into Croatia and travel to Dubrovnik, known as the 'Pearl of the Adriatic'. Set on the Dalmatian coast, Dubrovnik has been an important maritime town in the region for centuries. Surrounded by medieval walls, Dubrovnik is rich in history and an attractive city to explore filled with stunning architecture, museums and fountains. The best starting point for exploration is the Old Town, passing by Roland's Column, the Bell Tower and Sponza Palace. Stroll the Placa Stradun to get a feel for cosmopolitan life in the city. Make a stop at Big Onofrio´s Fountain where locals and tourists gather together at the well-known city meeting spot. A trip to Dubrovnik isn't complete without walking the city walls, 2km long, you can choose to take a tour or explore on your own. HIghlights along the city walls include Fort Minceta, Fort St. John, Fort Lawrence, Fort Revelin, and St. Luke’s Tower. There are 3 main entrances to the city walls, the principal one is located by the Inner Pile Gates. Escape the city on a ferry ride to Lopud Island, part of the Elafiti Islands and home to one of Croatia's most stunning beaches, Plaza Sunj. Estimated travel time: 1 hour
Days 12-13 Hvar (2B)
Located in the Adriatic Sea off of the Dalmatian coast, the island of Hvar is one of Croatia's most populated and scenic islands. Filled with sunshine, the beautiful island is known for its lavender fields and vineyards in the interior and detailed Venetian-inspired architecture in the towns. On Day 13 enjoy a scenic boat ride around the famous Pakleni islands, offering a great escape for those wanting to spend a day relaxing on the beach. Estimated travel time: 3 hours bus, 30 minutes on a ferry, 30 minutes bus
Day 14 Split (1B)
Croatia's second-largest city, Split is an attractive place famed for the Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the palace is basically a city within a city as Split has been built around these impressive Roman ruins. Enjoy a guided tour of the palace. Also worth a visit, St. Duje's cathedral is said to be the oldest cathedral in the world, built around 305 AD. A climb up the bell tower provides excellent views of Split and the surrounding port area. For other spectacular views of the city make sure to visit Marjan's peak. The area has nice hiking and biking trails for those that want to embrace nature and escape the port town. Estimated travel time: 1 hour by catamaran
Day 15 Split (1B)
Depart at any time. We recommend staying an extra day or two to fully experience all this lively city has to offer.