Balkan Peninsula Cruise
Join us to discover the hidden gems of the Balkan Peninsula. This journey through six countries takes in fascinating cities, historic towns, mountain peaks and spectacular coastline.
Tour Duration: 14 days
- Sutjeska National Park
- Kotor Bay
- Kruje and Tirana
- Lake Ohrid
- Novi Sad
Day 1: You’ll depart the UK on your scheduled flight to Sarajevo. On arrival you will enjoy dinner.
Day 2: Sarajevo, capital city of Bosnia-Herzegovina, is famous for its cultural and religious diversity. Here you’ll find the Ottoman-style Emperor’s Mosque in the same neighbourhood as the Catholic Sacred Heart Cathedral, the Orthodox Church of the Nativity and the Jewish synagogue – earning the city its nickname as the ‘Jerusalem of the Balkans’. During our full-day tour of Sarajevo, we’ll also evoke memories of Torvill and Dean’s unforgettable 1984 Winter Olympics success, as we visit the city’s quirky Olympic Museum.
Day 3: Today we head to Sutjeska National Park, where you’ll see Bosnia-Herzegovina’s highest peak, the 2,836m Maglic mountain. After an included lunch, we’ll cross the border into Montenegro and arrive at the pretty coastal town of Budva, your base for the next two nights.
Day 4: Join us on a drive to Kotor Bay, where stunning coastline is edged by breathtaking mountain scenery. Visit the exquisitely-preserved old city of Kotor, with its 12th century cathedral and city walls clinging to the mountainside. Later, take a boat trip to the fascinating ‘Our Lady of the Rocks’ islet. Legend has it that this island was formed by fishermen dropping a rock into the bay each time they returned from a successful voyage.This afternoon, we’ll visit the neighbouring towns of Becici and Budva. At Becici we’ll find a fabulous sandy beach. A walking tour of Budva includes highlights such as the famous Venetian walls of the pretty Old Town.
Day 5: Today we’ll travel on to Tirana, the capital of Albania, where you’ll stay tonight. En route, we visit the fascinating hill town of Kruje, with its 5th century fortress perched dramatically on a rocky outcrop. You’ll learn about one of Albania’s most heroic figures, Skanderbeg, who guarded the country against Ottoman invaders. You will also enjoy a visit to the Kruje Ethnographic Museum, where a preserved farmhouse gives a fascinating insight into traditional life.
Day 6: This morning, take a walking tour of Tirana, which boasts an array of interesting buildings including the Et’hem Bey Mosque, which nestles among the city’s modern buildings. Later, we’ll head to the Macedonian border, and arrive at the beautiful Lake Ohrid, which is surrounded by dramatic mountains. Relax and soak up the atmosphere at your picturesque lakeside hotel.
Day 7: Explore Lake Ohrid’s breathtaking scenery as we visit the Bay of Bones, a ‘museum on the water’ that recreates prehistoric houses salvaged from the waters of the lake. Enjoy an included lunch here before embarking on a boat ride to explore the surroundings of this beautiful lake. You can also browse historic Ohrid town, with its fascinating churches and shopping area.
Day 8: We’ll travel to the Macedonian captial, Skopje, where you’ll find the memorial house of Mother Teresa, the city’s most famous daughter. Walk the narrow, winding streets of the Old Bazaar and see the panoramic views from the Upper Town, before enjoying an overnight stay in the city.
Day 9: Today we cross the border into Serbia, where we’ll visit the fascinating Manasija Monastery, with its 11 imposing towers and impressive fortified walls. Inside, you’ll find beautifully preserved frescos and mosaic floors. There’s free time in nearby Despotovac – a pretty town named after Serbian prince Stefan Lazarevic, who was given the title Despot. Later, you’ll arrive in Belgrade for a two-night stay. We’ve kept the evening free for you to discover one of the city’s lovely restaurants.
Day 10: Join us as we tour Belgrade (the former capital of Yugoslavia) today. Soak up the atmosphere in the bohemian quarter, with its quaint cobbled streets and pavement cafes. View the Residence of Princess Ljubica – now a fascinating museum – and Captain Miša’s Building, an imposing mansion completed in 1863. You’ll also see the beautiful Old and New Palaces. Today, they house the Belgrade City Assembly and the office of the President of the Republic of Serbia.
Day 11: Today we travel to Novi Sad, Serbia’s second-largest city, for an overnight stay. This beautiful city, on the banks of the Danube, is a treasured regional and cultural centre. Enjoy our half-day tour, with attractions including the Petrovaradin, a fortress that no enemy has ever taken, and the impressive Freedom Square.
Day 12: You’ll journey into Croatia today, where our first stop is the pretty town of Osijek. Situated where the Drava and Danube rivers meet, Osijek features many beautifully-restored buildings. Look out for the Co-cathedral of St Peter and St Paul, with its impressive 90m spire. Today, we’ll also visit the small town of Kutjevo and enjoy a tasting of local wine. We then travel on to Zagreb, your base for the next two nights. Your centrally-located hotel is situated on one of the city’s many pretty squares.
Day 13: Enjoy our half-day tour of Zagreb, capital of Croatia, today. Its historic architecture is reminiscent of Prague, Budapest or Vienna, and the city’s medieval upper town is filled with churches, palaces and galleries. Later, there’s plenty of time to explore at your own pace. Perhaps you’ll visit the Old Town Gate – now a shrine to Virgin Mary. It’s a great place to light a candle or make a vow, and locals believe any wish you make here will be granted. Or maybe you’ll take in the cathedral, with its striking neo-Gothic twin spires, or browse the city’s buzzing market.
Day 14: After breakfast, you’ll head to the airport for your flight back to the UK.