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Highlights of the Balkans: Serbia to Croatia

13 days Multi-country tours
Steeped in history, rich culture and stunning landscapes, the Balkan Peninsula is a region waiting to be explored. From Belgrade, Serbia’s stimulating capital city, and the timeless traditions of Albania to the picturesque shores of Lake Ohrid and Croatia’s epic coastal beauty, you’ll discover the diversity of these former Yugoslav republics and what makes each unique.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Tour group size: 15 - 28 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 2 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads and unpaved trails, with some steep hills.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 1 lunch, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine, 1 wine tasting

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of Tour of the Balkans with Serbia, Croatia, Macendonia, Albania & Montenegro

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Belgrade today.

Belgrade 2 nights

Day 2: Arrival in Belgrade

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Serbia! Transfer to your hotel and get settled in. Then, meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner accompanied by a traditional performance of Serbian dance and music.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Belgrade

  Included meals: Breakfast

Experience the sights of Belgrade on a guided tour.

• Take in panoramic views of Republic Square

• Pass by shops and cafes as you stroll along Knez Mihajlova street

• Enter the cliff-top Kalemegdan Fortress, built in 535 AD

• View the Cathedral of Saint Sava and Tito’s Memorial

Enjoy a free afternoon in Belgrade or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - A Day in Novi Sad: Sightseeing & Wine Tasting $109pp* Details

Start your day with a visit to Fruška Gora National Park, taking in the incredible landscapes and sweeping green countryside. Then, tour one of the ancient Serbian Orthodox monasteries in Fruška Gora. Take some time to relax with a stop in the wine region of Sremski Karlovci, where you'll learn about the wine and honey production of the Zivanovic family. Once you’ve had your fill of wine and honey, enter the impressive Petrovaradin Fortress on the way to Novi Sad, the second-largest city in Serbia. Enjoy free time in Novi Sad for lunch, followed by a sightseeing tour of this culturally rich city.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $119)

Skopje 1 night

Day 4: Skopje via Niš

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

En route to Skopje, stop in Niš, the largest city in southern Serbia and one of the oldest in Europe. 

• Visit the Ćele-Kula, a tower made to commemorate the First Serbian Uprising 

• View the 18th-century Niš Fortress, site of the Niš Film Festival since 1966

Later this evening, join your group in Skopje for a traditional Macedonian folklore performance during an included dinner.

Lake Ohrid 2 nights

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Skopje

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, set out to explore the beautiful capital city of Macedonia with a local as your guide. 

• Pass by the Mother Teresa Memorial House, opened in 2009 to pay tribute to the life of the celebrated humanitarian

• View the old railway station and the Stone Bridge, which dates back to 1451

Later this afternoon, pass by spectacular mountain scenery en route to the UNESCO-recognized Lake Ohrid. Along the way, stop in Mavrovo National Park to see the famous submerged church of St. Nicholas.

Day 6: Sightseeing tour of Ohrid & Saint Naum Monastery

  Included meals: Breakfast

Take in all that the charming lakeside city of Ohrid has to offer on a guided tour.

• Enter Samuil’s Fortress and walk along its historic 4th-century walls

• See the Ancient Theatre of Ohrid, built in the Hellenistic style

• Walk up to the cliff-top Church of Saint John at Kaneo for panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains

• Pass by the Church of Saint Sophia and enter the National Workshop for a paper-making demonstration

Then, spend the afternoon exploring the medieval Monastery of Saint Naum.

• See the resident peacocks that roam the grounds

• Enter the monastery to view its intricate frescoes

• Stop at the Bay of Bones Museum, a prehistoric settlement located on Lake Ohrid

Tirana 2 nights

Day 7: Tirana via Berat

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Cross the border into Albania today, passing through the striking countryside to the town of Berat. After an included lunch, set out on a guided sightseeing tour.

• Enter Berat Castle, an ancient fortress that overlooks the town

• Walk through the UNESCO-recognized old town, passing by the Holy Trinity Church, White Mosque, Red Mosque, Saint George Church and Gorica Bridge

Then, head outside of the city for a wine tasting before traveling to Tirana.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Tirana

  Included meals: Breakfast

Get to know the Albanian capital today on a guided tour. 

• Take in Mother Teresa Square, the second largest plaza in Tirana

• Make your way down the Boulevard of National Martyrs to Skanderbeg Square, an eponymous tribute to the Albanian national hero

• See the Palace of Congresses, Post Blloku, the pyramid and the 18th-century Et’hem Bey Mosque

Enjoy a free afternoon in Tirana or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Historic Albania: Krujë $75pp* Details

Take a guided tour of the Albanian town of Krujë, located between the Ishëm River and Mount Krujë. You’ll visit a small bazaar full of local handicrafts before entering Krujë Castle to visit the Skanderbeg Museum. Inside, you’ll learn about national hero George Castriot Skanderbeg and his involvement in the Albanian-Ottoman wars. Then, enter the National Ethnographic Museum, a restored Ottoman home that offers a glimpse at traditional life in Albania. Enjoy some free time in the town to eat lunch, shop and explore on your own before traveling back to Tirana.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

Budva 2 nights

Day 9: Budva via Shkodra & Lake Skadar

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Your first stop this morning is Shkodra, a small city situated at the foot of the Albanian Alps, where you’ll pay a visit to the hilltop Rozafa Castle for a guided tour. Then, travel through the Lake Skadar region of Montenegro, stopping in the town of Virpazar for a scenic boat ride. Continue along the Montenegro coast to Budva, stopping at Sveti Stefan, a charming peninsula village.

Day 10: Kotor & Perast

  Included meals: Breakfast

Located in a secluded bay on the Adriatic coast, Kotor is known for its Venetian-era fortifications. Today, you’ll explore this scenic town on a walking tour.

• Pass through the UNESCO-recognized medieval old town to view the ancient city walls and Cathedral of Saint Tryphon

• See the old clock tower and Orthodox Church

In the afternoon, transfer along the Bay of Kotor to the Venetian town of Perast. Here, you’ll embark on a boat trip out to the man-made islets of Saint George and Our Lady of the Rocks.

Dubrovnik 2 nights

Day 11: Transfer to Dubrovnik

  Included meals: Breakfast

Leave Montenegro behind as you transfer to Dubrovnik today, catching one last glimpse of the beautiful Bay of Kotor as you go. 

Enjoy a free evening in Dubrovnik or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Scenic Dubrovnik Coast Cruise & Dinner $69pp* Details

This excursion begins with a cruise along the shoreline of one of Europe’s most romantic cities. Arriving on the beach, you’ll dine at a local restaurant before setting out on a stroll through Dubrovnik’s medieval streets.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $79)

Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Dubrovnik

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Set on a peninsula on the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik’s massive walls have served as the city’s calling card for centuries. Today, you’ll take a guided tour. 

• Stroll through the UNESCO-protected old town

• Pay a visit to the 13th-century Franciscan monastery, which boasts the most extensive library in the region

• View the Rector’s Palace and the city’s ornate cathedral

Enjoy a free afternoon in Dubrovnik or add an excursion.

Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner.

Optional Excursion - Cavtat & Konavle Wine Tasting $119pp* Details

Take in sweeping views of Dubrovnik’s city walls and the island of Lokrum as you make your way toward the seaside town of Cavtat. Pass through the beautiful region of Župa dubrovačka, spying the charming coastal villages of Kupari, Srebreno, Mlini and Plat. Once in Cavtat, you’ll view the quaint Church of St. Nicholas and the Franciscan Monastery before taking free time to explore the town’s charming waterfront. Departing Cavtat, stop in the Konavle valley to visit a reconstructed flour mill where locals dressed in classic costumes called konavoska nošnja will serve brandy and dried figs. You’ll sip regional wines and learn more about these costumes when you see how see how the traditional cloth is produced.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $129)

Day 13: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to continue exploring Croatia.

Add the Croatian Coast Starting from $549 pp

Travel north to discover even more of the Balkan Peninsula's natural beauty and rich cultural traditions. Get to know historic Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, then explore Split, Croatia's second largest city with a stunning setting on the Adriatic Sea.

Split 2 nights

Day 13: Split via Mostar

  Included meals: Breakfast

Say goodbye to Dubrovnik today as you make your way to Split, stopping en route in the Bosnian city of Mostar for a guided tour.

• Walk across the UNESCO-recognized Stari Most, a 16th-century Ottoman bridge 

• Step inside the Karagöz Bey Mosque, the largest in the region

• Enter a preserved Turkish house to see what local life was like over 100 years ago

Day 14: Sightseeing tour of Split

  Included meals: Breakfast

Today, enjoy a guided tour of Split, a coastal city that seamlessly combines tradition and modernity.

• Enter the Diocletian’s Palace, an enormous third-century complex and UNESCO World Heritage site

• View monuments to the city’s varied cultural influences, including Gothic churches, Renaissance palaces, Venetian fortifications and an Egyptian sphinx

• Examine sculptures, drawings and paintings at the Ivan Mestrovic Museum

Enjoy a free afternoon to explore Split on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Adriatic Trogir $85pp* Details

Spend an afternoon in the seaside town of Trogir, a UNESCO World Heritage site with an architectural legacy touched by the Ancient Greeks, Romans and Venetians. You’ll tour the city center, viewing the 15th-century city gates, Venetian-era Fortress Kamerlengo, Duke’s Palace and triple-naved Trogir Cathedral. Later, enjoy free time to shop, snack and explore before returning to Split.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $95)

Day 15: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Belgrade, Serbia
  • Skopje, Macedonia
  • Tirana, Albania
  • Budva, Montenegro
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & visa requirements

This tour includes the following countries: Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia. In order to enter these countries, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.  Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).  Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag. Please note that there may be times when you will have to handle your own bags.

Clothing & packing tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling on this tour. Be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider for the latest updates and travel requirements.

Cuisine

Cuisine of the Balkans varies greatly by region. Serbian food typically incorporates influences from central Europe as well as flavors borrowed from the East. Meals usually center around meats like pork, lamb and goat. Serbians also love pastry, usually in the form of varieties of pie.

Traditional Macedonian cuisine includes a combination of Balkan and Mediterranean classics made up of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses and grilled meats.

Foods in Albania are primarily composed of meat and vegetables. In the Tirana region, the coastal climate allows for fresh fruits, poultry and fish from the Adriatic Sea such as sole, flounder and perch.

Food in Montenegro offers a variety of flavors, some you may be familiar with and some that will be new to your palate. Potatoes, cabbage, ham and sausage might make you feel at home but you may want to try something new such as bakrdan (a porridge of cornmeal, potato and cheese) or the tasty ćevapi kebab (a grilled meat patty).

In coastal Croatia, the food is very typical of the Mediterranean region. Italian flavors are popular, such as risotto cooked with squid ink, seafood stew and polenta. As you head inland you’re likely to find more Austro-Hungarian-influenced dishes made with lamb, pork, cabbage and sauerkraut. 

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in Belgrade and depart from Dubrovnik (Split on extension). All other included transportation is by private motor coach.  

Electricity

Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina all operate on the European standard 220 volts. An adapter is advisable.

Time zones

All destinations visited on this tour are two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Time (ET). When it’s 12pm in New York, it’s 6pm in Serbia.

Currency

You will be using several different currencies on tour including the Serbian dinar, the Macedonian denar, the Albanian lek, the euro in Montenegro, the Croatian kuna and the Bosnian convertible mark.

Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards and credit cards, as needed. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.  

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/ CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

Purchasing excursions on tour

If you have not yet purchased your optional excursions, you may be able to do so while on your tour. Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions. Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged. Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See the “Optional Excursions” sheet for more information.

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