Balkan Tour: Macedonia – Albania – Montenegro – Bosnia & Herzegovina – Serbia
Skopje is the capital of the Republic of Macedonia. Skopje is interesting with its fortress, cultural and historical monuments, archaeological sites, sport halls, caves of the canyon of Treska river and Lake Matka, health spa located in the eastern part Macedonian capital. One of the most interesting things about Skopje are narrow Streets of Old Bazaar, the biggest market at Balkans. There are also 1500 years old fortress Kale, monastery St. Pantaleon with the fresco ”Lamentation of Christ”, Islamic monuments Sultan Murat’s- Hjunkar Mosque, the Daut Pasha’s bath, the birthplace of Mother Teresa. Overnight in Skopje.
After breakfast, we will visit Lake Ohrid. It is one of the oldest lakes in Europe and the one that represents the natural border between Macedonia and Albania. In 1979 UNESCO proclaimed Ohrid World Heritage site and then in 2010 NASA named one of Titan’s lakes after Lake Ohrid Also, we will have Ohrid Sightseeing where you will see Turgut Mosque, Old Bazaar, Zeynel Abidin Pasha Tekke, Krst Dzamija. After that, we will have some free time for leisure or shopping. Overnight in Ohrid.
Hotel check-out and a drive to the town of Berat, city with 2,413 years history, the pride of Albanian architecture under UNESCO protection, is located 120 km from Tirana. Berat is a city on the Osum River, in central Albania. It’s known for its white Ottoman houses. On a hilltop, Berat Castle is a huge compound now inhabited by townspeople. Within its walls are Byzantine churches, the Red Mosque, and the Onufri National Museum, with Christian icons. After Berat visit, we will continue to Tirana. Overnight in Tirana.
Tirana is the capital city of Albania. Its center is Skenderbeg Square, named after the national hero who briefly ensured Albania was independent of the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth century. There is a large bronze statue of Skanderbeg on horseback (imagine Alexander The Great meets Thor) in the middle of the square, and the Et’hem Bey Mosque, one of the nation’s most treasured buildings that date back to the late eighteenth century, sits in the southeast corner. You’ll find Tirana’s concrete pyramid, Piramida, a short walk from Skanderbeg Square. Built-in 1987 by the daughter of Albania’s dictator Enver Hoxha (who tyrannically ruled Albania from 1944–85) as a museum to her father, it now sits derelict, stripped of the tiles that once covered it and splattered with graffiti. Overnight in Tirana.
After breakfast and check out we will proceed to one of the most beautiful parts of the Adriatic coast of Montenegro, Budvanska Riviera. Budva is a town that is famous for the best entertainment and rest. The Old Town of Budva is firstly mentioned in chronicles as the “town of Illyria” in the 3rd century BC. The Old Town is a unique architectural and urban fusion, surrounded by medieval walls with a fortification, towers and city gates. Then we will proceed to Sveti Stefan Island – one of the most exclusive summer resorts of the Adriatic coast. This island was a shelter for local people during the attack of pirates and Turks, but modern infrastructure represents a luxury hotel with private access for exclusive guests. Overnight in Budva.
After breakfast, we will check out and proceed to Porto Montenegro – „The Monaco of the Balkans” that represents a world-class marina located in the town of Tivat. After a short tour around this marina, we will proceed to Kotor. It is an old Mediterranean town, surrounded by a formidable city wall that is preserved and protected. Kotor was built between 12th and 14th century: its medieval architectural and other cultural monuments are the reason why UNESCO included the city into the list of “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site”: churches built in Romanesque style – St. Nicolas and St. Luke, Cathedral of St. Tryphon, town walls and other cultural monuments were seriously damaged by an earthquake in 1979 but since then the town was restored.
After Kotor visits, we will proceed to Trebinje – typical Herzegovina’s old town. The downtown of Trebinje has been rising over the banks of the Trebišnjica river since the 18th century. Old Town of Trebinje is called Kastel – it was transformed in the former commercial and craft center. In the end of the 19th century and early 20th century and Austrian military camp was built on fortifications of Roman, medieval and Turkish fortifications. Nowadays it hosts the museum of Herzegovina. Overnight in Trebinje.
After breakfast in beautiful Trebinje, we will proceed to Počitelj Fortress. Počitelj is a medieval and Ottoman-Mediterranean wonder of nature and architecture, a place like no other. Cupped in a steep rocky amphitheater, it’s a warren of stairways climbing between ramshackle stone-roofed houses and pomegranate bushes. Since the year 2000, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Government has placed the village under a Programme of Permanent Protection. After Pocitelj we will proceed to the Blagaj tour will include Tekke, or the Dervish Monastery was built around 1520.
The monastery is an important monument of the early Ottoman period in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The monastery has been used by the dervishes in order to perform special rituals and today they still perform Dhikr (praise to God). The Blagaj Tekke is situated by the spring of the river Buna, surrounded by beautiful mountains. In the silence of the Dervish house’s garden, cooled by the freshness of the wonderful river with the most spectacular view, you will understand why Blagaj was the focus of interest of historical personalities, Roman nobility, Ottoman viziers and kadis, Austro-Hungarian officers and many travelers searching for the freshness of the water, the warmth of the sun and blue skies. Then we proceed to Sarajevo. Overnight in Sarajevo.
After breakfast, we will have the Sarajevo Walking Tour. Highlights of the tour are Baščaršija Square – Sebilj Foutain – Oldest Street in Sarajevo – Old Orthodox Church – Cathedral of Sacred Jesus Heart – Synagogue – Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque – Clock Tower – Caravan Saray – Old Madraasa – Bazaar – Meeting of Cultures Spot – Sarajevo Roses – Hotel Europe – Assassination Spot – Latin bridge. Later we will proceed to Sarajevo War tour. Highlights are: Yellow fortress, City hall – Defenders cemetery – Olympic stadium Kosevo – Olympic hall Zetra – Romeo and Juliet of Sarajevo grave – St. Vitus heroes chappel – Sniper Alley – Hotel Holiday Inn – Old Yugoslav military barrack – Sarajevo Roses – Cellist of Sarajevo – Tunnel of Hope – bobsleigh track – frontlines – one of main headquarters of Bosnian Serbs during the siege – Sarajevo local guide. Overnight in Sarajevo.
After breakfast, we will proceed to Visegrad. This tour includes a visit to Drvengrad, a small town located in Serbia, to pass the border You need a passport. Visegrad is a town on the Drina river in the eastern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located in the valley of the Drina, in the hilly slopes gently rising high into the mountains, over 1000 meters in high. This small town is full of pretty streets, but we will dedicate our visit to The Old Stone Bridge, the endowment of Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic. He is one of the great Ottoman military leaders of Bosnian origin. Just nearby this famous bridge is another tourist attraction – Andricgrad (Andrictown) also known as Kamengrad (Stonetown). Before we cross the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia we will visit Dobrun monastery.
Dobrun Monastery is located in the picturesque mountainous region, surrounded by rocky hills and opened towards the gorge of the mountain stream, in the gorge of Rzav River with numerous springs and fertile fields and pastures. We will finish the tour by visiting the third-place – Ethno Village Drvengrad. Drvengrad means wooden town and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. Everything is made of timber from conifer trees. The village is also known by name Kustendorf, and means “a coastal village” but it’s also a wordplay on his own name: Kustu – Dorf or the village of Kustu (Kusturica’s nickname). It is located in the Zlatibor region in a nature park Mokra Gora, in Serbia. It’s a traditional village, built by the mentioned film director Emir Kusturica. Overnight in Belgrade.
After breakfast, sightseeing tour around Belgrade. We will drive through New Belgrade where you’ll see prominent Belgrade’s “blocks”: classical example of Socialism architecture popular after World War II, along with modern business centers among which Ušće Center surely predominates. We cross the river over the Brankov Bridge and drive to Tasmajdan Park, Slavija Square and the Church of Saint Sava.
The tour then goes on at the street of Serbian Rulers and then we’ll see New and Old Palaces, Terazije Square, Republic Square, National Theater. Arrival at Belgrade Fortress and Kalemegdan, the best place to see Belgrade’s symbol – Statue of the Victor – and observe the history of Roman and Ottoman Rule in Belgrade. Then we’ll move on walking in the main city’s pedestrian zone, Knez Mihailova Street and Republic Square. In the end, we’ll finish the sightseeing tour near the building of the National Assembly. Optional: Serbian night (bohemian quarter Skadarlija). Overnight in Belgrade.
After breakfast, we will transfer to the Airport. Departure.
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