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Explore the Balkans: A 13-Day Journey Through Diversity

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  • Duration: 13 days
  • Min people: 6
  • Pickup: Ljubljana Airport
  • Small groups
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Drop-off: Skopje Airport

Explore the Balkans tour concept will take you to the most remarkable locations and cities in the Balkan peninsula. It is a 13-day journey through the heart of the Balkans, beginning with a warm welcome in Ljubljana.

Explore the Balkans tour concept will take you to the most remarkable locations and cities in the Balkan peninsula. It is a 13-day journey through the heart of the Balkans, beginning with a warm welcome in Ljubljana.

Best way to discover Balkan

Are you dreaming of an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Balkans, exploring its most engaging locations?

If so, we’ve crafted just the adventure for you!

Set off on a carefully designed 13-day tour that takes you through six fascinating Balkan countries. Beginning in the welcoming city of Ljubljana and concluding in the lively streets of Skopje, North Macedonia, this journey offers unparalleled exploration of the region’s treasures. From the serene beauty of Lake Bled to the historic streets of Sarajevo, the iconic Mostar Bridge, and the cultural riches of Ohrid, each day unfolds new wonders and experiences.

Our tour commences in the charming Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and gracefully weaves through Croatia’s breathtaking landscapes, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s cultural heartlands, the scenic allure of Montenegro, the historical depths of Albania, and finally, the rich heritage of North Macedonia. With stops in cities like Zagreb, Dubrovnik, and Tirana, and experiences in natural wonders such as Plitvice Lakes National Park and Ohrid Lake, your journey will be filled with moments of awe and discovery.

Spanning 13 days, this tour is not just a journey through landscapes but a deep dive into the history, culture, and natural beauty of the Balkans. It promises to be an experience that will captivate your heart and remain etched in your memory forever.

Personalize your Balkan tour experience

If you’d like to have the Balkan tour completely customized to your preferences, please reach out to us. We’ll be happy to tailor the tour to match your specific wishes. Contact us at info@meetbosnia.com

Tour highlights

  • Ljubljana city
  • Lake Bled and Bled Castle
  • Zagreb, capital of Croatia
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park
  • Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Jajce and Travnik history
  • Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Mostar Bridge and Neretva River
  • Dubrovnik and Budva coast
  • Kruje to Tirana, Albania
  • Ohrid Lake and Cathedral
  • Skopje, capital of North Macedonia


Departure dates

Sold out January 15

Sold out January 31

Sold out February 15

Sold out March 01

Available March 15

Available April 01

Available April 15

Available May 01

Sold out May 15

Sold out June 01

Available June 15

Sold out July 01

Available July 15

Available August 01

Available August 15

Sold out September 01

Available September 15

Available October 01

Available October 15

Available November 01

Available November 15

Available December 01

The minimum number of people required to organize the tour is 6 individuals, and only after reaching that number, the tour is considered confirmed.

Tour information

  • Arrival & Departure locationLjubljana | Skopje
  • Tour duration13 days
  • What's includedAirport shuttles
    12 nights’ accommodation in the double room
    Private tours
    Professional tour guide/driver
    Modern vehicle
    Taxes
    Fuel
    Entrance fees
    Customer support 24/7
    Local tour guides
  • What's NOT includedFlight tickets
    Any private expenses
    Lunches and dinners during leisure time

What to bring?

  • Layered ClothingDue to the unpredictable weather in the Balkans, it is advisable to pack layered clothing, especially considering that nights can be quite chilly.
  • Comfortable FootwearWhen preparing for your trip to the Balkans, bring comfortable footwear suitable for exploring diverse landscapes.
  • Technology essentialsInclude a smartphone or camera, a portable charger, and necessary adapters and device chargers.
  • Health and SafetyFor health and safety, pack a first aid kit with personal medications and ensure you have personal identification for money and documents.
  • DaypackBring a small daypack for your daily adventures. It's ideal for carrying essentials like water, snacks, and extra layers during your outdoor excursions.

Detailed tour information

Complete itinerary

Day 1: Ljubljana arrival
Get ready for a personalized welcome! Our friendly guide will eagerly await you at the airport, ready to kick off your journey with a warm greeting. And here’s the special touch – we’ve planned a ‘Meeting Day’ with our guide.

Explore the Balkans – Ljubljana

 

It’s not just a meet-and-greet; it’s a chance for you to connect with your fellow adventurers. Imagine a cosy gathering in the hotel lobby, where our hosts (Meet Bosnia staff) will treat you to delicious snacks and your favourite drinks.

Note: In case you choose to join our tour from another city, we recommend Zagreb Airport (ZAG), Venice Airport (VCE), or Vienna Airport (VIE) — highlight your arrival time and location, and we can arrange safe transportation to Ljubljana for you.

Explore the Balkans - Ljubljana

Overnight in Ljubljana.

Day 2: Bled and Ljubljana

We kick off our journey towards Lake Bled in the early morning hours. The drive from Ljubljana to Bled takes approximately 45 minutes by car. Bled is a glacial lake nestled in the Julian Alps, at an elevation of 475 meters. Don’t let the term “glacial” mislead you; the lake is surprisingly warm as it is fed by several thermal springs. 

Along the entire length of the lake, there’s a sandy path, so we’ll take a stroll to the lake, enjoying the breathtaking views of Bled Island and the lake. Upon reaching the lake, we’ll experience the renowned Bled Pletna boat ride – a traditional wooden boat.

The journey takes 30 minutes. On the island, you’ll find the first church built in the 12th century, with its present appearance dating back to the 17th century. You can explore the Church of the Assumption. Additionally, you can climb the 54-meter-high bell tower for a panoramic view of Bled.

Upon returning from the lake, we’ll head to Bled Castle. Bled Castle is one of the oldest castles in Slovenia, built over 1000 years ago on a cliff 130 meters above Lake Bled. It’s clear why – this location provides a commanding view of the entire surrounding area, and you’ll appreciate the stunning scenery during the ascent to the castle.

We’ll reach the castle following a walk uphill from the lake, and a well-deserved break will be in order. At this spot, that means taking a seat at a cafe, ordering the globally renowned Bled cream cake” bledska kremšnita “ and savouring the unbelievably beautiful view of the green-blue Lake Bled. Pay attention to the vine that grows at the museum entrance. Estimated to be over 400 years old, it’s recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest vine still producing grapes.  

After concluding our visit to the castle, we continue our journey to Ljubljana. Slovenia’s capital has been hailed as one of the rare hidden secrets of Europe, with some even daring to label it the ‘new Berlin.’ Upon arriving in Ljubljana, we recommend trying the traditional Slovenian dish Štruklji – a rolled dough with a variety of sweet or savoury fillings, including tarragon, cottage cheese, walnut, apple, and poppy seed options. 

You will chance to see the most famous monuments of Ljubljana. Highlights of your visit will be Zmajski most (brigade), Prešernov trg Square with the Franciscan Church, Plečnik’s Ljubljana, Town Hall, and The Cathedral (Church of St Nicholas). After completing the tour, the return to the hotel will follow, and the remaining time is free according to your preferences.

Explore the Balkans - Lake Bled
Explore the Balkans – Lake Bled

Overnight in Ljubljana. 

Day 3: Ljubljana to Zagreb

Ljubljana to Zagreb – today, we’re heading to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Drive for 1.5 hours – upon arrival in Zagreb, check in at the hotel. After that, we’ll embark on exploring Zagreb. Must-visit attractions in Zagreb include Kaptol and Gradec Old Town, the Cathedral, Dolac Marketplace, the Blood Bridge, Stone Gates, St. Mark’s Church, and Ban Jelacic Square.

The day concludes with a leisurely dinner at the hotel and free time to discover more of the city. After the tour is concluded, you will have free time to enjoy at your leisure. If you need restaurant recommendations, your Meet Bosnia guide will be at your disposal.

Upon completion of the tour, you will have leisure time to enjoy at your own pace. If you need restaurant recommendations, our guide will be available to assist you. Alternatively, if you wish, you can visit the Museum of Broken Relationships, the Croatian Museum of Naive Art, and the Museum of Chocolate or explore Tkalčićeva Street, renowned for its lively atmosphere and diverse offerings. 

What to see in Zagreb - Dolac Market

Overnight in Zagreb. 

Day 4: Zagreb – Rastoke, Plitvička jezera

Today, we’re leaving Zagreb for Plitvice Lakes National Park. On the way, we’ll have a quick stop in Rastkoma, often called “Little Plitvice,” just 30 minutes before our main destination. Once at Plitvice, we’ll take a relaxed stroll, choosing between 3, 5, or 6 hours with guidance from our guide.

Additionally, we’ll enjoy a boat ride, adding another layer to our exploration. No matter the route, get ready to be captivated by the untouched beauty of landscapes, waterfalls, and lakeside paths.

Plitvice Lakes National Park boasts 16 lakes, each rapidly changing colour. In an instant, you’ll see hues of blue, green, aquamarine, and turquoise. This enchanting transformation is due to sunlight, organisms, and minerals in the park’s waters.

After Plitvice, we continue towards Bihac, crossing the border and entering Bosnia and Herzegovina. Upon arriving in Bihac, we’ll check into the hotel, have dinner, and then have some time for rest. Until the next day.

Explore the Balkans - Plitvice National Park
Explore the Balkans – Plitvice National Park

Overnight in Bihac. 

Day 5: Bihac- Ostrožac Castle – Una National Park –Japodski otoci

Today, we’ll explore the natural, cultural, and historical beauty of northern Bosnia. Our first destination is Ostrozac Castle, dating back to the 16th century. Marvel at its impressive architecture, walls, and towers, immersing yourself in the fascinating history of the region. Additionally, Ostrožac Castle provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the Una River and nearby mountains, ensuring a truly mesmerizing experience.

Afterwards, we’ll continue towards Japodski Islands, a pearl of nature—a perfect spot to take a break while enjoying the view of the Una River. Five wooden bridges connect five river islets, forming a unique aerial image that resembles the “heart of nature.” 

Our journey then leads us to the National Park Una, Unac, and Krka, where the three natural jewels converge to showcase diverse and well-preserved landscapes of exceptional beauty, along with rich historical and cultural heritage. Our visit includes Strbački Buk, the highest and most beautiful waterfall in the National Park Una, standing at 24.5 meters. The cascading waterfall is a mesmerizing spectacle, capturing the essence of untouched beauty that will leave you breathless.

Let’s continue exploring the Una National ParkMartin Brod, the location of the largest Una River waterfall and cascade. Over a 54-meter-high travertine barrier, stretching across a 100-meter section. These natural waterfalls hold a unique value that has drawn a significant number of nature enthusiasts to the Una River for decades. After a wonderful day in nature, we return to the hotel. You can also take advantage of your free time to stroll through the city centre of Bihać.

Explore the Balkans - Una National Park
Explore the Balkans – Una National Park

Overnight in Bihac.

Day 6: Bihac- Jajce – Travnik - Sarajevo

After checking out, a 2-hour drive takes us to the city of Jajce, home to some of the oldest and most fascinating watermills. Next, we’ll visit the impressive Pliva Waterfall, where two rivers, Pliva and Vrbas, converge. If you’re fortunate, you might catch the traditional jumps into the water during the summer. 

The waterfall is centrally located, allowing us to pause and explore the 16th-century catacombs and the Jajce Fortress in the town centre. Jajce was once the seat of the Bosnian Kingdom and is considered an open-air museum, preserving its rich history.

On the journey from Jajce to the vizier’s city, Travnik, we will take a break in the tranquil oasis of Semesnica. Far away from the noise, there are wooden houses hidden in nature alongside a series of waterfalls – an excellent spot to enjoy trout with the soothing sound of water in the background. After Semesnica, we arrive in Travnik, a city that holds a long history of Ottoman governance in our region.

Travnik was once the capital of the Bosnian eyalet from 1640, and it hosted 77 viziers. That’s why we’ll take you to explore Travnik Fortress and much more. Our journey through history will conclude with a Bosnian coffee at a traditional café “Lutvina Kafana”. 

This cafe, once visited by the Austrian prince Rudolf Habsburg, captivated by the beauty of the surroundings, donated a gold coin for the café’s restoration.  

We conclude our day in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina – Sarajevo. Upon reaching the hotel, it’s time to rest and unwind.

Explore the Balkans - Assassination museum Sarajevo
Explore the Balkans – Assassination museum Sarajevo

Overnight in Sarajevo.

Day 7: Sarajevo Sightseeing

During the Balkan tour, you’ll explore beautiful cities and destinations, yet none match the vibrancy and beauty of Sarajevo.

This city serves as a melting pot of diverse cultures and religions. Following breakfast, a walking tour of the Old Town awaits, featuring key landmarks such as the Sebilj fountain, City Hall, Gazi Husrev-bey’s mosque, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Jewish Synagogue, Old Orthodox Church, the historic Kazandžiluk Street, and the poignant site of Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s Assassination – The Latin Bridge. After a delightful lunch, take a nature break at the Springs of River Bosna.

A must-visit is The Tunnel of Hope, hosting original audio and photo exhibitions related to the ’90s war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Following a fulfilling day, unwind in the hotel or explore the city before and/or after dinner.

Explore the Balkans - Trebevic mountain Sarajevo
Explore the Balkans – Trebevic mountain Sarajevo

Overnight in Sarajevo.

Day 8: Herzegovina day

The journey from Sarajevo takes us to Herzegovina, more precisely the southern part of our country. It is often referred to as the California of Bosnia and Herzegovina due to its climate and pleasant weather. 

En route to Mostar and its UNESCO-listed bridge, we make a stop in Konjic, a charming town located precisely on the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Following that, we traverse the canyon of the Neretva River, where you will see breathtaking beauty. 

We’ll then pause for a brief break in Jablanica, an excellent spot for all meat enthusiasts, as the speciality of the region is roast lamb. We arrive in Mostar. Our guided walking tour includes visits to iconic landmarks such as the Crooked Bridge, The Old Bridge Mostar, Coppersmiths, and Koski Mehmet Pasha Mosque. 

After Mostar, we will visit the Buna River springs in the village of Blagaj for lunch – the view of the Buna River from the restaurant is soothing for the eyes and soul. Then, we continue towards the medieval stone town of Počitelj. 

After exploring Počitelj, we head to the city on the Adriatic Sea coast – Neum, where we will spend the night.

Explore the Balkans - Konjic Bridge
Explore the Balkans – Konjic Bridge

 

Explore the Balkans - Mostar Old Bridge
Explore the Balkans – Mostar Old Bridge

Overnight in Neum.

Day 9: Neum – Dubrovnik- Budva

This morning, we are leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina and heading to Croatia. After breakfast, we start our drive to Dubrovnik, which is about a 2-hour drive, depending on traffic. In Dubrovnik, we will have a sightseeing tour and see some of the significant buildings.

Dubrovnik is one of the biggest and most fascinating cities in Eastern Europe, remaining highly popular with travellers eager to explore the history of Croatia and the broader former Yugoslavia. It boasts amazing buildings and an intriguing ‘secret shipbuilding code.’

Some of the must-see sights in Dubrovnik include Stradun – the most famous street in Dubrovnik, the beautiful Dubrovnik Cathedral of the Assumption, The Walls of Dubrovnik, and the stunning Dubrovnik Beach – Banje. 

While in Dubrovnik, you can also take a cable car ride to enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the city. We recommend trying the sea delicacies from the Adriatic Sea; they are something you shouldn’t miss while in Dubrovnik.  

From Kotor, the tour continues to Budva for an overnight stay. Budva is one gorgeous city on the Adriatic coast of Montenegro. It is known for its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. 

When it comes to sightseeing in Budva, you should see Budva Cathedral and of course  Budva Beach.

Explore the Balkans - Dubrovnik walls
Explore the Balkans – Dubrovnik walls

 

Explore the Balkans - Coast
Explore the Balkans – Coast

Overnight in Budva.

Day 10: Budva- Sakadar Lake – Kruje

After breakfast and a glimpse of the captivating Adriatic view, we depart from Budva towards Lake Skadar, the largest lake in the Balkans, partially located in Montenegro and partially in Albania. Named after the Albanian town of Shkodër, the lake is home to almost 270 bird species, including the rare Dalmatian pelican, which is the lake’s emblem.

In addition to local species, the lake serves as a resting place for numerous bird species during their migration south. It’s no wonder they call it a bird paradise, as confirmed by birdwatchers who come from all over the world. We’ll take a break here before continuing our journey to the town of Kruje in Albania.

Kruje, nestled in the foothills of the Albanian Alps, holds a rich history as the home base of patriots and the epicentre of Albania’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. Explore the small centre, stroll through one of the country’s oldest bazaars, and climb to the stout Krujë Castle at the very top.

After Kruje, we head to the capital city Tirana, arriving in the late afternoon. You can utilize this time for your exploration of the city.

Explore the Balkans - Tirana
Explore the Balkans – Tirana

Overnight in Tirana.

Day 11: Tirana - Ohrid

In the morning, we’ll proceed with the check-out and embark on a visit to Tirana, where a captivating sightseeing tour awaits. You can enjoy a walking and panoramic experience, exploring significant landmarks such as Skanderbeg Square, the Ethem Bey Mosque, Mother Teresa Square, communist bunkers, the Opera House, the Pyramid, and the main boulevard. Tirana, with its vibrant atmosphere and rich history, stands out for its remarkable architecture.

Following our time in Tirana, we’ll journey to Ohrid, one of the most enchanting cities in Macedonia, nestled in the heart of the country. Ohrid is celebrated for its breathtaking natural beauty and cultural heritage. 

Key attractions in Ohrid include the exquisite Ohrid Cathedral, the historic Ohrid Castle, and the stunning Ohrid Lake. Connect with a local guide for a city tour, exploring Zeynel Abidin Pasha Teki and mosque, Ali Pasha mosque, the main promenade, Entrance gates to the Old Town and fortress, Old paper factory, Ohrid pearls, St Sophia monastery, and Ohrid Lake.

Feel free to explore this beautiful city on your own during your leisure time. Overnight stay in Ohrid.

Explore the Balkans - Lake Ohrid
Explore the Balkans – Lake Ohrid

Ohrid overnight.

Day 12: Ohrid - Skopje

Today, we continue our journey from Ohrid to Skopje. Finally, the tour wraps up in Skopje, the capital and largest city of North Macedonia, renowned for its vibrant atmosphere. Our exploration of Skopje begins in the morning with a guided walking tour, covering the bazaar, Stone Bridge, Hamam, Alexander the Great Square, Mother Teresa’s birth house, Old Railway station, and Kale Fortress. 

A noteworthy attraction is The Skopje Aquarium, appealing to families with its diverse aquatic life, including fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Alternatively, you may choose to visit the Skopje City Museum, featuring exhibits on history, the city’s culture, ancient artefacts, traditional crafts, and modern art.

Explore the Balkans - Skopje
Explore the Balkans – Skopje

Overnight in Skopje.

Day 13: Departure from Skopje

Before our team escorts you to the airport, the remainder of the day is at your discretion. Following your flight schedule, you’ll have time to explore Skopje, your tour leader will be at your disposal

Overall, the Explore the Balkans tour is a truly unforgettable experience that will give you a deep appreciation for the culture and history of this beautiful and diverse region. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a unique and memorable vacation, this tour is sure to exceed your expectations. With our unparalleled service and guides, you will surely have an amazing time and will be able to learn and explore to your heart’s content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why Book a Tour with Meet Bosnia Tours

Meet Bosnia Tours is the most authentic and reliable Balkans DMC. We offer a unique and personalized travel experience, combining local expertise with a passion for showcasing the rich cultural and historical heritage of Bosnia. Our carefully crafted tours ensure an immersive journey, providing insights that go beyond typical tourist experiences.

How Much in Advance Do I Need to Book This Tour?

To secure your spot and ensure availability, it is recommended to book this tour at least 15 days in advance. However, last-minute bookings are possible depending on availability. Early bookings provide better flexibility and allow for smoother trip planning.

What is the Currency I Should Use While in the Balkans?

It’s advisable to check the local currency of the specific country you plan to visit and exchange some currency before your trip. While major credit cards are accepted in urban areas, having local currency in cash is beneficial, especially in more rural or less touristy regions. Keep an eye on exchange rates and be prepared for potential variations between countries.

What is the Weather Like in the Balkans?

It’s important to note that the Balkans have distinct climates, and weather conditions can change rapidly, particularly in mountainous areas. When planning a trip, it’s advisable to check specific weather forecasts for the countries and regions you plan to visit, as there can be variations in temperature and precipitation.

How Much Should I Tip?

Tipping in Bosnia is appreciated but not mandatory. In restaurants, rounding up the bill or leaving a 10% tip is common. Tipping tour guides, drivers, and hotel staff is also customary on how much are satisfied with the service.

If you have something to add and you think it can be useful for our Explore the Balkan tour, we kindly ask you to reach out to us either on our social media profiles on Facebook and Instagram or get in touch with us and we will get back you as soon as possible.

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