A Pilgrimage through the Balkans

16 Days / 15 Nights

Balkans

Features
Croatia Zagreb Osijek Serbia Novi Sad Belgrade Bulgaria Sofia Rila Monastery Macedonia Skopje Lake Ohrid Albania Tirana Kruje Montenegro Becici Kotor Budva Sutjeska Bosnia-Herzogovina Sarajevo Mostar Medjugorje Split Plitvice Lakes

“East meets West” in a geographical and a religious sense in the Balkans and this pilgrimage tour takes you to some of the main religious sites in this fascinating part of the world where cultures and traditions mingle.

 

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Itinerary


DAY 1

Arrive in Zagreb, capital of Croatia for a guided sightseeing tour including Jelacic Square, Zagreb Cathedral, Mirogoj Park Cemetery and the delightful St Mark’s Church with its iconic multi coloured roof.  Overnight  Zagreb, Croatia.

DAY 2

After breakfast, it is time to discover the pretty Croatian town of Osijek, located near the confluence of the Drava and Danube rivers and home to beautiful buildings including the Co-Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul with its 90 metre spire. The area is also a good place to sample local Croatian wines in a traditional vineyard. Continue across the border into Serbia. Overnight Novi Sad, Serbia.

DAY 3

Start your day with a tour of Novi Sad – the second largest city in Serbia. Located on the mighty River Danube this city is an important cultural centre with very diverse religious architecture and your tour includes the Serbian Orthodox cathedral of St George,  Jazak Monastery and  the Synagogue as well as Petrovaradin, a fortress that has never been breached by its enemies.. Continue along the Danube to the country’s capital city, Belgrade. Overnight Belgrade, Serbia.

DAY 4

This morning enjoy a short sightseeing tour of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia and erstwhile administrative capital of the former Yugoslavia. See the residence of Princess Ljubica, Captain Miša’s Building, the National Assembly and the cosmopolitan Bohemian Quarter and then take time to visit the Cathedral of St Michael the Archangel, spiritual home of of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Continue via Nis  making a stop at the captivating Manasija Monastery with its 11 imposing towers and beautiful frescoes.  Overnight Sofia, Bulgaria.

DAY 5

This morning take in Sofia’s and one of Europe’s oldest extant churches, St George Rotunda  which dates from the 4th century and the iconic Alexander Nevski Cathedral, named after Russia’s favourite saint, built to commemorate the Bulgarian liberation from the Ottoman Empire and one of the biggest religious buildings in Europe.  Then head south to visit the beautiful Rila Monastery, Bulgaria’s largest and perhaps most impressive, in its idyllic mountain location. Continue into Macedonia and its capital Skopje. Overnight Skopje Macedonia.

DAY 6

Skopje is a little known capital with plenty to offer including the Memorial House of Mother Teresa, the city’s most famous daughter and the impressive Macedonia Square with its striking bronze statue of Alexander the Great, whilst amongst the maze of narrow streets lies the Old Bazaar hinting at the city’s Ottoman past lasting over 500 years. Overnight Skopje, Macedonia.

DAY 7

Your Balkan pilgrimage continues as you journey to Lake Ohrid on the mountainous border between Macedonia and Albania. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to a unique aquatic ecosystem and stunning scenery best explored on a guided boat ride. The Bay of Bones Museum is a fascinating recreation of a traditional water village whilst quaint Ohrid Town offers relaxing lakeside restaurants. Overnight Lake Ohrid, Macedonia.

DAY 8

This morning cross the border into Albania and its capital Tirana. Although Albania is a little known country, Tirana is a city with a distinctly cosmopolitan feel with its universities, busy shops and museums. Our fascinating sightseeing tour includes the Et’hem Bey Mosque, nestled amongst the city’s modern buildings and a visit to the shopping district where there are often good bargains to be had . Overnight Tirana, Albania.

DAY 9

Travelling north through the rugged landscapes of this little known yet beautiful corner of Europe we arrive in Kruje, a fascinating hill town complete with a 5th century fortress and ethnographic museum. Here you can pay homage to the legendary Skanderbeg, who guarded Albania against Ottoman invaders. Continue into Montenegro for a two night stay on its delightful Mediterranean coastline. Overnight Becici area, Montenegro. 

DAY 10

Start your day exploring the hidden gem that is Montenegro with a visit to the unmissable Kotor Bay, with its stunning coastline edged by breath-taking mountain scenery. Visit the preserved medieval town of Kotor, with several historic
Romanesque churches, including the 12th century Cathedral and city walls hidden within the mountain side. Enjoy a boat trip to the fascinating ‘Our Lady of the Rocks’ islet.  Continue to the charming old town of Budva where highlights include the famous Venetian walls of its beautiful historic Stari Grad Old Town and the 9th century church of Santa Maria in Punta.  Overnight Becici area, Montenegro.

DAY 11

Another country to enjoy today as we enter Bosnia-Herzegovina and visit the Sutjeska National Park, where you will find Maglic Mountain the country’s highest peak.  This is a wonderful opportunity for you to enjoy lunch with a view before we continue to the capital city, Sarajevo for a two night stay. Overnight Sarajevo, Bosnia – Herzegovina.

DAY 12

Sarajevo is famed for its cultural and religious diversity.  In close proximity are the Emperor’s Mosque, Catholic Sacred Heart Cathedral, Orthodox Church of the Nativity and the Jewish Synagogue – earning the city its nickname: ‘The Jerusalem of the Balkans’. You will also see the quirky Olympic Museum which played host to the winter games in 1984 as well as the bridge where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, triggering the First World War. Overnight Sarajevo, Bosnia – Herzegovina.

DAY 13
After breakfast depart for Mostar, site of numerous battles during the Ottoman period and most recently during the Balkans War when the iconic ‘Old Bridge’, now a UNESCO site was heavily damaged before its complete restoration. A guided tour of the city’s Ottoman architecture includes the 17th century Koski Mehmed Pasha’s Mosque. Continue to the world renowned pilgrimage site of Medugorje later today.  Overnight Medugorje, Bosnia – Herzegovina.
DAY 14

This morning visit key places in Medugorje including the Hill of Apparitions, and The Church of St James. There will be
time for Mass, private prayer and reflection. Later in the day continue back into Croatia and the Adriatic port city of Split with time to explore the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace and the Cathedral.  Overnight Split, Croatia.

DAY 15

Drive into the hills to visit Plitvice National Park which has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1979. The beauty of the National Park lies in its sixteen lakes, inter-connected by a series of waterfalls and set in deep woodland populated by deer, bears, wolves, boars and rare bird species. A boat ride is the perfect way to explore the park. Later in the day, continue north to Zagreb. Overnight in Zagreb

DAY 16

After breakfast, check out of your hotel and transfer to Zagreb Airport for your departing flight.

Fantastic Customer Service

First of all, we would like to thank you for providing us a good care for last trip to England. We received some good comments from our tour leaders. All coaches used for trip were new and nice. Good service at all hotels. Thanks for good service.


PT, Vietnam

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