Days
15
Price from
$5,645AUD

Explore a little-known side of Europe, from the Croatian coast to the mountains of Montenegro

Despite a surge in popularity, The Balkans still feel like one of Europe’s well-kept secrets. An idyllic collection of countries hugging the pebbled shores of the Adriatic Coast; home to sleepy villages, turquoise waters, wildflower-dotted meadows and a charming mix of Austro-Hungarian culture. The legacy of a conflict that rocked the region in the 90s are beginning to fade, and in their place is blooming one of the continent’s true renaissance stories. This 15-day journey passes through some of the region’s most spectacular destinations, from the ancient Roman town of Split, along the Dalmatian Coast, through Belgrade, Novi Sad and Sarajevo.


Start
Split, Croatia
Finish
Belgrade, Serbia
Countries
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia
Style
Peregrine
Code
PEDBC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • As well as the long time favourite Dubrovnik, you'll experience one of Europe's most interesting (and safe) cities of the moment – Sarajevo. The Tunnel Museum is an astounding illumination of Bosnia and Herzegovina's war history, displaying a piece of the very tunnel used during the Siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s

  • Under the guidance of knowledgable locals, you'll visit some of the region's most beautiful cathedrals, monasteries, palaces, Ottoman mosques and UNESCO-protected townscapes

  • The smaller, lesser-known destinations on this trip are some of the best. The crystalline beauty of towns like Mostar and Blagaj is the stuff of fairytales

  • Montenegro may be a tiny country, but its charms can hardly be overstated. Take a day trip to this land of pristine beaches, mountain peaks and old-world villages

  • Visit the Srebrenica Memorial Center. The Centre honours the thousands who died in the infamous Srebrenica Genocide of 1995. The local guide who has lived through the horrors of war will answer any question you might have

  • Visit the Zivanovic family’s honey museum and winery in Sremski Karlovci. Their old house has been converted into museum full of beekeeping memorabilia and the have had a wine cellar here for 300 years. You’ll try Bermet dessert wine which is a speciality of the region. Reports suggest it was drunk at the emperor's court in Vienna and was even served on the Titanic. This family are said to have kept the original recipe.

  • Take a small boat across to the islet of St Mary (Sveta Marija), located in the middle of Mljet’s ‘Veliko Jezero’ (large lake). Soak up the serenity and listen to birdsong as you enjoy lunch beside the islet’s 12th-century Benedictine monastery.

  • Try local grape varietal, Plavac Mali, at a wine tasting in a cellar modelled on ancient Roman dining rooms. Located underground and carved out of stone, it’s the same method of construction as was used to create Diocletian's cellars. The award winning winemaker is widely regarded to have instigated the renaissance of winemaking and viticulture in Hvar and consequently, is known as one of Croatia’s top producers.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Summer temperatures can reach 40°C or higher in some areas, so it's important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same gender. While this is a great opportunity to chat with like-minded travellers, you can purchase a single room supplement (where available) if you'd prefer not to share. Note that many hotels in Europe don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together.

  • Day 4 is a long travel day with 2 ferries and slow winding roads. Sit back and take in the stunning scenery, and relax on Pomena harbour upon our arrival in Mljet.

  • On the island of Mljet you will be embarking on a day trip through the national park by bike. A general level of fitness is required for this activity, however it is possible for you to opt out of this activity if you don't feel like partaking.

  • A visit to the Srebrenica Memorial Centre can be an emotional experience. If you would rather not visit the centre please just let your leader know.

  • You will visit a number of religious buildings which require a level of modesty. You will need to bring clothes that cover the shoulders and trousers/shorts or skirts that go to knee. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.

  • As this is a combination of 2 trips, your leader and the composition of your group may change in Dubrovnik.

Itinerary

Your trip starts today with your arrival in Split, the second largest city in Croatia, located right on the Adriatic coast. An arrival transfer from Split Airport is included in the price of this trip. Please advise your travel agent of your flight details at the time of booking. There are no activities planned for today, so you can arrive at any time. This evening you will meet your trip leader and fellow travelling companions at a welcome meeting (this is usually at 6 pm, but check the hotel reception for the exact time and place). In this meeting, your leader will give you a briefing on what lies ahead. After the meeting head out for a dinner with the group.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Corner or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
This morning you will embark on a sightseeing tour of Split with a local guide. The city dates back 1,800 years, to the time when the Roman emperor Diocletian built a monumental imperial residence for his retirement. Today this fortified camp is an intriguing warren of narrow cobblestone streets where pre-Romanesque churches exist alongside Gothic chapels and a multitude of museums. You will also visit Diocletian's Palace, which was built in 295 AD and constitutes the heart of the city. Very much a living monument, it is framed by four gates, the most famous of which is the Golden Gate. In front of it stands a statue of the 10th-century bishop Grgur Ninski, who once opposed the pope and introduced the Croatian language into his services. In the afternoon you will visit Kastel Luksic's 16th-century castle and take a drive to the town of Trogir. Enjoy some free time to explore this quaint seaside town. Visit the cathedral where you can see the famous monument (a 13th-century portal of Dalmatian masonry) before returning to Split in the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Corner or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guided Walk of Split
  • Diocletian's Palace
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After an early breakfast you will transfer to the port of Split for your ferry to Stari Grad on Hvar Island. Hvar is an incredibly green island, resplendent with fields of lavender, heather and rosemary (it sometimes goes by its old Greek names, 'Pharos' or 'Faros'). Enjoy some time for a stroll through Stari Grad, then transfer to the typically Dalmatian village of Jelsa. Try local grape varietal, Plavac Mali, at a wine tasting in a cellar modelled on ancient Roman dining rooms. Located underground and carved out of stone, it’s the same method of construction as was used to create Diocletian's cellars. The award winning winemaker is widely regarded to have instigated the renaissance of winemaking and viticulture in Hvar and consequently, is known as one of Croatia’s top producers. Jelsa is surrounded by pine forest and wonderful beaches. It was once a key maritime centre of the Adriatic with a large shipbuilding industry. From Jelsa you will transfer by vehicle back to Hvar Town. In the afternoon make the most of your time in the island’s main town by walking through this old-world city of Gothic buildings and marble streets.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Amfora or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, a ferry will take you back to the mainland. Then you will drive along the Peljesac peninsula to Prapratno and take an evening ferry to Mljet Island, the most southerly of the large Dalmatian Islands. A national park occupies half of this gorgeous island. Mljet is a modernised form of the ancient Greek word melita, which means honey. On arrival in Mljet you will be transferred to your feature-stay hotel. It is the best option on the island, and whilst it is basic the superb location in an idyllic spot make up for it – on the shores of Pomena harbour. This is your base for the next two nights.

Notes: Today is a long travel day with 2 ferries and slow winding roads. Sit back and take in the stunning scenery, and relax on Pomena harbour upon our arrival in Mljet.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Odisej or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Enjoy a day of activities in Mljet, such as cycling, walking and canoeing. In the morning you will take a short walk to the spot where you pick up your bikes for a ride around the natural salt water lake of Veliko Jezero, the bigger of the two lakes on Mljet (approx 12 km). Take a small boat across to the islet of St Mary (Sveta Marija), located in the middle of the lake. Soak up the serenity and listen to birdsong as you enjoy lunch. Enjoy some free time to make your own discoveries. Make sure you explore the islet’s 12th-century Benedictine monastery. Return to the mainland and continue to the smaller lake of the island, Malo Jezero, where you have the opportunity to canoe and swim in the lake, or alternatively walk through the untouched beauty of the national park. After a full day you will walk back to your hotel in Pomena for a relaxing evening and dinner with peaceful views.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Odisej or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cycling Tour in Mljet National Park
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Take an early-morning ferry to Dubrovnik where you'll be transferred to your hotel. Once settled in, you will embark on a half-day sightseeing tour of the amazing Stari Grad (Dubrovnik's compact Old Town) with your leader. This walled treasure is often referred to as the 'pearl of the Adriatic' and is surprisingly tiny (400 m by 600 m within its protective walls). It's a lovely city to walk around, as it's been restored to its former glory since the damages of the 1991 conflicts. On your tour you will visit the Franciscan monastery, the Rector's Palace and take a walk along the City Walls. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is free for you to walk around at leisure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Ivka or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dubrovnik City Walls
  • Guided Walk of Dubrovnik
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Travel by boat to the island of Lokrum. It's located off the coast of Dubrovnik's old town. In this quasi 'botanical garden' you'll encounter a collection of exotic Mediterranean plants. Lokrum is also strewn with many golden sandy beaches that are popular with the locals. You will visit the ruins of an old Benedictine monastery and enjoy great views back across to Dubrovnik as well as Napoleon's fortress. Return by boat to Dubrovnik at around lunchtime. At this point the afternoon is yours to spend as you please. In the evening you will enjoy dinner with your group.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Ivka or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Boat Tour to Lokrum Island
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Spend free time in Dubrovnik, one of Croatia's most bewitching seaside cities. Continue to explore the charming Old Town, or simply enjoy the city's lively outdoor cafe culture. For some this trip will come to an end this morning. As this is a combination trip there will be another group meeting this evening where you will be able to meet the new members of the group. After the meeting head out for a group dinner at a traditional restaurant.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Ivka or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Set out from Dubrovnik on a day excursion to the stunning country of Montenegro. Montenegro occupies a thin strip of the Adriatic coast and is a land of beautiful sandy and pebbled beaches, dramatic mountain peaks and delightful old villages. Your excursion will take you to Europe's most southerly fjord, Boka Kotorska (Bay of Kotor), one of the most beautiful bays of the region. On the way, pass through the small and picturesque towns of Risan and Perast, situated on the banks of the bay, before arriving at the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Kotor, where you will embark on a sightseeing tour with a local guide. Visit the Cathedral of St. Tryphun, which dates back to the 8th century (according to the annals of Constantine Porfirogenet, the Byzantine czar), the South Gates of Kotor (the "Gurdich Gate"), and the square "Trg od oruzija" (The Armory Square). Return to Dubrovnik in the afternoon.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Ivka or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • St Tryphon's Cathedral
  • Kotor Sightseeing with Local Guide
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart Dubrovnik this morning and travel to the peaceful town of Blagaj, our first stop in Bosnia. Blagaj is the location of the turquoise Buna River spring, where you’ll visit a historical tekija (Dervish monastery). After lunch there is a short drive to Mostar, a town situated in a beautiful valley in the high mountains of Herzegovina. Here you will explore the must-see Cejvan Cehaj Mosque, which was built in 1552. Thanks to the river Neretva, Mostar was able to develop as a city in the barren landscape of Herzegovina. Neretva's size turned Mostar into a trading centre of the region very early on. The most famous feature of the city is its bridge. Stari Most ('Old Bridge'), which was built by the Ottomans in 1565. It was the great architect Mimar Hajrudin who had succeeded with the impossible mission to cross the Neretva River with a single span stone bridge. In the late afternoon you will drive to Bosnia's capital, Sarajevo, for a dinner in a local restaurant.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Bosnia or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mostar Orientation Walk
  • Blagaj Tekija (Dervish House)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Explore Sarajevo this morning with a walking tour of the city. You will visit the famous Baščaršija, the old Turkish quarter, home to one of the most interesting market centres in the country. Sarajevo is one of the few cities in the world that features an Orthodox church, a Catholic church and a mosque (the famous Begova Džamija) all within close proximity. You will be visiting all three buildings on your tour. This city may well be one of the highlights of your trip. It has emerged from the brink of ruin in the 1990s to become one of the most interesting capital cities of Europe. After your exploration of the city, there will be free time for lunch before you depart for the Tunnel Museum in the suburb of Ilidža. The tunnel was dug underneath the airport runway and was used to smuggle provisions into the city during the siege. The rest of the afternoon ids free for you to explore this exciting city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Bosnia or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sarajevo Sightseeing with Local Guide
  • Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque
  • War Tunnel Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast transfer from Sarajevo for Srebrenica, a journey taking approximately two hours. Explore the narrow streets and learn about the town's tragic past on a guided sightseeing tour, including a visit to the Srebrenica Memorial Center. The Centre honours the thousands who died in the infamous Srebrenica Genocide of 1995. The local guide who has lived through the horrors of war will answer any question you might have. Take time to reflect on the experience over lunch at a local restaurant before travelling to Beograd, the Serbian capital more commonly known as Belgrade. The 'White City' is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Sitting at the confluence of two major rivers, the Sava and the Danube, it’s an important intersection between Eastern and Western Europe. Here you’ll experience an energetic mix of progressive flamboyance and conservative customs.

Notes: A visit to the Srebrenica Memorial Centre can be an emotional experience. If you would rather not visit the centre just let your leader know.
Accommodation
  • Queen's Astoria Design Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
After breakfast take part in a guided sightseeing tour of Belgrade to give you some familiarity with the area and local amenities. Then you'll have the rest of the day free to explore the city. Perhaps begin with a wander around the city’s wide boulevards and squares, and the historic and green heart of Kalemegdan Park. The park is home to Kalemegdan Fortress, which has overlooked the Danube River here for centuries. In the evening, head down to Skadarska Street in the bohemian quarter of Skadarlija to sample some authentic local food and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Queen's Astoria Design Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Embark on a day trip to Serbia's second-largest city, Novi Sad. Experience Novi Sad's fascinating blend of traditional culture and Austro-Hungarian architecture on a sightseeing tour. Visit the city’s fortress of Petrovaradin, which sits right on the Danube and contains a museum of historic artefacts from the region. In the afternoon, head out of town to visit a local vineyard in Sremski Karlovci and see the workings of a family-run wine making business. Visit the Zivanovic family’s honey museum and winery. Their old house has been converted into museum full of beekeeping memorabilia and the have had a wine cellar here for 300 years. You’ll try Bermet dessert wine which is a speciality of the region. Reports suggest it was drunk at the emperor's court in Vienna and was even served on the Titanic. This family are said to have kept the original recipe. Return to Belgrade in the evening for a final dinner with your group.
Accommodation
  • Queen's Astoria Design Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your trip ends after breakfast this morning in Belgrade. Those wanting to extend their stay can arrange additional nights' accommodation at the time of booking. If you have some spare time before departing, the markets near the Hram Svetog Save (St Sava Church) and Pijaca Venac will keep you occupied for hours.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 7 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Ferry

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel (12 nights), Feature stay (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • Guided Walk of Split
  • Diocletian's Palace
  • Cycling Tour in Mljet National Park
  • Dubrovnik City Walls
  • Guided Walk of Dubrovnik
  • Boat Tour to Lokrum Island
  • St Tryphon's Cathedral
  • Kotor Sightseeing with Local Guide
  • Mostar Orientation Walk
  • Blagaj Tekija (Dervish House)
  • Sarajevo Sightseeing with Local Guide
  • Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque
  • War Tunnel Museum

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Important notes

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.