Days
15
Price from
£2,112GBP

Discover the beauty of Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania on this 15-day journey

Set off on a trip through the heartland of Albania, Macedonia and newly independent Kosovo, taking in ancient Ottoman sights in Tirana and Prizren and beautiful countryside around Lake Ohrid. Enjoy the the marbled streets of Dubrovnik and sip a coffee in the square with locals in Pristina before admiring the colourful houses of Tirana. This trip gives you the opportunity to discover incredible history with plenty of time to stop and enjoy the sights of this fascinating region.


Start
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Finish
Tirana, Albania
Countries
Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo
Style
Peregrine
Code
PEAM
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
1 review
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Dubrovnik's charms reach far beyond the UNESCO-listed city walls. A walk up Srđ Hill reveals a Napoleon-era Fortress and grand views over the Adriatic

  • A boat cruise across Ohrid's beautiful blue waters is the perfect way to take in the surrounds of Macedonia's crown jewel

  • A half-day trip to the Field of Blackbirds gives you ample time to absorb the colourful 14th-century history of Kosovo Polje

  • Taste traditional gozleme, see the famous stone bridge and go bargain hunting in Skopje's ancient bazaar area

  • Discover the technicolour buildings of Tirana and the life-affirming story behind their transformation

Is this trip right for you?

  • Summer temperatures can be extreme (over 40°C) in many areas on this trip. If you're travelling in the hotter months, be sure to use sun protection and drink plenty of water.

  • Accommodation on this trip is multi-share, so single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. This is a great chance to mingle with like-minded travellers, but if you'd prefer some privacy, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge.

  • Many hotels in Europe don't have double beds, but two single beds that can be pushed together/apart.

Itinerary

Welcome to Dubrovnik. You may arrive at any time today as there are no activities planned. This evening you will meet your leader and fellow travelling companions at a welcome meeting (usually at 6 pm, but see the hotel reception for the exact time and place). In this meeting, your leader will give you a briefing on what lies ahead on your trip. This will be followed by a group dinner in one of the many specialty restaurants in town. If you arrive in Dubrovnik early, consider taking a boat trip out to Lokrum Island, where you will find the French-built Fort Royal Castle, a monastery and a botanical garden that dates back to when the Austrian archduke Maximilian had his holiday home on the island. If you feel more energetic you may wish to climb the steep Srđ Hill, which is topped by a Napoleon-era Fortress and affords grand views over the sea and townscape. There is also the newly reopened cable car that whisks you to the summit in just a few minutes.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Zagreb or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Enjoy a guided walk through the city to acquaint yourself with the main sights, then enjoy free time for the rest of the afternoon. Dubrovnik's walled old town is often referred to as the pearl of the Adriatic despite its tiny size (less than 400 m by 600 m). The city walls of Dubrovnik are famed not only for their strength in withstanding sieges in centuries past, but also for their grand views across the terracotta roofs of the old town (not to mention the azure waters of the Mediterranean). Highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed walls are the Minceta Tower and the stretch running alongside the rocky shoreline.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Zagreb or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guided Walk of Dubrovnik
Optional Activities
  • War Photography Museum - HRK40
  • Lokrum Island Boat Trip - HRK75
  • Franciscan Monastery - HRK30
  • Srd Hill Hike - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Enter practical information here that pax need to know about this day, eg something they need to bring (like swimwear or a head scarf), or something they need to be aware of such as shared bathrooms in the accommodation or a difficult trek.
Travel to the 5th-century town of Kotor (approximately 2.5 hours, not including the border crossing). Upon arrival in Kotor in the afternoon you will go on an orientation walk, visiting such sights as the 12th-century Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Square of Arms, and get a feel for this picturesque bayside town. If conditions suit, a boat ride to Sveti Dorde Island and the islet of Our Lady of the Rocks is possible (these are the home of a Benedictine Monastery and a Roman Catholic Church respectively).
Accommodation
  • Hotel Vardar or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cruise on Kotor Fjord
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Explore the churches and marble lanes of this beautiful city. It's one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the Adriatic region. Consider taking the time to climb the Venetian city walls which snake up the steep hill behind town. Good walking shoes are required in order to reach the highest point of the ramparts at St John's castle, which lies at an elevation of 280 metres vertically above the old town. Tread carefully, as the surface of the wall is uneven and can be slippery when wet. The whole circuit is around 4.5 km (approximately 3 hours). Alternatively you can walk along the promenade for fantastic views of the Bay of Kotor, or hire kayaks and explore more of the coastline from the water.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Vardar or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Budva Day Trip - EUR6
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head to Shkoder (approximately 3 hours, not including the border crossing) en route to Prizren. Shkoder is one of Albania's most historic cities and the commercial centre and largest town of northern Albania. Meet your local guide and stroll along the Pjaca, the main pedestrianised street with beautiful 19th-century architecture, dominated by the huge Ebu Beker Mosque. Visit the ruins of Rozafa Castle; even though there was a fortress on this site since Illyrian times, what you see today is of Venetian origin. Continue to Prizren (approximately 3 hours), crossing the border into Kosovo. Spend time exploring the ancient town of Prizren in the afternoon.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Theranda or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rozafa Castle Shkoder
  • Guided Walk of Shkoder
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Prizren is Kosovo's second biggest city. It's situated at the foot of the Šar Mountains and was spared destruction during the 1999 conflict. Today is a free day for you to explore the city's sights, such as the House of the Albanian League of Prizren. Be sure to visit Prizren's Kalaja Fortress, which dates back to the 6th century. There is a staircase of 43 steps hidden in a tunnel connecting the river with the fortress. Enjoy a coffee with the locals and do a spot of people-watching on Shadërvan, the pedestrianised square in the heart of the city and the site of the Shadërvani Fountain. The fountain is one of the main symbols of the city, providing drinking water for the city's citizens. Nearby is the Mosque of Sinan Pahsa, built in 1615. If you feel more energetic you may want to consider walking upstream along the Bistrica River to meet locals tending their flocks of sheep, or just take in the beautiful mountainous scenery.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Theranda or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kalaja Fortress Visit Prizren - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel to Priština today (approximately 1.5 hours). The capital of Kosovo is currently reinventing itself as a major commercial centre in the region. It may not be as beautiful as Prizren, but its historical importance makes it an important stop on any itinerary to Kosovo. Check out the Newborn Monument, which was unveiled on 17 February 2008, the day Kosovo declared its independence. It is decorated with the flags of the 99 nations which recognised its independence. Nearby is a massive statue of Bill Clinton, the only one in the world. The main focus of the city is on Brotherhood and Unity Square, where locals meet for their evening stroll. Walk the streets and take in Ottoman architecture, the Mother Theresa Cathedral, Germia Park and the Fatih Mosque.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Sirius or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Pristina Ethnographic Museum - Free
  • Kosovo Museum - EUR2
  • Sultan Fatih Mosque - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head out of the city to Kosovo Polje (Field of Blackbirds). This flat area outside the capital is the site of the 1389 battle of Kosovo. There is a memorial here that commemorates this important historical event. Nearby is the tomb of Sultan Murat, who was assassinated just a few hours after the end of the battle. If time allows and your local operator has succeeded in organising permits, there is also the option to visit Gračanica Monastery, a Serbian Orthodox Monastery built by the Serbian king Stefan Milutin in 1321. The afternoon is free for you to explore the vibrant city of Priština and all it has to offer.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Sirius or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Half Day Trip to the Field of Blackbirds
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will travel to Skopje, Macedonia's capital and largest city (approximately 2 hours, not including the border crossing). Your leader will take you around the local area on foot. In Macedonia’s political and cultural centre, walk through Macedonia Square and perhaps sample gozleme and tasty baklava. Take a step back to Ottoman times with a visit to the Daut Pasha Hamam or journey through the humbling Holocaust Museum to learn how Macedonia suffered during this tragic chapter of history. Skopje's stone bridge over the river Vardar is an iconic sight and acts as a handy connection between Macedonia Square and the Old Bazaar. Perhaps visit the Museum of the City of Skopje, housed in the old Railway Station which is a unique piece of history itself. Its unusual, partly ruined exterior is a result of the 1963 earthquake. The large clock on the outside of the building is frozen at 5:17, the moment the earthquake shook the city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Gold or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kale Fortress - Free
  • Mount Vodno Cable Car to Millennium Cross - MKD100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will travel out of the city to visit Matka Canyon, a deep ravine cut into the mountains by the Treska River, which is home to several medieval monasteries and caves, and to over 70 species of endemic butterflies. Lunch is included today and will consist of local trout caught fresh from the river. There is the option to explore the canyon's sights by boat. One of the stops is St Andrew's Monastery, which was built in 1389 by King Vukašin's son Andrijaš and contains many valuable frescoes of great artistic importance. It also visits Vrelo Cave, which some speculate to be the deepest underwater cave in the world. The exact extent of the cave is unknown. Alternatively you can take one of the many nature walks in the canyon.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Gold or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Matka Canyon Boat Ride - MKD1250
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Continue to the beautiful lakeside town of Ohrid, situated on the lake with the same name (approximately 3 hours). Upon arrival, your leader will take you on an orientation walk of the surrounding area to point out a number of useful amenities. Ohrid's atmospheric old quarter is dotted with beautiful churches. The classical amphitheatre, the 10th century Car Samoil's castle and of course Ohrid Lake itself are some of the top sights around town. At 34 kilometres long, 14 kilometres wide and 300 metres deep, Lake Ohrid is shared between Albania and Macedonia.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Royal View or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a boat cruise across the turquoise waters of the lake. Enjoy views of the town from the water and soak up the lovely scenery. A visit to the Macedonian Orthodox Church of Sveti Jovana Kaneo (which overlooks town from a rocky outcrop) is highly recommended. Likewise, the Sveti Naum Monastery, located on the shores of the lake south of town, is well worth your time. You might also opt to take a hike through the mountainous Galicica National Park, which boasts some stunning views.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Royal View or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Ohrid Boat Ride
Optional Activities
  • St Jovan Church - MKD100
  • Robev Family House National Museum - MKD150
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Transfer to Berat (approximately 3–4 hours, depending on the Albanian border crossing). Settle in and then enjoy a guided walk through town. The afternoon is then free for you to explore this 'city of a thousand windows', so called because of the countless large windows of the old town overlooking the valley. Perhaps walk up to ancient Berat Castle, home of the citadel and the 13th-century church of the Holy Trinity for views over the city and the valley of the river Osum.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Mangalemi or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guided Walk Berat
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel to the ruins of Apollonia this morning (approximately 1.5 hours). This ancient Roman city was best known for its school of philosophy. Drive on to Tirana (approximately 2.5 hours) and spend time with a local guide, wandering past charming buildings that were painted brightly in the wake of communism. Also explore the Ottoman-era architecture that is dotted around the city. This evening you will enjoy dinner in one of the nearby traditional restaurants. Perhaps try the traditional Tirana Fergese, a tasty stew baked in a clay pot and wrapped wholly in pastry.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Golden City or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Apollonia Roman Ruins Archaeological Site
  • Guided Walk Tirana
Optional Activities
  • National Art Gallery - ALL200
  • Sky Tower - Free
  • Et'hem Bey Mosque - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your journey comes to an end today and you are free to depart at any time. If you would like to extend your stay, additional accommodation can be booked through your travel agent at the time of booking (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Transport

Private van

Accommodation

Hotel (14 nights)

Included Activities

  • Guided Walk of Dubrovnik
  • Cruise on Kotor Fjord
  • Rozafa Castle Shkoder
  • Guided Walk of Shkoder
  • Half Day Trip to the Field of Blackbirds
  • Lake Ohrid Boat Ride
  • Guided Walk Berat
  • Apollonia Roman Ruins Archaeological Site
  • Guided Walk Tirana

Reviews

Our Western Balkans Unveiled trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 1 review in the last year.

Western Balkans Unveiled, September 2016

Louise Mason

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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.