Croatia & the Balkans
Join us on a journey to numerous beautiful countries, including Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and (optionally) Greece. Immerse yourself in the rich natural, cultural, historical, and gastronomic diversity in a place where Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe meet. Embark on unique cultural excursions such as cooking classes, city walks, visits with artisans, and incredible outdoor adventures. Travel off the beaten path to discover unique gems that many tourists don’t get to experience.
Trip Summary: Croatia & the Balkans | 9 Days
Trip Dates: Year Round
Group Size: Capped at 12
Price From: $3800 per person
Trip Dates & Prices:
All inclusive package including accommodation for all nights, in-country transport by private bus, train, or flight, lecture and instruction materials from our expert guides, all activities, and meals as listed on the itinerary. *International Airfare and Visa Fees are not included.
This Acanela Expedition © is the perfect fusion between comfort & adventure. Embark on this small group exploration and have hands-on encounters with local peoples and cultures, while experiencing all the historical & culinary highlights along the way.
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Day 1-2 Dubrovnik, Croatia: Get lost in the historic Old Town, protected by its gleaming white stone walls. Today, Dubrovnik is regarded as one of the most exquisite places in the world, and its character reflects its storied past as an independent city-state that rivaled Venice. Once the center of the Republic of Ragusa, this fortress city was the heart of maritime trade. Breathe in the salty ocean air as you wander through the mesmerizing city before joining locals for a home-hosted dinner to learn about their way of life. Accommodation: Dubrovnik Hotel
Day 3 Mostar, Bosnia: A short private bus ride through the unreal mountains of Southern Croatia will take you across the border and into Bosnia. Here, you’ll visit Mostar—a major trading center during the Ottoman Empire. Throughout the centuries, this city became a melting pot of various cultures and religions, something that’s left its mark to this day. You’ll visit the Mosque of Mostar, Stari Most—a stunning 16th century bridge, and many other monuments rich with history. Accommodation: Dubrovnik Hotel
Day 4 Kotor, Montenegro: You’ll start the day with a journey along the South Adriatic coast to the tiny country of Montenegro, a place of spectacular natural beauty and immense cultural heritage. You’ll travel along the Bay of Kotor, where purple mountains surround tiny islands dotting the sparkling water below. When you arrive to the ancient town Kotor, the pearl of the medieval Mediterranean, you’ll check into the hotel before setting out on a site-seeing tour. During the tour, you’ll visit the famous St. Tryphon Cathedral, local artisan shops, and sample traditional Montenegrin delicacies at local cafes. Accommodation: Dubrovnik Hotel
Days 5-6 Tirana, Albania: It’s time to feast your eyes on the Albanian Riviera—a hidden gem that’s become increasingly popular. As you travel towards the charming town of Saranda, gaze upon miles of rugged coastline, turquoise waters, and golden beaches. You’ll spend the afternoon lazing on the beach, swimming in the crystal sea, and sipping on ocean-side cocktails, before heading to the lively capital city, Tirana. Recognized as one of Europe’s quirkiest cities, it doesn’t take long to discover why it’s considered the heart and soul of Albania. Accommodation: Tirana Hotel
Days 7-8 Lake Ohrid, Macedonia: Welcome to Macedonia! With rugged mountain backdrops, time-weathered monasteries, stunning lakeside panoramic views, and hearty national cuisine, Macedonia is only missing one ingredient from the standard Europe recipe; happily, that happens to be crowds. Landlocked into relative obscurity in a region worshipped for its coast, Macedonia’s area of the Balkans is often overlooked. Yet for those venturing beyond the Adriatic and Aegean Seas, Macedonia’s rugged interior has rewards aplenty, from exhilarating hiking to the crystal clear waters of Lake Ohrid to engaging with the locals and learning about the nation’s rich history. Reminders of Skopje’s Ottoman past rest at every turn; visit the Daut Pasha Hamam, Church of St. Spas, Mustafa Pasha Mosque, or the medieval Stone Bridge—Skopje’s most prominent landmark. Conclude the day with a traditional Macedonian dinner in the cosmopolitan area of Debar Maalo. Accommodation: Skopje Hotel
Day 9 Sofia Bulgaria: Bulgaria's capital city of Sofia is a metropolitan destination with wide, tree-lined boulevards and green parks. Although it was first mentioned by name in documents dating back 2,700 years, Sofia claims to be Europe’s second oldest city at 7,000 years old. Alongside Communist-style architecture and beautiful Orthodox churches, construction work frequently uncovers Roman remains that are often incorporated into the city. Mingle with locals enjoying the sunshine at parks and beer gardens, and seek out delicious regional cuisine. Begin the day browsing the Central Market Hall’s cured meats and cheeses, then take a walk to the gold-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. The intricate church is imposingly cavernous, cool, and hushed inside. As you time in Bulgaria comes to an end, depart for the Sofia Airport to catch your flight home, or continue onwards to Athens for a 4-day Greek Islands Extension. Accommodation: Sofia Hotel
4 Day Greece Extension: With a history of over 3000 years, Athens is a must-see destination. The world-famous city is known for the Parthenon, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Ancient Agora, and countless other historical sites. Highlights of our time here will include touring the Acropolis, browsing the famous Monastiraki Flea Market, watching the Changing of Guards, and strolling through Plaka, Athens’ oldest district. Reminiscent of the bygone era of Turkish rule, Plaka's antique charm, pedestrian-only streets overflowing with fresh shrubs and flowers, and al fresco dining make for a dreamy stroll. Just 30 minutes outside of the city are picturesque stretches of Attica Coastline, the ideal place to spend your days soaking in the revitalizing Greek sun. Be sure to grab a savory lunch at a local restaurant, followed by gathering with the group for evening cocktails and traditional Greek dinners.