Balkan Explorer

• Montenegro • Albania • Kosovo • Macedonia

Tour Highlights

This journey takes us to an amazing region of the world that still holds many well-kept secrets. 
The unique culture of the Balkan region has been shaped by many past civilizations: from Illyrian tribes and ancient Greeks to the Romans and Ottomans. As we travel from the Adriatic Coast across the White Mountains to Ohrid Lake, north to Kosovo and back out to the sea in breath-taking Montenegro, we will marvel at the unspoilt natural beauty, traditional rural lifestyles, vibrant cities, rich cultural heritage and warm hospitality.

The adventure begins in the bustling Albanian capital, Tirana, with its famous Skanderbeg Square and variety of Churches and Mosques. Other highlights include the ancient Bazaar of Kruja - vibrant with colourful stalls and local personalities; the old coastal city of Durres with its countless historic marvels; Ardenica Monastery and Apollonia – 6th century BC city of the philosopher Aristotle; the 2000-year-old World Heritage Site of Berat known as the “Town of a Thousand Windows”; and the resort town of Pogradec situated on beautiful Ohrid Lake.  
In Macedonia, Ohrid is also known as the “Jerusalem of the Balkans” for its uniquely picturesque houses, monuments and churches.  It is one of the few sites in the world that are both Cultural and Natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  The capital Skopje offers the famous Stone Bridge, the Daud Pasha Baths (a wonderful example of Ottoman architecture), Mustafa Pasha Mosque and the lively Old Bazaar.  We also visit Struga, known as the “City of Poetry”.

Europe's newest country, Kosovo is a fascinating land in the heart of the Balkans that remains one of the last truly off-the-beaten-path destinations, rewarding visitors with welcoming smiles, charming mountain towns, incredible scenery and 13th-century domed Serbian monasteries.  We will visit the old town of Prizren and the capital city of Prishtina - a place of historic and cultural significance. 

Montenegro is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with majestic mountain ranges, enormous canyons, enchanting lakes, fairy-tale forests and stunning fjords.  Our touring here will include the royal capital of Centinje, a picturesque mountain village, the mega-yacht harbour Porto Montenegro and the spectacular Bay of Kotor.

*Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Albania with a change of planes in Rome.
We arrive and transfer to our hotel.
We drive to Kruje, a historic city dramatically perched on a mountain slope. We will visit Skanderbeg Museum located in the Kruje Castle, with staggering views of the Adriatic Sea. We then explore the ancient Kruje Bazaar, set in mountains with colourful red roofs and delightful tunneled cobble streets. After a typical Albanian lunch we return to Tirana for a cable car ride to the top of Mount Dajti for beautiful views of the the city. This evening is our Welcome Dinner.
Our walking tour of Tirana begins at Skanderbeg Square, with the famous equestrian statue of the National Hero. Nearby is the unique Et‘hem Bey Mosque, with its beautiful frescoes. We will visit the National Historic Museum and Art Gallery, then stop at the Tabak Bridge - a famous stone footbridge built in the 18th century. Afternoon at leisure to explore, shop or relax at one of the many charming cafes.
On our way to 2000-year-old Berat we will visit the ancient sites of Ardenica and Apollonia. The Eastern Orthodox Monastery in Ardenica, built in 1282, was home to a library of 32,000 historic texts that were all burned in 1932. The frescoes that remain depict Biblical scenes. Apollonia was a thriving Greek city, home to students of the philosopher Aristotle. An earthquake destroyed the city but remnants of its former grandeur have been excavated by archeologists. We continue to Berat for our overnight.
Berat is known as the “Town of a Thousand Windows” and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visit the Castle for a view over the city and old Christian quarter across the river, the Holy Trinity Church, Gorica quarter and Bridge Onufri Museum. Onufri was a 16th century Albanian master painter, and many of his painted Icons remain in the museum while others can be found in churches in Albania and Greece. After our visit of Berat we continue to Korce.
On our walking tour of Korce we will visit the Old Bazaar, with a great mixture of cultures; Ottoman, Albanian, Macedonian, Vlach and Romanian people. In Podgradec, ideally situated on scenic Lake Ohrid surrounded by picturesque mountains, we visit the Art Gallery and Mosque, then stroll on the lively lakeside promenade. We also stop at the beautiful Byzantine St. Naum Monastery perched on the rock above the lake.
Our tour of the lovely old city of Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which had 365 churches – one for each day of the year, includes the Church of St. Sophia with architecture and art from the Middle Ages. We will enjoy a view of the city from Tzar Samuil's Fortress (built in the early Middle Ages), visit the early Christian Basilica on Pleasnik, the Amphitheater and finish with a boat ride on magnificent Lake Ohrid.
We depart for Struga - “the City of Poetry”. A walking tour through the city takes us through the Old Bazaar and Halveti Tekke – a great example of Ottoman architecture. We then continue to Skopje, capital of Macedonia, to see the Old Town and visit the Daud Pasha Baths - once the largest baths in the Balkans and now the City Art Gallery, the imposing Mustafa Pasha Mosque and the famous Stone Bridge.
We travel to Prizren in the newly created state of Kosovo, and discover the rich culture of the Kosovo people as we stroll in the old town with its Ottoman bridge, water fountain and unique mosque. We then proceed to the charming town of Peje - Kosovo’s 3rd largest city surrounded by the Rugova Mountains.
Our walking tour of Peje includes a visit of the medieval Serbian Orthodox Monastery of the Patriarchate. We then travel to Biogradsko National Park, one of the three remaining primeval forests in Europe, before continuing to Kolasin in northern Montenegro for our overnight.
We drive along the beautiful canyon river Moraca and stop at the Monastery of Moraca, then continue to the mountain town of Cetinje - the Old Royal Capitol of Montenegro. We will visit King Nicola’s Palace and stroll on the main street, before proceeding to the oldest restaurant in Montenegro (1881), where we will taste the famous Njegusi smoked ham and sample some cheese. Then we’ll stop for a breathtaking view of the Bay of Kotor - Southern Europe’s biggest fjord, before reaching our hotel in the resort town of Budva for a 3-night stay.
We drive to Porto Montenegro - the Mediterranean’s new luxury yacht homeport and marina village, where we enjoy a boat cruise through the enchanting Bay of Kotor, and a stop at the “Our Lady of the Rock” church. We will have a walking tour of the charming old town of Kotor – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with free time to explore the town at our own pace.
At leisure to enjoy the hotel facilities or walk along the boardwalk along Budva Bay, or you may wish to join an optional winery and farm tour. Our Farewell Dinner is at a local restaurant.
We fly home via Rome.

Ask a Travel Expert

Do you have a travel related question? Why not ask one of our experienced experts.

Ask A Travel Expert

Get Our Brochure

Brochures

Ready to book your journey?

Give us a call

Visit Us