Explorer the historic heritage and cultural diversity of the lands, once ruled by the Macedonian King Alexander the Great. On this tour we’ll discover the beauty and the vast Greek, Roman and Ottoman legacy of Northern Macedonia, while enjoying a walk in the capital Skopje or along the shores of Lake Ohrid. Our journey will take us to the post-communist, busy and eclectic Tirana, the capital of Albania and the Ottoman-era town of Gjirokaster. We will explorer multicultural Ioanina, visit the famous Meteora monasteries and spend our last night relaxing by the magnificent coast of the Aegean Sea in Thessaloniki.
Itinerary and prices for Balkan Tour from Sofia to Thessaloniki:
Arrive Sofia, transfer to our hotel for a short break. Guided sightseeing Tour of the city center including visit to Alexander Nevski Cathedral – one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in Europe, as well as one of Sofia’s symbols and a primary tourist attraction; St. George Rotunda, St. Sophia Church, built by the Roman Emperor Justinian in the 6th century, National Theatre, former Royal Palace, today housing the National Revival Art Gallery and the Ethnographic Museum, Presidency. Overnight in Sofia.
After breakfast we head to the West, covering the 250 km to the Macedonian capital Skopje. Walking tour in the capital of Macedonia where we take a guided tour of the main sites. Visit the old Turkish bazaar, Mahmut Pasha Hammam, the memorial house of Mother Teresa, stone bridge and the Macedonia Plaza. Overnight in Skopje.
After breakfast, we continue to Lake Ohrid. Founded over 2400 years ago for century up to modern time, Ohrid has always been an important cultural and spiritual center. In order to preserve the unique legacy of the town, in 1980 it’s been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Free afternoon in Ohrid. Overnight in Ohrid.
After breakfast our day will start, along the tranquil blue waters of Lake Ohrid. We will enjoy a walking tour, through the narrow streets of the Old Town and climb up to the view point and the Tsar Samuel’s Fortress, passing by Saint Sophia’s Church and the Roman amphitheater. We will visit the small, secluded Church of Saint John at Kaneo, overlooking the blue Ohrid Lake. In the afternoon we head to the Albanian capital Tirana. Overnight in Tirana.
After breakfast we will have a walking tour of Tirana, exploring the main areas of interest, the government buildings, the vast renovated Skanderbeg Square, the ex-residence of Enver Hoxha. After the visit , we’ll travel back in time as we are heading to the town of Gjirokaster, famous for its picturesque streets and Ottoman houses, which are also under the protection of UNESCO. Gjirokastra is known as “The Stone City”, part of UNESCO World heritage and is situated in Southern Albania on the eastern side of mountain “Mali i Gjere”. In Gjirokastra we will visit the medieval bazaar and the Ottoman-style houses in the old part of the town, where you will see artisan women making handmade doilies, carving wood or silver and other guild shops in the narrow cobbled stone streets of this suburb. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
After breakfast we are heading to Ioanina, the capital of Epirus Region. Ioannina has always been a meeting point for different cultures and religions. Its Christian, Islamic and Jewish legacy has been preserved over the centuries and we will have the chance to explore it on our afternoon walk through the historic center of the town. We will admire the architectural beauty of buildings like the House Matei Hussein and the Ottoman mosque of Veli Pasha. Then we start with 2 hours drive to the word famous Meteora monasteries. This is one of the most photogenic and spectacular places to visit in Greece. The 14th century monasteries are rising 1,000 ft above us, surrealistically hanging on the steep rock cliffs. These monasteries provided safe ground for the Christian population in Greece for centuries of Ottoman rule. Overnight in Kalambaka.
After breakfast we drive to Thessaloniki but first we stop in Kozani for a short break. you can visit Agiou Nikolaou Clock Tower, Nikis Square, Panagia Faneromeni and then we drive to Thessaloniki and we will visit, The churches of Acheiropoietos (5th century), White Tower, The Old City (Ano Polis), The Mosques of the Hamza Bey Cami (15th century), The byzantine walls of the city. Overnight in Thessaloniki.
After breakfast transfer to the airport. End of our service.
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