The Beauties of the Balkans tour goes to Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Croatia about 8 days. A rare tour to this last corner of Europe that has just opened up to foreign tourism in recent year. We depart from Dubrovnik, Croatia to exotic Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania. We travel from the beautiful Adriatic Coast to Shkodra, capital of the former Illyrian Kingdom surrounded by magnificent mountains. On to Ohrid, a World Heritage city and one of the oldest settlements in Europe nestled on the shores of Lake Ohrid. Admire majestic Alpine scenery at scenic Montenegro before returning to the coast at charming Kotor.
Upon arrival at Skopje Airport and if time permitting, we will visit, the monastery of Jovan Bigorski, Arabati Baba Tekke, and Motley Mosque. In the afternoon visit the Skopje museum, the Stone Bridge, the St. Spas Church, Mustafa Pasha Mosque, and the largest Turkish bath in the Balkans is located here and is now an art museum. Overnight in Skopje.
After breakfast we travel to Lake Ohrid. On the way we will stop to the city of Tetovo. In Tetovo we will stop to visit the Painted Mosque located by the Pena River. The ‘Painted Mosque’ was constructed in 1459 on the foundation of an older edifice. An example of early Constantinople style, this mosque is adorned with an elaborate painted facade and interior, making it unique in North Macedonia. In the turbe next to the mosque is the body of the two women who provided money for the mosque to be built in 1459 and then we will drive to Ohrid. Ohrid is a beautiful little town on the Balkan Peninsula and is the pride of North Macedonia. With its historic town center and stunning Lake vistas, this place really is a gem. For Orthodox Macedonians it is the spiritual heart of their country and a focus of nationalistic pride. It was here that Sts Clement and Naum in the 9th century founded the first Slavic university. The charming town of Ohrid is one of the oldest towns in Europe. This UNESCO Heritage Site was originally known as Lychnicdos back in 353 B.C.E but was renamed to Ohrid in 879 C.E. Here one can find many monuments, churches, as well as many buildings built in traditional ‘Ohrid’ architecture. Overnight in Ohrid.
After breakfast we will drive to Tirana, the Capital of Albania. A sightseeing tour of Tirana, the capital of Albania, including Scanderbeg Square, the Mosque of E’them Bey and a visit to the National Museum representing the flow of Albanian history and housing the finds from archaeological sites across the country. Overnight in Tirana.
After breakfast we will drive in Podgorica, the Capital of Montenegro. We will first bring us to the charming little town of Kruja, perched high on the face of a hill. Kruja was the center of the 15th century Albanian resistance under Skanderbeg against Ottoman Turks. Here we will visit the museum named after him. The street leading up to the castle is built in the style of a Turkish bazaar. After our time here we will continue to Shkodra, in Illyrian times known as Shkodra, one of the oldest cities in Europe and the traditional center of the Gheg cultural. Shkodra is rich with historical monuments, including the old Illyrian Rozafa Castle. After crossing the border to Montenegro, we will continue on towards the Montenegro Capital, Podgorica. Free afternoon in Podgorica. Overnight in Podgorica.
After breakfast we will drive to Budva but first we will stop to the city of Cetinje. One of the most important monasteries in Montenegro, Monastery of Cetinje keeps relics of St.Peter of Cetinje. Cetinje, Old Royal Capital of Montenegro today is well known as city-museum. Peaceful town and old architecture with Montenegrins as the mayor’s residence. Then we will drive to Budva. We will visit the old town. Overnight in Budva.
After breakfast our day with a short walking tour through the small and picturesque old town of Budva. Much of the architecture in the Old Town is of Venetian origin. Doors, hinges, windows, balconies and many other small but noticeable things seem to hold the Roman style of the Republic of Venice. From here we start a scenic drive that will bring us to one of the true highlights of the Adriatic coast -the Bay of Kotor. The bare mountains plunging into the dark water have caused it to be compared with a Norwegian fjord and then we drive to Kotor. Our walking tour here will include visits to the Cathedral of St. Tryphon, St. Luka Church, and the St. Mihail Church. Our tour will take us through some of Kotor’s spacious squares, lined with beautiful palaces, various impressive religious buildings and the fortifications, for a glimpse of the city from above. Later in the afternoon we will continue on the spectacular drive to Dubrovnik. Along this route we will witness the beautiful Boka Kotorska Bay and many old fishing villages, churches, monasteries, marinas and beaches. We will cross the border into Croatia before arriving Dubrovnik. Overnight in Dubrovnik.
After breakfast we will visit the city of Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, and this morning we will start our day with a walking tour of Dubrovnik’s historic center. Often called “Croatian Athens” and the “Pearl of the Mediterranean” Dubrovnik is known for its astounding beauty, sophisticated history and culture, and prosperity. Over the course of it’s tumultuous history, the city had to be extensively reconstructed; the earthquake of 1667 destroyed much of the city; and in recent memory, the town was bombarded by over 2000 shells in 1991-2. After great international efforts, the city has been restored to its former glory, with its towering fortifications, magnificent medieval architecture, red tiled roofs, winding paved streets and picturesque harbors. Every corner of this town could tell a story. Today we will visit the Franciscan Monastery, an absolute delight famous for Europe’s first pharmacy and the remnants of old frescoes. The Rector’s Palace is one of the loveliest buildings in the city and is now a museum. The graceful dome of the Cathedral dominates the skyline no matter where you look. Along our walk we will see many famous landmarks including: Onofrio’s fountain, the Clock Tower, Orlando’s Column and the Gundulic Square. Of course, no walking tour of Dubrovnik would be complete without a visit to the city harbor and old port as Dubrovnik owes its very existence to shipping and trade. As part of our sightseeing, we will also walk along a section of the walls of Dubrovnik, considered by many to be a highlight. The total circuit is nearly 2km / 1.25 mi, and from the bastions you will have magnificent views of the city’s monuments, walls and harbours. The walls as they exist in their present form date back to the 15th century. As you walk the ramparts, you will have a postcard perfect view of the various monuments and bastions of the city. Overnight in Dubrovnik.
After breakfast, the tour ends with transfer to Podgorica Airport. Ends of our service.
Tour Itinerary: Travel to North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia
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