01 October 2016
This 10-day tour is a great way to get to know the picturesque cities of the Balkans, with their enchanting cobbled streets, magnificent architecture and rich history. You'll begin in Budapest, before travelling on to Belgrade, Sarajevo, Mostar, Kotor and Dubrovnik. In each town you'll have plenty of time to explore under your own steam, so you get all the ease of a tour – not to mention a friendly and knowledgeable guide – while also retaining the freedom to choose how you spend your days.
Your tour begins this evening with a welcome meeting, so you have the whole day beforehand at leisure to start getting to know this beautiful city. Wander the cobbled streets and wide boulevards, admire the grand architecture, visit some of the many art and history museums or browse the excellent boutiques.
Today you have another full day to explore Budapest before you catch the overnight train to Belgrade. A soak in one of the city's many hot thermal baths makes a perfect relaxing start to your holiday, or you could enjoy a boat trip along the Danube or take the funicular railway to the castle to enjoy the spectacular views.
You'll arrive in Belgrade this morning, ready to begin your exploration of one of Europe's oldest cities, a fascinating place where Eastern and Western Europe intersect. Your tour leader will take you on a short orientation walk to give you a feel for the city's layout, then you have the rest of today and the whole of tomorrow to explore. A Danube cruise is a relaxing way to see the sights, including the Kalemegdan Fortress, the Pancevo Bridge and the artist village of Zemun.
Today you're at leisure to enjoy the city. Don't miss the chance to pick up some souvenirs at the markets near the Hram Svetog Save (St Sava Church) and Pijaca Venac. This lively city plays host to a wide range of musical and cultural events, as well as being home to a vibrant cafe culture, so there's always plenty to do. In the evening, head to Skadarska Street (Bohemian Quarter) for delicious local food and entertainment.
Today you'll travel by bus through beautiful countryside to Sarajevo, where you'll join a short orientation walk before enjoying the rest of the day at leisure to explore whatever aspects of this fascinating city most interest you. There's something for everyone here, whether you'd like to get back to nature in the dramatic mountain landscapes, explore the city's history by visiting the many minarets and temples, or enjoy the shopping and entertainment of this vibrant modern city.
You have the whole day at leisure in Sarajevo today. If you'd like to learn more about the city's past, head to the Sarajevo War Tunnels or the Jewish Museum, and don't miss the chance to savour some authentic bosanski cevapi (grilled minced meat, mixed with mild spices) in Bascarsija, Sarajevo's oldest bazaar.
Today you'll travel by train to Mostar. This was Bosnia's most heavily bombed city in the 1990s, but has risen from the ashes to becomes one of the most beautiful cities in the Balkans and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire the views from Stari Most bridge, and perhaps see the fearless Mostar Diving Club jumping off into the freezing water.
Today you'll travel by bus to Kotor in Montenegro, with a visit to Europe's most southerly fjord, Boka Kotorska, en route. Set in a picturesque secluded bay, Kotor is a World Heritage site, its crooked alleyways packed with historical sites such as the eighth-century Cathedral of St Tryphun, the city gates and Armoury Square. After a short orientation walk to help you get your bearings, you're free to explore, perhaps with a hike to the fortress at the top of the medieval fortifications to admire the stunning views over the old town.
Today you'll travel north by bus to Dubrovnik, on Croatia's Dalmatian Coast. This picturesque city is compact enough to explore on foot. You'll want to admire the views of the ocean from the city walls, to wander the streets of the old town, and to visit Big Onofrio's Fountain, a 15th-century masterpiece built by Onofrio della Cava. Other key sights include the Sponza and Rectors Palace - the only two Renaissance buildings to survive the devastating earthquake and fire of 1667.
Today your tour comes to an end, so you're free to continue your exploration of this charming city until it's time for your onward journey.
Standard fr £714pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated