Gran Giro Balcánico

Duration

15 Days

Physical rate

Moderate

Starting city

Sofia

Available

May 2023 / March 2024

Cities to visit: Sofia; Bachkovo; Plovdiv; Kazanlak; ; Arbanassi; Veliko Turnovo; Basarboski; Bucharest; Sinaia; Bran; Sighisoara; Biertan, Judeţul Sibiu; Sibiu; Hunedoara; Timisoara; Belgrade; Celije; Sarajevo; Mostar; Medjugorje; Kravice; Dubrovnik; Kotor; Budva; Tirana; Struga; Ohrid; Kastoria; Kalambaca; Thessaloniki; Melnik; Sandansky; Rila, Kyustendil

Detailed day by day description

Introduction

Dear Traveler: thank you for choosing us to perform this Tour! We hope you enjoy your trip.

Here we give you a guidance on their tour with the information that we believe may be of your interest. The information is indicative, may exist variations on designated hours.

TRANSFER from the airport, if you have it included or purchasing. Our transfer will be waiting for you with a poster on behalf of Europamundo or its name to the output of the custom (after collecting your luggage)..

Remember to inform us by phone if you lost your connection flight or expected delay of their arrival, in your VOUCHER figure the phone of the transfer.

IMPORTANT: If you had additional nights upon arrival the hotel will have your reservation, but his travel guide normally will not be until the night before the start of the tour.

Day
TODAY’S HIGHLIGHTS: City tour of Sofia
IMPORTANT - IF YOU REQUESTED ADDITIONAL NIGHTS on arrival at the hotel you will have your booking made but the guide of your trip will normally not arrive until the start of the included activities. YOUR TIME BEFORE THIS MOMENT IS THEREFORE FREE. At your hotel they can help you with all the information you need.
NB: The schedules you will find in this itinerary are approximate. The guide, depending on the situation and in order to improve the development of the circuit, may adjust the schedules.
Welcome to SOFIA!!!. Upon arrival at the airport, we shall be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. After lunch (towards 15.00hrs) we include a panoramic tour of the capital of Bulgaria, where we will see the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the Russian church, the mosque, its squares and avenues of Stalinist architecture. Free time.
Total distance covered: 205 km.

Scenery: Large agricultural plains.
Note: Wear suitable clothing to visit the monastery of Bachkovo.-
08.30hrs.- Sofía. Departure.
11.00hrs.- BACHKOVO MONASTERY, arrival to the Bulgaria’s second most important monastery, founded in the eleventh century, with its three churches and the life of its monks, and we feel it as a place full of peace.
12.00 hrs.- Bachkovo Monastery. Departure.
12.45 hrs.- PLOVDIV, After time for lunch, we visit the city with a local guide , which is one of the oldest in Europe. Here we include tickets to the Roman amphitheatre, the ancient chemist’s and the Armenian house. Free time to stroll in its beautiful historic town centre with its half-timbered houses. Dinner included.
Total distance covered: 230 km.
Scenery: We cross the valley of the roses with great color in season of flowering (May and June). Beautiful scenery across the Balkans mountain range.
Note: in some cases, Arbanassi visit may take place on Sunday instead of Saturday.
08.00hrs.- Plovdiv. Departure. Nice small roads through the interior of Bulgaria. We arrived to the valley of the roses.
KAZANLAK .- In the valley of the Roses, we will see KAZANLAK, where tickets are included to the replica of the Thracian tomb (Heritage of Mankind) and we will learn about the production of products derived from the roses.
11.30 hrs.- Kazalnuk. Departure. Amidst the mountains, we stop at the Russian church of SHIPKA , which reminds us the strong links that exist between the Bulgarians and the Russians and the help that Bulgaria received from Russia in its war of independence against the Ottomans.
13.15hrs.- ETARA, arrival at this charming village/ethnographic. We walk between their traditional houses and their artisan workshops. Lunch included in a typical restaurant.
15.30 hrs.- Etara. Departure.
16.45hrs.- ARBANASSI, arrival to the ancient trading city with its fortress-houses, where we visit the Church of the Nativity (entrance included) .
17.45hrs.- Arrival in VELIKO TARNOVO , Bulgaria’s former capital, with a very picturesque mediaeval centre, along with its hill. .
Total distance covered: 190 km.

Scenery: We crossed the Danube on the border.
Note: Keep your passport to hand, as it will be required on the border with Romania.
08.30hrs.- Veliko Tarnovo. Departure. We travel to Romania,
10.00hrs.- BASARBOVSKI MONASTERY, We stop at a place of pilgrimage dug out of the rock.
11.00hrs.- Barsabovski. Departure. We cross the border and the river Danube.
12.45 hrs.- BUCHAREST , arrival (variable schedules depending on the border procedures). After time for lunch, we take a panoramic tour of the city with its ancient quarter and the giant Parliament Palace. Free time. Dinner included.
Total distance covered: 325 km.

Scenery: beautiful landscapes with the Carpathian mountains, remote areas and forests. Small picturesque villages en route.
Note: Wear suitable clothing. The Sinaia area is located on the mountain, we recommend warm clothes and comfortable shoes.
08.00hrs.- Bucharest. Departure. Today we have a stage of great scenic beauty, travelling to Transylvania across the Carpathian mountains and through forests.
10.30hrs.- SINAIA, Arrival. We will stroll in the gardens of the Peles and Pelisor castles (visit of the gardens, the interior of the castle is closed on Mondays).
12.00hrs.- Sinaia- Departure. High mountains.
13.00hrs.- BRAN. arrival to the 14th-century fortress, known as “ Dracula’s Castle” (tickets included). Time for lunch and stroll on the beautiful center.
15.30hrs.- Bran - Departure. The architecture of some of the villages shows that these regions were inhabited by people of German origin.
17.45hrs.- SIGHISOARA, arrival to this very beautiful walled mediaeval city and Heritage of Mankind. Tonight we include a very special dinner, in the restaurant of Count Dracula, in the house where Vlad Tepes was born.
Note: The hotel capacity of Sighisoara is limited. On some date the accommodation can be given in SIBIU (departure from Sighisoara after dinner). In these cases the stop in Biertan is removed and the city of Alba Lulia is visited instead.
Total distance covered: 395 km.

Scenery: beautiful landscapes and towns.
Note: Due to the length of the days in winter and the opening hours of the monuments, from November to March we will not be able to visit the interior of the church of Biertan, although a brief stop will be made to see it from the outside.
08.30 hrs.- Sighisoara- Departure. In Transylvania there are numerous fortified churches in areas that were inhabited by people of German origin; some of these churches have been declared Heritage of Mankind, and we will see one of them:
09.00 hrs.- BIERTAN. Arrival to visit the fortified church (tickets included) .
10.00hrs.- Biertan, Departure.
11.15hrs.- SIBIU, arrival to this important economic and cultural centre that was the capital of Transylvania, with its bustling narrow streets and squares. Time for a stroll and for lunch.
14.15hrs.- Sibiu- Departure.
16.00hrs.- In the afternoon, we visit the impressive castle of HUNEDOARA (tickets included), which is considered the prettiest castle in Romania.
17.00hrs.- Hunedoara- Departure.
19.30hrs.- TIMISOARA, Arrival. T ime for a stroll in its elegant central squares.
Total distance covered: 170 km .
Note: Please keep your passport in hand, as it will be required on the border with Serbia.
08.30hrs.- Timisoara- Departure. Among pleasant landscapes we set off for Serbia and the border pass (border procedures sometimes can delay the schedule).
11.30 hrs.- BELGRADE, arrival. We include a panoramic tour of this active capital on the shores of the Danube as it flows into the Sava, where we can admire its busy centre, its parliament, and stroll in the Kalemegdan fortress. A visit to the Museum of Yugoslavia, where Tito´s Mausoleum is located, will also be included. Free afternoon.
Total distance: 310 km.

Scenery: Forests, mountains, rivers, small towns. Great contrasts in our trip through Bosnia.
Note : Please remember to have your Passport ready, you will need it to enter in Bosnia.
08.30 hrs.- Belgrade-. Departure. We start our beautiful stage towards Bosnia among beautiful landscapes following the Drina River. Border crossing.
11.15 hrs- Zvornik, arrival and brief stop in one of the oldest cities in Bosnia, crossed by the river that marks the border with Serbia and will make us remember with sadness the war in Bosnia. Its population has since changed a lot as most of it, Muslims, were expelled while Serb refugees from other regions settled. We are near the village of Srebrenica, known for the massacre.
12.00hrs- Zvornik. Departure. Our road follows an area of small villages, forests, and hills.
12.30 hrs- Monastery of Papraça. Brief stop at this humble Orthodox monastery established around the sixteenth century and known for its attractive church.
13.00 hrs- Papraça. Departure continuing our route to the capital of Bosnia. Short stop en route for a quick lunch.
16.00 hrs.- Sarajevo -Arrival to the capital of Bosnia. We include a panoramic tour with a local guide of this city of strong Turkish influence: its mosques, its madrasahs, its busy bazaars. Dinner included.
Note: if the number of travelers is less than 10 people, the route from Belgrade to Sarajevo can be made by regular coach or plane. In this case the visits to Zvornik and Papraça are not included.
Total distance: 285 km.

Scenery: Beautiful landscapes throughout the whole route: mountains, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, and picturesque villages. Arrival in Dubrovnik with beautiful seascapes.
Notes: Please bring your passport in hand, as today we cross to Croatia.
We will still have some time to explore Sarajevo, where we will visit the Tunnel of Hope that in 1993 saved the city in the 30 months siege of Sarajevo during the war by connecting the besieged city through a tunnel with free Bosnia.
10.30 hrs. - Sarajevo - Departure. Very beautiful landscapes between mountains and valleys.
13.00 hrs.- Mostar .- Free time to stroll and have lunch in this very picturesque city, its streets are full of lively commerce and small restaurants. The high stone bridge separated the Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim communities.
16.00 hrs.- Departure. Just 20 km away you will find:
16.30 hrs.- Medjugorge.- Arrival. A place where thousands of Catholic pilgrims come. They believe that the Virgin Mary continues to appear on the top of the mountain. Time to walk next to its main church and urban center.
17.30 hrs. - Medjugorge - departure. Departure to Croatia. Border procedures (which may take a while). Very beautiful coastal scenery.
20.00 hrs- Dubrovnik- Arrival.-Accommodation may be in Catvat, on the coast near the city. Dinner included.
Note: in some departures, accommodation may be in Cavtat, a coastal town near the city of Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik - In the morning we begin with a tour with the local guide of the city of Dubrovnik. We are undoubtedly in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe: hanging on a rock, surrounded by walls, by the Adriatic Sea. The tour includes tickets to the Franciscan Monastery with the oldest pharmacy in Europe, and the Cathedral. We also include a boat trip to LOKRUM , a small island 15 minutes by boat from Dubrovnik and home to the ruins of a Benedictine monastery of the eleventh century, popular setting of the series "Game of Thrones". Free time during the afternoon. Return at the end of the afternoon to our hotel . Dinner included.
Note: in some departures, accommodation may be in Cavtat, a coastal town near the city of Dubrovnik.
Note: in the winter months, from November to March, there is no boat service to Lokrum and therefore we cannot visit the island.
Distance covered: 295 km
Scenery: Very beautiful scenery along the Adriatic coast. The bay of Kotor possesses some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe. Very picturesque villages along the way. . Subsequently Albania presents us with images of a more rural country with a very strong character of its own
Note: Have your passports to hand. We cross the border to Montenegro and Albania. We will sometimes have to change coach on the border with Montenegro.
07.30 hrs.- Dubrovnik - Departure -. We set off early for Montenegro . Border procedures (which may sometimes be long). Beautiful scenery in the bay of Kotor.-
09.30 hrs ( variable depending on which border).- Kotor. - Arrival -. Time to stroll in this beautiful walled town with its strong Venetian influence, which stands in a magnificent scenic background.
11.00 hrs.- Kotor - Departure - We continue among beautiful coastal scenery.
11.45 hrs.- Budva , a beautiful walled enclave on a rocky islet in the sea. Time for a stroll, to take photos and have lunch.
13.45 hrs.- Budva - Departure -. We travel along the coast towards Albania . Arrival at the frontier and border procedures (which may sometimes be long). Time at the frontier too to have a coffee and change money. We carry on along small roads. We enter the capital of Albania.
17.30 hrs.- Tirana - Arrival -. Dinner and accommodation.
Distance covered: 160 km Scenery: Slow mountain roads in Albania. Interesting scenery throughout the whole stage. Very beautiful around Lake Ohrid with its crystal clear waters.
Note: Have your passports to hand. We are crossing the border with Macedonia. Make sure you do not need a visa to enter this country.
After breakfast, we include a panoramic tour of Tirana: The capital of Albania, with its mosques, the clock tower, the ministries. Our local guide will tell us about this small country. Free time before going on our way. (this visit may also be made in the evening on arrival in Tirana, depending on the sunlight and on the decision of the guide).-
11.15 hrs.- Tirana - Departure -. Mountain scenery. After this, we come to Lake Ohrid which forms the border with Macedonia and offers us very pretty countryside. Border crossing (there may sometimes be delays). Entry in Macedonia .
14.30 hrs.- Struga - Arrival -. A picturesque town on the shore of the lake. Time for a stroll and lunch.-
15.30 hrs.- Struga - Departure -.
16.15 hrs.- Ohrid - Arrival -. A town with a very strong Ottoman influence, declared World Heritage. Time to see the centre of the town, after which we will go to our hotel (located in the outskirts of the town, by the lake). Dinner included and accommodation.
Distance covered: 295 km
Scenery: Generally pretty scenery of the Balkans and north of Greece. Mountains in Greece. Spectacular scenery in the area of the Meteoras.
Notes: Have your passports to hand. We enter Greece (Schengen zone).
- We visit the Valley of the Meteoras, stopping at the most important Orthodox monasteries and visiting one of them. Provide for suitable clothing (women will have to put on skirts, which will be given to them at their arrival at the Monastery). Provide for comfortable footwear to climb up to the Monastery.
07.45 hrs.- Ohrid - Departure -. We travel to the border through regions of pleasant agricultural plains. We pass through Bitola, a historic town that was called the “city of consuls”. Stop at the frontier where we have a chance for a coffee and to change money if we need to. The north of Greece has a strong Slav and Ottoman influence and a very broken geography.
11.45 hrs.- Kastoria - Arrival -. The city of the 100 churches, with its mediaeval streets and pleasant restaurants beside its pretty lake. Time for a stroll and lunch.
13.45 hrs.- Kastoria - Departure -.
16.00 hrs. – Meteoras – Arrival -. We start our route amidst the fantastic scenery of the Meteoras which houses monasteries literally “hanging” from the rocks. We stop and visit the Mega Meteoras monastery while observing the remaining monasteries “hanging” on the rocks.
Dinner included and accommodation in Kalabaka, a small town at the centre of the Meteoras region.
Total distance: 395km
Landscapes: Beautiful landscapes in the north of Greece and on the way to Bulgaria: mountains, isolated areas, forests.
Note: Remember to have your Passport ready, you will need it to enter in Bulgaria.
08.00 hrs.- Kalabaka.- Departure. We travel through the North of Greece, amidst pretty mountain scenery, to the Aegean Sea.
11.15 hrs.- THESSALONICA – Arrival-, time for a stroll and lunch in Greece’s second city.
14.00hrs.- Thesalonica- Departure. We travel towards the Pirin mountain, a World Heritage Site, areas heavily influenced by the Greek, Slavic and Turkish cultures. After this we go on our way towards BULGARIA, and the border pass. Schedules of this stage sometimes, can suffer important delays because of the border procedures.
16.45hrs.- MELNIK. Arrival. In Bulgarian Macedonia we stop in this picturesque museum village in beautiful scenery amidst a wine producing area. We will learn about the traditional Balkan ways of life.
17.45hrs.- Melnik. Departure.
18.15 hrs- SANDANSKI , arrival at this beautiful small spa city, the birthplace of Spartacus, dinner a nd accommodation.
Distancia realizada: 225 km.
Paisajes: Montañas y bosques llegando a Rila.
Notas: Lleve ropa adecuada para la visita del monasterio de Rila.
08.30 hrs.- Sandanski –salida-.
10.30 hrs.- Monasterio de Rila. - Entre bosques y montañas, dentro de un parque Nacional, se oculta este bellísimo monasterio ortodoxo amurallado. Tiempo para su visita .
11.45 hrs.- Monasterio de Rila –salida-.
14.00 hrs.- SOFIA –Llegada a la capital de Bulgaria-.

End of our services. Please, check the time of your flight in case you might need an additional night.
Important note: In case you have to book an external service (plane/train...) on the day of the end of
your tour with activities included, please remember that the schedules of the detailed itineraries are the "planned" ones but may be affected by different circumstances (traffic density, customer delays, breakdowns...). Do not book a flight/train with a tight schedule without taking this into account.
Always leave a margin in the schedule for unforeseen events.

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