Balkanic Miracle

Duration

16 Days

Physical rate

Moderate

Starting city

Sofia

Available

April 2024 / March 2025

Cities to visit: Sofia; Bachkovo; Plovdiv; Kazanlak; ; Arbanassi; Veliko Turnovo; Basarboski; Bucharest; Sinaia; Bran; Sighisoara; Biertan, Judeţul Sibiu; Sibiu; Hunedoara; Timisoara; Belgrade; Sremska Mitrovica; Zvornik; Sarajevo; Mostar; Kravice; Dubrovnik; Ston; Split; Plitvice; Opatija; Postojna, Notranjska; Bled; Ljubljana; Venice, Véneto

Detailed day by day description

Introduction

This tour is part of our flexible coach touring range, guaranteed with a minimum of 2 people. Once the tour is booked, it is guaranteed so it will definitely go ahead, and will never cancel.

This tour is guided in English only. Please note if English speaking attendance numbers are low, the tour can become bilingual either accompanied by two tour leaders, one for each language, or a single tour leader providing explanations in both languages.

The tour offers flexibility, allowing you to customize it to your preferences. By clicking 'Quote or Book,' you will have the choice to select your desired start and end dates and destinations within the tour's defined parameters. Given this flexibility, it's important to note that the same people, tour guides or drivers may not be on your entire journey.

Day
Welcome to SOFIA! Upon arrival at the airport, we will transfer you to your hotel . You will receive the information about the beginning of your tour.
At 15.00hrs approx., we include a city 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 during the rest of the day.
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.
Total distance covered: 205 km.

Scenery: Large agricultural plains.
Note: Wear suitable clothing to visit the monastery of Bachkovo.-
08.30 hrs.- Sofía. Departure.
11.00 hrs.- 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, arrival and lunch included before the sightseeing tour of one of the oldest cities in Europe. Here we include tickets to the Roman Amphitheatre, the ancient chemist’s and the Armenian House . Free time afterwards, so you can stroll through its beautiful historic streets and small shops.
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.
10.00 hrs. - KAZANLAK .- In the valley of the Roses, we will see KAZANLAK, where the tickets to the replica of the Thracian tomb (UNESCO Heritage) are included and we will learn about the production of products derived from the roses.
11.30 hrs.- Kazanlak. Departure. Amidst the mountains we will make a 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 for independence against the Ottomans.
13.15hrs.- ETARA, arrival at this charming village/ethnographic museum. We walk between their traditional houses and their artisan workshops. Lunch included in a typical restaurant.
15.30 hrs.- Etara. Departure.
16.45 hrs.- ARBANASSI, arrival to the ancient trading city with its fortress-houses, where we visit the Church of the Nativity (admission included) .
18.00 hrs.- Arrival in VELIKO TARNOVO , Bulgaria’s former capital, with a very picturesque medieval center, along with its hill.
Total distance covered: 190 km.

Scenery: We crossed the Danube on the border.
Note: Keep your passport with you, as it will be required on the border with Romania.
08.30hrs.- Veliko Tarnovo. Departure.
10.00hrs.- BASARBOVSKI MONASTERY , we will stop at a place of pilgrimage dug out of the rock.
11.00hrs.- Barsabovski. Departure. We cross the border and the river Danube; sometimes there may be delays at the border.
12.45 hrs.- BUCHAREST , arrival. Lunch included. 15:00 hrs. - city tour of Bucharest with its ancient quarter and the giant Parliament Palace. Free time afterwards.
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) .
10.30 hrs.- Biertan, Departure.
11.45 hrs.- SIBIU, arrival to this important economic and cultural center that was the capital of Transylvania, with its bustling narrow streets and squares. Time for a walk and lunch.
14.30 hrs. - Sibiu - Departure.
16.15 hrs. - Hunedoara . We will visit the impressive castle of HUNEDOARA (tickets included), which is considered the prettiest castle in Romania.
17.15 hrs. - Hunedoara - Departure.
19.45 hrs.- TIMISOARA, Arrival. City of Roman origin, different communities live there, its restored classical and pedestrian center is very beautiful. Would you like to explore it?
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 city 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 time in the afternoon.
Total distance: 299 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 Bosnia.
08.00 hrs.- Belgrade-. Departure. We start our wonderful day towards Bosnia among beautiful landscapes following the Drina River. Border crossing.
09.15 hrs. - Stremska Mitrovica , arrival in this city with a pleasant historic center on the banks of the Sava River that was one of the most important cities of the Roman Empire, the capital of the province of Pannonia. We include the admission to the grounds of the Imperial Palace of Sirmium , which illustrates us that period.
10.30 hrs. - Stremska Mitrovica, departure. We continue towards Bosnia among beautiful landscapes following the Drina River. Border crossing, which may take a while.
13.15 hrs. (approx., depending on the time crossing the border) - 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 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.
14.15 hrs. - Zvornik. Departure. Our way follows an area of small villages, forests, and hills.
17.45 hrs. - Sarajevo. Arrival in the evening and time in the historic center, during which you can stroll through the charming bazaar, an old Ottoman market famous for its architecture, oriental atmosphere and traditional shops. Dinner included .
Total distance: 280 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 with you, as today we cross to Croatia.
After the breakfast we will have a sightseeing tour with a local guide in Sarajevo , a fascinating city known as "Jerusalem of Europe" due to the coexistence of several religions. Mosques, churches and synagogues reflect religious diversity. We will observe the great Ottoman influence in its old town, with its great mosque of more than 500 years old and its beautiful fountain.
11.30 hrs. - Sarajevo - Departure. Very beautiful landscapes between mountains and valleys.
14.00 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.
17.00 hrs.- Departure. We continue to Croatia.
20.00 hrs.- Dubrovnik/Cavtat - Arrival. 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 city tour with the local guide 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.
Total distance: 235 km.

Scenery: Beautiful coastal landscapes on the Dalmatian coast.
08:00 hrs. - Dubrovnik - departure. Today´s route will be exciting. Beautiful landscapes following the Dalmatian coast. 09:15 hrs. - Ston . We will make a stop to see this picturesque town that has one of the longest walls in the world.
10.00 hrs. - Ston - departure. We continue amidst pleasant landscapes, where the great Peljeski bridge crossing the sea stands out.
12:30 hrs . - Split - arrival. Time for lunch. After that we will include a sightseeing tour with local guide of this impressive city that emphasizes the immense Palace of Diocletian (entrance included) . We will visit the roman palace, the alleys and enjoy great views over the sea. The tour will last about two and a half hours.
Free time afterwards. Dinner included.
Total distance: 450 km.

Scenery: Varied, mountains, lakes, plateaus.
Note : Wear comfortable shoes, you will need them in the Plitvice Lakes National Park. We also recommend you to wear warm clothing.
08:00 hrs. - Split-Departure. We travel to the north of Croatia following the coast.
11:30 hrs. - Plitvice Lakes National Park, site declared World Heritage by Unesco; Entrance included to the park where you will be able to admire its lakes. The entrance gives you the right to use the boats of the park to approach the falls or, if you prefer, the inner train to approach the most picturesque places. Time to visit and have lunch.
15:00 hrs. - Plitvice National Park - Departure - We continue to the north.
18:15 hrs. - Opatija. Elegant Croatian coastal town that followed the tourist line of the Côte D´Azur or the Italian Riviera. Dinner and accommodation.
Note: in exceptional circumstances, either for meteorological reasons or due to tourist density, it may not be possible or advisable to use the train or/nor boat in Plitvice.
Total Distance: 230 Km.
Scenery: Very different from those of previous days: alpine type, with forests, high peaks and lakes.
Note: Carry your passport, it will be required when you pass to Slovenia. Wear a jacket for Postojna where there may be a strong temperature difference between the inside and the ouside of the cave.
07.30 hrs.- Opatija -departure. We leave to Slovenia. Mountains covered with forests, picturesque villages along the route.
09.30 hrs- Postojna-Arrival . We will know one of the world´s biggest and most visited caves in Europe with more than 20 km of galleries and lounges. We will visit it partially in an enabled tourist train where we will travel 3 km of its natural universe of stalactites and stalagmites (entrance and train ticket included).
11.00 hrs- Postojna, departure.
12.30 hrs. - Bled. Between mountains and forests, on the edge of the lake, a very beautiful Slovenian enclave on the shore of a lake in the middle of which there is an islet where the bell tower of a monastery stands out at the foot of a medieval castle. We include a boat trip around Bled’s lake and a visit of the monastery on the islet.
Time for lunch in the tourist town of Bled.
15.30 hrs. Bled-departure.
16.30 hrs. - Ljubljana - Arrival - Time to visit the small capital of Slovenia, a beautiful central European city, meeting point throughout the history of Slavs, Germanic and Mediterranean. It emphasizes its castle. We make a two hours visit with local guide that will make us know the peculiarities of this small country and its capital.
Dinner included and accommodation.
Total distance covered: 240 km . Scenery: Mediterranean scenery.
NOTE: Please, have your passports with you, we are entering Italy. There may sometimes be delays in arrival due to crowding at the borders.-
Free time to see the little capital of Slovenia, a beautiful central European city and a meeting point in history for Slavs, Germans and peoples of the Mediterranean. Its castle stands out.
16:30 hrs. - Ljubljana - Departure -. After the following mountains covered by dense forests, we come to the Adriatic and enter Italy.
20:00 hrs. – Venice - Arrival. Accommodation in the Mestre area.

08.30 hrs. - In the morning we include a boat transfer to the area of St Mark´s in Venice, a city built on more than 100 islands connected by bridges. We include a walking tour with a local guide around the city of canals. Afterwards we will visit the Murano glass factory and admire the technique of crystal blowing. Free time afterwards. In the afternoon you can have a nice gondola trip through the canals (optionally).
18.30 hrs.- Transfer to the hotel from the area of St. Mark´s. You will have the chance to have dinner in the Mestre area, where you can choose the type of restaurant that you prefer (Indian, Oriental, Italian, etc.).
After breakfast, end of our services.
Note: Remember that hotels check-out time is usually at 10.00 hrs. In most cases, you can leave your luggage at the hotel reception at check-out time, so you can enjoy the city and pick it up at the time you require that same day. If you need more time to use your room, please consider booking an additional night at the end of your tour.

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