Alps, Central and Eastern Europe

Alps, Central & Eastern Europe

Regional Journey

Treasures of the Balkans (Summer 2018)

Duration: 19 days Visiting: Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Hungary, Serbia

Prices from {{lowPrice}}

Menu
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

This is where the sway of the Mediterranean meets Central Europe and blends with the exotic East. From the Danube to Dracula's castle, there is history at every turn.

  1. Day 1

    Your Journey Begins

    Board your overnight flight to Europe (Please ask about our great deals).

  2. Day 2

    Welcome to Bucharest.

    Transfers depart Henri Coandă International Airport at 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00 for your hotel, which is one of the city's most sophisticated and prestigious landmarks. At 18:00, join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for your Welcome Dinner served with wine.

  3. Day 3

    From Bucharest to Brașov.

    Join a Local Expert for a sightseeing to view University Square and the former Communist Headquarters. Visit the immense Parliament Palace, one of the largest buildings in the world. Travel along the Prahova Valley to the elegant Alpine resort of Sinaia to visit Peleș Castle, the former summer residence of Romania's first royal family. Led by a local historian, admire the lavish rooms filled with art, armour and tapestries. Continue through the Carpathian Mountains to the charming medieval city of Brașov, founded in 1211 by the Teutonic Knights.

  4. Day 4

    Transylvania: Castles, Myths and Legends.

    With your Local Expert, take a walk around Town Hall Square, lined with beautiful red-roofed houses and dominated by the Black Church. Then, picture a horse and carriage careering up a wet mountainous road, thunder booming and lightning illuminating the medieval fortress guarding the Transylvanian border. Visit Bran Castle, said to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker's novel and discover if this popular image of Dracula's castle is true or like the vampire story itself, only a myth.

  5. Day 5

    Veliko Tarnovo, the City of the Tsars.

    Cross the Danube into Bulgaria and continue to Veliko Tarnovo, the City of the Tsars, where houses cling to the cliffs of the River Yantra, making it one of the country's most beautiful towns. In the evening, enjoy a Highlight Dinner of local specialties and wine, followed by an authentic folklore show.

  6. Day 6

    From the Old Bulgarian Capital to the New.

    In the morning, see the Monument of the Assens, before meeting your Local Expert to climb up to the ruined Tsarevets Fortress, a reminder of the town's former imperial status. Enjoy the stunning views over the old Bulgarian capital and the Yantra Valley. At the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Arbanassi, visit a traditional 17th century merchants' house and enjoy the acoustics in the Church of the Holy Nativity. Cross the Balkan Mountains to Bulgaria's modern day capital of Sofia. On arrival, sightseeing with a Local Expert takes you to St. Sofia Church, across the square from the golden domed St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the archaeological complex, dominated by the church of St. George Rotonda.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    Sofia at Your Pace.

    (Relaxed Start) Enjoy the day at your leisure. Perhaps visit the Rila Monastery or enjoy a fascinating insight into the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria?

  8. Day 8

    Skopje and Ohrid.

    Cross the border and continue to the Macedonian capital of Skopje, an ultra-modern city juxtaposed by an ancient bazaar, where Turkish influences can still be seen and felt. Then head for mountain-ringed Lake Ohrid, its shores dotted with monasteries and villages.

  9. Day 9 - Relaxed Start

    Tirana on the Move.

    In the morning, sightseeing with a Local Expert will show you the narrow streets of Ohrid's Old Town. As you cross into Albania and journey to Tirana, renowned for its friendly locals, you are joined by a resident expert. Continue to the landmark Skanderbeg Square for an insider’s look at the Albanian capital.

  10. Day 10

    Kotor and Dubrovnik, Pearl of the Adriatic.

    Journey through the spectacular scenery of Montenegro to the Old Town of Kotor, known as Stari Grad. Located beside a beautiful bay near the limestone cliffs of Mt. Lovćen, its no surprise it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue over the Croatian border to the fortified port of Dubrovnik where you are at leisure to explore the Old Town, bustling with street artists, cafes and restaurants.

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    Dubrovnik Sightseeing and Time at Leisure.

    Join a Local Expert for a morning of exploring the stone-paved streets within the 16th century bastions. See Onofrio's Fountain and the Rector's Palace, the city walls and the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries. The rest of the day is free for you to immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings. Perhaps enjoy an Optional Experience to a stunning town on the Adriatic coast, Cavtat, where you can wander along the pine-forest paths beside the crystal-clear sea. At night you may choose from a fine selection of restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening.

  12. Day 12 - Relaxed Start

    Dubrovnik, Paradise on Earth.

    (Relaxed Start) Spend another day at leisure in the Pearl of the Adriatic. Sunbathe by the pool or stroll with friends along the ancient city walls. Perhaps explore some of the film locations of the award-winning series 'Game of Thrones' and appreciate the enterprising spirit of the Old Harbour? As the sun starts to set, maybe take a relaxing cruise to admire the city and its incredible walls from the water.

  13. Day 13

    Mostar and Sarajevo.

    Journey to Mostar. With your Local Expert, see the famous Stari Most, the Old Bridge, reconstructed after being almost completely destroyed during the war. Explore the cobbled Old Town stretching on both sides of the bridge and filled with shops selling souvenirs. Continue your travels following the scenic route to Sarajevo for a unique and rewarding insight into the local way of life as you are invited into a Sarajevan family home for a dinner with drinks. Savour the warm hospitality and authentic cuisine as you hear inspirational stories about their culture and recent struggles.

  14. Day 14

    Sarajevo, City of Culture.

    Start the morning with sightseeing. Visit the Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum and talk to one of the survivors, for whom the Siege of Sarajevo remains a defining moment in his life. With a Local Expert, see the Latin Bridge where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated sparking World War 1. Experience authentic Bosnian coffee and learn about the traditional ritual of Bosnian coffee preparation. The rest of the afternoon is for you to explore as you wish.

  15. Day 15 - Relaxed Start

    The Serbian Capital of Belgrade.

    (Relaxed Start) Journey through the remote villages and spa resorts of the forested Bosnian mountains to Belgrade.

  16. Day 16 - Relaxed Start

    The Best of Belgrade.

    (Relaxed Start) Join a Local Expert to see the best of Belgrade. Visit St. Sava Church, Terazije Street, the national museum and national theatre in Republic Square. Finish your sightseeing at the Kalemegdan Fortress, situated at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. Enjoy a free afternoon to relax or continue exploring on your own.

  17. Day 17

    Across the Wild Puszta to Budapest.

    Journey north and cross the Province of Vojvodina to reach Palić on the Hungarian border. See the unusual water tower, and wander down to the lake where you can admire the art nouveau buildings. Continue on through the vast wilderness of the Puszta, where cowboys rustle up goulash under the stars. Your destination will be Budapest on the Danube.

  18. Day 18

    Budapest, Queen of the Danube.

    Venture into the heart of Buda's medieval Castle District with a Local Expert to visit Matthias Church and take in the view of the immense Hungarian Parliament Building from the Fisherman's Bastion. Cross the Danube to the Pest district to visit Heroes' Square and travel down elegant Andrássy Boulevard. Enjoy time to wander through the Central Market Hall. Spread over three levels, the market is a foodie's paradise, brimming with aromatic food stalls offering delicious salamis, spicy paprika, delicious Tokaji wines and an array of flavoured Pálinkas, a traditional Hungarian fruit brandy. Tonight you are in for a treat with your Celebration Dinner at Gundel, one of Budapest's most renowned restaurants for over a hundred years. Dine in elegance as you savour hearty, Hungarian delicacies accompanied with specially-selected Hungarian wine.

  19. Day 19

    Depart Budapest.

    Departure transfers arrive at Ferenc Liszt International Airport at 07:00 and 11:00.

Highlights

 

INSIGHT EXPERIENCES

  • Tirana: Meet a local resident who will show you Skanderbeg Square and walk you through their home city as they explain what it's like to live in the Albanian capital.
  • Mostar: Explore the Old Town and see the Stari Most with your Local Expert.
  • Sarajevo: Visit the Tunnel of Hope hear a firsthand account of when the city was under siege for 44 months from a resident who was privy to the city's secret lifeline.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Bucharest: Walk the cavernous halls of the vast Palace of Parliament, learn about the history and listen to amusing tales from your Local Expert.
  • Sinaia: Led by a local historian, witness the opulent and sumptuous décor in Peleș Castle, the fairy-tale Royal summer residence, at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains.
  • Bran: Visit the imposing medieval castle guarding the old Transylvanian border and embrace its stories, myths and legends from Count Dracula to romantic Queen Marie.
  • Brasov: Explore Town Hall Square with your Local Expert and see the Black Church.
  • Arbanassi: This is one of Bulgaria’s most beautiful villages and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The frescoed churches and fortified dwellings offer a unique insight into the former wealth and spiritual commitment of the settlement.
  • Veliko Tarnovo: With you Local Expert, ascend Tsarevets, the King’s Hill, crowned by a ruined medieval citadel. Enjoy the views and imagine yourself back in the days of the Crusades when this was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.
  • Ohrid: Walk the cobbled, narrow streets of the Old Town with your Local Expert.
  • Dubrovnik: Your Local Expert will guide you through this ancient city, surrounded by well-preserved walls built in the Middle Ages. See Onofrio's Fountain, the Rector's Palace and the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries.
  • Sarajevo: A Local Expert will show you the cobbled old town market where Sarajevo was founded by the Ottomans, known as Baščaršija. You will also see the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque.
  • Belgrade: A Local Expert will show you St. Sava Church, Terazije Street, the national museum, national theatre, Republic Square and the Kalemegdan Fortress.
  • Budapest: Visit the colourful Matthias Church and gaze out over the Danube and giant domed Hungarian Parliament Building from the heights of the Fisherman’s Bastion.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Veliko Tarnovo: Enjoy a Highlight Dinner of local specialties with wine and witness a folklore show.
  • Dubrovnik: You will be offered a varied selection of charming restaurants to choose from for your Dine-Around Evening.
  • Sarajevo: You are invited into a Sarajevan family home for a dinner with drinks. Savour the warm hospitality and authentic cuisine as you hear inspirational stories about their culture and recent struggles.
  • Sarajevo: Experience authentic Bosnian coffee and learn about the traditional ritual of coffee preparation.
  • Budapest: Dine in elegance and savour Hungarian delicacies accompanied with specially-selected Hungarian wine during your Celebration Dinner at Gundel.
  • Dining Summary: 17 Buffet Breakfasts (BB) and 10 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

INCLUDED INSIGHT SERVICES

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.

Optional experiences

Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trips. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change.

Dinner And Entertainment

Romania boasts a varied and delicious culinary tradition, layered over the centuries by waves of different cultures. Visit a traditional Transylvanian restaurant in Brasov for an evening of delicious Romanian delicacies with music, dancing and wine. You'll also enjoy a short guided tour of the wine cellars with a wine tasting.

Adult Price: EUR 53.00

Code: BRA0002

Traditional Dinner in the Transylvanian Alps

Join us for gorgeous views of Brasov and the Carpathians as we journey deep into the Transylvanian Alps to Poiana Brasov, one of the best preserved mountain areas in Eastern Europe. This well-known winter resort has long been reserved for the rich and powerful. We'll visit a local parish church before enjoying an evening of traditional Romanian cuisine. Grilled appetisers will be served by an open fire in the garden while a local band entertains us with traditional music in this atmospheric setting.

Adult Price: EUR 55.00

Code: BRA0003

Rila Monastery With Lunch

Rising out of a forested valley, the magnificent Rila Monastery is the largest and most important symbol of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Founded in the 10th century, it has lasted in various incarnations throughout the ages. From the outside, the monastery looks like a fortress, yet once through the gates you are bedazzled by a series of kaleidoscopic frescoes and red-and-cream striped brickwork, set against the vertiginous green mountains. A local expert explains the apocalyptic artwork beneath horseshoe shaped arches, while black-robed monks go about their business. A truly wonderful day out with lunch included.

Adult Price: EUR 54.00

Code: SOF0001

Cavtat Excursion

The road to Cavtat overlooks the steep coast of the Adriatic sea and presents several opportunities for postcard perfect views. Continue to Cavtat, one of the most enchanting seaside resorts in Croatia - a Mecca for the rich and famous who come every year to moor their yachts at the entrance of Cavtat Bay.

Adult Price: EUR 23.00

Code: DUB0001

Scenic Cruise and Lunch/Dinner

Sit back and enjoy a relaxing cruise around the fabled bay of Dubrovnik. The mighty city walls rise straight from the cliffs that once upon a time were part of yet another island of the Adriatic. Enjoy a typical Dalmatian coast dinner, washed down with local drinks (wine and grappa being the most famous). Then we'll moor for another look at Dubrovnik. (Weather permitting. In some cases the cruise may be operated during the day with lunch).

Adult Price: EUR 57.00

Code: DUB0002

Peljesac – The Great Wall of Ston, Wine & Oysters

A scenic drive along the beautiful Dalmatian coast takes us to the Peljesac Peninsula. We’ll visit Ston, home to the longest fortress system in Europe and the oldest working salt pans on the Continent! Continue past its steep slopes and age-old vines for a tasting in a small family-owned winery followed by a light lunch of local flavours overlooking the bay of Mali Ston, famous for its designation as the number one producer of oysters and mussels in Croatia!

Adult Price: EUR 48.00

Code: DUB0013

Bosnian Evening at Inat Kuca, the House of Spite

Join us for a Bosnian evening at one of the landmark and most important traditional houses in Sarajevo. Inat Kuća, the ‘House of Spite’, situated on the Miljacka river opposite the imposing City Hall, will transport you back to Ottoman times as we enjoy a feast of the most typical Bosnian cuisine with drinks while enjoying an evening of local culture & folklore. A wonderful evening in authentic surroundings at the heart of old Sarajevo.

Adult Price: EUR 57.00

Code: SAR0006

Serbian Heritage With Dinner

Drive south through the picturesque Sumadija region to Topola, birthplace of the Serbian Revolution against the Ottomans in 1804. Perched high above the town, visit the amazing Church of St. George, burial place of the Karadjordjevic Royal Dynasty. Don't be fooled by the white marble exterior - inside nearly every inch is bejewelled with stunning mosaic frescoes. Nearby, memorabilia of the royal family is on display at the summer home of King Alexander and Queen Maria. Now head for the spa town of Arandjelovac to enjoy a lavish dinner of local specialties and drinks in a top local restaurant.

Adult Price: EUR 57.00

Code: BEL0002

Danube Cruise Dinner & Drinks

The most leisurely way to discover this fairy-tale city is a private cruise on the Danube with a glass of fine Hungarian wine in hand. See Margaret Island, the Houses of Parliament, Castle Hill with its Fisherman’s Bastion, the Royal Palace, the Citadel and the University. While cruising, enjoy a lavish, gourmet buffet meal of Hungarian specialties and drinks.

Adult Price: EUR 63.00

Code: BUD0001

Treasures of Budapest Opera & St Stephens

Discover the real treasures of Budapest, Queen of the Danube. With our local expert, we'll enjoy a tour of the neo-Renaissance Hungarian State Opera House, opened by Emperor Franz Josef I in 1884 during the golden age of the city and considered among the most beautiful in Europe. Then, we'll continue to the Basilica of St Stephen, whose treasures include the miraculous Holy Right hand of the first Christian King St Stephen, the most important relic in Hungary.

Adult Price: EUR 43.00

Code: BUD0011

Accommodation

 

Athenee Palace Hilton Bucharest

Bucharest (Contemporary) - Romania

This hotel is one of the city’s most sophisticated and prestigious landmarks. Built in 1914 and situated within the heart of the city it provides spectacular views of Revolution Square.

Aro Palace Brasov

Brasov (Contemporary) - Romania

This is the only five star hotel in Brasov with a perfect location in the heart of town and a history of outstanding service that dates back over 70 years.

Yantra Grand Hotel

Veliko Turnovo (Contemporary) - Bulgaria

Situated at Velchova zavera Square in Veliko Tarnovo – the old capital of Bulgaria, the hotel enjoys magnificent views of the Tzarevets Fortress, the Architectural reserve village of Arbanassi and the University of Veliko Tarnovo.

Hilton Sofia

Sofia (Contemporary) - Bulgaria

The Hilton Sofia features art deco-styled rooms, and is centrally located, surrounded by the South Park and set opposite the National Palace of Culture.

Hotel Belvedere Ohrid

Ohrid (Traditional) - Macedonia

With its perfect balance between classical elegance and modern comforts, this is immersed in a warm atmosphere and unique ambience. From the elegant lobby with classical instruments and antiques to the comfortable furnished rooms with breath-taking views, you will find true beauty here.

Sheraton Tirana Hotel

Tirana (Traditional) - Albania

A hotel in the heart of Tirana which prides itself on being the only 5-Star hotel in Albania.

Hotel Kompas Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik (Contemporary) - Croatia

Overlooking the sea in the beautiful Lapad Bay, the Kompas hotel was fully renovated in 2015 andis only a 2 minute walk to the beach and close to the popular promenade.

Hotel Bristol Sarajevo

Sarajevo (Traditional) - Bosnia

This hotel is one of the landmark hotels in Sarajevo and Bosnia & Herzegovina. It is fantastically-located on Wilson's promenade by the right side of the Miljacka River.

Metropol Palace Belgrade

Belgrade (Contemporary) - Serbia

A stunning five star hotel which has always been the heart of Belgrade's social life and the host to all its guests, since originally opening in 1957.

Corinthia Hotel Budapest

Budapest (Heritage) - Hungary

Located in the heart of the city, the Corinthia Hotel Budapest blends classic hotel opulence with the finest five-star luxury. Its refurbished Royal Spa is simply stunning!

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on
10959 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 15 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Very good, interesting. Some sites, hotels, meals, extras good some just average. Survey at the end of the tour does not add any value. Prefer survey on line

    Service: Very good tour director, well organized. Excellent driver. Very good local guides. No interaction with other customer service

  • 14 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The Itinerary was excellent and we visited all the sights we expected to see.

    Service: Everything was excellent and would recommend them to friends and most certainly would travel with them again in the future.

  • 13 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Itinerary was excellent. My only suggestion would be more time in Albania and less (maybe none) in Lake Ohrid.

    Service: Fantastic tour. Our tour director was Sharon *personal information removed by Feefo*. She did everything you could ask for to make the tour enjoyable, informative, and smooth running.

  • 09 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Extremely interesting and enjoyable tour!

    Service: Travel Director very considerate and professional. Driver very friendly and courteous. Destinations all fascinating and options all fantastic. A thoroughly enjoyable tour!

  • 08 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: We liked having some free time on our own. The day we rode the bus for the entire day to Debrovnik, then had an evening cruise was not good. The cruise was a waste in my opinion

    Service: Any questions we had were answered.

  • 02 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: A busy tour, well organized. Not your fault to have hold ups at borders. Enjoyed learning more about these countries.

    Service: Email information was very good. Our Tour director Sharon was super excellent.

  • 01 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Nice time - great weather

    Service: Overall a very good experience

  • 30 August, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: This tour covered all the things I wanted to see. My only problem was the trip was too short I wanted to stay longer.

    Service: Everything was handled quickly and efficiently.

  • 30 August, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: brilliant trip, happy to have been , trip of a lifetime

    Service: very helpfull

  • 30 August, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Very good.But need more time in some countries.

    Service: Over roll everything is good.We are satisfied with the service. Our special thanks to tour director Karl and the driver Dario.They both are the BEST of the best.

  • 30 August, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: DESTINATION SELECTION WAS PERFECT!

    Service: TOUR DIRECTOR KARL AND DRIVE DARIO WERE OUTSTANDING. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS TEAM AND THIS TOUR!

  • 30 August, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Everything was good, should have done two days in Albania & Macedonia.

    Service: Very good service

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.
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