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Alps, Central & Eastern EuropeRegional Journey
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.
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 mountain 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.
Transylvania: Castles and Myths.
With your Local Expert, take a walk around Town Hall Square, lined with beautiful red-roofed houses and dominated by the Black Church. Visit the medieval fortress guarding the Transylvanian border that is said to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker's novel, Bran Castle. Explore inside this national monument of Romania and discover if this popular image of Dracula's castle is true or like the vampire story itself, only a myth.
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.
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. Arbanasi 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. Visit a traditional 17th century merchant's house and 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.
Sofia at Your Pace.
Enjoy the day at your leisure. Perhaps visit the Rila Monastery and enjoy a fascinating insight into the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria? Throughout the centuries, this popular tourist destination has been the spiritual, educational and cultural centre of Bulgaria.
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.
Ohrid and Tirana on the Move.
Making your way to the border, stop in the city of Ohrid for lunch. 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.
Kotor and Dubrovnik.
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.
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.
Dubrovnik, Paradise on Earth.
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 filming 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.
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 authentic cuisine and traditional Bosnian coffee as you hear inspirational stories.
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. The rest of the afternoon is for you to explore as you wish.
The Serbian Capital of Belgrade.
Journey through the remote villages and spa resorts of the forested Bosnian mountains to Belgrade.
The Best of Belgrade.
Join a Local Expert to see the best of Belgrade including Terazije Street, the national museum and national theatre in Republic Square, as well as a visit to the famous St. Sava Church. 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.
Across to Budapest.
Journey north and cross the Province of Vojvodina to reach Palić on the Hungarian border. See the picturesque lake, where you can admire the art nouveau buildings. Continue on through the vast wilderness of the Puszta, where once cowboys rustled up goulash under the stars. Your destination will be Budapest on the Danube.
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.
Departure transfers arrive at Ferenc Liszt International Airport at 07:00 and 11:00.
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 trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.
Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Bucharest (Heritage) - Romania
Athénée Palace Hilton 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.
Brașov (Traditional) - 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.
Veliko Turnovo (Traditional) - 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.
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.
Skopje (Traditional) - Macedonia
Located in the Old Bazaar district, the Bushi Resort & Spa offers classic style rooms with free WiFi. Make the most of your hotel's facilities by visit its wellness centre, complete with free access to the indoor pool, sauna, spa & Turkish Bath.
Tirana (Contemporary) - Albania
Just minutes from the city's geographical centre in Skanderbeg Square, The Plaza Tirana is conveniently located in true heart of the city. Trendy, modern interiors enrich a sense of state-of-the-art elegance, while plus, contemporary rooms will make for a comfortable stay.
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.
Sarajevo (Contemporary) - Bosnia
Belgrade (Historic) - 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.
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!
Our guests rate us
11477 independent user reviews received during the past year.
01 November, 2018
Trip: Enjoyed the history and the majority of the accommodation. There was plenty of diversity and time to explore. Tour guide and driver were excellent.
Service: Really enjoyed the tour but the accommodation at Skopje was disgusting. I had mould in my room. I was there to see the view of the lake but instead I got the view of a roof while my tour guide (who was good but has seen the lake before) got the room with the view.
26 October, 2018
Trip: Lots of great places, well prepared tour guide.
Service: We were impressed with the detailed organization and customer care. Everything was first class. We would definitely recommend Insight Vacations to anyone.
25 October, 2018
Trip: Covered so many places and really got a flavour of the Balkans
Service: Great journey - so well planned. Lovely tour director and driver.
25 October, 2018
Trip: A very full insight into the countries.
Service: As always, customer service was the gold standard on my recent trip to the Balkans. Brianna and Paolo were so caring, informative and always, always considering everyone's needs and making a huge effort to ensure we had a wonderful experience, which of course we did. Thank you Brianna and Paolo so very much!
12 October, 2018
Trip: See above comments on the itinerary
Service: Briannna, our Tour Leader, left no stone unturned to make our trip enjoyable, comfortable and fun. The itinerary was thoughtfully planned to show us many sides of the Balkan history of conflict and colonisation and this was really what we came for. We enjoyed the many Local Expert Guides who added to this experience.
12 October, 2018
Trip: They looked after us extremely well
Service: They looked after my handicapped wife very well. Couldn’t do enough for us. I would definitely recommend them to anyone
11 October, 2018
Trip: Well considered, covers a lot in a short period
Service: Excellent itinerary, excellent tour guide and bus driver
11 October, 2018
Trip: More time could be allotted to certain places
Service: The Tour Director and driver took good care of us during the trip. However, there was a sight flaw at the end, i. e., transfer from hotel to airport. The shuttle was supposed to leave the hotel at 10:00 am. But it was only 9:50 am when the driver closed the luggage compartment and prepared to depart. It was good I was able to catch it before it rolled out.
11 October, 2018
Trip: Was very happy with the itinerary. Included sights and some of optionals were very good.
Service: The Balkans trip has been amazing! It was a group of 40 out if which 24 were Australians! The tour director was a young Australian girl , Brianna who was excellent! She even sent an email a few days before departure introducing her as well as giving some helpful instructions! The driver was Croatian and was very very good too! The hotels were great. Brianna did her best to look after my vegetarian diet needs. We did in all 8 border crossings and most took less than 30 min! The sights were interesting and I had no problems doing all the walks and climbs , some of them challenging! The weather was good but on cooler side particularly Sarajevo at 6 C at 8 am when we got out! The highlights for me- 0.The Parliament Palace In Bucharest 0.The light and sound show at Tsarevets Fortress as well as the actual climb next morning in Bulgaria. 0.Lake Ohrid in Macedonia 0.Beautiful Dubrovnik in Croatia- cable car ride, Old City walls walk and everything about the city! 0.Scenic Kotor in Montenegro 0.Visit to a local Bosnian family for dinner in Sarajevo. We were divided in 7 groups of 5-6 people in each group. 0.Confluence of Danube and Sava river as well the view from Belgrade Fortress. 0.Dinner cruise along Danube river with beautifully lit Parliament and other buildings in Budapest 0.Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest There was a lot to learn about the history of all these countries! Overall it was a very enjoyable trip also adding 8 new countries to my list now totalling 67 !
11 October, 2018
Trip: covered the Balkans thoroughly
Service: very professional and provided with a smile
11 October, 2018
Trip: Great opportunity to see a good variety Balkan capitals and scenic areas. We would like to have had a bit more time in Bucharest.
Service: We really enjoyed our trip through the Balkans on Insight and met some very nice people in the tour group. Sarah was an outstanding tour director and made our experience very interesting. We had many good experiences and learned a lot of new information about the history and culture of the area.
05 October, 2018
Trip: 3 hours tour of Bucharest it seems pointless. Bucharest is a very interesting city to see and enjoy, the Old town is fun, it has a vive and ok restaurants to enjoy their typical food. The minimum you should tell us is, that if we want to visit this city, we should come at least 2 days in advance and do the walking tours, and exploring if the city on our own even if it means the extra expense of getting accommodation, etc. It is worth it because according to my books, this is the only time I will visiting this place, since I want to see other places in my bucket list, besides because my age, each trip is a gift from heaven. I heard my fellow companions complain about it as well. On top of it the local guide was mediocre. Sometimes I felt a bit rush with the itinerary but otherwise it was a wonderful experience.
Service: Very good. Very impressed