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Balkan Adventure

Operated by: Trafalgar

14 Days from $2,423 per person
APR - OCT 2023
Bran Castle, Romania

Countries Visited

Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia ...more Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia

Locations Visited

Bucharest, Brasov, Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanasi, Sofia, Rila, Skopje, Tirana, Kotor, Budva, Mostar, Sarajevo, Belgrade ...more Bucharest, Brasov, Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanasi, Sofia, Rila, Skopje, Tirana, Kotor, Budva, Mostar, Sarajevo, Belgrade
  1. Day 1 Welcome to Bucharest

    You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Paris when you explore the Belle-Époque atmosphere of Romania’s capital, Bucharest. Your first day will be free to explore the city your way, admiring the elegant boulevards that once hosted high society and an Old City filled with cobbled streets, Baroque architecture and vintage cafés. Later, join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception. Why not toast to new friends with a shot of the local Pálinka to set the tone for your memorable journey?

    meals Welcome Reception
    hotel Mercure Bucharest Unirii [Bucharest, Romania] NEW
  2. Day 2 Journey to Transylvania and Braşov

    A full day of sightseeing stretches ahead, beginning in Bucharest where you’ll join a Local Specialist to delve into the city’s tumultuous history. See the immense Palace of the Parliament, one of the lasting legacies left behind by dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, whose extravagant tastes culminated in the world’s second-largest administrative building in stark contrast to the poverty of his people. Venture deep into the Carpathian Mountains to Sinaia and view Peleş Castle, the summer retreat of Romania’s first king. Then, continue to Braşov and check in to your hotel in Poiana Braşov ski resort. Enjoy traditional Romanian cuisine for dinner at your hotel against the backdrop of panoramic mountain views.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel Ana Sport
  3. Day 3 Dracula’s Castle and More in Braşov Dive Into Culture

    The highlight of the day is this morning’s visit to Bran Castle, the legendary home of Dracula. Dive Into Culture with a Local Specialist and learn about its history as the favourite royal residence of Queen Maria of Romania. Although the connection between the castle and Bram Stoker’s famous literary figure is tentative at best, its imposing walls, towering spires and secret passageways may convince you otherwise. Next, we journey to the medieval streets of Braşov. The city once stood at the crossroads of trade routes linking the Ottoman Empire and western Europe, forging a melting pot of influences that can be seen to this day. Join a Local Specialist who will reveal the city’s trading history and Saxon roots as you walk around Town Hall Square and see the Black Church, so named following the damage caused by the Great Fire of 1689. Your evening is free to indulge in some of the local Transylvanian favourites or consider joining your travel companions for an optional dinner.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Ana Sport
  4. Day 4 Continue to Medieval Veliko Târnovo

    Head south, through ancient villages and tranquil landscapes across the Danube River into Bulgaria. Your journey ends in Veliko Târnovo, the 'City of the Tsars' and former capital of the Bulgarian Empire. Relax after your scenic drive and join your travel companions for dinner at your hotel. After dinner, resist the urge to retire early and take a stroll through the Old City admiring the Renaissance gems that line its winding streets.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel Yantra Grand
  5. Day 5 Onwards to Historic Sofia Stays With Stories

    The fairy-tale façades of Veliko Târnovo exude medieval history around every turn and your Local Specialist will reveal a rich history and culture befitting a former imperial capital. At the heart of the city is Tsarevets Fortress, which you’ll have an opportunity to visit as part of your sightseeing tour. Our next stop is the UNESCO-listed town of Arbanasi, renowned for its Bulgarian National Revival architecture and rich spiritual history reflected in the beautiful medieval frescoed churches that can be found here. Visit the Church of Holy Nativity before continuing to Sofia, where you’ll join a Local Specialist for an in-depth sightseeing tour of Bulgaria’s modern-day capital including views of the golden-domed St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and St. Sofia Church.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Astoria Grand
  6. Day 6 Sofia Your Way

    You’ll have a full day to explore this modern city built on Roman ruins. Once a thriving centre for trade and crafts, Sofia’s history, culture and architecture have been influenced by Greeks, Romans, Ottomans and communists. Settle in to the relaxed atmosphere and take a stroll along its elegant boulevards or sit in a park and people-watch. You could choose instead to join an Optional Experience to the UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery, founded by the hermit St. Ivan of Rila in the 10th century. Later this evening, you may wish to get your foot tapping to the flurry of red skirts at a traditional folklore show.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Marinela
  7. Day 7 Journey to Macedonian Skopje Connect with Locals

    Cross the Macedonian border today, bound for Skopje, the capital, religious crossroads and a vibrant medieval trading centre. See the Ottoman Empire's legacy in the mosques and bazaars as you join a Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour this afternoon.

    meals Breakfast, Be My Guest
    hotel Holiday Inn
  8. Day 8 Off to Albania and Tirana

    Leaving North Macedonia behind, head to the Albanian capital of Tirana where, on arrival, you’ll join a Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour. Delve into how the city has emerged from decades of communist rule into a vibrant, trendy tourism centre – one where dour grey city blocks have been transformed into a kaleidoscope of colourful façades. You’ll view such highlights as the Palace of Culture, the National Library and the Clock Tower before enjoying dinner at your hotel.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel Hilton Garden Inn
  9. Day 9 Journey to Montenegro’s Kotor and Budva

    Soak up Montenegro’s natural beauty as you drive towards Kotor. You’ll have some time for lunch on your own and an orientation tour of this fortified town, tucked deep within enchanting fjord-like surrounds. Travel to Budva next where your Travel Director will provide an orientation tour before you have the rest of the day to explore 'Montenegro's Miami' on your own. Head to Stari Grad (the Old Town) surrounded by 15th-century ramparts to explore its labyrinthine lanes and small squares where you could choose to sit back and watch the world go by.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Iberostar Slavija [Budva, Montenegro] NEW
  10. Day 10 Venture to Mostar and Sarajevo

    Leave the shimmering Adriatic coast for Mostar, a multicultural city that has restored itself with enviable verve following the Bosnian War. A Local Specialist will lead you through its colourful cobbled streets and you’ll view the Stari Most.  An Ottoman-style bridge reconstructed entirely using traditional methods. Head to Sarajevo next where you’ll delve into the rich religious and multicultural heritage that has earned it the nickname, the 'Jerusalem of Europe'. Tonight you’ll enjoy dinner at your hotel.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel Novotel
  11. Day 11 Discover Sarajevo

    Join a Local Specialist for a guided walking tour of Sarajevo, which will reveal centuries of religious history reflected in its beautiful synagogues, mosques and Orthodox and Catholic churches. Visit the War Tunnel, an underground tunnel of hope that was built in 1993 during the Siege of Sarajevo, allowing war supplies and humanitarian aid to reach the city at the height of the Bosnian War. Then, enjoy a free afternoon to explore on your own. Visit the Old Town and trace the Sarajevo Roses, dotted across the city as a stark reminder of that tumultuous time in the city’s history. Local flavours and stories are on the menu tonight as you Connect With Locals at an exclusive Be My Guest experience.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel Novotel
  12. Day 12 On the Road to Belgrade

    Travel through lush forests, pastures and the Bosnian Mountains into Serbia – a scenic day of driving that will end in Belgrade. The 'White City' has a long history which you’ll have an opportunity to discover tomorrow.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Mercure Excelsior
  13. Day 13 Explore Riverside Belgrade

    Your Local Specialist will share the sights and sounds of Belgrade from an insider’s perspective this morning. Delve into its Celtic, Roman, Serbian, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian history, then visit Kalemegdan Fortress, the symbol of the Serbian capital perched perfectly on a ridge overlooking the confluence of two great rivers. Discover how each of these empires has had a hand in rebuilding the fortress over the past 16 centuries. This evening, we reunite one final time for a rousing Farewell Dinner to reminisce over our shared travel experience.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel Mercure Excelsior
  14. Day 14 Farewell Belgrade

    Our journey through the Balkans has come to an end. All that’s left is to say a fond doviđenja as you bid your new friends farewell. Find out more about your free airport transfer at trafalgar.com/freetransfers.

    meals Breakfast
Balkan Adventure Guided Tour Map
Price Includes

Whats Included

  • An expert Travel Director and professional Driver
  • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
  • All porterage and restaurant gratuities
  • All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
  • Breakfast daily and up to half of your evening meals
  • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
  • Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing
  • Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
  • Optional Experiences and free time

Dining Summary

  • 1 Welcome Reception (WR)
  • 13 Breakfast (B)
  • 6 Dinner (D)
  • 1 Be My Guest (BMG)

Be My Guest

  • Skopje: Spend quality time with the locals when you join an exclusive Be My Guest experience featuring local hospitality and cuisine.

Dive Into Culture

  • Bran: Visit the infamous mythical home of Count Dracula and favourite residence of Romanian royalty - Bran Castle.

Iconic Experience

  • Bucharest: Bask in the rich history of Bucharest and its lasting legacies.
  • Sinaia: Journey to the Carpathian Mountains and discover Peles Castle.
  • Brasov: Journey through the medieval streets of Brasov and discover its trading history.
  • Veliko Tarnovo: Discover the rich history of Veliko Tarnovo with a Local Specialist.
  • Sofia: Journey to Sofia and spend the day basking in the wonders of Bulgaria's modern-day capital.
  • Skopje: Join a Local Specialist on a city tour of the historic center of Skopje.
  • Tirana: Meet a local resident who will show you Skanderbeg Square and walk you through their home city as they share insights into life in the Albanian capital.
  • Budva: Spend the day exploring the picturesque town of Budva.
  • Kotor: Spend the day discovering the wonders of Kotor.
  • Mostar: Discover the magnificent coves and cliffs of the Dalmatian coast as well as the monumental Mostar Bridge.
  • Sarajevo: Discover the wonders and hidden treasures of Sarajevo.
  • Sarajevo: Discover the history of the Bosnian war tunnel in Sarajevo.
  • Belgrade: Discover the rich history of Belgrade and all it's wonderful sights.

Must-see Highlights

  • : Explore Bucharest, Braşov, Veliko Târnovo, Sofia, Skopje, Tirana, Mostar, Sarajevo and Belgrade with a Local Specialist
  • : Discover Kotor and Budva
  • : Visit Bran Castle in Braşov, Tsaravets Fortress in Veliko Târnovo, the Church of Holy Nativity in Arbanasi, Sofia, Skopje, Tirana, Kotor, Budva, Mostar, the War Tunnel in Sarajevo and Kalmegdan Fortress in Belgrade
  • : View Peleş Castle in Sinaia, St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and St. Sofia Church in Sofia, the Palace of Culture and the National Library in Tirana and the Stari Most in Mostar
  • : See the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest

Trafalgar Difference

  • Sofia: Soak up the tranquillity of the Japanese Garden and inspired interior of the Marinela Hotel, designed by renowned Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa.

Whats Included

  • : An expert Travel Director and professional Driver
  • : Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
  • : All porterage and restaurant gratuities
  • : All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
  • : Breakfast daily and up to half of your evening meals
  • : Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
  • : Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing
  • : Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
  • : Optional Experiences and free time

Dates & Prices

Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. To request a personalized travel quote, click "Request Quote" and a Travel Specialist will send your custom quote including airfare if requested.

Online Booking Process

July 2023
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Jul 9 Sun
Jul 22 Sat
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Guaranteed Departure This departure is guaranteed
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Jul 30 Sun
Aug 12 Sat
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Guaranteed Departure This departure is guaranteed
$3,025 $2,571 Save $454
September 2023
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Sep 24 Sun
Oct 7 Sat
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$2,850 $2,423 Save $428
October 2023
AARP Members Save up to $100
Oct 8 Sun
Oct 21 Sat
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Optional Add-Ons

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.


Available on Day 2

Bucharest Parliament Visit

Built and furnished exclusively with Romanian materials, the Bucharest Parliament building is the second-largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon and reflects the work of the country’s best artisans. Our guided visit will reveal a selection of its dazzling rooms, huge halls and quarters, where we will experience a luxurious display of crystal chandeliers, mosaics, oak paneling, marble, gold leaf, stained-glass windows and floors covered in rich carpets.
Adult Price: € 27


Available on Day 3

Rustic Romania

Enjoy an evening of traditional Transylvanian cuisine in a location that is truly second to none. At the entrance to Poiana Brasov, one of the best preserved mountain areas and most popular ski resorts in Eastern Europe, the restaurant setting is both a winter and summer oasis for visitors. Our hosts will welcome us in their scenic garden before inviting us into their rustic mountain-style chalet, where we will be entertained by a local musician.
Adult Price: € 55


Available on Day 6

Bulgarian Folklore Evening with Dinner

Join us at one of the oldest folk-style restaurants in Sofia, where we will experience a traditional folklore programme including the jolly 'Horo' dance and traditional Bulgarian cuisine.
Adult Price: € 54

Available on Day 6

Rila Monastery

Rising out of a forested valley, magnificent Rila Monastery is the largest and most important symbol of the Bulgarian Orthodox church. Founded in the 10th Century, the monastery looks like a fortress, but once through the gates you are dazzled by the kaleidoscopic frescoes and red-and-cream striped brickwork, set against the vertiginous green mountains. Our Local Specialist will explain the apocalyptic artwork beneath horseshoe-shaped arches, while black-robed monks go about their business.
Adult Price: € 37


Available on Day 11

Sarajevo Home Hosted Evening

Enjoy a true insight into local culture as you’re invited into a Sarajevo local's home to savour warm hospitality and tasty traditional cuisine. There’ll be no more than several guests with each family, ensuring a cosy and memorable evening.
Adult Price: € 56
Note: This optional involves reservation and entrance pre-payments. Cancellation within 24 hours will incur a 50% cancellation fee.,

Available on Day 11

Sarajevo: Off the Beaten Track

Discover two fascinating icons of Bosnia that continue to impact the identity of Sarajevo today. Our Local Specialist unravels the beauty of a traditional Mosque, its architecture and traditions. We then fast forward to the 1984 Winter Olympics, hearing stories of ice skaters Torvill and Dean and their famous gold medal, while ascending Mt Trebevic by coach. At the summit, we'll admire spectacular city panoramas with a photo stop at the war-torn bobsled track, before enjoying a refreshment at one of the most spectacular vistas of the city.
Adult Price: € 35

Available on Day 11

Traditional Bosnian Dinner with Entertainment

Enjoy a typical Bosnian evening in an authentic restaurant, famous for its local cuisine. With lively entertainment, it truly is an unforgettable evening in Sarajevo.
Adult Price: € 49


Available on Day 12

Serbian Dinner in the Bohemian Quarter

It is only about a quarter of a mile long but the Skadarska street carries the spirit of Belgrade's bohemian life. This is the street where the famous Serbian brandy flows and the sound of tambourines, songs and joy can be heard through the night.  Indulge yourself in a hearty traditional dinner, while being entertained by live music.
Adult Price: € 52

Available on Day 13

The Genius & The Leader

A recently opened museum in Belgrade is dedicated to undoubtedly one of the biggest inventors and scientists of our modern age, Nikola Tesla, who spent the most productive years of his life in the USA, registering nearly 120 patents. We'll unravel the stories behind some of his genius inventions and hear the legends that surrounded 'the man who invented the twentieth century'.  Later we visit the resting place of former Yugoslavian President, Josip Broz Tito, at the House of Flowers, built in 1975 as a winter garden near to the leader’s Belgrade home. Featuring impressive views of the city and set in tranquil surroundings, this is not just a scenic discovery, but also an important historical landmark. Our Local Specialist will share interesting stories of Tito and his rule.
Adult Price: € 34

Independent Reviews
Brian W
Review date: Saturday, September 24, 2022
Randy Fay, our GET Travel Specialist, was immensely helpful. Very glad to work with him. We will definitely reach out to him when we book another trip.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We are happy to hear you enjoyed working with Randy. He's a great person to have on your side when planning a vacation. It sounds like your Balkan Adventure tour was lovely. We are so glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We appreciate your feedback. We would love to hear from you when you're ready to plan your next trip. Until then, take care!
Monday, September 26, 2022
Our Travel Director, Meg Prendergast, was phenomenal. We can't say enough good things about her. She was unflappable and always organized. She handled the group well and kept us on track. Our bus driver, Dijan, was also very very good. Loved seeing seven nations in the Balkans. It's an interesting part of the world, steeped in history and so many conflicts. We're glad to have had the opportunity to visit.
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