• 2020 Vacations at 2019 Prices - ends Sept 20, 2019

    2020 Vacations at 2019 Prices - ends Sept 20
  • SAVE $100 per person on Airfare - Ends August 31, 2019

    SAVE $100 per person on Airfare - Ends Aug. 31
  • AARP Members Save an additional $100 per person

    AARP Members Save an additional $100 pp
  • Additional Savings for Past Travelers

    Additional Savings for Past Travelers

Treasures of the Balkans

Operated by: Insight Vacations

18 Days
Dubrovnik, Croatia

Countries Visited

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

Locations Visited

Bucharest, Sofia, Tirana, Dubrovnik, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Budapest ...more Bucharest, Sofia, Tirana, Dubrovnik, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Budapest
  1. Day 1 Welcome to Bucharest

    Transfers depart Henri Coandă International Airport at 12 noon, 2 pm and 4 pm for your hotel, which is one of the city's most sophisticated and prestigious landmarks. At 6 pm, join your Travel Director and fellow travelers for your Welcome Dinner served with wine. 

    meals Dinner with Wine
    hotel Athénée Palace Hilton
  2. Day 2 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, armor and tapestries. Continue through the Carpathian Mountains to the charming medieval city of Brașov, founded in 1211 by the Teutonic Knights.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Aro Palace
  3. Day 3 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. 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. 

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Aro Palace
  4. Day 4 Veliko Tarnovo

    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.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Yantra Grand Hotel
  5. Day 5 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.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hilton Sofia
  6. Day 6 Sofia at Your Pace

    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.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hilton Sofia
  7. Day 7 Skopje

    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. 

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Bushi Resort & Spa/Aleksandar Palace
  8. Day 8 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. 

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel The Plaza Tirana
  9. Day 9 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. 

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hotel Kompas Dubrovnik
  10. Day 10 Dubrovnik Sightseeing

    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.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hotel Kompas Dubrovnik
  11. Day 11 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 Harbor. As the sun starts to set, maybe take a relaxing cruise to admire the city and its incredible walls from the water.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hotel Kompas Dubrovnik
  12. Day 12 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. Savor the warm hospitality and authentic cuisine as you hear inspirational stories about their culture and recent struggles.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Swissotel Sarajevo
  13. Day 13 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.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Swissotel Sarajevo
  14. Day 14 The Serbian Capital of Belgrade

    Journey through the remote villages and spa resorts of the forested Bosnian mountains to Belgrade.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Metropol Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel
  15. Day 15 The Best of Belgrade

    Join a Local Expert to see the best of Belgrade. Visit St. Sava Church, Terazije Street, the national museum and national theater 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.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Metropol Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel
  16. Day 16 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 cowboys rustle up goulash under the stars. Your destination will be Budapest on the Danube.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Corinthia Hotel Budapest
  17. Day 17 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 flavored 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 savor hearty, Hungarian delicacies accompanied with specially-selected Hungarian wine. 

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Corinthia Hotel Budapest
  18. Day 18 Depart Budapest

    Departure transfers arrive at Ferenc Liszt International Airport at 7 am and 11 am.

    meals Breakfast
Price Includes

Included Quality Dining

    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 Breakfasts (B) and 10 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

    Insight Experiences

    • Sarajevo: Visit the Tunnel of Hope and 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.

    Stay in Style

    • Sofia: 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.
    • Budapest: The 5-star Corinthia Budapest Hotel is one of the grandest luxury hotels in Budapest. An impressive landmark building with an imposing Neo-classical facade and soaring glass atrium. Excellent technology and personal service ensures an elegant and luxurious stay.

    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.
    • Bucharest: During sightseeing with your Local Expert see University Square and the former Communist Headquarters.
    • 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.
    • Veliko Tarnovo: With your Local Expert, see the Monument of the Assens, dedicated to the Bulgarian Kings.
    • Arbanassi: 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.
    • Veliko Tarnovo: 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.
    • Skopje: Visit the capital of Macedonia.
    • Ohrid: Walk the cobbled, narrow streets of the Old Town with your Local Expert.
    • 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.
    • Kotor: Visit the Stari Grad, also referred to as the Old Town, perfectly positioned on a beautiful bay.
    • 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.
    • Mostar: Explore the Old Town and see the Stari Most with your Local Expert.
    • 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 and the Latin Bridge where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated.
    • Belgrade: A Local Expert will show you St. Sava Church, Terazije Street, the national museum, national theatre, Republic Square and the Kalemegdan Fortress.
    • Palić: Visit this town sitting on the Serbian-Hungarian border. See the water tower and the art nouveau buildings by the lake.
    • Budapest: With a Local Expert, visit the colourful Matthias Church in the heart of Budapest's Castle District.
    • Budapest: Visiting the Central Market Hall is a foodie's dream. Accompanied by your Local Expert, wander three levels of stalls, brimming with mouthwatering salamis, spicy paprika, Hungarian wines and a whole lot of Pálinka.
    • Scenic Drives: Venture through Prahova Valley and pass the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains, Lake Ohrid, Bosnian Mountains. Travel through the Province of Vojvodina and Puszta Region.

    Dates & Prices

    Thank you for your interest in this tour. If no dates are displaying, please call our reservations line at 1-877-622-9109 for more information

    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.


    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: €53

    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. Then we'll enjoy 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: €55


    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: €54


    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: €23

    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: €51

    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: €57


    Tito's Secret Bunker and Konjic Dinner

    Journey southwest of Sarajevo to visit what was once Yugoslavia’s most closely guarded secret, “Tito’s Bunker”. Taking 26 years to build and draining billions of state dollars, the nuclear shelter could house up to 350 members of Tito’s inner circle. Today it's an enduring legacy of a bygone era and an unlikely space for international contemporary art. After, we'll visit the nearby historic town of Konjic to learn about the town’s UNESCO protected craft of woodcarving and then relax with an authentic dinner of regional flavours in this Ottoman-influenced town.
    Adult Price: €56


    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: €59


    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: €63

    Revolution Walk & St Stephens

    Venture back in time to learn of the incredible journey Budapest has taken to once again become the Queen of the Danube. With our local expert, we’ll begin with the moving memorial; “Shoes on the Danube Bank” before discovering Kossuth Lajos Square, situated next to the jaw-dropping Parliament building. We’ll visit the 1956 Underground Museum to hear about the local populace facing off against the might of the Soviet Union during the famous uprising of that year. From darker days to the golden age, we’ll stop in one of the city's many cafes before completing our historic stroll with a visit to the Basilica of St Stephen, whose treasures include the most important relic in Hungary, the miraculous Holy Right Hand of the country’s first King, St Stephen.
    Adult Price: €38

    Independent Reviews
    Donald Hunter
    Thursday, July 19, 2018
    Everything was fine except the weather.
    Everything was fine. The tour director and driver were excellent.
    Thursday, June 8, 2017
    Super all the way. This was our 4th trip with GET and there will be more.
    Just an absolutely wonderful vacation. Each country was different and unique.
    Clare Friend
    Thursday, June 8, 2017
    I have used GET 3 times and the experiences were terrific. Our tour guide, Erin Robinson and our coach driver, Paulo made everything seem flawless. Their arrention to details and safety were superb Each of the timers I have traveled Kari Nixon and made the arrangements for me and she was wonderful. She had answers to every question. She is a gem. I will travel with GET again in the near future. Thank you.
    Response from Grand European Travel:
    We're so glad you joined us for another trip.  And we're not surprised to hear your comments on Kari, she is truly a treasure.
    Friday, June 9, 2017
    Everything went smoothly for me and I enjoyed visiting new countries and learning about new cultures.
    Collins Lewis
    Friday, May 26, 2017
    Everything went very well and the service was great. I initially has some trouble with my camera and our tour director, Alex, fixed it.
    Everything went very well.
    See More Reviews
    Back To Top