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Treasures of the Balkans

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Treasures of the Balkans

Operated by: Insight Vacations

18 Days from $5,036 per person
APR - OCT 2022
Dubrovnik at night, Croatia

Countries Visited

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

Locations Visited

Bucharest, Sinaia, Brasov, Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanasi, Sofia, Skopje, Tirana, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Mostar, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Palic, Budapest ...more Bucharest, Sinaia, Brasov, Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanasi, Sofia, Skopje, Tirana, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Mostar, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Palic, Budapest
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Wellbeing Protocols >

Industry leading 3-step protocols

Wellbeing Protocols

Industry leading 3-step protocols

Current Entry Requirements >

Entry Guide

Entry Requirements

Entry Guide

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements >

FAQ’s on traveling now

COVID-19 Requirements

FAQ’s on traveling now

  1. Day 1 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 at a local restaurant.

    meals Dinner with Wine
    hotel Athénée Palace Hilton, Bucharest.
  2. Day 2 Bucharest and Castles of Transylvania

    Join a Local Expert for sightseeing to view University Square and the former communist headquarters. Visit the immense Parliament Palace, one of the most impressive buildings in the world. This evening after the crowds have left enjoy a private visit to the iconic Bran Castle, said to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. Learn about Queen Maria of Romania, the last inhabitant of the castle, visit the torture rooms and relive the tales of the infamous Count Dracula. Finish with a delicious private dinner in the recently renovated Queen Mary’s Tea House.

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

    With your Local Expert, walk around Town Hall Square, lined with beautiful red-roofed houses and dominated by the Black Church. Travel along the Prahova Valley to the elegant mountain resort of Sinaia to visit Peleș Castle. 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.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Aro Palace, Brasov.
  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 specialities and wine, followed by an authentic folklore show.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Yantra Grand Hotel, Veliko Tarnovo.
  5. Day 5 To Sofia Relaxed Start

    Meet 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 InterContinental Sofia.
  6. Day 6 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?

    meals Breakfast
    hotel InterContinental Sofia.
  7. Day 7 Skopje

    Cross the border and continue to the North Macedonian capital of Skopje, an ultra-modern city juxtaposed by an ancient bazaar, where Turkish influences can still be seen and felt. Enjoy sightseeing with a Local Expert.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Bushi Resort & Spa, Skopje.
  8. Day 8 Lake Ohrid and Tirana

    Making your way to the border, stop by the scenic Lake Ohrid for lunch. Cross into Albania and journey to Tirana, renowned for its friendly locals.  Continue to the landmark Skanderbeg Square for an insider’s look at the Albanian capital.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Maritim Hotel 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 Relaxed Start

    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. Visit the workshop of Deša during a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience. This important educational centre supports vulnerable communities and promotes local cultural heritage. 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 Relaxed Start

    Spend a 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.

    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 streets of the 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.

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

    Explore Sarajevo with Insight Choice. Choose to meet a survivor of the Bosnian War for a visit to Sarajevo’s astonishing Tunnel of Hope. Alternatively, take a guided nature walk to the spring of the Bosna River, a picturesque park just beyond the city. 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 Relaxed Start

    Trace your way along the Drina River, that lies on the border of Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Take in beautiful landscapes of lush, green mountains that create magical forest canyons, winding your way through deep valleys as you make your way to Belgrade.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Radisson Collection Hotel, Old Mill Belgrade.
  15. Day 15 The Best of Belgrade Relaxed Start

    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.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Radisson Collection Hotel, Old Mill Belgrade.
  16. Day 16 Across to Budapest Relaxed Start

    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.

    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 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.

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

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

    meals Breakfast
Treasures of the Balkans Guided Tour Map
Price Includes

Additional Included Highlights

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • 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 delight 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.

Choice Highlights

  • Choose between two carefully selected activities
  • Sarajevo: Take a nature walk to the spring of the Bosna River, a picturesque park just beyond the city.
  • Sarajevo: Meet a survivor of the Bosnian War for a visit to Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope and hear a first-hand account of when the city was under siege for 44 months. Alternatively, take a nature walk to the spring of the Bosna River, a picturesque park just beyond the city.

Well-being

  • : Our Well-Being Directors take a proactive approach to your welfare ensuring all well-being regulations are met (available on tours with 21 or more guests).
  • : Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxurious, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom. Our customized luxury coaches are sanitized before the start of your tour and are maintained to very high standards. Physical distancing measures have been implemented on our customized luxury coaches.
  • : Experience enhanced hygiene protocols to align with the latest guidance following COVID-19.All Travel Directors, Well-Being Directors and Drivers have completed training in enhanced well-being and hygiene protocols.
  • : We only work with establishments we are confident will consistently adhere to our high well-being standards, which include hotels, restaurants and sight-seeing venues.
  • : Hand sanitizer is freely available on board for you to use throughout the day.

Travel Director

  • : "One thing I really love about showing guests Eastern Europe is the rich history and culture of places that have previously been impossible to visit due to political situations."
  • : "It's magical to see how a group of guests comes together over the course of our trip. I can always tell when that's happening because suddenly the enthusiasm is palpable."

Authentic Dining

  • Bucharest: Join your Travel Director and fellow travelers for your Welcome Dinner served with wine.
  • 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 and drinks. Savour the warm hospitality and authentic cuisine as you hear inspirational stories about their culture.
  • 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: 10 Dinner with Wine (DW), and 17 Breakfast (B)

Insight Experiences

  • Bran: Learn about the story of the infamous Count Dracula during a private after-hours visit of Bran Castle, followed by dinner.
  • Sarajevo: Meet a survivor of the Bosnian War for a visit to Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope and hear a first-hand account of when the city was under siege for 44 months. Alternatively, take a nature walk to the spring of the Bosna River, a picturesque park just beyond the city.

Top Rated Highlights

  • Bucharest: During sightseeing with your Local Expert see University Square and the former Communist Headquarters.
  • 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 decor in Peleș Castle, the fairy-tale Royal summer residence, at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains.
  • 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.
  • Arbanasi: 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.
  • Sofia: Sightseeing with your 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.
  • Skopje: Visit the capital of Macedonia with your Local Expert, explore Square Macedonia and see the Stone Bridge before walking through the Old Bazaar.
  • Ohrid: Walk the cobbled, narrow streets of the Old Town.
  • 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: Explore the Pearl of the Adriatic with your Local Expert. Walk the stone-paved streets of the Old Town to see Onofrio's Fountain, Rector's Palace and the medieval city walls. Admire the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries.
  • Mostar: Learn the history and symbolic significance of Stari Most and explore the old town with your Local Expert.
  • Sarajevo: Take a nature walk to the spring of the Bosna River, a picturesque park just beyond the city.
  • Belgrade: A Local Expert will show you St. Sava Church, Terazije Street, the national museum, national theatre, Republic Square and the Kalemegdan Fortress.
  • Palic: Visit this town sitting on the Serbian-Hungarian border. See the water tower and the art nouveau buildings by the lake.
  • Budapest: Gaze out over the Danube and giant domed Hungarian Parliament Building from the heights of the Fisherman's Bastion.
  • Budapest: With a Local Expert, in the heart of Budapest's Castle District, visit the colourful Matthias Church and hear the enchanting sounds of an organ recital.
  • Budapest: Visiting the Central Market Hall is a foodie's dream. Accompanied by your Local Expert, wander three levels of stalls, brimming with mouth-watering salamis, spicy paprika, Hungarian wines and a whole lot of Pálinka.

Make Travel Matter

  • Dubrovnik: Visit the workshop of Deša, an organisation founded following the Siege of Dubrovnik to help refugees and women who were victims of violence. They have grown to be an important educational centre, workshop and an advocate for women’s rights. Through its meaningful work Deša continues to act as a safe space for women to support one another, provides training opportunities and sponsors the revival of traditional crafts. This experience advances UN Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality.

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

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September 2022
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Sep 22 Thu
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$5,595 $5,036 Save $560
PAY IN FULL BY Jul 28
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Sep 29 Thu
AARP Members Save $100
Guaranteed Departure This departure is guaranteed
DOUBLE OCCUPANCY PRICE/PERSON
$5,595 $5,036 Save $560
PAY IN FULL BY Jul 28
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.

Brasov

Available on Day 3

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. Grilled appetizers will be served by an open fire in the garden while a local band entertains us with traditional music. This atmospheric setting serves as the perfect location for traditional Romanian cuisine.
Adult Price: € 55

Sofia

Available on Day 6

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

Dubrovnik

Available on Day 10

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

Available on Day 11

Ancient Olive Press & Agro-Tourism Experience

Visit a household in a little village above Dubrovnik. Part of the property includes an antique olive oil press, which formerly served the needs of the entire village. Learn about olive oil production the old-fashioned way and about our hosts: how they live and what they grow in their garden, before enjoying a homemade meal with a drink. A perfect way to get to know the locals and their lifestyle!
Adult Price: € 51

Scenic Cruise and Lunch or 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.
Adult Price: € 62

Sarajevo

Available on Day 13

Charm of Old Sarajevo

For centuries Sarajevo has been a place where East meets West, where different peoples and religions lived side-by-side. Start with a guided visit of the biggest Mosque in the Balkans. Enjoy a light lunch in the old Bascarsija quarter before visiting Brusa Bezistan to see the legacy of tolerance and how Sefardies found a new home in Sarajevo after expulsion from Spain. Then do as the locals and savor a Bosnian coffee. They even have a word for the pleasure experienced in this daily tradition - coffee with ceif!
Adult Price: € 43

Belgrade

Available on Day 15

Serbian Heritage With Dinner

We'll drive south with our Local Expert through the picturesque Sumadija region to Topola, birthplace of the Serbian Revolution against the Ottomans in 1804. Perched high above the town, we'll 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 bejeweled with stunning mosaic frescoes. Nearby, memorabilia of the royal family is on display at the summer home of King Alexander and Queen Maria. We'll finish at the spa town of Arandjelovac, to enjoy a lavish dinner of local specialties and drinks in a top local restaurant.
Adult Price: € 59

Budapest

Available on Day 16

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: € 93

Available on Day 17

Budapest Parliament Visit

Join your Local Expert for a tour of the Hungarian Parliament building, one of the largest and most ornate parliamentary buildings in the world. This impressive symbol of Budapest was the country's most expensive construction (they could have built a town for 40,000 inhabitants for the same cost!). With all of its gilded decorations and marble, it's often referred to as the 'Jewel box of the nation.' After the visit, we'll stop at the Kossuth Lajos square to see the Monument of the 1956 Uprising, then explore Liberty Square and take pictures of its monuments and statues. Finally, we'll see the moving "Shoes on the Danube" memorial.
Adult Price: € 45

Reviews
Service
Vacation
Independent Reviews
Donald Hunter
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Service
Everything was fine except the weather.
Vacation
Everything was fine. The tour director and driver were excellent.
James
Thursday, June 8, 2017
Service
Super all the way. This was our 4th trip with GET and there will be more.
Vacation
Just an absolutely wonderful vacation. Each country was different and unique.
Clare Friend
Thursday, June 8, 2017
Service
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
Vacation
Everything went smoothly for me and I enjoyed visiting new countries and learning about new cultures.
Collins Lewis
Friday, May 26, 2017
Service
Everything went very well and the service was great. I initially has some trouble with my camera and our tour director, Alex, fixed it.
Vacation
Everything went very well.
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