Holiday in the Balkans

“An 11 day holiday, travelling in a small group through Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia and Albania. Mountains and cities. Staying in small hotels and rural cabins.”

Highlights

Holiday in four Balkan countries | Belgrade | Stari Grad | Visegrad | Cuprija na Drina (Bridge on the Drina) | Sirogojno museum | Mokra Gora National Park and heritage railway | Skopje | Matka Canyon | Ohrid | Lake Ohrid | Tirana | Berat | Kruje

Description of Holiday in the Balkans

This eleven day holiday in the Balkans is about celebrating the bountiful cultural heritage and beautiful natural heritage of the four countries we journey through. With such a key position in Europe the history here is fascinating, both ancient and more recent of course, with influences that range from the Byzantine to the Ottoman Empires.

No better place to start than Belgrade, the capital of Serbia which was also once capital of Communist Yugoslavia, its strategic position where the Danube and Sava Rivers meet means it has seen many invaders. The old city, Stari Grad is a wonderful place to wander around and hear about its many influences, from Celts to Romans to Byzantines. And then, during WW2 the city as a whole was severely bombarded although the city fort, cathedral and great square still all stand proud.

We take a daytrip into Bosnia and Herzegovina, travelling over mountainous terrain to the traditional border town of Visegrad after crossing the UNESCO Ottoman Bridge that crosses the Drina River. Back in Serbia, the Mokra Gora National Park takes us through more magnificent mountain terrain, where traditional villages and wooden cabins are scattered between peaks and forested slopes, and where we spend one of several beautifully tranquil Balkan nights. We also go on the heritage railway journey here which is a total treat.

Macedonia is our next stop, and its capital city of Skopje. This is a tiny country, the same size as Sicily and, because it is landlocked, it has seen many invaders over the centuries including Ottomans, Romans and Greeks. Skopje is both ancient and modern, with Roman aqueducts and bridges, Ottoman mosques and Turkish bathhouses, and of course plenty of churches. One highlight of our trip is a boat ride down the Matka Canyon. At the other end of the country, we visit the city of Ohrid, in a wonderful location on the eponymous lake which has become quite a sacred spot over the centuries, still boasting prolific and historic churches. Everything about Ohrid is either ethereal or exquisite, or both.

Our last country on this Balkan tour is Albania, one that has been closed off to the rest of the world for a long time but which is now slowly but surely revealing its stunning Accursed Mountains, fascinating cities of Tirana, the capital and Berat. We spend time in both, but also head up to the medieval citadel town of Kruje.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

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07 Jun 2018
1579
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12 Jul 2018
1579
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09 Aug 2018
1679
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06 Sep 2018
1579
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06 Jun 2019
1629
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11 Jul 2019
1629
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08 Aug 2019
1699
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05 Sep 2019
1629
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Holiday type

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Holiday in the Balkans

Environment

Accommodation and Meals:
We will spend 8 nights in standard hotels and 2 nights in traditional cabins. All accommodation is locally owned and staffed, which provides employment and income alternatives for many locals. All hotels also comply to environmental regulations, such as energy and water management, and we ask guests to try and reduce their usage of both when staying, and to only request changing of sheets and towels when necessary. Where meals are provided, locally sourced, traditionally used ingredients like yoghurt, meat (pork, lamb and veal) and seasonal vegetables will be provided. Guides will be able to recommend authentic restaurants to visit for dinner and these will often be family run.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Community

Local Craft and Culture:
This tour is packed with culture: we visit the St. Sava Orthodox Cathedral and museums in Belgrade, a 14th Century monastery, Albanian bazaars and traditional mountain villages. However, the best way to culturally explore the three countries in this trip is to engage with local people. We arrange to have lunch with a local family in one of the small, mountain highland villages we visit, where we can enjoy some authentic food and see that our presence benefits this remote economy. After this there is the chance to buy traditional handicrafts, like woollen gloves and sweaters or carven wooden relics, directly from the villagers.

Community:
This trip designed to allow a high degree of economic benefit to the local communities; we buy local produce, eat local food and use local services, thus ensuring that as much money as possible is retained within the local economies and the host communities. By visiting a large number of cultural and natural sites and paying entrance fees, we are contributing towards maintaining, restoring and protecting these valuable monuments and facilities.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 18 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

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