Balkan adventure holiday, 15 days
Late availability on these dates: 23 Apr
Description of Balkan adventure holiday, 15 days
Spend 15 days in a region where East meets West and modern life blends with ancient tradition on this Balkan adventure holiday. This beguiling land is home to delicious cuisine, vibrant culture and plentiful historical attractions.
After kicking off your tour in intoxicating Budapest, which sprawls alongside the banks of the Danube River, you’ll visit Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, before finishing in Croatia’s seaside city of Dubrovnik. Along the way you’ll learn about the devastation of the recent Balkans conflict in Vukovar and Mostar, visit the emerging cities of Belgrade and Sarajevo, both rich in myth, history and culture, hike through the lesser explored wilderness of Durmitor National Park and wander the 5th-century UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Kotor.
Accommodation will be in comfortable hotels and guesthouses, and we’ll travel by public transport, including train, public bus, private vehicle, taxi and tram. As this trip covers plenty of ground, there might be some long days on local buses and trains, but this provides an excellent insight into local life – as well as a window onto the diverse local scenery.
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1 Reviews of Balkan adventure holiday, 15 days
Reviewed on 01 Nov 2019 by Sara Warren
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Montenegro - stunning scenery, and we were lucky enough to have a fortnight of wonderful weather
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Be very wary of taking a taxi in Budapest! Our pre booked taxi to meet us at the airport did arrive (but with different company & driver!), but for two others on
the trip their pre booked taxis never turned up. Advice seems to be to use public transport.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
We used local guides, with great knowledge of the area and its somewhat troubled history - past and present. It is always good to stay in local hostels and
hotels and certainly did this.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Dinko Pervan is an excellent tour leader and made our holiday most enjoyable by his knowledge of the Balkans. It was a great trip and so interesting to visit five different countries.
PlanetAccommodation & meals: Our small group size allows us to stay in family-run hotels and pensions that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited size, which in turn limits the carbon footprint of our trips due to the small scale enterprises we support. A major criterion for sourcing accommodation on all of our trips is whether it is family owned and run in order to empower locals over international conglomerates. We also support small restaurants and cafes, serving locally sourced produce like mouth-watering rich stews and sauces, hearty soups and delicious desserts.
All our leaders are passionate about RT, so the message is consistent at all times in regards to environmental issues. In the Balkans the main issue is littering, and our leaders address this issue on the ground. We actively educate locals by showing an example, such as picking up rubbish others have left behind. Some of our leaders ask our clients to participate in collecting rubbish on hikes in the mountains, and on one occasion locals were clapping as they appreciated the effort. They commented that they are embarrassed that foreigners have to come and clean up their country, as they themselves can’t do it.
We discourage our travellers to buying water in plastic bottles, and advise them to refill their bottles from the tap (this is possible in most places on this trip). We also educate our clients to use recycling opportunities whenever feasible (this depends on the country and can vary from proper recycling facilities to unofficial collectors of glass bottles)
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 by having a range of recycling bins for waste, plastic recycling and paper.
PeopleThe local train and bus journeys on this trip are excellent examples of travelling like a local, with locals.
• Novi Sad to Belgrade – Train
• Sarajevo to Mostar return – Train and/or Local Bus
• Kotor to Dubrovnik – Local Bus
The remaining parts of the trip are done by private transport, which is always hired locally.
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people.
This tour actively encourages guests to chat with local people, visit local cafes and bars, purchase local produce, gifts and crafts and discover what life is really like in the Balkans.
In Sremski Karlovci, travellers will see the workings of a family-run wine making business. Attached is also a unique honey museum where it’s possible to sample the local produce.
The Dubrovnik City Walls are an inclusion on this trip, and the revenue of entrance fees is partly used to preserve the structure for future generations.
In Vukovar we are visiting the Vukovar Hospital, which was the location of the hospital siege of 1991. The basement of the hospital has been preserved as it was left after the siege, including the damage sustained by shells, and has become a memorial so that visitors never forget how something so horrific can come from a small divide created by perceived ethnicity.
There is a large Muslim community in Sarajevo, so our leaders encourage our groups to travel responsibly by ensuring they are dressed appropriately and do not request alcohol when eating in a Muslim restaurant. Our leaders are mindful of the history of the region and are at hand to explain details in a balanced way, without vilifying any of the parties that were involved in the war.
Our accommodation on this trip is very varied, but all are in small locally owned hotels or guesthouses. In Osijek the trip is staying at Guesthouse Maksimilian, which is located in the old citadel/fortress of Osijek. This almost forgotten part of town is in dire need of repairs and much of the revenue raised by the family who runs the guesthouse goes back into restoring the building the guesthouse is located in back to its former glory. In Sarajevo we are staying in a pension (or rather homestay) with a local family who have lived there all their lives. We support the family by staying with them and taking advantage of the services they offer. For example we include a cooking class with Zumra, the lady of the house, which is always well received by our travellers, and helps the family economically.
We employ local leaders as much as operationally possible. Guides are always local (e.g. the included guide in Sarajevo, Mohamed, is a local who has lived through the siege of Sarajevo), and they set their own rates. Leaders are always European, and wages are standard salaries as found elsewhere in the tourism industry.
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