Visit the Western Balkans for an amazing journey through one of the most politically complex regions of Europe. Get off the beaten path and visit little-visited towns, as well as impressive capitals, while enjoying the magnificent mountain landscapes.
Day 1-2: Zagreb. Spend a few hours during the first day of your trip having a casual stroll around the city. This attractive, Habsburg-era city combines a Mediterranean lifestyle with a healthy dollop of Balkan attitude and great parties. Cutting-edge modern art, wonderful boutique shopping and sightseeing opportunities complete the winning mix.
Day 3: Osijek. Visit this amazing cty located on the right bank of the River Drava. Osijek is the administrative centre of Slavonia and has lots to offer. Spent a few hours in the remarkably well-preserved 18th-century quarter built by the Austrians as their military and administrative headquarters when they pushed back the Turks. In addition, Osijek is the country’s semi-official gastronomical capital, so don’t miss trying some of those delicious local meals!
Day 4: Ilok, Novi Sad. Pass through Vukovar and stop near Ilok, a picturesque fortified settlement on a bluff high above the Danube. Cross the river into Serbia and spend the afternoon in Novi Sad, where you can see some amazing 18th century buildings. Take a picture of the massive fortress of Petrovaradin, which was pivotal in Prince Eugene’s wars with the Turks.
Day 5: Belgrade. With its broad avenues and imposing public buildings, Belgrade is unmistakably a capital and instantly recognisable as a Balkan one. A must-see is the citadel on a hill above the rivers Sava and the Danube, which holds the record for the number of times it has changed hands between hostile powers. Most of the city’s architecture dates from the late 19th century. Enjoy the typical for the Balkans lively café culture.
Day 6-7: Manasija, Studenica and Sopoćani. Visiting Serbia without seeing its amazing Orthodox monasteries would be a pity. Manasija is one of the most impressive ones, protected by high walls built in the 15th century against the inevitable Turkish assaults. Visit the monasteries Studenica and Sopoćani, which are both located in remote and beautiful valleys. In all the monasteries pay attention to the beautiful well-preserved Byzantine frescoes.
Day 8-9: Višegrad and Sarajevo. Cross from Serbia to Bosnia-Herzegovina and stop at the beautiful 16th-century Višegrad bridge before continuing to the capital, Sarajevo.
Sarajevo. This culturally rich city was founded in the 15th century by the Ottoman Turks in the wake of their conquest of the Balkan Peninsula. The various mosques, churches and synagogues highlight the pluralist nature of the city. Don’t forget to visit the “Street Corner that started the 20th century”, where you can learn more about the event that started WWI.
Day 10: Mostar. Take a drive over the mountains of Sarajevo and follow the Neretva river to arrive in Mostar. This is Bosnia-Herzegovina’s most picturesque town, an open-air museum with narrow cobbled streets and original Ottoman architecture. At its heart is the Old Bridge, shelled until it collapsed in 1993 and was rebuilt in 2004.
Day 11: Stolac, Trebinje, Kotor. On your way to Kotor take the chance to stop at the quiet Ottoman town of Stolac and have a lunch at a winery in Trebinje, the southernmost city of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Day 12: Kotor, Perast. Kotor is a harbour city on a sheltered fjord off the Adriatic and nestles at the foot of high hills. The city is well-preserved and has kept its unique spirit with the help of unspoilt streetscape and an astonishing Romanesque cathedral. In the later afternoon drive around the fjord to Perast, perched between towering mountains and the water. Take a boat ride and visit the island church, Our Lady of the Rock.
Day 13: Cetinje, Budva. Take a mountain drive to Cetinje, which until the end of WWI was the capital of Montenegro. Visit the Palace of King Nikola, the Art and History Museum and the former embassies. In the afternoon, visit the historic old town of Budva on Montenegro’s Adriatic coast.
Day 14: Spend your final day at Kotor. Use the airport at Dubrovnik for your outbound flight.
Prices starting at 600 Euro (outside of Europe)