Discover the Balkans

Acropolis complex, Greece
Church at Ohrid, Macedonia
Dubrovnik city centre, Croatia
Dubrovnik from a distance, Croatia
Fish market, Montenegro
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • Encounters Travel

A comprehensive 2-week small-group tour through 7 Balkan countries starting and finishing in Athens

If you want to explore the beauty of the Balkans, this 16-day tour takes you on a journey of discovery through seven different countries. Our first country on our Balkans adventure is Greece, as we explore the historical capital city of Athens, visiting some of its most popular sites including the Acropolis, before we make our way to Meteora to take in the beauty of its mountaintop monasteries. We'll then make our way to Albania, visiting its Ottoman town of Gjirokastra before heading to its capital city of Tirana. Our stay in Albania is a short one though, as we head to Montenegro next, visiting the historical towns of Budva and Kotor. We'll also drive around the spectacular fjord-like scenery of the Bay of Kotor. The next stop on our Balkans adventure is Croatia, as we explore its walled city of Dubrovnik before we make our way along the scenic Adriatic coastline to the town of Split, which is well-known for its 4th century-old Diocletian's Palace - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Croatia, we head to Bosnia and Herzegovina - where we'll see the iconic Stari Most bridge and browse through its capital city of Sarajevo before we travel to Serbia to discover the wonders of Belgrade - a place where old-world culture meets the hip and modern age. After spending some time in Serbia, we travel to Macedonia, exploring its capital city of Skopje before visiting the compact resort city of Ohrid, which boasts medieval churches, monasteries and open-air ruins in a beautiful lakeside setting. We head back to Greece, exploring its port city of Thessaloniki, before we visit the ancient town of Delphi - home of the Oracle of Apollo, one of the most popular ancient sites and destinations in Greece before we make our way back to Athens to end our Balkans adventure.

The Acropolis, Meteora monasteries, Tirana, ancient Budva, spectacular Bay of Kotor, walled city of Dubrovnik, scenic Adriatic & Dalmatian coast, Split beaches, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Ohrid lake church, Stari Most bridge, Delphi.
  • Croatia
  • Bosnia
  • Albania
  • Macedonia
  • Serbia
  • Montenegro
  • Europe
  • Dubrovnik
  • Greece
  • Split
Tour Types
  • Singles
  • Adventure
  • Small Group
  • Cultural
  • History
  • Scenic
  • Art
Day 1, Welcome to Greece. Airport to hotel transfers included
This Balkans tour starts in the ancient city of Athens. On your arrival in Athens airport (ATH) our representative will greet you and transfer you to your hotel in the centre of the city. The rest of the day is free for you to settle in and have a first look around. Extra nights in the Athens hotel are available on request.
Athens hotel
Single Room Supplement (GRSGDB)

Day 2, Exploring Athens
The first full day of our Balkans tour takes us on a journey through the city of Athens, visiting the marble Panathenaic Stadium, which hosted the first Modern Olympics in 1896 before we make our way to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, which was built over several centuries starting in 174 BCE and only finally completed by Roman emperor Hadrian in 131 CE. also visit Hadrian's Arch, the Parliament buildings, the memorial to the Unknown Soldier, the Academy, the University, the National Library and Constitution Square.
Later in the day, we'll make our way to the Acropolis, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and the Parthenon - which was built between 447 and 438 BC although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC.
Athens hotel

Day 3, Visiting Meteora
The next stop on the Greek leg of our Balkans tour takes us to Meteora - one of the most significant complexes of the Eastern Orthodox faith. Home to 24 mountaintop monasteries, six of which are still in use today, it gives you a perfect opportunity to take in the beauty of nature and man's desire to connect with the divine.
After spending some time at Meteora, we make our way to the village of Kalambaka, which is found at the base of the imposing Meteora rocks. You can explore the town’s old picturesque district, with narrow cobblestone streets and traditional houses, some of them built right next to the rocks.
Kalambaka hotel

Day 4, Travel to Albania
After spending some time in Greece, we'll make our way to Albania. Along the way, we'll stop at the Ottoman town of Gjirokastra - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - nestled in a valley between the Gjerë mountains and the Drino, 300 metres above sea level.
After spending some time in Gjirokastra, we'll travel to Tirana - the capital city of Albania. If you're looking to spend some fun in the sun, this is the place to be. Tirana is ranked eighth among Europe’s sunniest major cities via an average 2544 hours of sunshine annually.
You have the rest of the day to relax at your hotel or explore the Tirana independently.
Tirana hotel

Day 5, Exploring Tirana. Travel to Montenegro
We start the day with some city exploring on foot, as we visit Tirana's Clock Tower, the Et'hem Bey Mosque, St Paul's Cathedral and the National Historical Museum. Afterwards, we'll travel to the Piramida before we visit the National Art Gallery and Mother Teresa Square.
Later in the day, we'll say our final goodbyes to Albania, as we make our way to Montenegro's coastal town of Budva. Rich in historical and cultural heritage, Budva is also well known for its sunkissed beaches and buzzing nightlife. Our journey through Budva will take you to the Church St. Trojica, home to the tomb of writer Stjepan Mitrov Ljubisa, the Churches of St. Ivan, St. Bogorodica and St. Sava.
Today will end with a short drive to the ancient fortified and cobbled town of Kotor, where we'll spend the night.
Kotor hotel

Day 6, From Montenegro to Croatia
We'll say goodbye to Montenegro this morning, as we cross the border into Croatia. Before leaving we'll explore Kotor, famed for its picturesque Bay - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We'll explore its old town and city walls before visiting the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon which was built in 1166.
From Kotor, we'll cross the border into Croatia in the direction of Dubrovnik, which is well known for its distinctive old town and massive stone walls built in the 16th century.
We'll head out on a guided tour through Dubrovnik on foot, visiting the Big Onofrio's Fountain, built from 1438-40 by Onofrio della Cava as part of a water-supply system that involved bringing water from a well approximately 12 kilometres away.
Later in the day, you have some free time at the beach to relax and unwind, taking in the spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea.
Dubrovnik hotel

Day 7, Exploring Split
After spending some time in Dubrovnik, we'll journey to the town of Split found along the Dalmatian Coast. Split is popularly known for its white-sand beaches as well as the Diocletian's Palace, built in the 4th century by a Roman emperor and is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We'll have a chance to explore the southern section of the Diocletian's Palace, passing through its magnificent Bronze Gates as we make our way to the Vestibul of the Emperor's Palace, The Mausoleum, St. Dujam's Cathedral, Cathedral Treasury, Temple of Jupiter and St. Martin's Church.
We'll finish the day with a visit to the fruit square before stopping at the Venetian castle, Milesi Palace and the Monument of Marko Marulic.
Split hotel

Day 8, Travel to Mostar and Sarajevo
We'll say goodbye to Croatia this morning as we travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina's riverside town of Mostar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is well known for the Stari Most (Old Bridge) which was built by the Ottomans in 156.
From Mostar, we'll make our way to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina's capital city. Once war-ridden, Sarajevo has risen from the ashes to become one of Europe's most exciting cities and boasting lots of minarets, mosques, bazaars and coffee shops. You'll have some time to settle into your hotel before we make our way to one of Sarajevo's oldest bazaars tonight, known as Bascarsija, which is famed for its unique eats and treats.
Sarajevo hotel

Day 9, Onwards to Serbia
After spending the day in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we'll start the day by crossing the border into Serbia's capital city of Belgrade, one of the oldest cities in Europe, with settlements dating back at least 7000 years.
You'll have some time to relax before we head out this evening to Belgrade's popular Skadarska Street to try some of its unique eats and its vibrant nightlife.
Belgrade hotel

Day 10, Exploring Belgrade
Our Balkans adventure continues today by exploring Belgrade's boulevards and squares, before travelling to Kalemegdan Park - one of the city's most important historical monuments. Its name is formed from the two Turkish words, Kale - which means fortress and megdan, which means battlefield.
We'll spend the rest of the night in Belgrade before we make our way back to Macedonia tomorrow.
Belgrade hotel

Day 11, From Serbia to Macedonia
After spending some time in Belgrade, we travel to Nis, where we'll learn more about its Ottoman past. Nis is famed for being the birthplace of Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire.
From Nis, we'll travel to Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia, which was founded during the times of the Romans. Through the city flows the river Vardar, the biggest river in Macedonia. You have the rest of the day free to explore Skopje independently, or simply relax at your hotel.
Skopje hotel

Day 12, Journeying through Skopje
You can choose to sleep in a little later this morning or do some independent exploring before we head out on foot this afternoon exploring the beauty of Skopje, as we visit its Kale Fortress - situated on the highest point in the city overlooking the Vardar River, the Church of the Holy Savior with its iconostasis, the Old Bazaar and the Stone Bridge.
You have the evening free to do some exploring and we'll once again overnight in Skopje.
Skopje hotel

Day 13, From Skopje to Ohrid
Our time in Skopje comes to a close today as we make our way to the city of Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the 'Macedonian Jerusalem', due to the number of churches in the city.
We'll head out on a tour of Ohrid, exploring the 11th century Church of St. Sofia which boasts art and architecture from the Middle Ages. We'll spend the rest of the day in Ohrid, as we prepare to travel back to Greece tomorrow.
Ohrid hotel

Day 14, Exploring Thessaloniki
We'll say goodbye to Macedonia today as we travel back to Greece. We'll make our way to Thessaloniki - Greece's second largest city and the capital of Northern Greece and Macedonia.
Thessaloniki is popularly known for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments and its breathtaking foreshore which boasts numerous cafes, cocktail lounges, bars and restaurants. We'll spend the rest of the day in Thessaloniki, as we prepare for a busy day of exploring tomorrow.
Thessaloniki hotel

Day 15, From Thessaloniki to Athens
After spending some time in Thessaloniki, we'll travel to Delphi, the former home of the legendary oracle and the current home of the Temple of Apollo.
We start our time in Delphi with a visit to the Temple of Apollo, before we make our way to the Museum of Delphi, which boasts an extensive range of artefact unearthed during excavations at the Delphi oracle and its vicinity.
Later in the day, we'll travel back to Athens, where we'll spend the night.
Athens hotel

Day 16, Your Balkans adventure ends. Hotel to airport transfers included
After an eventful journey through the Balkans, the tour unfortunately, comes to an end. After breakfast at your hotel in Athens, we'll transfer you to the airport to board your flight back home.
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary in approx. 3 to 4-star level hotels
  • All transport and transfers in AC non-smoking vehicles
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service in Athens
  • Services of a professional local tour guide for all sightseeing tours
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary (15 breakfasts)
  • Tipping kitty (except driver & guide)

Dates Price Single Availability

Touring with Encounters Travel

Encounters Travel specialise in creating imaginative, adventurous small group tours all around the world for the open minded traveller. They are always looking for new ways to add value and excitement to your travel experiences so that you see more than just the usual tourist spots, as well as having great fun at the same time. Their tours are designed to give you the best possible experience in each country, whilst at the same time providing good value for money without making compromises.

You will see and learn about local cultures and historic sites while enjoying some more adventurous activities along the way. They also try very hard to keep the overall style and inclusions/exclusions of their tours as consistent as possible from country to country, while taking into account the different highlights and activities available in each destination. Their escorted group tours are hosted by specially selected experts who bring their knowledge and skills to add an extra dimension to the tour.

Encounters Travel are committed to travelling responsibly, and leaving a positive impression and impact on the countries through which they travel.




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