Croatian ISLAND HOPPING Adventure With a Taste of BALKAN GOULASH Tour

hungary-serbia-croatia-montenegro-albania

 

Hungary – Serbia – Croatia -Montenegro -Albania

DAY 1 BUDAPEST

View of Budapest over the River Danube from Castle Hill. Hungary
View of Budapest over the River Danube from Castle Hill. Hungary
  • Arrival to Budapest, the capital of Hungary at the Ferenc Liszt International Airport.
  • Airport pick up and complimentary transfer to a hotel in the Budapest city center.
  • Walking tour of Budapest/ depending upon arrival time
  • Overnight stay in Budapest.

DAY 2 BUDAPEST – BELGRADE

  • Morning departure towards Belgrade, Serbia.

beograd-2

  • Belgrade city walk. The city located between the Danube and Sava Rivers with a rough, urban appeal, a fun-loving populace and a fascinating past. We will take you through the city’s most atmospheric neighborhoods, and you will experience this compelling Serbian capital. We will walk to the far end of downtown to explore the ruins of the ancient Kalemegdan Citadel, and the lively, lovely park surrounding it.

knez-mihajlova

  • Then stroll with down Knez Mihailova, a street of restaurants, bookshops, galleries and shops full of enticing fashions. The neighborhood of Skadarlija is experience for itself. It simply seduces travelers with its cobbled streets and live musicians; here you can listen to old world music while you eat an authentic Serbian meal. Check in to a hotel, free time to enjoy Belgrade’s allure
  • Overnight stay in Belgrade

DAY 3  BELGRADE  – ILOK -KOPACKI RIT NATURE PARK-ZAGREB

  • Morning departure to Croatia with a stop in the most eastern Croatian town, the medieval town of Ilok in the Croatian region Slavonia, recognized by the top quality wines, aromas and taste. The tradition of wine making in Ilok goes back to the time of the old Rome and is 1800 years long.

ilok_panorama_crkva_tvrdava

  • It is a place where the East meets the West with Serbia being just across the Danube river.
  • We will go up to the 15th century Ilok Odescalchi Castle situated on a hill above the town where you will be able to enjoy magnificent views on the Danube river and the Pannonian Plain.
  • We will  visit the most famous Castle wine cellars dating from 17th and try the royal wine called Traminac – a world known and appreciated wine which proves the fact that it was served at the British court during the crowning of the Queen Elisabeth II.

ilocki-podrumi

  • After this royal experience we shall go to the Nature park Kopacki Rit. It comprises many backwaters and ponds along the Danube. It is one of the most important, largest and most attractive preserved intact wetlands in Europe. There we shall take a boat ride into the Park. While floating on the waters you will see cormorans, herons, egrets, kingfishers, fish eagles and  even a place where the beavers live.

hrvatska_park-prirode_kopacki-rit

  • After Kopacki Rit we are off to Osijek, and will have traditional lunch in  one of the local restaurants where you will try traditional local delicacies one of them being famous Croatian Kulen (sausage) protected as the authentic Croatian produce with its authentic geographical origin.
  • After lunch we are to continue with our tour and will arrive to Zagreb

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  • Free evening and overnight stay in Zagreb

DAY 4 ZAGREB – NORTHERN VELEBIT NATIONAL PARK HIKING- ZADAR

  • Morning departure towards The Northern Velebit National Park. If you love nature and mountains this is place you have to visit. Often claimed as the most beautiful mountain in these parts with the oldest mountain footpaths, the beautiful path of Premuzic! Hiking experience at Northern Velebit National Park will take you very close to strict nature reserves such as Hajducki kuk and Rožanski kuk.

velebit5

  • You will get to enjoy a fascinating view of the Adriatic and the islands with homemade schnaps or herbal tea 1500 meters above sea level. On the way back we will visit family owned cheese factory where you will taste and buy original homemade products.
  • After Krasno we will pay a visit to the Croatia’s most adorable village of Kutarevo – Croatia’s home and shelter for abandoned baby bears.
  • Afterwards we continue towards Zadar with arrival around 7 pm
  • Free evening and overnight in Zadar
Zadar
Zadar
  • To do this trip you only need to bring suitable shoes (hiking boots or similar), warm clothes and a hat or a cap to protect you from the sun or wind.

DAY 5 ZADAR – KRKA NATIONAL PARK -VISOVAC RIVER ISLAND -SPLIT

  • Morning departure from Zadar towards Krka river waterfalls National Park. One of the most amazing places to visit in Croatia. You will hike the trail literally built on water while enjoying the amazing water rushing sounds. This age-old creation of glorious mother nature with the varied vegetation and spectacular waterfalls will make you feel a fairy will come out any second.
  • We will cover the entire National Park which will include hiking across the Park to see Skradinski buk, the longest waterfall on the Krka River, Roski slap—known by locals as the “vast waterfall” with white waters tumbling some 22.5 meters and a quiet cave that’s accessible via 517 wooden steps. and boat ride to reach the unique Visovac Island.

krka303

  • Visovac Island is among Croatia’s most valuable natural and cultural heritage. The Franciscan Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy and the Church of Our Lady of Visovac have stood on these island since 1445.
  • The monastery holds a valuable archaeological collection, a collection of historical church linens and dishes and a rich library. visovac
  • Due to the centuries of worship of the Mother of God, this island is often called Our Lady’s Island. Visovac has always attracted pilgrims, who today arrive via the organized boat excursions of Krka National Park.
  • The tour of the island will take us 5 hours including hiking and boat ride.
  • Afterwards we continue towards Split
  • Free time and overnight stay in Split

 DAY 6 KLIS -OMIS HIKING -SPLIT

  • After breakfast we are going for a morning city tour of Split. You will enjoy the vibrant alleys and streets of the old town where history is simply lurking from every corner you pass. Of course the most captivating of it all is Split’s pride and joy – the Diocletian Palace.  Spanning more than 30,000 square meters, this extraordinary complex of beautiful white limestone was built between the late 3rd and the early 4th centuries A.D., as a retirement home for the Roman emperor Diocletian.

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  • The ruins of Diocletian’s Palace can be found throughout the city. The complex consists of some of the most valuable   buildings survived from the Roman era and it ranks among the most magnificent architecture on the Adriatic coast.
  • Following the history lane, we will  have coffee at the beautiful Split waterfront promenade. It is simply a must in order to get a grasp of local lifestyle
  • Refreshed after coffee we are going to drive and hike  to the impressive medieval Kliss fortress. Due to its location on a pass that separates the two mountain: Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense throughout the history, especially against the Ottoman Empire, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.

    Cetina
    Cetina
  • Looking back into the etymology of the name Klis, from a Greek word Kleisa meaning the key, it certainly got the name that fits it right- the key to Dalmatia. It certainly caught the eye of the producers of the hit TV series Game of Thrones (GOT) for a reason. By visiting the Klis fortress you will have the opportunity to see filming location of the GOT’s city of Meereen.
  • klis-gotWithin the tour of the fortress you will experience one of the most mesmerizing views of the central Dalmatia and its island archipelago. Playful colors of wondrous nature will tease your eyes with the pointed peaks of the mountains, green lands with its blue river waters flowing into the Adriatic sea holding the set of islands on the horizon.
  • Free time and overnight stay in Split

DAY 7 SPLIT – HVAR ISLAND

  • Morning departure from Split via ferry to the Island of Hvar – the longest and sunniest of Croatian islands. It will be a two hour ride during which you will enjoy the beautiful Adriatic archipelago.  The ferry will take us to Stari grad – the oldest town on the Island. We are going to do cycling tour from Stari grad old town to famous UNESCO Heritage Site, The Stari Grad Plain – a valuable example of the ancient Greek system of agriculture dating from ancient Greek colonists in the 4th century BC.hvar203
  • The ancient layout has been preserved by careful maintenance of stone walls for over 24 centuries that are astonishingly still in use today and the same crops, mainly grapes and olives, are still being grown in the fields. After the plain we will continue cycling towards Vrboska – island’s most charming village. It looks like no other village with a cluster of typical Dalmatian houses along the bay crossed by a multi-arched stone bridge.  Its often said that it looks like a little corner of Venice.
  • After cycling we will drive toward the Town of Hvar and on the way we will stop to see the beautiful lavender fields
  • Our final destination that day will be the town of Hvar. A charming small town where history lurks on every corner with its beautiful waterfront, 13th-century walls that surround beautifully ornamented Gothic palaces and marble paved streets.
HTZ - Ivo Pervan
HTZ – Ivo Pervan
  • We will do a walking tour of the old town Hvar and you will see the oldest municipal theatre in Europe (established in 1612), The Arsenal and the Franciscan monastery, the Fortress Fortica,  the Cathedral of Hvar Besides the charming and old architecture, Hvar has an amazing natural setting of numerous bays and coves where one can go just to relax.
  • Free time and overnight stay in Hvar

DAY 8 DAY TRIP TO ISLAND OF VIS or PAKLINSKI ISLANDS

  • After breakfast we can take a day trip to Island Vis with a boat and visit the beautiful Blue cave and Green cave and famous Stiniva beach that was named the top beach in Europe for 2016 by the European Best Destinations.
  • Return to Hvar, free time and overnight stay in Hvar

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  • The other option is that we can also take a boat to the very popular Paklinski islands just across Hvar town. You can enjoy in the serenity of  beautiful nature, clear waters and the sounds of crickets and try some of the best Croatian delicacies in which world known celebrities have enjoyed each year.
  • For example, U2 were holidaying in Croatia this summer and Bono Vox visited Paklinski Islands, for a bite to eat. After enjoying a meal at Laganini Lounge bar on Palmižana, the U2 lead singer was so impressed that he wanted to personally meet chef Zirojević. Hvar has been visited by many more each year, Beyonce, Demi Moore, prince Harry… etc
  • Return to Hvar, free time to enjoy the night allure of Hvar with overnight stay in Hvar

DAY 9 HVAR -KORCULA ISLAND

  • Morning departure towards Korcula Island. We are going to catch a ferry from Sucuarj, Hvar to the mainland, Drvenik near Makarska. The drive to Sucuraj will be beautiful drive across the Hvar island so you will get the image of the entire Island. Once we reach mainland we are continuing on the coastal road towards Ploce where we are going to catch a ferry that will takes us to Trpanj on the Peljesac peninsula from where we continue driving across the peninsula to Orebic, and catching  a ferry to the old town Korcula.(15 minutes ferry ride).
  • The old town Korčula is one of the best preserved Medieval fortified towns in the Mediterranean. You will enter the world of medieval buildings, Venetian palaces, and charming little squares where you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere. tour of the old town Korcula, visit to the Marco Polo Museum and St Marks cathedral
Korčula
Korčula
  • after the tour of the old Town you can take a walk along the  old fortification walls
  • free time and overnight stay in Korcula

DAY 10 KORCULA -MLJET ISLAND NATIONAL PARK -DUBROVNIK

  • After breakfast we are leaving Korčula and for a short while returning to the Pelješac Peninsula in order to catch a ferry to one of the most breathtaking islands in the Mediterranean – the Island and the National Park Mljet.

    Mljet
    Mljet
  • There are some interpretations that it was the Island of Mljet on Homer’s mind when he was describing the captivating island of Ogigia in his Ulysses. Whether or not so, the fact is that its untouched nature, rich forests, crystal clear sea, lakes and islands within the island itself make it truly a paradise on earth.
  • The must see is The National Park Mljet covering the area of two incredible lakes: the Great Lake and the Small Lake. We shall do the cycling tour through the NP.
  • After those mesmerizing views, we shall have lunch at one of the local restaurants and afterwards we board a ferry back heading to the beautiful Dubrovnik – The pearl of the Adriatic.

    Dubrovnik
    Dubrovnik
  • Reaching Dubrovnik in the late afternoon, free time and overnight stay in Dubrovnik.

DAY 11 DUBROVNIK

  • Morning tour of Croatia’s pride and joy – the unique Old City of Dubrovnik and its walls. You will be walking through streets, fortresses and squares of more than a thousand-year old history which made Dubrovnik a cultural center of Europe. History is present in the entire city which is a museum itself. All houses and monuments have a unique value.
  • The Old City is encompassed by medieval walls and fortresses which have been preserved in their original form and opened for visitors as Dubrovnik’s major attraction. In 1979, the Old City was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

    Dubrovnik
    Dubrovnik
  • However, Dubrovnik reached its world glory for second time quite recently. It happened by being the prime filming location of the globally popular series called Game of Thrones in which Dubrovnik took the main lead by providing a shooting site for the famous
  • After the city tour we shall take a kayaking tour around the old town where you will enjoy beautiful views of Medieval fortification from the .
  • Free time and Overnight stay in Dubrovnik

DAY 12  DUBROVNIK – MONTENEGRO 

  • Morning departure to Montenegro. The drive from Dubrovnik to Kotor will take around two hours. During our day visit to Montenegro you will see the town of Perast, Bay of Boka Kotorska, the city of Kotor (UNESCO world heritage site), Budva and st Stephan peninsula.
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro. Boka kotorska.
View of Bay of Kotor old town from Lovcen mountain. Montenegro. Kotor is part of the unesco world
  • Wedged between striking mountains and a moody corner of the bay of Boka Kotorska, this dramatically beautiful town is perfectly at one with its setting.

    Sveti Stefan island in Budva, Montenegro
    Sveti Stefan island in Budva, Montenegro
  • On your tour of Kotor you will enjoy its natural and culture-historical sites as well as its large number of the monuments like four of Romanesque churches and 9th century town walls. Within those walls lie labyrinthine marbled lanes where churches, shops, bars and restaurants surprise you on its hidden piazzas.
  • After Kotor we are going to visit Lovcen National Park the National Park Lovcen located in the rocky region of Dinara Mountain
  • You will get to see the remarkable mausoleum of famous Montenegrin ruler and poet Petar II Petrovic Njegos on the top of the mountain. It is an imposing building with 461 stairs that lead from parking lot to mausoleum itself.

    Viewpoint on Lovcen mountain at prince Njegos mausoleum
    Viewpoint on Lovcen mountain at prince Njegos mausoleum
  • Lovcen is a symbol of Montenegro and gives it national identity. In short, what Statue of Liberty is for the Americans that is mountain Lovcen for Montenegrins.
  • After Lovcen NP we are heading to the coastal town of Budva known for its well preserved medieval walled city, sandy beaches and diverse nightlife.
  • tour walk of Budva and overnight stay

DAY 13 BUDVA – ULCINJ – DURRES -TIRANA

  • Morning departure towards Tirana, the capital of Albania with a few stops on the way.
  • First stop will be in the town Ulcin for a taste of Albania without actually crossing the border. The elegant minarets of numerous mosques give Ulcinj (Ulqin in Albanian) a distinctly Eastern feel, as does the lively music echoing out of the kebab stands around Mala Plaža (Small Beach).
  • As one of the oldest settlements in the Adriatic coast and famous destination for tourists, because of its Long Beach, Lake Šas, Ada Bojana Island and for its two-millennia-old Ulcinj Castle. Ulcinj is also the centre of the Albanian community in Montenegro.ulcinjstarigrad
  • After Ulcinj we continue to Durres, the most ancient city in Albania, with almost 3000 years of history. The city is home to many ancient archeological sites and the Amphitheater of the Roman Emperor Adrian is the most known, also the second biggest amphitheatre in the Balkans, The bathhouses of the 2ndcentury A.D. and the Byzantine Forum of the 5th– 6thcentury
  • A relaxing coffee near the sea is a good way to close the day in Durres.
  • After Durres we will continue with our trip and head towards Tirana where we shall spend the night
  • Lively, colorful Tirana is the beating heart of Albania. Walking through the city, you will get to see remarkable historical mix from elegant minarets to socialist murals. Tirana’s boulevards lined with remainders of its Ottoman, Italian and Communist past and its unique buildings painted in primary colors will simply be a pleasure to wander through.tirana_-_colourful_houses_at_lana
  • After city sights, you will have free evening to enjoy the pulse of Albania’s capital and possibly visit a thriving restaurant scene of communist Area Ish-Blloku(“the Ex-Block”)
  • Overnight stay in Tirana

DAY 14 TIRANA – PODGORICA – MLINI

  • Morning departure towards Mlini in Croatia with a stop in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro.
  • Leisure walk around the city center. It can be difficult to pin a label on the city; its streets are  of Ottoman bits and pieces with shiny new malls standing right beside them.
  • The city sits at the confluence of two rivers. West of the Morača is the business district, while the Ribnica divides the eastern side in two. The south side is Stara Varoš, the old Ottoman town, while north is Nova Varoš, home to a lively mixture of shops and bars. Its heart is Trg Republika, the main square.
  • After Podgorica we are continuing towards Mlini – small, idyllic fishing settlement located halfway between Dubrovnik and Cavtat.mlini_porat
  • With its intact beauty, rich vegetation and stunning beaches as well as its historical and cultural heritage dating back to the ancient times Mlini is an oasis of its own.
  • Overnight stay in Mlini

DAY 15 

Depart from Dubrovnik International Airport

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SERVICES INCLUDED:

  • Hotel accommodation based on 1/2 occupancy in 4* hotels, breakfast included.
  • 15 days/14 nights
  • 6 traditional local lunches,
  • Comfortable air-conditioned vehicle with a driver
  • Professional guidance – knowledgeable English speaking private guide/driver throughout the program
  • City tours as per itinerary
  • Entrance to: all National Parks and Parks of Nature within the itinerary, Vis or Paklinski islands day trip, Cycling on Mljet, Kayaking in Dubrovnik, wine tasting in Ilok, entrance to Ilok wine cellars, entrance to Jupiter temple, st Dominus Church in Split, entrance to Fortica on Hvar, Dubrovnik city walls
  • Apt pick up and departure transfers