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  • Statue of Johann Strauss in Vienna, Austria
  • The 16th century Mostar Bridge in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • St Cyril and Methodius National Library in Sofia, Bulgaria
  • The old town and city walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • The Vltava River and Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic
  • The Old Town Hall Square in Tallinn, Estonia
  • By the River Danube in Budapest, Hungary
  • Church of St. John at Lake Ohrid, Macedonia
  • The Statue of Syrenka (Mermaid of Warsaw) in Warsaw, Poland
  • The colourful streets of Sighisoara, Romania
  • The Kremiln, Russia
  • The Cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade, Serbia
  • Ljubljanica River Canal going through the center of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Ancient ruins in Troy, Turkey
  • Looking down over the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey
  • The Acropolis of Athens, Greece
Route:
Moscow to Athens
Days:
77
Style: Worldwide Adventures
Code: EEUE
From:
US$11,209

US$10,088


Get under the skin of Eastern Europe on an adventure beginning in Russia’s fascinating capital, Moscow. Venture through twenty countries and come across historical castles, romantic cities, medieval architecture and spice-scented markets along the way. Crossing into Greece, we uncover ancient ruins that are steeped in tales of gods and heroes.

What's Included

Excursions

  • Entry & Guided tour of Moscow Kremlin
  • Guided tour of St Sophia's Cathedral & the Kremlin
  • Entry & Guided tour of the Hermitage Museum
  • Entry & Guided tour of the KGB Museum
  • Guided Tour of Auschwitz Concentration Camp
  • Petrovaradin Fortress guided tunnel tour
  • Visit Devil's Town
  • Matka Canyon boat ride
  • Free time at Lake Ohrid
  • Visit to Kruja (Entry to City Walls and Skanderbeg Museum)
  • Guided tour of Kotor Old Town
  • Entry on to Dubrovnik City Wall
  • Stari Most (Mostar Old Bridge)
  • Entry to Kravice Waterfall
  • Guided Tour of Diocletian's Palace
  • Entrance to Plitvice Lakes National Park
  • Guided walking tour of Ljubljana
  • Lake Bled day trip
  • Tour of Maramures Region
  • Cluj Napoca Visit
  • Entry to Viscri fortified Church
  • Entry to Dracula's Castle and Peles Castle
  • Entry to Prejmer Fortified Church
  • Entry to Plovdiv Roman Amphitheatre
  • Guided tour of Gallipoli
  • Guided tour of Troy
  • Metéora monastery visit
  • Archaeological site of Delphi
  • Olympia World Heritage Site

Accommodation

68 night(s) in hotels, 2 night(s) on overnight sleeper trains, 4 night(s) in a guesthouse, 2 night(s) in apartments

Transportation

Overnight Train, Public Bus, Taxi, Foot, Private Vehicle, Ferry, Train, Metro, Tram

Meals

69 breakfast

Staff & Experts

Tucan Travel tour leader

What's Not Included

  • Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
  • International flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes  
  • Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.  
  • Optional excursions - Please see the optional excursions on the Tour Notes for a comprehensive list of optional activities and excursions available on this tour.
  • Airport transfers and pre and post tour accommodation

Group

Group Size: Maximum 16. Average 10-14

Tour Suitability: This tour is recommended for people aged 18-65. For more information on what to expect, click here.

Itinerary

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Day 1 to 2 - Arrive Moscow

The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.

Golden onion domes and towering skyscrapers, cosy cafes and hushed churches, Russia's capital city is beautiful, atmospheric and overflowing with history. There is plenty to see and do here, including numerous cathedrals, museums, art galleries, palaces, the State History Museum and the iconic St Basil's Cathedral, towers and monuments. Moscow's Red Square (Krasnaja Ploshad) is the main centre of Moscow and was a market place during the fifteenth century. The square acquired its present name in the seventeenth century. The red part of its name does not refer to Communism or to the colour of the stone (which is actually grey) but derives from the old Russian word 'krasniy' meaning beautiful. During the Soviet regime the square was known for its May Day parades and is the site of Lenin's Mausoleum.

Just a few minutes' walk away from Izmailovsky Park Metro, the lively and bustling Izmailovsky Souvenir Market is an absolute must-see. The entire market is surrounded by a mock wooden fortress which is prettily decorated with statues from Russian legends. Browse around the seemingly endless stands, shopping for wooden matryoshka dolls, chess sets, amber jewellery and Soviet memorabilia such as authentic army belts and gas masks, or if you're looking for less kitsch and more art, you could aim for the traditional Russian handicrafts and original paintings. Don't forget to haggle! A useful word to know is'skolka' or'how much?'.

More than a people-moving system, Moscow's metro system is a network of beautifully and artistically decorated stations. Why not take a self-guided tour of the system and discover Moscow's original underground art scene. (Please note you will need to pay for your own metro tickets).

We will spend our days in Moscow visiting some of the great historical sites of the city. The Kremlin is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and a main focus of Russia's political and historical heritage since the 13th century, housing both royalty and religious figures. The Kremlin wall contains a mass grave of Bolsheviks who perished during the battle for Moscow in 1917, together with the ashes of a number of well-known Russians, including writer Maxim Gorky and Yuriy Gagarin, the first Russian man to visit space.

It is said that soon after January 21, 1924, the day that Vladimir Lenin died, the Soviet government received more than 10,000 telegrams from all over Russia, which asked the government to preserve his body somehow for future generations. Lenin's tomb, and final resting place, was then promptly set about being designed and a wooden tomb was constructed within 6 days of his death. A larger mausoleum was constructed later that year and stands today in the centre of the city in the prominent Red Square.

Optional Excursions

St Basil's Cathedral - 250 RUB • Tretyakov Gallery - 400 RUB • Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts - 300 RUB • Moscow Metro & Novodevichy Cemetary Tour - from 15 EUR • State Historical Museum - 300 RUB • Museum Panorama (Battle of Borodino) - 200 RUB • Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics - 200 RUB • Museum of Russian History - 300 RUB • Christ the Saviour Cathedral - Free • Bolshoi Theatre - from 500 RUB

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 3 to 3 - Moscow & Overnight train to Veliky Novgorod

We have the whole day to spend in Moscow enjoying some last minute sightseeing before we next head to Veliky Novgorod by overnight train - it's a good idea to buy some snacks before we board!

Included Excursions

Entry & Guided tour of Moscow Kremlin

Accommodation

1 night(s) on overnight sleeper trains. No single room upgrade available.

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 4 to 4 - Veliky Novgorod

One of the oldest cities in Russia, Veliky Novgorod is steeped in history. It was one of the first hubs of religious, political and commercial activities in Russia and it is here where we find St Sophia's Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in Russia. Admire the five domed architecture that dominates the Kremlin in Novgorod, and visit the exhibition of the ancient bells that used to ring in St Sophia's bell tower. Previously, the bells were heard from a 50 mile radius and had a distinct melody in memory of the composer Sergey Rakhaminoff, born in Novgorod. The bells were damaged during World War II, so unfortunately they now are grounded, however you can still enjoy panoramic views of Veliky Novgorod from the bell tower itself.

Included Excursions

Guided tour of St Sophia's Cathedral & the Kremlin

Optional Excursions

Open Air Museum of Wooden Architecture - 150 RUB • St George Monastery - Free • Fine Art Museum - 150 RUB

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Day 5 to 6 - St Petersburg

The cosmopolitan city of St Petersburg is known as the'Venice of the north' because of its rivers and canals which are fascinating and easy to explore by boat. There are many sights to see in this former capital including the Winter Palace, the famous Church of the Spilt Blood and the Hermitage museums.

We will take an orientation walk around the key sights of the city, include a visit to the Hermitage Museum (with a local guide) to explore the extensive art collection there, and then you will be free to explore this great city at your leisure.

Included Excursions

Entry & Guided tour of the Hermitage Museum

Optional Excursions

Vodka Museum Tour and Tasting - 500 RUB • Mariinsky Theatre - from 1000 RUB • Catherine Palace - 400 RUB • Peterhof Palace - 550 RUB • Canal Boat Ride - 1000 RUB • Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) - 250 RUB • Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood - 250 RUB • St Isaac's Cathedral - 250 RUB • Cabin of Peter the Great - 200 RUB • Faberge Egg Museum Guided Tour - 450 RUB

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 7 to 8 - Tallinn

Our next stop is Tallinn, Estonia's capital. Famous for its enchanting historic centre, the city is a popular holiday destination on the Gulf of Finland. Roam the cobbled streets and explore scenic ruins or climb the hill of Toompea, which is filled with medieval buildings, 14th century churches, turrets, spires and enticing alleyways.

Tallinn also offers alluring boutique shopping similar to that found in Swiss cities. The city is full of artists and artisans so you may also find wonderfully made glass, weaving and pottery here. The cafe scene is thriving and you can find everything from sunlit street cafes to Art Deco style bakeries. Within the walls of the Old Town there are lots of excellent restaurants to enjoy and a thriving nightlife, with clubs open until the wee hours. Estonians are true beer lovers so you might like to try an authentic local brew.

Optional Excursions

Kadriorg Palace & Park - 5.50 EUR • Lahemaa National Park Day Tour - 55 EUR • Coastal Cliffs & Soviet Paldiski Day Tour - 45 EUR • Tallinn City Museum - 4 EUR • Estonian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum - 8 EUR • TV Tower - 10 EUR • St. Olav’s Church & Viewing Deck - 2 EUR • Alexander Nevsky Cathedral - Free • Walking Tour – Free

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 9 to 10 - Riga

Riga is more than 800 years old and its clever blend of medieval centre and modern city infrastructure will enchant you. The UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Town has its own particular charm, while the city is also famous for its fascinating Art Nouveau architectural heritage which you can discover as you wander the streets of this 'Paris of the East'. A must-do is a visit to Riga's most famous Gothic church, St Peter's, thought to be about 800 years old. Its famous spire has been rebuilt three times in the same form since 1667, with its latest rebuild completed in 1973. Climb the spire and enjoy spectacular views over the city.

Optional Excursions

Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum - 2.50 EUR • St Peter’s Church Tower - 9 EUR • Museum of the Occupation of Latvia - Free • Walking Tour - Free • The Dome Cathedral - Free • Museum Art Nouveau - 6 EUR • Academy of Sciences Observation Deck - 3.50 EUR

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 11 to 12 - Vilnius

The capital of Lithuania, Vilnius boasts an attractive baroque Old Town that is the largest in Eastern Europe and is praised as the 'New Prague'. Located on the edge of the Neris River, with its pine covered hills, friendly people, and blend of old and new, this is a picturesque city well worth exploring. You will have time to explore the main sights of the city including Gediminas Castle on the top of Gediminas Hill and Cathedral Square at the base of the hill, which is dominated by Vilnius Cathedral and its 57 metre-tall belfry.

While you're exploring the square between the cathedral and the tower you should hunt for the secret stebuklas (miracle) tile. The tile marks the southern end of the 2 million person, 650 kilometre long human chain between Tallinn and Vilnius, which was formed in protest against Soviet occupation in 1989. Local legend has it that if you find the pretty mosaic-covered tile you should stand on it and turn around three times clockwise while making a wish, which shall then be granted.

Included Excursions

Entry & Guided tour of the KGB Museum

Optional Excursions

Trakai Castle - 6 EUR • Grutas Park - 6.5 EUR • Walking Tour – Free

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 13 to 14 - Warsaw

Warsaw, Poland's capital, has been revitalised as a tourist destination. The city was almost entirely destroyed in World War II but a lot of effort has gone into its rebuilding. Since the fall of communism many old buildings have given way to modern skyscrapers, the dilapidated old town has been brightened up, and entertainment and services transformed to match that of other western capitals.

Home to various palaces, castles and citadels, Warsaw is noted for the Soviet-era Palace of Culture and Science, as well as the marketplace at the 10th Anniversary Stadium, a converted festival site where you can buy all sorts of interesting items. Also recommended is a visit to the Old Town, which was rebuilt between 1949 and 1963 after being destroyed in World War II in the Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque styles of architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries. You can visit the Historical Museum of Warsaw and Royal Castle at nearby Old Town Square.

Optional Excursions

Warsaw Uprising Museum - 18 PLN • Palace of Culture and Science Observation Deck - 20 PLN • Museum of the History of Polish Jews - 30 PLN • Lazienki Park and Palace - 40 PLN • Royal Castle Tour - 23 PLN • Walking Tour - Free • Wilanow Palace - 20 PLN

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 15 to 16 - Kraków

Poland's more famous and cultural city is Kraków, which has managed to preserve centuries of amazing architecture and artistic traditions as most of the historic buildings and monuments emerged unscathed from World War II. Kraków was the royal capital for 500 years so a must-see is the royal Wawel Castle, a beautiful renaissance palace which now houses a museum. During the evening the cosmopolitan city offers a wild nightlife, with plenty of restaurants, music clubs and bars to explore.

Kraków is our base to visit the UNESCO listed Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp, a sobering tribute to the people that perished there during the Holocaust. Situated close to the Polish town of O?wi?cim, the camp was originally designed for Polish political prisoners but became the most notorious camp of World War II because an estimated 1.6 million people of 27 nationalities, including 1.1 million Jews, 150,000 Poles and 23,000 Roma were killed by the Nazis.

Included Excursions

Guided Tour of Auschwitz Concentration Camp

Optional Excursions

Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour - 130 PLN • Oskar Schindler's Factory - 21 PLN • Saint Mary’s Basilica - 10 PLN • Galicia Jewish Museum - 15 PLN • Wawel Royal Castle - 25 PLN • Walking Tour – Free

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 17 to 17 - High Tatras Mountains

The High Tatras constitutes of a large mountain range which forms a natural border between Slovakia and Poland and is the highest mountain range of the Carpathians. The tallest mountain is Gerlach at 2,655 metres, located in Slovakia just north of Poprad.

After making our way to Starý Smokovec (Nový Smokovec) we have time to relax and unwind. For the energetic there is an opportunity to go to the nearby mountains for some hiking. There are various paths ranging from gentle to highly demanding, winding among spectacular peaks and rock walls. Alternatively you can admire some of the beautiful natural sites of the region, such as the glacial lake of Strebske Pleso.

Optional Excursions

Summer Toboggan (Tatrabob) - 3 EUR • Hiking - Free • Water Park - 22 EUR • Bike Hire - from 12 EUR • Solisko Chairlift - 13 EUR • Furnicular ride - 7 EUR

Accommodation

1 night(s) in a guesthouse. No single room upgrade available.

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 18 to 18 - Overnight train to Prague

After getting our fill of the crisp mountain air we board an overnight train to Prague.

Accommodation

1 night(s) on overnight sleeper trains. No single room upgrade available.

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 19 to 20 - Prague

Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and you will have plenty of free time to visit the stunning City of 1,000 Spires, including the bustling Old Town Square where you can find a beautiful astronomical clock, the enchanting Charles Bridge where you can watch artists and buskers at work and Wenceslas Square. There is also time to wander the lofty heights of Hradčany Castle and St Vitus Cathedral for magical views over the city.

Prague is a town that loves to party so you may also want to experience the nightlife as there are many great bars and restaurants and plenty of pulsating night clubs to enjoy. Czechs have been brewing beer since the 9th century and invented the world's first Pilsner, so Prague offers a great opportunity to sample some of the world's finest beers.

Optional Excursions

Kutna Hora Day Trip - 700 CZK • Brewery Tour - 1200 CZK • Beer Tasting - 590 CZK • Hradcany Castle - 350 CZK • Jewish Museum - 300 CZK • Town Hall Clock Tower - 120 CZK • Boat Tour - 260 CZK • Mucha Museum - 240 CZK • City of Prague Museum - 120 CZK • Karlstejn Castle - 270 CZK

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 21 to 22 - Vienna

Welcome to Austria! Birthplace of some of the greatest classical musical compositions, Vienna charms with its cultural history and opulent beauty. Known as the 'city of music' many composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss were born or worked here and you can learn all about their works in places such as Haus der Musik and Mozarthaus, Mozart's main apartment in Vienna which holds an insight into his celebrated life.

Perhaps you would like to catch a jaw-dropping orchestra performance at the Vienna Philharmonic, or watch a ballet or opera performance at the Wiener Staatsoper? You may also choose to visit the Schloss Schönbrunn, the palace of the Habsburg family, and discover the Baroque grandeur of the Austrian dynasty. Once you have delighted in the culture and beauty of Vienna, there are a host of a lively restaurants, cafes and bars to soak up as you watch the world go by in this vibrant city.

Optional Excursions

Albertina Museum - 13 EUR • Schoenbrunn Palace - 13 EUR • Spanish Riding School Morning Exercise - 15 EUR • Belvedere Palace - 14 EUR • Sigmund Freud Museum - 10 EUR • City Bike Tour - 29 EUR • Vienna Mozart Concert - from 49 EUR

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 23 to 24 - Budapest

Budapest, Hungary's stylish capital is known as the 'City of Spas' for its abundance of natural thermal springs.

Straddling the Danube River, the city is comprised of two very different historic cities, Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east bank. Highlights here include Castle Hill, Matthius Church, Fisherman's Bastion, the Liberation Monument, the fabulous St Stephen's Basilica and the much photographed Parliament Building.

Sample some Hungarian cuisine in a local restaurant. Goulash is the most popular Hungarian meat dish. It is a delicious stew made from meat and vegetables with Hungarian paprika powder as the main spice.

Optional Excursions

Budapest Parliament Tour - 5200 HUF • Szechenyi Thermal Baths - 4900 HUF • House of Terror - 2000 HUF • Great Synagogue - 3000 HUF • Danube Cruise - 3900 HUF • Hungarian National Museum - 1600 HUF • Memento Park - 1500 HUF • Buda Castle - 1700 HUF • Fisherman's Bastion - 700 HUF • Walking Tour - Free • Hop on Hop off Bus - from 5000 HUF

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 25 to 25 - Novi Sad

Serbia's cultural centre, Novi Sad, is overlooked by the magnificent Petrovaradin Fortress. Built during the 18th century, the fortress was repeatedly attacked but never taken by an enemy. Although it has long since lost its strategic military value, since 1951 it has been an important cultural centre and one of the largest art colonies in the world with over 88 art studios. Visitors can buy art, talk with the artists and feel the atmosphere of studios while works of art are created. There are also three interesting restaurants, a museum, catacombs, great views of the Danube. Novi Sad is also known for its international music festivals, underground military galleries and above ground, such as the International Street Musicians' Festival in September offering diverse music genres, funny instruments, jugglers, street shows and acrobatics.

Optional Excursions

Museum of Vojvodina - 200 RSD • City of Novi Sad Museum - 300 RSD • Foreign Art Gallery - 100 RSD

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 26 to 27 - Belgrade

Located at the crossing point of the Sava and Danube rivers is Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, where you will have plenty of time to explore. In the course of its long history, Belgrade has been captured 60 times, burned down around 40 times, and has risen like a phoenix from the ashes every time.

We have the opportunity to explore the military museum inside the fortress. The view of the city from the fortress is fantastic and not to be missed. If time allows it is definitely worth a visit to St Sava Church, one of the largest Orthodox churches in world. The city itself offers excellent shopping opportunities, from luxurious upscale boutiques through to an enormous bazaar and a Saturday farmer's market at Zeleni Venac selling an assortment of seasonal produce.

When you're ready for a break, you can relax on the beach at 'Belgrade Hawaii', Ada Ciganlija, an island in the middle of the Sava River. During the summer the island attracts hundreds of thousands of people looking for a place to cool down, so it can be crowded on hot days. Belgrade is very well known for its nightlife and is a major draw card for Europeans looking for a party. There are countless nightclubs, bars, and cafes that stay lively into the wee hours of the night, many of which are located on river barges.

Included Excursions

Petrovaradin Fortress guided tunnel tour

Optional Excursions

Military Museum - 150 RSD • Ethnographic Museum - 150 RSD • Tito's Mausoleum (House of Flowers) - 300 RSD • Walking Tour - Free • Church of Saint Sava - Free • River Cruise - 500 RSD

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 28 to 29 - Pristina

Today we are travelling to Pristina, Kosovo but first we visit Devil's Town in Serbia. The natural phenomenon, whose real name is Djavolja varos, got it's unique name to the strange formation of soil pyramids. Wander amongst the stone-capped pillars, whose appearance is due to a rare from of erosion.

We then continue our journey to Pristina. Europe's youngest capital, it has a buzzing energy and a small but fascinating number of attractions to see. Visit the Ethnographic Museum for exhibits on life in Kosovo between the 15th and 20th century and marvel at the iconic design of the National Library. Wander down Bill Clinton Boulevard and wave back at the 3m-tall bronze statue of the former president, before stopping for one of Pristina's famous coffees in any one of the number of cafes found here.

Included Excursions

Visit Devil's Town

Optional Excursions

Day trip to Prizren - 8 EUR return bus • Ethnographic Museum - Donation • Museum of Kosovo - 2 EUR • Germia Park - Free • Tomb of Sultan Murad I – Donation

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 30 to 31 - Skopje

In Skopje, Macedonia's capital, you can enjoy 2,000 years of history spanning Oriental and Western cultures, neatly divided by the Vardar River through the centre of the city. Skopje has many historical monuments including the Kale Fortress dating back to the 6th century and the Daud Pasha Amam, a 15th century bathhouse now converted into the city art gallery. You can also see the Mustafa-pasha's mosque, the 16th century Clock Tower and the Kamen Most (Stone Bridge) over the Vardar River.

Optional Excursions

Kale Fortress - Free • Wine Tasting - 13 EUR • Museum of Macedonian Struggle - 50 MKD • Mount Vodno Cable Car to Millennium Cross - 100 MKD • City Museum – Free

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 32 to 33 - Lake Ohrid

Before heading to Lake Ohrid we can enjoy a visit to the Matka Canyon. Cruise down Matka lake admiring the large rock walls towering beside the water. Keep an eye out for the fascinating caves that are found within the canyon.

Once we have collected our bags from the hotel, we then travel on to the gorgeous lake side town of Ohrid, perched on the border of Macedonia and Albania. This unassuming, picturesque settlement has been the setting of thousands of years of human history and the ancient churches, fortress walls, bazaars and old quarters are testimony to its past.

Lake Ohrid itself is Europe's oldest lake having formed over three millions years ago. Wander the streets and squares of its compact centre before hiking up to the ancient walled fortress that overlooks the day to day life of the city and explore the famous old churches, monasteries and basilicas.

Included Excursions

Matka Canyon boat ride,Free time at Lake Ohrid

Optional Excursions

Lake Ohrid Boat Ride - from 300MKD • Tsar Samuil's Fortress - 30 MKD • St. Jovan Kaneo Church - Free • St. Naum Monastery Boat Ride - from 600MKD • National Museum of Ohrid - 100 MKD • St. Pantelejmon Church – Free

Accommodation

2 night(s) in apartments

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 34 to 34 - Tirana

Today we head to Tirana, the trendy capital and largest city of Albania, which has transformed from a grey, dismal ex-communist city, isolated by the regime until the 1990s, to a colourful capital buzzing with life. While the city has a long history, you can enjoy its modern outlook, with fashionable bars, and wander boulevards lined with relics of the city's Ottoman, clubs and boutiques, Italian and communist past. Tirana's massive main square, Skanderbeg Square, is bordered by the National History Museum, the Palace of Culture, the National Bank, the Et'hem Bey Mosque and Skanderbeg's statue. A short bus ride from the centre city, the Martyr's Cemetery offers marvellous panoramic views over the city.

Optional Excursions

Walking Tour - Free • National Art Gallery - 200 ALL • National History Museum - 200 ALL • Dajti Mountain Cable Car - 700 ALL

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 35 to 36 - Kotor

On the way to Kotor we stop off at the small town of Kruja. Built on a mountainside, you can discover the old town and explore Kruja Castle where we include entry to the Skanderbeg Museum located inside. Skanderbeg was a war hero of Albania, helping defeat the Ottomans, and this museum focuses on his bravery and importance to Albania.

After spending the morning exploring Kruja, our group will move onward to our next destination - the picturesque town of Kotor in Montenegro. It is a walled city nestled at the bottom of Europe’s deepest fjord. Experience Stari Grad, the old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with it’s tricky labyrinth of cobbled alleys, squares and ancient churches, including St Tryphon's Cathedral built in 1166.

The steep mountains provide a dramatic backdrop to this beautiful town and you can admire them from the waterfront. You could spend the day drinking espresso in the shade of the medieval walls watching people go by, or if you are feeling more adventurous try climbing the walls of the ancient fort of Sveti Ivan which spans some 4.5 kilometres above the city on almost vertical cliffs. Your efforts will be rewarded by an excellent view of Kotor and the bay.

Included Excursions

Visit to Kruja (Entry to City Walls and Skanderbeg Museum),Guided tour of Kotor Old Town

Optional Excursions

Hike to Kotor Fortress - 3 EUR • Maritime Museum - 4 EUR • St Tryphon's Cathedral 2.50 EUR

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 37 to 38 - Dubrovnik

With a paved town centre enclosed in fortress-like 13th century stone walls, the city is easy to explore on foot and is full of character. A great start to your exploration of Dubrovnik is with an included walk around the city walls. Stretching almost 2 kilometres around the old town, the walls offer stunning rooftop and city views out to the turquoise blue Adriatic Sea. Founded in the 7th century, for a time in its glorious past the city was a serious rival for Venice in terms of maritime trade. It is hard to believe now but in 1991, two out of every three buildings were damaged during the bombardment of the Yugoslav War. Since then the buildings and walls have been painstakingly restored to pristine condition and represents one of the most beautiful and solid fortress systems on the Mediterranean. There are several other historic attractions worth a visit near the main street (Stradun), such as the 14th century Franciscan monastery which houses a treasury full of sacred art and artefacts, as well as one of the oldest continually working pharmacies in the world, dating back to 1317.

Included Excursions

Entry on to Dubrovnik City Wall

Optional Excursions

Dominican Monastery - 30 HRK • Cable Car to view point - 120 HRK • Lokrum Island Boat Trip - 80 HRK • Rector’s Palace - 100 HRK • Synagogue and Jewish Museum - 35 HRK • Kayaking Half Day - 250 HRK

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 39 to 40 - Sarajevo

Crossing the border into the 'heart-shaped land' of Bosnia and Herzegovina we visit the capital Sarajevo, a fascinating mixture of western and eastern cultures. Known as the 'Jerusalem of Europe', the city was once famous for its religious diversity, with people of Islamic, Orthodox Christian, Catholic and Jewish faiths coexisting relatively peacefully for centuries. The atmosphere of calm and tolerance changed dramatically when violence erupted in the mid-1990s and the city underwent the longest siege in modern military history during the Yugoslav War.

Today the city is largely recovered and is packed with fascinating museums bazaars, markets and bridges. During your time here you could explore the cobbled streets, mosques and Oriental style shops of the Old Town, visit the Bosnian Historical Museum to learn about the siege of Sarajevo and discover the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum, the tunnel which was used to ferry supplies into the besieged city during the conflict, next to the airport. For history buffs a must see is the “Latin Bridge" spanning the river in the downtown area. The bridge bears a plaque commemorating the assassination of Archduke of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Ferdinand, the event that sparked the beginning of World War I. Today the city is largely recovered and is packed with fascinating museums

Optional Excursions

Guided Siege of Sarajevo Tunnel Tour - 30 BAM • Walking Tour - Free • Gallery 11/07/95 - 12 BAM • Jewish Museum - 3 BAM • History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina - 5 BAM • Svrzo's House - 3 BAM • Orthodox Church Art Gallery Museum - Free • Avaz Twist Tower - 1 BAM • Tunnel of Hope Museum - 30 BAM

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 41 to 41 - Mostar

Widely felt to be the prettiest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina Mostar is situated on the Neretva river and is the fifth-largest city in the country. Mostar was named after the bridge keepers (natively: mostari) who kept the Stari Most (Old Bridge) over Neretva river. The city is particularly famous for this beautiful single span bridge, Stari Most, which collapsed into the Neretva River during the Yugoslav War in 1993. Built in 1556 by the Ottoman ruler Suleiman the Great, Stari Most had been a globally recognised landmark and a national symbol for Bosnia-Herzegovina. It had survived centuries of conflict including both world wars and proved that, whatever happened, the mainly Christian west bank and mainly Muslim east remained united. The destruction of the bridge was a huge blow to the local people, but in 2004 the bridge was rebuilt as a replica of the original using pieces of masonry salvaged from the riverbed. Its reopening represented the hope that Muslims, Croats and Serbs could once again live side by side and that Mostar would be healed after a decade of ethnic division.

Included Excursions

Stari Most (Mostar Old Bridge),Entry to Kravice Waterfall

Optional Excursions

Memorial Museum of Herzegovina - 1.5 BAM • Blagaj Tekke - 4 BAM • Koski Mehmed Pasha's Mosque - 4 BAM • War Photo Exhibition - 6 BAM • Turkish House - 2 BAM

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 42 to 44 - Hvar Island

On the way to Croatia, we stop off at the Kravice waterfalls, located on the Trebiat river in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A popular swimming area, you will have time to enjoy the water before heading to Hvar Island. Boasting more sunshine hours than any of the other sun-soaked Dalmatian islands, Hvar Island offers fairytale Venetian architecture, a waterfront promenade fringed by palm trees and centuries old walls. With all of this and an historic fortress overlooking it all, it's no wonder picturesque Hvar Town is considered a chic destination for the rich and famous, and you may be lucky enough to see one or two familiar faces here.

Built by the Venetian Doges in the 13th century, Hvar Town is a maze of cobblestone streets and sunny squares bordered by al fresco cafes and restaurants. The most important sights such as St Stephen's Cathedral, Clock Tower and the Arsenal flank the main square, while a picturesque expanse of terracotta-roofed houses and tiny streets cover the hill behind. One of the simplest pleasures on the island is to take part in the evening stroll around the town and take in the views - don't forget to buy an ice cream from a local slasticarna, the Croatian equivalent of the Italian gelateria. You may also enjoy a stroll around the harbour, which is often filled with multi-million dollar yachts, a reflection of the lavish lifestyles of the wealthy visitors to the island. You will have time to explore smaller villages of Stari Grad, Jelsa, taking in lavender fields, Vrboska and Brusje, wineries, eco villages and experiencing the local culture.

Optional Excursions

Half Day Boat Tour to Pakleni Islands - 250 HRK • Full Day Boat Tour to Green Cave, Blue Cave and Vis Island - 430 HRK • 4x4 Hvar Island Tour - 600 HRK • Hike to Španjola Fortress - 30 HRK • Franciscan Monastery Museum - 25 HRK • Municipal Theatre and Art Gallery - 20 HRK • Old Town guided tour - from 400 HRK per guide • Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Kayaking - from 100 HRK

Accommodation

3 night(s) in a guesthouse

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 45 to 45 - Split

We then take the ferry and arrive late morning at the coastal city of Split, built around the remains of the Diocletian Palace which dates back to the Roman era. Wander inside and take in Peristil Square where you can see an original Egyptian sphinx which was brought from Egypt by Roman emperor Diocletian. Another sphinx can be found near St John's Church, which was originally a Roman temple. We take an included tour of the Diocletian Palace or climb the campanile bell tower next to the palace's mausoleum for spectacular views from the top.

If you want to relax there are plenty of al fresco bars and restaurants to choose from along the seafront, as well as gelati bars and cheaper pizzerias off the main roads. There is plenty of delicious Italian-influenced local cuisine to choose from, often at very reasonable prices. If you want to hang out with the locals, head for the beach at Bacvice. There are many cafes and places to eat icecream and it's a great place to get a feeling of 'real' Croatia as the vast majority of people who go there are from Split.

Included Excursions

Guided Tour of Diocletian's Palace

Optional Excursions

The City Museum of Split - 20 HRK • St. Domnius Cathedral - 35 HRK • National Art Gallery - 20 HRK • Meštrović Gallery - 40 HRK • Hike around Marjan Hill - Free

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Day 46 to 46 - Plitvice

Continuing our diverse journey through Croatia, our next stop is to explore Plitvice National Park, a beautiful reserve featuring 16 spectacular blue lakes surrounded by forest.

The lakes are linked by natural dams which create beautiful low level waterfalls joining one lake to another. Due to the varying mixtures of minerals in the water, each lake has a distinctive colour ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The surrounding forest features a mix of beech, spruce, and fir trees and is home to 126 species of birds and a number of rare animals including European brown bears, wolves, eagles, wild cats and eagles. Due to its natural beauty and significance, the park was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979. The entire park can be seen in about 4 hours and you can get beautiful views from almost any vantage point. Don't miss the Veliki Slap, 50 metre wide waterfall surrounded by boulders - a great place for photos.

Included Excursions

Entrance to Plitvice Lakes National Park

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 47 to 48 - Zagreb

After our time exploring the national park we continue to the Croatian capital of Zagreb, a vibrant cultural centre with a long history, located on the crossroads of important routes between the Adriatic coast and Central Europe. Originally established as two fortresses on two neighbouring hills in medieval times, the city has withstood numerous invasions, earthquakes and political upheaval to grow into a prosperous centre of industry. In your free time you can explore Ban Jela?i? Square surrounded by grand buildings or visit the Zagreb Cathedral with its fountain of Madonna surrounded by golden angels. You can visit colourful open-air markets such as Dolac Market and discover the historic Upper Town with its palaces, monasteries and churches from the 17th and 18th centuries. There are also dozens of museums, theatres, galleries and art collections to visit, or take a tram to the medieval fortress of Medvedgrad on the southern side of nearby Mount Medvednica for beautiful views over the city including Museum Mimara. Another interesting museum to see is the City of Zagreb Museum covering every facet of its long history. You could take a picnic to Maksimir Park about 3 kilometres from the city centre.

Optional Excursions

City of Zagreb Museum - 20 HRK • Ethnographical Museum - 15 HRK • Archaeological Museum - 20 HRK • Walking Tour - Free • St Marks Church - Free • Museum of Broken Relationships - 30 HRK • Zagreb Cathedral - Free

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 49 to 50 - Ljubljana & Lake Bled

Crossing into Slovenia we visit the capital Ljubljana and enjoy a city tour of the main sights. In your free time you may enjoy a visit to the botanical gardens, Dragon bridge, Tivoli park, Ljubljana city museum, Ljubljana castle (Ljubljanski Grad) on Castle Hill and the viewing tower in the castle courtyard for views across the Old Town. When you need to relax, sit down at one of the many outdoor riverside cafes in the Old Town, check out the Habsburg and Baroque architecture and enjoy the young fun vibe of Ljubljana's large student population.

During our time in Slovenia we take a day trip to Bled, a magical little town about an hour and a half from Ljubljana, set near an emerald green lake. Perched on a cliff high above the lake is the Bled Castle, dramatically framed by the snowcapped peaks of the Julian Alps. Dating back to the 11th century, Bled Castle is the epitome of a medieval fortress and has a fairytale appeal, with towers, ramparts, moats and a terrace offering magnificent views. Part of the castle houses a museum with an interesting collection of armour and weapons, carvings, jewellery, tapestries and paintings which trace the history of the castle from the Bronze Age to the 19th century. A walk around Lake Bled (about 6 kilometres) shouldn't take more than an hour or two, including a short climb to a viewing point. The most romantic way to enjoy it is to hire a boat and row over to the island in the middle of the lake or for the non-rowers of the group you can take a Pletna boat and be taken across. On the island you can visit a small 17th century Baroque church called Church of the Assumption, complete with a'wishing bell' which you can ring to ask a favour. If time permits you can also visit Vintgar Gorge, a raised timber walkway that tracks the gorges river for 1.6 kilometres to a beautiful waterfall.

Included Excursions

Guided walking tour of Ljubljana,Lake Bled day trip

Optional Excursions

Slovenian Ethnographic Museum - 4.50 EUR • Ljubljana Castle and Funicular - 10 EUR • Metelkova Neighbourhood - Free • City Museum - 6 EUR • Museum of Illusions - 8 EUR • City Art Gallery - Free • Museum of Contemporary History - 3.50 EUR

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 51 to 52 - Budapest

Budapest, Hungary's stylish capital is known as the 'City of Spas' for its abundance of natural thermal springs.

Straddling the Danube River, the city is comprised of two very different historic cities, Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east bank. Highlights here include Castle Hill, Matthius Church, Fisherman's Bastion, the Liberation Monument, the fabulous St Stephen's Basilica and the much photographed Parliament Building.

Terror Haza (Terror House) is a popular museum recounting stories of espionage and atrocities committed during World War II and during the communist period. During your optional visit you can view very moving testimonial footage from survivors and visit old jail cells, torture chambers and interrogation rooms.

The Dohany Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe and features stunning decorations. You can also wander around Central Market Hall and enjoy the intoxicating sights and smells of'Budapest's pantry' and get an idea of Hungary's food culture - you can even buy chocolates by the kilo!

The perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing is in a traditional bath. The Szechenyi Medicinal Baths are one of the city's more famous Neo Baroque-style baths with indoor and outdoor pools, thermal pools, saunas and massages in a beautiful setting. After a nice soak you can visit numerous restaurants and bars to visit on Liszt Ferenc for an enjoyable evening's entertainment.

Optional Excursions

Budapest Parliament Tour - 5200 HUF • Szechenyi Thermal Baths - 4900 HUF • House of Terror - 2000 HUF • Great Synagogue - 3000 HUF • Danube Cruise - 3900 HUF • Hungarian National Museum - 1600 HUF • Memento Park - 1500 HUF • Buda Castle - 1700 HUF • Fisherman's Bastion - 700 HUF • Walking Tour - Free • Hop on Hop off Bus - from 5000 HUF

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 53 to 53 - Eger

We take the train to Eger, located on the hills of the Bükk Mountains. It has a number of historic sights including the Castle of Eger, the town's oldest and most famous attraction. Eger is also famous for its wines. You can enjoy traditional varieties of red and white wines including “Egri Bikaver” translated to Bull's Blood of Eger! From 1596 Eger had a 91 year long Turkish rule. Due to this, the town attract visitors to its number of thermal baths. Another popular site from this period is the Turkish minaret standing at 40 metres high. You can climb this for great views.

Optional Excursions

Eger Castle - 1600 HUF • Minaret - 300 HUF • Archbishop's Palace - from 1400 HUF • Thermal Baths - 1900 HUF • Wine tasting in the Valley of the Beautiful Women - from 1000HUF • Basilica – Free

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 54 to 54 - Baia Mare

The day is spent exploring the fascinating Maramures region in North-western Romania, home to many villages where century-old traditions are still part of daily life. We will visit the village of Barsana, where there is a thriving local tradition of woodcarving, with picturesque wooden houses fronted by giant, ornately-carved gates. There is also a monastery that offers great views over the Izei valley, where people still farm using traditional techniques. We also tour some of the beautiful wooden churches of the region that are well-known for their characteristic high roofs and tall, pointed steeples. One of these has been recognised by UNESCO due its unique folk paintings that show rural representations of heaven and hell, including tortures for such egregious sins as short-changing customers or falling asleep in church. We also make a quick stop at the very peculiar 'Merry Cemetery' of Sapânta, so called because the gravestones are painted in bright colours, hand-carved out of oak and adorned with an image of the deceased and a humorous epitaph in the local vernacular.

We then head to Baia Mare, one of the most important mining centres of Romania with over 2000 years of gold and silver mining. The town is well preserved and the oldest house here dates back to 1440.

Included Excursions

Tour of Maramures Region

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 55 to 56 - Sighișoara

As we make our way to Sighisoara, we stop en-route for a few hours to explore the city of Cluj Napoca, Romania's second largest city after Bucharest. The city is one of the most important academic and cultural centres in Romania, and is home to the country's largest university and its famous botanical gardens. In 2015, Cluj-Napoca was named the European Youth Capital, and you can see the reflection of this in the bohemian cafes where many of the students and artists frequent.

In the afternoon we head to Sighisoara. Located in the historic region of Transylvania, it was once a Saxon settlement established in the 12th century. Recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the citadel has a very well preserved old town with a clock tower rising 64 meters above the city. Also worth visiting is the Orthodox Cathedral and Cornesti Church.

Included Excursions

Cluj Napoca Visit

Optional Excursions

Guided tour of Sighisoara Old Town - from 10 EUR • The Clock Tower - 12 RON • Dracula's House - 5 RON • History Museum - 4 RON • Museum of Medieval Arms - 8 RON • The Torture Chamber Museum - 4 RON • The Church of the Dominican Monastery - Free

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 57 to 58 - Brașov

Surrounded on three sides by the Carpathian Mountains, Brașov was a perfect place for a medieval settlement and much of the Old City, founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1211, has been restored. You can visit Râșnov Castle, the Brașov Citadel or wander up Rope Street, the narrowest street in Europe. Brașov also provides a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside of the Transylvania region, where the air is fresh and the people friendly. We visit the nearby Bran Castle which is marketed as 'Dracula's Castle' and is (supposedly) said to have been the home of Vlad the Impaler. We also explore the beautiful Pele's Castle and the fortified churches of Prejmer and Viscri, the latter of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Included Excursions

Entry to Viscri fortified Church,Entry to Dracula's Castle and Peles Castle,Entry to Prejmer Fortified Church

Optional Excursions

Walking Tour - Free • Ethnographic Museum - 5 RON • Brasov History Museum - 7 RON • Cable Car to the top of Tampa Hill - 16 RON • Black Church - 8 RON • Bear Sanctuary - 20 EUR • Art Museum - 5 RON

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 59 to 59 - Bucharest

We continue our journey to Bucharest where you will have free time to explore the area and discover the contrasts of Romania's cultural capital. The architecture here is an eclectic mix of historical, communist period and modern styles and it even has its own Arc de Triomphe. Bucharest also boasts the world's second largest building, the Palace of Parliament, built under the communist regime.

If you'd like to learn more about the traditional way of life of Romanian peasant farmers you can visit the Village Museum, an open air museum with around 300 traditional buildings filled with furniture, pottery and clothing collected from different regions of the country.

Optional Excursions

Peasant Museum - 8 RON • Palace of the Parliament Tour - 35 RON • Walking Tour - Free • Stavropoleos Church - Free • Village Museum - 10 RON • National Museum of Art of Romania - 15 RON • Bucharest Municipal Museum - 3 RON

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 60 to 60 - Veliko Tarnovo

We head across the border into the Bulgarian city of Veliko Tarnovo, famous as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Built on three hills, the city offers some great views of the surrounding churches and old imperial residences rising amidst the meanders of the Yantra River. On Tsarevets Hill are the palaces of the Bulgarian emperors and the Patriarchate, the Patriarchal Cathedral, and also a number of interesting cultural institutions such as the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of the Bulgarian Revival and the Constituent Assembly.

Optional Excursions

Tsaravet's Fortress - 6 BGN • Archaeological Museum - 6 BGN • Old Town Walking Tour - Free • Museum of the Bulgarian Revival and the Constituent Assembly - 6 BGN

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 61 to 62 - Sofia

Bulgaria's capital Sofia offers a wealth of cultural entertainment, including Byzantine churches, museums full of ancient archaeological treasures, towering monuments and numerous mineral baths adjacent to the magnificent Mount Vitosha. Laid back and cosmopolitan, Sofia offers a thriving and diverse street life, including open-air cafes, busy markets such as the famous Ladies' Market, rattling trams and buskers all adding to the ambience. At the foothills of Mount Vitosha about 8 kilometres from the city centre you can visit the 900 year-old Boyana Church, considered among the masterpieces of medieval European painting, which features murals and frescoes dating back to 1259 AD, medieval architecture and monumental art. Also at the base of Mt. Vitosha is the splendid National History Museum, with antiques dating back to the Thracian period.

Sofia also offers many beautiful gardens to relax in, such as Boris Gardens and the South Park, which starts just behind the Palace of Culture.

Optional Excursions

Ethnographic Museum - 3 BGN • National Art Gallery - 6 BGN • Alexander Nevski Cathedral and Crypt - 6 BGN • St Alexander Nevski Crypt - 6 BGN • National Museum of History - 10 BGN • Walking Tour - Free

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 63 to 64 - Plovdiv

Enjoy breakfast in Sofia before taking a public bus to Plovdiv. Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe going back 8000 years. The town is small and easy to walk around. Places to see include the Roman Amphitheatre, St Marina church and a mosque leftover from the Ottoman Empire. Each step you take in this town opens up another piece of history. While the seven tall hill that used to overlook the town have been reduced to just three, it is possible to walk the hills and the best time to do this is at sunset.

Please note: Breakfast is not included at Plovdiv.

Included Excursions

Entry to Plovdiv Roman Amphitheatre

Optional Excursions

Ethnographic Museum - 5 BGN • Wine Tasting Half Day Tour - From 29 EUR • The Wonderful Bridges, Bachkovo Monastery & Asens' Fortress Day Tour - From 25 EUR • Dzhumaya Mosque - Free • Archaeological Museum - 5 BGN

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 65 to 66 - Istanbul

Istanbul is an enchanting fusion of East and West. Narrow alleys are flanked by wooden Ottoman houses while a nearby funky restaurant and bar strip in the down-town area pumps out Turkish pop. There are many great places to explore including, but not limited to, the Blue Mosque, St Sophia and the Grand Bazaar. The Blue Mosque, also known as the Mosque of Sultan Ahmet, is nearly 400 years old and still an active mosque that non-Muslims can visit for free outside of the five daily prayers. St Sophia (Hagia Sophia) was built 1,500 years ago and was the largest enclosed space in the world. The Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi) is the oldest and largest closed bazaar in the world, housing around 3000 shops within 61 alleyways. It used to be the city's main trading centre of ceramics, jewellery and leather goods.

In your free time you could take a relaxing Turkish bath and then possibly board a local ferry on the Bosphorus to observe the beautifully lit sprawl of Istanbul by night and then finish your evening with the timeless wind-down of smoking a nargileh (Ottoman water pipe).

Optional Excursions

Hagia Sophia - 40 TRY • Topkapı Palace - 40 TRY • Basilica Cistern - 20 TRY • Blue Mosque - Free • Grand Bazaar - Free • Bosphorus Boat Tour - 12 TRY • Turkish Bath - From 20 TRY • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - 25 TRY • Whirling Dervish Show - 70 TRY

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 67 to 67 - Çanakkale & Gallipoli

We leave Istanbul early this morning and take a shuttle bus to Çanakkale, arriving early afternoon. Çanakkale is a Turkish seaside town located on the Asian side of the Dardanelles with a population of around 100,000 people. It is from here that we will visit the ancient site of Troy and the battlefields of Gallipoli.

Ancient Greek myths & legends tell us that Çanakkale is the town from where Leander, a local man from Abydos, swam across the Hellespont (today's Dardenelles) every night in order to be with his lover, Hero (A priestess of Aphrodite). She would guide him across the river by lighting a lamp but tragically one night her lamp blew out and Leander never made it to shore. Every year in August there is now a race across the Dardanelles along that very same route.

The Dardanelles is a narrow strait connecting the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea which makes it a very popular transport route; throughout the years this strait has been fought over many times due to its strategic location, most recently was battle of Gallipoli in during WWI (1915-16).

The Gallipoli campaign lasted for less than a year but during this short time over 130,000 people died. Although it was unsuccessful, it was a particularly significant campaign for both Australians and New Zealanders as it helped establish their countries' military reputations worldwide, due to the bravery & strength shown by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).

After arrival at Çanakkale we have some time to enjoy a quick lunch before taking a guided tour of Gallipoli, stopping off at the Turkish Memorial, Anzac Cove, Lone Pine, the Australian Memorial, Johnston's Jolly, The Nek, Chunuk Bair, the New Zealand Memorial and Kabatepe Museum.

We will return to Çanakkale where we will spend the night.

Included Excursions

Guided tour of Gallipoli

Optional Excursions

Canakkale Naval Museum - 6.50 TL • Troy Horse - Free • Archaeological Museum - TBC • Yali Hamami - 50 TRY

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 68 to 68 - Çanakkale & Troy

Today we have a free morning to explore Çanakkale where you have the opportunity to view the same Trojan horse that was used in the blockbuster movie Troy; it was donated to the town by the producers of the film. There is also an interesting naval museum which offers great insight into the history of the Battle of the Dardanelles and you can even explore a replica of the Nusret Minelayer ship which played a huge role in Çanakkale's naval victory.

After a morning of exploration; we will embark on a guided tour to the ancient city of Troy where we can learn more about the stories behind these well-known ruins. Troy is most commonly known for the infamous Trojan War, an epic tale written by Homer in the Iliad & Odyssey which depicts a battle ignited by one woman. Supposedly the war began after Helen, the daughter of Zeus and Leda, was kidnapped by Trojan prince, Paris. Her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta, was so enraged by this he called on his brother Agamemnon to raise an army to set sail for Troy to claim her back.

We head back to Çanakkale where we spend the night before our adventure to Greece the following morning.

Included Excursions

Guided tour of Troy

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 69 to 70 - Kavala

After breakfast we will begin our travel day which will see us crossing the Turkish border into neighbouring Greece. We will arrive in the evening just in time to sample some of the local restaurants in the coastal town of Kavala, where the seafood & fish comes highly recommended. The next day you have free, to make the most of Kavala's charms.

The picturesque town is nestled in between the mountains and the sea and was first settled in when a group of Thassians from the nearby island colonised here in the 7th century BC. For hundreds of years it was the port for the nearby ancient town of Filippoi, and you can still visit these ruins easily from Kavala.

By the end of the 8th century AD Kavala had stepped into the Byzantine period and a castle from this era stands today perched high on a hilltop overlooking the town. The castle itself is located in the old town area of Panagia and you can explore its winding streets and alleyways on your way up to the castle.

In the early 1900's Kavala received a huge influx of migrants fleeing from the Greek-Turkish war which led to a boom in local tobacco trading industry. The traders of Kavala were well known across South Eastern Europe and the city flourished. You can learn more about this in the Tobacco Museum which is located inside one of the old factories.

The seaport town has been influenced by a variety of different cultures and architecture over the years due to its ideal location. Discover the area's natural beauty with a short bus ride from the town to the nearby beautiful sandy beaches with their sparkling crystal blue waters.

Optional Excursions

Archaeological Museum of Kavala - 2 EUR • Beaches - Free • Kavala Fortress - 2.50 EUR • Filippi Archaeological Site - 6 EUR • Tobacco Museum - 2 EUR • House of Mehmet Ali - 2 EUR

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 71 to 71 - Thessaloniki

This morning we will depart on a short bus journey to reach cosmopolitan Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece.

Much of this city was destroyed during the Great Fire of 1917, and so a large proportion of it was rebuilt in the 1920's leading to the modern metropolis you can see today, however it is still possible to see remains of Byzantine, Ottoman & Roman architecture in and around the city. In particular, the upper town area of Thessaloniki (or Ano Poli in Greek) is an area which escaped the great fire and is largely influenced by Ottoman design with its traditional buildings, narrow cobbled streets and old squares.

Other interesting historical sites in the area include the byzantine White Tower and the Roman Arch of Galerius & Rotunda, both built between 4th –12th centuries AD.

Optional Excursions

Modiano Market Free • Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki 6 EUR • White Tower 3 EUR • Church and Crypt of Ayios Dimitrios Free • Museum of Byzantine Culture 8 EUR

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 72 to 73 - Metéora

Spend your free morning exploring the delicious sights and smells of Modiano Market or doing some last minute sightseeing. Afterwards you can relax in one of Thessaloniki's many patisseries with one of the cities local delicacies, the Trigona, a mouth-watering funnel-shaped pastry filled with cream.

This afternoon we will board a public bus to reach the small town of Kalambaka, which boasts an impressive back drop of the Meteora karsts. This will be our base in which to explore this unique UNESCO heritage site. In Greek the meaning of Meteora is 'Suspended in the air', a collection of sandstone pillars which gradually formed over 60 million years ago, originally large blocks of solid rock the peaks were then split by earthquakes and worn down by wind and rain into the awe-inspiring pinnacles we see today. From the 11th century onwards hermits began to settle in nearby caves of the area due to its spiritual atmosphere. It wasn't until around the 14th century when they began to establish and build monasteries perched on the top of the pinnacles, which could originally only be accessed by using large baskets on pulley systems or rope ladders, today the monasteries are much easier to access!

The following day you can enjoy a morning tour around the monasteries where you can experience them up close. Some of the monasteries may require a short hike so make sure you bring suitable walking shoes and a positive attitude.

Please note: When visiting the monasteries a strict dress code will apply here, women must wear skirts below the knees and men must wear full length trousers. Bare shoulders should not be exposed.

After returning from the tour you will have a free afternoon to spend as you like, for the more energetic person there will be opportunities to hike up to other monasteries or you can take another tour at dusk to admire the incredible views as the sun sets over the sky.

Included Excursions

Metéora monastery visit

Optional Excursions

Hike to Agias Triada Monastery - 3 EUR • Meteora Natural History & Mushroom Museum - 5 EUR

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 74 to 74 - Athens

Early this morning we will depart the stunning area of Meteora to make our way south towards the vibrant capital city of Greece, Athens, named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena.

In 2004 Athens hosted the Olympics, sparking revitalisation in the city with the arrival of new restaurants, shops and hotels. Today Athens is a large modern metropolis with a population of over 11 million, however it should not be forgotten that it is one of the world's most ancient cities, which is proved by its plentiful supply of museums and archaeological sites including Greece's most beloved ruins, the Acropolis.

The Acropolis complex is the ancient high city of Athens, perched on top of a large rock plateau. It overlooks the city and offers plethora of different historical sites such as the Temple of Athena Nike, Erecthion, Propylea, and the most famous, the Parthenon. Although there is evidence that the area was occupied by humans as far back as 4th millennium BC, the archaeological sites we know today were mostly built around mid-4th century BC. Many of the artefacts discovered on the complex are shown at the nearby Acropolis Museum.

Nestled in the shadow of the Acropolis is the charming historic neighbourhood of Plaka. The pedestrianised area is often compared to a Greek island village due to its relaxed atmosphere. You can wander its narrow cobbled streets and relax in one of its many cafes.

Optional Excursions

The Acropolis - 20 EUR • The Acropolis Museum - 5 EUR • Museum of Cycladic Art - 7 EUR • Athens Walking Tour - Free • Benaki Museum - 7 EUR • Byzantine & Christian Museum - 4 EUR • Plaka neighbourhood - Free • Anafiotika neighbourhood - Free

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 75 to 75 - Olympia via Delphi

Travelling by private vehicle we head towards Delphi to explore this UNESCO heritage site perched on the hillside of Mount Parnassos.

The ancient ruins of Delphi were one of the most important sites in Greek history, second only to the Acropolis of Athens. The focal point of this archaeological site is the Temple of Apollo, a worship site dedicated Apollo, the Greek god of the Arts, Healing, Prophecy and Light. The Pythia, or more commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the priestess of this Temple and was known throughout Ancient Greece for her prophecies which were said to be inspired by the one and only Apollo himself.

In Ancient Greek times often the site was depicted as the 'centre of the world' and many pilgrims from across the globe travelled here to speak with the Pythia and seek advice from Apollo.

Delphi also played host to a multitude of games, the most important being the Pythian Games which were held every 4 years in celebration of Apollo's slaying of the Python Dragon. The Pythian Games originated around Apollo's mostly artistic talents but eventually developed into athletic competitions such as chariot races.

One of the most famous ancient statues in Greece, the Charioteer of Delphi, was actually designed for the Pythian Games to commemorate the victory of a chariot team. This bronze statue was made around late 4th century BC and is one of the very few remaining as most were melted down for their raw materials. The almost fully preserved statue can be seen at the Delphi Archaeological Museum which adjoins the historical site, amongst a large collection of other interesting artefacts which were discovered in the Delphi ruins.

After having ample time in Delphi to explore we will return to our private vehicle and continue onto the small town of Olympia where we will spend the night.

Included Excursions

Archaeological site of Delphi

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 76 to 76 - Athens

Before returning to Athens we will first discover another ancient archaeological site which has had a great impact on life today, the site of the first ever Olympic Games.

Athletes throughout ancient Greece would come to compete in running, discus & javelin throwing, jumping, boxing, wrestling and equestrian events; very similar to athletic competitions we see today.

The first Olympic Games were held here around 8th century BC and were organised by the authorities of Elis in honour of the Greek God Zeus. They continued every 4 years until around 4th century AD when Roman emperor Theodosius II decreed that all Greek temples should be destroyed and pagan practices eliminated.

Whilst here you can explore the ancient stadium, the wrestling training grounds, the athletes' living quarters, and the Temple of Zeus (the largest temple in the Peloponnese). Alongside these ancient ruins there is also a museum which offers invaluable insight on Ancient Olympia.

After a morning of exploring the ruins we will board back onto our private vehicle and return to the capital city of Greece for the final night of the tour. En-route back to Athens we will take a short break to visit the Corinth Canal which separates mainland Greece from the peninsula of Peloponnese.

Included Excursions

Olympia World Heritage Site

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 77 to 77 - Depart Athens

Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.

Meals

1 Breakfast

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2017

Fri 16 Jun
Thu 31 Aug
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Fri 16 Jun
Thu 31 Aug
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Guaranteed departure. May Madness Sale - 10% Discount
On Sale
US$11,209
US$10,088
Fri 14 Jul
Thu 28 Sep
Special Notes
Guaranteed departure. May Madness Sale - 10% Discount
On Sale US$11,209
US$10,088
Special Notes
Guaranteed departure. May Madness Sale - 10% Discount

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