Tirana – Schkoder – Bar – Podgorica – Budva – Kotor – Sarajevo – Belgrade – Nis – Skopje – Sofia – Edirne – Istanbul

EASTERN EUROPE

Cultural

One type of cultural tourism destination is living cultural areas

ID : IST2822

Tirana – Schkoder – Bar – Podgorica – Budva – Kotor – Sarajevo – Belgrade – Nis – Skopje – Sofia – Edirne – Istanbul

Day 1, Arrive to  Tirana

You will meet with our local guide at the Tirana Airport. Transfer to your hotel, check inn and free time for leisure. Dinner will be served at the hotel for you and for your travel partners. Accomodation at the hotel in Tirana.

*D – Dinner at the hotel.-

Day 2, Tirana – Schkoder

Breakfast at the hotel and check out. After, we will start our Tirana City Tour. We will get our lunch at local restaurant during our city tour. End of the tour we will transfer to Schkoder (102 Km – Approx: 2 Hour). Arrival and city tour in Schkoder. End of the tour, transfer to hotel, checkinn and freetime for leisure. Dinner will be served in our hotel. Overnight in Schkoder.

B-L-D – Lunch, Dinner

 

Tirana – Albania

**Tirana City Tour : Explore Tirana starting with National Historical Museum: the country’s largest museum which holds many of the country’s archaeological treasures. Visit Et’hem Beu Mosque: the oldest buildings left in the city. Capture the beauty of Tabake Bridge: a famous stone footbridge that takes its name from the many butchers and tanners who operated in the area during the Ottoman era in Albania. Checkout The Pyramid: also known as ‘’Enver Hoxha Museum’’, a structure and former museum in Tirana. Proceed transfer to the airport for your flight back home; bringing back wonderful memories and momentous souvenirs from Awakening Illyrian Dream vacation.

**Schkoder City Tour : Shkodra, the largest city in the north of Albania is located on the east side of Shkodra Lake. The city is one of the oldest in Albania and it is also an important cultural and Economic center. Inhabited continuously since its foundation in the 4th century BC, Shkodra still is the classic example of a city with most modern and humorous citizen in Albania. Shkodra is also the centre of Albanian Catholicism as well as a fine example of tolerance between religions, with the city comprising all the major faiths found in Albania.

Day 3, Schkoder – Budva – Podgorica    

Breakfast, and chek out from the hotel. Continous way to Budva (86 Km – Approx : 2 Hour), one of the most beautiful historical city in Montenegro. City tour and lunch, after transfer to Podgorica. Arrival and City tour. End of the tour transfer to hotel, checkinn and freetime for leisure. Dinner and accomodation at our hotel in Podgorica.

B-L-D – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

St Stefan Budva Montenegro

**Budva Tour: Discover ‘’the place to be seen’’, Budva Old Town, a very old historical town where you can gaze the Adriatic Sea The old town of Budva lies on a little island that was linked to the land by a sandbar and in time turned into a peninsula. It is surrounded by ramparts originating from the 15th century including a medieval fortification system with city gates, defense walls and towers. The Old Town consists of narrow streets and alleys and small squares with precious monuments of different Mediterranean cultures that have marked the development of this town. Continue journey to the charming Sveti Stephan Island, a unique place not only Montenegro or Budva’s Riviera but in the whole Mediterranean. It stands on the cliff of a rocky island with roofs red like rubies. A sand isthmus looking like a stem connects it with the land. It came into existence in a unique way. Previously a fishing village, in 1960 it was converted into the old town, with its tower, narrow streets, shops and small churches, remained unchanged.

**Podgorica City Tour : We will start the tour from the main square of the town, now called the Independence square. We will head through the center and down cobblestoned steps to the confluence of Moraca and Ribnica where the little Roman Bridge.  From the bridge we will head up to the old Turkish part of the town. The memory of 4 centuries of Ottoman rule and the beloved Clock Tower. From here we will head towards the other side of the town, where we will see the winter palace of Montenegro’s last king , passing through the growing business part of the town we will finish the tour at the magnificent Orthodox Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

Day 4, Podgorica – Kotor – Trebinje

After breakfast check out from hotel and start way to Kotor. (85 Km – Approx: 2 Hour and 30 Minutes). After arrival, we will start our city tour at Kotor and we will have our lunch during our tour. End of the tour, transfer to Trebinje. Arrival & city tour in Trebinje. After the tour, transfer to hotel, checkinn and freetime for leisure. Dinner and Accomodation at our hotel in Trebinje.

*B-L-D – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

**Kotor Tour: Visit beautiful Kotor Old Town, a well preserved urbanization typical of the middle ages built between the 12th and 14th century. The city’s old town and best known landmark, which is listed with UNESCO World heritage sites.The Stari Grad is fully walled (the mountain functions as a rear wall). Four gates offer access to the town: The Main Gate, along the Bay, the North Gate, the South Gate, and a smaller New Gate. There are no cars allowed in the Stari Grad.

The Kotor bay is the deepest natural fjord in the Mediterranean Sea, and the scenery around it (including the steep mountains which come almost to the waterfront) is spectacular.

**Trebinje Tour: Trebinje is one of the most beautiful cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is called “the city of sun and platan trees”. Itis a small city and is best experienced by foot.Arslanagića bridge (Perovića brigde) built in the 16th century,as Ottoman bridge used to connect the road between Dubrovnik and Istanbul. In the sixties it was moved 5km brick-by-brick to Trebinje to prevent being demolished for the building of a dam. Old Town (walk through one of the two old city gates). Between the old city walls of Trebinje, people still go about their daily lives as normal. It is home to two beautiful old mosques, small alleyways, a museum, and tons of cafes. Herzegovacka Gracanica Monastery constructed in the year 2000 and is an exact copy of the Gracanica monastery in Kosovo. This religious complex includes an impressive bell, icon gallery, parish’s home, amphitheatre, fountain, church bookshop, museum and summer garden. The views of the city from the monastery are quite picturesque and can be seen from any point in Trebinje.

 

Day 5, Trebinje – Mostar & Poçitell & Blagaj – Sarajevo

Breakfast, and chek out from the hotel. We will move to Sarajevo. On our way, we will visit beautiful old Turkish Village Poçitell and the Blagaj which was the house for muslim dervishes at past (116 Km – Approx : 2 Hour and 30 Minutes). We will have our lunch during the tour of Mostar. End of the tour, we will transfer to Sarajevo (129 Km – Approx: 3 Hour). Arrival, transfer to hotel and freetime for leisure. Dinner and Accomodation at our hotel in Sarajevo.

 

Blagaj – Bosnia

B-L-D – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

**Mostar & Blagaj & Pocitell Trip : Our First stop of the day is a short visit to the old part of Konjic town. Unique, prehistorically inhabited, famous for 17th century 6-arch Old Bridge, looming over the turquoise Neretva river, it is a day’s perfect start. Standing at the site of WW2’s last day, during the Nazi withdrawal, we learn the story of the ‘monument to human stupidity’, the mystery of Tito’s Bunker, Boracko Lake glacier and few other stories before we continue our way. The ride continues by passing the large, dammed but very beautiful Jablanicko lake, with a short stop at Jablanica where we learn the WW2 story of ‘Neretva Battle’. Then we continue through some really amazing parts of Neretva river canyon, telling the unique stories of Herzegovina, before we arrive to our second stop – Počitelj. Unique, Medieval, dating back to the Ottoman era, present day Ottoman-Mediterranean style architecture fortress in Počitelj town, is one of the very few urban ensembles in Bosnia and Herzegovina preserved in their integrity to the present times. After Pocitelj, we keep going, and after a short ride we arrive to Blagaj. Blagaj town is home to the Buna river spring – Europe’s most beautiful, most powerful, clean and drinkable river spring, settled beneath few hundred meters of rocks. Water comes out of quite large but stunningly deep cave, which springs amazing 43 cubic meters of water per second. Just next to the spring, under the rock, is home to Blagaj Tekke – Dervish house, dating most likely to a pre or early Ottoman era from early 16th century, and it is a unique sacral-residential example of Islamic architecture in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After a visit to Blagajska Tekija and Izvor rijeke Bune we stay there for bit longer as it is time for lunch. Due to the cleanliness of Buna river, the most important thing to taste in Blagaj today is the local trout. Later, only 15 minute further, it is time for the visit to Mostar, which is the most important jewel in this Herzegovina day trip. As soon as we arrive to Mostar, we start our 2 hour walking tour which will cover most important sites and locations in Mostar. We focus at Mostar’s Old Bridge, Old Bazaar and Old Town, but offer stories of Mostar’s uniqueness, in regards to historical and cultural diversity. In Mostar we give our guests free time to explore on their own as we simply do not like to hold a candle all the way. After Mostar it is time to go back to Sarajevo, and it will take us around two hours ride before we are home.

Day 6, Sarajevo

Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy the fullday Sarajevo City Tour. We will have our lunch during the city tour at local restaurant. At Evening, meeting at the hotel lobby for our dinner transfer. We will get our dinner in traditional Bosnian Restaurant with live traditional music. End of the dinner, return back to hotel and freetime. Accomodation at the hotel in Sarajevo.

*B-L-D – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Academy of Fine Arts-Sarajevo night

**Sarajevo City Tour : Capital of the Bosnia, Sarajevo is one of the top destination on Balkan Region. The main sights of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian architecture and will show you a unique line where East meets West.  Starting with Bascarsija Square, an outdoor market that was built in 15th century you will get short tour introduciton The wooden fountain Sebilj, one of the main simbols of Sarajevo will be our first stop. our guide will tell you some of the secrets of this  Sarajevans favorite meeting point also known as the Pigeon Square. Heading to Kazandziluk (Coppersmith Street), where you can feel like you’ve stepped back into the 16th century as you browse the copper crafts, from jewelry to pottery. After Bravadziluk street, famous for its restorautns you will get to the pearl of Austro Hungarian architecture, also one of the symbols of this remarkable city – The City Hall. The tour will contine along the Miljacka river to our next stop. Worldwide know site .-Latin bridge, the place of Assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand that triggered WWI. Heading back to Ottoman area, you will enjoy stories about Gazi Husrev Bey and his heritage we still are proud of. Once you step from Ottoman area to Austrian part of the town, you will be fascinated by totally different street style and architecture. Find out why Sarajevo is know as Europian Jerusalem… 

Day 7, Sarajevo – Belgrade

Breakfast and check out from hotel. Transfer to Belgrade, Serbia (294 Km – Approx: 6 Hour by coach).Lunch at the local restaurant on the way. Arrival and Belgrade City Tour. After tour, transfer to hotel and freetime. Dinner will be served at the hotel restaurant. Accomodation at the hotel in Belgrade.

*B-L-D – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Kalemegdan Fortress and Victor Monument-Belgrade-Serbia

Belgrad Tour : Start the tour from Studentski Trg, and head towards New Belgrade, on the other side of the Sava River. Built as a new part of the town, after the WWII and during the socialist regime, it has many interesting buildings. Ex-Central Committee of the Communist Party, Federal Executive Council, also known as Palace of Federation, Genex Tower or Western Gate of Belgrade, Sava Center, one of the biggest congress halls in this part of Europe, etc. Cross the Gazela Bridge and head for Dedinje – Belgrade’s richest residential area, where you can see the Museum of History of Yugoslavia and House of Flowers – the resting place of Josip Broz Tito, a leader of second Yugoslavia. Continue to Vračar area, where you can see one of Belgrade’s  most prominent landmarks  – The Church of St. Sava (also known as St. Sava Temple, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world. Shortstop for taking pictures. By passing the Slavija Square, you will enter Nemanjina Street.: Government Building, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Staff of Serbian Army, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance, the State Court,  After that, Kralja Milana Street with Old and New Royal Palaces. Stop in front of the Parliament Building where there is a short break for taking pictures and a walk between the Old and New Royal Palaces where you can hear the stories about the two dynasties that ruled Serbia in the 19th and 20th centuries.King Aleksandar Boulevard: Main Post Office, St. Mark’s Church, Tašmajdan Park, Metropol Palace Hotel, University Library and Technical University with monuments to Nikola Tesla and Vuk Karadzic.Terazije Square with its recognizable 19-th century white stone fountain and one of the most beautiful buildings in the city – the Moskva Hotel.  Republic Square: the National Museum and the National Theater and Opera buildings/ Walk trough Kalemegdan, the oldest and largest park in the city centre. Starting from Leopold’s Gate, you will pass by the remains of the Roman castrum – Singidunum and medieval walls built upon it – Zindan Gate, Despot’s Gate, Jakšića tower, Chapel of St Petka and Ružica Church (Virgin Mary Church). Upper town (Gornji grad):  the magnificent sight of the confluence of two rivers: the Sava and the Danube, Mehmed-pasha Sokolović fountain, the Victor monument by world-renowned sculptor Ivan Meshtrovic, one of Belgrade landmarks, Roman well, the King’s gate and Sava promenade, the Damat Ali Pasha Tomb, Clock Gate (Sahatkapija) Clock Tower (Sahatkula), Military Museum and Istanbul’s gate (Stambol gate), Monument of Gratitude to France. Through the pedestrian street Knez Mihajlova, you will reach the Republic square once again passing by many interesting examples of civil architecture from 19th and 20th century, such as Serbian Academy of Science and Arts…

Day 8, Belgrade – Niš

Breakfast, and chek out from the hotel. Continous way to Niš (237 Km – Approx : 3 Hour), one of the most beautiful historical city in Serbia. City tour and lunch, after transfer to hotel and freetime for leisure. Dinner and accomodation at our hotel in Niš.

B-L-D – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

**Nis City Tour : Serbia’s third largest metropolis is a lively city of curious contrasts, where Roma in horse-draqn carriages trot alongide new cars, and posh coctails are sipped in antiquated alleyways. It’s a buzzy kind of place, with a high number of university students, packed-out lane way bars, a happening live music scene and pop-up markets and funfairs come summertime. Niš was settled in pre-Roman times, but hit its peak during the years of the Empire. Constantine The Great (AD 280-337) was born here, as were two Roman Emperors, Contantius 3 and Justin 1. Turkish rule lasted from 1386 until 1877, desite several Serb revolts; Ćele Kula (Towers of Skulls) and Niš Fortress are reminders of Ottoman dominion. Niš also had it rough during WW2, the Nazis built one of Serbia’s most notorious concentration camps here. We will visit Čegar Hill (battlefield from the first Serbian Uprising), Skull Tower Museum, Mediana Archeological Side, Niš Fortress, Bridge on Nišava River and Square of King Milan…

Day 9, Niš – Skopje

After breakfast check out from hotel and start way to Skopje, capital of the Macedonia (214 Km – Approx: 3 Hour). After arrival, we will start our city tour at Skopje and we will have our lunch during our tour. End of the tour, transfer to your hotel, check inn, free time and dinner in hotel. Accomodation at the hotel in Skopje.

*B-L-D – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Skopje Macedonia

**Skopje City Tour : Listen as your guide tells you about the square’s many important monuments and sculptures. These include the statue of Tzar Samuil, ruler of the First Bulgarian Empire, and statues of Goce Delchev and Dame Gruev,  two leaders of the Macedonian liberation struggle in the beginning of 20th century. Head out to the main pedestrian street in Skopje and visit the Memorial House of Mother Teresa, who was born in Skopje. Cross the Vardar river via the 15th-century Stone Bridge from where you can see more sculptures of figures from Macedonian history.  Continue walking to the old part of the city and to the Old Bazaar to explore its stalls and Ottoman architecture. Visit the most famous church in Skopje, Sveti Spas, the Church of the Ascension of Jesus, with its wood-carved iconostasis.

Day 10, Skopje – Sofia

Breakfast, and chek out from the hotel. We will move to Sofia which is the capital city of Bulgaria (243 Km – Approx: 4 Hour). Arrival and start to city tour in Sofia. After tour, we will transfer to hotel, check inn and freetime for leisure. Dinner will be served in our hotel. Overnight in Sofia

B-L-D – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

**Sofia Tour: The tour starts with a visit to Boyana church (UNESCO listed site), the National Historical Museum – here you will see many collections of artifacts of Balkan history. Then you will go to Pancharevo Lake for lunch and rest with touch of the nature. We will proceed to the city center, across the National Palace of Culture and through the ancient St. George Rotunda, the Administration of the President, the National Archeological Museum, the 16th century Banya Bashi Mosque, St. Nedelya – old metropolitan cathedral, the National Theatre, the former Royal Palace (now housing the National Revival Art Gallery and the Ethnographic Museum), the Russian Church St. Nikolay, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, The National Assembly Square, where, in the middle of the square sits the impressive Tsar Osvoboditel (King Liberator) monument, erected in 1907 by the Italian sculptor Arnoldo Zocchi, The Holy Synod, Saint Sofia Church, The Bulgarian National Gallery for Foreign Art, the Alexander Nevski Cathedral – the biggest one in Bulgaria and according to many – the most spectacular building in Sofia. The tour end at Alexander Nevski Cathedral.

Day 11, Sofia – Edirne

After breakfast check out from hotel and start way towards Edirne, Turkey. After arrival we will have city tour in Edirne. We will have our lunch at local restaurant during the city tour. End of the trip, transfer to hotel, Check inn and freetime for leisure. At Evening, meeting at the hotel lobby for our dinner transfer. We will get our dinner in traditional Turkish Restaurant with live traditional music. End of the dinner, return back to hotel and freetime. Accomodation at the hotel in Edirne.

B-L-D – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

**Edirne City Tour : The Edirne tour starts with an early departure from Istanbul, as you will have a nice drive ahead of you, first alongside the European Cost of the Marmara Sea, and then towards inland Thrace. You will witness the unique countryside lifestyle at this region. Major sights to visit in Edirne are; The Selimiye Mosque, the masterpiece of Architect Sinan and The Üç Şerefeli Mosque, as well as the The Covered Bazaar. Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1453; until the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) which became the empire’s new capital. This beautiful city is famed for its many mosques, elegant domes and minarets; and it contains the ruins of the ancient palace of the Sultans. The Selimiye Mosque, built in 1575 the master architect Sinan,his masterpiece by his own words, is located in Edirne as well. It has the highest minarets in Turkey, at 70.9 meters, of an altogether grandiose appearance, and a cupola three or four feet higher than that of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. 

Day 12, Edirne – İstanbul

Breakfast at the hotel and check out. We will moving to Istanbul, capital of the culture and heritage of modern Turkey (237 Km – 3 Hour) . Once we reach to Istanbul , we will start our heritage tour in Istanbul. We will have our lunch during the tour. After trip, we will transfer to hotel and check inn. Dinner will be served in our hotel. Accomodation at the hotel in Istanbul.

**Istanbul Heritage Tour : We will discover many heritage for Turkish History on this tour. We will visit, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome of İstanbul, Tour of “Sultan Ahmet Center”, the heart of the “Old City” from where the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires were ruled. Hagia (St.) Sophia, one of the greatest marvels of architecture, constructed as a basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian.Built in 537 by Byzantine Emperor Justinianus,  St.Sophia has been the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand yeras; it is considered the masterpiece of Byzantine architecture;after having been the Patriarchal basilica of Constantinople, it was converted into a mosque in 1453 by Sultan Mehmet II. the Conqueror and in to a museum by Atataurk in 1935. Blue Mosque, facing Hagia Sophia, famous with its blue Iznik tiles and unique with 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet. The last great imperial mosque of the classical period; it is name comes from 20.000 marvellous blue-toned Iznik tiles decorating the interior walls. Hippodrome, center of sportive (chariot races, athletics) events and political activities of the old city. Obelisk of Theodosius, Serpentine Column, German Fountain of Wilhelm II are the monuments decorating Hippodrome. Lunch at the Special Turkish Restaurant Topkapi Palace, this extraordinary and secret palace was the residence of the Imperial Ottoman Sultans and the center of the Ottoman might for nearly 400 years.The building are a typical example of Ottoman architecture and the rooms exhibit rich collections of porcelains, robes, weapons,shields,armors,Ottoman miniatures, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts as well as Ottoman treasures and jewellery. ( Treasury and Harem sections are not included in the program and are due to extra entry ) Grand Bazaar, the largest covered narket in the world with more than 60 streets and 4.000 shops, where you may find in a authentic oriental atmosphere all kind of gifts, leather clothing,rugs and kilims, antiques,jewellery,hand-woven fabrics etc… 

 

Day 13, Istanbul 

Breakfast at the hotel. After, we will start our Two Continents and Bosphorus Cruise Trip. We will have our lunch at local restaurant during the our trip. End of the trip, transfer to hotel and freetime for leisure. Dinner will be served in our hotel. Accomodation at the hotel in Istanbul.

**Two Continents and Bosphorus Cruise Tour : From your hotel, Head to your boat for a sightseeing cruise at the inlet to the Bosphorus Strait and Golden Horn, which splits European Istanbul apart. Get your camera ready to snap selfies as your boat traverses past Istanbul’s top attractions. See the vast Bosphorus Bridge, Rumeli Fortress, and Dolmabahçe. Then, gaze over towards the Asian coastline and relish views of mosques and elegant mansions. In the afternoon, hop off your boat in Asia on the Bosphorus coastline for a delicious 3-course lunch at a scenic restaurant. Next, climb by coach to Istanbul’s peak, Camlica Hill, and savor a stunning panoramic vantage point that captures the elegance of Istanbul. Continue back across the Bosphorus Bridge for a guided tour of Dolmabahçe Palace. Learn about the Ottoman sultans that once lived here. Then, glimpse into a world of opulence and luxury as you saunter by chambers, the Crystal Staircase and revel at the gaudy array of the sultan’s wealth in Medhal Hall.  Leave the palace and head back to your hotel by coach where your tour ends. 

Day 14, Departure from Istanbul  

After breakfast, we will check out from the hotel. Transfer to Istanbul airport for your flight home…

Tour ID: HP1208

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