Highlights of the Balkans
The Balkans lie on the fault line that separates Europe from the Orient, sandwiched between great powers of old – the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. For this reason, it is perhaps the most eclectic part of the continent, and to use a well-worn – but very appropriate – cliché, where East meets West. And from the shores of the Adriatic to snow-capped peaks and glacial lakes, its landscapes are as diverse as its history.
Within a couple of weeks we visit the countries of Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia. Our Highlights of the Balkans trip will show you the many highlights of this little-understood region.
From the lively city of Belgrade we travel to Nis with its Roman remains and gruesome ‘skull tower’. Then we explore the old Ottoman influences of Novi Pazar. Next crossing into the mountain republic of Montenegro we explore the gorgeous landscapes of Durmitor and Biogradska Gora, full of lakes, forests and mountains. En route to the coast, we stop at the historic city of Cetinje.
Once at the coast, we explore the charms of Dubrovnik and then return inland to learn about the region’s tragic recent past in cities like Mostar and Sarajevo. Along the way we stop in small villages like Jacje, with its atmosphere of yesteryear and old watermills. We’ll try to uncover some of the more rural aspects of Balkan life.
In Plitvice we walk along turquoise lakes, waterfalls and rivers, through forests, where some of Europe’s most enigmatic wildlife still hides. We also visit Croatia’s green capital, Zagreb, with its historic buildings and quirky museums.
Our final days of the tour see us travelling to Vukovar, to learn about its role in the Balkans War, the monasteries of Fruska Gora and the town of Novi Sad, with its imposing fortress. We’ll visit atmospheric bazaars and typical villages where the pace of life has changed little in generations.
The Balkans defy easy or single definitions – modern yet traditional, Islamic yet Orthodox. It is this mélange that makes a journey here so special. Travelling here, on our Highlights of the Balkans tour, you’ll cross many borders, not just between nations, but through endless layers of history.