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THE SPIRIT OF THE BALKANS

MACEDONIA, ALBANIA, MONTENEGRO AND CROATIA

 

DAY 1: SKOPJE AIRPORT - VISIT OF A WINERY – BACK TO SKOPJE (168 km) 

Departure to Tikves Winery – Bus transfer

Walking tour at the winery and lunch with wine tasting 

The Tikves wine district, recognized as the most important quality vine growing region in Macedonia, is home of Tikves Winery. This is where the Mediterranean climate from the south meets the continental winds from the north, creating superb wine growing conditions to produce fruit forward, lively, temperamental and complex wines. In average, we process 30.000 tones of grapes annually. Located over an area of 100.000 m², Tikves Winery currently employs 350 people and markets its wine throughout Macedonia and in over 15 foreign countries, making it the largest wine operation in Macedonia.

Departure to Skopje and the hotel

Accommodation and free time

Dinner at the hotel

Overnight

 

DAY 2: SKOPJE SIGHTSEEING 

Breakfast

Sightseeing of Skopje city with local tour guide (4 h)

Visiting the cultural and historical sites of Skopje.

- Kale Fortress,

- Mustafa Pasha Mosque,

- Church St. Spas (The Holy Savior Church)

- Old Bazaar in Skopje

- Daut Pasha’s Bath 1489/1497 year,

- Kurshumli Han (a monument from 1550 year),

- Kapan Han,

- The Stone Bridge,

- The Memorial House of Mother Teresa,

- Square Macedonia

Lunch in a national restaurant. Free time for individual activities. 

Overnight. 

 

DAY 3: SKOPJE–MAVROVO NATIONAL PARK–ST. JOVAN BIGORSKI–OHRID (228 km) 

Breakfast

Check out from the hotel

Departure to Ohrid.

Skopje – Mavrovo National Park – St. John - Ohrid

Short stop at Mavrovi Anovi

The National Park - Mavrovo is the largest of all three national parks in Macedonia.

As a result of the great relief differentiation, it has an outstanding floristic wealth as well as rather diverse fauna with many different species of birds and mammals.

The journey will proceed via the rivers Crn Drim and Radika with views of the picturesque scenery of the canyons of the River Radika.

Arrival at the monastery of St. Jovan Bigorski and visit

The Monastery is one of the rare monuments that immediately attract the attention of tourists, its attraction lying both in its setting and in the treasures contained within it.At an elevation of 740 meters, surrounded by Mount Bistra and deeply embedded in the rocks, the architecture of the monastery is unique. Of special note is its vast carved iconostasis or altar screen wrought by well known Macedonian wood-carvers. Within the monastery there is a gallery of icons and liturgical objects.

The monastic complex is astonishing with its unique location and character, but what is perhaps even more astonishing is the splendor of the natural beauty of the rivers Crn Drim and Radika together with their lakes, valleys and canyons, lying between Mt. Bistra and Korab, two of the most beautiful mountains in the Balkans, not to mention the attractive tourist and ski center of Mavrovo.

Lunch in a national restaurant in the village of Janche (included), the location of the restaurant is close to the monastery

Departure to Ohrid

Arrival and check in in a hotel in the center of Ohrid

Free time

Dinner with folklore show 

Overnight

 

DAY 4: OHRID 

Breakfast

Sightseeing of old part of Ohrid with professional tour guide (3 h)

 

Walking through the old streets of Ohrid, passing by its traditional architecture, you will be constantly aware of its monuments to different periods of history.

At every hundred meters you will encounter significant sights such as the following:

- The Ohrid Fortress - the Fortress of Tsar Samuel, the crown of Ohrid and of Lychnidos

- Sv.Bogorodica Perivlepta – the Church of the Holly Mother of God Perivleptos dating from 1295, with its remarkable architecture and frescoes is one of the best known monuments of its kind not only in Macedonia, but also worldwide.(entrance )

- The Gallery of icons, belong to the period between the 11th and the 19th centuries.(entrance )

- The Antique Theatre - the oldest antique theatre in Macedonia, built for- among other things – gladiatorial combats, has been reconstructed to house theatrical performances and concerts

- Plaosnik – the spiritual and cultural source of Ohrid with preserved, restored and exposed architectural remains from the period of St,Clement, as well as before and after him, an Early Christian complex with the rebuilt church of St.Clement (St.Panteleimon) and parts of the original monastic complex- the first Slavonic University, the cradle of the literacy and culture the Slavonic clergy.(entrance )

- St.Jovan Kaneo - a church dating from the 13th century and situated on a rock above the lake is a symbol of the town, poetry engraved on a rock and well known both in Macedonia and worldwide.

- St.Sofia – the cathedral church of the Ohrid Episcopate, with its outstanding architectural construction and invaluable frescoes dating from the 11th and 12th centuries.(entrance )

- The House of the Robev Family (panoramic view, no entrance), a work of art dating from 1863 and housing a significant collection of exhibits from the Ohrid area and prehistory, the antique period and the Middle Ages.

Time for lunch 

Free afternoon

Dinner in a national restaurant in Ohrid 

Overnight

 

DAY 5: OHRID – ST. NAUM - OHRID (BOAT TOUR) (64 km) 

Breakfast

Free time to enjoy in the morning coffee by the lake

Departure to the monastic complex St.Naum by boat.

On the way to St.Naum visit the Museum on water ”BAY OF THE BONES”, reconstruction of a prehistoric pile-dwelling settlement. 

The monastery complex St. Naum (dated from 9th century), built by St. Naum, a disciple of St. Cyril and Methodius, and is one of the most significant monasteries in the Balkans, situated on the Macedonian-Albanian border on the west side of the attractive Mount Galicica.

Sightseeing of St.Naum with professional tour guide

Lunch in St.Naum in a national restaurant 

(During the lunch time, there is a possibility to take a small boat tour (20 min) on the springs around the restaurant)

Free time in St.Naum

St. Naum - Ohrid

Free time in Ohrid

Overnight

 

DAY 6: OHRID – TIRANA (ALBANIA) (135 km) 

Breakfast

Check out

Bus transfer to Tirana – the capital of Albania

Arrival and check in at the hotel

Lunch time

Sightseeing of Tirana (2,5 h)

After meeting with the guide in center the group will walk toward Ish-Blloku or commonly known as Blloku (literally the Block) and will observe the memorial with 3 objects representing terror, paranoia and isolation, as instruments of dictatorship".

Free time for lunch

After lunch the group will walk again in the center and visit the mosque and the clock-tower. On the way is the pyramid (mausoleum of the late communist leader Enver Hoxha, designed by his daughter).

Your tour will end with the visits of national museum in Tirana.

Dinner 

 

DAY 7: TIRANA–KRUJA–DURRES–TIRANA (121 km) 

Breakfast

After Breakfast the guide will pick you up for the drive to Kruja a small town perched high on a hill close to Tirana.

It was the centre of Albanian resistance against the Turks under our national hero Scanderbeg who kept them from crossing into Western Europe for 25 years, thus earning the title “Champion of Christ” awarded by the pope. You will visit the Skanderbeg Museum, Ethnographic Museum and the Old Bazaar full of traditional souvenirs.

Have a typical Albanian lunch in Kruja

After lunch, depart for Durres

Durres is one of the oldest Albanian cities established in 627 B.C. as a Greek colony named Epidamnus. Visit the Amphitheatre situated in a central living quarter and Archaeological Museum. In the afternoon return to Tirana, where you are left at leisure to experience more of the city’s nightlife and mingle with the locals.

Optional: Based on your interests, our guide will accompany you at some of the biggest shopping centers in Tirana.

Overnight in Tirana

 

DAY 8:TIRANA–SHKODER–PODGORICA-KOLASIN (MONTENEGRO) (223 km)

Breakfast

Tirana – Shkoder

Continue to Shkodra centre of Roman Catholicism in Albania and a town with long historic roots. It is the only mentioned capital of the Illyrian Kingdom in the 3rd century B.C. Visit the pedestrian area with Italian influences and the catholic cathedral.

Free time for lunch in Shkoder 

Departure to Podgorica (Montenegro)

After crossing the border between Albania and Montenegro, we drive towards the Montenegrin Capital Podgorica. A tour of the town and then we continue north to Kolasin.

Arrival in Kolasin and check in at the hotel

Dinner (included) and overnight

 

DAY 9: KOLASIN

Breakfast

Kolašin represents one of mayor resorts in the north of Montenegro. With its very high position of 954 m above the sea level. Kolašin makes an excellent place for winter and summer holidays. The very good location and climate makes this area a real spa destination.

Biogradsko lake is a peak of mountain Bjelasica and Montenegro, which is a part national Park Biogradska Gora. Another fact which is worthy to be added is that “ Biogradska Gora “ represents one of only three unspoiled forests in Europe.

Biogradska lake is at 1094 m above the sea level and is on unforgettable experience for visiting. Another place worthy visiting is and the national park “ Durmitor “ and the canyon of river Tara the deepest one in whole Europe and after Grand Canyon Colorado, second deepest in the world. Canyon of river Tara is under the protection of UNESCO list of world heritage. Kolašin because of its climate is a year round tourist destination.

During the summer large number of sunny days, fresh temperature and during the winter with a large quantity of snow. Kolasin was founded in 1652, and by the Congress of Berlin in 1878 it was included in the territory of Montenegro. Not very far from Kolasin is a ski centre Bjelasica. With its structure Bjelasica ski – center is more suitable for beginners, but this does not mean that there are no slopes for advanced sportsmen.

Ride in terrain vehicles

Thick forest, peaks over 2000m above the sea level, 6 glacial lakes with clear water- is Biogradska gora. Jeep ride to the Bjelasica hights, walking, horse ride, breathtaking scenery, lunch and ride back.

Traditional lunch in a national restaurant or a typical Montenegrin household 

Return to the hotel

Dinner and overnight

 

DAY 10: KOLASIN – MONASTERY OSTROG - BUDVA (207 km) 

Breakfast

Check out from the hotel

Departure to the Monastery Ostrog

Monastery Ostrog, a miracle built by nature and human interaction, carved almost in its entirety in a vertically positioned mountain cliff, is today the pearl of Montenegrin spirituality which is visited by more than a hundred thousand pilgrims from around the world and of travelers of all religions every year.

It is one of three most visited Christian destinations on the planet with its cave-like chapel and the Monastery complex that preserves the sanctity of Saint Basil the Great, Orthodox Christian Saint of Miracles.

All of Montenegrin spirituality, beliefs and cultural treasures found their home high up in the Ostrog cliffs. This breathtaking destination will fill your soul with high elevated feelings of devotion and reverence to God.

Departure to Budva

The city of Budva is the city with most hotels in Montenegro and with most high class category hotels in the whole territory of “wild beauty “state. The most attractive areas of municipality of Budva are: Sveti Stefan, Bčići, Petrovac, Miločer etc. Budva can be proud on a lot of its attractions, but two attractions are among the most beautiful in the whole world.

The beach of Bečići was declared as the most beautiful beach in the Mediterranean in Paris by French tourism experts and the Sveti Stefan peninsula is found in almost every magazine of travel in top 40 places on earth you must visit or see.

Check in at the hotel in Budva

Lunch in Budva 

Free time

Dinner and overnight

 

DAY 11: BUDVA SIGHTSEEING

Breakfast

Sightseeing of Budva old town

The foundations for Budva’s current splendor were first laid over 2500 years ago, and legend says that it all began with love! Traditional stories tell of the supreme Greek God, Zeus, who in his constant pursuit of beautiful maidens abducted the Phoenician princess Europa. As Europa’s headstrong brother, Cadmus enters the picture by seeking the advice of the all-knowing oracle at Delphi. He eventually kills a dragon, and thus commits a sin against the Gods, who expel his entire family from their hometown of Thebes. In their shame, Cadmus leaves Thebes with his wife Harmonia and their children on an ox-drawn cart - the faithful ox that pulled that cart? Butoe (Budva)!
Budva’s walls were built straight out of the Adriatic sea and what we see today is really only a fraction of the city’s splendor at its height, preserved with loving care by the local residents of Budva who are proud of their long history. The sea really defined life in Old Town Budva, and was the town’s source of life for many thousands of years, connecting Budva with the outside world, enabling Budva to trade for foreign goods, become rich, and built the architectural treasures that make the city an enjoyable place for all of us living today. To look on Old Town Budva’s city walls from a nearby hill, or gaze out of the loopholes (designed for arrows) that penetrate Budva’s stone defences, we can begin to imagine what life was like in Budva across the ages. These ramparts widen to form the Citadel, once a tremendous fortification on the Adriatic but now a more peaceful venue for the city’s many “City Theater” performances, which have found the perfect stage for drama productions.These theater productions in Old Town Budva are also performed on the smaller stage “between the churches” which symbolically means that these events are protected by three saintly powers from different times in history. Namely, the churches involved include “Saint Mary in Punta” (built in 840), “Saint Sava” (built in the 12th-13th centuries) and the “Holy Trinity” (built in 1804). The Budva theatre tradition has gradually developed from the ancient roots of religious processions and masked balls that have now grown and matured together with the Budva and mark Old Town Budva as a prime attraction all year long. The bright, cheerful spirit of the masked dancers is still thriving through the “Festadjuni" (masked ball) of Budva!
Underneath the plateau that borders Budva and in front of the church of Saint John (believed to be originally built in the 7th century), we find the Roman public baths (called terme) hidden from view. Archaeologists who have studied Old Town Budva date these Roman public baths to the 3rd and 4th centuries AD.
Preserved parts of the Roman streets still lead into the building of the Budva Town Museum. After many centuries, the traces of life left behind by the Illyrians, Greeks, and Romans are finally displayed in the new museum building: terra-cotta dishes which the people of Budva used to eat from in the 5th and 6th centuries BC; stone jars from which they tasted the thick, smooth Mediterranean wine typical to the region; amphora for keeping the valuable golden yellow olive oil that seems to run in their veins. Also found in the Budva City Museum are ancient urns, jewelry, coins, buckles, cutlery, medical instruments, and miniature multi-colored glass vessels for collecting sweet-smelling ointments or the tears of a loved one, which might have been useful when their men would sail off to sea…
The remains of the ancient Budva city gates through which those same sailors perhaps came back to their homes, are now displayed in the premises of a boutique where today one can find some modern items from important European fashion capitals. Outside the walls of the Old Town Budva, in a part of one of the popular cafes, lie the remains of Roman mosaics. In Budva, the past really does live alongside the present. Outside the protection of the Old Town stonewalls of Budva’s oldest district, modern revelers will find entertainments to suit all tastes and budgets – Budva’s hotels, restaurants and clubs and also joined by family-fare such as children’s entertainment centers and cafes closely stacked together in a charming, if not hectic, setting. The island of "Saint Nicholas" still keeps a watchful eye on Budva and its numerous sandy beaches - being the only island in the vicinity of Budva and its Old Town center.
Budva arose from romantic beginnings, so legend says, and the city will not disappoint the pleasure seeker, romantic, or adventurer who seek their ways to Budva’s ancient stone streets.

Lunch 

Free time

Dinner and overnight

 

DAY 12: BECICI – KOTOR – DUBROVNIK (116 km)

Breakfast

Check out from the hotel

Departure to Dubrovnik

Stop in Kotor and visit of the old town

Located along one of Wold’s most beautiful bays is Kotor, a city of traders and famous sailors, with many stories to tell.

The Old City of Kotor is a well preserved urban area typical of the middle Ages, built between the 12th and 14th century. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor a UNESCO listed “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site”.

Through the entire city the buildings are criss-crossed with narrow streets and squares. One of these squares contains the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon (Sveti Tripun), a monument of Roman culture and one of the most recognisable symbols of the city.

The Church of Saint Luke (Sveti Luka) from the 13th century, Church of Saint Ana (Sveta Ana) from the 12th century, Church of Saint Mary (Sveta Marija) from the 13th century, Church of the Healing Mother of God (Gospe od Zdravlja) from the 15th century, the Prince’s Palace from the 17th century and the Napoleon’s Theatre from the 19th century are all treasures that are part of the rich heritage of Kotor. Carnivals and festivals are organized each year to give additional charm to this most beautiful city of the Montenegrin littoral.

Lunch time in Kotor 

Departure for Dubrovnik

Regardless of whether you are visiting Dubrovnik for the first time or the hundredth, the sense of awe never fails to descend when you set eyes on the beauty of the old town. Indeed it’s hard to imagine anyone becoming jaded by the city’s marble streets, baroque buildings and the endless shimmer of the Adriatic, or failing to be inspired by a walk along the ancient city walls that have protected a civilized, sophisticated republic for centuries.

Arrival and check in at the hotel

Short orientation tour in Dubrovnik and free time

Dinner and overnight

 

DAY 13: DUBROVNIK 

Breakfast

Sightseeing of Dubrovnik with local tour guide

The city of Dubrovnik (Latin: Ragusa) was built on maritime trade. In the Middle Ages it became the only city-state in the Adriatic to rival Venice. Supported by its wealth and skilled diplomacy, the city achieved a remarkable level of development during the 15th and 16th centuries. Furthermore, Dubrovnik was one of the centres of the development of the Croatian language and literature, home to many notable poets, playwrights, painters, mathematicians, physicists and other scholars.

Today Dubrovnik is the proudest feather in Croatia's tourist cap, an elite destination and one of the most beautiful towns in the Mediterranean. Dubrovnik used to be an independent republic, surviving mostly on trade. It managed to survive many centuries, with constant threats to its territory, particularly from the mighty Ottoman Empire and Venice. As early as 19th century, it was discovered by celebrities as a place to be seen. George Bernard Shaw once said that "those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik and find it". Royalty, presidents and diplomats have all favored the city. The late Pope John Paul II was a fan of Dubrovnik and was even made an honorary citizen. Out of the 23 top luxury hotels in Croatia in 2010, a dozen were located in Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik is steeped in stunning architecture and sculptural detail, and boasts spectacular churches, monasteries, museums, and fountains. A multitude of typical towns and excursions include: The Elaphiti Islands, the attractive town of Cavtat the Konavle valley, Mljet Island, Korcula Island, Ston and Peljesac Peninsula. The neighboring towns of Kotor and Perast in Montenegro or Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina also make for intriguing day trips.

 

Dubrovnik is both a seaport and the centre of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Its population was 42,615 inhabitants according to census data from 2011. Dubrovnik is nicknamed "Pearl of the Adriatic". Tourism is the most important industry in Dubrovnik so according to data from 2012, there were 45 hotels:

twelve 5* hotels, nine 4* hotels, twenty two 3* hotels and two 2* hotels.

Lunch time in Dubrovnik

Free time

Dinner at the hotel and overnight

 

DAY 14: DUBROVNIK 

Breakfast

Free day

Farewell dinner 

 

DAY 15: AIRPORT DUBROVNIK (22 km)

Breakfast

Check out from the hotel

Transfer to the Airport of Dubronik

 

End of program

 

Price List

The price depends from the size of the group, the period of the year, quality of accommodation and other factors. 

Ask for a quotation here: info@vispoj.com.mk