The tour was excellent if you (like us) prefer to be a traveller rather than a tourist. We gained an understanding of recent history from local people, were wonderfully surprised by the beauty of the mountains and also, felt safe and at ease throughout.
This trip is a great insight into the lesser known Balkan countries, which are still relatively untouched by tourism and have an incredible history. The scenery is stunning, the food plentiful (and tasty!) and the locals incredibly friendly. This trip is a great insight into a little-known region.
An amazing part of the world. While I enjoyed the trip, I would recommend that you ensure you have an experienced leader with some knowledge of the countries being travelled through.
Ensure you read the Essential Trip Information, it is a great help in deciding if the trip is appropriate.
This trip was amazing. I highly reccommend seeing these countries before the toursim explodes there. With such history and a relatively new independent country (Kosovo), you will not be disappointed. Intrepid goes out of their way to go off the beaten track and times and to ensure you get to see the highlights of the countries you travel to. Go for it, you won’t regret your decision.
Great trip, be prepared, to make friends, have fun, explore, learn some history and see how other countries live.
Western Balkans trip was really great – so much history and culture.
A great trip through areas with such history. Scenery is spectacular. Albania was a surprise packet and will become much more popular in the future. I particularly liked Lake Ohrid and Montenegro.
Would highly recommend Intrepid for the size of the groups travelling and the free time you get to do your own thing as well as the group activities.
We were very lucky to have Flutra as a guide – coming from Kosovo her local knowledge was, of course, fantastic – and our (all female) group was great. The whole trip was very varied and relaxed with time to explore solo in places if we wanted to. All in all I’d definitely recommend this trip, especially doing it in late May when the wild flowers and butterflies were stunning.
This was a sensational trip. Such a beautiful part of the world. The locals are friendly and the scenery spectacular. Food is amazing – definitely try regional specialties when you get the chance. Flutra is an outstanding guide – so friendly and accommodating, very organised and knowledgeable. The whole trip was a delight!
Have just completed a Western Balkans Uncovered Tour, and am very happy about having participated in the tour. Feel that I now have a bit more understanding of the history of the countries and it was good to be on the street and meet the people. The tour was well planned, and our guide was fantastic. Would recommend this tour to all.
Be brave, push you comfort envelope, go with your imagination and relax. You will be surprised how much you learn, not only about your destinations, but also about yourself . Oh yes, and you will also have a LOT of fun.
Great intro to the regions and not easy to navigate due to the borders. Great to have a leader fluent in the 7 languages.
We like that Intrepid provides reasonably priced, small group travel with like-minded people from a random mixture of countries, staying in relatively basic style accomodation. The tour guides have been excellent and feel like friends. The Flexibility of the tour always adds to the experience so it helps to have done a bit of background research yourself beforehand.
I would stay one more day in Sofia and use that to take the group to Rila Monastery (this would increase the cost of the tour but well worth it) that would mean that the group would arrive Skopje on a Monday when more things are open. Also the tour would finish on a Thursday & you could then think about having tours go in the other direction.
Would definitely travel again! Guide was well aware and attentive, and travel was comfortable, but I also walked away with newfound knowledge and love of a region I previously knew little about.
The climb up Mt Olympus should be offered in two options. 1) the full climb for the young & fit .. OR 2) the mid climb for the elder clients or less fit.
You can use any of my previous comments.
This trip enlightens the traveller about conditions in countries which experienced different political systems from our own and aids our understanding of issues these countries currently face. The trip exposes us to the beauty of the countries. An amazing travel experience that broadens the mind of the traveller.
A most interesting trip through lesser known countries, learning much about the culture and history. A great mix of activities – sightseeing, boat trips, walking, even swimming in Lake Ohrid. Good hotels and great food.
Tour provided insight to countries less travelled
A brilliant, culturally diverse, slightly edgy trip but be prepared for some heat. Border crossings can be a real challenge!
A great way to visit these six West Balkan countries which linked to each other,one way or another, in term of history and culture. With a knowledgeable and unbiased tour leader on hand to tell us about each countries we were visiting was real bonus for me. I have been to both Kotor and Dubrovnik a few years ago and was surprised how busy it got this time round. On your free time do these two stops before the cruise ships arrive (10 am usually). The hotels used in Berat and Kotor do not have lifts, so pack light if you dont fancy carry your heavy luggage up a few flights of narrow stairs.
As prev advised. Excellent trip activities especially Mt Olympus 14 klm climb excellent. Leader excellent thorough knowledge of the history, culture cuisine of local area.
Excellent overview of these three less well-known Balkan countries. Combines urban centres with unspoilt landscapes. Prizren in Kosovo was a highlight. although the whole itinerary was well-designed and comprehensive without feeling rushed.
Intrepid is a prefect balance of adventure and travel. There is comfort in your tour leader and accommodations, while still providing the freedom to explore on your own. The ability to interact with the local community through traveling locally or having a home stay was wonderful and that makes the trip all the more perfect!
I am not keen on your policy of dynamic pricing. Whilst I enjoyed the holiday I would be more attracted to your competitors with standard pricing
great trip to low cost countries……however some sites may be closed or under construction
Who knew the Balkans are so stunning? Lake Ohrid, Kotor and Dubrovnik and 3 of the most beautiful places on earth. Each majestic and glorious. Catch the up and coming Albania now while its still empty of the usual tourist traps. And at under £5 for a pint and a meal, gorge yourself silly on tasty food and ice cold lager.
Try reading about trips to places you had not previously considered visiting rather than always selecting famous or big name destinations.
During my Intrepid trip, I was pleasantly surprised, to meet very good people, have an incredibly knowledgeable guide and the program itinerary be so well thought out. I really enjoyed my tour with the people and the beautiful sights we saw together. We had enough time for ourselves as well as with the group.
Trip to Western Balkans would appeal to anyone interested in the recent history of demise of Yugoslavia and volatile emergence of new nations of Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia. To travel over all the borders with an insightful Intrepid guide is a chance to gain some comprehension of what these people have experienced. The tour was a good balance of visits to historical sites, allowed time in program for daily walk/climb option, many genial meals shared and stays at Lake Ohrid and Kotor on the Adriatic were very refreshing. Plenty of time given for independent discoveries in interesting places.
Great West Balkans tour travelling through interesting countries , full of history and amazing scenery. Travelling with intrepid makes crossing all the borders easier and having a good guide like Dries to explain things along the way made it even better.
Border post processing can be both a hassle and also amusing in some places in the Balkans.
The Intrepid approach to travel is very enjoyable because of the small group size, flexibility and variety of daily activities, and the reasonable cost.
Perfect trips for people who want to experience more local flavor than the usual prepackaged holidays. Be prepared for the unforeseen but know you have the backup of a fantastic team at Intrepid. Once when we had an unscheduled return to Athens because of a ferry cancellation and we were complaining how tired we were our intrepid leader laughed and quoted the classic “Well, remember this is Travel, not a holiday!” Keep on Travelling!
A great trip to do that is relaxed, but informative and covers countries you may not have thought to see.
Well organised trip, great trip leader, plenty of opportunities to wander and eat and immerse yourself in a place. The history of the Balkans is long and colourful and so interesting to learn. The people of the region are welcoming, the food is delicious and fresh. Remember, if the trip notes state “You will have to be able to easily lift your luggage and carry it up and down stairs and inclines” take note of that information – don’t be the person who whines about carrying their bag. Go visit the Balkans – it’s absolutely worth it.
To visit countries that certainly have a checkered history make this a fascinating and whilst progress is taking place, there is still a way to go. This however is without question what adds to the charm& interest of this tour. It is an inexpensive destination, no iconic souvenirs to buy so there is no need to exchange large sums of money but ATM & exchange facilities are everywhere should you need them.
Make sure you understand the trip and what it includes as to what you are required to do. Be aware that there may be physically challenging aspects to the trip. Keep luggage light. Look at getting to the starting location early and the leaving location later. In other words extra days on the front and rear ends.
A very good trip, gives you a good view and understandings for this area of Eastern Europe.
I was stunned by the physical beauty of Albania and the generosity of the people in Albania and Kosovo. We travelled in September and found the weather was cooler than expected; long-sleeved t-shirts were the way to go
Great way to get a taste of a country you might want to go back later to explore in depth
Be prepared to carry your own bag so don’t bring a huge suitcase. You get to be a local with regard to the transport. Learn the basic words of the country, hello, please and cheers got me by. The locals will appreciate it. Thanks Ivan and Intrepid.
This trip is a great way to finish off the Balkan countries. I knew very little about Albania before this trip and surprised how well they have come since living in such a supressed regime.
A very action packed 12 days, giving a good insight into the region. Transport was comfortable & journeys only tended to be three or four hours so it never felt too hectic
A comfortable trip around the balkans, if you like your sights and food its great, expect to put in a few pounds as the exercise is limited (if you like that sort of thing)
Pack light, have an open mind, take it easy, enjoy the food.
Packing lighter is better than taking to many things!!!
Always great fun to travel with Intrepid, our Tour Leader was very knowledgeable in the history of each country as well as being able to recommend great places to sample the local cuisine. Great countries to explore and plenty to see and do.
Intrepid small group tours (original level) are well paced with free time options and give you excellent local experiences. Tour leaders are very knowledgable and educating. The itineraries are varied with differing acccomodation and travel arrangements of adequate standards.
I’m including in the above number; two with Intrepid, three with Peregrine, three with Gecko’s.
I was particularly interested in the history of Albania and seeing the progress made after years of repression. The forts and castles in the Balkan area are beautiful and well worth the effort to climb the one in Kotor. Dubrovniks Wall is a must do.
A good travel group that engages and helps you engage with the local people in the countries you travel in. If you put local knowledge local culture and helping the small businesses and local people ahead of multi Nationals and 5 star comfort then travel Intrepid
If you are looking for a trip 12 or less people and you are light minded, look at Intrepid ????
This trip was a great mix of locations that are less touristic (Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania) and locations that have been touched by tourism (Montenegro and Croatia). The time spent in each city was good and highly recommend this trip to get a true balkans experience!
Intrepid is my kind of tour operator. The fantastic itineraries venture into off-the-beaten track areas, and there are always opportunities to meet the locals, tuck into heaps of local dishes and learn lots about the culture. The guides are knowledgable and fun, and the cutomers who use Intrepid are well travelled, relaxed and interesting. I also love that Intrepid pushes a responsible agenda as much as it can, too.
Fascinating part of the world to explore – Ivan selected excellent restaurants to eat in and provided very clear and unbiased details of the recent wars in the countries we visited.
Highly recommend this trip.
This trip was rich in history and off the beaten path. In some locations, there were no other tourists. We learned so much about the people, the wars and the rebuilding.
Thank God this was our 10th trip so we didn’t have to pay full price otherwise I would of been totally pissed off !! I would like to know why they use the term Comfort in their trips when they are NOT !! We do Exodus trips now as Intrepid need to get there act together to get us to travel with them again. Pull your socks up Intrepid !! I’ll place this review on FB and the Internet !!
As a long time Intrepid customer, this trip fulfilled my expectations . Comfortable hotels , enthusiastic , caring leaders , local experiences sometimes in places not many go .
This was a very interesting and enjoyable trip covering the history, heritage, cultures of the 5 different countries which we travelled. The pace was good, the free time, the guided walks, the information shared were all so good. All of this with the benefit of the great guide Dani ensured that we had a most pleasant, enjoyable and memorable holiday. Thank you for making this possible.
Intrepid provides an easy travel experience for Golden Oldies as well as the younger generation. The standard of hotels and transport always good and their leaders are well train, capable, helpful and friendly. In my experience the fellow travellers are generally like minded about travel and always friendly. Intrepid is very professional and reliable thus you can be confident of a good travel experience
Wonderful experience! If the Mount Olympus hike is no longer included, definitely include a trip to Meteora! It was breathtaking!
Please use from what we have already said
The bathing liked best. Especially on the sea, lakes and waterfalls.
This trip allows insight into a largely unexplored world in the Balkans. I learned so much about the history and culture of the region, and got some cultural experiences that I could not have designed on my own. I left the trip feeling excited about all that I had learned.
Excellent trip of a little known area of Europe. Lots of history, recent and ancient, great scenery, people, food and wine.
This tour took me to the most important and significant places in the Southern Balkans, giving a great overview of geography, history and current politics of this culturally varied and politically complicated area. Between interesting cities, beautiful mountain landscapes and interactions with locals, I feel I have a much better understanding of this area. The people of the Balkans are among the kindest and most open I have encountered. And all of this was made even better by our Intrepid Guide, Ivan, who made each place come alive with insightful information and orientation about each place visited. The Balkans are now one of my favorite places in the world.
The Dubrovnik to Athens trip was an incredible experience that I would strongly recommend to anyone interested in travelling to the Balkans! It’s a particularly great opportunity to travel to Albania and Macedonia before these countries get discovered by mass tourism as well as experiencing beautiful and less well known areas of Greece. One tip: stay an extra night in Athens or you won’t have time to see all its incredible sights. Thank you intrepid for a great trip and in particular to our fantastic tour leader Peter!
The Intrepid trip through Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia provides an excellent introduction to these three stunning, yet less visited nations! Some of the scenery along the way was absolutely breathtaking, and the local people we met were extremely hospitable and genuinely friendly. In addition, the food was delicious and healthy (mostly organic, home grown), the places we stayed in throughout the tour were well-selected and the included activities were superb.
Take this trip while the region has yet to be fully discovered by tourists. Its of enormous interest and it costs much less to travel than in any other part of Europe.
It was a very special trip to visit so many great sites before they become known to the broader world. Also it was great having Ivan as a trip leader and travelling with such a great group of people from around the world.
I really enjoyed this trip. It has a good mix of cultural, city, and nature activities. All the places we went were interesting, but I especially loved the ferry trip on Lake Koman and staying in Valbona Valley. The Decani monastery was also a standout for me. It can be quite hot in this region in the summer, so plan accordingly and pack light!
I can highly recommend the Kosovo, Albania & Macedonia Explorer to anyone who enjoys amazing scenery, good food and wine coupled with some fascinating history. From hiking in the Valbonna Valley to swimming in Lake Ohrid this tour offers something for everyone and is great value for money.