Tage 12

Style Comfort

Preis ab EUR 2.105

Reviews

This adventure combines the must-sees of the Balkan region and the lesser-known glories of North Macedonia and Albania to create the perfect balance between old and new. Hang out in Dubrovnik's Old Town, cruise around Lake Ohrid and explore boutiques in Tirana. Check out regional hot spots and experience a hefty dollop of cultural hospitality on this immersive 12-day journey.

Übersicht

Start
Skopje
Ende
Dubrovnik
Besuchte Länder
Macedonia, Republic Of, Albanien, Kosovo, Kroatien, Montenegro
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Trip Code
WMKK
Gruppengröße
12
Physical rating

Highlights

  • Admire the World Heritage-listed architecture of Dubrovnik and Montenegro’s Kotor, climbing along their ancient city walls
  • Lose yourself in Tirana, Albania's colourful capital, and partake in the local's favourite pastime: coffee-drinking and people-watching
  • Sail across the blue waters of Lake Ohrid, one of Europe's oldest lakes. No wonder North Macedonia and Albania share this beautiful attraction – nobody would want to let it go
  • Sitting alongside its Ottoman past, the North Macedonian capital of Skopje has reinvented its centre with gleaming neo-classical monuments and buildings, adding a new layer to this fascinating city

Reiseprogramm



Day 1
Skopje
Welcome to Skopje. If you arrive early in North Macedonia’s capital city perhaps venture out and discover the myriads of statues and grand monuments for which this city has become famous for (aimed to bolster national pride), first and foremost the massive statue of Alexander the Great on horseback right in the centre of Macedonia Square. Walk past Byzantine domes, Turkish baths, and also newly built neo-classical buildings, sampling gozleme and tasty baklava along the way. The 30 mosques, innumerable caravanserais and hamams that fill its winding streets are a testament to Skopje’s Ottoman past. Take a step back to those times with a visit to the Daut Pasha Hamam, or journey through the humbling Holocaust Museum to learn how Macedonia suffered during this tragic chapter of history.

Day 2
Matka Canyon / Skopje
Venture out to Matka Canyon, a deep ravine cut into the Suva mountains by the Treska River, 15 kilometres southwest of the city. This area is home to several medieval monasteries, caves, and over 70 species of endemic butterflies. There is the option to explore the canyon’s sights by boat. One of the monasteries worth exploring is St Andrew’s Monastery, which contains many superb frescoes of great artistic importance. There is also Vrelo cavern, a water-filled cave with incredible stalagmites and unchartered depths – it’s speculated to be the deepest underwater cave in the world. Alternatively, you can take one of the many nature walks in the canyon, or up to tracks that hug the ridge high above the valley. Upon arrival back into Skopje this afternoon, there is time to get lost in the narrow lanes of Caršija, Skopje’s most atmospheric neighbourhood, or take in the stone bridge over the river Vardar – an iconic sight that acts as a handy connection between Macedonia Square and the Old Bazaar. Perhaps visit the Museum of the City of Skopje, housed in the old Railway Station, which is itself a unique piece of history. Its unusual, part-ruined exterior is a result of the 1963 earthquake. The large clock on the outside of the building is frozen at 5:17, the moment the earthquake shook the city.

Day 3
Prizren / Skopje
Enjoy a day trip to historic Prizren, Kosovo’s second biggest, and arguably most beautiful city (approx. 2.5 hours). Here you’ll find traditional handicraft shops and Ottoman charm. Located at the foot of the Sar Mountains, this city was first inhabited by the Romans in the second century AD, while the Ottomans and the Byzantines also left their mark in the architecture of the cityscape. Luckily, it was spared destruction during the 1999 conflict. On arrival, head out an orientation walk of Prizren, walking alongside the Bistrica river, taking in the cobbled Shadervan square and the Old Stone Bridge, all of which will help you get your bearings of the city. Explore the city’s famous mosques and contrast it with abandoned Serbian Orthodox churches that stand as sombre reminders of the ethnic divisions that still simmer just under the surface. Wander the bazaar or admire some of the traditional jewellery in the many filigree shops before returning to Skopje (approx. 2.5 hours).

Day 4
Lake Ohrid
In the morning board our private transport to Lake Ohrid (approx. 3.5 hours). Europe’s oldest lake, and one of the oldest human settlements in the world, Ohrid has a wealth of historic sites and religious monuments to discover. Ohrid is an eternal town, a magical hill whose primordial pulsation links ancient and modern times forever. The town is said to have once been home to 365 churches, one for each day of the year, earning it the nickname “the Macedonian Jerusalem”, while historical excavations date back to Neolithic times. Despite being a World Heritage site for over 30 years, the town remains under the radar of visitors. Get your bearings on an orientation walk around Ohrid’d old bazaar area (old town).

Day 5
Lake Ohrid
Embark on a scenic cruise on the turquoise waters of Lake Ohrid, ringed by mountains, attractive villages and beaches, and take in the views of the town and the surrounding scenery while afloat. At 34 kilometres long, 14 kilometres wide, and over 300 meters deep, all shared between Albania and North Macedonia, there’s plenty of vast Lake Ohrid to explore. The afternoon is free for you to discover the area. There are many churches and monasteries to visit, but one of the most popular is the Macedonian Orthodox Church of Sveti Jovana Kaneo, situated on a rocky outcrop above the town, overlooking the lake. Past the church you can wander around to the back of town, exploring the old walls and fortress, and admiring the views of the lake. The Sveti Naum Monastery is also a great option, lying on the shores of the lake south of town, with well-kept grounds that are home to peacocks. The ancient Tast Samoil’s Fortress stands on the top of Ohrid Hill and looks across the town, while a 2,000-year-old Roman theatre was uncovered near the Upper Gate – in summer it’s again being used for concerts and performances.

Day 6
Berat
Take it slow as we cross the border into Albania and continue to the remote and rarely visited town of Berat (approx. 4 hours), a gem of a town that was lucky to escape destruction during communist times. Learn about the city on an guided walking tour before climbing up to the still inhabited fortress for fantastic views over town. In the afternoon there is plenty of time to mingle with locals in the park or at the many cafes. The real surprise of Albania is the people. Their warmth to strangers is infectious and you’re bound to find yourself swapping stories over a glass of raki or three. In the evening enjoy a traditional Balkan dinner with your group.

Day 7
Tirana
After breakfast, transfer to Tirana (approx. 3-4 hours, depending on road conditions and traffic into Tirana). If you think you know Albania, think again. This addictive country has myriad faces. In the rugged north the Alps are so fierce they’re deemed ‘accursed’, while the south enjoys one of Europe’s least known and most beautiful coastlines. A unique mixture of cultures and customs, Tirana is filled with craziness, from its traffic to its nightlife, but on its doorstep are mosques, citadels, Ottoman architecture, and a stunning dose of the medieval Balkans. On arrival, embark on a guided tour to get your bearings. Tirana is the capital of Albania and its biggest city, but it’s still small and compact, with architectural influences from Italy and Turkey. Recently many buildings have been painted to alleviate the Soviet block feeling that pervaded. Many upgrades have been made all over town, such as new parks and wide pavements, a process that’s still on-going. Perhaps take a cable car ride up Dajti Mountain for breath-taking views of the city below.

Day 8
Kruja / Tirana
Today, take a half-day trip to the mountain village and former Albanian capital of Kruja (approx. 1.5 hours). Kruja was the last stronghold of Skanderbeg’s (the national hero of Albania) army until the Ottomans took over the entire country. Pay a visit to the excellent ethnographical museum housed inside the fortress. There is plenty of time to explore the citadel and the famous bazaar area. Return to Tirana in the early afternoon. Tirana is dotted with many museums. You can’t miss the National History Museum – just look for the gargantuan mosaic on the facade that represents the development of Albania’s history. The main sight in Tirana is the 1821 Et’hem Bey Mosque, right on the city’s main square. Closed under communist rule, the mosque resumed as a place of worship in 1991. 10,000 people attended the reopening and the event was considered a milestone in the rebirth of religious freedom in Albania. Take a look at the frescoes outside and in the portico that depict trees, waterfalls and bridges – motifs rarely seen in Islamic art. Remember to take your shoes off before entering the inner room.

Day 9
Shkoder / Kotor
Drop in on ancient Shkoder (approx. 2.5 hours) en route to Kotor. Shkoder is one of the oldest cities in Europe and now the main commercial centre and largest town of northern Albania. Upon arrival head out on a short orientation walk along the Pjaca, which is the main pedestrianized street, lined with 19th-century architecture and dominated by Ebu Beker Mosque. Then head north of the city to visit the Venetian era Rozafa Castle, set high on a mountain with panoramic views of Shkoder, Lake Skadar and the Albanian countryside, before continuing to Kotor on the Montenegrin coast, our next overnight stop (approx. 3-4 hours, depending on the border crossing into Montenegro). Enjoy the rest of the evening in this splendid medieval town picturesquely located on the fjord of the same name.

Day 10
Kotor
Enjoy a free day to take in Kotor, Montenegro’s fortified town wedged between soaring mountains and sparkling Adriatic waters. This 5th-century World Heritage-listed city is set on a secluded bay, with towering peaks surrounding a rocky coastline dotted with pretty waterside towns. In its crooked alleyways, get lost and mingle with the locals. Check out the 12th-century Cathedral, the South Gates, and the Armoury Square. Later, perhaps take a cruise on the Kotor Fjord – the longest fjord south of Scandinavia – and visit an island with a church that’s almost as big as the island itself! In the evening the city walls are prettily lit up to provide a unique night-time perspective.

Day 11
Dubrovnik
Today you will be transferred to picture-perfect Dubrovnik (approx. 2-3 hours, depending on the border crossing into Croatia). There are many monuments to explore in the city, including the 15th century Rector’s Palace, monasteries with cloistered gardens, and fine baroque churches with copper domes. The main pedestrian promenade, once a shallow sea channel, is now paved with glistening white limestone, in stark contrast to the warm red terracotta roofs. It is hard to imagine a more beautiful city. A walk along the city walls of ‘Game of Thrones’ fame is not to be missed. Why not head out to one of the Elafiti Islands. There’s Lopud, a quiet island with lovely hikes, clean beaches and a ruined castle. Kolocep is a sleepy enclave that boasts walks for every fitness level, while Sipan is the most populated of the isles and reputedly has the most hospitable inhabitants.

Day 12
Dubrovnik
Your Western Balkans trip comes to an end this morning. There are no activities planned for today and you’re free to depart the accommodation at any time. As there is so much to see in Dubrovnik we recommend you to stay a little longer. We are happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Please speak to your agent at the time of booking.

Was ist inklusive?

Mahlzeiten

11 Frühstück, 1 Abendessen

Termine

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Weitere Informationen

Essential trip information

Reviews

Cindy
Ensure you read the Essential Trip Information, it is a great help in deciding if the trip is appropriate.
Sara
Western Balkans trip was really great - so much history and culture.
Russell
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.
Gloria
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.
Nigel
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.
Christine
Great intro to the regions and not easy to navigate due to the borders. Great to have a leader fluent in the 7 languages.
Sue
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.
Warren
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.
Ann
A brilliant, culturally diverse, slightly edgy trip but be prepared for some heat. Border crossings can be a real challenge!
Soon
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 don’t fancy carry your heavy luggage up a few flights of narrow stairs.
Ian
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.
Walter
Excellent trip.
Nicole
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.
Lynden
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.
Judith
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.
Cathy
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.
Lynda And Brian
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.
Pam
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
Jeremy
A comfortable trip around the balkans, if you like your sights and food it’s great, expect to put in a few pounds as the exercise is limited (if you like that sort of thing)
Katy
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.
James
I'm including in the above number; two with Intrepid, three with Peregrine, three with Gecko's.
Lynda
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.
Graeme & Carla
If you are looking for a trip 12 or less people and you are light minded, look at Intrepid ????
Michelle
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!
Abra
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.
Allison
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.
Deborah
Highly recommend this trip.
Maureen
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.
Malcolm
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 !!
Julia
This trip is a short trip though many countries. The boarder crossings do take a while. It is interesting seeing the differences between the countries. There are two public bus trips at the beginning that do take half a day each. The hotels are also a walk from the centre of town.