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Essential Southern Balkans


On this nine-day journey, say hello to the Southern Balkans. Steeped in medieval history, overflowing with colourful towns and blessed with a glistening coastline, this area of the world has so much to see and do. From Dubrovnik, you’ll head to bucket list location Corfu – a Greek island where battle zones, beaches, bunkers and bars are all rolled together. Discover Stari Bar and its epicurean delights, explore the political history of Albania’s capital Tirana, lay beachside on the Albanian Riviera and try the local coffee in Gjirokaster. Is this a whirlwind adventure or a slice of paradise.

9 days, from

$1,320

per person

GROUP SIZE

16 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: ZMYA
Style: Basix
Theme: 18 to 35s

Details

Countries Visited:  Albania Croatia Greece Montenegro
Accommodation: Hotel (5 nights), Hostel (3 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle , Ferry , Bus
Included Meals:

  • 7 breakfasts

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • Walk the walls of the Old City of medieval Dubrovnik and spot the film locations around the city that have been used in worldwide blockbusters.

  • There is no shortage of medieval influences on this tour. Discover the walled cities of Kotor and Stari Bar, teeming with history from a bygone era.

  • Descend into one of the world’s most peculiar contemporary art museums in Tirana, housed in an underground bunker built for the Albanian political elite.

  • The Albanian riviera gives any coastline a run for its money. Float in the sparkling waters of Dhermi beach and explore this local seaside hotspot.

  • Head by hydrofoil to Corfu, one of Greece’s famed islands. Explore the rocky landscapes and relax on one of the island’s many sandy beaches. This is living.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Dubrovnik

Bok! Welcome to Dubrovnik in sun-kissed Croatia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. You can arrive at any time beforehand as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. If you do happen to arrive early, good for you! Head to the walled Old City through the Pile Gate drawbridge and explore the confines of this beautiful town. A great way to get a grasp of Dubrovnik is by walking the walls around the Old City. Take your time – as there’s some great vantage points on your walk, plus a bar on the wall to grab a drink and admire the view. In town, there’s plenty of cool eateries and bars, however if a swim is on the cards, head outside the walls to a cove and dive into the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea – our hot pick is Suluci or Banje Beach.

Day 2: Dubrovnik / Kotor / Stari Bar

This morning, hit the road to Kotor in Montenegro. Spend some free time exploring this terracotta-lined medieval town, perhaps walking up Kampana tower to see the surrounding turquoise waters and limestone cliffs or finding one of the many churches dotted around the relatively small town. Continue on to Stari Bar – the old town of Bar. Stepping inside the walls, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time, so spend the night like a medieval ruler. Perhaps try the area's typical drink, beer or wine with pomegranate juice, before exploring the compact town and its surroundings.

Day 3: Tirana

Get your car games ready for a drive across the border into Albania to our next stop in Tirana. Upon arrival, take a leader-led orientation walk around the city to get your bearings. Included for today is a visit to a history and contemporary art museum, Bunk’Art. This museum is quite the experience just to get to, as you’ll head through a long, dark tunnel in the hillside that leads you to the entrance, on the side of a active Albanian military base. From here, you’ll descend into 3000 square metres of underground space, which was originally meant as a bunker in the 1970s for Albania’s political elite. Now, it houses different exhibitions of Albanian modern history and contemporary art pieces. This afternoon, you’ll have time to explore this eclectic city. Perhaps, head out to the Block for drinks.

Day 4: Tirana

Wake up without an alarm today, you’ve got the day to yourself to explore however you wish – yep, Tirana is all yours to check out. So, what’s an adventurer to do on a free day here? Well, you could go where the locals go and explore the colourful street markets, spend some time wandering the city (perhaps, discovering its traditional cuisine) or even jump on public transport to Kruja. A town with medieval charm, the ancient Albanian city is just 32km out of Tirana. This evening, you might like to gather your newfound travel buds and head to the Blloku neighbourhood, a hotspot for pre-dinner drinks. Then, why not treat yourself to dinner at Tirana castle – a Byzantine time castle that has been transformed into a trendy outdoor shopping area with plenty of restaurant options to take your fancy.

Day 5: Tirana / Dhermi Beach

After breakfast today, we’ll be setting our sights for the coast; Dhermi Beach to be exact, a stunning stretch of Albania’s coastline. You’ll have time to laze on the golden beaches and swim in the shimmering waters of the Adriatic. Spend some time at one of the beachside bars with your group – a night of good food and good company is definitely on the cards.

Day 6: Dhermi Beach

Wake up on the calming shores of Dhermi Beach, with your day being as clear as the blue waters of the surrounding seas. There’s a range of optional activities that might take your fancy: think hiking, sea kayaking, or even a boat excursion to the Karaburun Peninsula. The best thing is that there’s no need to rush – go as fast or as slow as you want! Today, you call the shots. If you want some more recommendations on what to do, hit up your group leader – they know the ropes.

Day 7: Blue Eye Spring / Gjirokaster

Leave the sparkling Adriatic shores behind and take private transport to Gjirokaster, stopping at Blue Eye Spring en route. This feat of nature has to be seen to be believed – a kaleidoscope of blues and greens pulsating from a natural river spring from a depth of more than 50 metres. Take the time to explore the surrounding parks and take in the different vantage points of the spring. Then head onwards to Gjirokaster, a well-preserved Ottoman town in Albania’s south. On arrival, visit one of the traditional tower houses with a local guide and taste their traditional coffee 'on the stone', roasted on the fire right in front of you. If you are lucky you may even get your fortune read. You’ll spend the night here, so explore the quaint cobblestoned streets and perhaps find some speca me glize (stuffed peppers) to have for dinner.

Day 8: Corfu

Today we’ll be heading south to Saranda – a coastal resort town near the Albania-Greece border. From here, we’ll take a hydrofoil ferry to Corfu, an island off Greece’s northwest coast in the Ionian Sea. Corfu is known for its mountainous landscapes that extend to the shores, and its cultural heritage, spent under rule from Venetian, French and British influence, before being united with Greece in 1864. Your group leader will take you on an orientation walk near where you’re staying to direct you to the best places and help you get your bearings. The evening is all yours – perhaps round up your group and head out for sunset drinks at one of the local restaurants.

Day 9: Corfu

With no activities planned and no accommodation organised for tonight, you’re free to leave at any time. But, if shorelines and souvlakis are still on the cards, you don’t have to leave just yet! If you would like to spend more time on Corfu, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).