Full buffet breakfast daily; 12 three-course dinners with wine, including special dinners in Vienna, Zagreb, Split, and Athens
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Arrive in Vienna, Austria. Welcome to Vienna! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and leave the hotel for a special welcome dinner with Heurigen wine.
Vienna. Your guided sightseeing features a drive along the Ringstrasse. Pass the State Opera House, the Jewish quarter, and stop at the Hofburg Palace, winter residence of the Austrian imperial family. Marvel at the impressive courtyards and famous Heldenplatz, and visit awesome ST. STEPHEN’S CATHEDRAL. Tonight you may join an optional evening out for dinner and a concert in one of Vienna’s many concert halls.
Vienna–Kumrovec, Croatia–Zagreb. Enter Croatia, and stop in the town of Kumrovec for [LF] a visit of the open-air Stare Selo ETHNOLOGICAL MUSEUM, and for an early dinner with regional specialties. Then, head for Zagreb, capital of Croatia.
Zagreb–Plitvice–Zadar Area. Guided sightseeing this morning features all important landmarks of the Lower and medieval Upper Town, such as the Parliament, Stone Gate, the Archbishop’s Palace, plus a visit to the majestic CATHEDRAL. Continue to Plitvice, and soak in the pure beauty of the NATIONAL PARK, famous for its lakes, waterfalls, and forests. Drive towards the beautiful Adriatic coast for your overnight stay.
Zadar Area–Split. Your Local Guide will tell you about the turbulent history of this city, fighting off the Venetians, crusaders, and Turks over the centuries. Continue to Split, the ancient Spalato, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During your guided walking tour, learn about the history of this captivating resort and visit the labyrinth of 4th-century DIOCLETIAN’S PALACE, a well-preserved fortress and a living part of the Old Town. This evening, enjoy a special dinner with wine at a local restaurant.
Split–Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina–Sarajevo. Enter Bosnia-Herzegovina and stop in the city of Mostar. Admire the OLD BRIDGE, the city’s symbol, ordered by Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman ruler in 1566, to replace the older wooden bridge. Continue to Sarajevo, where the Olympics took place in 1984, and the first city in Europe to own an electric tram network.
Sarajevo–Dubrovnik, Croatia. Hear about the assassination of the Archduke of Austria in 1914, the recent Bosnian War, and see the main sights with a Local Guide. A visit has been included to the [LF] SARAJEVO TUNNEL, built between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. Return to Croatia and arrive in Dubrovnik, beautifully situated on a promontory jutting into the Adriatic Sea.
Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik was once an independent maritime republic rivaling Venice. Enjoy a walking tour with a Local Guide and see the impressive ramparts, erected during the Crusades to protect the town against land attacks, and the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries. You will also visit the 15th-century RECTOR’S PALACE. Afternoon and evening at leisure; an optional boat cruise is available.
Dubrovnik–Kotor, Republic of Montenegro–Tirana, Albania. Enjoy a visit to the Republic of Montenegro and stunning Kotor on the northern part of the Montenegrin coastline. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is fringed by mountains and nestled into the Bay of Kotor, the deepest natural fjord in the Mediterranean Sea. Protected by an impressive wall since the early Middle Ages, the city has one of the best preserved medieval Old Towns in the Adriatic. Your Local Guide will take you on a walk along its winding, cobblestone streets to marvel at the picturesque squares and Romanesque churches. Next is Tirana, capital of Albania.
Tirana–Ohrid, Macedonia. Follow your Local Guide on a walking tour and hear about the turbulent history of this interesting city that was originally founded as an Ottoman town and became Albania’s capital in 1920. Occupied by fascist forces during World War II, and under communist influence after the war, the city is an interesting mixture of architecture. Visit the National History Museum at Skanderbeg Square. Your next destination is Ohrid with its beautiful lake, where a guided walking tour features the OLD TOWN with its picturesque houses and many churches. Reportedly, Ohrid once had 365 churches—one for each day of the year. Time afterwards to relax and enjoy this charming area.
Ohrid–Skopje–Sofia, Bulgaria. Stop in the capital of Macedonia, Skopje, and meet your Local Guide. Hear about Macedonia’s proud history and see its main sites, like the Millennium Cross, built to celebrate 2,000 years of Christianity; the Memorial House of Mother Theresa, who came from here; and the ALEXANDER THE GREAT STATUE on Macedonia Square. Later, cross the border and arrive in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia.
Sofia. Hear about the history of this fascinating city during your guided sightseeing tour. Sofia was known as Serdica centuries before Christ, and was even ruled for a while by Alexander the Great’s father, Philip of Macedonia. Visit the ancient HOLY SOFIA CHURCH.
Sofia–Rila–Thessalonika, Greece. Head south to reach the village of Kocherinovo, from where a scenic trip takes you high up towards [LF] the RILA MONASTERY, a beacon of the Bulgarian nation during half a millennium of Ottoman rule. The monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because throughout the centuries, it has always been the spiritual, educational, and cultural center of Bulgaria. Continue through the Struma Valley, Spartacus’ mountainous homeland, before crossing the Greek border and arriving in Thessalonika.
Thessalonika-Athens. During your guided sightseeing, see the White Tower, the Arch of Galerious, the biggest triumphal arch of the Roman Empire, the Rotonda, and visit the BASILICA OF SAINT DEMETRIOUS. Enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the bay from the walls of the Upper City. On the way to Athens, drive along the eastern and southern side of Mount Olympus and through the battlefield of Leonidas and the 300, the Spartan forces he led during the Second Persian War, and the famous Battle of Thermopylae.
Athens. Sightseeing with a Local Guide features a visit to the world-famous ACROPOLIS, perched high on a rocky outcrop overlooking the city. Here, see the Parthenon, the Erechtheum with its Porch of Maidens, the Temple of Athena Nike, and enjoy a panoramic view that includes glimpses of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Theater of Dionysus, and the beautifully preserved Theseum, where Socrates taught. Later, a city orientation tour features the Old Parliament House and a picture stop at the Panathenaic Stadium. Built in the 2nd century AD, it is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble, and was host to the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896. The rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight, a farewell dinner awaits you at a local restaurant.
Athens. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.