14 Day Majestic Balkans - Monday Departure

14 Day Majestic Balkans - Monday Departure


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Itinerary

Countries Visited

Albania , Bulgaria , Macedonia , Romania

Tour Itinerary

DAY 1, Monday - Depart for Romania
Depart for Romania

DAY 2, Tuesday - Arrive in Bucharest
Arrive in the bustling Romanian capital of Bucharest known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards and glorious Belle Époque buildings, affectionately named "Little Paris." Time to settle in at the hotel before tonight’s orientation meeting at approximately 6 pm with your Tour Manager on the fascinating journey to Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania that lies ahead, followed by a Welcome Dinner with your fellow travelers to celebrate your arrival in Romania. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4 pm or earlier, if possible
Overnight: BucharestMeal: Dinner

DAY 3, Wednesday - Prahova Valley, Peles Castle, Sinaia Monastery
Heading north along the Prahova Valley arrive at the elegant mountain resort of Sinaia. Here, you’ll truly be enchanted by a visit to romantic Peles Castle, former summer residence of Romania's first royal family. The castle is a masterpiece of German Neo-Renaissance architecture. Its 160 rooms are decorated with the finest examples of European art. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the impressive 17th century Sinaia Monastery named after St. Catherine's Monastery on Mt. Sinai. Afterward, return to Bucharest for dinner and overnight
Overnight: Bucharest
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4, Thursday - Discover Bucharest, Patriarchal Cathedral, Special Dinner & Guest Lecturer
The day begins with a view of Bucharest's Arch of Triumph, an impressive replica of the French Arc de Triomphe, built to commemorate the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in WWI. Then, as you travel along Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue), the city's oldest and most fashionable street, gaze at some of the most stunning architecture, including the splendid National Museum George Enescu housed in the Cantacuzino Palace, one of the most beautiful buildings in Bucharest, named a historical monument. Its sumptuous entrance in Art Nouveau style, emphasizes the luxury and refinement of the era. Next, at historical Revolution Square, understand how the last Communist dictator in Eastern Europe was overthrown. Visit the gigantic Palace of Parliament*, the second largest building in the world (after the Pentagon) with over 3,000 rooms, then visit the wondrous Patriarchal Cathedral, set atop one of the city's few hills and known as the centerpiece of the Romanian Orthodox faith since the 17th-century. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Tonight, a special dinner featuring a renowned guest lecturer who enlightens you on Romania's turbulent history *Select departure dates between Apr 8 and Jun 17 will visit the Patriarchal Palace instead of the Parliament due to scheduled European Union meetings.
Overnight: Bucharest
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 5, Friday - Veliko Tarnovo, Tsarevets Hill, Arbanassi, Choir Concert, Plovdiv (Bulgaria)
Depart Bucharest for Veliko Tarnovo, the 'City of the Tsars', where houses cling to the cliffs of the River Yantra, making it one of the country's most beautiful towns in Bulgaria. Here, a walking tour features views of the Tsarevets Hill, the inescapable symbol of the city. This reconstructed medieval fortress dominates the skyline and is one of Bulgaria's most beloved monuments. The former seat of the Tsars, it boasts the remains of more than 400 houses, 18 churches, a royal palace and more. Continue to picturesque Arbanassi where you leisurely savor a delectable lunch of traditional Bulgarian favorites. After exploration of the quaint village, arrive at the 17th-century church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel. A superb evening of beautiful sounds awaits you. Listen to the magical voices of a local choir, surrounded by magnificent frescoes. The day ends in Plovdiv, a millennial town with a tumultuous history. Dinner is at the hotel
Overnight: Plovdiv
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6, Saturday - Plovdiv's Old Town, Sofia
A delightful exploration of Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria. Walk along the cobbled streets lined with art galleries and bohemian cafes -- this city has an exuberant spirit! In the Old Town, lovingly restored to its mid-19th-century appearance, admire the Thracian, Roman, Byzantine and Bulgarian antiquities. Visit the impressive Roman Amphitheater, the best preserved in the Balkans, now used for performances. The day ends in Sofia, Bulgaria's lively capital, with dinner at the hotel and overnight
Overnight: Sofia
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7, Sunday - National History Museum, Alexander Nevsky Church
In magical Sofia, the morning tour starts with panoramic views of golden Ottoman domes dotting the skyline. Visit the National History Museum with its exhibits of Bulgarian lands spanning 8000 years and glimpses of unique gold and silver treasures dating back to Thracian times. View, St. Sofia Church and across the square visit the impressive neo-Byzantine golden-domed Alexander Nevsky Church, one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world. Next, view the 4th century Roman Rotunda, a red brick building transformed into the present day St. George Church, the oldest architectural monument in Sofia and St. Joseph's Cathedral. Leisure time this afternoon to stroll the lanes of the city on your own and perhaps linger at one of the lovely cafes along Oborishte Street to just people-watch. Tonight, enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant
Overnight: Sofia
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8, Monday - Rila Monastery & Museum, Skopje (Republic of North Macedonia)
After breakfast, ascend to the 10th century Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, considered one of the greatest centers of literacy and religion in Bulgaria, playing a key role in preserving Bulgarian culture and language. Visit the Monastery's Church and view the astonishing frescoes, painted by famous Bulgarian artists. Continue with a visit to the Monastery's museum. Afterward, descend from these lofty peaks and drive to Skopje, the capital of the Republic of North Macedonia, accented by a historic hilltop fortress overlooking monumental modern architecture. Tonight, enjoy a delightful dinner at a local restaurant
Overnight: Skopje
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 9, Tuesday - Discover Skopje's Old Town
In the morning visit the moving Holocaust Museum that commemorates the all but lost Sephardic Jewish culture of North Macedonia through a range of photos and video displays. Explore the historic streets of this eclectic capital’s Old Town, stopping at Macedonia Square, Porta Macedonia, the 15th century Turkish Stone Bridge and the 6th century Byzantine Fortress, that dominates the skyline of the city. At the House of Mother Teresa, you’re reminded that the famed Catholic nun of Calcutta was born here in 1910. Perhaps time to bargain for wondrous treasures at the old Turkish Bazaar. The afternoon is free for individual pursuits
Overnight: Skopje
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10, Wednesday - Ancient Stobi, Wine Tasting & Vineyard Lunch, Lakeside Ohrid
The ancient city of Stobi is revealed today. Lying in a fertile valley, this ancient city was part of a vital trade route and was the crossroads of civilization with a rich legacy of palace ruins, bright mosaics, and religious relics. Enjoy a tour of a local winery along with a tasting of the fine wines, followed by appetizers including assorted local Galichnik cheese, smoked meats, and lunch. Afterward, on to the town of Ohrid, a jewel of the Balkans, set beside a pristine lake and topped by a medieval castle. During your leisure time here, discover the picturesque architecture and verdant crystal-blue waters of the lake. Perhaps walk along the waterfront, relax on a secluded beach or wander along the winding lanes to the Roman amphitheater. Tonight's dinner together is at a charming local restaurant
Overnight: Ohrid
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11, Thursday - Bay of Bones, Museum on Water, Boat Cruise on Ohrid Lake
A unique visit to the Bay of Bones on the southern coast of the Gradiste Peninsula. This pile dwelling ancient settlement built on a platform is a Museum on Water, an exceptional archaeological complex, and the first of its kind in the entire region. Afterward, drive along the shores of Lake Ohrid to reach St. Naum Monastery with its world-renowned priceless icons and religious paintings. Afternoon tour of the Old Town named the "Jerusalem of the Balkans". A town of vast history and heritage, Naum was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. A stop at the statue of St. Cyril and Methodius, before continuing to the lower gate, the National Museum, Church of St. Sophia, the Roman Amphitheatre, St. Clement’s Church and Tsar Samoil’s fortress. Later, relax on a boat cruise on Lake Ohrid, ringed by mountains, attractive villages, and beautiful beaches. Dinner is at a popular restaurant on your last night in Macedonia
Overnight: Ohrid
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12, Friday - Elbasan, Tirana (Albania), Skanderbeg Square, Mosque of Et’hem Bey
This morning, depart Macedonia for Albania, stopping en route at Elbasan, one of the largest cities in Albania in the central part of the country. Later, arrive in lively and colorful Tirana, the beating heart of Albania, known for its vibrant café culture and funky public art. This relatively new city, situated on the site of a Byzantine fortress, has been the capital of Albania since 1920. Visit famous Skanderbeg Square, dedicated to Albania’s national hero, home to the Opera House and the National Historic Museum adorned with a gigantic mosaic mural known as 'The Albanians'. Pause at the small and elegant Mosque of Et'hem Bey, one of the oldest buildings left in the city before proceeding to the Clock Tower and the towering statue of G.K. Skanderbeg. Continue with a visit to Bunk'Art 2, an ex-nuclear bunker that was conversed to a museum featuring photographs and equipment that illustrate the political persecution of some 100,000 Albanians from 1945 until 1991. Tonight, enjoy dinner together
Overnight: Tirana
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 13, Saturday - Kruje's Skanderbeg Museum, Ottoman style Bazaar, Farewell Dinner
Step back in time on your visit of Kruje, the hero Skanderbeg's hometown where 500 years ago he defended the town from the Ottomans. The Skanderbeg Museum’s spacious seven-level interior displays replicas of armor and paintings depicting his struggle. At the Ethnographic Museum, see a typical 19th-century Ottoman house that once belonged to an affluent family. Afterward, a stroll through the Ottoman style Bazaar, the best place for souvenir shopping with its lanes of antiques, gems, and handicrafts. Watch as women use looms to make kilims (rugs) - you can purchase the finished products! A spirited end to the day as you attend a performance of a local musical group who will serenade you with Albanian tunes. The rest of the day is at leisure in Tirana. At your Farewell Dinner, bid farewell to your newfound friends and share wonderful memories of your journey together through the Balkans
Overnight: Tirana
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 14, Sunday - Depart Albania
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

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Inclusions

Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • Flights New York-Bucharest, Tirana-New York
    Other departure cities available.
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 12 nights First Class accommodations
  • 3 nights Bucharest
  • 1 night Plovdiv
  • 2 nights Sofia
  • 2 nights Skopje
  • 2 nights Ohrid
  • 2 nights Tirana
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • 26 meals: 12 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 11 dinners (including Welcome & Farewell dinners)
  • Coffee and tea with all meals
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring
  • Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Enjoy an extended visit to romantic Peles Castle, former summer residence of Romania's first royal family
  • Visit the Patriarchal church of Bucharest, considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals of Romania
  • Special dinner with a guest lecturer who enlightens you on Romania's turbulent history
  • At a beautiful 17th century Bulgarian church, a magical performance by an esteemed local choir
  • Walk along the cobbled streets of Plovdiv, Europe's oldest city
  • Enjoy a Bulgarian Folklore Show, coupled with a traditional dinner and a choice of wine
  • Ascend to the 10th century Rila Monastery, proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Explore the historic streets of Skopje’s Old Town, stopping at the House of Mother Teresa
  • Wine tasting and vineyard tour in Stobi, a city in the Republic of North Macedonia at the crossroads of civilization
  • Discover lively Tirana, the beating heart of Albania, with its vibrant café culture and funky art
  • Visit Kruje, where the hero Skanderbeg defended Albania from the Ottomans
  • †Transfers are available for purchase for land only or on alternative flight dates

    *Not Included:
    Prices do not include optional tours, and gratuities for guides/tour managers. Land only prices do not include arrival/departure transfers.

    OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

    Accommodations

    Grand Hotel Continental
    This deluxe hotel is located in downtown Bucharest.

    JW Marriott Bucharest Grand
    This deluxe hotel is located in Bucharest close to the Palace of Parliament.

    Ramada Plovdiv Trimontium
    This first class hotel is located in the city center of Plovdiv.

    Grand Hotel
    This deluxe hotel is located right in the heart of Sofia, overlooking the City Garden.

    Skopje Marriott Hotel
    This superior first class hotel is located in the heart of Skopje.

    Hotel Unique Resort & Spa
    This first class hotel is set between Lake Ohrid and the Galicica mountain.

    Hotel Boutique Kotoni
    This first class hotel is located in the heart of Tirana's prestigious Blloku area.

    OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

    Questions & Answers

    Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

    Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

    Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

    Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.


    Note: AffordableTours.com is a travel agent for Discovery By Gate1. All prices, itineraries, accommodations and dates are subject to change without notice and at any time by the tour operators. All prices are USD per person and based on double occupancy. Availability is limited and must be reconfirmed at time of booking. Please call us toll free at 1-800-935-2620 to confirm availability and current pricing on all our discounted specials. The prices on this website are not guaranteed until a deposit has been made. We are not responsible for errors, omissions, or changes in these prices until a booking has been confirmed by one of our agents. Some land prices may include an internal air component and discounts will not be offered on the internal air component. Discounts will not be offered on packages with a land price of less than $500.

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