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Treasures of the Balkans - Preview 2021

From Bucharest to Budapest
Days
18
From
USD $4,275
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*Terms & Conditions: $99 per person deposit valid for new bookings only made between June 15, 2020 – September 15, 2020. Deposit due at time of booking. Applicable for travel September 1, 2020 – October 31, 2021. $99 Deposit is combinable with Early Payment Discount, Early Booking Discount, Last Minute Deals, year-round savings and exclusive partner offers. An additional deposit is required at 120 days for select Europe, USA/Canada, Asia and Africa trips that include internal segments. Offer is not applicable to group deposit but can be applied for travelers booking within the group block. $99 per person deposit qualifies for 30-day refund guarantee – cancel for any reason within 30 days of deposit and receive a full refund. Offer based on availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. CST No. 20687545-20. Temporary changes to standard terms and conditions apply to new bookings until further notice. This penalty waiver allows you to change the destination and/or trip you are traveling on. If you choose a trip or departure that is more expensive than the original, you are responsible for the difference in price; if the trip or departure is less expensive than the original, a future travel credit will be issued for the difference. Normal penalties apply for full cancellation without rebooking or cancellations within 30 days of departure. Please note, airlines may impose different change policies, and if you declined travel insurance, you are responsible for any airline cancellation penalties. Other conditions apply.

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Itinerary


Book With Flexibility

  • Peace of Mind
    Complimentary "Peace of Mind" Travel Plan. Change your travel plans until 30 days before your trip
  • Change Destination / Vacation
    Change to a different destination or vacation with the Travcorp Family of Brands.
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    Choose new departure dates if your plans change.
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    Award-winning service, low prices, client satisfaction

Tour Itinerary

This is where the sway of the Mediterranean meets Central Europe and blends with the exotic East. From the Danube to Dracula's castle, there is history at every turn.

Day 1 - Welcome to Bucharest.
Transfers depart Henri Coandă International Airport at 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00 for your hotel, which is one of the city's most sophisticated and prestigious landmarks. At 18:00, join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for your Welcome Dinner served with wine.(Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: Athénée Palace Hilton, Bucharest.
Meals: Dinner with Wine

Day 2 - From Bucharest to Brașov.
Join a Local Expert for a sightseeing to view University Square and the former communist headquarters. Visit the immense Parliament Palace, one of the largest buildings in the world. Travel along the Prahova Valley to the elegant mountain resort of Sinaia to visit Peleș Castle, the former summer residence of Romania's first royal family. Led by a local historian, admire the lavish rooms filled with art, armour and tapestries. Continue through the Carpathian Mountains to the charming medieval city of Brașov, founded in 1211 by the Teutonic Knights. This evening you are treated to a sumptuous dinner at a local restaurant.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: Aro Palace, Brașov.
Meals: Breakfast,

Day 3 - Transylvania: Castles and Myths.
With your Local Expert, take a walk around Town Hall Square, lined with beautiful red-roofed houses and dominated by the Black Church. Then, picture a horse and carriage careering up a wet mountainous road, thunder booming and lightning illuminating the medieval fortress guarding the Transylvanian border. Visit Bran Castle, said to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker's novel and discover if this popular image of Dracula's castle is true or like the vampire story itself, only a myth.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Aro Palace, Brașov.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 4 - Veliko Tarnovo.
Cross the Danube into Bulgaria and continue to 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 the evening, enjoy a Highlight Dinner of local specialties and wine, followed by an authentic folklore show.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: Yantra Grand Hotel, Veliko Tarnovo.
Meals: Breakfast,

Day 5 - To Sofia.
In the morning, see the Monument of the Assens, before meeting your Local Expert to climb up to the ruined Tsarevets Fortress, a reminder of the town's former imperial status. Enjoy the stunning views over the old Bulgarian capital and the Yantra Valley. Arbanasi is one of Bulgaria’s most beautiful villages and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The frescoed churches and fortified dwellings offer a unique insight into the former wealth and spiritual commitment of the settlement. Visit a traditional 17th century merchant's house and the Church of the Holy Nativity. Cross the Balkan Mountains to Bulgaria's modern day capital of Sofia. On arrival, sightseeing with a Local Expert takes you to St. Sofia Church, across the square from the golden domed St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the archaeological complex, dominated by the church of St. George Rotonda.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: InterContinental Sofia.
Meals: Breakfast,

Day 6 - Sofia at Your Pace.
Enjoy the day at your leisure. Perhaps visit the Rila Monastery or enjoy a fascinating insight into the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria?(Breakfast)
Accommodation: InterContinental Sofia.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 7 - Skopje.
Cross the border and continue to the Macedonian capital of Skopje, an ultra-modern city juxtaposed by an ancient bazaar, where Turkish influences can still be seen and felt. Enjoy sightseeing with a Local Expert.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: Bushi Resort and Spa, Skopje.
Meals: Breakfast,

Day 8 - Ohrid and Tirana on the Move.
Making your way to the border, stop by the scenic Lake Ohrid for lunch. As you cross into Albania and journey to Tirana, renowned for its friendly locals, you are joined by a resident expert. Continue to the landmark Skanderbeg Square for an insider’s look at the Albanian capital.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: The Plaza Tirana.
Meals: Breakfast,

Day 9 - Kotor and Dubrovnik.
Journey through the spectacular scenery of Montenegro to the Old Town of Kotor, known as Stari Grad. Located beside a beautiful bay near the limestone cliffs of Mt. Lovćen, its no surprise it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue over the Croatian border to the fortified port of Dubrovnik where you are at leisure to explore the Old Town, bustling with street artists, cafes and restaurants.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Hotel Kompas Dubrovnik (Superior Rooms).
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10 - Dubrovnik Sightseeing.
Join a Local Expert for a morning of exploring the stone-paved streets within the 16th century bastions. See Onofrio's Fountain and the Rector's Palace, the city walls and the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries. The rest of the day is free for you to immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings. Perhaps enjoy an Optional Experience to a stunning town on the Adriatic coast, Cavtat, where you can wander along the pine-forest paths beside the crystal-clear sea. At night you may choose from a fine selection of restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: Hotel Kompas Dubrovnik (Superior Rooms).
Meals: Breakfast,

Day 11 - Dubrovnik, Paradise on Earth.
Spend a day at leisure in the Pearl of the Adriatic. Sunbathe by the pool or stroll with friends along the ancient city walls. Perhaps explore some of the filming locations of the award-winning series 'Game of Thrones' and appreciate the enterprising spirit of the Old Harbour? As the sun starts to set, maybe take a relaxing cruise to admire the city and its incredible walls from the water.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Hotel Kompas Dubrovnik (Superior Rooms).
Meals: Breakfast

Day 12 - Mostar and Sarajevo.
Journey to Mostar. With your Local Expert, see the famous Stari Most, the Old Bridge, reconstructed after being almost completely destroyed during the war. Explore the cobbled Old Town stretching on both sides of the bridge and filled with shops selling souvenirs. Continue your travels following the scenic route to Sarajevo for a unique and rewarding insight into the local way of life as you are invited into a Sarajevan family home for a dinner with drinks. Savour the authentic cuisine and traditional Bosnian coffee as you hear inspirational stories.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: Swissotel Sarajevo.
Meals: Breakfast,

Day 13 - Sarajevo, City of Culture.
Start the morning with sightseeing. Visit the Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum and talk to one of the survivors, for whom the Siege of Sarajevo remains a defining moment in his life. With a Local Expert, see the Latin Bridge where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated sparking World War 1. The rest of the afternoon is for you to explore as you wish.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Swissotel Sarajevo.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 14 - The Serbian Capital of Belgrade.
Trace your way along the Drina river, that lies on the border of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Take in beautiful landscapes of lush, green mountains that create magical forest canyons, winding your way through deep valleys as you make your way to Belgrade.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: Metropol Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Belgrade.
Meals: Breakfast,

Day 15 - The Best of Belgrade.
Join a Local Expert to see the best of Belgrade including Terazije Street, the national museum and national theatre in Republic Square, as well as a visit to the famous St. Sava Church. Finish your sightseeing at the Kalemegdan Fortress, situated at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. Enjoy a free afternoon to relax or continue exploring on your own.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Metropol Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Belgrade.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 16 - Across to Budapest.
Journey north and cross the Province of Vojvodina to reach Palić on the Hungarian border. See the picturesque lake, where you can admire the art nouveau buildings. Continue on through the vast wilderness of the Puszta, where once cowboys rustled up goulash under the stars. Your destination will be Budapest on the Danube.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Corinthia Hotel Budapest.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 17 - Budapest, Queen of the Danube.
Venture into the heart of Buda's medieval Castle District with a Local Expert to visit Matthias Church and take in the view of the immense Hungarian Parliament Building from the Fisherman's Bastion. Cross the Danube to the Pest district to visit Heroes' Square and travel down elegant Andrássy Boulevard. Enjoy time to wander through the Central Market Hall. Spread over three levels, the market is a foodie's paradise, brimming with aromatic food stalls offering delicious salamis, spicy paprika, delicious Tokaji wines and an array of flavoured Pálinkas, a traditional Hungarian fruit brandy. Tonight you are in for a treat with your Celebration Dinner at Gundel, one of Budapest's most renowned restaurants for over a hundred years. Dine in elegance as you savour hearty, Hungarian delicacies accompanied with specially-selected Hungarian wine.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: Corinthia Hotel Budapest.
Meals: Breakfast,

Day 18 - Depart Budapest.
Departure transfers arrive at Ferenc Liszt International Airport at 07:00 and 11:00.(Breakfast)
Meals: Breakfast

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Inclusions

Authentic Dining

  • Veliko Tarnovo: Enjoy a Highlight Dinner of local specialties with wine and witness a folklore show.
  • Dubrovnik: You will be offered a varied selection of charming restaurants to choose from for your Dine-Around Evening.
  • Sarajevo: You are invited into a Sarajevan family home for a dinner with drinks. Savour the warm hospitality and authentic cuisine as you hear inspirational stories about their culture and recent struggles.
  • Sarajevo: Experience authentic Bosnian coffee and learn about the traditional ritual of coffee preparation.
  • Budapest: Dine in elegance and savour Hungarian delicacies accompanied with specially-selected Hungarian wine during your Celebration Dinner at Gundel.
  • Dining Summary: 17 Breakfasts (B) and 10 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

Insight Experiences

  • Sarajevo: Visit the Tunnel of Hope and hear a firsthand account of when the city was under siege for 44 months from a resident who was privy to the city's secret lifeline.

Top Rated Highlights

  • Bucharest: Walk the cavernous halls of the vast Palace of Parliament, learn about the history and listen to amusing tales from your Local Expert.
  • Bucharest: During sightseeing with your Local Expert see University Square and the former Communist Headquarters.
  • Sinaia: Led by a local historian, witness the opulent and sumptuous décor in Peleș Castle, the fairy-tale Royal summer residence, at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains.
  • Bran: Visit the imposing medieval castle guarding the old Transylvanian border and embrace its stories, myths and legends from Count Dracula to romantic Queen Marie.
  • Brasov: Explore Town Hall Square with your Local Expert and see the Black Church.
  • Veliko Tarnovo: With your Local Expert, see the Monument of the Assens, dedicated to the Bulgarian Kings.
  • Arbanassi: At the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Arbanassi, visit a traditional 17th century merchants' house and enjoy the acoustics in the Church of the Holy Nativity.
  • Veliko Tarnovo: Ascend Tsarevets, the King’s Hill, crowned by a ruined medieval citadel. Enjoy the views and imagine yourself back in the days of the Crusades when this was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.
  • Skopje: Visit the capital of Macedonia.
  • Ohrid: Walk the cobbled, narrow streets of the Old Town with your Local Expert.
  • Tirana: Meet a local resident who will show you Skanderbeg Square and walk you through their home city as they explain what it's like to live in the Albanian capital.
  • Kotor: Visit the Stari Grad, also referred to as the Old Town, perfectly positioned on a beautiful bay.
  • Dubrovnik: Your Local Expert will guide you through this ancient city, surrounded by well-preserved walls built in the Middle Ages. See Onofrio's Fountain, the Rector's Palace and the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries.
  • Mostar: Explore the Old Town and see the Stari Most with your Local Expert.
  • Sarajevo: A Local Expert will show you the cobbled old town market where Sarajevo was founded by the Ottomans, known as Baščaršija. You will also see the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque and the Latin Bridge where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated.
  • Belgrade: A Local Expert will show you St. Sava Church, Terazije Street, the national museum, national theatre, Republic Square and the Kalemegdan Fortress.
  • Palić: Visit this town sitting on the Serbian-Hungarian border. See the water tower and the art nouveau buildings by the lake.
  • Budapest: With a Local Expert, visit the colourful Matthias Church in the heart of Budapest's Castle District.
  • Budapest: Visiting the Central Market Hall is a foodie's dream. Accompanied by your Local Expert, wander three levels of stalls, brimming with mouth-watering salamis, spicy paprika, Hungarian wines and a whole lot of Pálinka.
  • Scenic Drives: Venture through Prahova Valley and pass the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains, Lake Ohrid, Bosnian Mountains. Travel through the Province of Vojvodina and Puszta Region.

Included Insight Services

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.

Hygiene and Safety Protocols for Insight Vacations Tours

Insight Vacations has introduced these enhanced hygiene protocols – for you and team members.

You can travel with Insight Vacations and be assured that their team has put numerous new measures in place to elevate their hygiene standards and protocols. The well-being of guests and team has always been, and always will be, their primary concern.

In this new, fast changing Covid-19 era, Insight Vacations is doing all they can to adapt to new requirements and expectations. Here are some important new steps and procedures that they have implemented to enhance hygiene protocols, to comply with physical distancing requirements by relevant government authorities and to give you the peace of mind when you are traveling during these new times.

Expertly Trained Travel Directors

Travel Director training equips them with enhanced hygiene and physical distancing procedures. During your trip, they will operate with a duty of care and monitor the hygiene etiquette of the guests, reacting and advising as needed, to ensure high standards are maintained. Before you travel, Insight Vacations will also keep you well informed about new protocols required in these areas, and ask that you cooperate with and heed the advice and direction of Travel Directors while on your trip. The Travel Directors have preventative measures in place to try and ensure your well-being and in the event that any unexpected issues arise on trip, they will activate additional protocols.

Stringent On-the-Road Protocols

The customized luxury coaches are sanitised before the start of your trip and have always been kept to very high standards. Following the outbreak of COVID-19, Insight Vacations have taken additional measures to elevate hygiene and sanitary practices in accordance with guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and as required, applicable government regulations. The Driver training provides them with the latest hygiene protocols. They will clean and disinfect all surfaces including handrails, door handles, tables, seats, air-conditioning filters and overhead lockers on a daily basis. All the guests are asked to follow hygiene practices recommended by the World Health Organisation including the thorough and regular washing of hands and sanitising when required. Hand sanitiser is freely available on board for your use throughout the day. Please bring your own washable face mask and gloves with you, and additional hand sanitiser to make you feel comfortable, as these will be required to be worn in public in some countries. Should an unexpected situation arise, additional face masks, rubber gloves, antiviral sprays and wipes will be available for guest distribution on all trips.

A Full Team of Support 24/7

It’s not just your Travel Director and Driver who will be taking care of you. Behind the scenes, the operations and guest support teams are in contact with them and on call 24/7, so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands.

Physical Distancing

Adapting to the right size groups, based on government distancing requirements, you can rest assured that you will travel with the comfort of your own personal space. Have peace of mind that all of the experiences, hotels and restaurants you’ll enjoy on your trip have been vetted to ensure they adhere to physical distancing and hygiene guidelines.

Trusted Partners, Exceptional Standards

Insight Vacations is very selective in who they work with and choose to only use hotels, restaurants, ground handlers and venues that take the well-being of the guests as seriously as Insight Vacations does and agrees to meet expected guidelines and specifications. Insight Vacations only works with establishments that they are confident will consistently adhere to their high standards.

Always in the Know

As part of The Travel Corporation (TTC) , Insight Vacations is kept up to date with all government advisories and travel alerts on a daily basis and is continually in touch with all of the partners on the ground in each destination. Also, rest assured that during your trip, the teams work to ensure the supplier partners (hotels, restaurants, museums and other venues) are also applying the same standard to these new hygiene and distancing protocols, to the extent possible.

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.

Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4.1
Accommodations
4
Itinerary
4.4
Professional Staff
4.4
Repeat with Operator
3.9
Value for Money
3.9

Ratings based off 42 reviews - currently showing 6 reviews with comments only

This tour with Insight (our eleventh) was excellent. For the most part we visited locations that are off most people's radar and therefore less touristy (the exceptions being Mostar and Dubrovnik). The history and culture of the places visited were interesting. A highlight of the tour was a home dinner with a family in Sarajevo who prepared a delicious meal and shared their experience of living through the Siege of Sarajevo in the 90s. We saw some beautiful scenery as we rode from city to city. We covered a lot of territory and it was worth every kilometer. Our Travel Director Karl was outstanding.

Best experience ever. Strongly recommended.

Trip was good, but too much is trying to be covered is the 16 days (3600km). Touring with bus prohibits stopping at some points of interest.. The thing that really irked me was their suggestion that we tip the guide and driver, 6 and 3 Euros respectively, while also tipping the local city guides. Because of the general attitude Aussies have about tipping, Insight adds the tipping into their tour charge. 

Insight Vacations did all that they promised .It was a wonderful vacation.

My wife, Charlotte and I have always had cheerful, helpful assistance from Affordable Tours. They provided good information and responded to my questions within the day. Likewise we have never had a bad experience with an Insight tour. The tour guide for the present tour was absolutely exceptional and knowledgeable.

Very happy with the tour. Met some interesting people and saw some very interesting places. I learned a lot.


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