Little Known Balkans - Bulgaria, N. Macedonia, Albania, Greece

Little Known Balkans  - Bulgaria, N. Macedonia, Albania, Greece

Explorer the historic heritage and cultural diversity of the lands, once ruled by the Macedonian King Alexander the Great. On this tour we’ll discover the beauty and the vast Greek, Roman and Ottoman legacy of Northern Macedonia, while enjoying a walk in the capital Skopje or along the shores of Lake Ohrid. Our journey will take us to the post-communist, busy and eclectic Tirana, the capital of Albania and the Ottoman-era town of Gjirokaster. Once we’ve gained deeper understanding of Albanian rich history, we will cross the border to Greece to admire the natural beauty of Pindus Mountains in Zagoria region. We’ll take the meandering roads through the mountains, which are passing by small, charming villages and dramatic gorges. We will explorer multicultural Ioanina, visit the famous Meteora monasteries and spend our last night relaxing by the magnificent coast of the Aegean Sea in Thessaloniki.

Tour highlights:
♦ Balkan Capitals - Experience the contrasting architecture and cultures of Sofia, Skopje and Tirana
♦ Ohrid – a medieval literary center and the last capital of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. Together with the Ohrid Lake the town is under UNESCOs protection
♦ Gjirokastra - UNESCO-Listed town
♦ Vikos Gorge and the Zagori arch stone bridges
♦ The spectacular Meteora Monasteries built on immense natural pillars

Day 1. Sofia (Bulgaria)
Arrive Sofia, transfer to our hotel for overnight.

Day 2. Sofia- Skopje – Ohrid (N. Macedonia)
After breakfast we head to the West, covering the 250 km to the Macedonian capital Skopje. Walking tour in the capital of Macedonia. Visit Old Bazaar, which is the largest and best preserved Turksih bazaar in south-east Europe. We will also explore the architecture and curious and controversial statues around Macedonia Square.
After lunch, we countinue to Lake Ohrid. Founded over 2400 years ago, For century, up to modern time, Ohrid has always been an important cultural and spiritual centre. In order to preserve the unique legacy of the town, in 1980 it’s been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Overnight hotel in Ohrid.

Day 3. Ohrid – Tirana (Albania)
Our day will start, along the tranquil blue waters of Lake Ohris. We will enjoy a walking tour, through the narrow streets of the Old Town and climb up to the view point and the Tsar Samuel's Fortress, passing by Saint Sophia's Church and the Roman amphitheatre. We will visit the small, secluded Church of Saint John at Kaneo, overlooking the blue Ohrid Lake.
In the afternoon we head to the Albanian capital Tirana (130 km/2.5 hours).

Day 4. Tirana - Gjirokaster
After breakfast we will have a walking tour of Tirana, exploring the main areas of interest – the government buildings, the vast renovated Skanderbeg Square, the ex-residence of Enver Hoxha.
After lunch, we’ll travel back in time as we are heading to the town of Gjirokaster, famous for its picturesque streets and Ottoman houses, which are also under the protection of UNESCO. Gjirokaster is the birth place of the communist ruller Enver Hodxha. 230 km/3.5 hours

Day 5. Gjirokaster – Monodendri (Greece)
Today we will cross the border to Greece. On our way to Monderi we will enjoy the splendid nature of Zagoria - a magical region in the Pindus Mountains, famous with its picturesque villages and arched stone bridges. We will have a panorama stop over Vikos Gorge – spectacularly deep canyon, also listed on the Guiness Book. Hotel in Monodendri.

Day 6. Monodendri – Kipi – Ioannina
Today we spend the morning exploring another typical Zagori village – Kipi, famous for its arched bridges (Kontodimos, Milos, Petsonis) and its well persevered folklore heritage. We are heading to Ioanina, the capital of Epirus Region. Ioannina has always been a meeting point for different cultures and religions. Its Christian, Islamic and Jewish legacy has been preserved over the centuries and we will have the chance to explore it on our afternoon walk through the historic center of the town. We will admire the architectural beauty of buildings like the House Matei Hussein and the Ottoman mosque of Veli Pasha.

Day 7. Ioannina – Meteora – Thessaloniki
Our morning will start with 2 hours drive to the word famous Meteora monasteries. This is one of the most photogenic and spectacular places to visit in Greece. The 14th century monasteries are rising 1,000 ft above us, surrealistically hanging on the steep rock cliffs. These monasteries provided safe ground for the Christian population in Greece for centuries of Ottoman rule. After lunch, we will continue our journey to Thessaloniki, situated on the coast of the Aegean Sea. Overnight

Day 8. Departure

Price Includes:
Travel by private bus and all transport according itinerary
airport transfer from Sofia airport on day of arrival
English speaking tour leader from Penguin Travel and local English speaking guides on spot
comfortable standard hotels in double/twin rooms with private WC/shower

Not Included:
drinks and meals not mention in the program
flight tickets
airport transfer on day 8
personal expense
entrance fees (payable in cash on spot)

Additional Services:
airport transfer to Thessaloniki airport: 25 EUR per transfer for vehicle 1-3 pax


Little Known Balkans - Bulgaria, N. Macedonia, Albania, Greece (Rated 4.85 / 5 Based on 161 Reviews.)
Group Size
Min. 4
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