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

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

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
breakfast

Not Included:
drinks and meals not mention in the program
flight tickets
airport transfer on day 8
tips
insurances
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


Gallery


Little Known Balkans - Bulgaria, N. Macedonia, Albania, Greece (Rated 4.85 / 5 Based on 112 Reviews.)
Group Size
Min. 4 pax
Reservation System Code
BLKSOUTH
Best of Kenya 1415 , 8 Days

Best of Kenya

Witness one of the greatest natural spectacles in the world - the Great Wildebeest...
The 5 Stan-s - Follow in the footsteps of Genghis Khan 1980 , 21 Days

The 5 Stan-s - Follow in the footsteps of Genghis Khan

Follow in the footsteps of Genghis Khan as you delve into the vast deserts, rolling steppe, fertile...
Scenic Oman 1200 , 8 Days

Scenic Oman

Discover the magic of the Sultanate of Oman - history, desert and sea. From high mountains and...

View all» What people say about us

Gunnar Svensson

Tour: Caucasus Explorer
★★★★★
Interesting trip in a different part of the world. with a possibility to learn a lot. Visit to spectacular churches and monastries, museums, wine producers, nature and beautiful cities. This tour is recommended.


Haley

Tour: Saudi Arabia
★★★★★
Fantastic trip with Penguin Travel! Loved all the sights we got to see in Saudi Arabia. Abdulaziz and Lyuben were very helpful, kind, and knowledgeable. Would highly recommend for solo and group travelers, especially those wanting an "off the beaten path" experience. Can't wait to travel with Penguin again!


Milosh Kitchovitch

Tour: Balkan Kaleidoscope
★★★★★
Amazing tour! A great overview of eight Balkan countries with the perfect balance of organized activities and free time. Our guide Anton was the best - organized, calm and has great sense of humor. I highly recommend it. This was my first tour with Penguin and I will definitely be booking more tours with Penguin.


View all»

Blog

10.12.2022 15:21

Saudi Arabia - the birthplace of Islam (tips for visiting the country)

It took really long for Saudi Arabia to decide to open for tourists, but now it is finally a fact and Penguin Travel immediately put the destination on its belt. The Kingdom – known as the spiritual birthplace of Islam, now has a new approach to attract visitors and that's why the visa requirements are changed. The changes are so big, compared to the past that they look almost like a...


06.08.2021 17:00

7 Things to do in South Sudan

It’s the newest country in the world and one that a lot of people haven’t even heard of. Those who have, usually associate it with the military conflict that has been tearing up the region for decades. But behind all of that, lies a country of ancient cultural rituals, a myriad of colorful local tribes and raw natural beauty. It is still the most challenging destinations for the...


05.08.2021 08:55

The Little - Known Pyramids of Sudan

Can you name the country with the most pyramids in the world? Nope, it’s not Egypt. The country which holds this record with more than 200 pyramids is actually Egypt’s southern neighbor – Sudan. Though not as big as the Egyptian ones, they are just as impressive and have just as intriguing history, dating back to 8th century BC, to the kingdom of Kush. Since the Sudanese...


01.10.2020 11:45

11 Interesting Facts about Rwanda

  Rwanda is a small African country, whose name is often mostly associated with the horrific genocide that happened here in 1994. It was one of the most tragic events in the history not only of Rwanda, but the world. However, it was also a turning point in the country's history. It has since then embarked on a new path of social, economic and ecological development and deserves to be known...