Best of the Balkans---Croatia, Albania, Montenegro

Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Zagreb, Kotor, and Tirana

EE
Explore Europe Tours LLC
  • Email address verified
7 reviews
May 24 - Jun 6, 2025
Group size: 25 - 32
Best of the Balkans---Croatia, Albania, Montenegro
Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Zagreb, Kotor, and Tirana

Explore Europe Tours LLC
  • Email address verified
7 reviews

May 24 - Jun 6, 2025
Group size: 25 - 32

About this trip

Let us plan your vacation to some of the most beautiful and unexplored countries in the world! Enjoy a 14-day trip to Croatia, Albania, and Montenegro in 2025. These countries have breathtaking scenery, magnificent architecture, and rich culture.  The Dalmatian Coast hss some of the most beautiful beaches in the world but it is still rather unexplored.


This trip includes all entrances, tips, and taxes.  It also includes all breakfast,  8 dinners, and 1 lunch.  

Cancelation Policy

Regardless of reason, cancellations are costly. All cancellations must be in writing, and the date of postmark will determine the amount of refund due. For flight changes or cancellations, revision fees and/or airline cancellation charges will apply. Roommates canceling can result in a single supplement charge for the roommate. The Participant who cancels will be responsible for that charge if a substitute roommate cannot be found. Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is strongly recommended. 


From time of deposit to January 26, 2025: $350 cancellation penalty plus any non-refundable deposits that are incurred from the supplier.


From January 27, 2025 – February 10, 2025: $1,000 cancellation penalty plus any non-refundable deposits that are owed to the supplier.


From February 11-March 15, 2025: $1,350 cancellation penalty plus any non-refundable deposits


From March 16, 2025 onwards: No refund

What’s included

  • Transportation
    Private deluxe motor coach
  • Accommodations
    Based on 2 sharing a room in 4* hotels
  • Meals
    As listed in the itinerary
  • Transfers
    As a group
  • Tips and Taxes
    All services provided
  • Professional Tour Guides
    We use a tour guide who stays with the group and local step-on guides as well
  • Entrances
    All entrance fees as listed in the itinerary

What’s not included

  • Additional Meals
    Not listed in the itinerary
  • Single upgrade
    For those not sharing a room or not finding a roommate, the price is $1000
  • Travel Insurance
    Options provided
  • Airfare
    We will arrange for the group, or you may purchase your own
  • Personal Fees
    E.g. passport

Available Packages

Shared Room
$4,499
Deposit: $200
Single Room
4 left

A single room is a $1000 supplement.

$5,499
Deposit: $200
Sign up Only
$4,499
Deposit: $200


Itinerary

Best of the Balkans
The Itinerary

Key for meals:  In flight meal or breakfast, lunch, or dinner


Day 1:  Sunday, May 25, 2025 -- Depart for Zagreb,Croatia


Day 2:  Monday, May 26, 2025 --

Arrive in Zagreb and meet our coach for a panoramic tour of the city and historic  upper town (Gornji Grad).  After time for lunch, we will take a walking tour of Tkalčićeva Street, the heart of the city; see St. Mark's Church; and view the magnificent Cathedral of Zagreb.  Then, we check in to our centrally located hotel.  The rest of the day is free to explore the city.  We will dine this evening at a local restraunt with a 3-course welcome dinner.  Canopy by Hilton Zagreb Hotel (In Flight meal and Dinner)


Day 3: Tuesday, May 27, 2025 –- Zagreb to Zadar

We will depart Zagreb and make our way to Zadar today, but along the way, we will be visiting the breathtaking Plitvice Lakes and national park, the oldest and largest national park in the Republic of Croatia. The park is situated in the mountainous region of Croatia, between the Mala Kapela mountain range in the west and northwest, and the Lička Plješivica mountain range to the southeast.  With its exceptional natural beauty, this area has always attracted nature lovers.  Its uniaue process of tufa formation, which results in the building of the tufa, or travertine, barriers and resulted in the creation of the lakes, is the outstanding universal value, for which the Plitvice Lakes were internationally recognized on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We will view the falls and spend time exploring the area.


We will then head to Zadar, where we will get a chance to listen to a true wonder of the town, the Sea Organ, an architectural object and at the same time an experimental musical instrument, designed as a group of pipes that run under large marble stairs.  When the sea waves reach the stairs, they create air pressure that produces random but harmoniously arranged tones in the pipes.  We also experience the Greeting to the Sun installation, tour the old town, and have time to explore on our own.


Check in to Miramare Hotel and enjoy a 3-course dinner at the hotel or a local restaurant.    (B & D)


Day 4: Wednesday, May 28, 2025--Zadar to Split

Today, we travel to Split, one of Croatia’s most popular tourist destinations, the largest city in Dalmatia, and the second largest in Croatia.  Split is probably best known for its historical sights, specifically the Diocletian’s Palace. The inner city centre is located inside the Palace.  One of the most visited historical complexes in Split is the Cathedral of St. Domnius which includes a mausoleum, bell tower, baptistry, crypt, and treasury.  It’s thought to be the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world which is still in use in its original shape. Entering any part of this complex will make you travel back in time.   


In the afternoon, we have a bicycle tour for those who are more adventurous and really connect with the heritage and culture of the town (you are not required to do the bicycle tour).

   

We will then check into the Heritage Hotel Santa Lucia and have a 3-course dinner (B & D)


Day 5: Thursday, May 29, 2025 – Split

Enjoy a free day in Split to visit some of the historical sites or to visit some of Split's spectacular beaches.  Split is surrounded by beautiful beaches – just about every neighborhood has its own, so you can easily walk from one seaside experience to the next. There are so many different swimming spots around this small, historic city on the Adriatic Sea, that you will love exploring many different offerings.


Heritage Hotel Santa Lucia (B)


Day 6:   Friday, May 30, 2025 --Split 

This morning is free to sleep in or experience some of Split's famous bakeries.  Or, perhaps, you are into shopping in the historic district.  Some may want to arrange a catamaran cruise today.  


In the afternoon, we will have an olive oil tasting tour and immerse ourselves in a sensory exploration of the typical Dalmatian flavors by trying multiple tapas dishes.


The rest of the afternoon is free to explore, swim, boat, or shop.  


Dinner tonight is on your own.  Because Split has such a rich history and culture, the people of Split held onto a lot of traditions, some of them being gastronomic. When visiting Split, you must try some of the local cuisine prepared in one of many “konobas” or taverns.


One thing you can find in a lot of bakeries throughout town is “soparnik.” It’s a simple meal where a layer of Swiss chard, parsley and garlic is placed between two parts of thin dough. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity, “soparnik” is a delicacy and you’ll soon realise why it’s often sold out.


Another dish you can’t skip is “dalmatinska pašticada.” There are several versions of this dish throughout Dalmatia, but you have to try the one from Split. It’s a kind of stewed beef served with homemade gnocchi.


Something you might haven’t heard of is the black risotto which is prepared with fresh squid. The black color is due to squid ink, and it’ll leave you with the most peculiar after-lunch smile.  


Heritage Hotel Santa Lucia   (B & L)


Day 7: Saturday, May 31, 2025 – Split to Dubrovnik

Depart Split and travel to Dubrovnik via ferry.  Upon arrival, we will drop our bags and then receive a tour of old town.  


Dubrovnik is one of Croatia’s most beautiful cities, located on a stunning coastline amongst the captivating blue waters of the Adriatic Sea.  Dubrovnik is one of the only remaining completely walled cities in Europe, making it an extremely unique and historical city to visit. The old town dates back to the 7th century, and became a powerful force on Mediterranean from the 13th century and onwards. The Dubrovnik Republic was so influential that this small, yet powerful city-state rivaled Venice and their far-spread Venetian Empire.


Today, you can enter the impressive old town through three different medieval gates, the Ploče Gate, Pile Gate, or the Buža Gate. The old town is a pedestrian only area, making it truly feel like you are stepping back in time to wander the streets of a medieval city. Dubrovnik was also the filming location of Kings Landing in Game of Thrones.  


This evening, we will stay at the Hotel Lero and have a 3-course dinner.  (B & D)


Day 8: Sunday, June 1, 2025– Dubrovnik

Our guide will give us a tour of the historic Dubrovnik Walls, which surround the old city and were first built in the 13th century. The astounding city walls are length of 1,940 m (6,360 ft) around the city, and stand an impressive 25 m (82 ft) high.  You will have incredible views of the old town, Lokrum Island, and the Adriatic sea   


After our tour, we will visit the Dominican Monestery.  This imposing structure is an architectural highlight, built in a transitional Gothic-Renaissance style and containing an impressive art collection. Constructed around the same time as the city walls in the 14th century, the stark exterior resembles a fortress more than a religious complex. The interior contains a graceful 15th-century cloister constructed by local artisans after the designs of the Florentine architect Maso di Bartolomeo.

The large, single-naved church features some bright, modern stained glass and a painting by Vlaho Bukovac (St Dominic's Miracle, 1911) above one of the side altars. Other priceless pieces of art are hung in rooms off the cloister, including 15th- and 16th-century works by Lovro Dobričević and Nikola Božidarević, and an exquisite painting of St Blaise and St Mary Magdalene (c 1550) by Venetian luminary Titian.


We will dine at a local restaurant.  (B & D)      Hotel Lero


Day 9: Monday, June 2 , 2025 – Dubrovnik to Kravica return 

Today's highlight will be Kravica waterfall,  a beautiful natural landmark located near Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Kravica nature park is a popular tourist destination thanks to the amazing waterfall that’s over 82 feet high and is said to have originated millions of years ago. We will explore the area and in the afternoon return to Dubrovnik .


In the evening, we will take in some Croatian nightlife and perhaps learn some new dance moves. (B). Hotel Lero


Day 10: Tuesday, June 3 2025 – Dubrovnik to Kotor

We will be escaping the hustle and bustle of city life and experience a beautiful winery near Dubrovnik.  We will have an unforgettable lunch and tasting. 


After lunch, we will head to Montenegro and visit one of its most famous towns, Kotor, Located in the Bay of Kotor and considered the southernmost European fjord,.  Kotor is famous for its striking history, famous city walls, red roofs, and culinary offerings.  We will take a walking tour of the town and beach and explore the Unesco Heritage site.  


This afternoon, we will check into our hotel, Hyatt Regency Kotor Bay. (B , L, D). 


Days 11:  Wednesday, June 4, 2025:  Kotor to Perast

We will have a full day tour today of the bay and of Perast, a town that straddles a narrow strip of coastline between St. Ilija hill and the Bay of Kotor.  You can walk the length and breadth of town in a matter of minutes. Because the promenade faces directly out to the Verige Strait, the narrowest part of the bay, beautiful views and sublime sunsets are guaranteed. Off shore, the twin islets of Sveti Đorđe (St George) and Gospa od Škrpjela (Church of Our Lady of the Rocks) emerge from the silvery bay.  We will have a tour of the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks this afternoon.    


Perast’s history and unique local culture – combined with its breathtaking location, compact size  (and the fact that the harbour is too small for cruise liners) makes it one of the most charming destinations in all of Montenegro.   (B) Hyatt Regency Kotor Bay.


Day 12:  Thursday, June 4, 2025:   Kotor to Tirana

Today , we will head to the Albanian town of Tirana.  This main economic, political and cultural center might be one of the least known European capitals. Tirana is the heart of Albania, and it holds many treasures.  Vibrant and colorful, Tirana is a place where rich traditional and contemporary cultures merge, a place that will charm you in a completely different way. Colorful facades, lively squares, numerous art and shopping streets, and a dynamic nightlife make this city a perfect destination. We will visit Skanderbeg Square, a major cultural hub. More than just a standard central plaza, it's woven with layers of history, architectural styles, and cultural significance.  


We will also see Et'hem mosque, founded at the end of 18th century by Mulla Bey, with the shrine finished by his son Haxhi Et’hem Bey in the first quarter of the following century.  We will see the wonderful architecture of the mosque and its exquisite decorations of wall and ceiling paintings from oriental traditions. The frescoes of the mosque depict trees, waterfalls and bridges, still life paintings that are a rarity in Islamic art. (B & D)  Maritim Plaza Tirana


Day 13:  Friday, June 6, 2025: Tirana

Today, we will have an excursion to Durrësi in the morning.  Durres is one of the oldest and most significant port cities in the Balkans, With an impressive history dating back nearly 3,000 years, it rightfully earned its reputation as the eternal city on the Adriatic Sea.  Durres serves as an open-air museum, narrating the rich history of Albania. The Roman amphitheater of Emperor Hadrian, featuring a remarkable 15,000 seats, stands as the city’s most prominent historical attraction and is the second-largest amphitheater in the Balkans. It bears witness to the ancient glory of Durres and is an essential pilgrimage for history enthusiasts. Further exploration leads to the Durres Castle, a medieval fortress with its origins tracing back to the Byzantine era. 


The afternoon  is at leisure for further exploration, shopping, or relaxing.  You could also explore some of the most pristine beaches in Albania, where golden sands gently meet the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.  


Tonight we will have a farewell dinner and enjoy our last night in Europe.

(B & D) Maritim Plaza Tirana


Day 14: Saturday, June 7, 2025  – Farewell

Transfer to the airport for return flight home to the USA!

Your Organizer


EE
Explore Europe Tours LLC
7 reviews
Explore Europe Tours LLC is an international travel company which specializes in small group travel

Reviews

My daughter said this was the best trip she’s ever had with classmates and teachers. She lived learning and being hands on! Thank you!
By Olivia H for Belleville East Gettysburg Field Trip on Nov 22, 2023
Olivia, Thank you for sharing your daughter's experience with us.
By Explore Europe Tours LLC on Nov 25, 2023
EE
This was our second trip with this group. The trips were very different but both were amazing! Each day Becky and Taree planned a couple of different cultural experiences. Whether it was a history museum, an art museum, a bike ride in the country side or city, a canal cruise or a cooking class they made sure there was something for everyone to enjoy. I really like that many of the meals are included as it provides opportunity for the travelers to get to know each other. And the hotels are top notch too. We will definitely be traveling with Explore Europe Tours, LLC again soon!
By Melissa G for Netherlands and England on Sep 06, 2023
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This was my first trip since the outbreak of the pandemic. It was nice to travel with people from my area, especially with a few I knew. Becky and Taree really work hard to deliver a great experience at a reasonable cost, and they really care to ensure folks are able to enjoy their trip. When I suggested we go see the ABBA concert, they made that happen and added it into the trip plans! I enjoyed this "adult only" trip more than the earlier one where we travelled with students--it was nice that everyone was able to take care of themselves and got themselves to where they needed to be so the trip didn't snag. This trip also had a lot of "free time" built into it, and I liked being able to do some things at my own pace...although it could be daunting to narrow down what I wanted to do the most! I also really liked that Becky & Taree took care of the organized tipping--it was wonderful to not be nickle & dimed on the trip!
By ward w for Netherlands and England on Aug 06, 2023
Ward, Thank you for joining us on this tour. It was a joy to travel with you. You can recommend any concert you like in our future travels.
By Explore Europe Tours LLC on Aug 07, 2023
EE
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This was a trip to remember. Holland the land of windmills, art and cheese was a delight. So was our local guide Marike. Our group was a good mix and easy to travel with throughout the tour. The overnight ferry from Holland to England was a favorite part of the tour for me.
By for Netherlands and England on Aug 05, 2023
This trip had a variety of activities, sites and food that I enjoyed tremendously! Not a dull moment. Marike was very generous with her knowledge and was warm and hospitable. What a memory that will last forever. I'm looking forward to the next adventure.
By Evelyn R for Netherlands and England on Aug 04, 2023
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References

I have traveled extensively with this group and each trip was well planned. All I had to do was show up!
By karen f on 10 Nov, 2022