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The Undiscovered Balkans

  • Destination: Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Europe, Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro
  • Duration: 14 days
  • Start: 09/14/2017
  • End: 09/27/2017
  • Double Occupancy: $4095

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RATES NOW REDUCED $500 ! BOOK NOW.
Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina all lie entirely within the Balkan Peninsula, a word of Turkish origin meaning “chain of wooded mountains.” Once part of the former Yugoslav Republic, Macedonia is a land of contrasts, ranging from Skopje, with its modern shopping centers and timeless Turkish baazar, to the medieval monasteries of Ohrid. Macedonia’s blend of Orthodox mystery and the exotic Ottoman legacy combine with the world-class beauty at Lake Ohrid. If you wondered about places where Americans are truly liked, visit Kosovo with us — where a statue of Bill Clinton stands in the capital, Pristina.
Start in Skopje; End in Sarajevo.

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123Macedonia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina all lie entirely within the Balkan Peninsula. Most of this area once made up the former Yugoslav Republic. Today the independent countries are seeking their place in an evolving Europe. Each small country has its own story. Albania, shut away from the world for half of the 20th century; Macedonia, at odds with Greece over its land and heritage; Kosovo, an extension of Albania in many respects; Montenegro, heavily influenced by Russia; Croatia, the great success story of the region and Bosnia-Herzegovina, war-torn and fiercely proud. If you want to see where Americans are truly liked and admired, visit Kosovo with us – where a statue of Bill Clinton stands in the capital, Pristina. This trip will give you an excellent overview of a region destined to come into its own in the very near future.

Please click ( + ) signs by each day for detailed information.

Day 1

Thu, Sep 14, 2017 • Depart USA

Depart the USA on any regularly scheduled flight to Skopje, Macedonia.

[Flights serving this itinerary are on United, Lufthansa, Turkish & Austrian. The airport code for Skopje is SKP and for Sarajevo on the return is SJJ.] No visas are required for this program.

Day 2

Fri, Sep 15 • Arrive Skopje, Macedonia

balkday2Upon arrival in Skopje, Macedonia, you may book a transfer with Coda Tours to be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. Check in to the Marriott Hotel, centrally located in Skopje. The afternoon is at leisure to relax after the flight. This evening we will depart to a local restaurant for our Welcome Dinner, with fellow tour participants.


Hotel: Marriott Hotel 5☆
Meals: Welcome Dinner

Day 3

Sat, Sep 16 • Skopje, Macedonia

balkDay3After breakfast, we tour Skopje. Macedonia is a country of 2 million, 30 percent of them ethnic Albanians. Obstructed by Greece from becoming part of the European Union (due to conflict over the use of the name Macedonia), today Macedonia is a divided nation with an uncertain future. In the last five years, Skopje has become the world capital of kitsch. We will discover the massive statuary of Alexander the Great, his mother, Olympias, and father, Phillip II, and listen to a local artist give a personal view point of their artistic merits. We will also see the home of former local resident, Mother Teresa, and the beautiful Church of Saint Salvation. Finally walk through the Albanian quarter – a world removed from Orthodox Skopje.

Hotel: Marriott Hotel 5☆
Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Sun, Sep 17 • Skopje | Prishtina, Kosovo | Skopje

balkday4After breakfast, we drive to neighboring Pristina, capital of the Republic of Kosovo, just 50 scenic miles away. We stop en route at the site of the June 28, 1389 Battle of Kosovo, where the fate of Serbia was sealed, marking the rise of Ottoman influence over the entire Balkan region for the next 500 years. We continue to Gračanica Monastery, completed in 1321 by Serbian King Milutin. This striking complex, one of the UNESCO Medieval Monuments in Kosovo, is an active religious center and Serbian enclave in largely Albanian-speaking and Muslim Kosovo. We visit the Pristina Museum, the Bazaar Mosque, the Clock Tower and the Mosque of Sultan Mehmet Fatih, followed by a stroll along the main street of Pristina. We return to Skopje for overnight. Enjoy dinner on your own this evening in one of the lively local restaurants.

Hotel: Marriott Hotel 5☆
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5

Mon, Sep 18 • Skopje | Lake Ohrid, Macedonia

balkday5Departing Skopje this morning, we drive southwest to the Monastery of St. Naum — dramatically set on rocky outcropping over Lake Ohrid, high above deep forest and the springs of the river Crn Drim. Here we board a boat for a cruise across the serene lake, which has captivated visitors since prehistoric times. Writing, education and Slavonic culture all spread out from remarkable Ohrid town in the 7th to 19th centuries. Among the extraordinary collection of monasteries, ancient buildings and medieval chapels, Ohrid has the oldest Slav monastery (St. Pantelejmon) — and more than 800 Byzantine-style icons. Orthodox Byzantine monks brought Christianity to Ohrid in the 10th century from Greece through the effort of Saints Cyril and Methodius. We check in to our hotel set along the lake with dinner tonight in the hotel.

Hotel: Izgrev Hotel Spa & Aquapark in Struga 4☆
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Tue, Sep 19 • Lake Ohrid, Macedonia | Berat | Tirana, Albania

balkday6En route today to Tirana, capital of Albania, we stop at the fortified city of Berat, a splendid UNESCO-designated example of the coexistence of Islamic and Ottoman traditions. Its castles and fort date back more than 2,400 years. We visit the Old Quarter and the icon museum of Onoufri, Albania’s master iconographer, and stop along the way at Helveti Tekke, a Bektashi Sufi shrine and another testimony to the long history of tolerance in the region. We continue to Tirana, where we spend two nights.


Hotel: Tirana Sheraton Hotel 5☆
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

Wed, Sep 20 • Tirana | Kruja | Tirana

balkday7After breakfast we join our guide for a tour of Tirana and neighboring Kruja, — home of Albania’s national hero, Scanderbeg, who famously recaptured the city and defended it from the Turks in the 15th century. We visit the Old Castle, Scanderbeg Museum and spend time at the Turkish-style bazaar before returning to Tirana for lunch and some time at leisure to explore this city on your own.

Hotel: Tirana Sheraton Hotel 5☆
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

Thu, Sep 21 • Tirana | Shkodra Lake | Budva

balkday8Today we travel north through an old and historic region of Albania. We visit Rozafa Castle, an Illyrian stronghold near Shkodë, and continue along the Adriatic coast to the walled seaside town of Budva in Montenegro. En route we pause for lunch and a cruise on Lake Skadarsko, largest in the Balkan Peninsula. Our hotel and spa, where we spend the next two nights, is outside in Becici, a small coastal town on the Dalmatian Coast just outside Budva.

Hotel : Hotel Splendid 5☆
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

Fri, Sep 22 • Budva | Kotor | Dubrovnik, Croatia

balkday9Today we drive along the spectacular Dalmatian coast to medieval, fortified Kotor, which commands a gorgeous, deep, natural harbor in Montenegro. A part of the maritime Venetian Republic from 1420 to 1797 (interrupted by periods of Ottoman rule), Kotor retains much of its Venetian legacy. Set on a dramatic bay, the city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for both its cultural and natural riches. It has one of the best preserved medieval towns of the entire Mediterranean. Autumn is a marvelous time to enjoy the Adriatic. Continue to Dubrovnik, Croatia and check in to our hotel.

Hotel: Hilton Dubrovnik 5☆
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10

Sat, Sep 23 • Dubrovnik, Croatia

balkday10Explore Dubrovnik Old City. Following a devastating earthquake is 1667, Dubrovnik was rebuilt in the Baroque style. It is a beloved city, full of international visitors. We will take a morning tour with our guide and have the afternoon and evening to explore on our own.

Hotel: Hilton Dubrovnik 5☆
Meals: Breakfast

Day 11

Sun, Sep 24 • Dubrovnik | Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina

balkday11Mostar in the center of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The scenery climbing from the coast is spectacular, with Mostar dramatically set on both sides of Neretva River. We wander cobbled alleys and watch the famous divers from the symbolic Old Bridge (Stari Most), painstakingly rebuilt since its destruction in the war, and tour the Ottoman Muslibegovic House, a Bosnian National Monument.

Hotel: Hotel Mepas 5☆
Meals: Breakfast/Lunch /Dinner

Day 12

Mon, Sep 25 • Mostar | Sarajevo

balkday12We drive to Sarajevo today via tranquil Blagaj to see the 16th-century house built for the Dervish cults at the source of the trout-filled Buna River. We continue to Sarajevo with its Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Orthodox legacy and monuments.

Hotel: Marriott Residence Inn 4☆
Meals: Breakfast/Lunch

Day 13

Tue, Sep 26 • Sarajevo

balkday13Today we explore the wonders of Baščaršija, Sarajevo’s 15th-century bazaar and old town spread out along the Miljacka River. A moving highlight is a tour of the Sarajevo Tunnel. Built between 1992 and 1995, the tunnel allowed food, war supplies and humanitarian aid to come into the city — and for its people to get out. Stand on the site where the Arch Duke Ferdinand was shot, sparking World War I. Enjoy sitting in a café, doing some shopping or exploring more of this fascinating city in the afternoon.

Hotel: Marriott Residence Inn 4☆
Meals: Breakfast/Lunch

Day 14

Wed, Sep 27 • Sarajevo | USA

After a morning at leisure, we transfer to the airport for flights home.

Meals: Breakfast

Hotels

Marriott Hotel Skopje

5star

Showcasing a convenient city centre location in the heart of Macedonia’s capital city, our hotel welcomes guests with intuitive, friendly service and tastefully decorated guest rooms and suites.

Izgrev Hotel Spa & Aquapark

4star

Get the celebrity treatment with world-class service at Hotel Izgrev Spa & Aquapark. Set on the Ohrid Lake´s shore and offering an outdoor pool and an indoor pool, Hotel Izgrev Spa & Aquapark is located in Struga.

Sheraton Tirana Hotel

5star

Located within a shopping and entertainment complex in the heart of Tirana, the modern airy Sheraton Tirana has large well-done rooms, a pool, excellent gym and other facilities.

Hotel Splendid Conference & Spa Resort

5star

Standing on the coast a few kilometers from Budva, this five-star resort with 300 rooms has its own beach and all the resort amenities.

Hilton Hotel Dubrovnik

5star

This special hotel is a combination of an historic building built in 1895 and private villa built in 1913. The hotel is only steps away from Pile Gate and the fortified walls of the Old Town. It has stunning views over the medieval city and the Adriatic Sea.

Mepas Hotel Mostar

5star

A new hotel with spacious, modern rooms. It is located next to a good mall and within 10 minutes walk of the old town.

Marriott Residence Inn Sarajevo

4star

Floor to ceiling windows in all studios and suites of our Sarajevo hotel offer views of the city and nearby hills. Additional amenities include a rich, continental breakfast, free WIFI throughout the hotel, fitness center, sauna and steam room.

Rates

Per Person Rates Double Occupancy Single Occupancy
NOW REDUCED $500 was $4595 | NOW $4095 was $5395 | NOW $4895

Airport Transfers Skopje Sarajevo
Per car $50 $50

Additional Hotel Nights Double Single
Skopje $180 $180
Sarajevo $220 $220

Inclusions
  • 12-night accommodations in 4-★ & 5-★ hotels as described in the itinerary. Standard room category is reserved unless otherwise specified. Upgrades at the hotels may be available for additional cost. Please inquire.
  • Breakfast daily in the hotels.
  • 8 lunches & 7 dinners
  • Complete program of tours as described in the itinerary
  • Deluxe motor coach throughout the trip
  • Professional English-speaking tour leader/guide from Albania who will accompany the group throughout the tour
  • Professional English-speaking Coda Tour Leader to accompany the group throughout the tour
  • Professional English-speaking guides where required.
  • Complete pre-departure assistance and information
  • Final document portfolio
  • Baggage handling in hotels
Not Included

International airfare; Visa and passport fees (if applicable); Arrival & departure transfers in Skopje & Sarajevo, (These may be booked separately), Trip Cancellation & Interruption insurance (recommended); Meals and beverages other than those specified in the itinerary; Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, WiFi, Internet); Gratuities to guides, drivers and Coda tour leader.

Getting There

You will fly from the USA on Sep 15 to Skopje (SKP) Macedonia, arriving Sep 16, and return to the USA from Sarajevo (SJJ), Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sep 28 – if you are taking program as written. Turkish Airways has easy connections through Istanbul and may be the best rate for your airfare. You may also fly several European carriers through major European cities. Coda Tours will be happy to quote airfare for you. We also can assist with using your frequent flyer miles for a fee of $75.00.

Entry Requirements

No visas are required for American passport holders. If you overnight in Istanbul en route, a visa is required for Turkey and can be obtained on line prior to departure.

Health

No special vaccinations or medications are required or recommended for this trip. Please check with your physician for his/her personal recommendations for you.

Weather

Below is a chart of average temperatures in selected cities on this tour.

Temp in F° – Sep Skopje Tirana Dubrovnik Sarajevo
High 79° 78° 76° 70°
Low 53° 61° 64° 52°
Precipitation 1.4” 2.6” 4” 2.5”

Packing

The trip is casual at all times. There is no need to bring a sports jacket or other formal wear. Polo shirts, jeans, khakis, comfortable walking shoes, a light jacket for the evening will serve you well. Fuller list of recommended items to bring with you will be sent with final documents.

Trip Correspondence

Once you are have deposited on the trip, Confirmation (including a Letter, Suggested Reading List, Visa Information (if applicable), and Invoice and an Insurance Quote will be sent to you via email. Final documents are mailed approximately 30 days prior to departure and include: Letter, Participants List, Destination Information (including weather, packing, tipping information), Luggage Tags, Airline Tickets (if applicable).

Trip Payments

A deposit of $750 is required to hold confirm your participation on the trip. Final payment is due 60 days prior to departure. The deposit may be made by any major credit card; final payment is payable by personal check. Payments by credit card are assessed the 4% credit card fee charged by the credit card company. If you would like to make arrangements to pay in installments, please inquire with us.

Tipping & Additional Expenses

Please refer to Inclusions to determine the number of meals included in the program cost. Meals not included are at your own expense. Drinks at meals, apart from water, are not usually included. Tipping to the guides, drivers, Coda Tour Managers are additional. Suggested tipping amounts are provided in Final Documents.

Money Matters

US dollars or EUROS will be your currency of choice on this tour. Where necessary you can change smaller amounts into local currencies as you need it. ATM machines are readily available throughout these countries.

Internet & WiFi

WiFi will be available in all hotels. Sometimes there is a fee. If you have T-Mobile, you will have free web browsing and cheap texts and phone calls.


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