Discover 16 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 8 countries on this epic journey through the Balkans region, including explorations of Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia. With multiple settlements dating back to prehistoric times, the Balkans has seen the rise and fall of many empires over the centuries. From the Romans to the Venetians to the Ottomans, each empire has left its touch on the spectacular monuments and diverse cultures found here. Against a backdrop of jagged mountain peaks and dramatic coastlines, we discover pristinely preserved medieval villages, grandiose Roman structures, towering Ottoman mosques and more.
Travel stress-free as we take care of all the details with this artfully curated small group tour allowing you to experience the best of the region. Our Balkan Mosaic journey has been split into two segments, with a choice of taking only the first or second part, or the complete tour! Options to take this journey as a private group, or customize the itinerary to your exact requirements are also available. Contact us for further details.
|UNESCO World Heritage Sites covered in this tour|
|3.||Cathedral of St James in Šibenik||4.||Monastery Sopoćani|
|5.||Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Poreč||6.||Medieval Monuments in Kosovo|
|7.||Historic City of Trogir||8.||Ohrid|
|9.||Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian||10.||Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar|
|11.||Kotor||12.||Old City of Dubrovnik|
|13.||Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge of Višegrad||14.||Plitvice Lakes National Park|
|15.||Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries: Stato da Terra – Western Stato da Mar||16.||The works of Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana – Human Centred Urban Design|
|Price (From)||:||US$ 5295|
|Includes international air|
SEGMENT ONE: SERBIA, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, KOSOVO, NORTH MACEDONIA, ALBANIA, MONTENEGRO
Day 01: Arrive Belgrade (SERBIA)
Welcome to charming Belgrade, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe and the capital of Serbia since 1403. Originally home to one of the most important prehistoric cultures of Europe, the Vinča, this region has been ruled by the Romans, the Slavs, the Byzantine Empire and the Bulgarian Empire throughout the centuries. Upon arrival, we are warmly received and transferred to our hotel. Our afternoon is free to explore this romantic city.
Overnight: Hotel Moskva, Belgrade (2 nights)
Day 02: Belgrade
Our in-depth journey exploring the Balkans starts with a drive through New Belgrade, which is located on the bank of the River Sava. After reaching the old town, we stop at the Memorial Complex of Josip Broz Tito, the legendary president of Yugoslavia. On our way to the center of the city, we will see the new Saint Sava Church, which is the third largest Orthodox Church in Europe, the Former Federal Assembly Building of Yugoslavia, the Church of Saint Marko, the Royal Palaces of the Serbian dynasties until WWII, and Terazije Square. In the afternoon, we walk from elegant Republic Square, which is surrounded by the National Theatre and the National Museum. We stroll along Knez Mihajlova Street, the main shopping and meeting place of the city. We then visit the old quarter, walking by the 'Question mark sign' Inn and Princess Ljubica's Residence, as well as the Patriarchy and the Orthodox Cathedral. Next, we explore at Kalemegdan Fortress, a symbol of Belgrade that has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the course of its 16 centuries. We start in the Upper Fortress area, then explore the Eastern Ward, the Nebojsa Tower, the Baroque Gate of Karl VI, and the remains of the medieval metropolitan palace. In the evening, we enjoy a welcome dinner at the local Bohemian quarters of Skadarlija with Serbian cuisine and music. (B, D)
Day 03: Belgrade/Visegrad (BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA)/Zlatibor (SERBIA) (Drive)
Today is a treat for rail buffs, photographers and nature lovers. We start with a ride on the Sarganska Osmica, a narrow-gauge heritage steam train, which traverses beautiful landscapes through 20 tunnels and across 10 bridges. Afterwards, we cross the Drina River into the Republika Srpska in Bosnia & Herzegovina to visit the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge of Višegrad*. Built at the end of the 16th century, the bridge has 11 masonry arches and is a representative masterpiece of Sinan, one of the greatest architects and engineers of the classical Ottoman period. We then ascend Mount Zlatibor National Park and visit an open-air museum displaying traditional architecture and handicrafts, as well as world famous hand-knitted clothes. We walk through the village before checking into our hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Staro Selo or Hotel Mecavnik, Zlatibor (1 night) (B, D)
Day 04: Zlatibor/Novi Pazar (Drive)
We visit the Monastery Studenica*, founded in 1190 and best known for its collection of 13th and 14th century Byzantine-style fresco paintings. This UNESCO World Heritage Site includes the churches of the Virgin, Saints Joachim and Anne, and Saint Nicholas. We then head to Novi Pazar and take an evening walking tour of the town. Predominantly Muslim, Novi Pazar’s story began in the 1400s when the Ottoman governor of the region built a fort, mosque, market and baths here.
Overnight: Hotel Emrovic Raj, Novi Pazar (1 night) (B, D)
Day 05: Novi Pazar/Pec (KOSOVO) (Drive)
A short drive brings us to one of the most treasured sacral buildings of the Nemanjić era, the Monastery Sopoćani*, featuring magnificent medieval murals. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was thought to have been built around 1260. After our exploration of the monastery, we continue to Kosovo, Europe’s newest country. The Medieval Monuments in Kosovo* are world renowned for their beauty. These four churches and monasteries were built in the 13th and 14th centuries, and are famous for their distinctive style of wall painting, developed in the Balkans from the 13th to 17th centuries.
Overnight: Hotel Dukagjini, Pec (1 night) (B, D)
Day 06: Pec/Pristina/Skopje (NORTH MACEDONIA)
Today, explore Dečani Monastery and the Patriarchate of Peć. Dečani Church boasts some of the richest and most well preserved Romanesque-Gothic sculptures in the region. At the Patriarchate of Peć, we visit the monastery’s oldest church, built in the 13th century. Next, we journey to Kosovo’s capital city of Pristina, with the opportunity to stroll along its streets and enjoy its main square. We visit the 14th century Monastery of Gracanica, which represents the culmination of Serbian buildings that followed the Byzantine tradition. We then head into North Macedonia, offering a unique mix of Greek, Roman and Ottoman heritage. Our destination is the country’s charming capital of Skopje.
Overnight: Hotel Alexandar II, Skopje (1 night) (B, D)
Day 07: Skopje/Ohrid (Drive)
With the earliest evidence of settlement dating to 4000 BC, Skopje offers a long and fascinating history spanning through Roman times and beyond. In the morning, we walk through the old town “Charshi”, visiting the Stone Bridge built by the Ottomans and the Church of Saint Spas. We then explore the Old Bazaar, largest bazaar in the Balkans and trade centre of Skopje since the 12th century, and Fortress Kale, where the city’s oldest artifacts were found. Our explorations conclude with visits to Mustapha Pasha Mosque, dating from 1492, and the Daut Pasa Baths (only from the outside). Afterwards, we head to Ohrid.
Overnight: City Hotel, Ohrid (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 08: Ohrid
A delightful experience ahead today as we discover Ohrid*, providing a postcard-perfect picture with its setting on the lake of the same name. The old part of Ohrid was known in ancient times as Lychnidos, or the City of Lights. It was here as well where the Cyrillic alphabet was created by brothers Cyril and Methody in the 9th century. Start with a walking tour around the museum-like old town. Ohrid is also known as the City of 365 Churches, and we visit the churches of Saint Kliment, Saint Sophia and Saint Panteleimon. We also explore the Tsar Smuili Fortress, which served as capital of the First Bulgarian Empire during the Middle Ages. Our stroll culminates at the local bazaar. Afternoon is free to explore Ohrid’s picturesque streets and attractions. (B, D)
Day 09: Ohrid/Berat (ALBANIA)/Tirana (Drive)
We drive around Lake Ohrid and enter Albania. Closed to ousiders for much of the 20th century, this country offers a unique mix of majestic mountains, Greek, Roman and Ottoman monuments, and cultural quirks. Today, we visit Berat*. Due to its many buildings scenically stacked on the slopes of a hill, Berat is known as the City of 1001 Windows. Sitting on the hilltop is the city’s crown jewel, Berat Castle. During our explorations today, we see paintings by Onufri, an outstanding painter from the 16th century, as well as paintings from his son Nikolla. We visit several Byzantine churches in the old town before continueing to Tirana.
Overnight: Hotel Rogner, Tirana (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 10: Tirana/Durres/Tirana (Drive)
Enjoy a scenic drive to Durres (formerly Durrazzo), Albania’s second largest city and one of its oldest towns, dating back to 7th century BC. For hundeds of years, it was the largest port on the Adriatic. The highlight of our visit here is the Roman amphitheatre, one of the ten most beautiful Roman amphitheatres in the world. Afterwards, we return to Tirana to discover this colourful city. Here, we visit Skanderbeg Square in the centre of the town, the Mosque of Et’hem Bey, dating to 1789, the Clock Tower, dating to 1830, and the Palace of Culture housing the Opera (view from the outside only). Evening is at leisure to further explore Tirana’s cosmopolitan charms. (B, D)
Day 11: Tirana/Kruja/Shkoder/Budva (Drive) (MONTENEGRO)
Experience the scenic town of Kruja, perched high on the face of a hill. In the 15th century, Kruja was the centre of the Albanian resistance in the rebellion against the Ottomans, led by the now legendary Skanderbeg. We explore the museum here that commemorates Albania’s national hero before crossing the border into Montenegro. We spend the night in Budva, one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic Coast.
Overnight: Hotel Budva or Hotel Kotor, Budva (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 12: Budva/Cetinje/Kotor/Budva
We explore Budva, a well-preserved medieval town offering enchantingly narrow streets lined with shops and taverns. Afterwards, a scenic drive gets us to Cetinje, capital of Montenegro during the Njegoš era, where we visit the royal palace of King Nikola II, last King of Montenegro. Next, we travel to Kotor*, a town inhabited since Illyrian and Roman times. Our walk through the city takes us back to the Middle Ages, when Kotor was an important artistic and commercial centre. The city walls of Kotor were originally built by the Republic of Venice in the 16th and 17th centuries to protect its trading interests, and it’s a part of the Venetian Works of Defence* World Heritage Site. We also visit the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon before our return to Budva. (B, D)
Day 13: Budva/Trebinje (BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA)/Medjugorje/Mostar (Drive)
We drive along picturesque Boka Bay before heading inland through beautiful mountain scenery. We soon cross the border into Bosnia & Herzegovina and come to the village of Medjugorje, a major Roman Catholic pilgrimage centre. It is reputed that in 1981, several local children received messages from the Virgin Mary. We then travel to Mostar* to see the famous Ottoman bridge, built in 1557 during the times of Suleiman the Magnificent to unify the communities residing along the Neretva River.
Overnight: Hotel Eden, Mostar (1 night) (B, D)
Day 14: Mostar/Sarajevo (Drive)
A lovely journey ahead today as we drive along Neretva River and the Bosnian Mountains to enchanting Sarajevo, said to be a miniature version of Istanbul. Our walking tour of Sarajevo takes us instantly back to the Ottoman days as we visit the beautiful old quarters and authentic Turkish carsija (city centre), with its oriental sweet shops, cafes and traditional Bosnian food. For more than 400 years, Ottoman mosques, Orthodox churches, Roman-Catholic cathedrals and Jewish synagogues have all called Sarajevo home—in fact, Sarajevo is said to be one of the most multicultural cities in Europe! We also visit the site where, on June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie were assassinated, an event that triggered World War I. Our afternoon is free to further explore Sarajevo’s multicultural flavours.
Overnight: Hotel Europe, Sarajevo (1 night) (B, D)
SEGMENT TWO: CROATIA & SLOVENIA
Day 15: Depart Sarajevo OR Sarajevo/Dubrovnik (Drive) (CROATIA)
Those taking only the first leg of our Balkan Mosaic journey are transferred to the airport in time for their departure flight. For those continuing on the second leg, we start with a scenic drive to Dubrovnik, the enchanting and historic resort city on the Adriatic Sea.
Overnight: Hotel Lero, Dubrovnik (2 nights) (B)
Day 16: Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik offers a beautiful combination of picturesque orange rooftops, shimmering blue waters and noteworthy monuments. Enjoy a walking tour through the old walled heart of the city, where all vehicles are banned. Dubrovnik is the best preserved walled city in Europe. Our vehicle drops us outside the Pile Gate, where we visit the old walled town. Some of the beautiful sites we will see (from the outside only) include the Franciscan Monastery, housing one of the world’s oldest pharmacies, the Old Harbour, Saint Laurence Fortress, the Sponza and Rector’s Palace, and more. Afternoon is free to explore on our own. (B)
Day 17: Dubrovnik/Split or Trogir (Drive)
After a leisurely day on the beautiful Adriatic Coast, we drive to Split. Our scenic journey takes us through coastal villages. We make a brief stop at the town of Makarska before reaching the old town of Split or Trogir.
Overnight: Hotel President or Hotel Globo, Split or Hotel Pasike, Trogir (2 nights) (B)
Day 18: Split
Split is a vibrant city, and the old town features some of the most outstanding classical architecture in the world. At its heart is famous Diocletian’s Palace*, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was in 295 AD that the Roman emperor Diocletian started to build his palace on the Dalmatian Coast. After his abdication in 305, the retired emperor left Nicomedia and settled in the palace. What remains of the palace today is so large that it makes up approximately half of Split’s old town area! We visit the impressive cellars of the palace to get an idea of the original structure. We also discover the Baptistery of Saint John and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius. Afternoon is free to enjoy the traditional markets of Split. (B)
Day 19: Split or Trogir/Opatija (Drive)
Today, we are swept back to medieval times with an exploration of Trogir*, the best preserved Romanesque-Gothic town in Central Europe. The centre of the UNESCO World Heritage Site is Narodni Trg, a creamy white square flanked by the Cathedral, the Communal Palace, and the Loggia, used as a courtroom for town trials during the Rennaissance era. We then visit the 13th century Venetian Cathedral of St. Lovro, located on Ivana Pavla Square. Our next stop is at the Cathedral of St James in Šibenik*. Built in the 15th and 16th centuries, this cathedral flawlessly combines Gothic and Renaissance art. A highlight of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the remarkable frieze decorated with more than 70 sculptured faces. Our journey continues to Zadar, the ancient capital of Dalmatia. Zadar boasts a variety of architectural styles, with Corinthian columns standing alongside Romanesque churches. We conclude our scenic drive along the Adriatic Sea at lovely Opatija.
Overnight: Hotel Cristal, Opatija (1 night) (B)
Day 20: Opatija/Pula/Rovinj/Porec (Drive)
Our explorations of the Adriatic Coast begin with a tour of Pula, occupied since the prehistoric era. The highlight of Pula is an impressive 1st century Roman Amphitheatre overlooking the harbour. We then continue on to Rovinj, a Croatian town that offers true Italian flavour. Here, the narrow, winding streets of the old town are lined with shops selling local wines, grappa, the region’s tasty olive oil, and truffles. Above the old town, the Basilica of Santa Euphemia watches over the daily activities. The origins of this basilica date back to the Oratory of Saint Maur, a secret place of worship during the time that Christianity was banned. We continue on to the historic resort town of Porec.
Overnight: Hotel Palazzo, Porec (2 nights) (B)
Day 21: Porec
Today, discover Porec. This historic town has fell under the rule of many empires over the centuries, including the Romans, Venetians, and Austrians. The Decumanus main street here dates back to prehistoric and Roman times. We also see the remains of the Roman forum. The highlight of Porec is our visit to the Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica*. Dating from the 6th century, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its gem-studded Byzantine mosaics. Later, we visit the picturesque hilltop villages of Groznjan and Motovun. (B)
Day 22: Porec/Postojna/Ljubljana (SLOVENIA) (Drive)
A scenic drive along the coast brings us into Slovenia, offering dramatic landscapes, medieval cities and more. Our first stop is Lipica Stud Farm. Dating from the 16th century, this stud farm is where one of the world’s oldest cultural horse breeds, the famed Lipizanner, originated. Our next adventure is a visit to Postojna Caves, one of the largest cave complexes in Europe. Measuring an impressive 27 kilometers long, Postojna is one of the most famous areas in the world for the study of karstic phenomena, and has been a tourist destination for more than two centuries.
Overnight: Hotel Union or Hotel City, Ljubljana (1 night) (B)
Day 23: Ljubljana/Bled (Drive)
This morning is dedicated to exploring beautiful Ljubljana. A drive through the streets of this sunny city shows us buildings reminiscent of both Vienna and Prague. The difference, however, is that the Slovene capital is tiny by comparison, small enough to be easily visited on foot. We go up to the city's highest point to visit the 16th century castle, then descend to the lower city to see Trg Naradnih Herojev, the square housing one of the world’s newest parliaments. We continue on foot to visit the old town, with its large university and philharmonic hall. Ljubljana is marked by the architecture of Jože Plečnik*, known for his ability to create buildings that seamlessly blended the older city and the needs of a modern society. Plečnik’s architecture was created between World War I and II, and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021. We explore his Triple Bridge across Ljubljanica River, as well as some of the city’s indoor and outdoor markets. After our discovery of Ljubljana, we journey on to Lake Bled. Reflecting the high peaks of the Julian Alps, this romantic lake has always been considered sacred to the locals. We start with a visit to medieval Bled Castle, perched on a cliff overlooking the town. Offering stunning views of the lake, the castle is also home to a small historical museum with artefacts dating back to the time of the Romans. At the shores of Lake Bled, we embark on a boat ride to Slovenia's only island, home to a Baroque church dedicated to Our Lady of the Lake.
Overnight: Hotel Park, Bled (1 night) (B)
Day 24: Bled/Plitvice Lakes (CROATIA) (Drive)
A journey through charming villages and lovely scenery today as we cross back into Croatia and continue on to Plitvice Lakes.
Overnight: Hotel Jezero, Plitvice Lakes (1 night) (B)
Day 25: Plitvice Lakes/Zagreb (Drive)
Enjoy the enchanting scenery of Plitvice Lakes*. This UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of 16 terraced lakes surrounded by dense forests, mountains and lush vegetation. Stunning waterfalls connect the lakes, and we may even be treated to clouds of butterflies drifting overhead! After our adventures here, we make our way to Zagreb, known for its medieval sites and café culture. Here, we discover Zagreb Cathedral, the Dolac Market, Saint Mark’s Church, dating from the 13th century, and Lotrscak Tower.
Overnight: Hotel Palace or Hotel Dubrovnik, Zagreb (1 night) (B)
Day 26: Depart Zagreb
Completing our remarkable journey through the history in the Balkans, we are transferred to Zagreb airport for our onward flight. Or, extend our adventure with another Bestway tour—Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria are great options! (B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Departure Dates & Prices
We accept payments in US$, CA$ as well as in other convertible currencies like EUR, AUD and GBP. Tour prices have been costed in US$. CA$ price shown below is an indicative amount reached at by using the conversion rate at the time of web posting and will be applicable if there is no change in the conversion rate. Should the currency conversion rate change, the US$ pricing will prevail. Bestway Tours & Safaris offers a conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here
|2022||Per Person on
|Estimated Airfare (FROM)+|
|Departure(s)||East Coast||West Coast|
|May 07; Jun 25; Sep 03|
|Segment One (Days 01 – 15)||US$ 5440||US$ 795||-||-|
|Segment Two (Days 15 – 26)||US$ 5295||US$ 1220||-||-|
|2022||Per Person on
|Estimated Airfare (FROM)+|
|Departure(s)||East Coast||West Coast|
|May 07; Jun 25; Sep 03|
|Segment One (Days 01 – 15)||CA$ 7072||CA$ 1034||-||-|
|Segment Two (Days 15 – 26)||CA$ 6877||CA$ 1586||-||-|
This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 12 participants
If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.
You may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.
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