Expat Explore has developed this unique itinerary that enables you to experience the undiscovered treasures of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Dubrovnik, Belgrade, Sofia and Tirana await as you experience an unforgettable 16-day adventure! Offering incredible beaches, historic medieval walled cities, vibrant capital's and beautiful natural landscapes, this part of Europe really is a sight to behold.
Starting in Athens, you'll visit the ancient Greek city Delphi and the stunning natural landscape and monasteries of Meteora, before we explore Ohrid in Macedonia. Many of the cities in the Balkans have shaken off their communist past to transform into vibrant, fun cities, and you'll experience this for yourself as we visit Tirana in Albania, Belgrade in Serbia and Sofia in Bulgaria. Other highlights include the medieval walled city of Dubrovnik and the beautiful scenery of Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, Budva and Kotor in Montenegro, the Stari Most bridge in Mostar and the Hungarian capital Budapest.
As with all Expat Explore coach tours, this tour is a guaranteed departure, and you will be accompanied for the duration by an experienced and passionate tour leader. Our tour busses are modern, comfortable and air-conditioned, and at each hotel we include free wi-fi in your tour package so you can stay connected and share all your incredible photos and memories with your friends and family while on tour!
Why this Trip
- All tour dates are guaranteed to depart.
- No minimum numbers required.
- FREE Wi-Fi in hotels.
- Massive early bird savings
- Only 10% deposit or minimum $80.00 required and no booking fees.
Itinerary PrintView full Itinerary here
DAY 1: Arrive in Athens
Welcome to Athens! If you arrive early enough, head into the city to see for yourself all the treasures this ancient city has to offer. Meet up with your tour leader at our hotel in the afternoon, and then enjoy an orientation tour of Greece’s capital. Tonight, you’ll meet the rest of the tour group at our included welcome dinner.
DAY 2: Delphi - Meteora - Kalabaka
Today we’ll head north through the Greek mainland, stopping off on the way in Delphi. In antiquity, Delphi was considered the “omphalos” (navel) of the earth, and the place where people from around the world would visit in order to receive an “oracle” from “Pythia”. We will admire the Sanctuary of Apollo, the Treasury of the Athenians and we will also visit the museum of Delphi. This afternoon we'll arrive in Meteora. The dramatic ‘columns of the sky’ were settled on by monks from the 11th century, and by the 1400s there were 24 in total. We’ll visit St. Stephen's Monastery, which was founded in 1400 by St. Antoninus Cantacuzene and is now a nunnery. This evening we'll stay in the nearby town of Kalabaka.
DAY 3: Kalabaka - Ohrid
This morning we'll travel on into Macedonia and the undiscovered jewel of Ohrid. A UNESCO World Heritage Site on the shores of Lake Ohrid, this city is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe, and is notable for once having had 365 churches, one for each day of the year. We'll explore the Old Town on a guided tour, where you'll see the famous sights, including the Church of St. John at Kaneo, which is situated on a cliff overlooking Lake Ohrid. To finish off the day we'll enjoy an included dinner this evening.
DAY 4: Ohrid - Tirana
This morning we’ll leave Macedonia for its Balkan neighbour Albania, driving onto the capital city, Tirana. In a story typical of many cities in this part of Europe, Tirana has undergone a remarkable transformation, shaking off communism to become a vibrant, fun city. You’ll be introduced to the city on a walking tour, from the buildings painted in bright colours, to the architecture influenced by the Ottomans, Italians and of course communism. This evening, we will stay at a resort, where dinner will be included.
DAY 5: Budva - Kotor - Dubrovnik
Heading north, we leave Albania behind and travel through Montenegro. Our first stop is at the picturesque coastal town of Budva, known for its well preserved medieval walled city, which you will have some free time to explore. We then make a comfort stop at the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Kotor. The old port of Kotor is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period, and is a picturesque Mediterranean landscape. It is then time to make our way to the walled city of Dubrovnik in Croatia, where your tour leader will take you on an orientation tour of the old town to see the Franciscan Monastery, Dominican Monastery, Cathedral, Onofrio fountain, Orlando’s column, Sponza Palace, Rector’s Palace, Stradun and the City Walls.
DAY 6: Dubrovnik - Free day
You have a full free day to explore Dubrovnik's incredible history! Want the best views of the ‘old town’ and islands? Catch the cable car to the top of Mount Srdj and enjoy! It is highly recommended for a scenic sunset photo or two. Visit one of the city’s many museums; the Maritime Museum is one of the most popular, or maybe just browse the shops, including the traditional jewellery shops where you can find unique handmade silver or gold jewellery.
DAY 7: Mostar - Northern Croatia
Today you will travel to another country, Bosnia-Herzegovina and head to the town of Mostar. Mostar is an enchanting and historical town, and you will have some free time to explore the numerous religious buildings, and see the the Roman and Ottoman influences. After your time in Mostar, the coach will travel back into Croatia for an overnight stay.
DAY 8: Plitvice Lakes - Ljubljana
Your European tour continues today with a mix of sublime scenery and a stunning Slovenian capital. Today you will be treated to some of the most picturesque natural landscapes in the whole of Europe. The Plitvice Lakes National Park is known internationally for its cascading lakes, waterfalls and dynamic landscape. We will take you into the reserve, so you can stroll along the boardwalks and marvel at the incredible natural scenery of Croatia’s largest national park. This is one of the most beautiful stops on the tour and is home to numerous rare animals, so make sure you have plenty of space in your cameras! After your brush with nature, it’s off to the pint-sized city of Ljubljana in Slovenia. A local guide will escort you on a walking tour of this fairytale city, pointing out the numerous bridges and brilliantly preserved baroque, gothic and medieval architecture. This evening you will have the option of joining the Slovenian evening optional excursion, a fun night of live music, singing and dancing with a three-course meal.
DAY 9: Ljubljana - Budapest
Today we’ll cross into Hungary and head for the capital, Budapest a city cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Straddling the historic Danube River, Budapest is well preserved and boasts numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites - its natural geo-thermal springs are a highlight. Enjoy a driving tour of the city, and then use your free time this evening to explore, or join our optional excursion to the Széchenyi Medicinal Bath, one of the most famous icons of the city and Europe’s largest medicinal bath.
DAY 10: Budapest - Free day
With traces of the past evident in the interesting and unusual details, this is your chance to get up close and personal with Budapest. Look out for remnants of the conflicts of WWII and the uprising of 1956, try Hungarian cuisine (so much more to it than just goulash), sample world-renowned wines, and soak your weary rambler’s bones in one of the city’s bath-houses – something Budapest has been known for since the Roman times, with some 123 thermal and 400 mineral springs from 14 different sources. Then, maybe catch the sunset with an evening stroll along the Danube.
DAY 11: Budapest - Belgrade
Saying goodbye to Budapest, we make our way to the Serbian capital of Belgrade. On arrival in Belgrade we’ll enjoy a tour of Serbia’s capital city with a local guide, who will introduce us to the city's highlights, including Republic Square, Bohemian Quarter (Skadarlija), Kalemegdan park and Belgrade fortress. This evening we'll enjoy an included dinner.
DAY 12: Nis - Sofia
Our first destination today is a stop off in Nis, a historic city in south-eastern Serbia that was ruled by the Turks from the 14th-19th centuries. Included in your tour package is a visit to the Tower of Skulls, one of the most prominent reminders of its Ottoman past. We’ll then make our way to Sofia, where we’ll enjoy a driving and walking tour of Bulgaria’s capital city to introduce you to the main sights and help you plan for your free day tomorrow.
DAY 13: Sofia - Free day
Enjoy a free day to explore Sofia. A young and city, the capital combines a pleasing east-meets-west atmosphere against a backdrop of contrasting communist and contemporary architecture. There’s a partially exposed 1,800-year-old Roman city to discover, plenty of relaxing green spaces, and a variety of churches and mosques to explore. Alternatively, the hiking trails of Mt Vitosha are a short bus ride away.
DAY 14: Sofia - Thessaloniki
Today we head back to Greece, arriving in the northern port city Thessaloniki in the afternoon. Its compact size makes it a delightfully walkable city, which you’ll discover for yourself on an orientation tour of the historic centre. The tour will finish on the waterfront close to the famous White Tower, where you will find plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy the evening.
DAY 15: Thessaloniki - Athens
Today we’ll head south through the Greek countryside back to Athens. On our way we’ll stop off in Kamena Vourla, a small town on the south coast of the Malian Gulf, and a beautiful spot to grab lunch. On arrival in Athens we’ll check into our hotel before enjoying a farewell dinner on the last night of the tour.
DAY 16: End of tour
After breakfast, your 16 day Balkan extravaganza concludes - unfortunately it is time to say your goodbyes to your fellow travellers. We hope you have enjoyed your tour with Expat Explore!
- 15 nights' accommodation in twin rooms with private en-suite facilities. Single travellers have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure a private room.
- Services of your Expat tour leader, who will be on hand with advice and tips to ensure that you get the most from your trip. You can also book any of the optional excursions available during your tour with your tour leader – please see the 'Essential Information' tab for more details.
- 15 breakfasts, 8 dinners
- All taxes and fees
- Any public transport used as part of the tour (excludes free days)
- Modern air conditioned coach with reclining seats, TV for showing DVDs, and toilet.
- 18 Experiences (including guided walking tours, orientation walks, driving tours of cities plus other exciting experiences)
- Free Expat Explore tour souvenir – a memorable gift of your once in a lifetime trip.
Optional ExcursionsOptional excursions are payable in cash currency to your tour leader whilst on tour.
- Slovenian Evening
- Danube Evening Cruise
- Trip to Rila Monastery
- Trip to Ston, Orebić & Korčula
Return customers get 10% off!
If you have traveled with us before you qualify for a 10% rebate. To claim your rebate, simply type your previous Booking Number in the "Special Notes" box at the final Payment step of the checkout.
Save - without compromising on quality - by booking directly with the leading tour operator
How we make awesome trips affordable
- No intermediary: You book directly from the tour operator so you don't have to pay any travel agent.
- As a Europe leading bus tour operator we have 11 years of experience finding the best hotels for your budget and continuously optimizing our selection based on customer feedback.
- We book our hotels well in advance so we get early bird rates that we can pass on to you!
- Thanks to the great number of people who travel with us each year, we can negotiate great deals that would be quite impossible for you to find on your own.
Detailed Info Pack
- Tour start & end points
- Pre-departure information
- Pre-tour accommodation
For more information on, starting points & times, emergency contact details, budgeting for your tour & much more you can download our information pack here.
Helpful Pre-Trip Info
On tour costs
Please refer to the tour itinerary above for full details of what activities are included, which meals are included and what is excluded. We would recommend budgeting €25-€40 per day (this excludes optional excursions).
Please note, all rooms are twin bed as standard.
- Partners: When you book for more than one person, we will by default group you together in a room (unless you specifically request us not to). If you are unequal numbers (3, 5, 7 etc.) and we are unable to secure a triple room then the the remaining traveler will be roomed with another passenger of the same gender.
- Single Travelers: If you are travelling alone there is no compulsory charge - you will share a twin room with another passenger of the same gender. There is an optional single supplement/private room upgrade available for single travellers who wish to have a private room. This can be added at the time of booking or by contacting our customer services team. Please note that the room provided may be a single room with a single bed.
- Triple Room requests: We can generally provide a triple room on request; however it is not guaranteed to be available in every destination. Please contact our customer services team to request a triple room. Please note that in some hotels, the triple may be a double and a single bed, or the third bed may be a pull-out or bunk-bed. Where we cannot provide a triple room the rooming will consist of one twin room and the third passenger sharing with another single traveller of the same gender.
In some destinations you will have a full free day, where you can choose to join our optional excursions or explore on your own.
Your tour starts and finishes in Athens. Please have a look at our essential tour help page for detailed information.
This should be valid for at least six months after you have returned home from your trip. You should also have several blank pages as Visas and entry/exit stamps can take up a whole page.
Have a question?
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Do I get allocated a seat on the coach?
If you have any medical conditions that may be affected by where you sit, please discuss them with your Tour Leader, but note that the seat rotation policy will most likely mean that your request may not be honoured.
Do I need a visa to travel on this tour?
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Is travel insurance compulsory?
For a relatively small price, travel insurance provides you with the peace of mind so that you can enjoy your tour without any worries. To receive a quote from one of our preferred travel insurance partners, please visit WorldNomads (for all nationalities) or Hollard (for South Africans).