• Activity Level:  1
  • Comfort:  4
  • Departs From: Zagreb
  • Location: Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia
  • Duration: 13 days
  • Availability: TUESDAYS, May - September
  • View more photos

Highlights

  • This spectacular truly comprehensive Grand Balkan Tour encompasses the entire Balkan region in one fabulous experience!
  • Local guides for sightseeing tours of Zagreb, Ljubljana, Split, Dubrovnik, Tirana, Ohrid, Skopje and Kotor
  • Lake Bled;
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park;
  • St. Lawrence Cathedral in Trogir;
  • Diocletian’s Palace and St. Duimus Cathedral in Split;
  • Franciscan Monastery and Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik
  • National Museum in Tirana, St. Sofia, St. Clement and St. Naum in Ohrid;
  • Church of Holy Savior and Monastery of St. Panteleimon in Skopje;
  • Residence of King Nikola I Petrović in Cetinj
Book now From $2,749

13 days from Zagreb, Lake Bled, Plitvice Lakes, Trogir, Split, Dubrovnik, Budva, Shkodra, Tirana, Ohrid, Skopje, Kolasin, Cetinje, Kotor to Dubrovnik

The best of everything... the Grand Balkan 12nights tour! Start in Zagreb, visit the Lakes, the Dalmatian Coast, then down to Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and back to finish in Dubrovnik. You can combine with a cruise from Dubrovnik on the Saturday, by departing the tour a day early.

Guaranteed Departure Escorted Tour; Zagreb to Dubrovnik 12 nights. There is also a 7 night version starting in Dubrovnik on Day 6 Sunday

Itinerary

13 days from Zagreb, Lake Bled, Ljubljana, Plitvice Lakes, Trogir, Split, Dubrovnik, Budva (Montenegro), Shkodra (Albania), Tirana, Ohrid (Macedonia), Skopje, Kolasin (Montenegro), Cetinje, Kotor and back to Dubrovnik

Open age Escorted Coach tour, maximum 40 passengers.

ITINERARY:

Day 1 Tuesday ZAGREB – Arrival
Upon arrival at Zagreb Airport, transfer to hotel. Meet the tour guide, dinner and overnight.

Day 2 Wednesday ZAGREB – BLED – LJUBLJANA
Morning city tour of Zagreb, including the fortified Upper Town, city's historical centre, St Mark's Church with its multicolored roof, the Cathedral, the Croatian National Theatre and the University. Free time, then departure towards Slovenia. Explore Lake Bled and it’s mountainous environs and stunning topography. Continue to Ljubljana. Dinner and overnight.

Day 3 Thursday LJUBLJANA – PLITVICE LAKES
Morning city tour of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia and a home to one of the oldest Philharmonics in the world; Explore the baroque town buildings and stroll beside majestic Ljubljana River. Departure for Plitvice and then tour the Plitvice Lakes National Park on the UNESCO’s List of World Natural Heritage. Sixteen lakes, each at a different level, are connected in a series of cascading waterfalls. Surrounded by dense wood, Plitvice Lakes are a natural phenomenon of a rare and unique beauty. Dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight in Plitvice.

Day 4 Friday PLITVICE – TROGIR – SPLIT
Morning departure for Trogir, where we visit the Cathedral of St. Lawrence. Continuation to Split; city tour of Split, including the Diocletian’s Palace on the UNESCO’s List of World Cultural Heritage with the Peristyle, the Jupiter's Temple and the Cathedral. Dinner and overnight in Split.

Day 5 Saturday SPLIT – DUBROVNIK
After breakfast, departure for Dubrovnik, via Bosnia & Herzegovina. Short stop in Mostar, recently included in the UNESCO’s List of World Cultural Heritage with its elegant Bridge, Old Bazaar, the Mosque and a typical Turkish house. Continuation to Dubrovnik. Afternoon city tour Sightseeing tour of Dubrovnik, included on the UNESCO’s List of World Cultural Heritage. You will visit the Franciscan Monastery with Europe's third oldest pharmacy, the Rector's Palace and the Cathedral. Dinner and overnight in Dubrovnik.

Day 6 Sunday DUBROVNIK
Day at leisure in Dubrovnik. Dinner and overnight.

Day 7 Monday DUBROVNIK – BUDVA / Montenegro – SHKODRA / Albania – TIRANA
Departure for Tirana; we drive inland to Budva known for its Old City encircled by walls from the Venetian period. Continuation to Shkodra, once the capital of the Illyrian Kingdom (3rd century B.C.). Dinner and overnight in Tirana.

Day 8 Tuesday TIRANA – OHRID / Macedonia
Morning sightseeing tour of Tirana, the capital of Albania, including Skender Bey Square, the Mosque of Ethem Bey, and a visit to the National Museum representing the flow of Albanian history, also housing the finds from archeological sites across the country. Afternoon departure for Ohrid, driving via Elbasan and crossing the Macedonian border at Cafasan. Dinner and overnight in Ohrid.

Day 9 Wednesday OHRID
Full day in the lakeside resort of Ohrid, classified as UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage site. Through the activity of St. Clement and St. Naum of Ohrid, the first pan-Slavic University in Europe, the famous “Ohrid Literary School”, was founded here. Morning sightseeing tour includes the Church of St. Sofia (11th century), the most eminent mediaeval monument in Macedonia with magnificent Byzantine fresco paintings and St. Clement Church with its icon of Annunciation. Afternoon short drive to St. Naum Monastery, built on the shores of Ohrid Lake in 900 A.D. and dedicated to the Slavic missionary and educator St. Naum of Ohrid. Return to hotel for overnight.

Day 10 Thursday OHRID – SKOPJE
Morning departure for Skopje. Sightseeing tour of Skopje, including the Kale Fortress, Church of the Holy Savior with its iconostas, one of the finest samples of traditional walnut woodcarving, Old Bazaar and Stone Bridge. We drive to the slopes of the Vodno Mountain where we visit the Monastery of St. Panteleimon with its 12th century iconostas and frescoes ranking among the highest achievements of Byzantine art of this period. Dinner and overnight in Skopje.

Day 11 Friday SKOPJE – KOLAŠIN / Montenegro
Morning departure for Kolašin, driving via Peć and Berane and along the impressive Morača River Canyon. Afternoon arrival at Kolašin, the town spreading on the left bank of the river Tara, situated at the altitude of 954m. The whole area is surrounded by the thick pine forest of the Bjelasica Mountain and is a popular skiing and air spa resort. Dinner and overnight in Kolašin.

Day 12 Saturday KOLAŠIN – CETINJE – KOTOR – DUBROVNIK
Morning departure for Cetinje where we visit King Nikola’s Museum, once the residence of the Montenegrin King Nikola I Petrović. Continuation to Kotor, classified as UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage site, where we visit its Romanesque Cathedral dedicated to St Triphon, the city’s patron saint. We continue to Dubrovnik, driving along the picturesque Bay of Kotor. Dinner and overnight in Dubrovnik.

Day 13 Sunday DUBROVNIK – Departure
Breakfast followed by departure transfer to Dubrovnik Airport.

INCLUDED:
- Arrival transfer from Zagreb Airport to hotel and departure transfer from hotel to Dubrovnik Airport on the first and the last day of the tour
- Accommodation in 3
  • and 4* hotels on half board basis, except in Ohrid on Day 8 (bed and breakfast)

- Dinner in a local restaurant in Plitvice Lakes
- Local guides for sightseeing tours of Zagreb, Ljubljana, Split, Dubrovnik, Tirana, Ohrid, Skopje and Kotor
- Entrance fees to the Lake Bled; the Plitvice Lakes National Park; St. Lawrence Cathedral in Trogir; Diocletian’s Palace and St. Duimus Cathedral in Split; Franciscan Monastery and Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik; National Museum in Tirana, St. Sofia, St. Clement and St. Naum in Ohrid; Church of Holy Savior and Monastery of St. Panteleimon in Skopje; Residence of King Nikola I Petrović in Cetinje; St. Triphun Cathedral in Kotor
- Air-conditioned motor coach throughout
- Tour escort throughout (English speaking)
- Tour is conducted in English (occasionally a bilingual tour might be available, please ask us)

NOT INCLUDED:
- Meals not listed
- Tips and gratuities


Hotels:
Zagreb: International 4star
Ljubljana: Union hotels 4star
Plitvice: Park 4star
Split: Katarina 4star or similar
Dubrovnik: Ivka 3star
Tirana: Sky Tower 4star
Ohrid: Metropol 4star
Skopje: Karpoš 4star
Kolašin: Bianca 4star

Accommodations

Great accommodations are provided.

Essential Information

Hotels:
Zagreb: International 4star
Ljubljana: Union hotels 4star
Plitvice: Park 4star
Split: Katarina 4star or similar
Dubrovnik: Ivka 3star
Tirana: Sky Tower 4star
Ohrid: Metropol 4star
Skopje: Karpoš 4star
Kolašin: Bianca 4star

Inclusions

  • INCLUDED:
  • - Arrival transfer from Zagreb Airport to hotel and departure transfer from hotel to Dubrovnik Airport on the first and the last day of the tour
  • - Accommodation in 3 and 4 star hotels on half board basis, except in Ohrid on Day 8 (bed and breakfast)
  • - Dinner in a local restaurant in Plitvice Lakes
  • - Local guides for sightseeing tours of Zagreb, Ljubljana, Split, Dubrovnik, Tirana, Ohrid, Skopje and Kotor
  • - Entrance fees to the Lake Bled; the Plitvice Lakes National Park; St. Lawrence Cathedral in Trogir; Diocletian’s Palace and St. Duimus Cathedral in Split; Franciscan Monastery and Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik; National Museum in Tirana, St. Sofia, St. Clement and St. Naum in Ohrid; Church of Holy Savior and Monastery of St. Panteleimon in Skopje; Residence of King Nikola I Petrović in Cetinje; St. Triphun Cathedral in Kotor
  • - Air-conditioned motor coach throughout
  • - Tour escort throughout (English speaking)
  • - Tour is conducted in English (occasionally a bilingual tour might be available, please ask us)

Exclusions

NOT INCLUDED: - Meals not listed - Tips and gratuities

Frequently Asked Questions

We have loads more specific FAQ answered on our other pages, check them out here:

Before You Go (general info for all travellers)

Before Your Cruise (small ship Croatia cruises)

Before Your Private Charter (private gulets and yacht charter)

Before Your Island Hopping Tour (packages combining hotels, ferries and transfers)

 

Click here to see how the booking process works: https://discovercroatia.com.au/how-to-book/

How far in advance do I need to book?

Cruises: For our weekly small ship cruises with guaranteed departures we suggest you book as soon as your plans are in motion. All cruises are extremely popular especially during peak season, which is June, July, August, September and these dates can be booked out up to a year in advance, especially September. One-way cruises are particularly sought-after and tend to sell out first, so please speak to us first to ensure your cruise choice is available before booking any flight arrangements.

Escorted Tours: Escorted Group Tours with guaranteed departures are also best booked as early as possible to ensure your place on the tour, as spaces are limited to a set number of passengers. Once the tour is full that departure is closed for new bookings.

Island Hopping, Self-Drive, Self-Guided Cycling/Hiking and Independent or Private Tours: Independent tours are available most days of the week at any time of year, so if you're booking late these are a great option. They can also start or finish on any day of the week, so can be a great alternative to the cruises (that mostly depart only on Saturdays). You can check out our Island Hopper Tours and our active tours for some examples. If you can't find what you are looking for please make an enquiry on any of our tours and let us know what you need. We love creating custom tours with our clients.

What do the different ship categories mean?

Please see our Ship Descriptions page here, for all the information on Ship Categories, Deck and Cabin Descriptions

Cruise Ship Photos

 

 

 

 

What is half-board? What meals are included?

Half-board (HB): This means that 2 meals a day are usually provided, mostly it will be breakfast and lunch on cruises, and breakfast and dinner on escorted tours. Each cruise or tour will have meals listed on the daily itinerary, so that you will know exactly which meals are included. Some lunches or dinners are swapped occasionally, so that you may enjoy a wonderful gourmet experience with your fellow travellers, such as a Captain's Dinner on a cruise, or a wine-tasting and lunch on an escorted tour. For the remainder of your meals you will be able to dine anywhere you choose and you will be responsible for the cost of those meals. Your Cruise or Tour Director will be happy to recommend a good value and trusted eatery nearby at every location, or you can explore on your own.

Bed and Breakfast (BB): This means that only breakfast is included in your holiday. Most of our Independent Tours include breakfast only, so that you are not beholden to going back to your hotel for lunch or dinner as you are going to be exploring on your own. We think that flexibility with lunch and dinner gives you the best option for exploring Croatia and experiencing the local culture and cuisine.

Full-board (FB) is occasionally offered on cruises as an optional extra, but we do not recommend you take the full-board option unless you are really sure about it. A lot of the joy of the cruise and tour experiences is to dine in local restaurants, 'konobas' (traditional pubs) and bars, so that you can meet the people who live and work there. Why come all the way to Croatia only to eat on-board for every meal? There are so many fabulous (and even some famous!) eateries. Get out there and taste them!

 

What type of transport is used on the Island Hopper Tours? Local ferries and vehicle transfers

Local ferries: Local ferries are used between the mainland and the islands where possible. Most of these ferries are fast ferries (high speed catamarans). Our Island Hopper Tours include all ferry tickets, as well as delivery of the ferry tickets to your hotel, when we come to pick you up to take you to the ferry port. In some towns, where some hotels are in the pedestrian zone close to the ferry port (like Hvar), then you will be met at the ferry and directed to your hotel, with luggage assistance if required. If your hotel is outside the pedestrian zone you will be met at the ferry and taken to your transfer vehicle, with luggage assistance if required.

Transfers: Most Island Hoppers have private airport transfers included, and private transfers to/from the ferry ports on the islands. Some transfers will be shared transfers if there are others going to the exact same hotel at the same time and it is a short distance.

How fit do I need to be for my holiday?

Relaxation/cultural cruises and tours: On-board your cruise ship, you will need to be able to negotiate gangways and stairs and be able to step from ship to ship as the cruise ships are moored next to each other sideways and sometimes you need to step across to the next ship. You will be walking mostly on the cobblestone streets through the iconic cities and towns of the region. The excursions are best-suited to those who are capable of walking on uneven surfaces as many old cities and towns have limited totally flat surfaces that can accommodate wheelchairs or walking-frames. Please contact us to ask about your specific circumstances, as we are happy to help plan for your needs as best we can. Assistance will be provided on cruise ships to help you navigate getting on and off, but there are a few limitations. Please ask.

Cycling tours: Although almost completely flat this cycle tour is graded easy to moderate as the daily distance ranges between approximately 15-50 km. You will be biking mostly on the dedicated cycle paths alongside canals, rivers and through the iconic cities and towns of the region. This tour is well-suited to those who have never taken a cycling holiday before as it is flat and predominantly traffic-free and you also have the option of skipping the cycling and relaxing on board.

What happens if I can't attend an excursion?

It is possible to relax at your hotel, on the tour bus or on the boat at any time.

What happens if I can't cycle or hike a stage on an active holiday?

For cycling cruises: If you don't want to cycle it is possible to relax on the boat as it moves to the next port of call.

For cycling and hiking tours: If you don't want to (or can't due to illness or injury) cycle, hike or walk a stage, then we will make arrangements to have you transferred to the next stop on your itinerary so that you can continue with your holiday. Prices for transfers vary widely, so pricing will be provided on an 'as needed' basis only.

What equipment do I need?

Relaxation/excursion cruises and tours: You will need comfortable walking shoes, clothes for relaxing, your swimming costume, and a sunhat. Most cruises are fairly relaxed and casual clothing is fine for all meals, though you may want to take one nice outfit depending on where you wish to dine onshore.

Cycling cruises and tours: You will need comfortable sports shoes, comfortable clothes for cycling, waterproof jacket and trousers, a helmet and a sunhat. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack.

 

Photos

Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik

Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes

Split
Split

Budva
Budva

Tirana
Tirana

Ohrid Lake
Ohrid Lake

Skopje
Skopje

Cetinje
Cetinje

Kotor
Kotor

Video

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Itinerary

  • Day 1 Tuesday ZAGREB – Arrival
  • Day 2 Wednesday ZAGREB – BLED – LJUBLJANA
  • Day 3 Thursday LJUBLJANA – PLITVICE LAKES
  • Day 4 Friday PLITVICE – TROGIR – SPLIT
  • Day 5 Saturday SPLIT – DUBROVNIK
  • Day 6 Sunday DUBROVNIK
  • Day 7 Monday DUBROVNIK – BUDVA / Montenegro – SHKODRA / Albania – TIRANA
  • Day 8 Tuesday TIRANA – OHRID / Macedonia
  • Day 9 Wednesday OHRID
  • Day 10 Thursday OHRID – SKOPJE
  • Day 11 Friday SKOPJE – KOLAŠIN / Montenegro
  • Day 12 Saturday KOLAŠIN – CETINJE – KOTOR – DUBROVNIK
  • Day 13 Sunday DUBROVNIK – Departure