Day 1: Arrival at Mother Theresa Airport – Kruja – Tirana
Arrival at Mother Theresa International Airport in Tirana and transfer toward Kruja, home of Albania’s National hero, Scanderbeg, who in the 15th century successfully defended his homeland against the Turks. Sightseeing will include the Old Castle, the Scanderbeg Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, and shopping at the Turkish-style bazaar.
Lunch in Kruja at traditional restaurant inside the castle. After Kruja drive toward Tirana. Your guide will show you the many sights of Skanderbeg Square whose architecture influences range from Ottoman Turkish to Fascist Italian to Chinese Communist. Tour the Mosque of Et’hem Bey; the Clock Tower; the statue of G.K. Skanderbeg (Albania’s national hero), the Palace of Culture, The National Gallery and the National History Museum, with its distinctive mosaic. Check-in at hotel in Tirana. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Tirana (B, L, D)
Day 2: Tirana – Ohrid
After breakfast drive to Ohrid via Elbasan. Arrival in Saint Naum have lunch at local restaurant by the lake side. After lunch visit the monastery of St. Naum, close to the Albanian border. Take a rowboat ride through the natural mineral springs, and photograph the peacocks that roam around the grounds. Then we’ll take the van along the winding lakeside road into the ancient city of Ohrid, supposedly home to 365 churches! (If the weather and other conditions allow we will replace the van with a nice enjoyable boat ride along the lakeshore). Take a tour of the city, visit Samoil’s fortress dating from the 11th century and other important ancient churches and schools of Ohrid. Orthodox Byzantine monks brought Christianity to Ohrid in the 10th century from Greece through the effort of St. Cyril and Methodius who crafted the Cyrillic Alphabet here. Afternoon for leisure and shopping. Dinner and overnight in Ohrid. (B, L, D)
Day 3: Ohrid – Skopje
After breakfast depart toward Skopje. Arrival in Skopje and have a short introduction of the country’s capital. Organized sightseeing of Mother Theresa House, Old Railway Station, and Stone Bridge. After the visit of Skopje check-in at. Dinner in a nearby restaurant with folklore show. Overnight stay in Skopje.
Day 4: Skopje – Rila – Sofia
Early morning departure from Skopje toward Bulgaria. Arrival in Rila and have lunch at Rila monastery. After lunch visit the Rila Monastery UNESCO site, the most important monastery in Bulgaria. Drive toward Sofia. Arrival in Sofia and check-in at hotel in the city. Overnight stay at hotel in Sofia. (B, L, D)
DAY 5: Sofia – Veliko Turnovo
In the morning start the sightseeing tour of Sofia including a visit to the National History Museum, where the gold and silver Thracian treasures are displayed. Also see the Alexander Nevski Cathedral and Crypt Balance of the day at leisure. After the visit of Sofia depart toward Veliko Turnovo. Arrival in Veliko Turnovo and if time permits have the walking tour of the city.
Veliko Turnovo was the capital of Bulgaria’s Second State from the 12th to 14th centuries. The old city has a picturesque location on the banks of the meandering Yantra River. Visit Tsarevetz Hill where you will find relics of the mighty fortress of the Bulgarian monarchs. After sightseeing tour of the city, proceed to check-in at hotel. Dinner and overnight stay at hotel in Veliko Turnovo. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Bucharest
Get acquainted with the Romanian capital, once nicknamed “Little Paris.” During the tour you will visit the Parliament Palace, the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon, and the National Treasure. Listen how the Romanian people nearly succeeded to topple the last communist dictator in Eastern Europe in the Revolution Square. Your tour will bring you also to the Romanian Athenaeum, the Opera House, the National Military Club, the Military Academy, Triumphal Arch and The Village Museum. Farewell dinner with folklore show. (B, D)
Day 7: Bucharest – Sinaia – Bran – Brasov
Following breakfast departure towards Peles. Arrival and tour the Peles Castle. Set dramatically in the hills above Sinaia, this 160 room palace, built in German Renaissance style, was completed in 1914 for the first Hohenzollern king of Romania, Carol I. Fortunately, as you’ll see, it is one of the best preserved royal palaces in Europe.
Continue toward Bran. Visit Bran Castle made famous by Bram Stoker’s novel as the residence of the vampire count, Dracula. Continue to Brasov. After arrival accommodation at your hotel and dinner (B, L, D)
DAY 8: Brasov – Sibiu
After breakfast, walking tour of Brasov including the visit of the First Romanian School with an impressive collection of rare books and the Black church located in the city center. After the visit of Brasov continue toward the museum town of Sibiu. During the tour of Sibiu you will see the Huet Square, the Large Square, the Evangelical Cathedral, the Liars’ Bridge and others. Continue toward Timisoara. On the way to Timisoara we will visit the fortress of Huendoara that became the castle of the most preeminent king of the medieval era, Matia Corvin. The monument has a special glamour due to its different construction styles, the presence of military and civil innovations, as well as for the impetuous court life that animated it for 400 years. Arrival to Timisoara and accommodation with dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 9: Sibiu – Timisoara – Belgrade
After breakfast visit Timisoara, the city where Romanian revolutions started in 1989. Arrive in Timisoara and view ruins of Timisoara Fortress, Huniady Castle, Pasha’s Wheel, fabric residential areas, and Corso shopping area.
Continue toward Belgrade and accommodation. Dinner and overnight stay in Belgrade. (B, L, D)
Day 10: Belgrade
Your morning sightseeing tour includes the city’s main attractions including a visit to the imposing Kalemegdan Fortress, dramatically situated above the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers.
Continue tour and view the Republic Square and Knez Mihajlova Street, the Saint Sava Temple (the largest Orthodox Church in the city) as well as Tito’s Memorial. Afternoon optional for shopping or boat ride at Danube River. (B, L, D)