Get off the beaten track with our Magical Balkans tour to Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Greece where you’ll get up close to all the natural beauty, history and culture of these enchanting lands.
Day 1 SOFIA
Arrive in Sofia and transfer to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 2 SOFIA
Enjoy the city tour of Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, visit the Church of St Sofia, the Church of St George and the Aleksandar Nevski Memorial Cathedral. The pedestrianized center of Sofia is full of emblematic and interesting buildings such as the National Drama Theater, the former King’s Palace, several churches, parks and historical sites. Visit Sofia’s early-Christian Church of St. George, also known as the St. George Rotunda, originally built by Romans during the 4th century, making it one of Bulgaria’s oldest buildings. The afternoon is at leisure. Enjoy dinner at a traditional restaurant.
Day 3 SOFIA – PLOVDIV (150 km)
After breakfast, drive to Plovdiv, a town that was built around seven hills, dating back to 4,000 years BC making it one of the oldest cities in Europe. In the 4th century BC it was conquered by Phillip of Macedonia. Visit the old town situated on Nebet Tepe hill to see the Ethnographic Museum, the Roman Theater and the Church of SS Kostantino and Elena. Transfer to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 PLOVDIV – RILA – SKOPJE (Macedonia) (450 km)
After breakfast, drive to the magnificent Rila Monastery, the most important monument of the Orthodox faith in the Balkans (UNESCO). Its history is directly related to St Ivan of Rila, a Bulgarian hermit who settled in the region and devoted his life to fasting and prayers. The monastery was initially situated near the cave where the saint dwelled. After he passed away in 946, St Ivan was buried in the cave in which he found solitude. Throughout the centuries Rila Monastery has always been the spiritual, educational and cultural center of Bulgaria. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Continue to North Macedonia. Transfer to Skopje for dinner and overnight.
Day 5 SKOPJE – OHRID (180 km)
After breakfast, visit North Macedonia’s capital Skopje, the Old Bazaar made of narrow streets. The pedestrian walk is comprised of similar, one floor structures that house shops containing jewels, carpets, clothes, books, etc. See the Mustafa Pasha Mosque (16th century) and the Church of St. Spas. Explore the Feudal Tower and the memorial dedicated to Mother Teresa. Transfer to Ohrid for dinner at a traditional restaurant and overnight.
Day 6 OHRID
After breakfast, enjoy a boat tour on Lake Ohrid to the Monastery of Saint Naum near the border with Albania. In the afternoon, explore the old center of Ohrid, one of the most beautiful cities in Macedonia, and one of the most fascinating in the Balkan Peninsula. It was declared as a world heritage by UNESCO. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid, it is known for its pretty white houses, winding streets and art treasures. Visit the Cathedral of St. Sophia built in 1037-1056 with interesting frescoes of the 14th century, the Church of S. Bogorodica Perivlepta of 1259 with Byzantine forms, the Roman theatre, the Samuil fortress, the Plaosnik and the Church of St. Kaneo (one of the symbols of Ohrid). Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 7 OHRID – HERAKLEA – KALAMBAKA (300 km)
After breakfast, drive to the ancient Roman city of Heraklea, founded by Philip II (4th century BC). The most interesting remains of the site are: the baths, the colonnade, the Amphitheatre and the remains of two basilicas. Both are decorated with splendid and colorful mosaics depicting geometric figures, trees, birds, flowers and animals. Continue to a Greek city of Kalambaka. Transfer to the look out of Psaropetra to enjoy the best panoramic views of Meteora and the sunset. Transfer to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 8 KALAMBAKA – METEORA – VERGINA – THESSALONIKI (240 km)
After breakfast, visit the Meteora monasteries: a unique experience of nature’s grandeur in conjunction with history, architecture and man’s everlasting desire to connect with the Divine. Visit Varlaam Monastery and Roussanou Monastery. Head to the UNESCO site of Vergina to see the royal necropolis, believed to be the tomb of Philip II of Macedonia. The museum houses material found in the area is considered to be one of the greatest archaeological collections in all of Greece. Continue to Thessaloniki. Transfer to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 9 THESSALONIKI – MOUNTH ATHOS – THESSALONIKI (280 km)
After breakfast, drive to port Ouranoupolis for a mini cruise* around Mount Athos, a fifty kilometers long cape, located in the eastern part of the Halkidiki Peninsula. During the cruise you can admire eight of the twenty monasteries, which surprisingly adhere to the spurs on the shore. Return to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.
*In case of bad weather an excursion will be made to Kavala and the archaeological sites of Amphipolis and Filippi
Day 10 THESSALONIKI
After breakfast, explore Thessaloniki, the second biggest city in Greece, after Athens! Nestled in the heart of the Thermaic Gulf, Thessaloniki serves as a commercial, business and transportation hub for the northern side of Greece. Founded in 315 BC by Cassander of Macedon, Thessaloniki’s history spans over 2,300 years. An important metropolis by the Roman period, it was the second largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a home to numerous, notable Byzantine and Paleo Christian monuments. The tour begins with the Arch of Galerius in the lower town. Visit Agios Georgios and Agia Sofia with preserved precious mosaics. The afternoon is at leisure. Enjoy dinner at a traditional restaurant.
Day 11 THESSALONIKI
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.