Secrets of the Balkans
from $9825
Duration: 23 Days
Embrace romance on this 23-day tour through Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria and into Turkey. This itinerary combines the best of the Balkans; a colourful tapestry of cultures, landscapes and traditions, with whimsical villages and walled cities to sparkling waters and stunning national parks. Be charmed by the hearty food and opulent buildings of Sofia, learn the political history of Sarajevo, discover a 10th-century monastery in the Rila Mountains, and spend three nights on the Black Sea Coast. With local guides to illuminate the historic sights and cities along the way, this trip is a feast of ancient cultures, untouched wilderness and some of the best food and drink in Europe.
  • Under the guidance of knowledgeable locals, you'll visit some of the region's most beautiful cathedrals, monasteries, palaces, Ottoman mosques and UNESCO-protected townscapes.
  • The smaller, lesser-known destinations on this trip are some of the best. The crystalline beauty of towns like Mostar and Veliko Tarnovo is the stuff of fairy tales.
  • Visit the Zivanovic family’s honey museum and winery in Sremski Karlovci. Their old house has been converted into museum full of beekeeping memorabilia and the have had a wine cellar here for 300 years.
  • Explore cultural and architectural delights of Sofia on a tour with a local guide, stopping along the way to indulge in local delicacies like shopska (cucumber salad), ukanka (semi-dried salami) and wine.
  • Observe the architectural grand jewels of Turkey from the water during a cruise along the narrow Bosphorus strait that bisects the city.
  • Kotor Sightseeing with Local Guide
  • St Tryphon's Cathedral
  • Blagaj Teke Monastery
  • Guided Tour in Mostar with a Local Guide & Craftsman Visit
  • Sarajevo Sightseeing with Local Guide
  • War Tunnel Museum
  • Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque
  • Srebrenica Memorial Centre with Local Guide
  • Guided Tour Belgrade
  • Petrovaradin Fortress
  • Wine & Honey Tasting in Sremski Karlovci
  • Novo Hopovo Monastery
  • Western Serbian Gastronomy Experience with Cooking Class & Lunch
  • Sargan Eight Heritage Railway
  • Hike in Tara National Park
  • Bubanj Memorial Park
  • Nis Walking Tour with Local Guide
  • Sofia - Food, Heritage, and Culture Urban Adventure
  • Rila - Monastery Visit
  • Yustina Winery Visit with Wine Tasting & Lunch
  • Day 1 Location: Dubrovnik
    Arrive in Dubrovnik, one of Croatia's most bewitching seaside cities. There are no activities planned before this evening's group meeting, so you may arrive at any time. If you arrive early, perhaps take a stroll through the charming Old Town, or simply enjoy the city's lively outdoor cafe culture. After the meeting head out for a group dinner at a traditional restaurant.
    Day 2 Location: Kotor / Dubrovnik
    Set out from Dubrovnik on a day excursion to the stunning country of Montenegro. Montenegro occupies a thin strip of the Adriatic coast and is a land of beautiful sandy and pebbled beaches, dramatic mountain peaks and delightful old villages. Your excursion will take you to Europe's most southerly fjord, Boka Kotorska (Bay of Kotor), one of the most beautiful bays of the region. On the way, pass through the small and picturesque towns of Risan and Perast, situated on the banks of the bay, before arriving at the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Kotor, where you will embark on a sightseeing tour with a local guide. Visit the Cathedral of St. Tryphun, which dates back to the 8th century (according to the annals of Constantine Porfirogenet, the Byzantine czar), the South Gates of Kotor (the "Gurdich Gate"), and the square "Trg od oruzija" (The Armory Square). Return to Dubrovnik in the afternoon.
    Day 3 Location: Blagaj / Mostar / Sarajevo
    Depart Dubrovnik this morning and travel to the peaceful town of Blagaj, our first stop in Bosnia (approximately 2.5 hours). Blagaj is the location of the turquoise Buna River spring, where you’ll visit a historical tekija (Dervish monastery). After lunch there is a short drive to Mostar (approximately 30 minutes), a town situated in a beautiful valley in the high mountains of Herzegovina. Thanks to the river Neretva, Mostar was able to develop as a city in the barren landscape of Herzegovina. Neretva's size turned Mostar into a trading centre of the region very early on. The most famous feature of the city is its bridge. Stari Most ('Old Bridge'), which was built by the Ottomans in 1565. It was the great architect Mimar Hajrudin who had succeeded with the impossible mission to cross the Neretva River with a single span stone bridge. In the late afternoon you will drive to Bosnia's capital, Sarajevo (approximately 2.5 hours). Enjoy a dinner in a local restaurant.
    Day 4 Location: Sarajevo
    Explore Sarajevo this morning with a walking tour of the city. You will visit the famous Baščaršija, the old Turkish quarter, home to one of the most interesting market centres in the country. Sarajevo is one of the few cities in the world that features an Orthodox church, a Catholic church and a mosque (the famous Begova Džamija) all within close proximity. You will be visiting all three buildings on your tour. This city may well be one of the highlights of your trip. It has emerged from the brink of ruin in the 1990s to become one of the most interesting capital cities of Europe. After your exploration of the city, there will be free time for lunch before you depart for the Tunnel Museum in the suburb of Ilidža. The tunnel was dug underneath the airport runway and was used to smuggle provisions into the city during the siege. The rest of the afternoon ids free for you to explore this exciting city.
    Day 5 Location: Srebrenica / Belgrade
    After breakfast transfer from Sarajevo for Srebrenica (approximately 2.5 hours). Explore the narrow streets and learn about the town's tragic past on a guided tour, including a visit to the Srebrenica Memorial Center. The Centre honours the thousands who died in the infamous Srebrenica Genocide of 1995. The local guide who has lived through the horrors of war will answer any question you might have. Take time to reflect on the experience over lunch at a local restaurant before travelling to Beograd, the Serbian capital more commonly known as Belgrade (approximately 3.5 hours). The 'White City' is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Sitting at the confluence of two major rivers, the Sava and the Danube, it’s an important intersection between Eastern and Western Europe. Here you’ll experience an energetic mix of progressive flamboyance and conservative customs.
    Day 6 Location: Belgrade
    After breakfast take part in a guided sightseeing tour of Belgrade to give you some familiarity with the area and local amenities. Then you'll have the rest of the day free to explore the city. Perhaps begin with a wander around the city’s wide boulevards and squares, and the historic and green heart of Kalemegdan Park. The park is home to Kalemegdan Fortress, which has overlooked the Danube River here for centuries. In the evening, head down to Skadarska Street in the bohemian quarter of Skadarlija to sample some authentic local food and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
    Day 7 Location: Novi Sad / Sremski Karlovci / Belgrade
    Embark on a day trip to Serbia's second-largest city, Novi Sad (approximately 1.5 hours). Experience Novi Sad's fascinating blend of traditional culture and Austro-Hungarian architecture wit your leader. Visit the city’s fortress of Petrovaradin, which sits right on the Danube and contains a museum of historic artefacts from the region. In the afternoon, head out of town to visit a local vineyard in Sremski Karlovci (approximately 30 minutes) and see the workings of a family-run wine making business. Visit the Zivanovic family’s honey museum and winery. Their old house has been converted into museum full of beekeeping memorabilia and the have had a wine cellar here for 300 years. You’ll try Bermet dessert wine which is a speciality of the region. Reports suggest it was drunk at the emperor's court in Vienna and was even served on the Titanic. This family are said to have kept the original recipe. Return to Belgrade in the evening and enjoy dinner with your group.
    Day 8 Location: Belgrade
    Today is at your leisure, so perhaps spend your spare time exploring the markets near the Hram Svetog Save (St Sava Church) and Pijaca Venac. In the evening, meet for another group meeting at 6 pm, where new travellers may be joining you, and your group leader may change. Get to know each other with an included dinner of some Serbian food and perhaps enjoy a glass of Slivovitz (Serbian brandy) later on.
    Day 9 Location: Belgrade / Drvengrad
    The morning is yours to do as you please. Perhaps take a wander through the historic, bohemian Skadarlija street and imagine life as an impoverished 20th-century poet. In the afternoon, travel by private vehicle to Drvengrad (4 hours). This traditional-style Serbian village was constructed under the direction of filmmaker Emir Kusturica, inspired by the ancient city of Ephesus, his memories of pre-war Sarajevo and a utopian ideal of village life. Kusturica’s film Life is a Miracle (2004) was filmed in Drvengrad and the town has since hosted several festivals. Spend the evening at your feature stay in this whimsical village, where the streets are named for revolutionaries and artists.
    Day 10 Location: Tara National Park / Drvengrad
    This morning you will further immerse yourself in antiquity with a ride on the Sargan Eight Railway. Board this old-fashioned train and travel along a narrow-gauge railway, which snakes (in the shape of a figure eight) around the mountain. Views of woodland and small villages greet you as you gaze out the window while the train slowly gains 300 metres in altitude. Your included lunch today is a real treat – a leisurely Serbian gastronomy experience with a cooking class hosted by a local villager, specialising in Western Serbian Cuisine. You can expect to prepare a range of typical dishes which may include some of the following, depending on seasonality: muckalica (barbequed meat and vegetable stew) or the vegetarian equivalent (duvec), burek (pastries, filled and baked), gibanica (cheese and egg pastry dish), cakes and preserves. All ingredients are locally grown and sourced. The experience is part of a locally developed sustainable tourism initiative, which is hoped to replace more impactful economical activities such as logging and hunting, and preserve local cultural heritage. The income the family receives from our visit stays within the community. After lunch, explore the serene Tara National Park on a 2-hour hike to the spongy meadows of Red Creek natural reserve. After your hike, return to Drvengrad for the evening and enjoy an included dinner in this unique village.
    Day 11 Location: Nis
    Make the approximately 4.5-hour journey from Drvengrad to Nis by private vehicle, breaking up the drive with some stops along the way. On arrival in Nis, set out on a guided tour of the city with a passionate local. Nis has a rich history, occupied by the Romans, the Slavs and the Ottoman Turks, among others. The city was the staging ground for numerous Serbian rebellions and uprisings until it was absorbed by the Serbian state in 1878. Continue to Bubanj Memorial Park to observe the Three Fists monument, dedicated to the memory of local people executed in WWII. Enjoy a free evening to explore or relax in Nis. Perhaps ask your leader to point you in the direction of Tinkers Alley – a great place to grab a meal or sit and people watch.
    Day 12 Location: Sofia
    Leave Nis behind to and make the 3-hour drive to Sofia, a city where Soviet, Ottoman, Russian and Bulgarian Renaissance influence is evident in the architecture. In the afternoon embark on an Urban Adventures tour of the city with a local guide, learning history while you sample local food and drinks. Wonder at icons like the National Theatre and King’s Palace and refuel with snacks such as shopska (cucumber salad) and a glass of ayran (yoghurt drink). This 3-hour tour offers a fantastic introduction to the cultural and culinary delights of Sofia, after which you are free to explore on your own.
    Day 13 Location: Sofia
    Enjoy an entire day to explore Sofia at your leisure. Bulgaria's capital is a cosmopolitan city with wide tree-lined boulevards and pleasant parks. There are a number of optional activities today that your leader can help you parse, so remember to ask them for advice. Maybe begin with a browse around the cured meats and cheese of the Central Market Hall, then take a walk through the city and see the gold-domed Alexander Nevski Church. You might want to sate your cultural curiosity at the National History Museum, discover artefacts from the many empires of old that have occupied the city at the National Archaeological Museum, or get cultural at the National Art Gallery. The Museum of Socialist Art is an interesting place to spend an hour or two observing propaganda and other works from Bulgaria’s time as a Communist state. Or perhaps head to Vitosha Boulevard to wander and sip coffee. In the evening why not meet up with your group for dinner.
    Day 14 Location: Rila Mountains / Plovdiv
    Travel into the Rila Mountains on a 2-hour drive through incredible scenery to the Rila Monastery. Founded in the 10th century by canonised hermit St John of Rila, the complex has architectural features that span from the 11th to the 19th century. Spend some time wandering under the curved arches and admiring colourful frescoes at the monastery, then continue driving to Plovdiv (approximately 4.5 hours) past lakes, farmland and scenic rural scenes. Arrive in Plovdiv and in the evening. If you have the energy, why not ask your leader where to grab a bite to eat. Plovdiv is a fairly relaxed city with a great casual dining scene.
    Day 15 Location: Bachkovo / Plovdiv
    Spend the morning on a tour of Plovdiv with a local guide, getting a feel for the city’s history and culture. Visit the Plovdiv Regional Ethnographic Museum, housed in a stately 19th-century home. Continue to Yustina Winery for lunch. There is a proud tradition of winemaking in the Balkans and you’ll have the opportunity to try a few local varieties during your meal. In the afternoon visit the Bachkovo Monastery, a handsome stone building set over a ledge atop a valley. The 17th-century Church of Sveta Bogoroditsa features frescoes painted by Bulgarian master Zahari Zograf, in addition to many other beautiful murals in the complex. Return to Plovdiv for the evening.
    Day 16 Location: Plovdiv
    Spend the day as you please in Plovdiv. Perhaps walk through the Old Town to Nebet Tepe, a hilltop lookout where the remains of a fortress can be found. From the hill the views of the city are spectacular, and the unassuming ruins offer a little slice of ancient life from one of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. Then maybe return to the Old Town and grab a coffee or a beer and watch the world go by. Plovdiv is perfect for you to aimlessly wander through its narrow alleyways to see traditional coppersmiths, farriers and potters at work, or browse through the myriads of antique shops lining the streets. Alternatively discover one of the many hot springs in the Plovdiv region. One of the most well-known spa towns is Hisarya, famous for its 22 mineral springs. Your leader will be on hand to help you organise transportation to get there. No matter what you do remember to embrace aylyak – roughly translated as a state of relaxation and openness – while you’re here.
    Day 17 Location: Veliko Tarnovo
    Take a 3-hour journey to Veliko Tarnovo, stopping en route at Etar Ethnographic Village. Founded in the 1960s, this open-air museum recreates a typical Bulgarian town from the late 18th century. It features wooden bridges leading over streams, traditional craftspeople forging their wares, traditional shops and a tavern and a working water mill. Spend some time here in the past, then continue to Veliko Tarnovo, arriving in time for an optional lunch with the group. In the afternoon, explore Tsarevets Fortress – a medieval stronghold – with a local guide. The fortress, restored to its 14th-century glory, is home to the remains of a monastery, houses, workshops and churches from between the 12th and 14th centuries.
    Day 18 Location: Veliko Tarnovo / Sozopol
    Spend the morning as you please in Veliko Tarnovo. Located seven kilometres north of the city is the Transfiguration Monastery, a small complex that nonetheless features some frescoes by Zahari Zograf in a peaceful environment. Ask your leader about how to organise a taxi if you wish to visit before you leave town. In the afternoon, take a 4-hour private transfer to Sozopol. Seaside Sozopol is your introduction to the glorious Bulgarian Coast. Enjoy an included dinner with your group and embrace the breezy lifestyle of the seaside.
    Day 19 Location: Bulgarian Coast / Sozopol
    Embark on a day trip to the coastal hinterland. Just a few kilometres from town, see the fantastical Castle of Ravadinovo, designed by Georgi Kostadinov Tumpalov in a whimsical fairy-tale style. Spend some time exploring inside and in the extravagant gardens, wandering over arched bridges and admiring the peacocks and swans that roam. Continue to the Ropotamo Nature Reserve and set off on a boat tour of the park’s eponymous river. Cruise through the peaceful marshes and observe forest flowers and (if you’re lucky) perhaps turtles and waterbirds. Return to Sozopol for the evening.
    Day 20 Location: Bulgarian Coast / Sozopol
    Enjoy a free day on the coast. You may wish to stay in Sozopol and enjoy a leisurely day exploring the Old Town. In addition to the restored ancient town walls, a few traditional churches and houses line the cobblestone streets, as do many restaurants. Unsurprisingly, seafood is on offer around every corner. Ask your leader for advice on where to spend your lev. Speak to your leader about the full range of optional activities on offer in and around Sozopol today.
    Day 21 Location: Istanbul
    Today is primarily a travel day as we make the approximately 6-hour journey to Istanbul. The drive will be broken up with an included lunch stop around the halfway point in either Luleburgaz or Ahmetbey. Upon arrival in Istanbul the evening is free for you to either rest after a long day of travel or perhaps explore at your leisure.
    Day 22 Location: Istanbul
    Take a cruise through the narrow strait that separates Turkey and the continents of Europe and Asia, the Bosphorus. The strait is small enough that you will enjoy stunning views of the iconic buildings that line either side, including the opulent Dolmabahce Palace and the massive intercontinental bridge connecting both sides of Istanbul. After your cruise enjoy a free afternoon. Istanbul can be overwhelming for some travellers, so as always, remember your leader is on had to advise you on how best to use your time. Perhaps spend a few hours in the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. As night falls, gather with your group and leader for an included farewell dinner and toast to the journey that was.
    Day 23 Location: Istanbul
    Your Eastern European Experience comes to an end after breakfast. If other parts of Turkey also intrigue, consider talking to your Peregrine representative before you leave about combining this trip with 'Treasures of Turkey' (trip code PETT), which departs from Istanbul and covers Selcuk, Fethiye, Cappadocia and more.
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    15MAY2020
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    03SEP2021
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    Last modified (date)

    20 Feb 2020

    Trip title

    Secrets of the Balkans

    Trip code

    PEKAC

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    Embrace romance on this 23-day tour through Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria and into Turkey. This itinerary combines the best of the Balkans; a colourful tapestry of cultures, landscapes and traditions, with whimsical villages and walled cities to sparkling waters and stunning national parks. Be charmed by the hearty food and opulent buildings of Sofia, learn the political history of Sarajevo, discover a 10th-century monastery in the Rila Mountains, and spend three nights on the Black Sea Coast. With local guides to illuminate the historic sights and cities along the way, this trip is a feast of ancient cultures, untouched wilderness and some of the best food and drink in Europe.

    Style

    Peregrine

    Transport

    Private vehicle,Heritage railway

    Physical Rating

    2

    Physical preparation

    This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Some trips may have individual inclusions that may be of a higher physical rating compared to the overall rating of the trip. Please read the day-to-day itinerary carefully to find out more details on each day's activities, and whether they are suitable for you. Activities can be opted out of if you don't want to participate.

    Joining point

    Hotel Uvala

    Masarykov Put 6

    Dubrovnik

    CROATIA

    Phone: +385 20433608

    Joining point description

    Hotel Uvala is located on Lapad Peninsula, a short bus ride (line 4) away from Pile Gate which marks the entrance to Dubrovnik's old town. The hotel is near the beach and in close proximity to the pedestrianized area of Setaliste Kralja Zvonimira with plenty of options for restaurants and bars. The 51 air-conditioned rooms feature minibars, complimentary Wi-Fi access, satellite TV and private bathrooms. Also available to guests is a full-service spa, outdoor and indoor pools, a restaurant and a café. A complimentary buffet breakfast is served daily.

    Joining point instructions

    Taxis are readily available outside the arrivals area at Dubrovnik Airport (airport code DBV). Alternatively an airport bus meets all arriving flights. From the final stop of the airport bus at Pile Gate you can catch city bus 4 to Hotel Uvala. Ask the bus driver to point out where to get off. Pre booked arrival transfer from Dubrovnik Airport: If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, your transfer driver will be waiting in the arrivals hall, holding a board with Peregrine's Logo or your name. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +385 98 285 298 or +385 99 2129 789.

    Finish point

    Legacy Ottoman Hotel

    Hobyar Mahallesi Hamidiye Cd. No:16

    Fatih / Sirkeci

    Istanbul

    TURKEY

    Phone: +90 2125276767

    Finish point description

    The Legacy Ottoman Hotel is located in a grand old building on the historical peninsula of Istanbul. Designed in 1911 the building is styled in first Turkish national architecture or Ottoman Revivalism. The Hotel is within walking distance to the major historical sights of the city and is a perfect base for exploring Istanbul. There is an excellent coffee shop on site and the restaurant and bar facilities on the rooftop level offer stellar views of the Bosphorus. Standard Rooms feature a safe box, satellite television, wireless internet, and hairdryers.

    Finish point instructions

    Private airport transfers are available for pre-booking through Peregrine. Contact your agent for details. Be sure to advise which of Istanbul's two airports you will be flying from at the time of booking. For pre-booked departure transfers, please be ready in the hotel lobby 4.5 hours prior to your flight departure time for international flights from both airports. Taxis can be easily hailed depending on traffic and time of journey. Expect to pay from 150 to 200 Lira. Alternatively there are shuttle services and buses available and your Tour Leader can assist with options.

    Important information

    LEVEL OF FITNESS This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. ARRIVAL TRANSFER An arrival transfer from Dubrovnik Airport to the start point hotel is included in the price of the trip. Please advise your travel agent of your flight times at the time of booking. SINGLE SUPPLEMENT A single supplement is bookable on this trip, subject to availability at the time of booking. Please note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability please speak to your booking agent.

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

    Safety

    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we make no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

    Visas

    For visits of 90 days or less Australian, British, Canadian, New Zealand and US passport holders, and most EU citizens do not require a visa for Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia and Bulgaria. Most nationalities require a visa to enter Turkey. Visas must be obtained through the e-Visa system. To apply for an e-visa, please go to https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ at least two weeks before you arrive in Turkey. A multiple entry e-Visa costs USD60 as is valid for 90 days. Please note, visa costs can change at any time and with little notice depending on the political climate of the region. Some countries do not require a visa at all. This includes passport holders from New Zealand, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland for stays of up to three months. We recommend all nationalities check with the relevant authorities as to whether this information is current, as changes do happen.

    Why we love it

    Under the guidance of knowledgeable locals, you'll visit some of the region's most beautiful cathedrals, monasteries, palaces, Ottoman mosques and UNESCO-protected townscapes.

    The smaller, lesser-known destinations on this trip are some of the best. The crystalline beauty of towns like Mostar and Veliko Tarnovo is the stuff of fairy tales.

    Visit the Zivanovic family’s honey museum and winery in Sremski Karlovci. Their old house has been converted into museum full of beekeeping memorabilia and the have had a wine cellar here for 300 years.

    Explore cultural and architectural delights of Sofia on a tour with a local guide, stopping along the way to indulge in local delicacies like shopska (cucumber salad), ukanka (semi-dried salami) and wine.

    Observe the architectural grand jewels of Turkey from the water during a cruise along the narrow Bosphorus strait that bisects the city.

    Is this trip right for you

    Summer temperatures can reach 40°C or higher in some areas, so it's important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season. As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same gender. While this is a great opportunity to chat with like-minded travellers, you can purchase a single room supplement (where available) if you'd prefer not to share. Note that many hotels in Europe don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together. A visit to the Srebrenica Memorial Centre can be an emotional experience. If you would rather not visit the centre please just let your leader know. You will visit a number of religious buildings which require a level of modesty. You will need to bring clothes that cover the shoulders and trousers/shorts or skirts that go to knee. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot. Part of travelling with Peregrine means respecting local cultures and sensibilities. That way you get the most out of your interactions with local people and environments. You will visit several religious buildings on this trip which require men and women to cover from shoulder to knee. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders

    Health

    All Peregrine travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Peregrine reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

    Money matters

    CURRENCY The local currency of Croatia is the Croatian Kuna (HRK), Montenegro uses the Euro (EUR), even though the country is not part of the European monetary union, in Bosnia and Herzegovina the local currency is the Bosnian Mark (BAM), Serbia's currency is the Serbian Dinar (RSD), in Bulgaria it is the Bulgarian Lev (BGN), and in Turkey the official currency is the Turkish Lira (TRY). EUR banknotes are easily exchanged in any of the countries visited on this trip. BANKING Changing and accessing money is easy in the region.Like in other countries in the region, ATMs are becoming more common, and larger purchases can usually be made with a credit card. Before you go, it’s best to organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas. Euro cash is the best form of cash currency to take as it can be easily changed to the local currency in the countries visited on this trip. TIPPING On this trip, we have included gratuities for the essential services that you will receive as part of your tour package. Where applicable, this will cover tips to drivers, specialist local guides and restaurant staff for included meals. This amount DOES NOT include a tip for your tour leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. Tips are greatly appreciated as a gesture of thanks for their professionalism and leadership during your holiday. We are often asked what a reasonable amount might be. The amount is at your discretion, but a sum of €4-5 per person/per day is a general tipping standard. You also wish to put aside some money for your own tipping, such as when you are doing our own optional sightseeing or activity that involves local guides and/or drivers, when joining in optional groups meals or dining out on your own, or for porters, bellboys and other hotel staff, including room-cleaning staff. In these instances, we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The amounts can vary greatly according to destination. Tipping in Europe, although not compulsory, is a widespread practice. Tips for good service are appreciated, if not expected. The amount depends on your resources, tipping philosophy and the circumstance. In restaurants, look out for any service charges. Tipping is applicable only at restaurants that have waiters and waitresses. If you order your food at a counter, don't tip. At restaurants with table service menus usually state (at the bottom) if the service is included. If so you don't need to tip, although if you're pleased with the service you can round up a few euros. If the menu states that the service is not included, tip about 10% by rounding up or leaving the change from your bill. Typically, it's better to hand the cash to the waiter than to leave it on the table, particularly in busy places where the wrong party might pocket the change. In some places, you may want to tip in cash even if you pay with your credit card, otherwise your tip may never reach your waiter. When you're paying for taxis, round up to the next euro on the fare (maximum 10 percent). Use common sense! If you feel like you're being driven in circles or otherwise ripped off, skip the tip. Carry some change. If you stop at a public WC, you may have to tip the attendant anywhere from a bit of change to €1.50. If you're not sure whether (or how much) to tip for a service, ask your tour leader for advice. SPENDING MONEY Clients are responsible for expenses (e.g. meals, transportation or hotel costs) not specified as included in the trip cost but that may be required to get to or from a trip start or end. Other costs to consider are tips, laundry, souvenirs, additional sightseeing and possible delays. It is much better to come with more than you would expect to spend and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than being caught short! It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies, which could happen en route. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the source and reimbursement will be made later by your insurance company. This is the situation where having a credit card may be useful. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. We also recommend you take a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. As well as your clothes, passport and toothbrush and other items you always need to pack for travel, below are some items that you specifically need for this trip. ESSENTIALS - Rain gear, including jacket with a hood. Being prepared for all weather conditions will increase your enjoyment of the trip - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses - Comfortable shoes for walking. While this trip is not classed as a hiking trip, please note that you will be on your feet a lot in order to explore each destination. RECOMMENDED - Personal medical kit. Your leader will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as blister relief, mild pain killers and bandaids. - Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. OPTIONAL - Camera with spare batteries. You won't be able to recharge during the day We operate trips in Europe in spring, summer and the start of autumn. Bear in mind that the weather will vary significantly from place to place also depending on the time of year. Remember that quality rain gear is essential for any destination - you’ll enjoy your holiday to the fullest if you’re prepared for all kinds of weather! Laundry facilities are available in some destinations.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: https://www.peregrineadventures.com/feedback

    Pre-departure checklist

    Before you travel please download our pre-departure checklist to make sure you are fully prepared for your trip: http://www.peregrineadventures.com/pre-departure-travel-checklist

    Emergency contact

    BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at: www.peregrineadventures.com/contact-us CRISIS AND EMERGENCIES In case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local ground representative on the number below: Peregrine's Local Operator: +49 8677 9186 657

    Responsible travel

    Travelling responsibly is all about making good choices. It's about ensuring you have an incredible trip while also having a positive impact on the local environment, community and economy you're travelling in. How can you be a Responsible Traveller? See our tips below: - Choose to travel with a responsible travel company like us! We've already offset the main carbon emissions of your trip, so your footprint is already lighter. - Consider offsetting your flights when you book your trip/flights with us or your travel agent. - Bring a refillable water bottle and some water purification tablets (or a Steripen) to cut down on plastic bottle waste. - Be an animal-friendly traveller. Only go to venues that respect animals by allowing them to live normally in their natural environment. Steer clear of venues that use animals for entertainment or abnormal activities and/or keep animals in poor and unnatural conditions. - Eat at local restaurants, buy from regional artists and support social enterprises so you can contribute directly to locals and their economy. - Always be respectful of local customs and ask permission if you want to take a photo of someone. - Learn a few words of the local language and engage with the people around you. - Carry a cloth or re-usable bag so you can avoid plastic bags. - Give back by making a donation to a local project via The Intrepid Foundation. Share your thoughts with us by completing your feedback form after your trip. This helps us to continue to improve our commitment to responsible travel.

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    SINGLE TRAVELLERS Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in twin share accommodation. You have the option to pay for a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (subject to availability). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis. OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin share basis (unless noted otherwise in the day-to-day itinerary). CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. FACILITIES Your accommodation may not always have air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Sharing a room can be a great way to get to know people quickly and make close friends. It just takes a little effort on your part.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

    Accommodation

    Comfortable hotel (18 nights),Feature stay in Drvengrad and Sozopol (5 nights)

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