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Grand Tour of the Balkans in the Great War

During this tour, you will experience and visit places that was main location for beginning of I World War. You will visit Bosnia and Serbia and try to return time and go back into past. You will walk on the routes from where great warriors start theirs battles. Beside this, you will meet and visit other main attraction in Serbia and Bosnia: middle age monasteries and churches, fortress, ethno villages, royal complex and also you will enjoy in great landscape and more delicious Serbian traditional specialties which Balkan is very well known!

Day 1. Sarajevo (D)

This tour will begin in Sarajevo, in city that was place of atentat of Franz Ferdinand 1914. This was trigger for begining of First World War. Transfer to the hotel, accommodation and refreshment. Tour will continue with sightseeing of the city: Spring of River Bosnia, Ilidža, City hall, city bridges, Bascarsija, old part of town, … All those places were main targets during I World War. On the end of the this day, we will have dinner in local restaurant with traditional specialities from this area. Overnight stay.

Day 2. Sarajevo – Višegrad – Mećavnik (BD) (cca 100 km)

This day will be dedicated to our famous Nobel literate Ivo Andrić. We will visit in Višegrad, Bridge on Drina River as well as Andrić town, stone town built by film director Emir Kusturica. This area was also place where lots of maneuvrs were held during I World War. Continue to Mokra gora (Serbia). Before accommodation in hotel, we will take ride with steam power train Sargan Eight, rail that was built by Austro-Hungarians monarchy but political reason it wasn’t gathered with Bosnia (this was finish after downfalls of Austro-Hungarians monarchy). This rail will take you through beautiful landscape of Tara and Zlatibor mountain. Accomodation in hotel Mećavnik. Dinner in ethno restaurant of the hotel. Overnight stay.

Day 3. Mećavnik – Ljubovija – Koviljača Spa (BD)(cca 100 km)

After breakfast, departure to Ljubovija, place where was held Drina battle and this was second breakthrough of Austro-Hungarian army that Serbian army try to stop. Continue through Koviljača Spa to Gučevo. Here we will visit monument dedicated to Austro-Hungarain and Serbian solders. From this place, you will have gorgeous view on Mačva, Drina River and Cer mountain where was held Cer battle. Arrival in Banja Koviljaca. Accommodation and dinner. Overnight stay.

Day 4.Banja Koviljaca – Valjevo  – Lazarevac – Belgrade (BD) (cca 150 km)

After breakfast, we will continue to Valjevo. In this town, we will visit old part of the city, called Tešnjar, now reconstructed and rebuilt and adjusted to trade and old craft manufactory. On the way to Belgrade, we will visit Lazarevac, place where is located monument to Austro-Hungarians and Serbian army. Arrival in Belgrade in evening hours, dinner and accommodation in the hotel. Overnight stay.

Day 5. Belgrade (BD) (cca 15 km)

Starting this day with half day sightseeing tour. Tour will begin on Kalemegdan fortress, continuing through Knez Mihajlova Street, main pedestrian zone, through Terazije to St. Sava Temple, biggest temple on Balkan peninsula. Continue to Topčider and Košutnjak. There is located monument dedicated to all solders die in I World War. There you can find two monuments and what makes them special is that Germaine Marshall fon Makenzen built both of them. Return to the city center. Free time. In the evening hours, we will have “Rakia tour”, where you will taste 5 different flavors of Serbian brandy, after we will continue to Skadarlija, bohemian part of the city on dinner. Overnight stay.

Day 6. Belgrade – Monastery Krušedol – Sremski Karlovci – Petrovaradin fortress – Novi Sad – Belgrade (BL) (cca 150 km)

After breakfast, departure to the north provience of the country. First stop will be one of 16 Orthodox monasteries on Fruska gora mountain. We will visit Monastery Krušedol, it was endowment of last serbian despot (courte title) family and it was built in period around 1510. Year. After visit to the monastery, continue to Sremski Karlovci, small town on Danube shore where we will have wine and honey tasting of best wines from Fruska gora slopes. Continue to Petrovaradin, where we will visit fortress, that was base of Austro-Hungarian army. We will cross the bridge and enter in Novi Sad. Sightseeing of the city. Short free time. Departure to salas farm in vicinity of the city where we will have traditional Vojvodina’s lunch. In the evening hours, departure to Belgrade. Overnight stay.

Day 7. Belgrade – Topola – Oplenac – Kragujevac – Kraljevo (BL)(cca 120 km)

After breakfast, departure to heart of our country, called Šumadija. Arrival in Topola and Oplenac, place where is located complex of family Karadjordjevic. There we will visit church St. Gorge and mausoleum. Departure to village Orašac, from where starts I First Serbian Uprising 1814. In rural household, we will have lunch. After lunch, we will continue to Kragujevac, city that was after 1805., after liberation of Turks capital of Serbia, place where establish states and cultural institutions. Also, Kragujevac was place of high command in I World War. Here, we will visit memorial park Šumarice in which in II World War was shot over 7000 students and teachers. Continue to Kraljevo. Sightseeing of the city and accommodation in hotel. Overnight stay.

Day 8. Kraljevo – Monastery Žiča – Monastery Studenica – Novi Pazar (BL) (cca  115 km)

This day will be dedicated to visit two most important Orthodox Monasteries. We will visit Monastery Žiča, from XIII century. Monastery was built by Stefan Nemanja and was seat of Serbian aarchbishop. Continue to Monastery Studenica, sightseeing of monastery complex that is consist of three churches, lodgings and treasury. Monastery Studenica is on UNESCO cultural heritage list and it is from XII century. On the way to Novi Pazar, we will make stop in Raska, where we will have lunch in ethno restaurant. Continue to Novi Pazar, sightseeing of the old part of the city where you will see Ottoman heritage. Accommodation in hotel in the city center. Overnight stay.

Day 9. Novi Pazar – Rožaje – Mojkovac – Podgorica (BD) (cca 220 km)

We will continue to Montenegro. After crossing border and driving through Biogradska Gora, Natural park, we will arrival in Mojkovac. Here was held famous World War I battle fought between 6 January and 7 January 1916., between the armies of Austria-Hungary and Montenegro. It ended with a Montenegrin victory. In this battle Montenegro army beat Austro-Hungarians army and manage to provide for Serbian army easy access to Adriatic coast and later to Corfu. Continue to Podgorica. Dinner in local restaurant and accommodation in hotel. Overnight stay.

Day 10. Podgorica – Skadar – Tirana (BD) (cca 190 km)

After breakfast, continue to Tirana (Albania). We will make stop in Shkoder. In XIX century, Shkoder hase its great impact and it was large trading center for whole Balkan. It was under Turkish Empire and it was seat of Albanian culture. In First World War, Shkoder was under Austrian occupancy. After war, city was under France and 1919. town was return to the independent Albania. Here we will have sightseeing tour of the city and take a coffee in local pub. In the late afternoon hours, arrival in Tirana. Accommodation in hotel and dinner in local restaurant with traditional Albanian specialties. Overnight stay.

Day 11. Tirana – Durres – Vlore – Saranda (BD) (cca 290 km)

Continue to the south of the country with visit to the few cities on the way. From those cities, Serbian soldiers were transfer to Corfu. Durrës is the second largest city of Albania and it is one of the most ancient and economically significant cities of Albania. It is also main port of Albania.  Founded in the 7th century BC by Greek colonists from Corinth and Corcyra under the name Epidamnos, it has been continuously inhabited for 2,700 years and is one of the oldest cities in Albania. Durrës served as Albania’s national capital from 7 March 1914 until 11 February 1920 during the reign of William of Albania in Principality of Albania.  During the First World War, the city was occupied by Italy in 1915 and by Austria-Hungary in 1916-1918. It was captured by the Allies in October 1918. Restored to Albanian sovereignty, Durrës became the country’s temporary capital between 1918 and March 1920. Continue to Vlore. Vlora is one of the oldest cities of Albania. It was founded by Ancient Greeks in the 6th century BC. The Serbian Empire captured Vlorë, or Valona, as it was also called, in 1345 and formed the seat of an independent principality until it was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1417. In the 16th century, it was an important center for Sephardic Jewish refugees from Spain and Portugal. Ismail Qemali declared Albania’s independence in Vlorë on November 28, 1912, during the First Balkan War. The city became Albania’s first capital following it’s independence, but was invaded by Italy in 1914, during I World War. In the evening hours, arrival in Saranda. Accommodation and dinner in hotel. Overnight stay.

Day 12. Saranda – Corfu (BD)

On this day, we will transfer you by hydrofoil to Corfu. Arrival and accommodation in hotel. During the First World War, the island served as a refuge for the Serbian army that retreated there on Allied forces’ ships from a homeland occupied by the Austrians and Bulgarians. During their stay, a large portion of Serbian soldiers died from exhaustion, food shortage, and various diseases. Most of their remains were buried at sea near the island of Vido, a small island at the mouth of Corfu port, and a monument of thanks to the Greek nation has been erected at Vido by the grateful Serbs; consequently, the waters around Vido Island are known by the Serbian people as the Blue Graveyard (in Serbian, Plava Grobnica), after a poem written by Milutin Bojić following World War I. We will visit this island and mausoleum (10 minutes by drive from city Corfu). In the evening hours, dinner in local restaurant. Overnight stay.

Day 13. Corfu – Thessaloniki (BD) (cca 360 km)

After breakfast, departure to Thessaloniki. This day will be very hard. On arrival in Thessaloniki, we will visit Zeitenlik. It is an Allied military cemetery in Thessaloniki, Greece. It contains the graves mostly of the Serbian (more than 8000) but also of French, English and Russian soldiers who died in the battles on the Salonika front during World War I. The complex is located on the place where the Main Hospital of the Serbian Army was located during the war. The name comes from the Turkish word Zeytin which means Olive. Accommodation in hotel and free time for refreshment. In the evening hours, short sightseeing tour of the city and dinner in local restaurant. Overnight stay.

Day 14. Thessaloniki (B)

After breakfast, transfer to the airport on your flight back home. The end of the program.

Price from 719 € per person (for minimum 35 persons)

Price includes:

–          Licensed English or German speaking guide

–          Accommodation in 4* hotels according to the program

–          13xbreakfast at the hotels

–          10xdinners

–          3xlunch

–          Entrance tickets (Sarajevo, Sargan train, Oplenac, Sumarice, Zica and Studenica monastery, Skadar, Zeitenlik, mausoleum on Vido Island,

–          Rakija tour

–          Wine tasting

Price does not include:

–          Transfer according to the program

–          Flight from/to Belgrade

–          Drinks during meals

–          Other costs not mentioned in the program