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  • Gorging on great Greek grub in Thessaloniki
  • Marvel at Meteora’s stunning cliff top monasteries
  • Athens, birthplace of western civilisation
  • Delphi, home of the Oracle
  • The stunning Acropolis
  • Party till dawn at Parga’s amazing beachside resort
  • Discover the ‘off the beaten track’ feeling of Albania
  • Scale the city walls of Dubrovnik – ‘Game of Thrones’
  • Laze on the golden beaches of Corfu
classic balen trek

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Turkey, Greece, Albania, Montenegro & Croatia

From Istanbul, where Asia meets Europe, your journey begins. We trace the steps of the ancient Greeks, all the way to Athens where their culture was born. We really get off the beaten track through Albania and Montenegro with its awesome scenic coast to Croatia. This immense trek straddles two continents and touches on many cultures, old and new.

What's Included (2015 departures)

  • Your fantastic Busabout Guide and local driver
  • 7 nights accommodation, 7 breakfasts
  • Meteora Monastery entrance
  • Orientation walks of Thessaloniki, Tirana, Budva, Dubrovnik and Split

Free time (2015 departures)

Take time out with one of our Optional Extras. Full details from your Busabout Guide.

  • Budva, the best beach culture in Montenegro
  • Athens city walk and Acropolis entrance
  • Adriatic nightlife

Day 1: Istanbul to Thessaloniki

We leave the Turkish metropolis and head to the Greek Acropolis. Heading across the border to Greece, we pay a visit to Kavala and its impressive Roman aqueduct then on to Thessaloniki. It's well known that you can eat some of the best Greek food here, its nightlife is second to none and its white sandy beaches are awesome so time to party on and enjoy some local interaction.

Day 2: Thessaloniki to Meteora to Athens

A historical day at the cliff monasteries of Meteora. This ancient site features monasteries perched on cliffs dating back to the 9th Century. The Holy Trinity monastery was featured in the James Bond movie 'For Your Eyes Only' and today is a UNESCO listed site. After an enthralling visit we head to Athens and spend the evening eating Greek specialities and trying some of the local ouzo.

Day 3: Athens

A free day to explore the Greek capital, from which sprang pretty much everything that Western Civilisation is based on. There are many ancient monuments but the iconic Acropolis and Parthenon dominate the city. Why not join our optional Athens walking tour, to get the most out of this Ancient city? Tonight we get together for some dinner and drinks on the rooftop bar.

Day 4: Athens to Parga

We depart Athens and head north to Croatia via Parga which boasts not only a bubbling party scene but some great beaches and touches of Greek mythology. Old Poseidon, the God of the Sea liked this part of the world. We will arrive in the afternoon; enjoy a swim and a relaxed evening in our resort.

Day 5: Parga to Tirana

We head over the border into Albania and the capital city of Tirana.. Our drive today will take us through rural Albania with a chance to get to know the local culture a little better before spending the night in the country's capital where you'll find the local Albanians are willing to please as tourism is just beginning here.

Day 6: Tirana to Budva

After the freshness of Albania, we continue our journey north into Montenegro and the town of Budva. Set directly on the Med, Budva has the best beach culture in the Balkans. You will be amazed at the blue stone churches and the historic old city. The Balkans are unrivalled for beauty and today this will become very apparent.

Day 7: Budva to Dubrovnik to Split

Our day takes us into Croatia and Dubrovnik. This city is legendary for its well preserved stone walls, great .seafood and is often referred to as the 'Pearl of the Adriatic'. We arrive into Dubrovnik around mid morning and will stay until mid afternoon so ample time to walk the walls, have a swim and tuck into some fresh seafood for lunch. The last leg of this amazing journey takes us to Split and the Diocletian Palace. Tonight we'll orientate you around the old city and delve into some excellent Dalmatian food and nightlife.

Day 8: Split

Trek ends after breakfast.

H: Included Highlights

F: Free Time Option

Day 1: Istanbul to Thessaloniki

It’s time to leave Istanbul and enter beautiful Greece. On the way to Thessaloniki we pop into Kavala to see a grand old Roman aqueduct. You're probably starting to get excited by this point, because the destination today is not only the birthplace of Alexander the Great, it's also famous for some of the best food and nightlife that Greece has to offer.

Day 2: Thessaloniki to Kalambaka

We have a leisurely morning in Thessaloniki before we head to Meteora, a unique and enchanting place where monasteries are elevated by otherworldly sandstone pillars. We visit two of the most important monasteries which are famous for their Byzantine frescoes and spectacular views. This is a serious UNESCO site; an inspiration to the Game of Thrones and a location for James Bond film ‘For Your Eyes Only’. After being awe-struck by the grandeur we spend an evening in the nearby traditional Greek village of Kalambaka. (B)

H: Marvel at Meteora’s stunning cliff top monasteries

Day 3: Kalambaka to Delphi to Athens

After breakfast we drive southwards to our first stop in Thermopylae, where the statue of Leonidas stands to commemorate the heroic defense of the Spartans against the Persians. It looks a little different nowadays than what is shown in the movie 300! We continue the drive to Delphi where we have an amazing professional guide take us around the incredible site and Museum of Delphi (Included in tour price). The sanctuary of Delphi, where the oracle of Apollo spoke, was the religious centre of the ancient Greek world. After an enthralling day we head to Athens and in the evening we mingle over dinner and drinks at our hostel's roof-top bar. (B)

H: Visit Thermopylae, where the Spartans battled the Persians

H: Professional local guide in Delphi

Day 4: Athens

A day to delve into the great Greek capital. Classical Athens was a hotbed of culture and has had a huge influence on western civilisation. The wonder-inducing temples never fail to fascinate, and a visit to the Acropolis is an absolute must. During the day you have free time to discover this great city before we meet in the evening to sample some traditional Greek dancing and music. (B)

F: Explore the stunning Acropolis

Day 5: Athens to Corinth Canal to Parga

Today we head north to the Corinth Canal, a marvel of engineering that links two seas. Then it is on to Parga, a coastal town renowned for beautiful scenery and stunning beaches. We arrive in the afternoon so there’s plenty of time for you to explore, play on the beaches and enjoy the party scene. (B)

H: Party till dawn in the beach side resort of Parga

H: Marvel at the Corinth Canal

Day 6: Parga to Corfu

A ferry ride across the Ionian sea where the Island of Corfu awaits. Described by Homer as a 'beautiful and rich land' we will start our exploration of the island by visiting Corfu town, the only fortified town in Greece. Then we'll take in Corfu's beautiful beaches, mountainous scenery, Cyprus trees and sleepy villages. Tonight you can sample delicious Greek cuisine at a local restaurant, before letting loose and joining in with the raucous island nightlife in true Grecian style. (B)

H: Corfu Town, the only fortified town in Greece

Day 7: Corfu

Today is yours to explore all this island paradise has to offer. Head down to the beach this morning and splash about with some water sports. Chill out to some top tunes by the pool, walk the sun dappled streets of the tiny villages that dot this island or head out and explore some of Corfu’s white sandy beaches and hidden coves. (B)

F: Water sports in Corfu

Day 8: Corfu to Gjirokastra to Tirana

Today you enter Albania. Going through rural areas and stopping for lunch in the UNESCO world heritage town of Gjirokastra, it’s the perfect day to learn a bit about Albania’s culture. Once you enter the capital city of Tirana, you'll be amazed at just how kind the people of Albania are. (B)

H: Discover ‘off the beaten track’ Albania

Day 9: Tirana to Budva to Kotor

You continue further north into Montenegro. The town Budva is the historic capital and is one of the oldest settlements on the Dalmation coast. You'll spend the afternoon discovering why Budva really brings together all the best bits of the Balkans. Then onto Kotor nestled at the base of the UNESCO listed Bay of Kotor. You will be able to climb to the top of St John's Fortress to take in the panoramic beauty of this area. (B)

F: Climb to St Johns Fortress for a vista of Kotor

Day 10: Budva to Dubrovnik to Split

On this day we venture to two absurdly idyllic towns. First we stop by Dubrovnik in Croatia. It’s a coastal town fortress with shimmering blue seas, simply stunning. We arrive mid-morning so you have time to take a swim, walk the walls and eat seafood. We then move onto Split where we'll show you around the old city, and finish off the adventure with some excellent Dalmatian food and nightlife. (B)

F: Scale the city walls of Dubrovnik – ‘Game of Thrones’

Day 11: Split

Trip finishes after breakfast. Link up with another Busabout adventure. (B)



We had an awesome guide!