Gaze out from monasteries moulded into towering rocks and see the Athenian temple made for the Goddess of Wisdom herself.
Nowadays our buildings graze the clouds and choke our skylines. Sure, they’re undoubtedly impressive, but where’s the soul? Where’s the history? In ancient times, buildings were a labour a love. Pieces of art within their own right, painstakingly crafted from only the finest, hand-selected materials. On this 7-day adventure, you’ll delve deep into the crumbling titans of architectural art. Wander the imperious Game of Thrones fortress walls of Dubrovnik, gaze out from monasteries moulded into towering mountains, and see the Athenian temple erected for the Goddess of Wisdom herself.
We spend 7 days exploring Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Albania. We visit Split, Athens, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Budva, Tirana, Meteora, Gjirokaster, Thermopylae.
What Is Included...
Your fantastic Busabout crew
6 nights’ accommodation
All coach transport
Entry into 2 Monasteries in Meteora (Kalambaka)
Day trip to Budva, beach afternoon
Trip starts at 8:00am at Goli & Bosi Hostel, Split
Trip ends at 9:00am at Athenstyle Hostel, Athens
When We Go
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7 Day Itinerary
Day 1: Split to Dubrovnik to Kotor
Our adventure begins as we depart from Split en route to Dubrovnik with stunning coastal vistas. Explore some surviving renaissance architecture such as the Sponza Palace or partake in a Game of Thrones walking tour of the city. This evening we’ll make our way to gulf-nestled Kotor. This Mediterranean marvel offers gorgeous panoramas of the limestone cliffs and bay and a maze of medieval streets begging travellers to meander through. Come sunset, we leave our belts in the hostels and prepare for a feast of traditional Montenegrin eats. We recommend the seafood, a local speciality. After dinner, feel free to enjoy the city’s bustling nightlife or recharge for the thrills still to come.
Day 2: Kotor to Budva to Kotor
This morning, soak up the views and explore some phenomenal sites within the old Venetian walls. Kotor’s Old Town is history-rich and hosts some of the finest medieval architecture in the Balkans. In the late morning, we’ll depart for the Budva Riviera, a 2,500-year-old settlement on the Adriatic. Here, you can spend the afternoon perfecting your tan as you laze on the Adriatic’s pristine beaches. When we return to Kotor, you’ll have the fantastic opportunity to scale the nearby fortress and bask in some stunning sunset views. Tonight, our hostel is hosting a social event and we encourage you to take some time and rub shoulders with your fellow passengers. Regale stories of your past travels and hopes for the future over an ice-cold drink or three.
Day 3: Kotor to Tirana
See ya, Kotor! We’re off to Tirana, Albania. Headstrong, we’ll chug our way down winding roads until we arrive to an inclusive orientation walk of the city. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy! Marvel at this incredible city’s complex history whilst you explore vast monuments built by the Romans, Ottomans, and Byzantines. See the famous Tirana Mosaic Archaeological Complex or sample genuine Albanian cuisine. Modern history fans should pay a visit to the controversial Pyramid of Tirana. Tonight, explore pulse-pumping nightlife in this rich Balkan city!
Day 4: Tirana to Gjirokaster to Kalambaka (Meteora)
As we make our way to Greece this morning we’ll be stopping off at the wonderfully preserved Ottoman town of Gjirokaster. We arrive in Kalambaka (Meteora) this evening with a traditional Greek spread awaiting us. After we devour our feast (no manners required), you’re free to explore the town dubbed Middle of the Sky. Marvel at its amazing, mountainous scenery and quaint, winding streets. Find yourself a restaurant or hotel bar to relax for the rest of the evening. Make sure to hit the hay at a reasonable hour, though, because tomorrow we’re off to somewhere truly special indeed!
Day 5: Kalambaka (Meteora) to Thermopylae to Athens
We know it’s early, but you won’t want to miss this. Today, we’re venturing to the logic-defying monasteries of Meteora, where we’ll enjoy free entry to the best ones. From James Bond to Game of Thrones, these insane rock-formations have spurred more than a few creative minds, and are home to a warren of cave systems. Use the rest of this special morning to bask in the humbling views and absorb the monasteries’ rich history. After lunch, we depart for Athens with a stop at the Spartan Monument in Thermopylae. The “Hot Gates” were host to many a bloody battle. Fans of Greek history and the film “300” both will know this as the stage for King Leonidas’ legendary stand against Xerxes and his advancing Persian armies. Tonight we dine in Athens so enjoy your dinner under the gaze of the Acropolis.
Day 6: Athens
What better way to kick off your day in Athens than with an optional walking tour to familiarise yourself with this historic city. Afterwards, feel free to explore the cradle of western civilisation and its vast, impressive sights. Visit the Acropolis, which is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. See the Daphne Monastery and Parthenon, and the temple to the Goddess Athena - the symbol of Ancient Greece and the birthplace of democracy. With your feet sore and your head full of mythology, join us for a traditional farewell Greek dinner. End the day however you see fit. Reminisce with your new friends or head on down to the sea-front for a cooling nighttime swim.
Day 7: Athens
The past week has been special, enlightening, and unforgettable. We’re sad to see it end, but ecstatic that it happened. Thank you for joining us on this wonderful adventure. We hope to see you again soon!
Frequently Asked Questions about the Balkan Highlights
Tour starts from:
Goli & Bosi Hostel, Split at 8:00am
Tour ends in:
Athenstyle Hostel, Athens at 9:00am
Accommodation is included for this trip. You will stay in Dorm Share (max. 8 bed dorm).
You can upgrade to a private twin (min. 2 people) from MyTrip once you have made a booking.
* All upgrades are subject to availability.
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Here is the list of available optional activities, excursions and freetime avaiable on this trip:
- “Game of Thrones” walking tour in Dubrovnik
- Sunset at the fortress in Kotor
- Traditional Montenegran restaurant dinner, sea food specialities
- Bar hopping in Kotor
- Traditional Greek cuisine dinner
- Walking tour in Athens
All optional extras and excursions will be available to book through your Busabout Guide on the trip.
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Depending on your region, tours costing more than 200 GBP / 300 EUR / 400 USD / 400 CAD / 400 AUD / 400 NZD / 2000 ZAR: a non-refundable deposit of 50 GBP / 75 EUR / 100 USD / 100 CAD / 200 AUD / 200 NZD / 1000 ZAR per person per tour is required, but if the booking is made within 45 days of the nominated departure date the full amount payable must be made at the time of booking.
Yes, depending on availability there is no problem to change dates (a small fee applies). If the new date is more expensive the difference will also need to be paid. You can also transfer the funds you’ve already paid over to another trip of the same or higher value if you change your mind, as long as it’s outside of the notification period.
This tour connects with the following trips
All of our tours are designed to link to each other. The Balkan Highlights connects to these great trips.