Essential Balkans & Turkey

from $1729/per person

Journey through two stunning regions at once with the 17-day Essential Balkans & Turkey tour. Drive through green valleys to vibrant towns and stunning medieval castles across 7 countries in the Balkans. Get a taste of each similar yet different culture visiting unique towns each day. Then fly to Istanbul and discover the gorgeous landmarks, impressive history and the natural beauty of Turkey. Balloon over the magical Cappadocia, see the white pools of Pamukkale and the well-preserved ruins of ancient Ephesus.

Duration
16 Day
Destination(s)
Balkans / Turkey
Starts in / Ends in
Sofia / Istanbul
Departs on
Saturdays
Hotel Rating
3 & 4 & 5 Star
35-40 Pax

Sight Visited

  • Asklepion
    Asklepion

    The Asklepion is a famed ancient medical center built in honor of Asclepius, the god of healing. It was also the world's first psychiatric hospital.

  • Belgrade
    Belgrade

    Belgrade is the capital and largest city of the southeast European country of Serbia.

  • Blue Mosque
    Blue Mosque

    The exterior features a beautiful cascade of domes and six minarets and blue Iznik tiles adorn the interior giving the building its unofficial but commonly used name.

  • Budva
    Budva

    Budva is a town in Montenegro and known for best nightlife on the Adriatic Sea.

  • Cappadocia
    Cappadocia

    A region of exceptional natural and man-made wonders. Take the chance to discover underground cities carved into rock, fairy chimneys and many more...

  • Dubrovnik
    Dubrovnik

    This complex is one of the most beautiful and strongest fortified systems in Europe, but the lively streets show that there is more! Party in a 13th Century fortress anyone?

  • Ephesus
    Ephesus

    The best preserved ancient town in Turkey, Ephesus embarks you on a journey to ancient times while roaming the streets.

  • Gallipoli
    Gallipoli

    Lone Pine, Chunuk Bair, Anzac Cove, Johnston's Jolly, North Beach, Ari Burnu, Hell Spit, Brighton Beach, Shrapnel Valley, Artillery Raod, Quinn's Road and more…

  • Hagia Sophia
    Hagia Sophia

    The Hagia Sophia, among the Seven Wonders of the World, awaits you with all its magnificence. The hundreds of years old structure will fascinate you on sight.

  • Mostar
    Mostar

    Mostar is a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and known for the iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge).

  • Ohrid
    Ohrid

    Ohrid is a large town in Macedonia on the shore of Lake Ohrid and a UNESCO heritage site since 1980.

  • Pamukkale
    Pamukkale

    Home of the world-famous travertines, the cotton castle. You will witness the unusual and beautiful scenery just near the ancient city of Hierapolis, the ancient cure center.

  • Sarajevo
    Sarajevo

    Sarajevo is the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its main cultural, economic centre.

  • Shkodra
    Shkodra

    Shkodra is the fourth largest city in Albania and one of the oldest places in the Balkan peninsula.

  • Skopje
    Skopje

    Skopje is the capital and largest city of Macedonia and it lies in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula.

  • Sofia
    Sofia

    Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria.ıt has rich history from Roman and Ottoman Empires.

  • Tirana
    Tirana

    Tirana is the capital and largest city of Albania.It is also culturel and economical center of the country.

  • Topkapi Palace
    Topkapi Palace

    Home of the Sultans, heart of the Ottoman Empire… Roam through the royal palace of the Ottomans and follow their footsteps to see their most valued treasures.

  • Trebinje
    Trebinje

    Trebinje is the southernmost city in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 28 km far from Dubrovnik.

ITINERARY

1
Day 1: Sofia
Welcome to Sofia! At the airport, keep an eye out for the Travel Talk sign for your transfer to the hotel. At the hotel around 7pm, have an informal welcome meeting with your guide and fellow travellers. After you get all the critical information about the tour, head out for our optional group dinner around 8:15pm and walk the streets of Sofia.
  • Included Activities: Welcome Meeting
  • Optional Activities: Group Dinner
2
Day 2: Sofia, Belgrade
After a substantial breakfast, hop on the bus and make your way to the Serbian capital, Belgrade. With stunning views over the Danube and Sava rivers by the mighty medieval Belgrade Fortress, head to the heart of the capitol. Starting off at the vibrant pretty shopping street, Knez Mihailova, filled with cafes, shops and charming sites, kick off the walking tour to discover the incredible landmarks Belgrade has in store and their marvellous histories.
  • Included Activities: Guided Belgrade City Tour
  • Meals: Breakfast
3
Day 3: Belgrade, Sarajevo
Next stop Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital, the city that has been through it all! It is where the Western and Eastern Roman Empire split and where people of many nations and religions met, lived and warred. You can still see many reminders of the Yugoslav War in bullet holes and cannon marks all around town. Though, still an oriental beauty with a unique twist, and a delight to discover on your walking tour in the old town. The city offers endless delicacies to taste, but the specialty is lamb.
  • Included Activities: Sarajevo City Tour
  • Meals: Breakfast
4
Day 4: Sarajevo, Mostar,Trebinje
Today, we drive for the amazing Adriatic shore, but first a stop at Mostar! As you arrive in this dreamland, walk through the Old Town of this Herzegovina pearl, see the iconic highlights Old Bridge – Stari Most, and the old čaršija (market). Enjoy your lunch with an amazing view at one of the local venues, discover the old town and make sure to try the delicious Turkish coffee. In the afternoon, ride to Trebinje for our overnight stay.
  • Included Activities: Mostar Walking Tour
  • Meals: Breakfast
5
Day 5: Trebinje, Dubrovnik, Trebinje
Get ready for a long day at Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic"! With its well-preserved majestic walls encircling the whole town and its sea of terra-cotta roof tiles, giving life to the "King’s Landing", the whole town is an amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even the drive down to town from the mountain-side is a breakth-taking highlight in itself! We start off with a guided walking tour of the Old Town and marvel at the millennial history of this fairy-like town. Walk atop the mighty walls, discover cute narrow streets, taste delicious seafood or jump off into the crystal-blue waters. In the evening, we return to Trebinje for a good night's rest.
  • Included Activities: Guided Dubrovnik City Tour
  • Meals: Breakfast
6
Day 6: Trebinje, Kotor, Budva
Next stop Montenegro! Arrive in Kotor after a scenic drive an meet its calming natural beauty and characteristic architecture, a less-crowded version of Dubrovnik with its impressive medieval citadel. Following a walking tour of the old town with your expert local guide and some free time, make your way to the popular touristic hub of the region, Budva. Your guide will take you on a brief walking tour of the vibrant summer town with great food, impressive views and lively nightlife.
  • Included Activities: Guided Kotor City Tour, Budva Walking Tour
  • Meals: Breakfast
7
Day 7: Budva, Tirana, Ohrid
Hit the road after breakfast, next stop Albania! A panoramic city tour of Tirana will introduce the best preserved and most beautiful samples of Albanian architecture, and drop us off at the town centre for some free time to discover the bustling Skenderbeg square. In the afternoon, continue towards Ohrid, Macedonia and check-in to your comfy hotel. You can rest up after a long day, or join the optional Balkan night with dinner.
  • Included Activities: Panoramic City Tour of Tirana, Ohrid Walking Tour
  • Optional Activities: Balkan Night with Dinner
  • Meals: Breakfast
8
Day 8: Ohrid, St.Naum, Skopje, Istanbul ( By Flight )
Start off the day with a guided city tour of Old Ohrid hosting hundreds of chapels and churches scattered all around. Afterwards drive for the heavenly Monastery of Saint Naum built on a high rocky cliff overlooking the vast Ohrid Lake. Surrounded by incredible nature, get some free time to discover the complex, have lunch and even swim in the lake! In the afternoon travel to Skopje for our flight to Istanbul.
  • Included Activities: Guided Ohrid City Tour, St.Naum visit
  • Optional Activities: Ohrid Boat Trip
  • Meals: Breakfast
9
Day 9: Istanbul City Tour
After breakfast, we begin to experience the magnificence of Istanbul. We will stroll through the historical heart of the old city, making stops along the way to the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, majestic Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia Museum. In the afternoon take an optional cruise down the Bosphorus river and see the epic skyline.
  • Included Activities: Istanbul Guided City Tour
  • Optional Activities: Bosphorus Cruise
  • Meals: Breakfast
10
Day 10: Cappadocia
Today we sit back and relax in the coach. Watch the amazing Turkish scenery unfold before us and see small towns and villages as we pass on by. We will drive through the capital city of Ankara before we reach Cappadocia. In the afternoon, we will visit Derinkuyu Underground City, a city complete with a church, wells, food stores, and even stables which is all located 60m under the ground. End the day with an optional traditional Hamman (Turkish bath).
  • Included Activities: Derinkuyu Underground City
  • Optional Activities: Turkish Bath
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
11
Day 11: Cappadocia
Rise and shine, it will be an early start for our optional sunrise hot air balloon ride over the stunning landscapes and fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. Or if preferred enjoy a leisurely start to the morning before we all fill up on breakfast. We will explore the UNESCO World Heritage listed Göreme, and tick off bucket list sights along the way including Göreme Musuem, Pigeon Valley, Uchisar and Cavusin. Tonight, get your dancing shoes on for our optional Turkish Night.
  • Included Activities: Goreme Open Air Museum, Cavusin, Uchisar, Pigeon Valley Sightseeing
  • Optional Activities: Hot Air Ballooning, Turkish Night
  • Meals: Breakfast,  Dinner
12
Day 12: Pamukkale
It’s time to hit the road to Pamukkale. Along the way we will stop at Ihlara Valley, a unique honeycombed canyon with rock-cut underground dwellings and churches from the Byzantine period. Time to rest up at our overnight stay in Pamukkale.
  • Included Activities: Ihlara Valley Sightseeing
  • Optional Activities: No
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
13
Day 13: Pamukkale, Ephesus, Kusadasi
Get your cameras ready, as it is time to visit Pamukkale, or ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish. Pamukkale is a natural site that contains hot springs and travertine, giving the appearance of terraces made by carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. The ancient city of Hierapolis was built on top of the white castle and people have bathed in its pools for thousands of years. Our next stop is the spectacular, well preserved ancient city of Ephesus. Ephesus was cited in the book of Revelations, and historians believe the Gospel of John was written here. Famed for the Temple of Artemis which was completed around 550 BC and is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. We will sleep overnight in the seaside town of Kusadasi. 
  • Included Activities: Pamukkale and Ephesus Sightseeing
  • Optional Activities: No
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
14
Day 14: Kusadasi, Pergamum, Troy, Canakkale
After breakfast we continue to Pergamum, and the ruins of the Asklepion, an ancient healing centre. We will then depart for ancient city of Troy. You may of heard of Troy from Greek mythology or maybe just watched the Brad Pitt movie, but now you will visit the ruins and archaeological site of the city of Troy, and of course the famous wooden horse. We will stay overnight in Canakkale. You will have the evening to relax and discover the town
  • Included Activities: Pergamum/Asklepion Sightseeing
  • Optional Activities: No
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
15
Day 15: Canakkale, Gallipoli, Istanbul
Today we depart for the shores of Gallipoli. A place of important significance for Aussies and Kiwis, we will visit the beach and cemeteries at ANZAC Cove, before paying our respects at memorial sites Chunuk Bair and Lone Pine. In the afternoon, we will drive back to where our adventure began, Istanbul.
  • Included Activities: Gallipoli Sightseeing
  • Optional Activities: No
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
16
Day 16: Istanbul
Our trip will end in Istanbul after we say goodbye to our new friends over breakfast and check-out of the hotel by 11:00am.
  • Meals: Breakfast
Start
Price ($)
Sat 18 Apr 2020
$1862
Sat 25 Apr 2020
$1862
Sat 2 May 2020
$1862
Sat 9 May 2020
$1862
Sat 16 May 2020
$1862
Sat 23 May 2020
$1862
Sat 3 Oct 2020
$1729
Sat 17 Oct 2020
$1729
Sat 31 Oct 2020
$1729

The tour price covers the following services:

Accommodation

4 & 5 star hotels

Meals

15 breakfasts, 5 Dinners

Transportation

Air-conditioned non-smoking coach or mini-bus, Flight between Skopje and Istanbul

Airport Transfer

From Sofia Airport (on day 1)

Guide

Services of experienced Travel Talk local guides licenced by the Ministry of Tourism

What is not included in the tour price?

  • Any flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips & gestures
  • Visa fees
  • Entrance fees to the sights and museums
  • Optional activities
  • Other services not stated in the itinerary

HOTEL VEGA - SOFIA


ABBA HOTEL - BELGRADE


HOTEL EXCLUSIVE - SARAJEVO


HOTEL CENTRAL PARK - TREBINJE


HOTEL PARK- BUDVA


HOTEL AURA - OHRID


LEGACY OTTOMAN HOTEL - ISTANBUL


TROIA TUSAN HOTEL - CANAKKALE


MARINA HOTEL - KUSADASI


This hotel has a seafront location in the Aegean coast, only 250 metres from the beach. The hotel offers an outdoor pool and a terrace with panoramic views of the sea and Kusadasi Marina. The air-conditioned rooms of Marina Hotel Kusadasi include a minibar and an LCD TV with satellite channels.

AVRASYA HOTEL - CAPPADOCIA


HIERA PARK DELUXE HOTEL - PAMUKKALE


This hotel offers an absolute relaxation with it’s hot thermal pools & spa center.

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