Best of the Balkans 2025

14 Days

Let us plan your vacation to some of the most beautiful and unexplored countries in the world! Enjoy a 14-day trip to Croatia, Albania, and Montenegro in 2025. These countries have breathtaking scenery, magnificent architecture, and rich culture.  The Dalmatian Coast hss some of the most beautiful beaches in the world but it is still rather unexplored.

Trip Highlights

  • Panoramic tour of Zagreb
  • Plitvice Lake National Park
  • Sea Organ, Zadar
  • Cathedral of St. Dominius, Split
  • Bicycle tour in Split
  • Olive oil tasting and tapas
  • Ferry to Dubrovnik
  • Dominican Monastery, Dubrovnik
  • Kravika Falls
  • Tour of Perast, Montenegro
  • Tour of Durresi, Albania


We will gather at the St. Louis airport for overnight flight to Zagreb.

Arrive in Zagreb and meet our coach for a panoramic tour of the city and historic upper town (Gornji Grad). After time for lunch, we will take a walking tour of Tkalčićeva Street, the heart of the city; see St. Mark's Church; and view the magnificent Cathedral of Zagreb. Then, we check in to our centrally located hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the city. We will dine this evening at a local restaurant with a 3-course welcome dinner.

We will depart Zagreb and make our way to Zadar today, but along the way, we will be visiting the breathtaking Plitvice Lakes and national park, the oldest and largest national park in the Republic of Croatia. The park is situated in the mountainous region of Croatia, between the Mala Kapela mountain range in the west and northwest, and the Lička Plješivica mountain range to the southeast. With its exceptional natural beauty, this area has always attracted nature lovers. Its uniaue process of tufa formation, which results in the building of the tufa, or travertine, barriers and resulted in the creation of the lakes, is the outstanding universal value, for which the Plitvice Lakes were internationally recognized on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We will view the falls and spend time exploring the area.

We will then head to Zadar, where we will get a chance to listen to a true wonder of the town, the Sea Organ, an architectural object and at the same time an experimental musical instrument, designed as a group of pipes that run under large marble stairs. When the sea waves reach the stairs, they create air pressure that produces random but harmoniously arranged tones in the pipes. We also experience the Greeting to the Sun installation, tour the old town, and have time to explore on our own. Check in to the hotel and enjoy a 3-course dinner at the hotel or a local restaurant.

Today, we travel to Split, one of Croatia’s most popular tourist destinations, the largest city in Dalmatia, and the second largest in Croatia. Split is probably best known for its historical sights, specifically the Diocletian’s Palace. The inner city centre is located inside the Palace. One of the most visited historical complexes in Split is the Cathedral of St. Domnius which includes a mausoleum, bell tower, baptistry, crypt, and treasury. It’s thought to be the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world which is still in use in its original shape. Entering any part of this complex will make you travel back in time.

In the afternoon, we have a bicycle tour for those who are more adventurous and really connect with the heritage and culture of the town (you are not required to do the bicycle tour).

We will then check into the hotel and have a 3-course dinner (B & D)

Enjoy a free day in Split to visit some of the historical sites or to visit some of Split's spectacular beaches. Split is surrounded by beautiful beaches – just about every neighborhood has its own, so you can easily walk from one seaside experience to the next. There are so many different swimming spots around this small, historic city on the Adriatic Sea, that you will love exploring many different offerings.

This morning is free to sleep in or experience some of Split's famous bakeries. Or, perhaps, you are into shopping in the historic district. Some may want to arrange a catamaran cruise today. In the afternoon, we will have an olive oil tasting tour and immerse ourselves in a sensory exploration of the typical Dalmatian flavors by trying multiple tapas dishes. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore, swim, boat, or shop.

Dinner tonight is on your own. Because Split has such a rich history and culture, the people of Split held onto a lot of traditions, some of them being gastronomic. When visiting Split, you must try some of the local cuisine prepared in one of many “konobas” or taverns. One thing you can find in a lot of bakeries throughout town is “soparnik.” It’s a simple meal where a layer of Swiss chard, parsley and garlic is placed between two parts of thin dough. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity, “soparnik” is a delicacy and you’ll soon realise why it’s often sold out. Another dish you can’t skip is “dalmatinska pašticada.” There are several versions of this dish throughout Dalmatia, but you have to try the one from Split. It’s a kind of stewed beef served with homemade gnocchi. Something you might haven’t heard of is the black risotto which is prepared with fresh squid. The black color is due to squid ink, and it’ll leave you with the most peculiar after-lunch smile.

Depart Split and travel to Dubrovnik via ferry. Upon arrival, we will drop our bags and then receive a tour of old town.

Dubrovnik is one of Croatia’s most beautiful cities, located on a stunning coastline amongst the captivating blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. Dubrovnik is one of the only remaining completely walled cities in Europe, making it an extremely unique and historical city to visit. The old town dates back to the 7th century, and became a powerful force on Mediterranean from the 13th century and onwards. The Dubrovnik Republic was so influential that this small, yet powerful city-state rivaled Venice and their far-spread Venetian Empire.

Today, you can enter the impressive old town through three different medieval gates, the Ploče Gate, Pile Gate, or the Buža Gate. The old town is a pedestrian only area, making it truly feel like you are stepping back in time to wander the streets of a medieval city. Dubrovnik was also the filming location of Kings Landing in Game of Thrones. This evening, we will have a 3-course dinner in our hotel. (B & D)

Our guide will give us a tour of the historic Dubrovnik Walls, which surround the old city and were first built in the 13th century. The astounding city walls are length of 1,940 m (6,360 ft) around the city, and stand an impressive 25 m (82 ft) high. You will have incredible views of the old town, Lokrum Island, and the Adriatic sea. After our tour, we will visit the Dominican Monastery. This imposing structure is an architectural highlight, built in a transitional Gothic-Renaissance style and containing an impressive art collection. Constructed around the same time as the city walls in the 14th century, the stark exterior resembles a fortress more than a religious complex. The interior contains a graceful 15th-century cloister constructed by local artisans after the designs of the Florentine architect Maso di Bartolomeo.

The large, single-naved church features some bright, modern stained glass and a painting by Vlaho Bukovac (St Dominic's Miracle, 1911) above one of the side altars. Other priceless pieces of art are hung in rooms off the cloister, including 15th- and 16th-century works by Lovro Dobričević and Nikola Božidarević, and an exquisite painting of St Blaise and St Mary Magdalene (c 1550) by Venetian luminary Titian.
We will dine at a local restaurant.

Today's highlight will be Kravica waterfall, a beautiful natural landmark located near Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Kravica nature park is a popular tourist destination thanks to the amazing waterfall that’s over 82 feet high and is said to have originated millions of years ago. We will explore the area and in the afternoon return to Dubrovnik. In the evening, we will take in some Croatian nightlife and perhaps learn some new dance moves

We will be escaping the hustle and bustle of city life and experience a beautiful winery near Dubrovnik. We will have an unforgettable lunch and tasting.

After lunch, we will head to Montenegro and visit one of its most famous towns, Kotor, Located in the Bay of Kotor and considered the southernmost European fjord,. Kotor is famous for its striking history, famous city walls, red roofs, and culinary offerings. We will take a walking tour of the town and beach and explore the UNESCO Heritage site. This afternoon, we will check into our hotel.

We will have a full day tour today of the bay and of Perast, a town that straddles a narrow strip of coastline between St. Ilija hill and the Bay of Kotor. You can walk the length and breadth of town in a matter of minutes. Because the promenade faces directly out to the Verige Strait, the narrowest part of the bay, beautiful views and sublime sunsets are guaranteed. Off shore, the twin islets of Sveti Đorđe (St George) and Gospa od Škrpjela (Church of Our Lady of the Rocks) emerge from the silvery bay. We will have a tour of the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks this afternoon.

Perast’s history and unique local culture – combined with its breathtaking location, compact size (and the fact that the harbour is too small for cruise liners) makes it one of the most charming destinations in all of Montenegro.

Today , we will head to the Albanian town of Tirana. This main economic, political and cultural center might be one of the least known European capitals. Tirana is the heart of Albania, and it holds many treasures. Vibrant and colorful, Tirana is a place where rich traditional and contemporary cultures merge, a place that will charm you in a completely different way. Colorful facades, lively squares, numerous art and shopping streets, and a dynamic nightlife make this city a perfect destination. We will visit Skanderbeg Square, a major cultural hub. More than just a standard central plaza, it's woven with layers of history, architectural styles, and cultural significance.

We will also see Et'hem mosque, founded at the end of 18th century by Mulla Bey, with the shrine finished by his son Haxhi Et’hem Bey in the first quarter of the following century. We will see the wonderful architecture of the mosque and its exquisite decorations of wall and ceiling paintings from oriental traditions. The frescoes of the mosque depict trees, waterfalls and bridges, still life paintings that are a rarity in Islamic art.

Today, we will have an excursion to Durrësi in the morning. Durres is one of the oldest and most significant port cities in the Balkans, With an impressive history dating back nearly 3,000 years, it rightfully earned its reputation as the eternal city on the Adriatic Sea. Durres serves as an open-air museum, narrating the rich history of Albania. The Roman amphitheater of Emperor Hadrian, featuring a remarkable 15,000 seats, stands as the city’s most prominent historical attraction and is the second-largest amphitheater in the Balkans. It bears witness to the ancient glory of Durres and is an essential pilgrimage for history enthusiasts. Further exploration leads to the Durres Castle, a medieval fortress with its origins tracing back to the Byzantine era.

The afternoon is at leisure for further exploration, shopping, or relaxing. You could also explore some of the most pristine beaches in Albania, where golden sands gently meet the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. Tonight we will have a farewell dinner and enjoy our last night in Europe.

Transfer to the airport for return flight home to the USA!


  • Land only in shared room
  • Transportation in deluxe motor coaches
  • Accommodation in 3.5 to 4 star centrally-located hotels
  • All meals specified in itinerary
  • Professional tour guide and local step-on guides
  • All transfers as a group (additional cost for separate airport transfers)
  • All tips and taxes

Not included

  • Airfare
  • Travel insurance
  • Additional meals
  • Single supplement ($1,000)
  • Personal costs such as passports
What about insurance?

You can choose your own insurance at SquareMouth Award-winning travel insurance specialists SquareMouth helps travelers search, compare, and buy the best travel insurance for the lowest price. They offer excellent customer support and can help you find the best policy for your trip. We recommend using the following filters: trip interruption, coronavirus pandemic, travel delay ($500), emergency medical ($100,000), medical evacuation ($100,000), baggage delay and baggage loss.

What is the flight itinerary?

Flights will be available from St. Louis, and we will share when they are available for purchase.


Group airfare will be available for purchase when flights become available.


Canopy by Hilton, Zagreb

Hotel Kolovare, Zadar

Heritage Hotel Santa Lucia, Split

Hotel Lero, Debrovnik

Hyatt Regency Kotor Bay, Kotor

Maritim Plazan Tirana

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Best of the Balkans 2025
From $4,499
/ Tour cost