Southern Balkans- Four seas tour

Never been in the Balkans but curious about that region?
We invite you to a great journey to the Southern Balkans to show you the highlights of five countries: Turkey (Istanbul), Bulgaria- Macedonia-Albania-Northern Greece and the shores of four seas: Black sea, Adriatic sea,  Aegean sea and  Sea of Marmara
1.Day Arriving in Istanbul (Turkey)
Arriving in Istanbul, transfer from the airport to the hotel, overnight in the hotel
2. Day Istanbul (Turkey) UNESCO sights, Sea of Marmara
Breakfast in the hotel. Sightseeing in Istanbul: the Hippodrome, the Blue mosque,  Ayasofya (Unesco sights),  the Grand bazaar, The Spice Bazaar . Free time for shopping. Overnight in the hotel.
 
3. Day Istanbul- Nessebar (Bulgaria) 370 km UNESCO sight, The Black Sea (Turkey/Bulgaria
Breakfast in the hotel. Departure to  Bulgaria. Arriving  in Nessebar, Bulgaria. Sightseeing in the Old town. Nessebar is One of the most beautiful towns at the Bulgarian Black sea is definitely Nessebar. The island-museum, a cultural monument enclosed in UNESCO's World Heritage List,  is wide only 300 m, long  850 m, but it keeps precise landmarks from all the ages of the cultural history of this picturesque region. Enjoy a walking tour in the Old town and cover all the important sights in Nessebar: the churches of Christ Pantokrator, St. John Aliturgetos, St. John the Baptist, St. Spas and St. Stefan , St. Archangels Gavrail and Michael, St. Paraskeva, St. Sofia; the Byzantine fortified walls, the wooden houses from the period of the Bulgarian Revival, the ruins of Rome baths, theTurkish bath. Overnight in the hotel.
 
4. Day  Nessebar- Madara (180 km) UNESCO sight- Veliko Tarnovo (170 km) (Bulgaria)    
Breakfast in the hotel. Departure in direction North to the national historical-archeological reserve Madara . The most notable monument at the Madara reserve is the unique stone relief known as the Madara Rider- a UNESCO sight. The Madara Rider, representing the figure of a knight triumphing over a lion, is carved into a 100-m-high cliff near the village of Madara in north-east Bulgaria. Madara was the principal sacred place of the First Bulgarian Empire before Bulgaria’s conversion to Christianity in the 9th century. It is the only relief of its kind, having no parallel in Europe.
Departure to Veliko Tarnovo- the old Bulgarian capital.  Arriving and sightseeing in The Old quarter. Overnight in the hotel.
 
5. Day Veliko Tarnovo-Arbanasi (5 km)-Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria)
Breakfast in the hotel. Visit to the most significant monument of culture in Veliko Tarnovo -the medieval fortress Tsarevets, situated on the homonymous peak, surrounded on three sides by the river Yantra.  Departure to the village of  Arbanasi, announced as an archeological-museum reserve because of the beautiful wooden houses and churches most of all from 18 c.  Sightseeing in Arbanasi. Driving back to Veliko Tarnovo. Some free hours for shopping.  Overnight in the hotel in Veliko Tarnovo.
 
6. Day Veliko Tarnovo- Etara-Kazanlak (100 km) UNESCO sight- Plovdiv (150 km) (Bulgaria)
Breakfast in the hotel. Departure to Etara. It is an open air museum where many traditional Bulgarian crafts are presented. Nice drive via the picturesque Shipka pass, arriving in Etara and sightseeing. Departure to Kazanlak- the town is the center of the Valley of the Roses, the home of the Thracian kings, and an attractive tourist destination. The country’s largest and best preserved Thracian tomb is  found here, and it is included among the UNESCO World Heritage. After a visit to the tomb the group is going to visit  a rose distillery  in Kazanlak where steps of the rose production will be demonstrated. It is a very interesting experience right in the heart of the rose valley.
Drive to Plovdiv , arriving and overnight in the hotel.
 
7. Day Plovdiv-Bachkovo (30 km)-Plovdiv (Bulgaria)
Breakfast in the hotel. Sightseeing in the Old town of Plovdiv (the second largest city in the country and the European capital of culture for 2019). The pearl of Plovdiv is the Old Town where history and culture mix to reveal its glory during the centuries. One can see the Macedonian and Byzantine fortress walls, the Roman theatre and the symmetric smooth pavement streets, the remains of the Roman Forum, the churches St.st. Constantine and Elena, St. Marina, St. Nedelia, St. Bogoroditza, the National Revival architecture of the Balabanov House, the Ethnographical museum, The Lamartine house, Dzhumaya Mosque, Roman Forum and Stadium etc. At the afternoon departure to the Bachkovo monastery. The monastery is one of the most beautiful temples in Bulgaria where unique frescoes and old icons can be seen. Departure back to Plovdiv.  Overnight in the hotel.
 
8. Day Plovdiv-Sofia (150 km) (Bulgaria)
Breakfast in the hotel.  Departure to Sofia. Arriving in the capital of Bulgaria. Walking tour in the central area featuring the most important sights: the cathedral Alexander Nevsky,  Basilica St. Sofia, St. Nedelia square, the National theater, Alexander Batenberg square, The University, The opera house, Banya Bashi mosque ets.. Free time for shopping. Overnight in the hotel.
 
9. Day Sofia- Rila Monastery UNESCO sight -Skopje, Macedonia (230 km) (Bulgaria/Macedonia)
Breakfast in the hotel. Departure to Rila monastery- the biggest and the most important monastery complex in the country. Rila Monastery is one of the symbols of Bulgaria and is also a popular tourist destination. The monastery lies in the recesses of Rila Mountain, between Rilska and Drushlyavitsa Rivers, at 1147 m above mean sea level. Sightseeing in the complex. At the afternoon departure to Macedonia. Arriving in the capital Skopje.
Overnight in the hotel.
 
10. Day  Skopje – Ohrid (175 km) UNESCO sight (Macedonia)
Breakfast in the hotel. Sightseeing in the Old town and the centre of Skopje featuring Memorial house of Mother Teresa, Fortress "Kale", The Old Bazaar. Departure to Ohrid. Arriving and sightseeing in Ohrid- a UNESCO sight. Ohrid’s major attractions are all located within a remarkably concentrated and eminently walkable area, among and above the narrow streets of the Old Town lined with restaurants and cafés perfectly suited for relaxing in the cool summer evening.  As for the lake itself, it is so large and so deep that one might mistake it for a small sea. Full range of water sports, fishing andboating is available, and numerous churches alongside Ohrid’s lake shores make for fascinating side trips and walks. Overnight in the hotel.
   
11. Day Ohrid-  the monastery of Saint Naum (30 km)- Ohrid (30 km) (Macedonia)
Breakfast in the hotel.  Departure to the monastery of Saint Naum. As with most Byzantine churches, St. Naum was chosen primarily for its location – on a high, rocky outcropping over the lake, above deep forests and life-giving springs of the river Crn Drim. The monastic complex and church of St. Naum were built originally at the turn of the tenth century by the monk that beared the same name; Macedonians believe you can still hear the saint’s heartbeat by pressing an ear to his stone coffin inside the church. Driving back to Ohrid. Free time for shopping. Overnight in the hotel.
   
12. Day Ohrid- Kruja (Albania)-(165km)- Tirana (40 km) (Albania)
Breakfast in the hotel. Departure to Kruja, Albania- a little historical town that lies on a panoramic mountain 600 m above sea level.The city is one of the most beautiful tourist spots due to its natural views and its history. Visit to the Old bazaar and the caste in Kruja. Departure to Tirana- the capital of Albania. Arriving  and overnight in the hotel.
 
13. Day Tirana (Albania)
Breakfast in the hotel.  Sightseeing including the highlights of the capital: Skanderbeg statue,  Ethem bey mosque, the city centre, the clock tower, the Italian buildings etc.  At the afternoon free time for shopping. Overnight in the hotel.
 
14 .Day Tirana- Butrint UNESCO sight- Saranda (290 km) (Albania)  Adriatic sea
Breakfast in the hotel. Departure to the National Park of Butrint- a UNESCO sight. Wakling tour in Butrint featuring The Temple of Aeskulapius, the theater with 1500 seats, nymfeu, bathrooms, basilica, the Lion gate, the gate lake, the Venetian towers, the fortress of Ali Pasha etc. At the afternoon departure to Saranda seaside town.  Enjoying the town centre and the view to Adriatic sea. Overnight in the hotel.
 
15. Day Saranda-Kalambaka-Meteora  UNESCO sight  (220 km) (Greece)
Breakfast in the hotel. Departure to Greece in direction the village Kalambaka and Meteora complex.
Arriving and visiting the monasteries part of Meteora complex- one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries in Greece that is under UNESCO protection . The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river. Magnificent views, ancient buildings , all so beautiful especially at sunset. Overnight in the hotel in Kalambaka.

16. Day Kalambaka- Thessaloniki (220 km) UNESCO sight (Greece)  Aegean Sea
Breakfast in the hotel.  Departure to Thessaloniki. Arriving and sightseeing including The White tower, the city centre, Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki – UNESCO sight, Aristotelous Square, The Arch of Galerius , The Greek Agora and Roman Forum, The Rotunda of St. George (Ayios Yioryos), The Bezesteni etc. Overnight in the hotel.
 
17. Day Thessaloniki- Philipi (175 km) -Kavala (20 km) (Greece)
Breakfast in the hotel.  Departure to the magical Philippi. Arriving and walking tour in Philippi including some parts of the ancient Roman road, which ran from Rome to Asia Minor,  theAncient Theatre – built by Philip II in the 4th century BC and later reconstructed by the Romans, the Seven Churches – built between the 4th  and 5th centuries AD, Paul’s Prison – This is traditionally identified as Paul’s Prison, but was more likely a Roman cistern.
Departure to Kavala- a nice little town by sea.  Arriving and sightseeing in Kavala – a tour around the Old City (Panayia). The most important sights in Panayia district are the Castle, the Acropolis, the Imaret and the old Lighthouse at the end of Theodorou Pavlidou str, beneath which the rocks of Panayia are situated. The landmark of the Old City is the Mohamed Ali square, dominated by its statue, situated between the “konaki” (his house built at the end of the 18th century) and the church of Panayia, built in 1965 on the ruins of an older post-Byzantine three-aisled basilica. A tour around the Mohamed Ali Street will lead you to the oldest district of the city, where you will have the chance to visit Hussein Bey Mosque (or Music Mosque).  Overnight in the hotel.
 
18. Day Kavala- Alexandropolis- Istanbul (450 km) (Greece/Turkey)
Breakfast in the hotel.  Departure to Istanbul. A stop for a longer rest in Alexandropolis (Greece). Arriving in Istanbul.Overnight in the hotel.
  
19. Day Istanbul (Turkey)
Breakfast in the hotel. Sightseeing program in Istanbul: visit to Dolmabahce Palace, Bosphorus Boat trip, Sapphire 4D Simulated Helicopter Ride. Free   time for shopping.  Overnight in the hotel.
 
20. Day Departure (Turkey)
Breakfast  in the hotel. Transfer to the airport and flight back.




Gallery
Madara, Bulgaria
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Kazankal, Bulgaria
Kazanlak, Bulgaria
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Sofia, Bulgaria
Rila Monastery, Bulgaria
Rila Monastery, Bulgaria
Skopje, Macedonia
Skopje, Macedonia
Ohrid, Macedonia
Ohrid, Macedonia
Monastery of St. Naum, Macedonia
Kruja, Albania
Tirana, Albania
Tirana, Albania, painted houses and blocks
Butrint, Albania
Saranda, Albania
Meteora, Greece
Meteora, Greece
Thessaloniki, Greece
Thessaloniki, Greece
Philipi, Greece
Kavala, Greece
Alexandropolis, Greece
Dolma Bahce Palace, Istanbul