14 Day Majestic Balkans



Land Only


Air & Land

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Book By Dec 15, 2022 & Save!

2023 Dates & Prices Single Supplement: $650

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Additional Information:
Land only price does not include arrival/departure transfers.

Entry Requirements:
Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.

Is This Trip Right for You?

This moderately active trip covers a lot of ground most days. Expect up to three to four hours walking every touring day, where you could encounter some uneven surfaces, cobbled streets, stairs, and steep slopes. Some hiking may be required to access some sites. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.

Accommodation Details

Room 1

  • Requests are not guaranteed and are subject to each hotel's discretion and availability

Additional Nights

Flight Details

Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • Flights New York-Bucharest, Tirana-New York
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 12 nights First Class accommodations
    • 3 nights Bucharest
    • 1 night Plovdiv
    • 2 nights Sofia
    • 2 nights Skopje
    • 2 nights Ohrid
    • 2 nights Tirana
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • 26 meals: 12 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 11 dinners
  • Coffee and tea with all meals
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring

Tour Highlights

Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.

  • Enjoy your visit to romantic Peles Castle, former summer residence of Romania's first royal family
  • Visit the Patriarchal church of Bucharest, the center of Romanian Orthodox faith
  • Special dinner with a guest lecturer who enlightens you on Romania's turbulent history
  • At a beautiful 17th century Bulgarian church, attend a performance by an esteemed local choir
  • Walk along the cobbled streets of Plovdiv, a millennial town with a tumultuous history
  • Enjoy a Bulgarian Folklore Show, coupled with a traditional dinner and a choice of wine
  • Ascend to the 10th century Rila Monastery, proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Explore the historic streets of Skopje’s Old Town, stopping at the House of Mother Teresa
  • Wine tasting and vineyard tour in Stobi, a city in the Republic of North Macedonia at the crossroads of civilization
  • Discover lively Tirana, the beating heart of Albania, with its vibrant café culture and funky art
  • Visit Kruje, where the hero Skanderbeg defended Albania from the Ottomans

†Transfers are available for purchase for land only or on alternative flight dates

Is This Trip Right for You?

This moderately active trip covers a lot of ground most days. Expect up to three to four hours walking every touring day, where you could encounter some uneven surfaces, cobbled streets, stairs, and steep slopes. Some hiking may be required to access some sites. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.

Watch our Video!
Note: your itinerary will change depending upon the day of the week you depart. Click a day above to see what is included.

DAY 1, Monday - Depart for Romania
Depart for Romania

DAY 2, Tuesday - Arrive in Bucharest
Arrive in the bustling Romanian capital of Bucharest known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards and glorious Belle Époque buildings. Time to settle in at the hotel before tonight's orientation meeting with your Tour Manager followed by a light dinner. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4 PM
Overnight: Bucharest
Meals: Dinner

DAY 3, Wednesday - Prahova Valley, Sinaia Monastery, Peles Castle
Heading north along the Prahova Valley arrive at the elegant mountain resort of Sinaia. Here, visit the impressive 17th century Sinaia Monastery named after St. Catherine's Monastery on Mt. Sinai. The monastery features religious treasures and beautiful frescoes. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the romantic Peles Castle, former summer residence of Romania's first royal family. The castle is a masterpiece of German Neo-Renaissance architecture. Afterward, return to Bucharest for dinner and overnight
Overnight: Bucharest
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4, Thursday - Discover Bucharest, Palace of Parliament, Patriarchal Cathedral, Special Dinner & Guest Lecturer
The day begins with a view of Bucharest's Arch of Triumph, an impressive replica of the French Arc de Triomphe, built to commemorate the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in WWI. Then, as you travel along Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue), the city's oldest and most fashionable street, gaze at some of the most stunning architecture, including the splendid National Museum George Enescu housed in the Cantacuzino Palace, one of the most beautiful buildings in Bucharest, named a historical monument. Its sumptuous entrance in Art Nouveau style, emphasizes the luxury and refinement of the era. Next, at historical Revolution Square, understand how the last Communist dictator in Eastern Europe was overthrown. Visit the gigantic Palace of Parliament, the second largest building in the world (after the Pentagon) with over 3,000 rooms, then visit the wondrous Patriarchal Cathedral, set atop one of the city's few hills and known as the centerpiece of the Romanian Orthodox faith since the 17th-century. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Tonight, a special dinner featuring a renowned guest lecturer who enlightens you on Romania's turbulent history
Overnight: Bucharest
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 5, Friday - Veliko Tarnovo, Tsarevets Hill, Arbanassi, Choir Concert, Plovdiv (Bulgaria)
Depart Bucharest for Veliko Tarnovo, the 'City of the Tsars', where houses cling to the cliffs of the River Yantra, making it one of the country's most beautiful towns in Bulgaria. Here, take an orientation walking tour that features views of the Tsarevets Hill, the inescapable symbol of the city. This reconstructed medieval fortress dominates the skyline and is one of Bulgaria's most beloved monuments. The former seat of the Tsars, it boasts the remains of more than 400 houses, 18 churches, a royal palace and more. Continue to picturesque Arbanassi where you leisurely savor a delectable lunch of traditional Bulgarian favorites. After exploration of the quaint village, arrive at the 17th-century church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel. A superb afternoon of beautiful sounds awaits you. Listen to the magical voices of a local choir, surrounded by magnificent frescoes. The day ends in Plovdiv, a millennial town with a tumultuous history. Dinner is at the hotel
Overnight: Plovdiv
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6, Saturday - Plovdiv's Old Town, Sofia
A delightful exploration of Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria. Walk along the cobbled streets lined with art galleries and bohemian cafes -- this city has an exuberant spirit! In the Old Town, lovingly restored to its mid-19th-century appearance, admire the Thracian, Roman, Byzantine and Bulgarian antiquities. Visit the impressive Roman Amphitheater* best preserved in the Balkans, now used for performances. In case of closure a visit to the Ethnographic Museum The day ends in Sofia, Bulgaria's lively capital, with dinner at the hotel and overnight
*In case the Roman Amphitheater is closed, the Ethnographic Museum will be visited instead
Overnight: Sofia
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7, Sunday - National History Museum, Alexander Nevsky Church
In magical Sofia, the morning tour starts with panoramic views of golden Ottoman domes dotting the skyline. Visit the National History Museum with its exhibits of Bulgarian lands spanning 8000 years and glimpses of unique gold and silver treasures dating back to Thracian times. View, St. Sofia Church and across the square visit the impressive neo-Byzantine golden-domed Alexander Nevsky Church, one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world. Next, view the 4th century Roman Rotunda, a red brick building transformed into the present day St. George Church, the oldest architectural monument in Sofia and St. Joseph's Cathedral. Leisure time this afternoon to stroll the lanes of the city on your own and perhaps linger at one of the lovely cafes along Oborishte Street to just people-watch. Tonight, enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant
Overnight: Sofia
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8, Monday - Rila Monastery & Museum, Skopje (Republic of North Macedonia)
After breakfast, ascend to the 10th century Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, considered one of the greatest centers of literacy and religion in Bulgaria, playing a key role in preserving Bulgarian culture and language. Visit the monastery's church and view the astonishing frescoes, painted by famous Bulgarian artists. Continue with a visit to the monastery's museum. Afterward, descend from these lofty peaks and drive to Skopje, the capital of the Republic of North Macedonia, accented by a historic hilltop fortress overlooking monumental modern architecture. Tonight, enjoy a delightful dinner at a local restaurant
Overnight: Skopje
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 9, Tuesday - Discover Skopje's Old Town
In the morning visit the moving Holocaust Museum that commemorates the all but lost Sephardic Jewish culture of North Macedonia through a range of photos and video displays. Explore the historic streets of this eclectic capital's Old Town, stopping at Macedonia Square, Porta Macedonia, the 15th century Turkish Stone Bridge and the 6th century Byzantine Fortress, that dominates the skyline of the city. At the House of Mother Teresa, you're reminded that the famed Catholic nun of Calcutta was born here in 1910. Perhaps time to bargain for wondrous treasures at the old Turkish Bazaar. The afternoon is free for individual pursuits
Overnight: Skopje
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10, Wednesday - Ancient Stobi, Wine Tasting & Vineyard Lunch, Lakeside Ohrid
The ancient city of Stobi is revealed today. Lying in a fertile valley, this ancient city was part of a vital trade route and was the crossroads of civilization with a rich legacy of palace ruins, bright mosaics, and religious relics. Enjoy a tour of a local winery along with a tasting of the fine wines, followed by appetizers including assorted local Galichnik cheese, smoked meats, and lunch. Afterward, on to the town of Ohrid, a jewel of the Balkans, set beside a pristine lake and topped by a medieval castle. During your leisure time here, discover the picturesque architecture and verdant crystal-blue waters of the lake. Perhaps walk along the waterfront, relax on a secluded beach or wander along the winding lanes to the Roman amphitheater. Tonight's dinner together is at a local restaurant
Overnight: Ohrid
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11, Thursday - Bay of Bones, Museum on Water, Boat Cruise on Ohrid Lake
A unique visit to the Bay of Bones on the southern coast of the Gradiste Peninsula. This pile dwelling ancient settlement built on a platform is a Museum on Water, an exceptional archaeological complex, and the first of its kind in the entire region. Afterward, drive along the shores of Lake Ohrid to reach St. Naum Monastery with its world-renowned priceless icons and religious paintings. Afternoon tour of the Old Town named the "Jerusalem of the Balkans". A town of vast history and heritage, Ohrid was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. A stop at the statue of St. Clement, before continuing to the lower gate, the National Museum, Church of St. Sophia, the Roman Amphitheatre, view St. Clement's Church and Tsar Samoil's fortress. Later, relax on a boat cruise on Lake Ohrid, ringed by mountains, attractive villages, and beautiful beaches. Dinner is at a popular restaurant on your last night in Macedonia
Overnight: Ohrid
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12, Friday - Elbasan, Tirana (Albania), Skanderbeg Square, Mosque of Et'hem Bey
This morning, depart North Macedonia for Albania, stopping en route at Elbasan, one of the largest cities in Albania in the central part of the country. Later, arrive in lively and colorful Tirana, the beating heart of Albania, known for its vibrant café culture and funky public art. This relatively new city, situated on the site of a Byzantine fortress, has been the capital of Albania since 1920. Visit famous Skanderbeg Square, dedicated to Albania's national hero, home to the Opera House and the National Historic Museum adorned with a gigantic mosaic mural known as 'The Albanians'. Pause at the small and elegant Mosque of Et'hem Bey, one of the oldest buildings left in the city before proceeding to the Clock Tower and the towering statue of G.K. Skanderbeg. Continue with a visit to Bunk'Art 2, an ex-nuclear bunker that was conversed to a museum featuring photographs and equipment that illustrate the political persecution of some 100,000 Albanians from 1945 until 1991. Tonight, enjoy dinner together
Overnight: Tirana
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 13, Saturday - Kruje's Skanderbeg Museum, Ottoman Style Bazaar, Farewell Dinner
Step back in time on your visit of Kruje, the hero Skanderbeg's hometown where 500 years ago he defended the town from the Ottomans. At the Ethnographic Museum, see a typical 18th-century Ottoman house that once belonged to an affluent family. Afterward, a stroll through the Ottoman style Bazaar, the best place for souvenir shopping with its lanes of antiques, gems, and handicrafts. Watch as women use looms to make kilims (rugs) - you can purchase the finished products! A spirited end to the day as you attend a performance of a local musical group who will serenade you with Albanian tunes. The rest of the day is at leisure in Tirana. At your dinner tonight, bid farewell to your Tour Manager
Overnight: Tirana
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 14, Sunday - Depart Albania
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

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Discovery Tours itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently.
Book your Optional Tours before you travel. See more, save time, save money.
  • Tours purchased while travelling may cost an extra 10% or more
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  • Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure
  • Book Online or call to book these tours up to 1 week before your departure
  • The day the optionals operate varies by the day of the week

Majestic Balkans, October 2021
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Our trip really could not have been any better. Any superlatives are inadequate to describe how good the trip was. All of the sights, hotels and restaurants were terrific. Our tour guide Nikola was absolutely the best we have ever encountered, and any tour guide in the future will have to go a long way to measure up to Nikola. His knowledge of all of the countries along with his energy, enthusiasm and sense of humor made the trip very pleasant for all of the group. He is a real asset to the Gate 1 organization. Also kudos to our driver Michael; he maneuvered our bus with professional expertise throughout the small serpentine roads of the 4 countries. This was our first Discovery tour, and in one word it was fabulous.

John C.
Swiss Alpine Jewels, September 2019
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The Swiss Alpine Jewels trip was wonderful and so scenic. We really enjoyed ourselves and pleased with what we saw, stayed, and the schedule. This tour exceeded our expectations in general, but even more so because of our Tour Director, Dennis, who was above & beyond his expected or required duties.

Bill B. Burlington, NC
Swiss Alpine Jewels, July 2019
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Our trip was amazing! Monique was an excellent tour manager and I would absolutely recommend her and want to experience other itineraries with her. Our driver, Remo, went above and beyond expectations, ensuring we arrived timely and safely at our destinations. The two of them made this trip an unforgettable experience and Monique truly brought our small group together into an impromptu family.

Selena W. Princeton, NJ
Swiss Alpine Jewels, April 2019
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The tour was GREAT, and made even more enjoyable because of the skill and local knowledge of our Tour Manager, Beatrice, and skillful careful driver Barnard. We have had a great time, saw incredible sights, stayed in wonderful hotels, and had one of the most enjoyable tours ever.

Charles M. Denver, CO
Majestic Balkans, April 2019
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The Majestic Balkans trip was terrific. Our tour leader Georgi was extremely knowledgeable about all 4 countries visited. The accommodations were excellent ... The dining experiences were also terrific. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and I will not hesitate to take another Discovery tour with Gate 1. Turkish Air was also excellent.

Charlotte E. Dennis Port, MA
Majestic Balkans, April 2019
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Oh my this trip was so great. One of our best ever Gate 1 trips! The itinerary was perfect. Perfect pace, not rushed in any of the stops. Perfect amount of time on our own to explore. The food was so amazing! This trip made me want to go back to each of these four countries to explore more. Albania was a special treat because I had no idea of what to expect ... Our Tour Manager, Ana was exceptional. She was knowledgeable, helpful and just fun to be around. I would highly recommend this tour! Thanks again Gate 1 for keeping travel affordable and allowing us to see so much of the world.

Kimberly L. Fulton, MD
Majestic Balkans, May 2018
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It was fantastic. Both drivers Peter and Leonard were super. Bus was always clean. Windows always clean. And then there’s Ana. One of best guides we’ve had. Always smiling. Never flustered. Humour galore. Great travel mates. Rate the trip as a 10+. Hang on to Ana. She was super

Susan M. St. Peters, NS, CA
Majestic Balkans, April 2018
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The trip was excellent. Dino our guide was great, well informed and made us understand what happened in those countries since he lived through those turbulent times.

Jim P. Cedarburg, WI
Majestic Balkans, June 2017
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The trip was wonderful and 100% satisfied especially our tour manager Nicola. He is an excellent tour manager. I learned a lot of information and history on all the countries we visited.

Honorio J. S Plainfield, NJ
Majestic Balkans, May 2017
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Our trip to the Balkans was wonderful! Nikola was an amazing tour coordinator that helped make the trip a perfect one. Once more, amazing memories Gate 1 helped make!

Lydia C. Dallas, TX