Pristina - 1 night
- 2 nights
Tirana - 2 nights
Ohrid - 1 night
Skopje - 1 night

Balkan Explorer - 2024

Touring a trio of intriguing countries, Kosovo, Albania, and North Macedonia, this journey highlights historic sites, spectacular scenery, and the cities whose heritage monuments and museums tell the tales of their ancient, Ottoman, medieval, and modern eras

Collectively known as the Cradle of the Balkans, and separately steeped in their centuries of history and heritage, these three countries share some attributes, display delightful differences, and complement each other in this captivating tour.

Landlocked Kosovo is Europe’s youngest nation, its past presented in mosques, monasteries, and commemorative monuments, which we visit in Pristina, Prizren and Peja. A refreshing ferry journey on the Koman Lake takes us into Albania, which has blossomed in recent years, transforming Tirana from its soviet-era image to a vibrant city, where formerly soulless Stalinist buildings are now exuberantly painted in rainbow hues; while historic Berat has UNESCO World Heritage listing for the best examples of Ottoman architecture outside Turkey. North Macedonia, home to Alexander the Great, is now a land less-visited, its myriad churches and ancient ruins largely unheralded but hugely rewarding. With medieval streets and a 3million year-old lake, Ohrid has the rare UNESCO listing as both a cultural and natural heritage site; while Skopje, almost obliterated by an earthquake in 1963, has been lavishly ‘repopulated’ with multiple statues and modern monuments mimicking neoclassical grandeur.

Key Features

Cultural & Countryside 
Jules Verne Sightseeing
3 UNESCO Sites
Local Expert Guide

Day 1 Fly from London Luton to Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, and check-in at the 4-star Hotel Prishtina for an overnight stay.

Day 2 A morning walking tour of Pristina includes the remarkable ‘cube and dome’ design of the National Library; the city’s new landmark, the Mother Teresa Cathedral with its tall belltower, the first church dedicated to the Albanian saint; the 15th century, Ottoman, Fatih and Carshia Mosques; and the capital’s celebration of freedom fighter, Skanderbeg, his monument echoing that of Tirana and epitomising the shared heritage of the two cities. Drive to see the ancient remains of Illyrian/Roman Ulpiana; and to nearby Gracanica Monastery, a 14th century church, built over the ruins of a 6th century basilica, and boasting vibrant medieval murals, continue to the Battle of Kosovo (Gazimestan) Monument, built in 1953 to commemorate the battle of 1389. Transfer to its historic capital, Prizren, and check-in at the 4-star Hotel Kacinari for two nights. (B, L)

Day 3 Enjoy a morning walking tour of Prizren to landmarks including the lovely little Ottoman Stone Bridge, spanning the Lumbardh River in the heart of town; and the Museum of the League of Prizren, documenting the late 19th century struggle for rights for the Albanian community. Tour to the 14th century monastery complex of Decan, a UNESCO listed site which boasts the largest medieval church in the Balkans, with a thousand beautifully preserved frescoes. Continue to Peja to visit the Patriarchate of Pec, a Serbian Orthodox church and convent, still in use since its 13th century construction. (B)

Day 4 Drive to Gjakova for a visit to the old town, all but destroyed in the 1999 war, but now restored in its traditional style, with a lively central square and Kosovo’s oldest bazaar. Travel across the Albanian border to Fierza, on the Koman Lake shore, embark on the ferry for a stunningly scenic sail to Koman, and continue by road to Tirana, the country’s capital, for two nights at the 4-star Hotel Opera. (B, D)

Day 5 Chaotic, colourful Tirana focuses on the central Skanderbeg Square, where monuments include a huge statue of the national hero; and the mural-adorned National History Museum, which we visit this morning. Travel to Berat to explore its castle citadel and visit the Onufri Museum of Iconography; and the Ethnographic Museum. (B)

Day 6 Drive east, across the border into North Macedonia, to beautiful Ohrid, spread along the shore of the namesake lake. A walking tour includes the 6th-century St. Sophia; the multi-domed St. Clement & St. Panteleimon; the Plashonik archaeological site; the frescoed Holy Virgin of Perivleptos; and 13th-century St. John the Theologian, high on the Kaneo cliff. Overnight at the 4-star Sky Corner Hotel. (B, D)

Day 7 Travel to Stobi to visit the Roman remains of a 7th-century BC city, strategically sited on the Diagonal Road linking Thrace with the Balkans. Continue to the Popova Kula Winery for a tasting, en route to Skopje, and enjoy a walking tour in the capital, historic landmarks include the photogenic Kameni Most (stone bridge), the 12th-century ‘Carsija’ Turkish bazaar, and the Mahmut Pasha Hammam. Overnight at the 4-star Next Door Park Hotel. (B, L)

Day 8 A drive takes you to Matka Canyon, the steep-sided gorge filled with the blue-green waters of an artificial lake; cross the border into Kosovo and visit Gadimë Cave, a karst limestone cavern. Transfer to Pristina airport for the return flight to London. (B)

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner


This is a full itinerary with many visits on foot including some uneven surfaces and inclines.
Most travel is along a well-established road network but some minor roads may be in poor repair.
On occasion hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.


On occasion hotels of a similar standard may be substituted. 


Click here for 2023 departures


per person in a twin/double room
WizzAir from Luton

Date Price
May 8 £1485
June 5 £1515
September 4 £1525
September 18 £1515
October 9 £1495

Supplements per person

Single Supplement

Single supplement £215

Extension Options

Extra nights – Pristina
Hotel Prishtina
(per night) £60
Single supplement £45

Tour Only

Save £200
Departure transfer with group included
Arrival transfer £25

Price Includes
Air travel and taxes, transfers, 7 nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily, 2 lunches and 2 dinners, itinerary as described, services of guides and local representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.

Not Included
Travel insurance, optional excursions, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.

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Balkan Explorer - 2024

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