Day 01: Ataturk Airport – Istanbul (42km – 1hour)

Welcome in Istanbul!!!

Arrival in Ataturk Airport. Please let us know the flight details in order to organize the first and the last day.  

After border procedures, meet our escort guide & driver and transfer to the hotel in Istanbul (1hour)

Dinner and overnight in Istanbul

Day 02: Istanbul

After breakfast at the hotel, board the coach and drive to Topkapi Palace, once the main residence for the Ottoman Sultans and administrative headquarters for the Ottoman Empire from the 15th to the 19th centuries housing an exquisite collection of crystal, silver, and Chinese porcelain, robes worn by the sultans and their families, the famous jewels of the Imperial Treasury.

Drive back to the city center – and walk around in Sultanahmet Square. Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are of course the most obvious attractions here. Sultan Ahmet Mosque is spectacular from the inside with lush red carpet. It has been nicknamed “the blue mosque” because of its magnificent interior decoration of blue Iznik tiles. Continue our visit to Hagia Sophia, which is right next to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, once a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica, then it was turned into a mosque.

After the visit you may enjoy lunch and of course explore the alleys of the Grand Bazaar. The Grand Bazaar’s lively maze of shops has a bustling spirit that is more than any ordinary shopping experience.

Free time – Prepare for dinner

Dinner and overnight in Istanbul

Day 03: Istanbul – Tekirdag – Alexandropoulos – Kavala (460km – 6h30min)

Breakfast and check out of the hotel. Today we’ll drive to Greece, but before arriving in Kavala, it is worth to stop for refreshments and a short visit to Tekirdag. (2hrs)

Visit the city center of Tekirdag with its Ataturk statue. The panoramic sightseeing includes the church of Panagia and a typical Turkish house, nowadays it is Rakozci Museum.

Continue with the journey to Kavala. (4hrs). If you like you may have another stop on the way for sightseeing Alexandropoulos city. Visit its main attractions like the Lighthouse, the Armenian Orthodox Church, Ecclesiastical museum, town harbor and several other churches in town. 

Please note: border crossing procedures – guests should keep ID documents handy.

The time difference between Turkey and Greece: Greece is 1 hour behind Istanbul

Upon arrival, check in at the hotel and prepare for dinner

Dinner and overnight in Kavala

Day 04: Kavala – Thessaloniki (155km – 2hrs)

Today, we’ll check out after breakfast and start the tour of Kavala. Kavala, a city rich in history is situated in a pleasant natural environment. Built over the ruins of the previous Byzantine fortress and surrounded by well-preserved walls, Kavala is considered to be the ‘’access door’’ of Christianity in Western Europe because Apostle Paul, following one vision, landed there to bring ‘’the good news’’. Visit the old fortress, the aqueduct or to see Muhammad Ali’s house.

Free time at your disposal to wander around the city – Lunch in one of the local restaurants in Kavala

After the visit, we’ll continue our drive to Thessaloniki

Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki

Day 05:  Thessaloniki – Kalambaka (235km – 3h30min)

Breakfast at the hotel and start the visit of Thessaloniki, the second largest city of Greece and the most important center of the area.

Built near the sea (at the back of the Thermaïkos Gulf), it is a modern metropolis bearing the marks of its stormy history and its cosmopolitan character, which give it a special beauty and charm. Take a tour in the center of Thessaloniki. The ancient forum (dated to the late 2nd or the early 3rd century AD) with squares, porticoes, additional buildings and odeum (293-395 AD), the palace complex of Galerius Maximianus (4th c. AD), the thermae, the hippodrome, the temples and other monuments and moveable finds (among them mosaics of exquisite art) brought to light in excavations and surveys. In the south square, is the famous Stoa of the Idols, which was two-storied and lavishly decorated.

The hallmark of the city is for sure the White Tower. Most likely it was built during the early Ottoman period, sometime after 1530. It is believed by some that the architect of this defensive fortress was Mimar Sinan, the grand Ottoman architect.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll board the coach and drive to Kalambaka

Dinner and overnight in Kalambaka

Day 06: Kalambaka – Ioannina – Gjirokastra (200km – 4hrs)

Today, after breakfast, we’ll check out of the hotel, and start the visit of Monasteries

METEORA – is actually a religious place with many Byzantine churches and Monasteries. The special characteristic of Meteora is that it looks like hanging rocks and that monasteries are all built on top of rocks, overlooking a beautiful valley.

Free time for shopping

After lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll head to Ioannina (2hrs)

Have a nice walk in the historic center, which extends in the “front” of the city to the lake, starting from the Clock Square (1905), opposite the Town Hall, along the Byzantine city walls, a small

labyrinth of listed buildings, old shopping arcades, inns and old folk houses and small pedestrian streets and proceeding down the main street, where you will find jewelry and shops with folk art and souvenirs, where every little street, every alley is a surprise.

Proceed our driving to Gjirokastra (2hrs)

Please note border procedures. Guests should keep ID documents handy.

Time difference between Greece and Albania: 0/-1

Dinner and overnight in Gjirokastra

Day 07:  Gjirokaster – Butrint – Saranda (95km – 2hrs)

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll check out and start the tour of Gjirokastra, listed under UNESCO Heritage Sites 

Many houses in Gjirokastra have a distinctive local style that has earned the nickname “Stone Town”, because most of the old houses have roofs covered with stones. Of a great importance and interesting to be visit, are the castle and the Ethnographic Museum, known as the Enver Hoxha birth-house.

Visit the old town and bazaar, and enjoy possibility to interact with locals

Traditional lunch in Gjirokastra

Proceed driving to Butrint Archaeological Park (UNESCO Heritage Site) (1h30min)

This impressive walking tour will stir your imagination about the ancient word during the peak of the Roman power and the classical Greek mythology. Under the Byzantine Empire, Butrint became the center of a bishopric in Epirus Vetus. The Forum came to an end in the late 4th century AD, as a result of a devastating earthquake. Nevertheless, large-scale construction projects in the 5th and 6th centuries included the Great Basilica, and the Baptistery, whose stunning mosaic floor survives. Start with the Asclepius temple, theatre, Roman portico and baths, early Christian baptistery, byzantine Basilica, defensive walls and their impressive gates.

Dinner and overnight in Saranda  

Day 08: Saranda – Vlora – Berat (240km – 5h30min) 

Today, after breakfast at the hotel, we’ll have a wonderful drive along Albanian Riviera. With its jumble of rugged mountains fringed by pristine curls of beach, Albania’s south is the most appealing part of the country. Scenic journey, heading on the Ionian Coast of Albanian Riviera, arriving first Porto Palermo Bay with its long history buffs, from the Mediterranean pirates to the stronghold of Ali Pasha, then we’ll continue our drive passing by villages of Himara & Dhermi towards National Park of Llogara, into the high mountain and fascinated views, you’ll find one of Europe’s only unspoiled sections of Mediterranean shore, a near – permanently sunny spot, where the twin blues of sea and sky are ripped asunder by a ribbon of grey mountains. You have possibility for a short stop for tasting local sheep yogurt with honey and walnuts.

Lunch can be organized on the way to Vlora

Proceed driving to Berat (1h30min)

Dinner and overnight in Berat  

Day 09: Berat – Tirana (135km – 2h30min)

This morning we’ll start the walking tour of Berat fortress. The town is known as the “Town of a Thousand Windows”, due to the many large windows of the old decorated houses overlooking the town. The Citadel overlooks the river and the modern city as well as the old Christian quarter across the river. Modern Berat consists of three parts divided by the Ossum River: Goritsa (“little mountain” in Old Slavonic, Mangalem and Kalaja, the latter being a residential quarter within the old Byzantine citadel that overlooks the town. Visit the famous iconographic Onufri Museum, situated within the Cathedral of the Dormition of St. Mary.

After the tour, we’ll proceed to Tirana, with stop en route for lunch

Upon arrival, in Tirana, we shall explore the capital city of Albania, including some of the historical highlights, as city Centre, Skanderbeg Statue, Et’hem Bey Mosque, Clock tower, Italian buildings and Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard. Visit the ex-communist buildings, painted with vibrant colors and the expansion of city. Visit National Historic Museum

Dinner and overnight in Tirana

Day 10: Tirana – Kruja – Budva (205km – 5hrs)

Today, after breakfast at the hotel, we’ll check out, board the coach and depart to Kruja hill town (1hour).

Kruja – is a tourist attraction alongside a panoramic mountainside location. The walking tour of Kruja will take you through the cobble stone pathway of Ottoman bazaar, with wooden shops and displays of various gifts and antique household items. Visit within the walls of the castle will include the historic museum dedicated to Scanderbeg and his resistance against the Ottoman invasion. An old house turned to an ethnographic museum will invite you to a unique cultural aspect of life in northern Albania.

Enjoy free time in the ottoman Bazaar

Continue our drive towards Budva/Montenegro, with stop en route for refreshments

Please note border procedures. Guests should keep ID documents handy.

Upon arrival in Budva, check in at the hotel and prepare for dinner

Dinner and overnight in Budva

Day 11: Budva – Kotor – Dubrovnik (120km – 3hrs)

Check out of the hotel, and drive for 40 minutes to Kotor.

Upon arrival to Kotor, we’ll start the walking tour. UNESCO included this town into the list of the World`s Heritage Sites. Well preserved 4,5 km long wall was protecting  this town of the pirates, nowadays it is a challenge to the visitors who desire to reach its highest point- St. Ivan Fortress. Once you enter the Old town through the Sea Gate, the old Clock Tower will welcome you and tell you that you are right on time to explore the charming streets and squares of this wealthy town.

Passing by the palaces of the noble families, you will feel the spirit of Venetian culture and architecture. Suddenly the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, patron and protector of Kotor, will appear in front of you and amaze you with its simple beauty.

Free time to wander around and to enjoy shopping souvenirs or grab a cup of ice-cream.

Continue driving to Dubrovnik.

Please note the border procedures. Guest are kindly asked to keep their passports handy

Enjoy Dubrovnik in a walking tour of Old Town. Known also as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, Dubrovnik offers a range of attractions. Our walking tour will take you by the old harbor, Franciscan monastery, St. Laurence Fortress, Sponza and Rector’s Palaces, Bell Tower Clock and Orlando’s Column. 

Enjoy lunch in many local dining venues and snack bars within the old quarter and free time in the afternoon along the STRADUM to the Old Port

Dinner and overnight in Dubrovnik

Day 12: Dubrovnik – Cilipi Airport (20km – 30min)

Morning transfer to Cilipi Airport

End of Service

           

12 Days Tour from Istanbul to Dubrovnik

The cultural delights of Istanbul, with Topkapi palace and Hagia Sophia, the religious heritage colors of Thessaloniki, the medieval castles of Albania, the outstanding beauty of the medieval towns of Kotor and Dubrovnik are some of the highlights of this great holiday across some parts of the Balkan Peninsula.

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