The Balkan Express
*This experience runs on selected Sundays starting 12 May till 15 September, 2019 – (Prices may vary according to departure dates)
*Accommodation might vary between hotels and hostels (Check below for further info)
15 days touring the Balkans and seeing another side of Europe
Visiting 6 countries: Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia
Day 1: Budapest, Hungary
Meet your Trip Leader and prepare for two days of getting down and Danube (that being the river) with twin cities Buda and Pest! We’ll check out Hero’s Square, Parliament House, the National Palace, Fisherman’s Bastion and the swanky Andrássy Avenue before meeting the major food groups: goulash, cabbage rolls and dumplings. Yum.
-Driving tour of Budapest
Day 2: Budapest
A free day to take on a city with enough baroque, neoclassical and art nouveau architecture to keep you entertained for hours. Tonight, hang with the hipsters and drink local fruit brandy at one of the original ruin bars. Wanna go one step further? An optional dinner cruise on the Danube has your name on it.
-Dinner cruise on the Danube River
Day 3: Budapest to Belgrade, Serbia
Next up: Belgrade. Prepare for another slice of Eastern Europe’s unique mix of glasnost and capitalism! Serbia’s religious and political past has cultivated a diverse cultural landscape throughout the city. After you’ve soaked up the sights on a driving tour, make like a local and sip some traditional plum brandy. You’ll fit right in.
-Driving tour of Belgrade
Day 4: Belgrade
Say hello to freedom – it’s your day, your way! Check out the wartime tunnels or jump on a guided tour to find out more about life in Tito’s Yugoslavia. Whatever you do, make the most of Belgrade while you can – tomorrow we’ll be hitting the road again.
Day 5: Belgrade to Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina via Srebrenica
Beat the crowds in up-and-coming Sarajevo – a city that’s shaking off its tragic past (Sarajevo was torn apart by war in the 90s). But first: honour the victims of the 1995 genocide at the haunting Srebrenica Genocide Memorial, a sobering reminder of the greatest atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.
-Walking tour of Sarajevo
-Visit the Srebrenica Memorial
Day 6: Sarajevo
You’ve got a free day to explore one of Europe’s most underrated cities. Spend some time playing ‘I spy’ with the city’s mosques, synagogues and churches – or, if you fancy, there’s also an optional guided tour of the Sarajevo Tunnel on the cards.
-Tunnel tour in Sarajevo
Day 7: Sarajevo to Dubrovnik, Croatia via Mostar
We make the most of Mostar before heading for the most famous walled city in Europe: Dubrovnik. Wander the city’s tiny cobblestoned streets and explore hidden cafés and shops before grabbing some dinner and checking out the glitzy nightlife.
-Local guide in Dubrovnik
Day 8: Dubrovnik
Free day in Dubrovnik for the win! Check out the residential homes further up in the Old Town and take in some epic views. Later, crack open a cold beer on the wall and watch as the sun sets over the Adriatic. This is the good life.
-Sea kayaking around the ancient City Walls of Dubrovnik
-Game of Thrones tour
Day 9: Dubrovnik to Budva, Montenegro
Hands up who needs more beach in their life? Well, you’re on the right trip! Today we’re hitting the road to Budva – the ‘Miami of Montenegro’. Whether you choose to laze on the sand and roll into bed or hit the clubs and party till dawn, you can’t lose!
Day 10: Budva
Part beach paradise, part walled medieval wonder-city, Budva’s got plenty to keep you occupied. After breakfast, the city is your oyster. And… go!
Day 11: Budva to Zadar, Croatia
Today we’ll listen to the ocean play an instrument in Zadar. Yep, you read that right. The Sea Organ is a quirky art installation nested within the city’s eclectic mix of Roman ruins and public art. More cool facts await you on an orientation tour with your brainy Trip Leader.
Day 12: Zadar to Plitvice Lakes
Next up: bliss and waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park.
-Wine tasting in Nadin
Day 13: Plitvice Lakes
Today is brought to you by Mother Nature! Made up of 16 lakes connected by streams and waterfalls and surrounded by 300 square kilometres of national park, Plitvice Lakes didn’t make it onto the UNESCO World Heritage list for nothing. Hike up to see the tallest waterfall in Croatia or glide across the crystal blue lakes in a rowboat. Mindfulness just got a whole new meaning.
-Entry to Plitvice Lakes National Park
Day 14: Plitvice Lakes to Ljubljana, Slovenia
Shoot one last longing look at Plitvice Lakes before arriving in Ljubljana (lyoob-lya-nah), the capital of Slovenia. The Ljubljana Castle and Old Town have been waiting for you since Celtic times, so it’d be rude not to check them out. Tonight, hit up the strip for a tea or vino with a side of live music.
-Ljubljana pub crawl
-Food tour of Ljubljana
Day 15: Ljubljana to Budapest, Hungary
Our final destination is Budapest, where this trip wraps up. Go hunt down some tasty goulash, quirky ruin bars and a fiendish Rubik’s cube before heading home. See you next time!
Bosnia & Hersegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia
2 Weeks +
IN DEPTH: CULTURAL & HISTORICAL
- Local guide in Dubrovnik
- Walking tour of Sarajevo
- Driving tour of Budapest
- Visit the Srebrenica Memorial
- Driving tour of Belgrade
- Entry to Plitviče Lakes National Park
- Wine tasting in Nadin
Hostel Plus trips host our most eclectic types of accommodation. While modern hostels make up the majority of your overnighters you could also stay in hotels (free upgrade – yeah!), Austrian Gasthofs, canvas cabins, ferry cabins or bungalows.
The ‘More Inclusions’ section details what type of accommodation will be used for overnight stops on your trip.
The number of people to a room on Hostel Plus trips will vary. For hostels you will have multi-share rooms and usually share with between 3 and 5 others (although in some circumstances you will share with more than 5) while in hotels there will be twin or triple-shares (and the odd quad-room). The number of people sharing in bungalows, canvas cabins, ferry cabins and Austrian Gasthofs can vary.
Please note: When staying on a Hostel Plus trip, multi-share accommodation is single-sex. You will also need to bring your own towels with you as these are not provided by all of our hostels.
Your included meals are detailed in the ‘More Inclusions’ section of this document.
Breakfasts are included every day (except on the first morning). They are usually ‘continental breakfasts’, which are typical in most European countries. A typical breakfast may consist of cereals with milk or yoghurt, bread, croissants, cold meats, cheese and a range of spreads, with fruit juice, tea or coffee to drink. It is rare to get a hot breakfast in continental Europe, though on some occasions there may be some hot food available as well.
Included meals will be a combination of those prepared by on-Site Chefs, local restaurants and places in which we stay. Included evening meals are in local restaurants or accommodations, and are either two or three courses. In most cases table water is provided with the meals, and if you wish to purchase additional drinks you can do so at your own expense.
If you have any dietary requirements we will make every effort to cater to your specific needs as long as you advise your travel agent or Customer Service Consultant when you book. However, please be aware that although we will do everything in our power to arrange it, we cannot guarantee that every restaurant we use will be able to cater to all dietary needs, particularly in Eastern Europe. We also cannot cater for tastes or dislikes, as most of our included evening meals feature a set menu.
- 14 breakfasts, 5 dinners
- 14 nights in hotels (twin or double)
- Smaller group size
- Modern air-conditioned coach with free Wi-Fi
- Guided tours of all major cities
- Awesome Trip Leader and Driver
Meet at 4pm in Budapest
Approximately 4pm in Budapest
On all trips we have arranged extra activities that we think will enhance your travel experience, but you have a choice as to whether or not you will participate. These are not included in the cost of your trip. They are usually organised on a group participation basis and should be taken into consideration when budgeting your spending money.
None of the Optional Activities on your trip are operated by Drifters Guide, nor do they form part of your contract with Drifters Guide for your trip. Drifters Guide arranges the activity as an agent of the local supplier. Should you participate in any Optional Activities your contract will be with the local supplier and their conditions will apply.
Please note: while we make every effort to keep these prices as accurate and up-to-date as possible, they are subject to change and in rare circumstances the actual price may vary slightly to what is published here.
Hungary – Budapest
Danube River dinner cruise: €37
Dubrovnik – Croatia
Sea kayaking around the ancient City Walls of Dubrovnik: 220 HRK
Game of Thrones tour: €15
Ljubljana – Slovenia
Ljubljana pub crawl: €15
Food tour of Ljubljana: €30
One of the best parts of travelling is experiencing the nightlife and entertainment each city has to offer. However, amidst the fun and excitement, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and personal safety as well. Before you hit the road with us, it’s important to be aware of the following:
When you’re on a night out, remember to avoid walking alone, particularly through deserted areas like beaches and back streets. Always stick together, take a taxi where possible, and keep a note of your accommodation details so you can find your way back to your fellows if you become separated.
In some countries, alcoholic measures can be considerably larger than what you may be used to. Try to keep track of what you’re drinking, and if you see one of your trip mates looking a little worse for wear, take them back to your accommodation. Be cautious when accepting drinks from strangers and never leave your drink unattended.
It’s also important to be aware that what you might consider harmless flirting may be interpreted differently in some countries. Be yourself and have fun, but don’t be naïve, and be mindful of the signals you are sending out so that you don’t find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.