“Discover the Balkans on a two-week round-trip from Sarajevo that incorporates Belgrade, Kotor, Dubrovnik and two of the region's most impressive national parks.”
Bridges and architecture in Sarajevo | Lukomir mountain village | St Sava's Cathedral in Belgrade | Zlatibor | Biogradska Gora National Park | Durmitor National Park | Ostrog Monastery | National Museum in Kotor | Dubrovnik | Mostar | Pocitelj | Blagaj | Cetinje | river boat cruise on the Danube |
Please feel free to email the Help Desk team if you need any advice on your vacation plans. We're always happy to help!
The Balkan countries are home to some of Europe’s most impressive landscapes, with huge areas of mountains, lakes and forests that provide a home to the continent’s rarest and most elusive wildlife. In parks such as Biogradska Gora and Durmitor we spend time exploring both by vehicle and on foot, ensuring that we stick only to the paths and tracks and avoid harming the often vulnerable flora and fauna here. The entrance fees that we include as part of the tour help to fund conservation work and assist in ensuring that these environments are maintained.
In a number of the destinations that we offer, tourism is not particularly well established, let alone the idea of responsible tourism, and in these we find it particularly important to work with our local teams and suppliers in order to raise the issue of sustainable travel and ensure that it is placed on the agenda and becomes a better known concept. The Balkan countries are in some ways still catching up with much of Europe when it comes to tourism practices, one of the legacies of the Balkan wars being that infrastructure was destroyed and visitors stayed away from the region for many years. To ensure that our groups have minimal impact upon the environment we work with our local team to ensure that all guides and drivers receive extensive training on sustainability policies. We also try to work with hotels and accommodation providers that act in an environmentally responsible way and offer guidelines on how they can best achieve this.
As part of the pre-departure information which all travelers receive, we include an extensive section on how to travel responsibly. In our UK office we recycle extensively, from paper and envelopes to ink cartridges, plastic bottles and food packaging, with dedicated recycling bins. We minimise our use of electricity by turning off appliances and using energy efficient lightbulbs, and our toilets use reduced water cisterns to minimise our use of water.
We only ever use local tour leaders and guides on our trips; not only does this mean that travelers get local insights that they might not get from a westerner, but it means that the communities we travel through benefit directly from the presence of tourism.
We try to encourage our travelers to spread their spending among local businesses, and for that reason we exclude most meals to give people the opportunity to eat in local restaurants, avoiding spending everything in the hotel and bypassing local businesses.
In all of our pre-departure notes we include extensive information about how to travel sensitively and travelers are given guidelines on local culture and customs.
Many of the sites that we visit are fragile – often the churches and monasteries are decorated with intricate, and rather old, frescoes which are easily damaged. We ensure that our travelers do not contribute to their deterioration, which also includes appropriate guidelines on flash photography. Historic monuments in this part pf the world do not always receive a great deal of government funding for maintenance, and the entrance fees that tourists pay play a vital role in ensuring that these magnificent sites are there not just for tourists but also for local people, for whom they are more than just an interesting sight but hold great significance.