Balkans rail vacation

“Travel through seven Balkan countries, and experience the diverse cultures and cuisines of their capitals, on this classic, fast-paced European rail tour.”

Highlights

Discover the Balkans by train | Rich variety of regional cuisine | Ljubljana | Lake Bled | Bled Castle | Zagreb | Plitvice National Park | Sarajevo | Tunnel Museum | Eternal Flame | Mostar | Stari Most | Dubrovnik | Bay of Kotor | Podgorica | Belgrade | Novi Sad | Serbian BBQ | Skopje | See the sunrise from Mt. Vodno | Heraclea | Bitola | Galicica National Park | Ohrid | Saint Naum Monastery | Mavrovo National Park | Pristina |

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Date
Price
Basis
02 May 2020
US $2430
excluding flights
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23 May 2020
US $2480
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 23 May 2020 departure
06 Jun 2020
US $2480
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
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20 Jun 2020
US $2480
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
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05 Sep 2020
US $2480
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 05 Sep 2020 departure
19 Sep 2020
US $2480
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 19 Sep 2020 departure
26 Sep 2020
US $2480
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 26 Sep 2020 departure
03 Oct 2020
US $2480
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 03 Oct 2020 departure
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type
Small group vacations
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

Balkans rail vacation

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

For the vast majority of this trip we will be traveling by public trains, which is great way of seeing the countries we are traveling through and allows us to cover a great amount of distance in just 16 days. One of the rail journeys we will take is famed to be amongst the most beautiful in Europe, as we ride the rails of the Bar to Belgrade line. We will also take one overnight train journey, so this will serve as both our transport and our accommodation. From the railway stations we will transfer to our hotels either on foot or occasional by taxi, so again we are trying to keep the amount of pollution we create to a minimum.

Through all the debate over the relative environmental merits of different forms of transport, it is generally accepted that rail travel is a lower carbon option than flying. Conscious of our impact on the environment, by opting to travel most journeys on public trains we are drastically reducing the reliance on privately chartered road transport within this trip. All travel has impacts, but we are confident this trip keeps those to a minimum. Train travel is also a great way to meet local people and get a more personal experience of travel in their country.

To further reduce the level of pollution within the urban centers, the sightseeing tours we operate are done on foot, which is also a great way of seeing all they have to offer first hand.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our UK Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. CoolEarth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.

Community

On this trip we will explore seven Balkan countries that were formerly part of Yugoslavia, many of which still aren’t a regular stop on the normal tourist trail. We will stay in locally owned small hotels and dine in local restaurants in each of the towns and cities we visit, as well as buying drinks and snacks for our train journeys in local shops and markets. We’re therefore helping to bring economic benefits to many different small businesses in these lesser visited areas, and you are getting to try the great variety of delicious food and drink that they have to offer.

We use a Macedonian Tour Leader and local guides on this trip who know the countries visited well and who will help to give us a unique insight into the history, customs and culture of this developing region and to allow you to get under the skin of the true Balkans. Our Tour Leaders are trained by us in the importance of responsible tourism with guidance given on how they can make a difference.

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