Grand Tour of Transylvania, Bulgaria & the Balkans

19 days from £1,949 pp.


The Old Bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Visit: The Old Bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia And Herzegovina

About the Tour

Discover the traditions, culture and folklore of the Balkans, plus the legend of Count Dracula and his home, Bran Castle in Transylvania, on this fascinating Grand Explorer coach holiday. This carefully planned itinerary covers the charming towns and cities of Mostar, Sarajevo, Belgrade and Plovdiv. What’s more, you’ll also have the opportunity to see the best of Sofia in Bulgaria, Sinaia and Bucharest in Romania, and the capital of Hungary, Budapest, on our optional guided sightseeing tours. This holiday is part of our GRAND EXPLORER range.

Tour Includes


  • 17 nights hotel with continental breakfast
  • 15 evening meals
  • Overnight ferry crossings from Ancona to Split in two-berth, en suite cabins with breakfast and evening meal
  • Convenient local joining points
  • Travel by Silver Service coach
Dates & Prices

Once you have booked your tour either online, or by telephone ( 01709 787 463 ), you have the flexibility of how you pay off the remainder of your balance. You can:

  • Use our balance payment facility online to make and track your card payments. You can pay as much as you want up until your final due date or pay it all, the choice is yours.
  • Send payments via online banking.
  • Send payments via cheque.
  • Call us and make a card payment, either a small amount or as lump sum until your final due date.

Our contact and online banking payment details will be on your confirmation invoice to remind you of your choices.

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Your Itinerary

    Local departure by coach or Door-to-Door service, then to northern France for an overnight stay.

    Continue to the northern Italy area for an overnight stay.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    Today we make our way across Italy past the cities of Parma and Bologna and onto the port at Ancona. Here we board our overnight ferry for the sailing to Split in Croatia. Our evening meal will be served on board. Please note: your driver will be required to collect your passport in order for you to be checked-in before boarding the ferry. Please ensure you have your passport to hand. It is advisable to pack a small overnight bag for this evening.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    Mostar

    Mostar

    We arrive in Split this morning and disembark the ferry. We commence our journey south crossing the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina and pausing at the city of Mostar situated on the Neretva River. During Turkish occupation a bridge, known as the Stari Most, was built across the river. Only 20 years ago, 90% of the city was destroyed. The Stari Most itself became the symbol of the city when it was totally destroyed during the Croatia-Bosnia conflict in the early 1990’s. Since the end of the war the bridge has been painstakingly rebuilt. There will be free time in Mostar for you to explore the narrow, cobbled streets of the bazaar. Perhaps visit the well-preserved 350-year-old Turkish House furnished for a Bosnian family of some stature, (entrance extra, approximately €2). After free time we continue to the capital, Sarajevo where we stay overnight.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    Sarajevo

    Sarajevo

    Sarajevo is one of the most historically interesting and varied cities in Europe. It has been both an example of historical turbulence and the clash of civilizations, as well as a beacon of hope for peace and tolerance through multi-cultural integration. Today the city has physically recovered from most of the war damage caused by Yugoslav Wars of 1992-1995. It is now a cosmopolitan European capital with a unique Eastern twist. Sarajevo became the only city outside of the European Union to be nominated for the European Capital of culture in 2014. To get the most from your visit, join our included guided sightseeing tour before we head north into Serbia and to Belgrade for a two-night stay.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    Belgrade

    Belgrade

    Belgrade lies on the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. It has a long history dating back to the 4th century BC when the area was first settled by Celtic tribes. Later it became the Roman city of Singidunum and relics of that era can still be seen in the city, particularly the Kalemegdan Fortress. During the Middle Ages the town became a Serbian stronghold until the Ottoman invasion. Then, in 1878, when Serbia received its independence, Belgrade became the capital. Join our included sightseeing tour of Belgrade’s main attractions including the imposing Kalemegdan Fortress, Republic square, Saint Sava Temple and of course Tito’s Memorial. (Entrances not included)

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    Our journey today takes us south through Serbia and over the border into Bulgaria. We continue to the capital city of Sofia where we stay for the next two nights.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    Sofia

    Sofia

    Today is free for you to relax and explore this wonderful capital city at your own pace. Alternatively, why not join our optional guided sightseeing tour to introduce you to the main sights. Accompany our local English-speaking Guide on an informative sightseeing tour of this fantastic capital city. We start by coach passing the Levski Monument, which commemorates the hanging of the Bulgarian national hero and major revolutionary figure, Vasil Levski. We then leave the coach and continue on foot along the ‘Yellow Brick Road’. We pass the Monument to the Tsar Liberator, an equestrian monument erected in honour of the Russian Emperor Alexander II who liberated Bulgaria of Ottoman Rule. We continue past the Russian Church, a magnificent example of a Byzantine style Cathedral surrounded by picturesque gardens and then onto the Presidency Building, home to the Bulgarian Presidents official chambers. Sofia is the largest city in the country and is a dynamic Eastern European capital. It is distinguished by its unique combination of European and Communist style architecture and is also home to many beautiful orthodox churches. In the administrative centre of Sofia, the streets are yellow. The pavement was laid at the beginning of the 20th century and was a present to the Bulgarian Tsar Ferdinand for his wedding from the Austrian-Hungarian Royal family.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    Plovdiv

    Plovdiv

    This morning we leave Sofia after breakfast and head east to Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city. Located on the banks of the Maritsa River Plovdiv is one of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, incorporating into its history a Neolithic settlement, a Thracian hub and a Roman cultural and economic centre. Nearly all of the historical attractions are situated in and around the Old Town, a tree lined maze of cobblestone streets, shops, museums and Roman ruins. The city’s main draw however is the impressive amphitheatre. Discovered by chance after a mudslide in the 1970s and restored by the Bulgarian Conservation School. The theatre dates from A.D 98, and now stands on a hill overlooking the city, set against the green backdrop of the Rodopi Mountains. We continue our journey, which takes us north through the beautiful Stara Planina Mountain scenery and continue to our overnight hotel in Veliko Tarnovo.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    Veliko-Tarnovo

    Veliko-Tarnovo

    We spend the morning at leisure in the former Bulgarian capital of Veliko Tarnovo. Located in the heart of Bulgaria, the town clings to a hill high above the Yantra River on the edge of the Stara Planina mountain range. This was Bulgaria’s capital during the Middle Ages and the city retains many of its medieval features. To make the most of your visit, why not join our optional sightseeing tour with local English speaking guide? The old part of the city is situated on three hills Tsarevets, Trapezitsa and Sveta Gora. Although the town is fairly large, walking is the best way to see Veliko Turnovo, as the main attractions are within easy reach. Later, we travel the short distance to Arbanassi, once a favourite summer residence of the Bulgarian kings and home to the Church of the Nativity, built in 1637. Arbanassi is located on a high plateau, sandwiched between the larger towns of Veliko Tarnovo and Gorna Oryahovitsa. After free time we continue across the Danube, which forms the border with Romania, and onto Bucharest for a two-night stay.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    Bucharest

    Bucharest

    The Romanian capital has a long and turbulent history, but in recent years has transformed itself to former glories. Once known as ‘Little Paris’ tranquil parks and gardens sit alongside wide, tree-lined boulevards, which all help to contribute to Bucharest’s beauty. To make the most of your visit, why not join our optional city tour, which will give you an insight into the history of this fine capital. Our local English-speaking guide will take you on a fascinating sightseeing tour by coach. We start by passing the Parliament Palace the world’s second largest building (after the US Pentagon) and certainly Europe’s largest building. Formerly named ‘Casa Poporului’ (People’s House), the Parliament Palace spans 12 stories, 3100 rooms and covers 330,000 sq m. We continue past Piata Universitatii where some of the fiercest fighting during the 1989 Revolution took place. We also see the 27 metre high Triumphal Arch, based on Paris' namesake monument. It was built in 1935 to commemorate the reunification of Romania in 1918. Sites of WWI battles are inscribed inside the arch, while King Ferdinand and Queen Marie feature on its southern façade.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    Sinaia Monastery

    Sinaia Monastery

    We leave Bucharest and head to Sinaia, often referred to as ‘the Pearl of the Carpathians’. It is located in a beautiful mountain region in the foothills of the Bucegi Mountins. Whilst in Sinaia we include a visit to the Monastery and also Peles Castle (entrances included). Peles Castle is considered to be one of the most romantic in the world. After spending time here we continue to the village of Bran and to the ‘spine chilling’ Bran Castle (entrance included). According to legend, this was once the home of Count Dracula. Later we travel to nearby Brasov where we stay for two nights.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    Brasov

    Brasov

    Fringed by the peaks of the southern Carpathian Mountains, Brasov contains some fine examples of gothic, baroque and renaissance architecture. The city is also home to the Rope Street, possibly the narrowest street in Europe. The Rope Street (Strada Sforii) is approximately four feet wide and links Cerbului Street with Poarta Schei Street. We start the morning with an included orientation tour of Brasov Old Town. See the famous Black Church, (Biserica Neagra), the largest gothic church in Romania. Its name derives from damage caused by the Great Fire of 1689, when flames and smoke blackened its walls. The interior is impressive and well-kept and houses one of the largest organs in Eastern Europe. This afternoon is spent at leisure allowing you to explore the Old Town Square (Piata Sfatului) where you can admire the colourfully painted and ornately trimmed baroque architecture.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    Sighisoara

    Sighisoara

    We visit the pretty medieval town of Sighisoara, a tranquil village nestled within stone city walls. Meander around the cobblestone streets and admire the ancient houses and churches. Behind the charming exterior however, Sighisoara holds a dark secret. According to legend, it was the birthplace of the notorious Vlad the Impaler (Dracula). Later we continue by way of Tirgu Mures to Cluj Napoca, the historic capital of Transylvania for an overnight stay.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    We leave our hotel after breakfast and commence our journey west, crossing the border into Hungary. We continue to the capital, Budapest for a two-night stay.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    St. Stephen’S Basilica

    St. Stephen’S Basilica

    Today you will have the full day to discover the Hungarian capital of Budapest. The city is composed of two historically independent communities, Buda and Pest, separated by the majestic River Danube. Our optional guided sightseeing tour will introduce you to the city’s array of spectacular sights. This afternoon why not take to the water for an optional cruise on the famous Danube River with lunch included. The Danube is the second longest river in Europe after the Volga, which flows through central Russia. Classified as an international waterway, the Danube originates in the town of Donaueschingen in the Black Forest of Germany. It then flows southeast for almost 3,000 km passing through four Central European capitals before emptying into the Black Sea. Our cruise, during which a commentary will be provided, will take you along the majestic Danube River allowing you to take in the spectacular views of Budapest. A sumptuous lunch of traditional Hungarian dishes is provided, alongside a complimentary drink from the bar. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to explore the city on your own, maybe take a stroll by the river or visit the tempting stores of the Vaci Utca street, ensuring that your time in this wonderful city is certainly something to remember.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    Vienna

    Vienna

    We leave Budapest today and head towards Austria and the Imperial City of Vienna, which is without question, one of Europe’s great cities. After a brief visit we continue to the Salzburg / Vocklabruck area for an overnight stay.

    • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    We have an early start this morning as we continue our journey north through the heart of the German countryside and into Belgium and our overnight hotel.

    • Included meals: Breakfast

    Return home.

    • Included meals: Breakfast

    Your Excursions

    Included Excursions & Visits

    • Mostar - See Stari Most bridge
    • Sarajevo & Sightseeing - Witness the rebirth of a city
    • Belgrade & Sightseeing - See Tito’s Memorial
    • Plovdiv - Charming old town and Roman amphitheatre
    • Veliko Turnovo & Arbanassi - Former Bulgarian capital
    • Sofia - Bulgaria’s fine capital
    • Bucharest - Romanian capital
    • Sinaia Monastery - Charming scenery
    • Bran Castle - Home to Dracula
    • Brasov & Sightseeing - Picturesque heart of Transylvania
    • Sighisoara - Birthplace of Vlad The Impaler
    • Budapest - Grand imperial capital
    • Vienna - Stylish architecture

    Optional Excursions & Visits

    • Guided Sightseeing Tours in Sofia, Bucharest & Budapest - See the best of these great cities

    Notes


    Single Room Supplement from £399.00 (19 days).

    Certain excursions are included in the price of your holiday. If you choose not to go on an included excursion, for whatever reason, no refunds will be made.
    Yes, you will receive one with your Travel Documents, which are sent 7-10 days before departure.
    We believe that our holidays may not be suitable for children under 8 years old (except for Disneyland Paris bookings) however, we will consider individual requests on application. Customers aged 18 and under at the time of travel must be accompanied by an adult, parent or guardian aged over 18 years old.
    You can check weather averages at here.

    Accommodation

    Throughout the tour, you will stay in minimum 3-star hotels. All hotels will have a restaurant and bar and all bedrooms have en suite facilities and modern amenities.

    On your overnight ferry sailing, accommodation will be in two-berth en suite cabins.

    Romania

    Ibis Bucuresti Palatul Parlamentului

    Ibis Bucuresti Palatul Parlamentului

    Bulgaria

    Yantra Grand Hote

    Yantra Grand Hotel

    Bulgaria

    Ramada Sofia (Formerly The Princess Hotel)

    Ramada Sofia

    Ibis Bucuresti Palatul Parlamentului


    • English Speaking Staff
    • Guest Lounge
    • Bar
    • Restaurant
    • Lift
    • TV
    • Hairdryer
    • Bath and/or Shower
    • Telephone

    Yantra Grand Hotel


    • Swimming Pool
    • English Speaking Staff
    • Guest Lounge
    • Restaurant
    • Lift
    • TV
    • Hairdryer
    • Bath and/or Shower
    • Telephone

    Ramada Sofia


    • Swimming Pool
    • English Speaking Staff
    • Bureau de Change
    • Guest Lounge
    • Bar
    • Restaurant
    • Lift
    • Hairdryer
    • Bath and/or Shower
    • Telephone

    Serbia

    Queen's Astoria Design Hotel

    Queen's Astoria Design Hotel

    Ramada Sofia


    • Swimming Pool
    • English Speaking Staff
    • Bureau de Change
    • Guest Lounge
    • Bar
    • Restaurant
    • Lift
    • Hairdryer
    • Bath and/or Shower
    • Telephone

    Queen's Astoria Design Hotel


    • English Speaking Staff
    • Bureau de Change
    • Guest Lounge
    • Bar
    • Restaurant
    • Lift
    • TV
    • Tea and Coffee Making Facilities
    • Hairdryer
    • Bath and/or Shower
    • Telephone

    If you prefer, then you can join the tour at the hotel. To do this, we will require a copy of your passport for identification purposes and you must advise us at the time of booking.

    No reduction will be given if you should choose to do this.

    All hotel rooms benefit from private bathroom facilities.
    Some hotels have tea and coffee making facilities. Please check the tour pages for more information or call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333.
    Most hotels have a lift, please call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333 for more information.
    Some hotels have ground floor rooms. Please email for information on individual hotels or call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333.
    Your hotels will supply towels in your room.

    We are unable to guarantee that the hotel will be able to meet your dietary requirements. We find that the majority of European countries do not generally cater for vegetarians and that the meal supplied may well be what everyone else is having minus the meat.

    We will of course endeavour to arrange for a vegetarian meal at the hotel. We do however suggest that you advise us of your dietary requests at the time of booking and recommend that you speak to the receptionist on arrival with regard to your request.

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    Travel Information

    Departure times given for each region are approximate. Please check your travel documents to confirm the actual timings.

    Front row seats can be reserved for £14pp (up to 6 days' duration), £22pp (7 & 8 days' duration) and £25pp (9 days' duration and over) on all European tours. This offer is only available for bookings of two or four persons on the front row and is subject to availability. In addition to this, seats on the second row can be reserved for £7pp (up to 6 days duration), £14pp (7 & 8 days duration) and £17pp (9 days duration and over). Guaranteed front/second row seats cannot be reserved on transfer journeys to/from the interchange. Children under 15 years cannot occupy a front row seat due to French Law. Central view seats are free.

    Please note: On some coaches the legroom on front seats may be slightly less than that available on other seats due to the presence of a modesty board in front.

    If your tour is cancelled for any reason and front/second row seats are not available on your new tour, you will be refunded the supplement. No other compensation will be payable.

    Alternatively, we can take seating requests on your booking. However, requests are not guaranteed. All seat numbers are confirmed on travel documents approximately 7-10 days prior to departure.

    We guarantee that all passengers on the same booking will be seated together on the main tour coach. Seats on the transfer coaches to and from the interchange are not allocated.
    Hot and cold drinks are served on your main tour coach. Prices are approximately £1 or €1.25 Euro per drink. Prices will be confirmed by your driver.

    Transfer coaches are routed approximately 2-3 weeks before departure. The route taken depends on where paassengers are booked to travel from on any particular date as to which route is taken. If you require further detailed information regarding the route to the port you can contact our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333 two weeks before you are due to travel.

    With regard to the route taken by the main tour coach, this is determined by the driver.

    All main tour coaches have on-board toilets. Transfer vehicles to and from the interchange may not have on-board toilets. When non-British coaches are used on transfers and tours (air holidays only) an on-board toilet may not be available. However, comfort stops will be made during long journeys.
    All coaches feature air-conditioning. Should the air-conditioning system break down for a period exceeding 12 hours, compensation will be awarded up to a maximum of £10 per fare-paying passenger per tour.
    All our coaches and transfer vehicles operate a 'no smoking on board policy'. The use of electronic cigarettes is strictly forbidden.
    In the interest of fellow guests, do not take hot food or ice cream on board.
    alcohol can only be taken on board our vehicles at the discretion of your driver.
    Depending on the location of your pickup point, you may be picked up by coach (not necessarily the on you are touring on), minibus, taxi, National Express or Megabus service. You may then be taken to another centralised pickup location or service station. We operate a passenger interchange at Stop 24 Services, where you will meet the tour coach you are holidaying on and then continue on with your outbound journey. Similarly, on the way home, you may also change transfer vehicles at another location, to take you to your final drop off point.
    Your allowance is one medium sized suitcase per person, which should weigh no more than 20kg when full. We may refuse to carry larger or heavier cases. Hand luggage should be stored in the overhead racks aboard the coach. Nothing should be stored under your seat.

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    01709 787 463