See the sights and soak up the excitement of eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Grand standing capitals and quaint seaside villages, hidden mountain hamlets and a city set on water – eastern Europe covers a pretty impressive gauntlet of visitor attractions. Discover the mainstay allures of this entrancing region, plus a whole host of its lesser-known aspects, making your way down from Hungary through the Balkans and east over to Italy. Encounter the up-and-up vibe of once war-ravaged Sarajevo, fall in love with gorgeous Dubrovnik, kick into adventure mode in Ljubljana and feast until your belly's content in gastronomy-obsessed Italy.

Budapest, Hungary
Rome, Italy
Bosnia & Herzegovina,
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


  • Learn about the dark history and rebuilding of Bosnia and Herzegovina on a walking tour of Sarajevo, then visit Mostar’s famous Old Bridge and witness a traditional bridge jumper hurl themselves into the icy waters below
  • Immerse yourself in the edgy street scene of Belgrade's Bohemian Quarter, then dance the night away in one of Europe’s nightlife hotspots
  • Split is a haven of relaxation and culture. Unwind with a walk along the waterfront promenade and admire the impressive ruins of Diocletian's Palace
  • Croatia's amazing array of food specialities mix multiple European influences, and Zagreb harnesses the best of them. Feast on Mediterranean fresh seafood, Italian-influenced antipasti and the crunchy, doughy dessert of fritule
  • The floating city of Venice is one place you’ll be happy to get lost in. The city's maze of alleyways, canals and lagoon islands lead to over 130 churches, all with their own distinct character
  • Walk along Cinque Terre's rocky coastal pathways, calling into the sleepy pastel villages of Manarola, Riomaggiore and Vernazza


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 22 October 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Szia! Welcome to Hungary. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with the hotel reception about where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. In the evening after the welcome meeting perhaps head out with your new travel buddies and your leader for dinner, then take a night walk along the Danube River to see the surrounding buildings and bridges lit up in lights. Not to be missed are Budapest's funky 'ruin pubs'.

On day 2 you have a full free day to explore Budapest. Known as 'The Pearl of the Danube', Budapest is a great city to enjoy from the water. Perhaps take a boat trip along the river or catch a funicular up to the castle for spectacular views of the Parliament Building. Alternatively head to Statue Park to see the communist monuments that were removed from the city after the fall of the Iron Curtain. One unmissable activity is a soak in Budapest's hot thermal baths. The pools vary in temperature, and some even feature whirlpools or seats where you can enjoy a game of chess. You also might like to take part in one of our Urban Adventure day tours, such as the Budapest Custom Tour or Bites and Sights. Check them out at In the evening, board an overnight train to Belgrade.
This morning arrive into Belgrade after your overnight train journey. Known as the' White City', Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe and is an important intersection between the Eastern and Western part of the continent. Your leader will take you on a short orientation walk to give you some familiarity with the area and local amenities. After the walk, you'll have almost two full days of free time to explore the city. Perhaps take a stroll through the Nikola Tesla Museum to learn about the life and work of Serbia's greatest inventor, or check out the city's Ethnographic or Military Museums. If the weather is warm, why not brave the crowds on Ada Ciganlija beach, where you can swim, take part in water-sports or simply soak up the sun with a cocktail right on the banks of the Danube?

You might like to take a 90-minute cruise along the Danube River, passing the Kalemegdan Fortress, Pancevo Bridge and the artist village of Zemun. The markets near the Hram Svetog Save (St Sava Church) and Pijaca Venac will keep you occupied for hours. Throughout the summer months, Belgrade hosts a variety of musical and cultural events and the city is abuzz with people and activities. In the evening, head down to Skadarska Street in the Bohemian Quarter to sample some authentic local food and enjoy the lively entertainment.
Travel by bus through beautiful countryside to Sarajevo. The journey will take around eight hours in total, so sit back and enjoy the stunning scenery. Sarajevo is Bosnia and Herzegovina's small but vibrant capital, and is increasingly regarded as one of Europe's most beautiful capital cities. On arrival, embark on an orientation walk to gain insight into the history and culture of this enchanting city.

Sarajevo was significantly damaged during the Bosnian War, and has undergone extensive reconstruction in recent years. In your free time today, uncover this history with a visit to the Sarajevo War Tunnels and along Sniper Alley, or learn about the tragedies faced by the city's Jews at the Jewish Museum. In the evening, perhaps enjoy a simple but delicious meal in Bascarsija, Sarajevo's old bazaar. It was badly damaged during the war, but has since been restored to its former glory, and the traditional copper smiths have moved back in. Try the local specialty of bosanski cevapi (grilled minced meat mixed with mild spices).
Continue by train (two hours and 40 minutes) to Mostar. Mostar was one of the most heavily bombed cities in Bosnia during the war. The old town has since been rebuilt, however, and now features on UNESCO's World Heritage list. On arrival, perhaps head to the famous Stari Most bridge to witness brave members of the Mostar diving club dive into the waters below. We advise against having a go yourself, as the bridge is high and the water is freezing. You might like to follow local custom and hand the divers a few Marks. Alternatively, there's an interesting museum about the history of the city's most famous landmark next to the bridge itself.
Today take a six-hour bus ride to Montenegro. Head to Europe's most southerly fjord, Boka Kotorska (Bay of Kotor), before arriving into Kotor town. This World Heritage-listed city is set in a secluded part of the bay. Head out on a short orientation walk, checking out the ancient Cathedral of St Tryphun. The tour will also take you past the South Gates of Kotor (the Gurdich Gate) and the Armoury Square. Afterwards, you might like to climb the hills behind the city to visit Kotor's ruined fortification walls. A one-and-a-half hour hike to the fortress at the top rewards you with magnificent views across town and brooding Kotor Bay.
Depart Montenegro on a three-hour bus ride along the beautiful southern coast of Croatia to Dubrovnik. Take a walk along the city walls of Game of Thrones' fame, enjoying views of the sparkling Adriatic Sea. Visit Big Onofrio's Fountain, built by architect Onofrio della Cava in the 15th century to supply water to the city. Perhaps check out the Franciscan monastery, home to one of the world's oldest continuously-functioning pharmacies, founded in the 13th century. The Sponza and Rector's Palaces were the only Renaissance buildings in the city to survive a devastating earthquake and fire in 1667. You might prefer to check out the city's War Photography Museum, or even take a boat trip to nearby Lokrum Island. Tonight perhaps enjoy a meal with the group.

Notes: As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting on day 10 to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Take a public bus for about three hours up the coast to Split. Situated on a small peninsula on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, it's the second largest city in Croatia. Split grew out from Diocletian's Palace and you can almost see it evolving in a multitude of different ways. Some cultures might have made the palace a museum, but the city of Split has always been a dynamic and vibrant place, and the palace houses many businesses and homes. Interact with the locals of Split at Marmontova fish market or the markets just outside of the palace walls.

On Day 13, take a daytrip out to the island of Brac and visit the town of Supetar. Spend a day exploring this island or simply take it easy, lie on famous Zlatni Rat beach and enjoy the sun with a drink in your hand.
Travel by bus to Plitvice Lakes National Park and continue later in the day to Zagreb (approximately five hours of driving in total). Plitvice Lakes National Park is a forested area of waterfalls and blue lakes, which is fed by the Bijela and Crna (White and Black) Rivers. Walk around the upper and lower lakes, exploring grottoes, pine tree forests and search for an abundance of wildlife. A series of wooden walkways pass over the landscape, ensuring that there's as little impact on the park as possible. Look to the canopy for over 120 species of birds, including hawks and owls.

Leave Plitvice Lakes National Park behind and head to Zagreb, where you'll go on an orientation walk on arrival. Your leader will point out local amenities and attractions you might want to visit along the way, so ask any questions you might have about the city during the walk. Day 15 is a free day in Zagreb, so check out both the upper town and the lower town to understand the city's culture. The tallest building in town is the gothic Zagreb Cathedral, with iconic twin spires that can be seen from virtually everywhere in the city. Ban Jelacic Square is the city's central point, which is surrounded by multiple structures that reflect different periods of Zagreb's past. One of the more unusual places you could visit is the Museum of Broken Relationships, which documents the history of failed relationships and unrequited love.
Travel by train for around two and a half hours to Ljubljana (pronounced 'Lyub-Li-Yana'), the cosmopolitan capital of Slovenia. On arrival into Ljubljana, check in to your accommodation and then head out to get to know the city. Located in the centre of Slovenia, Ljubljana is a city full of style and sophistication, history, monuments, churches, museums and great restaurants. In your free time you can visit Ljubljana Castle, the Town Hall, Cathedral of St. Nicholas, Dragon Bridge or the open market under the arcade.

There may be time on Day 17 to take an optional day trip to Bled. With a stunning lake, a castle, a picturesque island church and plenty of outdoor activities, Bled is a great place to explore. There's also plenty of action for adrenaline junkies, from cycling, hiking and skiing, to canyoning, caving and boating.
This morning travel by bus to one of the world's most unique cities - Venice (approximately 3.5 hours). A grand city of canals, Venice is built over a hundred small islands connected by 400 bridges. Still rich with artistic masterpieces, modern Venice combines history with contemporary life through food, performance, art and architecture. The best way to enjoy your free time and explore is by foot, taking in all the famous sights - the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge, Doge's Palace (the ruler of Venice), the Piazza San Marco with its golden Basilica, and of course, the evocative Bridge of Sighs. Wander the cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas, crossing hundreds of tiny bridges.

There are shops, markets, galleries and churches around every corner. Don't miss taking a gondola trip through the romantic canals or sampling a slice of region's desert speciality, tiramisu (coffee-soaked sponge cake).

Notes: As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting on day 19 to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
This morning after breakfast, spend the day travelling to La Spezia, the gateway to the Cinque Terre by train. The journey usually takes around six to seven hours via Milan, and is a very scenic trip through the north of Italy. On arrival at your base in La Spezia, and after checking in to your hotel perhaps get your bearings of the area with a short walk or head out for dinner with the group.

On day 22, venture out on the footpaths of the Cinque Terre (Five Lands), a region of Italy famed for its coastline and pastel villages. The footpaths that run between the villages were once the only way to travel in the region, and take you through olive groves, vineyards and to idyllic vistas. Walking the entire network of paths can take from five hours (12 km in total) and will need a good level of fitness. Some sections of path can be difficult, as there are challenging uphill stretches, narrow paths, steep cliffs and foot bridges. Please remember to bring comfortable footwear such as trainers or light hiking shoes. It's also possible to take the train between any of the villages or back to the group's base whenever you want. After working up an appetite, take advantage of the foods of the Liguria region with a pesto class. Focaccia is also a specialty in this area and makes a great start to lunch. In the late afternoon, the rest of your day is free.

Notes: Due to recent landslides in the area it is currently not possible to walk the Via dell'Amore and the coastal section between Manarola and Corniglia. There are alternative inland routes, however these are of a higher physical rating and involve steep ups and downs. It is possible to take the train or a bus for these sections. Due to safety reasons some sections of any path can be closed at short notice.
Board a train today and head to Florence, which should take around three and half hours. On arrival, check into the hotel and go for a brief walk around the immediate area to get your bearings. Food is a major part of the city's identity, so use your evening wisely and maybe head out for dinner with the group. Regional specialities are noted for their simplicity and fine flavour, and the use of high-quality olive oil, cannellini beans and fresh herbs. Meat lovers should try the bistecca alla fiorentina, a huge T-bone steak that's usually shared between two people, or ribollita - a thick delicious vegetable soup with bread, beans and greens.

After breakfast on day 24, head out into the centre of Florence. Perhaps visit the Uffizi, one of the world's oldest art galleries, or see Michelangelo's famous statue of David in the Galleria dell'Accademia. Walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo, which is set on a hill on the south bank of the Arno River affording great views of the old city centre. There are plenty of sights to see during your free time in Florence.

Notes: Florentine State Museums (Uffizi, Accademia, Pitti Palace, Medici Chapels, Bargello, Archaeological Museum, Davanzati) can all be booked in advance. Reserve tickets by phone on (+39) 055 294883 or book online at We suggest that you book in advance (your leader can be of assistance), especially for the Uffizi as this museum experiences enormous queues (up to 5 hours) all year round. The individual museums have slightly different opening times and closing days between them but the website - - has everything you need to know about all of them. Make your reservations for these museums for any time on Day 24 of this itinerary.
In the morning take the train to Rome, which should take around one and a half hours. Join your leader on an orientation walk around the city, where you see some of the iconic sights such as the Colosseum and Arch of Constantine, the Forum (centre of ancient Rome), the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Via Dei Condotti and Piazza Venezia. No visit would be complete without a trip to Vatican City and St Peter's Basilica. Entry to the Basilica is free and there's a small charge to climb the dome for a panorama over the city. Use your free time to also visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museum is closed on some days, including most Sundays. On the last Sunday of the month, it's open and free (but expect large crowds).

For meals, Rome is packed full of restaurants and trattorias that cater to every taste and budget. Local specialities tend to be quite heavy, and include pastas such as carbonara (egg, cheese and bacon) and amatriciana (tomato, bacon and chilli). Eating in trattorias will give you a chance to sample some Italian wines, with house choices usually very good and affordable. Head out in the evening with the group for a final farewell dinner.

Your 'Budapest to Rome' adventure comes to an end in the morning of day 26. There are no activities planned and you're free to leave the accommodation at any time. It's worth booking an extra few days of accommodation in Rome, so you're able to see as much as possible while you're here. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team can help (subject to availability).

Notes: Check the Vatican website ( for up-to-date information on when you can visit. Tickets for the Vatican Museum can be booked online at:, and tickets for Galleria Borghese can be booked online at:
View trip notes to read full itinerary


6 breakfasts
Train, Public bus, Overnight sleeper train, Ferry, Metro, Private vehicle, Taxi
Hotel (8 nights), Hostel (6 nights), Guesthouse (4 nights), Pension (6 nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Included activities
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park - Entrance


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