Balkan Adventure Trip Notes

Travel across historic Eastern Europe from Hungary to Croatia. Visit cultural sights and cities in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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Last Modified: 03 Feb 2013
Balkan Adventure
Trip code: WMSK
Validity: 01 Jan 2011 to 31 Dec 2012
Welcome to the Balkans - where East meets West, and new merges almost seamlessly with old. Over the centuries people have been drawn to this region for its fertile soil, natural resources and healing waters. This enchanting land, which has remained virtually untouched by tourism, holds rich tradition and diverse culture. Embark on a memorable adventure to discover its natural beauty, mouth-watering cuisine, pulsating nightlife and hospitable people.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeFinish point instructions
ThemesYour fellow travellersEmergency contact
MapSingle travellersEmergency funds
ItineraryAccommodationVisas
We also recommendMeals introductionIssues on your trip
Itinerary disclaimerMealsWhat to take
Culture shock rating TransportHealth
Physical ratingGroup leaderSafety
Included activitiesJoining point Travel insurance
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsA couple of rules
Spending moneyArrival complicationsThe Intrepid Foundation
TippingFinish point Carbon offset
Departure taxFinish point descriptionFeedback
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Explorer
Map
Balkan Adventure
Itinerary
Days 1-2 Budapest
Szia! Welcome to Hungary.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the evening of Day 1.
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 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.
Since the collapse of Communism, Budapest has experienced something of a renaissance. The grand architecture and boulevards evoke a time gone by, while glamorous stores and glitzy restaurants make this one of the truly great cities of Europe.
Known as the Pearl of the Danube, Budapest is the perfect city to enjoy from the water. From here, you can see the buildings that line the banks of the Danube River and the bridges linking Buda to Pest. Take one of the tourist boat trips to see the sights or cross the Chain Bridge for a spectacular view of the Parliament Building and the Castle District.
With so much to see and do, hire a bicycle for a great way to move between the city sights.
Head out to Statue Park to see all the communist monuments that were removed from the city streets after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
One unmissable activity is a soak in the hot thermal baths. There are several around the city centre ranging from the sumptuous and elegant to simple outdoor types. There are pools of varying degrees - some with whirlpools, chess boards and seats where you can enjoy it all while recuperating in the therapeutic waters.
Optional Activities
  • Bike ride - HUF5000
  • Great Synagogue - HUF2250
  • Hammer & Sickle Tour - HUF7000
  • House of Terror - HUF2000
  • Hungarian National Museum - HUF1100
  • Hungarian State Opera House Tour - HUF2900
  • Museum of Fine Arts - HUF1200
  • Parliament tour - HUF2520
  • Thermal bath - HUF2500
  • Transport and entry to Statue Park - HUF5000
  • Danube boat trip - EUR12
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 3-4 Osijek
Travel by train through the Hungarian Puszta to the Slavonian capital of Osijek (approx 6 hrs).
Osijek offers an enchanting medieval citadel, as well as the nearby new town, which is only a short walk along the banks of the Drava. Many cafes line the river, inviting you to join the Croatian national pastime: people watching.
Those wishing to learn more about recent history can take an optional journey to nearby Vukovar. The town's ruined water tower now stands as a memorial of the ethnic war that raged in this region during the early 90's.
In free time choose to take a trip to the small provincial town of Dakovo (30km) The town is dominated by an impressive neo-Romanesque cathedral. The Lipizzaner horse's from here are famous, why not visit the Lipizzaner training stables and view a workout session?
Optional Activities
  • Vukovar day trip - HRK110
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Day 5 Novi Sad
Travel by bus into Serbia and the historic town of Novi Sad.
Known as the Serbian Athens, Novi Sad has been built, destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries and is an interesting mixture of old Serbian cultural heritage, Austro-Hungarian architecture and scenic beauty. Sitting on the banks of the Danube River, the city is surrounded by fertile farms and vineyards, framed with hills in the distance.
Visit a local vineyard in Sremski Karlovci, which is a fantastic opportunity to see the workings of a family-run wine making business. Also attached is a unique honey museum where we can sample the produce.
Included Activities
  • Honey Museum
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 6-7 Belgrade
Travel by bus to Belgrade (approx 3 hrs).
Known as the White City, Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe and is still an important intersection of Eastern and Western Europe, as it has been since ancient times.
Take a guided walk to uncover some of the history of this fascinating city.
In the evening, head down to Skadarska Street (Bohemian Quarter) where you'll find inviting restaurants with authentic local food and lively entertainment.
Take a ninety minute cruise along the Kalemegdan Fortress, to Pancevo Bridge and the artists 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, so the city is always full of activities while the cafes overflow with people.
Included Activities
  • Guided tour Belgrade
Optional Activities
  • Military Museum - RSD150
  • National Museum - RSD300
  • Ethnographic Museum - RSD150
  • River cruise - RSD350
Accommodation
Hostel (2 nts)
Days 8-10 Sarajevo/Mostar
Travel by bus through the beautiful countryside to Sarajevo (approx 7 hrs).
More than ten years after the end of a devastating war, Sarajevo is slowly asserting itself as one of Europe's most beautiful destinations.
Meet a local guide for a tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina's small but vibrant capital, to gain an insight into the history and culture of this enchanting city.
Enjoy a simple but delicious meal in Bascarsija where you can find the best bosanski cevapi (grilled minced meat, mixed with some mild spices).
Take a picturesque day trip to Ilidza where you find the source of the River Bosna (Vrelo Bosna), thermal springs and beautiful green parks.
Visit the Tunnel Museum near Ilidza for a behind-the-scenes look at the Yugoslav wars.
Head out to Mostar to see the famous town and bridge that made headline news during the Yugoslav wars. The town has been rebuilt since with many countries contributing funds and is now on Unesco's World Heritage list.
Included Activities
  • Guided tour Sarajevo
  • Cooking class/dinner
  • Mostar day trip
Optional Activities
  • Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina - BAM5
  • Ilidza park and springs - BAM15
  • Jewish Museum - BAM2
  • National Museum - BAM5
  • Tunnel Museum - BAM5
Accommodation
Pension (3 nts)
Day 11 Ostrog Monastery
Drive south by bus to Montenegro and the stunning Ostrog Monastery (approx 7 hrs).
Built into the side of a rocky mountain in the 17th century, Ostrog Monastery has since been a destination for visiting Orthodox Christian pilgrims as well as those seeking a cure for their bodies and soul. Many miracles are believed to have taken place here.
Go on a hike to the Upper Monastery (approx 1 hr), where relics of the founder, St Vasilije, are kept.
Our accommodation for the night is a konak (simple night quarters) close to the Lower Monastery. This is a wonderful opportunity to mingle with other travellers and pilgrims. Men and women stay in separate rooms in the monastery. A more adventurous option is to stay in the konak near the Upper Monastery where you get to sleep on wooden benches (blankets are provided).
Accommodation
Monastery (1 nt)
Days 12-13 Kotor
Travel by bus to Kotor (approx 3 hrs).
Set on a secluded bay, Kotor is listed as a World Heritage site, and its crooked alleyways give lots of opportunities to get lost and mingle with the locals.
After a short orientation walk we can climb the hills behind the city and visit the old rulers' ruined castles.
Take a cruise on the Kotor Fjord - the longest fjord south of Scandinavia - and visit grottos and an island with a church that is almost as big as the island itself!
Consider a day trip to nearby Budva, the Montenegrin Miami, which is just a 30 min bus ride.
Optional Activities
  • Cruise on Kotor Fjord - EUR25
  • Bus ride to Budva return - EUR6
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 14-15 Dubrovnik
Depart Montenegro and travel north by bus to Dubrovnik on the beautiful southern coast of Croatia (approx 3 hrs).
The undisputed jewel of the Dalmatian Coast, Dubrovnik is a beautiful white stone town surrounded entirely by city walls. Although it experienced devastation during the war in the early 1990s, the old town - with its tiled roofs and stone buildings - remains as charming as ever. Extensive restoration has taken place to return it to its original splendour, and even today repairs are still being undertaken. With the sparkling water of the Adriatic in the background, Dubrovnik is picturesque, full of character and can easily be covered on foot.
Enjoy views of the ocean from the 2 km-long city walls surrounding the town.
Visit Big Onofrio's Fountain, a masterpiece built by famous European architect Onofrio della Cava. This 15th-century landmark was built to supply water to the city, flowing from the spigots into the collection trough surrounding it.
Be sure to check out the Franciscan monastery with one of the world's oldest, continuously functioning pharmacies, founded in the 13th century.
Don't miss the Sponza and Rectors Palace - the only two buildings from the Renaissance that survived the devastating earthquake and fire of 1667.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Included Activities
  • City walls walk
Optional Activities
  • Beach chair rental - HRK50
  • City sights entrance - HRK10
  • Fish picnic cruise - HRK200
  • Lokrum Island boat trip - HRK40
  • Lopud excursion - HRK60
  • War Photography Museum - HRK30
  • Rector's Palace - HRK35
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
  • WMSK Single supplement (WMSK)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Albanian Adventure (ZMSO)
  • Budapest to Bled (WMSJC)
  • Explore Eastern Europe (WMSY)
  • Vienna to Athens (AMSZC)
Itinerary disclaimer
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Optional activities
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
BOOKING MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS IN ADVANCE:
To avoid disappointment we have outlined (where applicable) some important information on some of the major museums and attractions in Europe. Some of our groups have experienced long lines of up to four hours to visit some of the major sights, while some sights are so popular they are booked out completely months in advance, making it impossible for you or your leader to arrange a visit while you are on the trip. Please note that many museums and attractions in Europe are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. We recommend you carefully consider which sites and museums you are going to want to visit and that you do some research and make your reservations in advance where possible. If applicable we've given you information in the day-to-day itinerary which outlines which day of the trip is a suitable time to make your reservations, as well as any other information that may help with planning your visit.
Money Exchange
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies.
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied.
You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning.
When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.
Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.
You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change Travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%.
For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.
The local currency in Croatia is the Kuna (HRK).
The local currency in Serbia is the Dinar (RSD).
The local currency in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Convertible Mark (BAM).
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Tipping
If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest EUR1-2 per person per day for local guides.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline EUR3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Group size
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
Single travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
This guarantees a single room with ensuite or shared facilities.
The price of the Single supplement does not include the following nights where single rooms may not be available. If a single room becomes available at check in for these nights, there may be the option to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
-Days 3-4 Osijek
-Days 6-7 Belgrade
-Days 8-10 Sarajevo/Mostar
-Day 11 Ostrog
-Days 14-15 Dubrovnik
Accommodation
Hotel (5 nts), Guesthouse (3 nts), Pension (3 nts), Hostel (2 nts), Monastery (1 nt)
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.
Meals introduction
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
Vegetarians might find the menu selection less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables and salads. Vegans will find it even more challenging. Vegetarians might choose to supplement meals with supplies bought from home, e.g. protein bars, dried fruits and so on.
Meals
5 Breakfasts
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
EUR 375.00
There are some basic breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar.)
Transport
Minibus, Taxi, Train, Tram
Group leader
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Joining point
Star Inn Hotel
Dessewffy utca 36 - 6. Bezirk
Budapest
1066
HUNGARY
Phone: 36 14722021
Fax: 36 14722010
Joining point description
Star Inn Hotel is a new property located in the heart of Budapest, near the famous opera house. With 24 hour reception, a bar and breakfast area, the rooms include private bathrooms, TV, internet access and hairdryer.
Joining point instructions
Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport is located 16km southeast of Budapest.
An arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
By taxi:
Metered taxis are available from arrivals at all terminals and will cost approximately HUF4800-5500.
By train::
Regular trains run between Ferihegy railway station (Budapest Airport Terminal 1) and Budapest Nyugati (West) Railway Station. To transfer to Terminal one from Terminal 2A or 2B take the number 200E bus.
Tickets can be purchased at "Tourinform" at Terminal 1 between 8am and 10pm or at platform B at the railway ticket vending machine. The cost is HUF300 with the journey taking approximately 30 minutes.
From the station it is a 10-15 minute walk to the Star Inn Hotel.
Exit the station and head south east onTeréz körút. Follow this road for 400m and turn right into Dessewffy utca
Star Inn Hotel is on the right hand side after 200 metres.
Alternatively take a short taxi ride from the station to the hotel.
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Finish point
Villa Dubrovnik Garden
HR- 20,000, Zagrebacka 50
Dubrovnik
CROATIA
Finish point description
Villa Dubrovnik Garden is surrounded by typical Mediterranean garden and conveniently located close to the old town, which is just a 10 minute walk away. The villa is a recently reconstructed, typical Dubrovnik stone house from the first half of the 20th century. Rooms are furnished in characteristic 'Dubrovnik' style. There is no reception service, but Alpe Adria Agency is available to assist with any queries/requests.
Depending on availability at Villa Dubrovnik Garden , there may be rare occasions when you are located a short distance from the main Villa in private rooms (with a possibility of shared facilities)
Finish point instructions
If you have pre booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time.
If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Morocco / Europe Office can be reached on Tel: +212 (0) 66192 2693. For further contact details please use the following page:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ON THIS TRIP (EXCLUDING RUSSIA, UKRAINE, TURKEY):
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
BORDER CROSSINGS:
Passports have to be carried however stamps are rarely issued at border crossings.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
WATER BOTTLE:
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
Health
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Safety
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Other common scams operating in Europe include ploys to get you fined on the metro without a validated ticket. Ensure that you always travel with a validated ticket (have your ticket stamped). Another common scam is used by children who distract you with a map or a newspaper and while you are attending to them, steal your valuables.
BIKE HELMETS:
Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles.
Travel insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches that modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 184.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.