Dubrovnik to Istanbul Trip Notes

Dubrovnik to Istanbul

Last Modified: 28 Jul 2016
Dubrovnik to Istanbul
Trip code: ZMSTC
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
From Croatia’s blue seas and delectable cuisine, to Turkey’s epic history and whimsical East-meets-West culture, everything in the middle blends into a perfect mixture of exciting tradition and contemporary style. An adventure through the ages, laze on white sandy beaches, explore ancient historical ruins, visit quaint fairytale towns and hike through postcard-like scenery. Afterwards, dine on mousaka and kebabs with a hearty supply of vino, ouzo and riki for the ultimate gastronomic experience.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationEmergency contact
ThemesAccommodation NotesVisas
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionWhat to take
Why we love itMealsClimate and seasonal information
ItineraryMoney mattersTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderA couple of rules
Physical ratingSafetyResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Important notesFinish pointFeedback
Group sizeFinish point description
Your fellow travellersFinishing point instructions
Is this trip right for you?
- As there are potholes and cobblestones in many European cities, it's recommended that you leave any wheelie bags/cases at home and bring a backpack instead.
- Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.
- As accommodation on this trip is multi-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. However, if you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. Also, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together.
Why we love it
- Stroll through bustling Placa in Dubrovnik
- Cruise the Kotor fjord
- Explore the impressive Et’hem Bey Mosque in Tirana
- Hike to Car Samoil’s Castle in Ohrid
- Meander around picturesque Lake Prespa
- Educate yourself in Ioannina’s wealth of museums
- Hit the beach in Levkas
- Take a history lesson in Athens
- See the future in Delphi

Day 1 Dubrovnik
Dobro Dosli! Welcome to Croatia, a place of sunshine, sand and scenery; home to chic cities, coastline, charming cobblestone towns, World Heritage sites, and a thriving food and wine scene. The undisputed jewel of the Dalmatian Coast, Dubrovnik is a beautiful white stone town surrounded entirely by city walls, easily covered on foot. Although it experienced devastation during the war in the early 1990s, the restored old town remains as charming as ever. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm – check with reception to confirm the time and place. 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 have these on hand. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive on time, you may wish to arrive a day early. If you have time why not head out to one of the Elafiti Islands. There's Lopud, a quiet island with lovely hikes, clean beaches and a ruined castle. Kolocep is a sleepy enclave that boasts walks for every fitness level, while Sipan is the most populated of the isles and reputedly has the most hospitable inhabitants. There are also many monuments to explore in the city proper, including the 15th century Rector's Palace, monasteries with cloistered gardens, and fine baroque churches with copper domes. The main pedestrian promenade, once a shallow sea channel, is now paved with glistening white limestone, in stark contrast to the warm red terracotta roofs. It is hard to imagine a more beautiful city. A walk along the city walls of ‘Game of Thrones’ fame is not to be missed. As there is not much time in Dubrovnik on this trip you may want to consider arriving a few days earlier.
Optional Activities
  • City Sightseeing - HRK90
  • Fish Picnic Cruise - HRK300
  • Franciscan Monastery - HRK30
  • Lokrum Island Boat Trip - HRK75
  • War Photography Museum - HRK40
  • Game of Thrones Tour - HRK200
  • Rector's Palace - HRK70
  • Museum of Croatian War of Independence - Mt Srd - HRK30
  • Church of St. Blaise - Free
  • Hike up Mt Srd - Free
    Pension (1 nt)
    Day 2 Kotor
    Leave Dubrovnik behind and take a private transfer to Kotor on the Montenegrin coast (approximately 3 hours). This 5th-century World Heritage-listed city is set on a secluded bay, with towering peaks surrounding a rocky coastline dotted with pretty waterside towns. In its crooked alleyways, get lost and mingle with the locals. When you arrive, head out on a short orientation walk, checking out the 12th-century Cathedral, the South Gates, and the Armoury Square. Later, perhaps take a cruise on the Kotor Fjord – the longest fjord south of Scandinavia – and visit an island with a church that's almost as big as the island itself! In the evening the city walls are prettily lit up to provide a unique night-time perspective.
    Included Activities
    • Kotor Orientation Walk
      Optional Activities
      • Cruise on Kotor Fjord - EUR30
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Day 3 Tirana
        After breakfast we will be transferred to Tirana, a drive of about 4-5 hours, depending on road conditions and traffic into Tirana. If you think you know Albania, think again. This addictive country has a myriad faces. In the rugged north, the Alps are so fierce they're deemed 'accursed', while the south enjoys one of Europe’s least known and most beautiful coastlines. Tirana is filled with craziness, from its traffic to its nightlife, but on its doorstep are mosques, citadels, Ottoman architecture and a stunning dose of medieval Balkans. The real surprise of Albania is the people. Their warmth to strangers is infectious and you’re bound to find yourself swapping stories over a glass of raki or three. Tirana is the capital of Albania and its biggest city, though it's small and compact with architectural influences from Italy and Turkey. Recently many buildings have been painted to alleviate the Soviet block feeling that pervaded. Many upgrades have been made all over town such as new parks and wide pavements - a process that's still ongoing.
        Included Activities
        • Orientation Walk - Tirana
          Optional Activities
          • Et'hem Bey Mosque - Free
          • Rafting and Hiking Trips - ALL6500
          • Sky Tower - Free
          • National Art Gallery - ALL200
          • National History Museum - ALL700
            Hotel (1 nt)
            1 breakfast
            Day 4 Kruja / Tirana
            Today take a half-day trip to the mountain village and former Albanian capital of Kruja. Kruja was the last stronghold of Skanderbegs army until the Ottomans took over the entire country. There is plenty of time to explore the citadel and the famous bazaar area. Perhaps pay a visit to the excellent ethnographical museum housed inside the fortress. Return to Tirana after lunch.

            Tirana is dotted by many museums. You can't miss the National History Museum if you look for the gargantuan mosaic on the facade which represents the development of Albania's history with everyone from the time of the Illyrians. Inside, each hall of this vast building covers one of the stages in the development of the Albanian nation. The main sight in Tirana is the Et'hem Bey Mosque which is right on the city's main square. Construction of the Xhamia e Haxhi Et'hem Beut started in 1794 and was finished in 1821 by Et'hem Bey. Closed under communist rule, the mosque resumed as a place of worship in 1991. 10,000 people attended the reopening and the event was considered a milestone in the rebirth of religious freedom in Albania. Take a look at the frescoes outside and in the portico that depict trees, waterfalls and bridges - motifs rarely seen in Islamic art. Remember to take your shoes off before entering the inner room.
            Hotel (1 nt)
            1 breakfast
            Day 5 Lake Ohrid
            Travel by private bus to Ohrid in Macedonia, a drive of about 3 hours, situated on a lake with the same name. Get your bearings on an orientation walk around Ohrid, before embarking on a cruise on the turquoise waters of Lake Ohrid to take in the views of the town and the surrounding scenery while afloat.
            Included Activities
            • Orientation Walk - Ohrid
            • Lake Ohrid Boat Ride
              Optional Activities
              • Robev Family House National Museum - MKD150
              • St Jovan Church - MKD100
                Hotel (1 nt)
                1 breakfast
                Day 6 Lake Ohrid
                At 34km long, 14km wide and over 300 meters deep, and shared between Albania and Macedonia, vast Lake Ohrid is one of Europe's oldest lakes and there's plenty of it to explore. Today is free for you to discover the area. Possibly visit the Macedonian Orthodox Church of Sveti Jovana Kaneo, situated on a rocky outcrop above town overlooking the lake. The Sveti Naum Monastery is also a great option and is situated on the shores of the lake south of town. During your time here you may also want to hike to sample some of the flora, fauna and spectacular views found in the mountainous Galicica National Park.
                Hotel (1 nt)
                1 breakfast
                Day 7 Skopje
                This morning hop onto public bus to Skopje, Macedonia's capital city. In Macedonia’s political and cultural centre, walk through Macedonia Square and sample gozleme and tasty baklava. Take a step back to Ottoman times with a visit to the Daut Pasha Hamam or journey through the humbling Holocaust Museum to learn how Macedonia suffered during this tragic chapter of history. Skopje's stone bridge over the river Vardar is an iconic sight and acts as a handy connection between Macedonia Square and the Old Bazaar. Perhaps visit the Museum of the City of Skopje, housed in the old Railway Station which is a unique piece of history itself. It's unusual, part-ruined exterior is a result of the 1963 earthquake. The large clock on the outside of the building is frozen at 5:17, the moment the earthquake shook the city.
                Included Activities
                • Orientation Walk - Skopje
                  Optional Activities
                  • Boat Ride - Matka Canyon - MKD139
                  • Museum of the City of Skopje - Free
                  • Kale Fortress - Free
                  • Mount Vodno Cable Car to Millennium Cross - MKD100
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 8 Matka Canyon / Skopje
                    Venture out to Matka Canyon, a deep ravine cut into the mountains by the Treska River. This area is home to several medieval monasteries, caves and to over 70 species of endemic butterflies. There is the option to explore the canyon's sights by boat. One of the monasteries worth exploring is St Andrew's Monastery, which contains many valuable frescoes of great artistic importance. There is also Vrelo Cave, speculated to be the deepest underwater cave in the world. Alternatively, you can take one of the many nature walks in the canyon, or up to the ridge high above the valley. In the late afternoon take a local bus back to Skopje with the remaining part of the day free for you to continue exploring this exciting city.
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 9 Dihovo / Pelister National Park
                    A 3 hour public bus ride will take you to Pelister National Park, located in the Baba Mountain massif, a perfect location for a walk, and a beautiful landscape with views that go on for miles. Enjoy a great wine tasting experience at our homestay. The owner produces his own prize winning wine while trying many local delicacies including home baked bread, jams, salami...
                    Included Activities
                    • Wine Tasting - Dihovo
                      Homestay (1 nt)
                      1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                      Day 10 Ioannina
                      Take another private transfer across the border into Greece, and on to Ioannina. With astounding archaeological sites, islands of extreme beauty, bucolic villages and some of the greatest food you’ll ever consume, Greece should be on every traveller's list. This gem of the Aegean will satisfy your thirst for knowledge, lust for adventure, desire for partying and craving for cuisine. Opa!
                      Included Activities
                      • Orientation Walk - Ioannina
                      • Boat trip and Ali Pasa Museum - Ioannina
                      • Day Trip to Zagoria Villages
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        1 breakfast
                        Day 11 Ioannina
                        Discover the wonders of Ioannina while ambling through the city’s old town, castle district and along idyllic Lake Pamvotis. Located in the center of the town, Ioannina's castle was the heart of the Despotate of Epirus, and the maze-like layout of the old town's streets, many of which lead to dead ends, was allegedly designed to confuse pirates who would get lost within the fortress and be captured before escaping with their booty. One of the most notable attractions of Ioannina is Nisaki Islet in Lake Pamvotis. Take one of the frequent motorboats that ferry visitors to the monastery of Agios Panteleimon located on the islet. In the evening, jump into Greek culture with a shot of Ouzo before a lively night out.
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        1 breakfast
                        Day 12 Levkas Island
                        Take a private bus over the causeway to the island of Levkas (also known as Lefkada) on the Ionian sea. In the birthplace of Greek goddess Aphrodite, there will be plenty of time to rest and relax on blue waters and white-sand beaches. Choose to follow the crowds to Porto Katsiki beach, which is surrounded by white cliffs. There are daily boat trips that leave from Nidri and Vasiliki harbour that take you to this and other beaches.
                        Included Activities
                        • Orientation Walk - Levkas
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          1 breakfast
                          Day 13 Levkas Island
                          Continue to explore the island further today as it is a free day. Perhaps try your hand at a challenging hike or mountain bike ride around the surrounding mountains, all of which will afford great views of the Ionian Sea and the rugged coastline.
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          1 breakfast
                          Day 14 Athens
                          There's much to be seen in the ancient capital of Greece, vibrant and refreshed following the 2004 Olympics, yet still retaining so much visible history. Named after the goddess of wisdom, Athens has a weighty history that spills out over the modern city, represented most dramatically by the ancient Acropolis, where you can enter the Pantheon and enjoy fabulous views over the city. The birthplace of Western civilisation, Athens has an amazing array of historic sites to explore, including the National Gardens, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the original Olympic Stadium. Another highlight is the renowned changing of the guard at Syntagma (Parliament) Square.
                          Optional Activities
                          • Urban Adventures - Walking Athens - EUR46
                          • Urban Adventures - Markets, Ruins & Ancient Athens - EUR54
                          • Urban Adventures - Taste of Athens - EUR60
                          • Acropolis Pass for 5 Sites - EUR20
                          • Day Trip to the Saronic Islands - EUR20
                          • Dora Stratou - EUR15
                          • Lycabettus Hill - Free
                          • National Archaeological Museum - EUR7
                          • Numismatic Museum - EUR3
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            1 breakfast
                            Day 15 Athens
                            Today you'll have more time to explore Athens. As this is a combination trip, your leader and the composition of your group may change at this point. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary. You're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers. In the evening after the meeting, why not head out for some gyros and ouzo with your new friends?
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            1 breakfast
                            Day 16 Athens
                            Spend more time in Athens to explore and discover the history this unique place has to offer, or you might like to take part in one of our Urban Adventure day trips, such as 'Taste of Athens' or 'Markets, Ruins and Ancient Athens'. Many other options are available, including day trips to the Peloponnese peninsula, taking in ancient Epidavros and the ancient Corinthian canal.
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            1 breakfast
                            Day 17 Delphi
                            Travel by public bus to Delphi (3hrs). Located on the slopes of Mt Parnassos, this modern town with it's ancient ruins overlook the Gulf of Corinth. The ancient Greeks regarded Delphi as the centre of the world and today is one of the country's most inspiring archaeological sites. Your tour leader will take you on an orientation walk of the town of Delphi. Make the most of your afternoon by visiting the ancient site of Delphi with the famous Temple of Apollo, the oracle, the theater, and the mountain-top stadium, which were used for the Pythian Games, a precursor to the Olympic Games, held every 4 years as early as 586 BC.
                            Included Activities
                            • Orientation Walk Delphi
                              Optional Activities
                              • Archaeological Site & Museum Delphi - EUR12
                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                1 breakfast
                                Day 18 Kalambaka / Meteora
                                Travel by public bus to Kalambaka (4.5hrs) After leaving your bags at the hotel we will embark on a short orientation walk of town where your leader will point out amenities and help you get your bearings. Then it's off to nearby Meteora, home to 14th century monasteries that sit at the top of rocky pinnacles. Only 6 of the once 24 monasteries are still occupied.

                                Note: A strict dress code applies when entering any of the monasteries: No bare shoulders or knees are permitted, and women must wear skirts. It is possible to borrow a long skirt at the door if you don't have one.
                                Included Activities
                                • Orientation Walk - Kalambaka
                                • Meteora Monastery Visits
                                • Meteora Hill Hike
                                  Hotel (1 nt)
                                  1 breakfast
                                  Day 19 Meteora
                                  Climb into the heavens, just like monks have done for centuries, to explore an ancient monastery precariously placed atop a 400-m-high rock formation. Enjoy some great views back over the town. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore the scenic area around Meteora. Your leader will have suggestions at hand.
                                  Hotel (1 nt)
                                  1 breakfast
                                  Day 20 Kastoria
                                  It is a 2 hour bus ride to Kastoria. This medieval town is situated on the western shore of Lake Orestiada, in a valley surrounded by limestone mountains. Kastoria is full of interesting architecture, including old distinctive villas from the skin and fur trade times. While you are you here you will have time to walk along the lakeside, filled with pelicans and ducks. Consider visiting the unspoilt Dragon Cave, one of the most impressive caves in Greece, with its underground lakes and many stalactites. Or visit the Neolithic lakeside village and reconstruction at Dispilio, which gives you a real feel for life in a village in the middle of the 6th Millennium BC.
                                  Included Activities
                                  • Orientation Walk - Kastoria
                                    Optional Activities
                                    • Urban Adventures - Home Cooked Kastoria - USD25
                                      Hotel (1 nt)
                                      1 breakfast
                                      Day 21 Thessaloniki
                                      After a 2,5 hour bus ride to cosmopolitan Thessaloniki, you will have some time to explore the second largest city in Greece. Walk along the waterfront to the White Tower, and take in the Byzantine churches and Roman ruins. This city comes alive in the evening with its lively cafe scene.
                                      Included Activities
                                      • Orientation Walk Thessaloniki
                                      • Pella Day Trip
                                        Optional Activities
                                        • Urban Adventures - Tastes of Thessaloniki - EUR40
                                        • Urban Adventures - Hidden Markets of Thessaloniki - EUR27
                                        • Cooking Class - EUR35
                                          Hotel (1 nt)
                                          1 breakfast
                                          Day 22 Pella / Thessaloniki
                                          The following day you embark on a day trip to Pella, the ancient Macedonian capital during the time of Alexander the Great. See the well defined city blocks and mosaic floors that are still visible today. In the centre of the city is the agora, built in the 4th century B.C and an architectural gem, unique in conception and size, as it covered approx 7 hectares. Pella is one of the first known cities to have had an extensive piped water supply to individual houses and a sophisticated waste water disposal system for most of the city.
                                          Hotel (1 nt)
                                          1 breakfast
                                          Day 23 Chalkidiki Peninsula
                                          The first thing you'll see when you arrive at the Chalkidiki Peninsula today is the azure blue of the sea and the green of the hills. Perhaps take a hike in the surrounding area and explore the countryside of this hidden beauty, or simply relax on the white sand of one of the beaches and enjoy the sun. Tonight perhaps feast on the local specialties of the area in a taverna in the town of Ouranopolis.
                                          Included Activities
                                          • Chalkidiki Peninsula Hiking
                                            Hotel (1 nt)
                                            1 breakfast
                                            Day 24 Chalkidiki Peninsula
                                            Today is a free day for you to explore the area. There is the option to head into the hills where there are a multitude of hiking options, all of which afford glorious views across the sparkling blue Aegean Sea, the rugged coastline and the mountainous spine of the peninsula. Alternatively head to the beach, and sit back with a cocktail in hand. For the adventurous, you might want to consider embarking on a cruise along the shore of Mount Athos, also known as the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, where monks have been living in isolation since the 9th century.
                                            Hotel (1 nt)
                                            Day 25 Kavala
                                            Kavala, also known as the cyan city, is the principal seaport of eastern Macedonia, and is located on the Via Egnatia, a 2nd century Roman road whose remains can still be seen today. The town centre is dominated by the huge 16th century aqueduct, which was still used to supply the city with drinking water until very recently. There are plenty of fantastic beaches around with some free time to enjoy these, as well as delicious seafood with influences from Asia Minor.
                                            Included Activities
                                            • Orientation Walk - Kavala
                                            • Archeological Museum of Philippi
                                              Hotel (1 nt)
                                              Day 26 Kavala
                                              Today you will visit the excavations of the ruins of Philippi and its archaeological museum which showcases finds from the ancient settlement. Philippi was established by Philipp II of Macedon in the 4th century BC to control an important east-west route, but didn't fully recover after an earthquake in the 7th century AD, and was finally abandoned after the Ottomans occupied the area in the 14th century.
                                              Hotel (1 nt)
                                              1 breakfast
                                              Day 27 Gallipoli
                                              Today we travel to private bus to Turkey. Cosmopolitan cities brimming with modern delights, archaeological sites filled with ancient splendour, curious landscapes straight out of a storybook and picture-perfect coastlines frequented by the jet set… this is tantalising Turkey! Visitors won't be able to forget travelling through this exotic land which sits at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, yet displays a fair bit of Middle Eastern flair. This afternoon we journey out with our guide to the Gallipoli Peninsula. The stunning natural beauty of Gallipoli makes it hard to believe that this is the site of one of the most tragic and fiercely fought battles of WWI. This is an opportunity to stroll through time; a moving experience for people from all nations. The battles fought on this land were a turning point in the creation of the Turkish Republic.
                                              Included Activities
                                              • Guided Tour of Gallipoli Peninsula
                                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                                1 breakfast
                                                Day 28 Istanbul
                                                This morning we travel by public bus to the metropolis Istanbul. Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, so it will come as no surprise that this vast metropolis is home to a beguiling mix of different cultures and traditions, blending the influences of both east and west. Originally founded by Greek settlers over 2000 years ago, Istanbul originally went by the name of Byzantium, then Constantinople when the Romans made it the capital of their eastern empire. Today, intriguing Istanbul is a bustling mega-city with a population of over 12 million people and a rich history and food scene waiting to be explored. During the orientation walk we will discover the hidden charms of Istanbul, the city that bridges Europe and Asia, including the areas around Sultanahmet and Eminonu. This could include the narrow streets around the Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar - an amazing covered complex and maze of more than 4000 shops and Suleymaniye Camii - a mosque built by the great architect Sinan and sitting high above the Golden Horn (one of the world's greatest natural harbours flowing into the Bosphorus). We will see the myriad traders selling their wares and ferries departing for many destinations from the port of Eminonu. Each leader has their own hidden secrets to show you that they have found in their time in eclectic Istanbul. Among the must-see sights are the Topkapi Palace and harem, Istanbul's iconic Blue Mosque and the incredible ancient church of St. Sophia. The Archaeological Museum containing the tomb of Alexander the Great is also worth a look. After all that sightseeing, take a stroll down to the waterfront and hop on a boat up the Bosphorus, leaving the minarets and towers that give the city its distinctive skyline in your wake.
                                                Included Activities
                                                • Orientation Walk - Istanbul
                                                  Optional Activities
                                                  • Urban Adventures - Old & New Istanbul - EUR35
                                                  • Urban Adventures - Picnic On Two Continents - EUR35
                                                  • Urban Adventures - Home Cooked Istanbul - EUR39
                                                  • Urban Adventures - Hidden Istanbul - EUR25
                                                  • Urban Adventures - Istanbul Conquered - EUR70
                                                  • Istanbul - Night Tasting Trail Urban Adventure - EUR75
                                                  • Aya Sofia Museum Optional Entry - TRY40
                                                  • Grand Bazaar - Free
                                                  • Spice Market - Free
                                                  • Turkish Bath - TRY30
                                                    Hotel (1 nt)
                                                    Day 29 Istanbul
                                                    There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. As there is a great deal to do in Istanbul we recommend allowing a few extra days to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be able to assist.
                                                    1 breakfast
                                                    Itinerary disclaimer
                                                    ITINERARY CHANGES 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. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! 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. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                                                    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 approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                                                    Physical rating

                                                    Included activities
                                                    Kotor Orientation Walk
                                                    Orientation Walk - Tirana
                                                    Orientation Walk - Ohrid
                                                    Lake Ohrid Boat Ride
                                                    Orientation Walk - Skopje
                                                    Wine Tasting - Dihovo
                                                    Orientation Walk - Ioannina
                                                    Boat trip and Ali Pasa Museum - Ioannina
                                                    Day Trip to Zagoria Villages
                                                    Orientation Walk - Levkas
                                                    Orientation Walk Delphi
                                                    Orientation Walk - Kalambaka
                                                    Meteora Monastery Visits
                                                    Meteora Hill Hike
                                                    Orientation Walk - Kastoria
                                                    Orientation Walk Thessaloniki
                                                    Pella Day Trip
                                                    Chalkidiki Peninsula Hiking
                                                    Orientation Walk - Kavala
                                                    Archeological Museum of Philippi
                                                    Guided Tour of Gallipoli Peninsula
                                                    Orientation Walk - Istanbul
                                                    Important notes
                                                    A single supplement is available on this trip, please see trip notes for details.

                                                    Group size
                                                    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                                                    Your fellow travellers
                                                    GROUP TRAVEL
                                                    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.

                                                    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 accommodation (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.

                                                    SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
                                                    A single supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information. The price of the Single Supplement includes all night of this tour.
                                                    Homestay (1nt), Hotel (26nt)
                                                    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 BASIS
                                                    Accommodation on this trip is on a twin share basis (unless noted otherwise in the day-to-day itinerary). 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. To give you 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 others 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, soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

                                                    There are some basic breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar).
                                                    24 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                                                    Metro, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi

                                                    TRANSPORT IN EUROPE
                                                    Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a train in Spain, cycling past a historic chateau in France, or encountering the world's most extravagant public transport system on the Moscow Metro. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.
                                                    Money matters
                                                    The local currency of Croatia is the Croatian Kuna (HRK), in Albania it is the Albania Lek (ALL) and Macedonia uses the Macedonian Denar (MKD), while Greece has adopted the common currency of the European Union, the Euro (EUR). Since independence Montenegro also uses the Euro, even though they are not a member of the EU. The official currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TRY), although prior to 2005 (when 6 zeros where removed due to large inflation) the currency code was TRL.

                                                    The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money in Europe 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 withdraw local currencies easily at airports, major train stations and most city centres, 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. We recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services.

                                                    SPENDING MONEY
                                                    When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                                                    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. We suggest EUR 900.00 for meals not included on this trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

                                                    If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's 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. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: In local markets and basic restaurants and cafes - round your bill up to the nearest €1. In more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest €2-€3 per day for local guides. You may also have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest €1-€2 per day for drivers. You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €2-€4 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. In total, we recommend you budget approx €5-€10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                                                    EMERGENCY FUNDS
                                                    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                                                    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.
                                                    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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. 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 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 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 or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                                                    SEAT BELTS:
                                                    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                                                    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. You may also come across players offering you to participate in the so-called "shell game". This is a scam and you will most certainly lose your money.

                                                    ATHENS METRO
                                                    We have had reports of travellers being pickpocketed on public transport in Athens. Please be careful with valuables whilst travelling on the metro or the bus.
                                                    Joining point
                                                    Hotel Sumratin
                                                    Šetalište Kralja Zvonimira 27
                                                    Phone: +385 20436146
                                                    Finish point
                                                    Golden Horn Hotel - Istanbul
                                                    Hocapasa Mah. Istasyon Arkasi Sk. No 9
                                                    Phone: +90 212 514 15 44
                                                    Finish point description
                                                    Centrally located in the heart of the Historical Peninsula, the Golden Horn Hotel is within walking distance of many of the area's main attractions such as: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar and Basilica Cistern.

                                                    **Please note that there is a hotel of a similar name 'Golden Horn Hotel' located just around the corner. Please check the address carefully if you are making your own way to the hotel.**
                                                    Finishing point instructions
                                                    Taxis to the airport can easily be hailed, or alternatively reception can be of help organising one for you.

                                                    Private airport transfers are available for pre-booking through Intrepid. Contact your agent for details. Be sure to advise which of Istanbul's two airports you will be flying from at the time of booking. Sabiha Gokcen is on the Asian shore, while Ataturk airport is on the European side (and closer to our hotel). If you have any problems with departure transfers please contact our Intrepid Istanbul office on +90 212 512 7144.
                                                    Emergency contact
                                                    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.

                                                    For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

                                                    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Office can be reached on the number listed below:

                                                    Peak Europe: +49 8677 9186 657
                                                    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                                                    Visas for Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece are not required for passport holders of the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. All other nationalities should check with the relevant authorities.

                                                    Turkey requires nationals of Australia, Canada, the UK, the US and many European countries (such as Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands) to apply for an e-visa. Please go to https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ at least a few weeks before you go to submit your application. A valid passport is sufficient for citizens of New Zealand, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland for stays up to 3 months. All other nationalities please check with your nearest Turkish embassy.
                                                    What to take
                                                    On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly 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 to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. 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 that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.

                                                    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.

                                                    IMAGES FROM HOME:
                                                    During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.
                                                    Climate and seasonal information
                                                    Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.
                                                    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 Travel 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.
                                                    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 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.

                                                    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.

                                                    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                                                    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.


                                                    DRESS CODE
                                                    In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches, monasteries or other religious sites modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted, for both men and women.

                                                    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$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:


                                                    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.