Journey through Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece from Dubrovnik to Santorini

Wind your way down through some of Mediterranean Europe’s most charming towns, beaches and islands on this journey from the Adriatic to the Aegean. Start off with a tour of Dubrovnik’s enchanting walled city before heading south along the spectacular Dalmatian coast to Montenegro. Venture off the tourist trail for a taste of old-time Balkans in Albania and Macedonia, take time out in provincial Syros, and then eat, drink and sunbathe your way through the good times on offer in Mykonos and Santorini. A region of breathtaking scenery, legendary history and ever-enticing cuisine, this journey through Eastern Europe serves up a slice of the Mediterranean with a Balkans backdrop.

Start
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Finish
Santorini, Greece
Countries
Albania,
Croatia,
Greece,
Macedonia,
Montenegro
Themes
Explorer
Code
ZMSEC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
313kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Explore Dubrovnik’s charming cobblestone walkways
  • Swim in the sparkling waters of the Adriatic
  • Cruise out to island churches in Kotor
  • Visit Tirana’s famous mosques and museums
  • Learn about Macedonian history in historical Skopje
  • Splash about in the azure waters of Levkas
  • Witness Athens’s famed Acropolis
  • Stroll among the terraced fields of Syros
  • Party the night away in Mykonos
  • Wander through the ancient ruins of Santorini

Itinerary

Dobro Dosli! Welcome to Croatia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting today at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, 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.

The jewel of the Dalmatian Coast, Dubrovnik is a beautiful white stone town surrounded by city walls. If you arrive early, why not head out to one of the nearby Elafiti Islands? Visit Lopud, a quiet island with lovely hikes, beaches and a ruined castle, the sleepy enclave of Kolocep, which features walks for every fitness level, or friendly Sipan, the most populated of the isles. Alternatively, you might choose to laze about on one of Dubrovnik's beaches and people-watch for hours. When in town, perhaps check out the 13th-century Franciscan monastery or the Sponza and Rector's Palaces, the only Renaissance buildings in the city to survive a devastating earthquake and fire in 1667.
This morning take a one-hour guided walk around Dubrovnik's old city walls. Providing panoramic views over the sparkling Adriatic Sea, this is a highlight not to be missed. The ancient walls were put to modern use during the eight-month siege of Dubrovnik in the early 1990s. Thankfully, most of the damage has now been repaired.

After the walk, the group will take a private transfer to Kotor on the Montenegrin coast. On arrival, your leader will take you on an orientation tour round the World Heritage-listed town. Kotor's crooked alleyways offer lots of opportunities to get lost and mingle with the locals. You can also take an optional cruise on the Kotor Fjord to visit grottos and an island church. The fjord is the longest of its kind south of Scandinavia.
After breakfast today, it's about a 4-5 hour drive to Tirana in Albania, depending on road conditions and traffic. Once you've arrived, your guide will lead you on an orientation walk of the city. Albania's capital is filled with mosques, citadels and Ottoman and Italian architecture. Many buildings have been newly painted to alleviate the Soviet block feeling that pervaded the city in the late 20th century. Tirana's locals are warm and welcoming, so don't be surprised if you find yourself swapping stories with strangers over a glass of raki or three.
Travel for three hours by private bus to Ohrid in Macedonia. On arrival, get your bearings on an orientation walk of the town. Wander through the charming old quarter, checking out the various churches dotted around the place. A medieval castle overlooks the city. You'll spend the next two nights in Ohrid, so there's plenty of time to relax and explore.
This morning hop on a public bus to Skopje, Macedonia's capital city. On arrival, head out on an orientation walk of the city. Walk through Macedonia Square and see the iconic old stone bridge connecting the square to the Old Bazaar over the river Vardar. Sample some delicious gomleze and baklava. In your free time, take a step back to Ottoman time with a visit to the Daut Pasha Hamam or journey through the Holocaust Museum to learn how Macedonia suffered during this tragic chapter of history.
Today catch a three-hour public bus to Pelister National Park, located in the Baba Mountain massif. On arrival, take a walk through the park and see stunning views. You'll be spending the night in a local homestay, where the owner produces his own prize-winning wine. Enjoy a wine tasting and indulge in homemade bread, jams and salami.
Take a private transfer across the border into Greece. Your destination is the small city of Ioannina, set on the banks of Lake Pamvotis. Get your bearings on an orientation walk with the group. The old quarter of the Kastro features Byzantine and Ottoman architecture and offers great views over the area. You'll also take a boat tour out on the lake, making a stop at the island Ali Pasha Museum for insight into the city's political history.
Today take a private bus over a causeway to the island of Levkas in the Ionian sea. The island is home to remote forest, mountains and some of the best beaches in Greece. After an orientation walk of the town, the rest of the day is free to explore or simply relax on a beach with a book. In the evening, tuck into some delicious island cuisine in town.
Today your journey continues onto Athens, the ancient capital of Greece and the birthplace of Western civilisation. You'll have the rest of today and tomorrow to explore this historic city. Highlights include the renowned changing of the guard at Syntagma (Parliament) Square, the National Gardens, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the original Olympic Stadium. Last but not least is the famous Acropolis, where you can enter the Pantheon and enjoy fabulous views over the city. A pass to multiple historic sights gives you better value for money.
Today you'll have more time to explore Athens. 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'. 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?
Today travel by metro to the port of Piraeus, where you'll catch a four-hour ferry to Syros. In the heart of the Cyclades, Syros offers a rare opportunity to see the islands as the Greeks do. Also known as Syra, the island features typical whitewashed houses, farms, terraced fields and gorgeous sandy beaches. Syros is also home to delicious sweets. Take a wander through the main town of Ermoupolis and try the hazelnut, almond or honey-filled wafers or the fruit-flavoured jelly from one of many one-room shops. You'll have plenty of time to explore tomorrow, so perhaps kick up your feet at a waterfront cafe and watch the setting sun turn the houses pink.
Take a guided walk through the fortress-like town of Ano Syros, which offers great views of the Aegean Sea. Wander the narrow alleyways, keeping an ear open for traditional Rembetiko music floating out of the tavernas. Enjoy free time to further explore Syros in your own time. Perhaps hire a bike in town and cycle to the various archeological sites on the island. You might prefer to simply hole up on a beach for the afternoon. The most popular beaches are on the southern side of the island. While some are sandy and others pebbly, all boast crystal clear waters for swimming in. In the evening, take taxis to a remotely located taverna in the rugged northern part of the island to sample delicious local specialities during an included meal, while watching the sun set over the Aegean Sea.
Today board a two-hour ferry to Mykonos. Mykonos is legendary both in ancient and modern times. Known in ancient Greek mythology as the battlefield where Zeus fought the Gigantes, today the island is best known for its decadence, style and nightlife. Take a walk through town and browse the chic galleries and boutiques. In the evening, perhaps wander down to Little Venice, where colourful balconies hang precariously over the sea - the ideal spot to sit back with a cocktail and enjoy an Aegean sunset. Afterwards, join in the fun of Mykonos’ notorious nightlife.
Today you might like to head to one of Mykonos' many beaches, which are some of the nicest in Europe. Take a short bus ride to the pumping Paradise or Super Paradise beach bars, or perhaps find a quieter spot to relax along the beautiful coastline. You could also check out the 19th-century House of Lena or the Aegean Maritime Museum in town. At some point today, the group will take a half-day trip out to the nearby island of Delos. One of the most important mythological sites in the Greek Islands, Delos is considered to be the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.
Today take a three-hour ferry to Santorini. Renowned for its spectacular natural beauty, Santorini is one of Europe's tourist hotspots. Discover the hilltop ruins of Ancient Thira and the archeological site of Akrotiri, a Minoan Bronze Age settlement. Check out the range of restaurants and shops in the island's capital, also called Thira. If you have time while you're here, perhaps head to one of Santorini's volcanic beaches, such as Red Beach or the black beaches of Perissa, Vlhada, Perivolos or Agios Georgios.
In 1500 BC a volcanic eruption sank the centre of Santorini, forming one of the most significant geological formations on the planet - the awe-inspiring caldera. Today the group will make an excursion along the crater rim, starting in Thira town and walking through little villages all the way to Oia. If you have time, you might also like to take a half-day trip to the island's volcano and hot springs. On the last evening of your adventure, rub shoulders with friendly locals in packed pubs and cafes, sipping a cocktail as you witness a magnificent Santorini sunset.
Today your Greek Islands adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Transport
Bus, Ferry, Metro, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi
Accommodation
Homestay (1 night), Hotel (19 nights), Pension (1 night)
Included activities
  • Boat trip and Ali Pasa Museum
  • Day Trip to Zagoria Villages
  • Kruja Day Trip
  • Lake Ohrid Boat Ride
  • Wine Tasting

Dates

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Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip, please see trip notes for details.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Reviews

Our Dubrovnik to Santorini trips score an average of 4.75 out of 5 based on 4 reviews in the last year.

Dubrovnik to Santorini , August 2015

Dubrovnik to Santorini , July 2015