Get cultured on an epic journey through the Balkans.

Get a true taste of the Balkans on an epic adventure from the Pearl of the Danube, Budapest, down the Adriatic coast to the island of Corfu. On this 18-day journey, you'll travel to Belgrade for a taste of a European city on the up, learn about the war years in Sarajevo, stop by the famed Old Bridge of Mostar and discover the beachside gems of Budva and Dhermi Beach. Discover epicurean delights, political history of Albania’s capital, lay beachside on the Albanian riviera and wind up sun-kissed on the beaches of a Greek island. There’s battle zones, beaches, bunkers and bars all together, and by melding the past with the present, the historic with the euphoric, this is a trip that ticks all of the boxes.

This trip is for 18 to 29-year-olds

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Budapest, Hungary
Finish
Corfu, Greece
Destinations
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia
Style
Basix
Theme
18 to 29s
Code
ZMYCC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18, Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Travel solo, together

You're never alone when travelling solo with Intrepid

Why you'll love this trip

  • Immerse yourself in the edgy street scene of Belgrade's Bohemian Quarter, then dance the night away in one of Europe’s nightlife hotspots.

  • Learn about the dark history and rebuilding of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, with a walk up to the White Fortress overlooking the city.

  • There is no shortage of medieval influences on this tour. Discover the walled cities of Dubrovnik, Kotor and Stari Bar, teeming with history from a bygone era.

  • Descend into one of the world’s most peculiar contemporary art museums in Tirana, housed in an underground bunker built for the Albanian political elite.

  • Lay by the shimmering Adriatic waters and soak up the sun in Croatia, on the Albanian coastline and off the island of Corfu.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Don’t let the heat keep you from exploring the world! Summer temperatures can be very high in the Balkans (over 40°C), which can make things uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat, and drink plenty of water. Please note that only some of our hotels will have airconditioning, and is virtually non-existent on public transport.

  • As accommodation on this trip is mostly twin-share, (some triple or quadruple share where stated), single travellers will share a room with other travellers of the same sex. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can.

  • Please note that a single supplement is not available on this trip. Space is at a premium in Europe and your hotels are no exception. Rooms are often small, but usually the central location makes up for that. For those travelling as a duo, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together. In some cases, bathroom facilities will be shared rather than ensuite.

Itinerary

Szia! Welcome to Budapest, Hungary's intoxicating capital on the banks of the Danube River. Things kick off with a welcome meeting this evening at 6 pm, after which it'd be rude not to grab your new friends and leader for dinner and a night walk along the Danube. With the buildings and bridges lit up in the evening, Budapest is a beautiful city to explore by night, and be sure you don't miss the city's trending ruin bars – bars found in formerly abandoned buildings that are filled with eclectic furniture, street art and young locals.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Urban Adventures - Buda Castle Explorer - EUR52
  • Urban Adventures - Bites & Sights - EUR74
  • Urban Adventures - Made in Budapest - EUR72
  • Urban Adventures - Best Beers of Budapest - EUR74
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. 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).
Join your leader on a short orientation walk this morning if you wish. Afterwards, you have a full free day to explore the city known as 'The Pearl of the Danube'. Split by the river into Buda and Pest, this city united under one name, Budapest, in 1873. It's a great city to explore by foot or from the water, or perhaps catch a funicular up to Buda castle for some seriously spectacular views of the skyline, dominated by the Hungarian parliament building. Continue exploring the cobblestones of the Castle District, or maybe hire a bicycle and head to Statue Park to see the communist monuments that were removed from the city after the Iron Curtain fell. Other highlights include the State Opera House and the Hungarian National Museum, and one unmissable activity is a long soak in the healing waters of one of Budapest's hot thermal baths – there's a reason it's called the City of Spas.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Parliament Tour - HUF5800
  • Thermal Bath - Starting from - HUF4500
  • Hungarian State Opera House Tour - HUF3000
  • Transport and Entry to Statue Park - HUF5000
  • House of Terror - HUF3000
  • Hungarian National Museum - HUF1600
  • Great Synagogue - HUF4850
  • Budapest Central Market - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, take the journey to Belgrade. Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe, sitting at the intersection of the Sava and Danube rivers, and is an important hub between Eastern and Western Europe. As a result of this, you'll experience an energetic mix of progressive and conservative customs as you spend time exploring the city as you please. Perhaps begin with a wander around the city's wide streets and squares to the historic Kalemegdan Park. The park is home to Kelmegdan Fortress, which has kept watch over the Danube for centuries. You’ll also get the chance to taste the traditional rakija (a fruit-flavoured brandy) with the locals. Ziveli! In the evening, perhaps head down to Skadarska Street, in the bohemian quarter of Skadarlija, to sample some authentic local food, soak up the lively atmosphere and witness an area where Orthodox churches coexist near grungy nightclubs.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rakija Tasting with Locals
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Accommodation is triple or quadruple share on this night.
Ease into the day with an optional 90-minute cruise along the Danube River, passing the Kalemegdan Fortress, Pancevo Bridge and the artist suburb of Zemun. Make sure you visit the imposing Hram Svetog Save (St Sava Church) today as well. If markets are your jam, the Zeleni Venac food market will keep you occupied for hours, or perhaps take a stroll through the Nikola Tesla Museum to learn about the life and work of Serbia's greatest inventors. Otherwise, the 36-metre Gardos Tower is perfect for views and photos of the city and the Danube. In the afternoon, perhaps head to Ada Ciganlija beach on the Sava River, a popular river beach with the young city crowd. Take a swim or soak up the sun with a cocktail in hand, and if you happen to be visiting in the summer months then there is probably a variety of musical and cultural events taking place. The beach is a great place to stick around into the night, being one hotspot of Belgrade’s legendary nightlife. Floating bars, restaurants and nightclubs line the Danube and Sava rivers – the envy of many cities right around Europe.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Nikola Tesla Museum - RSD500
  • Ethnographic Museum - RSD150
  • Military Museum - RSD200
  • Danube River Cruise - RSD500
  • Belgrade City Tour with Local Guide - EUR60
  • Sveti Sava Church - Free
  • Tito’s Mausoleum (House of Flowers) - RSD400
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Accommodation is triple or quadruple share on this night.
Travel by bus through some beautiful countryside to Sarajevo. It's about an 8-hour trip, so enjoy the views, chat with your fellow travellers or load up on music for the journey. Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina and is slowly asserting itself as one of Europe's most interesting destinations, following the end of a devastating war. It has a similar vibe to Istanbul, in the sense that it mixes east and west and is dotted with minarets, mosques, bazaars and that rousing coffee smell. You can join an optional guided tour on arrival to learn a bit about the city's culture and history – this is one of the few cities in the world featuring an Orthodox church, a Catholic church and a mosque within close proximity. In the evening, why not grab your crew and head to Bascarsija, the city's old bazaar, for a delicious meal, then check out the city's nightlife. Your leader can point you in the right direction to some popular bars.
Accommodation
  • Pension (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning join your leader and head up to the viewpoints next to the Yellow Bastion and the White Fortress, both located in strategic positions overlooking the entire valley and Sarajevo's old town. Then enjoy a free day in and around Sarajevo. Perhaps jump on the newly reopened cable car up Trebevic Mountain, or head out to Ilidza, the source of the River Bosna, where green parks and thermal springs are the order of the day. Perhaps discover more about Sarajevo's history with a visit to the History Museum, the Sarajevo War Tunnels and Sniper Alley, or learn about the struggles of the city's Jewish population at the Jewish Museum. The Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a chance to get a little cultured, or why not return to Bascarsija to snack on burek. In the evening, the Pivnica HS Brewery is a great place to try some award-winning brews and hearty local food.
Accommodation
  • Pension (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hike to Yellow Bastion & White Fortress Viewpoints
Optional Activities
  • Jewish Museum - BAM3
  • Sarajevo City Tour with Local Guide - BAM90
  • Times of Misfortune Tour & Tunnel Museum - BAM60
  • Ilidza Park and Springs - BAM15
  • National Museum - BAM6
  • Svrzo's House - BAM3
  • Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque - BAM3
  • City Hall / Old National Library building - BAM10
  • Urban Adventures - Scars and Smiles - EUR24
  • Urban Adventures - Story of Sarajevo - EUR49
  • Museum of Sarajevo 1878–1918 - BAM4
  • Despica House - BAM3
  • Brusa Bezistan - BAM3
  • Sarajevo Cable Car - BAM20
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Rise early to take the train from Sarajevo to Mostar (approximately 3 hours), a beautiful town in the high mountains of Herzegovina. You may well have heard of Mostar for its famous Stari Most: the Old Bridge from which young men traditionally jump into the Neretva River. It's thanks to this river that the city was able to develop in an otherwise barren landscape, and Mostar quickly became the region's trading centre before being heavily bombed during the war. It has since been rebuilt and its World Heritage-listed Old Town is a maze of alleys and cobblestones. Make sure to post up next to river and watch the brave divers hurl themselves off the bridge. We don't recommend that travellers jump as the bridge is super high and the water is absolutely freezing. Later in the afternoon, you and your group will continue to Budva (approximately 4 hours), where you'll spend the night.
Accommodation
  • Pension (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Mostar War Photo Exhibition - BAM6
  • Mostar Koski Mehmed Pasa Mosque & Minaret - BAM6
  • Mostar Old Bridge Museum - BAM5
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Wake up in Montenegro's prime beach resort, Budva. Take a quick walk around town with your leader to orientate yourself, then enjoy free time to explore. Budva has a beautiful Old City and a stunning coastline, so have a look around and be sure to relax on the beach and take swim in the azure Adriatic Sea. If you are feeling more energetic, why not head by bus to the beautiful Bay of Kotor, Europe's most southerly fjord. Kotor is a 5th-century, World Heritage-listed town, sitting in the shadow of towering peaks in a secluded bay. The picturesque Old Town is quintessential Eastern Europe – winding cobblestone alleys, terracotta roofs, ancient fortifications and, weirdly, cats. So many cats.
Accommodation
  • Pension (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cruise on Kotor Fjord - EUR30
  • Kotor Fortress - EUR3
  • Bus Ride to Kotor - EUR6
  • Boat Trip to Island of St. Nicholas - EUR3
  • Mogren Beach - Free
  • SUP Board Rental (per hour) - EUR15
  • Sea Kayak Rental (half day) - EUR20
  • Snorkelling Equipment Hire - EUR10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave Montenegro for the beautiful southern coast of Croatia, arriving in Dubrovnik after approximately 2.5 hours. Today is free for you to explore Dubrovnik, one of Europe's most popular destinations, as you see best. A walk along the city walls is a must-do, especially if you happen to be a Game of Thrones fan. From here you'll not only recognise scenes from the TV series, but also enjoy views of the glittering Adriatic, so don't forget your camera. Other sights include the 13th-century Franciscan monastery and the Sponza and Rector's palaces, which were the only Renaissance buildings to survive an earthquake and fire in 1668. If you've seen enough, why not look for the hole-in-the-wall bar where you can relax on the rocks, drink a cold beer and spend some time swimming. There are also several beaches just outside the walls on which to unwind. In the evening, why not get your group together for a delicious Mediterranean meal and, if you feel like it, a few drinks at one of the town’s bars.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend free time in Dubrovnik, one of Croatia's most bewitching seaside cities. Continue to explore the charming Old Town, or simply enjoy the city's lively outdoor cafe culture. Alternatively why not rent a sunbed and umbrella at the city beach, or the beaches south of town.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Mt Srd Cable Car - HRK150
  • Lokrum Island Boat Trip - HRK150
  • War Photography Museum - HRK50
  • Game of Thrones Tour - HRK200
  • Museum of Croatian War of Independence - Mt Srd - HRK30
  • Three Islands Boat Cruise - HRK300
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
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.
This morning, take a local bus to Kotor in mighty Montenegro. Spend some free time exploring this terracotta-lined medieval town, perhaps walking up Kampana tower to see the surrounding turquoise waters and limestone cliffs or finding one of the many churches dotted around the relatively small town. Continue on to Stari Bar – the old town of Bar. Stepping inside the walls, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time, so spend the night like a medieval ruler. Perhaps try the area's typical drink, beer or wine with pomegranate juice, before exploring the compact town and its surroundings.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • St Tryphon's Cathedral - Free
  • Kotor Fortress - EUR3
  • Kotor Maritime Museum - EUR4
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Get your car games ready for a drive across the border into Albania. Once in Shkoder switch to a public bus to Tirana. Upon arrival, take a leader-led orientation walk around the city to get your bearings. Included for today is a visit to a history and contemporary art museum, Bunk’Art. This museum is quite the experience actually just to get to, as you’ll head through a long, dark tunnel in the hillside that leads you to the entrance, on the side of a still-active Albanian military base. From here, you’ll descend into 3000 square metres of underground space, which was originally meant as a bunker in the 1970s for Albania’s political elite. Now, it houses different exhibitions of Albanian modern history and contemporary art pieces. Afterwards you have time to explore this eclectic city. Perhaps head out to the Block for drinks.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bunk'Art Bunker Exhibition Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Time to get your hiking shoes on with a hike out of town to Pellumbas, Black Cave and Erzeni River. Firstly, drive out of Tirana to Pellumbas: a small village around 25 kilometres southeast of Tirana, where’ll you’ll pass through villages in the epicurean Erzeni Valley, passing the hilltop Petrela Castle. Once arrived, start hiking to the Black Cave and up Erzeni river canyon, where you’ll find that nature creeps up quickly – think tweeting birds, streaming rivers, and possibly the occasional turtle poking its head out. Continue into the huge entrance of Black Cave and explore the cavern with its spectacular stalactites. Afterwards, prepare for a descend to the rocky Erzeni River down a very steep forest trail. You’ll be rewarded with cool water pools flowing among giant boulders and trees. After a look around and a swim, head back to Tirana for the night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pellumbas & Black Cave Day Trip
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You’ll have a free morning in Tirana before taking our private minibus to Dhermi Beach: a stunning stretch of Albania’s coastline. You’ll have time to laze on the golden beaches and swim in the shimmering waters of the Adriatic. Spend some time at one of the beachside bars with your group – a night of good food and good company is definitely on the cards.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Sky Tower - ALL400
  • National History Museum - ALL700
  • National Art Gallery - ALL200
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Wake up on the calming shores of Dhermi Beach, with your day being as clear as the blue waters of the surrounding seas. There’s a range of optional activities that might take your fancy: think hiking, sea kayaking, or even a boat excursion to the Karaburun Peninsula. The best thing is that there’s no need to rush – go as fast or as slow as you want! Today, you call the shots. If you want some more recommendations on what to do, hit up your group leader – they know the ropes.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Boat Transfer to Pirate Cave - EUR8
  • Boat Trip to Pirate Cave, Pigeon’s Bay, Gjipe Bay (includes guide & picnic lunch) - EUR99
  • Day Trip to Llogara National Park (including transport, guide & lunch) - EUR86
  • Snorkelling Equipment Hire - EUR10
  • Sea Kayak Rental (half day) - EUR20
  • SUP Board Rental (per hour) - EUR15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave the sparkling Adriatic shores behind and take private transport to Gjirokaster, stopping at Blue Eye Spring en route. This feat of nature has to be seen to be believed – a kaleidoscope of blues and greens pulsating from a natural river spring from a depth of more than 50 metres. Take the time to explore the surrounding parks and take in the different vantage points of the spring. Onwards to Gjirokaster: a well-preserved Ottoman town in Albania’s south. Once arrived, visit one of the traditional tower houses with a local guide and taste their traditional coffee 'on the stone', roasted on the fire right in front of you. If you are lucky you may even get your fortune read. You’ll spend the night here, so explore the quaint cobblestoned streets and perhaps find some speca me glize (stuffed peppers) to have for dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Zekate Tower House
  • Gjirokaster Local Guide
  • Blue Eye Spring
  • Turkish Coffee 'on the Stone'
Optional Activities
  • Ismail Kadare's House - ALL200
  • Gjirokastra Fortress - ALL300
  • Ethnographic Museum - ALL200
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Hop on a local bus south to Saranda – a coastal resort town near the Albania-Greece border. Then, take a hydrofoil ferry to Corfu, an island off Greece’s northwest coast in the Ionian Sea. Corfu is known for its mountainous landscapes that extend to the shores, and its cultural heritage, spent under rule from Venetian, French and British influence, before being united with Greece in 1864. Your group leader will take you on an orientation walk near where you’re staying to direct you to the best places, and afterwards, the afternoon is free for you to explore every corner of the island, or simply pull up a towel on one of the island’s many beaches.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Palaiopoli Archaeological Site - EUR4
  • Paleokastritsa Monastery - Free
  • Mon Repos Summer Palace - EUR4
  • Archaeological Museum - EUR6
  • Corfu Fortifications - EUR5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
With no activities planned and no accommodation organised for tonight, you’re free to leave at any time. But, if shorelines and souvlakis are still on the cards, you don’t have to leave just yet! If you would like to spend more time on Corfu, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

12 breakfasts

Transport

Train, Public bus, Private vehicle, Metro, Taxi, Ferry

Accommodation

Hotel (5 nights), Hostel (8 nights), Pension (4 nights)

Included activities

  • Rakija Tasting with Locals
  • Hike to Yellow Bastion & White Fortress Viewpoints
  • Bunk'Art Bunker Exhibition Visit
  • Pellumbas & Black Cave Day Trip
  • Zekate Tower House
  • Gjirokaster Local Guide
  • Blue Eye Spring
  • Turkish Coffee 'on the Stone'

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A single supplement is not available on this trip.

Essential trip information

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