almost 5 decades, the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia (which roughly translates
to ‘Southern Slav Land’) consisted of the territories of Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. The Republic
was led by the charismatic former partisan Josip Broz Tito until his death in
1980. In the years following his death, economic and political tension began to
boil before erupting into the blood soaked Yugoslav wars in 1992. This lead to
the breakup of Yugoslavia, ethnic cleansing and widespread poverty.
have been pioneering adventure travel to the seven countries that make up the
lands of the former Yugoslavia for around eight years. Whether as part of our
scheduled Eurasian, Ultimate Yugoslavia, Balkan Winter tours or as part of
private tours. The incredible natural scenery, hospitable locals, blends of
cultures and languages from various empires, fascinating ancient history and
harrowing modern history as a result of the recent conflicts provide a unique
travel destination unlike any other.
have a wide range of incredible locations featured on our tour, from the war
torn, Ottoman style city of Sarajevo which was the site of the longest siege in
history during the Balkans war to the divided city of Mitrovica ethnically
split between Albanians and Serbs and from the Communist Bloc style city of
Sarajevo with the mausoleum of Tito to the vibrant capital of Tirana in Albania
where Mercedes Benz park next to crumbling Communist era military bunkers in
the street, designed by the paranoid Communist regime for a Western invasion
that never came. Our local contacts and years of experiences and relations
gained on the ground ensure we can visit many sites not visited by other
Arrival into Skopje at your own leisure, check into our local hotel and meet your YPT tour guide and the rest of the group arriving as part of our wider Eurasian tour at 15:00
After getting settled, we will take a walk into town and have some lunch at Bella Vista restaurant on the waterfront.
City tour of Skopje for some good old-fashioned Soviet Stone architecture. See the many, many statues that make up the city and pay a visit to the Mother Theresa house.
Walk to Old Town and check out the Grand Bazar.
Quick walk up to the castle grounds then a final walk through the city (beautiful when lit up!).
Drinks and dinner in the Old Bazaar.
Overnight in Skopje.
Wednesday 18th November
We’ll depart early and meet our driver who will be taking us to Pristina, Kosovo.
On the way, we’ll stop at the famous Matka Canyon, a stunning natural beauty spot and one of the most famous attractions in Macedonia. We’ll enjoy a short hike here and lunch overlooking the lake.
Afternoon arrival and we check into our very comfortable private apartments at in Pristina. The apartments are run by a very hospitable Kosovan family who kept this business going even through the darkest days of the Kosovo war.
We’ll then head downtown and check out the fascinating ethnographic museum detailing life in a traditional Kosovar home in centuries gone by.
We’ll then visit the museum of Kosovo with discarded artillery and weapons left over from the war. Usually devoid of visitors, this museum details the ancient history of this land and covers their brutal fight for independence.
We’ll then head to a local Kosovan restaurant for delicious food and to warm ourselves up with their homemade rakija!
Overnight in private apartment in Pristina.
Thursday 19th November
We get up early to board our private bus for the extremely scenic four hour drive to Brod.
Brod is populated by the Gorani people. The Gorani have a total population of roughly 50,000 people. They are primarily sheep and cattle herders, but also have a cartel network of dessert/sweet shops. They live in a very geographically small mountainous area of the most southern part of Kosovo, in and near the city of Dragash just south of Prizren. The Gorani have their own language, which is a Torlakian Slavic language, related to Serbian and Macedonian, with Albanian and Turkish loanwords.
We will stop for lunch at the new hotel that has been built just on the outskirts of Brod.
We take our time walking around the old village, where there are numerous chances for some great photos and some wonderful hiking routes.
The village was heavily damaged during the Kosovo war as both Serbian troops and Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) militias operated in the area. Many homes are still ruined by artillery and NATO strikes and some of the walls of buildings are still daubed with ‘Allah hu akbar’’, faded graffiti left by the KLA.
A chance for dinner and drinks with Brod’s very famous “Borat,” a somewhat local celebrity that usually comes to meet our groups and is very happy to have a drink and have photos taken.
Leisurely drive back to Pristina.
Overnight at private apartment.
Friday 20th November
We wake up early and grab breakfast before heading to the bus station for the short bus journey to Mitrovica.
This tense and divided city has been the scene of numerous bloody fights and international incidents. Divided into two parts by a river, Kosovar and Serbian, each side is like crossing into a different nation.
We will arrive on the Kosovar side and grab lunch in a local restaurant, before exploring the sights on this side of the river.
We then cross the tense bridge, guarded by international peacekeepers, and enter the Serbian side. We will see huge political murals honouring Serb commanders, generals, and paramilitaries as well as visit a bizarre souvenir shop that sells every pro-Russian, pro-Putin and pro-Serbian thing you can imagine.
We then take a leisurely walk to the top of the town, where there is an awesome Communist monument and incredible views over this divided city, you will likely see some international Black Hawk helicopters patrolling the city from here.
We cross back into the Kosovar side and catch the bus back to Pristina.
On arrival we start our city tour of Pristina, taking in things like the Bill Clinton statue, and stroll past the university to the Grand Hotel and UNMIK, the Skenderberg monument and the new Government Building, then the historic mosques and the tight lanes of the Old Quarter. You will see cafes, street market stalls, kids hawking cigarettes and phone cards, plus the vibrant community life of Kosovo’s biggest city.
Free time back at the hotel before we head out for a group dinner in an awesome local restaurant, where you will be brought numerous local dishes until you can take no more!
Overnight in Pristina.
Saturday 21st November
A free morning in Kosovo before we meet up at midday to head to Albania, we’ll enjoy a scenic drive through the Albanian mountains stopping for photo opportunities and lunch on the way.
Evening arrival in Tirana and check into the centrally located hotel.
Head out in the evening for some awesome Albanian food, followed by Rakia in a spinning sky bar in downtown Tirana. Doesn’t drinking grape-based moonshine while spinning in a circle at the top of one of Tirana’s tallest buildings sound like a great idea?
Overnight in Tirana.
Sunday 22nd November
Breakfast at the hotel before an extensive city tour of Albania, we will see many relics of the Communist regime, including a bizarre and foreboding pyramid that is perfect for climbing up for those who are brave enough!
Lunch at one of Tirana’s many great restaurants, with the option to eat in the ironic KFC that now overlooks the former home of Enver Hoxha.
We then head to the infamous house of leaves, this was the surveillance centre that the communist authorities used to spy on the population of Albania, foreign embassies and the rare foreign tourists that dared to enter the country back then.
We then pay a visit to one of Tirana’s best kept secrets: a collection of hulking Soviet statues hidden beneath an alleyway. While it is not allowed to enter, as always, your YPT guide can get around it and allow you to get some great shots of Tirana’s former Lenin and Stalin monuments!
We then head to one of the vast former government bunkers of the Hoxha regime, this is where the running of the country would have been coordinated from in the event of an expected nuclear war and is a great insight into the advanced paranoia of the regime.
In the late afternoon we grab our bags and meet our driver for the drive to Montenegro!
On arrival to the ancient walled city of Budva, we’ll check into our rooms and head out for dinner by the sea.
Overnight in Budva, Montenegro
Monday 23rd November
After breakfast we’ll put our bags in the van and kick off an action packed tour of the beautiful Montenegro coastline! We will see Saint Stefan, Budva, Kotor and other little villages around the area. This really is one of the most beautiful parts of Europe but is still relatively untouched.
We’ll see the marina full of yachts belonging to Russian billionaires, Broz Tito’s former holiday yacht and the maritime museum featuring original Yugoslav attack submarines!
We’ll be dropped at the train station in the evening and after dinner nearby we will jump on our overnight Yugoslavia era train to Belgrade.
As this train has no dining cart, we will stack up on drinks and snacks before we depart and can happily drink the night away on board.
Overnight on the train
Tuesday 24th November
Early morning arrival into Belgrade where we will exchange some local cash and head to our hotel for the night: a former Yugoslavian cruise ship now turned into a floating hotel!
After a rest and freshen up at the hotel we head out to explore Belgrade and join a Communist tour. Find out the most interesting stories about former Yugoslavia, World War II, Tito’s life, Youth relay baton movement, 90’s war, NATO bombing of Serbia and Montenegro in 1999 and democratic changes at the beginning of the third millennium. Visit Museum of Yugoslav history which is also a resting place for the lifetime president of Yugoslavia, Tito.
We’ll also see such sites as the Republic Square, Bohemian Quarter, Kalemegdan Park, and the Belgrade Fortress.
Explore the grounds of rival teams Red Star Belgrade and Partizan Belgrade, whose stadiums are covered in interesting political graffiti. Both of these teams have infamous gangs of Ultras, many of whom formed ruthless paramilitary squads during the 90’s wars.
We’ll then head out to sample the delicious local cuisine. Tonight, we will go to Skadarlija – the pedestrian street through in which old Belgradian music constantly travels. As if the bars, restaurants, and music weren’t enough to keep us entertained on this street, it is also home to incredible artwork which adorn the blank-walled buildings on the south side.
Stay out as late as you desire – Belgrade has many, many busy party spots on a Saturday night!
Overnight in Belgrade.
Wednesday 25th November
After breakfast on board the hotel, we’ll board our private transport to the war torn capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Sarajevo.
The drive to Bosnia is stunning and takes in rolling mountain scenery.
Arriving in the late evening, we’ll check into our accommodation downtown for a short rest before heading back out to town to warm ourselves up with traditional burek (meat pie) and local wine.
Overnight in Sarajevo.
Thursday 26th November
We head out and grab breakfast in Sarajevo, for coffee lovers, Bosnian coffee is incredible!
We then meet our local guides and minibus for an excursion to the tunnel of hope, a war-damaged home with a tunnel network underneath that is now a museum and a fascinating insight into the lifeline of this city when it was under the longest siege in history.
After this we head to the Serbian side of Sarajevo, complete with Ratko Mladic banners lining the streets. We continue up to the mountain that overlooks Sarajevo and provides stunning views. We then explore the bobsleigh track from the 1984 Olympics, surrounded by bunkers, this eerie monument has been left to decay since the war but provides excellent urban exploration and photography opportunities. On the way we will have the chance to explore many war-damaged abandoned buildings.
We head back down into Sarajevo, stopping at the spot where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was dramatically assassinated, an event which sparked the first world war, before grabbing lunch nearby.
Begin the Sarajevo war tour, covering sights related to siege time, such as the Sarajevo roses, Children’s memorial, Post office, Canned beef memorial, Sniper Alley, Holiday Inn hotel. The tour will also feature personal stories from the war from the local guide.
Free time in the evening before exploring the Ottoman style old town, its markets and sampling some of the amazing Sarajevo cuisines before winding down with some drinks.
Overnight in Sarajevo hotel
Friday 27th November
Catch the morning bus from Sarajevo to Zagreb. As this bus is during the daytime, we will enjoy incredible Balkan scenery as we make our way from Bosnia to Croatia.
We’ll pass through many war ravaged and forgotten towns and cities across Bosnia before we arrive in Zagreb at around 20:00 – a perfect time to check in, wash up and head out for some food.
We will walk from the hotel, through the Christmas market and pick up some mulled wine and food from the fair.
Overnight at Zagreb hotel.
Saturday 28th November
Wake up and try some delicious Croatian breakfast!
After breakfast, we’ll visit the WW2 underground tunnels and the basement used as a shelter during the air raids on Zagreb as well as learn more about life during the communist era in Zagreb, the fall of Yugoslavia and recent turbulent years of Croatian history
We’ll take a walk around the Museum of bombing of Zagreb before taking a funicular to the top of the city and visiting the unique and bizarre museum of broken relationships.
Free time in the city before meeting up in the evening for a meal of hearty Croatian food
In the evening, we will depart on the three-hour train to Ljubljana, Slovenia.
After checking into our hotel, we’ll head out for some food and enjoy the local Christmas markets.