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Customer Reviews

Average Rating: Red-stars

Total number of reviews: 1,843

Journey Through The Balkans YD

Tour Duration 12 Days
  • Dubrovonik
  • Bridge over the Drina
  • Mostar
  • Sirogojno
  • Sargan Eight Railway
  • Tour Style: Classic
  • Tour Type: Small Groups
  • Tour Pace: Moderate
  • Tour Comfort: Standard
 

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16 reviews for this tour

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Tour notes

Each departure date has it's own dedicated tour note, detailing all you need to know about that tour. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

We have the following different versions of the Journey Through The Balkans tour available at present.

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10 , 10/12/13

Name

Patrizia Herde

Tour Name

Journey Through the Balkans

Tour Code

YD

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

The coast and the mountains in Montenegro, Sarajevo and Mostar were the places I enjoyed most. This tour constantly reminded me of the fact that history is always written by the winners! It was interesting to hear about the recent war from a different angle.

Tour Leader Name

Vesna

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Vesna was very kind, helpful and knowledgable. She and the two drivers Marco and Igor were a good team.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Keep an open mind, listen attentively to what your guides tell you and form your own opinion on the countries you visit and the recent history.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Don't forget your insect repellent! We got badly bitten in Montenegro and Serbia!

 
9 , 10/12/13

Name

Cornelia

Tour Name

Journey Through the Balkans

Tour Code

YD

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

There were many highlights. I liked getting an insight into the history and talking to people from all these countries that used to be one not long ago. Having read The Bridge Across the Drina, Visegrad was a special highlight to me.

Tour Leader Name

Vesna

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Very well organised and a very nice person, helpful and well informed about the whole area.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Just enjoy! :-)

 
7 , 08/12/13

Name

Kathy Cohen

Tour Name

Journey Through the Balkans

Tour Code

YD

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Sarajevo, being made so aware of the recent conflict and the nature of civil war even though I read about it at the time as was aware but this brought it 'home' to me.

Tour Leader Name

Sinisa

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Very professional and sensitive to the group and individuals' needs and differences. Interested and interesting and did his best at involving us all but careful to leave us if we chose.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Buy the guide books and read as much as you can to get a good contextual background as we see and learn so much in such a short time.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

This was just a last minute choice as the dates fitted in with the time I unexpectedly had. So I had no real expectations and had never thought about that part of the world. I learnt and saw so much, the scenery was splendid and varied and the trip encompassed a great variety of experiences.

 
9 , 03/12/13

Name

Tony Childs

Tour Name

Journey Through the Balkans

Tour Code

YD

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

The Sargan Eight railway, particularly coming down. Kotor and the Skadar lake would have been stunning had it not been pouring with rain. Similarly the Black Lake. After that the sun came out and all experiences good.

Tour Leader Name

Biljana (B)

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Excellent. Always cheerful and helpful. A great personality and good organiser. Very informative when asked (often) on the Balkan problems. The two drivers were excellent.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

When Croatian Airlines say 'meal' it is a misnomer - 4 small breadsticks, a pot of olive paste and two dried figs.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Wine cheap and good!

 
9 , 25/11/13

Name

David Turner

Tour Name

Journey through the Balkans

Tour Code

YD20JUL13

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

In a region where fantastic scenery is the norm, the highlights for me were the Sargan 8 Railway, the range of scenery in Montenegro along with the stays in Sarajevo and Mostar in Bosnia, which were both interesting and attractive places to visit.

Tour Leader Name

Vesna Topisirovic

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Vesna was friendly and very well informed.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Definitely remember to take some mosquito repellent for the evenings (Montenegro in particular)

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

I really enjoyed this tour of the Balkans. I don’t think there were any days when the whole group did not go out together in the evening for a meal (often with the drivers and our very knowledgeable tour leader Vesna) and that is indicative of how enjoyable this tour was.

 
10 , 25/11/13

Name

Ralph West

Tour Name

Journey through the Balkans

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

While we covered four countries in a short time, it felt unhurried and there were no crazily early starts. A holiday in fact! My highlights were the two nights in the Serbian countryside and hiking around the Black Lake in Montenegro.

Tour Leader Name

Vesna

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Vesna made sure that I left with far more knowledge of the region than I had when I arrived. Always responsive to any requests, she fixed up an extra trip to Podgorica I wanted to make. A thoroughly professional tour company!

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Relax! Vesna will take care of things. Both drivers drove very safely. They were kind enough to help with the luggage, but there are lots of stairs (and no lifts) in the hotels, so travelling light is better.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Look forward to the wine-tasting on the way to Trebinje!

 
8 , 24/11/13

Name

Mr & Mrs W Brabban

Tour Name

Journey through the Balkans

Tour Code

YD - 20/07/2013

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

There were too many to recount.This was an excellent and varied tour in all respects.

Tour Leader Name

Vesna

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Extremely good - all travel and hotel arrangements went like clockwork. Vesna was pleasant, approachable and always ready to share her detailed knowledge of this region and her passion for travelling around it.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Keep an open mind about the recent history of this region and the years of conflict.The wounds are still raw in some areas and it is important to be both tactful and discreet.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

There was one slight difficulty that we had never experienced before on an Explore trip. For all road journeys (some of which were lengthy) the group was divided into 2 separate vehicles. The drivers were brilliant and we were free to mix and match but it had the potential for the group to split into cliques and for overall cohesion to be lost.Fortunately this group bonded well!

 
10 , 22/11/13

Name

Roger

Tour Name

Journey through the Balkans

Tour Code

YD

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Mostar , climbing to the top of the castle a Kotor and a swim in the lake.

Tour Leader Name

Vesna

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Fantastic, relaxed and good fun. Knows a great deal about the Balkans and has the patience of a tree.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Go for it, enjoy both the outdoors and the towns.blisten to the guide about how and when to change your money because you can get in a right fix with the changes of currency. Go for a swim in the lake, it's beautiful.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

It was a great trip moving easily from country to country. I really enjoyed the ancient cabin replicas in Serbia. It was great to have such a sensitive tour leader who managed the discussions about the conflict very well. The food was good but too much as ever and we enjoyed the local wine. All the people we met were really friendly and helpful. It's a trip well worth doing.

 
9 , 22/11/13

Name

Julie Bakalor

Tour Name

Journey through the Balkans

Tour Code

YD

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Coming face to face with the history of the area

Tour Leader Name

Visna Topisirovic

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Excellent

 
10 , 15/08/13

Name

Thomas Jackson

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

There were many! Sarajevo, with its troubled history and mixture of cultures,peoples and religions [Ottoman,Austro-Hungarian,Serb and Croat], Muslim, Catholic and Orthodox. A town that held the Winter Olympics in 1984, but which subsequently was blighted by war. Thankfully, it is now on the mend and has plenty to see and do.... wander the markets, an ice-cream in hand; visit the churches,mosques and museums; see the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand; take a tram ride, or just soak up the "historical atmosphere". And a mention of the night spent at the open air museum in Sirogojno (Serbia)....sleeping in wooden cabins, in the tranquility of the forest...a bit like the Serbs might have done 100 years ago, except we had electricity and hot showers!

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

"B" was brilliant. She was so enthusiastic and good-humoured,knowledgeable and well-organised. The tour meant a lot to her...a chance to tell visitors about the turbulent times that had affected this part of the Balkans over the last 20 years, and to give a Serbian-perspective on what had happened. So much so that once or twice, she was moved to tears. She apologised but no apologies were needed. We were all really grateful to have a tour leader who believed passionately in her work, and in her country. A word of praise also for Igor..our driver for most of the journey. Smooth driving on mountain roads, backed up by lots of local knowledge and experience.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Just enjoy the mixture of town and countryside; coast and mountain; minibus and train ride; modern and old. Speak to the local people....they all seemed eager to talk, and tell you about their towns and villages. Try all the optional "excursions"....the boatrip on Skadar Lake, the Sargan Eight railway, and the monastery and wine tasting at Tvrdos. They are all good value and enjoyable experience.....and take insect repellent, for the lakeside walks!

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Nothing..other than yet another good Explore trip.

 
4 Catherine Mcquillan , 31/12/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

 

"The country side. Limestone  mountains, valleys, gorges  covered in trees with stunning autumn colours. 

The breakfasts were generally plentiful and a good range . Reasonable standard of accommodation across all countries, ranged in size but clean."

 

 

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10 Karen Foster, 28/08/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

The most memorable part of the tour was staying in the Open Air Museum in Serbia. The museum was interesting and the location was really beautiful up in the mountains in amongst the trees. We stayed in log houses - they were very comfortable and well appointed. We had a fabulous dinner of local dishes along with some lovely local wine sitting at wooden tables outside the small restaurant on sight and slept really well in the quiet of the forest. In the morning we had traditional dishes prepared for our breakfast and it was the best spread we were prepared all holiday.

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10 Eileen Scholes, 28/06/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

"The whole trip was very good,  very relaxing with 09.00 departures each day !  Quite an experience with Explore. The stay in the Open Air Museum was great fun."

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0 Michael Peterson, 27/10/11

An excellent, well thought out holiday, especially as this was the first year the holiday has been run. With any escorted trip, the guide makes the holiday. This one was no exception. B was excellent, very helpful, patient, and on top of it all had a good sense of humour. The tour visits four countries in 12 days, but manages to do justice to all of them.  The accommodation in Serbia was a special surprise. One was an open air museum with buildings built as in previous centuries, but with all mod cons. The other was a former film set, with accommodation and restaurants. (Have you ever seen a stretched Trabant?!) Both places were unusual, but excellent.  

Remember to take Euros to exchange for Serbian Dinars. In Serbia we go to out of the way places, where Sterling is not accepted.  Overall, an outstanding holiday. Well done Explore. (YD -14th August 2011)

 
0 Jenny McNeil, 20/06/11
This trip into the Balkans was a series of contrasts. Croatia is already an established tourist destination. Montenegro, is the most beautiful country for outdoor activities with mountains, lakes, monasteries. The walk around the Black Lake was one of the highlights of my trip. Serbia, we only cut through a corner visiting a museum of traditional wooden houses and riding on a preserved railway which snaked its way up a steep hillside to a plateau town above. Judging Serbia by this little slice would be like coming to England but only visiting the Lake District, but what I saw I liked and it inspired me to plan a weekend in Belgrade to see more of the country. Bosnia showed us the contrasting historic cities of Sarajeveo with its Turkish and Austrian parts sandwiched together, and Mostar, a little oriental town on the edge of Europe with the iconic bridge restored after its destruction during the Balkan war. The cities are so very different from each other, both photogenic and interesting. Plus of course, we visited the legendary Bridge over the River Drina, and then ended the trip in the sleepy little town of Trebinje  just over the border from Dubrovnic, where we saw how ordinary people go about their daily lives. Beyond Croatia the tourist infrastructure is mostly geared up for local/internal tourism, but everywhere we went the people were welcoming, the food was fresh and plentiful, and there was some excellent beer! Visiting the Balkans was a fascinating entry into a region about which I had heard much but in reality knew little. (YD - 22nd May 2011)
 
0 Gill Stafford, 14/06/11
Tracing a large circle from Dubrovnik Airport this tour took the first group of Explorians to uncharted Explore territory.  Leaving the small crowded Old City of Dubrovnik behind we travelled to Montenegro where a day traversing Kotor Bay by our privately chartered motorboat proved interesting and relaxing though the climb up to Kotor Old Town Fort proved challenging for some of the Group. The following morning two gleaming minibuses with smiling drivers arrived to carry us on our further travels. Lake Skadar provided viewings of cormorants, egrets and a grebe chick hitching a ride onmum's back! This was a journey of contrasts as we stayed high in a mountain village walking to the picturesque black Lake; the Mokpa Ropa railway ride rivalled the Rocky Mountaineer for views; magnificent bridges spanned rivers and we visited monastries, churches and mosques. City walking tours of Sarajevo and Mostar explained history in olden and not so olden times.  Accomodation included night in a forest hut and a stay on the filmset used to make 'The Miracle of Life'. The tour leader, Sunisha proved an excellent guide/interpreter and at our final dinner both drivers stood and said how much they had enjoyed our trip too! A highly recommended tour in unspoilt and stunning countryside. Thanks to Ace Adventure Tours of Serbia who work with Explore on this tour. Tip: be prepared for a lot of stairs with few handrails and do bring a torch. (YD - 23rd May 2011)
 
 
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