Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Balkan Explorer tour
Skopje Sofia Balkan Explorer Trip
Culinary & Wine Culture Balkan Explorer package

Balkan Explorer

Exodus Travels Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
99%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
10 days
From: $ 2,049 $ 205 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Discover Skopje and Sofia- two of the Balkan's most vibrant capitals
  • Bulgaria's UNESCO world heritage Rila Monastery
  • Macedonia's Tikvesh wine region and alluring Lake Ohrid
  • Visit Prizren, Kosovo's culture capital
  • Natural beauty, ancient sites and traditional Balkan cuisine

Short Description

Discover the rich history of Bulgaria, Macedonia and Kosovo, where influences from the East and West collide. This trip showcases some of the cultural highlights of a less visited region of the Balkans, famous for ancient civilisations, UNESCO world heritage monasteries and the vibrant, laidback capital cities of Sofia and Skopje. Having been under numerous occupations throughout the ages, both Bulgaria and Macedonia have an eclectic history where Ottoman, Communist and Roman rule have all left their mark. But a visit to this region of the Balkans would not be complete without experiencing the contrasting natural beauty it has to offer; national parks, waterfalls, famous wine regions and the peaceful alluring Lake Ohrid are all part of this comprehensive itinerary.Discover Macedonia and get a taste of Bulgaria and Kosovo

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City Sofia
End City Sofia Airport

Travel Theme

Cultural Culinary & Wine

Destinations

Bulgaria Kosovo Macedonia

Cities & Attractions

Skopje Sofia

Activities

Culture History

Age Requirement

16

N/A
See more

Trip Includes

  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • Transfers for group flights

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Itinerary

Flight Inclusive

Day 1 Fly to Sofia, Bulgaria; sightseeing tour of city.

The trip commences in the afternoon at the hotel in Sofia, where after a main briefing, there will be a walking sightseeing tour (approx. 2 hours) of the centre of the Bulgarian capital. Nestled under Vitosha Mountain, Sofia is a laidback city with an eclectic mix of history reflecting its 2000 years of occupation under the Greeks, Romans, Ottomans and Communists. Today it is known for its diverse landmarks, communist architecture, orthodox churches, manicured gardens and vast boulevards. The walking tour will take in all of Sofia's sights including Sveta Nedelya Square with the Sveta Nedelya Church, Independence Square with the St. Sofia statue, the Catholic cathedral of St.Joseph, excavated Roman ruins of the ancient Serdica, the Council of Ministers former House of the Communist Party, Rotunda of St.George, the mosque and covered market, the Russian orthodox church, the Bulgarian Parliament and the monument of the Russian Emperor Alexander. The evening is free for you to explore or join the group for an optional welcome dinner. *Hotel Sofia Place or similar*

Day 2 Transfer to Melnik stopping at UNESCO sites Boyana Church and the famous Rila Monastery en route. Free afternoon upon arrival into Melnik.

After breakfast, we begin our transfer towards our second stop, the picturesque town of Melnik. En route we first visit the Boyana Church, a small mediaeval orthodox church listed as a world UNESCO cultural heritage site, located in a suburb of Sofia. Despite the church's small size, its frescoes are historically significant and part of an artistic achievement that started the technique illustrating biblical figures with emotions, and placing them alongside local aristocracy. The second UNESCO world heritage site we visit is perhaps the most famous in Bulgaria, the Rila Monastery (approximately 2 hour transfer from Sofia). The monastery is a must-see sight for anyone who visits the region and is regarded as one of Bulgaria's most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments. The combination of arcaded balconies, unique frescoes (the work of one of the most famous Bulgarian Revival Period artists), the gilded iconostasis, and the fabulous mountain views make a visit to this 10th Century monastery truly extraordinary. During our visit, your leader will be able to tell you its history and there will be plenty of time to explore with the option of lunch at one of the restaurants near the monastery complex. After lunch, we transfer to the small town of Melnik, the smallest Bulgarian settlement with a city status, known for its historic architecture. We have a quick visit to Kordopulova house, the biggest house from the Revival Period built in 1754 by the Kordopul family. Here we will become familiar with old Melnik traditions and architecture. The rest of the day is free to explore Melnik. *Hotel Melnik or similar*

Day 3 Morning visit to the Smolare waterfall. After lunch transfer to the wine region of Tikvesh for evening wine tasting via the ancient town of Stobi.

This morning we bid farewell to Bulgaria and head into Macedonia via the Novo Selo border crossing in the area of Strumica. Our first stop will be the Smolare waterfall (approximately 1.5 hours transfer), located above the village of Smolare in the south eastern region of the country. The waterfall is part of the Lomnica River and is located deep in Mount Belasica at an elevation of 630 metres. Crashing down the smooth, black rock face, and surrounded by 100 year old beech trees, this waterfall is a popular natural attraction for many visitors to the region. To reach the majestic beauty of the falls, we must wind our way up a path that includes 300 stone steps. From the waterfall, we visit the nearby village of Smolare where we stop for lunch in an authentic restaurant. There will be time to stretch our legs as we go on a short walk around the centre. In the afternoon, we transfer to the famous wine region of Tikvesh (approximately 1.5 hours transfer). En route we stop at the famous archaeological site of Stobi (approximately 30 min transfer). The ancient town of Stobi is mentioned for the first time in 197 B.C, but can be traced back at least 400 years earlier. The preserved buildings of the town include a theatre built in the 2nd Century and luxurious palaces with fountains, mosaics and frescoes. A total of 18 mosaics have been discovered in Stobi, all illustrating stylised animals worked in soft green, deep blue, ochre and reddish tones. In the late afternoon, we check in at our hotel-winery and spend a relaxing evening wine tasting a selection of premium Macedonian wines over dinner. Macedonian wine has taken a central role in society since the Roman times, when the ruling emperors favoured its grapes. Thanks to an abundance of sunshine, Mediterranean and Continental breezes and rich rocky soil, the grapes thrive in Macedonia. *Gardenia Hotel & Spa or similar*

Day 4 Morning visit to archaeological site and town of Heraclea Lyncestis. Transfer to city of Bitola after lunch and enjoy a walking tour and visit the old bazaar.

After a relaxed breakfast with views of the vineyard, we head towards the city of Bitola. Our first stop is the ancient town and archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis, located on the outskirts of Bitola where we enjoy a private tour. Heraclea was founded by Philip II of Macedonia in the IV century BC after he had conquered the surrounding region of Lyncestis and incorporated it into his kingdom of Macedon. The city was named in honour of the mythological hero Heracles, whom Philip considered his ancestor. With its strategic location, it became a prosperous city. Each object, each stone, each pedestal is shrouded in mystery. In the afternoon we transfer (approximately 1.5 hours) to the second largest city in Macedonia, Bitola. The city was known as Macedonia's unofficial capital during the Ottoman reign. It was a major political, economic and cultural centre of the Balkans, rivalled only by Thessaloniki. Many foreign countries have had their consulates in Bitola, therefore it is also known as the 'City of Consuls.' After checking into our hotel and lunch in a local restaurant, our leader will take you on a sightseeing walk of the centre of Bitola, which will include the famous street of Shirok Sokak and the Stara Carsija (Old Bazaar). You may wish to enjoy a coffee in one of the old cafes and learn about the coffee culture of Bitola and the significance it has had on this city over the centuries. *Hotel Teater or similar*

Day 5 Pelister N.P, lunch in Dihovo, transfer to Lake Ohrid

Given that Bitola was on the front-line of the so called 'Macedonian' front during WW1, it is safe to say that it witnessed unparalleled horrors during that time. Today, remnants of the war, such as disused bunkers, can still be found in the surrounding mountains. After breakfast, we transfer to the Pelister National Park to walk 'The Path of the First World War' through picturesque landscapes and learn about the history of the area during WW1. Lunch is then arranged in the nearby village of Dihovo, in the garden of a local family home. Here we also have the opportunity to explore the fascinating world of the honeybee as we join one of the local beekeepers where he will share the hidden secrets of bees and beekeeping. During the demonstration, protective clothing will be worn and there will be the chance to extract honey from the comb for tasting afterwards. There will also be an opportunity to purchase some honey if you wish.  In the afternoon we will transfer from Dihovo to Ohrid, enjoying scenic drive via the Galicica national park, we have a short en route stop at a viewpoint where we can see both the Ohrid and Prespa lakes. Arrival at our Ohrid hotel in the late afternoon hours. Overnight in Ohrid. *Park Lakeside or similar*

Day 6 Morning visit to the Vevcani Springs, followed by lunch in the village; Free afternoon in Ohrid.

This morning after breakfast we do a walking sightseeing tour of some of the famous sites in Ohrid including the church of St. Sofia, King Samuil's Fortress and the Amphitheatre. Ohrid is the largest city on the lake and is well known for allegedly having 365 churches at one point during the Middle Ages; each church was dedicated to a particular saint. This is why it has often been referred to as a 'Jerusalem (of the Balkans).' Nowadays there are around 60 churches in Ohrid and the surrounding area. Both the lake and town are listed as cultural and natural world heritage sites by UNESCO and are popular destinations in summer. The old town boasts cobbled stone streets, traditional restaurants, lakeside cafes and historic monuments which all contribute to its atmospheric charm. Situated on the lake, the town also has a lovely little boardwalk giving Ohrid a pleasant laid back vibe where you can relax later in the afternoon. For those interested, there is the opportunity to visit the nearby village of Vevcani, famous for its beautiful springs (alternatively you might enjoy a free day at Lake Ohrid). The springs are especially beautiful to visit during the summer; isolated by a very dense forest, the water flows over very rocky terrain and under wooden bridges, the sound is mesmerizing and quite powerful. The largest waterfall is located at the opening of one of the many caves that you can find in the region. Below, there are ten other minor springs that converge in their flow. After exploring this unique setting, we can enjoy optional lunch at one of the few traditional restaurants in the village. After lunch, we return to Ohrid and will enjoy a free afternoon. In the evening we will transfer to the outskirts of Ohrid (approximately 30 mins), to the village of Kuratica, where a local family will prepare a delicious home cooked dinner in their family home. Overnight in Ohrid. *Park Lakeside or similar*

Day 7 Morning visit Tetovo Mosque. Afternoon walking tour of Prizren.

After breakfast, we check out and transfer from Ohrid to Prizren in Kosovo. En route we stop at the Painted Mosque of Tetovo, one of the oldest and most notable Islamic monuments in Europe; due to its unique decorative style. From here we head to the nearby village of Varvara, where the local village community will prepare a traditional lunch on their beautiful terrace overlooking the Polog valley. We will arrive in Prizren mid afternoon, Kosovo's culture capital. Kosovo's second biggest city is rich with history and traditions and is surrounded by incredible nature. Throughout history, Prizren has played a vital role in the region. The city is known in this region of the Balkans for its gastronomy and wines, traditional handicrafts and wonderful mix of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. Once all checked in and after a short rest, the guide will take us on an orientation walk around the city. We will see the most famous sites of Prizren including the Kalaja (Fortress), the Sinan Pasha Mosque, the Gazi Mehmet Pasha Hammam. Free evening in Prizren.  *Hotel Cleon or similar*

Day 8 Transfer to Skopje visiting the Monastery of Gracanica along the way. Late afternoon arrival into Skopje, followed by walking tour.

After an early breakfast, we transfer to the Macedonian capital, Skopje, stopping at a few famous sites in western Macedonia along the way.  Our first stop is at the Monastery of Gracanica, a UNESCO world heritage site since 2006. The area of Gracanica is one of the few remaining dominantly Serb populated areas in Kosovo. Optional lunch is arranged near the monastery. We arrive in Skopje in the late afternoon and have a short walking sightseeing tour of the new and old centre of Skopje including the Old Bazaar, the Stone Bridge and the controversial Skopje 2014 project. Like the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, Skopje also has a long history of occupation, and experienced Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman rule through the ages. Today it is a bustling and sometimes surreal metropolis thanks to the building craze of the Skopje 2014 project. However, if you delve beneath the surface you will discover a city with a complex history and fascinating sites! *Bushi Resort or similar*

Day 9 Free morning in Skopje before transferring back to Sofia.

Free morning in Skopje, before starting our return journey to Sofia. An optional lunch is arranged near the border in the town of Kriva Palanka, in Macedonia. We return to Sofia late afternoon and enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant where traditional dishes of Sofia are served. *Sofia Place Hotel or similar*

Day 10 Mid-morning transfer to Sofia Airport. Fly to London.

We have a leisurely morning form transferring back to Sofia Airport. The group flight back to London will depart in the early afternoon.



Land Only

Day 1 Start in the afternoon at the hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria. After the main briefing, there will be a 2 hour walking sightseeing tour of Sofia.

The trip commences in the afternoon at the hotel in Sofia, where after a main briefing, there will be a walking sightseeing tour (approx. 2 hours) of the centre of the Bulgarian capital. Nestled under Vitosha Mountain, Sofia is a laidback city with an eclectic mix of history reflecting its 2000 years of occupation under the Greeks, Romans, Ottomans and Communists. Today it is known for its diverse landmarks, communist architecture, orthodox churches, manicured gardens and vast boulevards. The walking tour will take in all of Sofia's sights including Sveta Nedelya Square with the Sveta Nedelya Church, Independence Square with the St. Sofia statue, the Catholic cathedral of St.Joseph, excavated Roman ruins of the ancient Serdica, the Council of Ministers former House of the Communist Party, Rotunda of St.George, the mosque and covered market, the Russian orthodox church, the Bulgarian Parliament and the monument of the Russian Emperor Alexander. The evening is free for you to explore or join the group for an optional welcome dinner. *Hotel Sofia Place or similar*

Day 2 Transfer to Melnik stopping at UNESCO sites Boyana Church and the famous Rila Monastery en route. Free afternoon upon arrival into Melnik.

After breakfast, we begin our transfer towards our second stop, the picturesque town of Melnik. En route we first visit the Boyana Church, a small mediaeval orthodox church listed as a world UNESCO cultural heritage site, located in a suburb of Sofia. Despite the church's small size, its frescoes are historically significant and part of an artistic achievement that started the technique illustrating biblical figures with emotions, and placing them alongside local aristocracy. The second UNESCO world heritage site we visit is perhaps the most famous in Bulgaria, the Rila Monastery (approximately 2 hour transfer from Sofia). The monastery is a must-see sight for anyone who visits the region and is regarded as one of Bulgaria's most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments. The combination of arcaded balconies, unique frescoes (the work of one of the most famous Bulgarian Revival Period artists), the gilded iconostasis, and the fabulous mountain views make a visit to this 10th Century monastery truly extraordinary. During our visit, your leader will be able to tell you its history and there will be plenty of time to explore with the option of lunch at one of the restaurants near the monastery complex. After lunch, we transfer to the small town of Melnik, the smallest Bulgarian settlement with a city status, known for its historic architecture. We have a quick visit to Kordopulova house, the biggest house from the Revival Period built in 1754 by the Kordopul family. Here we will become familiar with old Melnik traditions and architecture. The rest of the day is free to explore Melnik. *Hotel Melnik or similar*

Day 3 Morning visit to the Smolare waterfall. After lunch transfer to the wine region of Tikvesh for evening wine tasting via the ancient town of Stobi.

This morning we bid farewell to Bulgaria and head into Macedonia via the Novo Selo border crossing in the area of Strumica. Our first stop will be the Smolare waterfall (approximately 1.5 hours transfer), located above the village of Smolare in the south eastern region of the country. The waterfall is part of the Lomnica River and is located deep in Mount Belasica at an elevation of 630 metres. Crashing down the smooth, black rock face, and surrounded by 100 year old beech trees, this waterfall is a popular natural attraction for many visitors to the region. To reach the majestic beauty of the falls, we must wind our way up a path that includes 300 stone steps. From the waterfall, we visit the nearby village of Smolare where we stop for lunch in an authentic restaurant. There will be time to stretch our legs as we go on a short walk around the centre. In the afternoon, we transfer to the famous wine region of Tikvesh (approximately 1.5 hours transfer). En route we stop at the famous archaeological site of Stobi (approximately 30 min transfer). The ancient town of Stobi is mentioned for the first time in 197 B.C, but can be traced back at least 400 years earlier. The preserved buildings of the town include a theatre built in the 2nd Century and luxurious palaces with fountains, mosaics and frescoes. A total of 18 mosaics have been discovered in Stobi, all illustrating stylised animals worked in soft green, deep blue, ochre and reddish tones. In the late afternoon, we check in at our hotel-winery and spend a relaxing evening wine tasting a selection of premium Macedonian wines over dinner. Macedonian wine has taken a central role in society since the Roman times, when the ruling emperors favoured its grapes. Thanks to an abundance of sunshine, Mediterranean and Continental breezes and rich rocky soil, the grapes thrive in Macedonia. *Gardenia Hotel & Spa or similar*

Day 4 Morning visit to archaeological site and town of Heraclea Lyncestis. Transfer to city of Bitola after lunch and enjoy a walking tour and visit the old bazaar.

After a relaxed breakfast with views of the vineyard, we head towards the city of Bitola. Our first stop is the ancient town and archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis, located on the outskirts of Bitola where we enjoy a private tour. Heraclea was founded by Philip II of Macedonia in the IV century BC after he had conquered the surrounding region of Lyncestis and incorporated it into his kingdom of Macedon. The city was named in honour of the mythological hero Heracles, whom Philip considered his ancestor. With its strategic location, it became a prosperous city. Each object, each stone, each pedestal is shrouded in mystery. In the afternoon we transfer (approximately 1.5 hours) to the second largest city in Macedonia, Bitola. The city was known as Macedonia's unofficial capital during the Ottoman reign. It was a major political, economic and cultural centre of the Balkans, rivalled only by Thessaloniki. Many foreign countries have had their consulates in Bitola, therefore it is also known as the 'City of Consuls.' After checking into our hotel and lunch in a local restaurant, our leader will take you on a sightseeing walk of the centre of Bitola, which will include the famous street of Shirok Sokak and the Stara Carsija (Old Bazaar). You may wish to enjoy a coffee in one of the old cafes and learn about the coffee culture of Bitola and the significance it has had on this city over the centuries. *Hotel Teater or similar*

Day 5 Pelister N.P, lunch in Dihovo, transfer to Lake Ohrid

Given that Bitola was on the front-line of the so called 'Macedonian' front during WW1, it is safe to say that it witnessed unparalleled horrors during that time. Today, remnants of the war, such as disused bunkers, can still be found in the surrounding mountains. After breakfast, we transfer to the Pelister National Park to walk 'The Path of the First World War' through picturesque landscapes and learn about the history of the area during WW1. Lunch is then arranged in the nearby village of Dihovo, in the garden of a local family home. Here we also have the opportunity to explore the fascinating world of the honeybee as we join one of the local beekeepers where he will share the hidden secrets of bees and beekeeping. During the demonstration, protective clothing will be worn and there will be the chance to extract honey from the comb for tasting afterwards. There will also be an opportunity to purchase some honey if you wish.  In the afternoon we will transfer from Dihovo to Ohrid, enjoying scenic drive via the Galicica national park, we have a short en route stop at a viewpoint where we can see both the Ohrid and Prespa lakes. Arrival at our Ohrid hotel in the late afternoon hours. Overnight in Ohrid. *Park Lakeside or similar*

Day 6 Morning visit to the Vevcani Springs, followed by lunch in the village; Free afternoon in Ohrid.

This morning after breakfast we do a walking sightseeing tour of some of the famous sites in Ohrid including the church of St. Sofia, King Samuil's Fortress and the Amphitheatre. Ohrid is the largest city on the lake and is well known for allegedly having 365 churches at one point during the Middle Ages; each church was dedicated to a particular saint. This is why it has often been referred to as a 'Jerusalem (of the Balkans).' Nowadays there are around 60 churches in Ohrid and the surrounding area. Both the lake and town are listed as cultural and natural world heritage sites by UNESCO and are popular destinations in summer. The old town boasts cobbled stone streets, traditional restaurants, lakeside cafes and historic monuments which all contribute to its atmospheric charm. Situated on the lake, the town also has a lovely little boardwalk giving Ohrid a pleasant laid back vibe where you can relax later in the afternoon. For those interested, there is the opportunity to visit the nearby village of Vevcani, famous for its beautiful springs (alternatively you might enjoy a free day at Lake Ohrid). The springs are especially beautiful to visit during the summer; isolated by a very dense forest, the water flows over very rocky terrain and under wooden bridges, the sound is mesmerizing and quite powerful. The largest waterfall is located at the opening of one of the many caves that you can find in the region. Below, there are ten other minor springs that converge in their flow. After exploring this unique setting, we can enjoy optional lunch at one of the few traditional restaurants in the village. After lunch, we return to Ohrid and will enjoy a free afternoon. In the evening we will transfer to the outskirts of Ohrid (approximately 30 mins), to the village of Kuratica, where a local family will prepare a delicious home cooked dinner in their family home. Overnight in Ohrid. *Park Lakeside or similar*

Day 7 Morning visit Tetovo Mosque. Afternoon walking tour of Prizren.

After breakfast, we check out and transfer from Ohrid to Prizren in Kosovo. En route we stop at the Painted Mosque of Tetovo, one of the oldest and most notable Islamic monuments in Europe; due to its unique decorative style. From here we head to the nearby village of Varvara, where the local village community will prepare a traditional lunch on their beautiful terrace overlooking the Polog valley. We will arrive in Prizren mid afternoon, Kosovo's culture capital. Kosovo's second biggest city is rich with history and traditions and is surrounded by incredible nature. Throughout history, Prizren has played a vital role in the region. The city is known in this region of the Balkans for its gastronomy and wines, traditional handicrafts and wonderful mix of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. Once all checked in and after a short rest, the guide will take us on an orientation walk around the city. We will see the most famous sites of Prizren including the Kalaja (Fortress), the Sinan Pasha Mosque, the Gazi Mehmet Pasha Hammam. Free evening in Prizren.  *Hotel Cleon or similar*

Day 8 Transfer to Skopje visiting the Monastery of Gracanica along the way. Late afternoon arrival into Skopje, followed by walking tour.

After an early breakfast, we transfer to the Macedonian capital, Skopje, stopping at a few famous sites in western Macedonia along the way.  Our first stop is at the Monastery of Gracanica, a UNESCO world heritage site since 2006. The area of Gracanica is one of the few remaining dominantly Serb populated areas in Kosovo. Optional lunch is arranged near the monastery. We arrive in Skopje in the late afternoon and have a short walking sightseeing tour of the new and old centre of Skopje including the Old Bazaar, the Stone Bridge and the controversial Skopje 2014 project. Like the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, Skopje also has a long history of occupation, and experienced Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman rule through the ages. Today it is a bustling and sometimes surreal metropolis thanks to the building craze of the Skopje 2014 project. However, if you delve beneath the surface you will discover a city with a complex history and fascinating sites! *Bushi Resort or similar*

Day 9 Free morning in Skopje before transferring back to Sofia.

Free morning in Skopje, before starting our return journey to Sofia. An optional lunch is arranged near the border in the town of Kriva Palanka, in Macedonia. We return to Sofia late afternoon and enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant where traditional dishes of Sofia are served. *Sofia Place Hotel or similar*

Day 10 End Sofia.

This morning our tour ends after breakfast. Those on the group flight will be transferred to the airport in time for their early afternoon flight. 

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Price Per Day: $ 205 per day
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Start DateFinish DateDouble StandardDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Jul-04-2019Jul-13-2019$ 2,049Yes2 spots left Reserve
Sep-05-2019Sep-14-2019$ 2,149YesLimited Reserve
Sep-19-2019Sep-28-2019$ 2,099YesLimited Reserve
May-21-2020May-30-2020$ 2,149No8 spots left Reserve
Jun-11-2020Jun-20-2020$ 2,149No8 spots left Reserve
Jun-25-2020Jul-04-2020$ 2,149No8 spots left Reserve
Jul-09-2020Jul-18-2020$ 2,149No8 spots left Reserve
Aug-13-2020Aug-22-2020$ 2,149No8 spots left Reserve
Sep-03-2020Sep-12-2020$ 2,179No8 spots left Reserve
Sep-17-2020Sep-26-2020$ 2,179No8 spots left Reserve
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13,051 Exodus Travels Travel Reviews & Ratings

99%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 9,189
Great 3,171
Average 528
Disappointing 113
Terrible 50
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

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Company Reviews

ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I was introduced to Antarctica in the most amazing way. When we arrived there
was a blanket of heavy fog the team got us on the zodiac and navigated on
compass bearings. Suddenly like the curtain of a stage being pulled back we
sat in sky of blue surrounded by a wild and pristine environment.
See above. Watching whales breech. Smelling penguins before you could see
them. Filming Leopard seals with my gopro. You truely need to be awake 24hrs
a day and have eyes in the back of your head for this trip.


Shelly and the team were amazing. Their passion and commitment and tirless
effort to show what they love and care about the most was amazing


Do take European travel plugs for Ushuaia as well as American.


Enjoy everything this trip has to offer. Remember this is an expedition and
not a five star hotel as some travellers on my trip thought. Things can go
wrong and weather is unpredictable. A real once in a lifetime trip.


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ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Another fantastic trip to the wilderness that is Antarctica. Brilliant from
start to finish with awesome scenery and wildlife experiences throughout on a
fantastic ship.
Experiencing the beauty of both Oraca's and Humpback whales upclose to to
zodiacs and a brillient night spent camping on the Ice of Antartctica.


Woody was excellent from start to finish, extremely knowledgeable and
passionate about Antarctica, friendly, open and worked brilliantly with
the Ships Captain/Crew to get us lots of fantastic landings and cruising
opportunities. He was ably assisted by the rest of his expedition crew who
were all also fantastic.


Go... A definite must do atleast once in your life. Antarctica is awesome.


Although some people might conside this type of trip as being expensive,
I'd qualify it by saying this was my second trip to Antarctica and
althought it is not a cheap holiday it is great value for money, I
wouldn't have returned otherwise.The Ship is fantastic, food was
excellent and all the crew were so friendly, helpful and ofcourse
knowledgeable.


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ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
A holiday that exceeded all expectations. Stunning scenery, abundant
wildlife, a great team and a superb boat and crew
Seeing that being a penguin parent is true dedication!


"Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of
shape....." A quote from a member of the group that sums up Woody.
Excellent does also.


Book it NOW!


I knew we'd see a lot of wildlife and had hoped I'd see an albatross
- there were 6 gliding around the boat on the first day! The excesses just
got greater each dayafter that!


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ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
An absolutely amazing trip!  It had been a long time coming as I booked
it 18 months previously, but it did not disappoint.
There was so much that was fantastic....the sheer beauty and enormousness
(don’t know if that is a real word) of it all, unspoilt by humans, but
the most inspiring moment was watching an iceberg calve, and then because
its’ centre of gravity had changed, virtually turn over.......and I
think I was the only one sitting there watching it!   And yes,
Paul, I do have photographic evidence!!


Kirsten was professional, and made the best of the weather conditions.


Travelling to Ushuaia is very long and tedious, especially if you are on the
early flight from Gatwick to Madrid (8 hour wait at Madrid), and even if you
have been checked straight through to Ushuaia, you need to collect your
baggage, even if you have the domestic flight from the international terminal
(very confusing....nearly left my luggage at BA airport). 3 days
travelling on board without setting foot on land, can seem a long time, but
there are presentations given by various members of the expedition staff that
give you an insight to the Antarctic region, its wildlife, and history. You
can also go on deck if weather permits, or up to the bridge viewing platforms
to pass the time of day and take pictures of the birdlife, or icebergs on
your journey south.Once you make your first zodiac trip though, everything
previously is forgotten, and take Paul’s advice....don’t have
your viewfinder surgically implanted to your eye, make sure you take stock of
where you are, and enjoy every moment of it.We were lucky with the weather,
and only missed 1 landing, but be prepared that if the weather is bad, you
will not be able to go ashore or do the zodiac cruises, and be prepared for
some ‘iffy’ moments on the zodiacs if the sea is a bit
rough.  It was my first time on zodiacs, and now feels that I could cope
with anything. It didn’t happen to me, but remember the Aerolineas
 Argentinas weight restrictions for hand-luggage; 5kg.  If you can
put your camera equipment in a backpack and have it on your back, they
don’t seem to mind.  Also, leave room in your case/bag for the
Quark Parka.  I wore the inner fleece for flying and packed the outer
shell, but still fairly cumbersome.


Just book it!!  You’ll not regret it.  This was my first
polar trip, but certainly not my last!!


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ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
A fantastic trip encompassing magnificent scenery and wildlife viewing.
The whole trip was an incredible experience from start to finish, but for me
the highlight was the afternoon spent kayaking in Paradise Bay.  Imaging
360 degrees of snow capped mountains, blue skies, sea ice and perfect
mountain reflections in the sea and you still won't be close to
experiencing how beautiful the place was.


Kirsten was professional throughout and made sure we experienced the best
that the Antarctic Peninsula has to offer. 


Be prepared for the fact that you have 3 days at sea from Ushuaia before you
reach the Peninsula and 2 days on the way back. There are plenty of
presentations on the ship to help pass the time and prepare you for the trip
but it can seem like a long time since you have left home before you are able
to leave the ship and do some landings.  Having said that, the sea days
are forgotten in an instant as soon as you reach the peninsula and the trip
starts properly.We were incredibly lucky with the weather; there was only 1
landing which we were unable to make as the conditions would not allow it.
 You need to be aware though that if weather conditions aren't
favourable you won't be able to do all of the landings or zodiac cruises
which could potentially detract from the overall enjoyment of the
trip. Aerolinas Argentinas can be quite strict with their luggage
allowances; there is a 5kg limit for hand luggage on the internal flight. If
you are carrying a lot of photographic equipment then your hand luggage will
be way over this.  However, if you have your backpack on your back when
you check in then they do not seem to weigh it; if it is on a luggage trolley
then they will weigh it and potentially ask you to pack some of your hand
luggage into your checked luggage. Do not wear expensive jewellery in
Buenos Aires and leave your valuables locked in the safe in the hotel. 


Go ahead and book the trip - it is truly an experience of a lifetime.


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Lovely country, people, and food.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This review describes the revised, Lombok-less itinerary. So, no Rinjani,
sadly, but Sumeru is a decent (and difficult) substitute if one is willing to
ascend it (the summit is optional).

For me, this trip was a fine mix of culture (food, people, history, temples)
and hiking, with photographic opportunities wherever one looked. We had three
fantastic sunrises, some dynamite sunsets (especially Merbabu), and we got
very lucky with weather, being barely affected by rain. Our only real
disappointment came at Ijen where the gases from the crater would not clear
enough for a good view - but we got a good workout in while testing our
strength against that of the miners whose loads sulphur are very heavy.

There are some long drives, but most of our group found it easy to sleep on
the bus.
Ascending Sumeru. It's a difficult and frustrating climb (like summit day on
Kilimanjaro) but the view from the top is special.


Our guide (Wira) was attentive, helpful, fluent in four bazillion Indonesian
languages, and a damned good multitasker.


Most of the hiking is gentle but very dusty (we were there in the dry season)
so a buff is recommended to avoid "volcano nose" and care is needed to
protect camera mechanisms. The extension at Candidasa was a perfect and
relaxing way to end (I recommend staying as long as you can :)). Indonesians
are very friendly and you will be asked to pose for THEIR travel photographs,
so be prepared to feel like a rock-star.


Read more

Details

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 16

Accomodations

9 nights hotels, all rooms en suite
Travel by air-conditioned minibus
Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader
All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners included

Age Notes

Min. Age: 16

Additional Information:

  • 9 nights comfortable hotels, all rooms en suite
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus leader. Min 16 yrs.
  • Travel by private air-conditioned minibus  

Trip ID#:

exodus-ATO

Meals Included:

Dinner: All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners are included. Food in the Balkans is quite varied thanks to the many regional influences, particularly Mediterranean combining Ottoman, Oriental and European tastes. Many corners of the Balkans have popular dishes with the same names but often have big differences in taste. Dairy products, especially milk and yoghurt are present in many dishes. Grilled meats are very popular with pork and lamb being prevalent in Macedonia and Bulgaria. Pastries, pies, salads and fresh vegetable dishes are a staple of the Balkan diet. Macedonian wine is incredibly good value, especially wines from the Tikvesh region. Rakija, similar to brandy, is very popular and often locals make their own. Mastika, a liquor, is considered the national drink of Macedonia and is usually poured over ice and enjoyed with a selection of small dishes. Vegetarian and some special dietary requirements can be catered for but options are limited throughout the Balkans. Please inform the office of any specific requirements upon booking.

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