Croatia and the Balkans

Croatia · about Escorted or Guided Tour

The Balkans are just getting noticed as a great European travel destination – we can’t believe it took so long! Situated on the balmy shores of the Adriatic and home to some of the most wondrous landscapes, monuments, and villages you’ll ever see, this part of the world still feels like a well-kept secret. This adventure showcases the region’s compelling history and scenery and allows time for outdoor pursuits like kayaking and hiking. You may not know much about Croatia and the Balkans now, but once you’ve been, you’ll be hard-pressed to stop talking about them.

What's Included

Petrovaradin Fortress visit (Novi Sad). Kalemegdan Fortress visit (Belgrade). ‘Tunnel of Life’ tour (Sarajevo). Sea kayaking trip (Bay of Kotor). Beach time in Hvar. Scenic boat ride around Pakleni islands. Diocletian’s Palace guided tour (Split). All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Kayak to tiny islands in the crystal waters of the Bay of Kotor, enjoy beach time in Hvar, explore the ancient Roman palace of Diocletian on a guided tour

Dossier Disclaimer

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

1. YOUR CEO
It is important to note that in Europe, all guiding is based around local guides all of whom are licensed to work only in a particular city. As such, our leaders are able to provide orientation walks which will show you the layout of each town and city as well as the location of local services such as post offices and laundromats, but are unable to legally share historical facts and figures in public places.

2. LUGGAGE
In Europe it is very rare to find elevators in train stations, hotels or other public places. We use public transport on this trip, which means you will need to carry your luggage from platform to platform, in and out of trains and buses etc. and also possibly up several flights of stairs. You will also need to be able to stow your luggage safely on trains and buses. It is therefore essential that you pack light and bring luggage which is compact and lightweight, and which you can easily transport. The carrying of your luggage remains your responsibility at all times. We highly recommend travelling with a backpack or duffel bag over any wheeled luggage options.

3. RAMADAN
Depending on the lunar cycle, Ramadan will fall between June 18th to July 17th, 2015. Please note that Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims throughout the world, during which time the followers of Islam should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. There may be some limitations to services and disruptions to schedules during Ramadan in Muslim areas, but generally our tours still operate effectively during this period and food is available to non-muslims throughout the day. It is very important to display increased cultural sensitivity during Ramadan. Please wear loose fitting clothes, that cover knees and shoulders, and try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public out of respect for those who can’t at that time.

Group Leader Description

This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.

Group Size Notes

Max 16, avg 12

Meals

Eating is a big part of traveling. G Adventures understands the importance of breakfast to start your day, we strive to include a basic breakfast wherever possible. A typical breakfast may include toast, coffee and tea, however this may vary depending on the city. Should breakfast not be included, your CEO can suggest some local options.

Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip.

For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Transport

Train, public bus, boat, taxi, tram, walking

Solo Travellers

Accommodation

Hotels/pensions (14 nts).

My Own Room

About Accommodation

It is important to note that accommodation in Europe tend to be quite different to other areas of the world you may have travelled in. Buildings and rooms are generally old and may not have been renovated or maintained to the highest standard. Downtown hotels in Europe were not built to be hotels but rich owners houses, which have been changed into hotels. Therefore unusual room sizes are common as large rooms have been partitioned in the past, resulting in rather “thin” walls. Reception areas, rooms and bathrooms tend to be very small as they were often added into an existing room, and may have a hand nozzle rather than a conventional shower head.

On this trip you can expect to stay in small family-run hotels or pensions (with the exception of the start and finish hotels, which are often larger city hotels), which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but most importantly all are locally-run, with some traditional character, and in excellent central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights. You can expect to find clean, safe, simple accommodation in convenient locations.

Staff can occasionally demonstrate less than perfect customer service. As accommodation is in short supply, especially during the summer months, hotels can charge a premium and there is sometimes little motivation to improve facilities

Joining Hotel

Star Inn Hotel Budapest Centrum
Dessewffy utca 36 – 6. Bezirk
Budapest
Hungary
+36 (0)1 / 472 20 20

Joining Instructions

Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!

If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.

GETTING TO THE STAR INN BUDAPEST CENTRUM:

From the airport:

At the airport, take bus NR 200 E to Kőbánya Kispest. From there, take the metro line NR 3 (blue line) to Arany János utca. That is the name of the metro stop. You can then walk to the hotel.

When you take public transportation, you should buy single tickets. It costs 350 Ft at the moment. When you change, you must buy a new ticket.

From the Western railway station:

You can walk to the hotel. It is a 5 minute walk to the hotel.

From East and South Railway Station:

On the metro line, you can take M2 to Deák tér,. Then by metro line M3 go to Arany János utca. You can walk to the hotel from this point.

Arrival Complications

We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures UK office (manned UK 8am – 8pm)
+44 (0) 2072439878

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, from calls within North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from within UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from within Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from within Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from within New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

For absolute emergencies after office hours please contact +44 7817 262559
If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

Checklist

Suggested Items:
•Light fleece top
•Light windproof/waterproof jacket
•Small towel and swimwear
•Sun hat
•Personal clothing for mild to hot weather (See also “What to Take” and “Local Dress” sections of this dossier)
•Sturdy walking shoes or boots with good grip
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Toiletries (biodegradable)
•Watch or alarm clock
•Water bottle
•Money belt
•First-aid kit

-Day pack
-Camera with extra memory cards and batteries
-Personal Entertainment
-Binoculars
-Waterproof backpack cover

Documents:
•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•EUR cash
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required

Spending Money

Money Exchange

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Visa cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work – Check with your bank. You should be aware when purchasing products or services on a credit card, that a fee usually applies.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of Euros and cards is best.

Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

Hungary uses the Forint (HUF), Serbia the Dinar (RSD), Bosnia and Herzegovina the Convertible Mark (BAM), Montenegro the Euro (EUR) and Croatia uses the Kuna (HRK).

Emergency Fund

Tipping

It is customary in Europe to leave a small tip for service providers, such as waiters, if you are pleased with the service (€1-2 for snacks or 10% of a meal bill). Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO or skipper did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €20-25 per person, per week can be used.

Safety and Security

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Feedback

Newsletter

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Max Pax

16

Group Leader

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.

Meal Budget

Allow USD445-580 for meals not included.

Meals Included

14 breakfasts

PRODUCT_LINE: EJBT, ID: 22611

Itinerary

Day 1: Budapest

We highly recommend booking pre-accommodation to fully explore this breathtaking city.

There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Day 2: Budapest/Novi Sad (1B)

Cross into Serbia and enjoy time in the second largest city. Spend an evening wandering this cultural hub.

Transport:
Cross into Serbia. Border crossings in the Balkans are typically pretty easy but there can be some delays. Ensure you have any necessary visas to speed up the process.
Train (5.00 hour(s))

Day 3: Novi Sad/Belgrade (1B)

Spend the morning exploring Novi Sad, the ancient capital of Serbia. Visit the famous Petrovaradin Fortress and, with time, check out the charming old town, or Stari Grad. In the afternoon, hop a train for a short ride to Belgrade.

Included Activities:
Petrovaradin Fortress Visit

Transport:
Train (1.50 hour(s))

Day 4: Belgrade (1B)

Opt to visit the National Theater or National Museum. The city offers a wealth of churches and cathedrals as well as an interesting Ethnographic Museum. Learn more about Serbian culture, traditions, costumes, and tools used throughout history.

Included Activities:
Kalemegdan Fortress Visit

Day 5: Belgrade/Sarajevo (1B)

Walk around the cobblestone streets of the Old Town while taking in the architecture of its diverse places of worship.

Transport:
Train (5.00-6.00 hours)

Day 6: Sarajevo (1B)

Take an included tour of the ‘Tunnel of Life’ to get a better understanding of the tragic recent history of this captivating city. Spend some free time exploring the Stari Grad section and looking for ‘Sarajevo Roses’.

Included Activities:
Tunnel of Life Tour

Day 7: Sarajevo/Mostar (1B)

After visiting the bridge, wander through the small streets and opt to sit in a café, enjoying the laid-back atmosphere.

For a sobering look into the city’s recent history, wander through town, passing buildings still riddled with bullet holes. Visit a bank that was completely destroyed during the war and past houses in shambles. While life continues and progress is made, these sights remain as reminders of the evils of war.

Transport:
Local bus (2.00-3.00 hours)

Day 8: Mostar/Kotor (1B)

Arrive in time to start exploring this gorgeous area.

If relaxing is more your style, the beaches of Herceg Novi offer a great escape. There are also local mud therapy spas nearby to test the natural healing properties of the area’s sand.

Transport:
Cross into Montenegro. Border crossings in the Balkans are typically pretty easy but there can be some delays. Ensure you have any necessary visas to speed up the process.
Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours)

Day 9: Kotor (1B)

Enjoy a sea kayaking tour before free time to relax or explore. Wander the streets of the walled city of Kotor, relax on picturesque beaches, or visit the local mud spas.

Included Activities:
Sea Kayaking

Day 10: Kotor/Dubrovnik (1B)

The red roofs of the old city make for spectacular photos and the seaside cafés serve up tasty seafood.

Transport:
Cross into Croatia. Border crossings in the Balkans are typically pretty easy but there can be some delays. Ensure you have any necessary visas to speed up the process.
Local bus (4.00 hour(s))

Day 11: Dubrovnik (1B)

Enjoy a free day to explore the Dalmatian Coast.

Day 12: Dubrovnik/Hvar (1B)

Filled with sunshine, the beautiful island is known for its lavender fields and vineyards in the interior and detailed Venetian-inspired architecture in the towns.

Transport:
Along the way cross the Bosnian border and back into Croatia.
Local bus (3.00 hour(s))
Ferry (1.00 hour(s))

Day 13: Hvar (1B)

Soak in the scenery and relish the calm on a boat ride around the Pakleni Islands.

Included Activities:
Pakleni Islands Boat Ride

Day 14: Hvar/Split (1B)

Opt to visit the local market and gobble up some Croatian delicacies. For a little more activity, visit Marjan’s peak with gorgeous views over the city or hit up some of the hiking and biking trails in the area.

Included Activities:
Diocletian’s Palace Guided Walk

Transport:
Ferry (1.00 hour(s))

Day 15: Split (1B)

We recommend staying an extra day or two to fully experience all this lively city has to offer.

Interested in Croatia and the Balkans?

G Adventures

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