From low-lying Belgrade up through the Dinaric Alps, down to the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia and back up to mountainous Macedonia, this overland journey ties together seven of the wildly divergent Balkan countries. Catholic, Muslim, Orthodox, politically contradictory, ethnically varied, this kaleidoscopic region offers an apprenticeship in diversity. The 16-day tour begins in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, an old city swiftly becoming one of the hippest places in Europe, and ends in Skopje, Macedonia, where Mother Teresa was born and raised. The tour is scheduled for September 13-28, 2018 and starts at $7,695. For more info, visit https://www.mircorp.com/trip/balkan-odyssey-crossroads-of-culture/ or call 800-424-7289.
Days 1-4: Belgrade, Sarajevo
Begin in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, an old city swiftly becoming one of the hippest places in Europe. Travel overland to lovely Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, surrounded by the Dinaric Alps. Visit the somber Sarajevo Tunnel Museum with a survivor who used the tunnel to escape the Serbian shelling in the 1990s.
Days 5-6: Mostar, Dubrovnik
Visit Mostar, with its UNESCO-listed Stari Most, or Old Bridge, from Ottoman times. Then continue west to Dubrovnik on the sparkling Dalmatian Coast, at one time as important as Venice. Take a walk on the wide city walls and visit the Museum of Dubrovnik in the Rector’s Palace.
Days 7-9: Kotor, Cetinje, Budva, Shkodra, Kruja, Tirana
Travel south along the Adriatic coast to Montenegro, visiting UNESCO-listed Kotor and 15th century Cetinje on the way to Budva, an early walled Roman city. Explore Kruja, with its citadel where Skanderbeg, one of the most powerful leaders of medieval Europe, defeated the Ottomans in 1450. Continue to Tirana, Albania’s capital, and ride the cable car up Dajti Mountain.
Days 10-12: Durres, Apollonia, Berat, Ohrid
Explore the Roman amphitheater in Durres, the ruins of Apollonia and the dramatic Ottoman architecture of Berat before heading for Macedonia. Spend two nights in red-roofed Ohrid, located on the beautiful lake of the same name, both UNESCO Sites.
Days 13-16: Skopje, a day trip to Pristina
Head north through Macedonia to Skopje, where Mother Teresa was born, and take a day trip into Kosovo to learn about its recent struggles. Celebrate the trip with a Macedonian feast featuring live music, Balkan dancing and a generous spread of regional delicacies.
MIR Corporation, whose name means "peace" and "world" in Russian, has specialized in Russia (and neighboring countries) since 1986. Offering scheduled and custom journeys to Russia, along the Trans-Siberian, and across the Silk Route, MIR's Seattle-based experts design imaginative trips that take travelers far from the familiar and work closely with local affiliates in Western Russia, Siberia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan to carry them out. MIR has twice been named one of National Geographic Adventure's "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth," and is a preferred operator for museum, alumni, and special interest organizations across the country. http://www.mircorp.com