INSIGHT VACATIONS - THE GOLDEN EXPLORER

INSIGHT VACATIONS - THE GOLDEN EXPLORER

This tour has been one of my favourite’s trips that I have taken, from Istanbul to Vienna; every moment on this tour was amazing, great cities, great highlights. I really loved every moment of it so I have included the full itinerary.

I would do this tour again.

 

DAY 1 – SUN – ISTANBUL AT LEISUREWelcome to Turkey! On arrival at Istanbul Airport, there are complimentary transfers to the tour hotel. Settle inand relax, or start exploring the wonders of this glorious city, uniquely located on two continents! Later, we meet our Tour Director and fellow passengers for a Welcome Drink.

DAY 2 – MON – ISTANBUL SIGHTSEEING We tour the highlights of Istanbul today including St Sophia and a visit to the Blue Mosque. We also visit Topkapi Palace, former seat of the Ottoman Emperors, where we admire the treasures of the Sultans. We finish at the Grand Bazaar! Tonight we enjoy a Highlight Dinner in a typical restaurant. (BB,HD)

DAY 3 – TUE – ISTANBUL – SOFIA Today we leave Istanbul and head west through ancient Edirne before crossing the Bulgarian border. Our destination is the capital Sofia. (BB,D)

DAY 4 – WED – SOFIA SIGHTSEEING Our sightseeing this morning shows us the St Sofia Church across the square from the golden domed St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the archeological complex, dominated by St George’s Church. Then time to explore on your own or perhaps take an optional excursion to the magnificent Rila Monastery, the largest and most important symbol of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. (BB)

DAY 5 – THU – SOFIA – OHRID This morning we head westwards to the Macedonian border and then to the capital city of Skopje where we see the main square, the churches, mosques and old Turkish buildings. Later we drive southwards to the lakeside resort of Ohrid where we stay tonight. (BB,D)

 

DAY 6 – FRI – OHRID – TIRANA We have time to explore the cobblestone streets of the old town before we cross the border into Albania and continue to the capital city of Tirana. Here we have a guided sightseeing tour on arrival. (BB,D)

DAY 7 – SAT – TIRANA – DUBROVNIK We travel to the northern city of Shkodra where we have views of the Rozafa Castle. Then on to the Montenegro coast in former Yugoslavia to visit the old town of Kotor, perched beside the only European fjord outside of Norway. We stay on the glorious Dalmatian coast tonight overlooking the Adriatic Sea near Dubrovnik. (BB,D)

DAY 8 – SUN – DUBROVNIK SIGHTSEEING Our guided sightseeing tour in the old town this morning explores the stone paved streets inside the 16th century bastions. We see Onofrio’s fountain and the Rector’s Palace, the city walls, as well as the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries. This afternoon is at leisure. (BB)

DAY 9 – MON – DUBROVNIK – SPLIT Then we travel through charming fishing villages and sun drenched Adriatic resorts to visit the ancient Roman port of Salona. We see the Amphitheatre, Roman Baths and Necropolis before heading on to the historic port of Split. 1700 years ago the Roman Emperor Diocletian built his palace here and today those very buildings make up the historic heart of the old town. Before reaching our hotel, we explore the labyrinth of streets and historical buildings built within the old walls. (BB)

DAY 10 – TUE – SPLIT – PLITVICE REGION After breakfast we visit nearby Trogir, founded by the Greeks in 400BC. We admire the Romanesque cathedraland Renaissance Cipiko Palace. Then we bid farewell to the sparkling blue seas of the Adriatic and head inland to one of Europe’s natural wonders - Plitvice National Park. (BB,D)

DAY 11– WED – PLITVICE REGION – ZAGREB We have our cameras at the ready as we cruise the crystal blue-green beauty of the Plitvice Lakes; a scenic wonderland of 16 inter-connecting lakes flanked by thundering waterfalls and primeval forest. We visit Korana Canyon to see the 230 feet high falls and Tomicevo Pogledalo for panoramic views over the park. This afternoon we drive north to Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb, and our hotel.(BB)

DAY 12 – THU – ZAGREB SIGHTSEEING Our guided tour takes us to see Roosevelt Square, the attractive facades of Ban Josip Jelacic Square and the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Now to the medieval core of the Upper Town, including the Presidential Palace, Stone Gate, St Marks Church and the Pope’s Tower. This afternoon we are at leisure to shop on the Ilica or maybe visit Kumrovec the former home of the late Marshall Tito? (BB)

DAY 13 – FRI – ZAGREB – VIENNA This morning we cross the Slovenian border and follow the Drava River to the 700 year old university town of Maribor. Then our route takes us northwards past Graz, one of the most beautiful garden cities in Europe and on through Styria’s forested mountains before reaching the capital of Austria. Hotel: Crowne Plaza. (BB)

DAY 14 – SAT – VIENNA SIGHTSEEING A sightseeing highlight this morning is a guided visit to the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace and gardens. Then our sightseeing continues as we marvel at St Charles’ Church and tour the ‘ring’ passing the Opera House, magnificent Hofburg Imperial Residence and Parliament Building. This afternoon maybe spend time in Prater Park for a ride on the famous ferris wheel? (BB)

DAY 15 – SUN – VIENNA We transfer to the airport this morning. (BB)

Excursions & Sights • See all the sights of Istanbul including the Blue Mosque, St Sophia, Topkapi Palace - and haggle in the Grand Bazaar! • See the golden dome cathedral, centuries old churches, and Soviet-era buildings of Sofia • See the churches, mosques and old Turkish buildings in Skopje • Visit the cobbled streets, small shops and cafes of the pretty lakeside resort of Ohrid • Visit the old town of Kotor situated on its fjord • See Onofrio’s Fountain, Rector’s Palace and the awesome city walls of Dubrovnik • Admire the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries in Dubrovnik Old Town • See the Amphitheatre, Roman Baths and Necropolis in Salona • Explore Split’s historical buildings built within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace • See the Cipiko Palace & Romanesque Cathedral in Trogir • See Zagreb’s Ban Josip Jelacic Square & Cathedral and tour the Upper Town • Visit the Slovenian town of Maribor - reflecting its medieval, baroque & Soviet past! • Tour the ring road of Vienna past the Imperial Palace, Parliament and Opera House • Scenic drives - Plitvice region & Dalmatian coast

Guided City Tours • Indepth sightseeing tours in Istanbul, Sofia, Tirana, Dubrovnik, Salona, Split, Plitvice, Zagreb, Vienna • Orientation tour in Skopje

Insight's First Class Services • Escorted by a professional Tour Director • Luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with onboard toilet • First-class hotels with all service charges, taxes and porterage • Travel bag, document wallet, map book journal and information pack • Complimentary arrival transfer on Day 1 and departure transfer on Day 15

Quality Dining • Highlight Dinner with traditional entertainment in Istanbul • 14 Buffet Breakfasts and 6 three-course table d’hôte Dinners, or Buffets, plus tea or coffee.

 

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