Plitvice Lakes | Croatia
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FROM: NZD $7,628 pp

Our longest Balkans tour takes in the central belt of countries in the region, journeying from Belgrade in Serbia to Zagreb in Croatia. Uncover the highlights of Bulgaria and Romania including Bucharest, Sofia, Plovdiv and Dracula's Castle. In Bosnia, take in the highlights of Sarajevo and see the famous bridge of Mostar, and uncover the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. In Croatia, discover the highlights of Dubrovnik, Split and Sibenik, enjoy a 3-hour Plitvice Lakes tour and end your Balkan journey in Zagreb, Croatia's charming capital.

Prices & Dates
Superior Upgrade Prices/Dates

Trip Highlights

Veliko Tarnovo
Novi Sad
Plitvice Lakes National Park


18 breakfasts & 1 dinner
Escorted by a local tour leader with local guides for some sightseeing
Transportation in a mini-bus with air-conditioning & Wi-Fi
Guided sightseeing in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Timisoara, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Brasov, Bucharest, Plovdiv, Sofia, Nis, Zlatibor, Sarajevo, Mostar, Blagaj, Trebinje, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Split & Zagreb
Entrance to Monastery Krusedol
Entrance to Open Air Ethnographic Mueseum "Etar"
Entrance to Drvengrad wooden town
Boat ride from Perast to the island of Our Lady of the Rocks
Note: This tour is operated in conjunction with our trusted partner and you will join travellers from different operators, not solely On The Go.
18 nights 4 star hotels (5-star upgrade is available)
Airport arrival transfer on day 1
1 bottle of water (0.5l) daily for each passenger, accommodation taxes and city taxes
Entrance to Museum of Yugoslav History
Entrance to Bran Castle & Peles Castle
Entrance to Skull Tower in Nis
90-minutes ride on Museum Train - Sargan Eight
3 hour tour to Plitvice Lakes National Park including entrance tickets, boat ride and tram ride

Not Included

International flights & visas
Meals not specified in itinerary
Entry fees unless specified & optional activities
Departure transfers
Tipping - an entirely personal gesture!


Day 1

Welcome to Belgrade

Welcome to Serbia! Upon arrival in Belgrade, our driver will greet you at the Nikola Tesla airport and take you to the hotel. After checking in at your hotel, you will have free time to rest and prepare for the tour.

During a brief meeting with our guide at 7pm, you will be introduced to the tour and provided with all necessary information.
Overnight: Belgrade

Day 2

Exploring Belgrade

Following breakfast, we commence a tour of Belgrade. Our first stop is the Museum of Yugoslav History, a complex dedicated to the life and accomplishments of Josip Broz Tito, the former leader of Yugoslavia. We then drive past the FC Red Star stadium before visiting the iconic Temple of Saint Sava, dedicated to the city's patron saint.

The tour will continue to Slavija Square, Saint Mark's Church, the Serbian National Parliament, White Palace, and Republic Square, with its surrounding cultural institutions like the National Theatre and National Museum. We stroll down Knez Mihailo Street, the main pedestrian and shopping area, and visit the Orthodox Cathedral Church of Saint Michael the Archangel before learning about the historic "Question Mark" tavern. The tour will then proceed to Kalemegdan Park and Belgrade Fortress, a significant cultural and historic site located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers.
Overnight: Belgrade  |  Breakfast

Day 3

Sremski Karlovci & Novi Sad

Belgrade - Sremski Karlovci - Novi Sad - Belgrade. This morning we embark on a tour of Vojvodina, a province in the north of Serbia. Our journey will take us through picturesque scenery and Serbia's renowned wine region to the 'Serbian Holy Land' which is home to 17 functioning Serbian Orthodox monasteries. Our first stop is the well-preserved monastery Krusedol, where you can purchase wine and rakija made by the monks.

Next, we visit the town of Sremski Karlovci, a hidden gem of Serbian culture and spirituality. The town's Baroque center, the Patriarchal Court, the Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, and the first Serbian secondary school are all significant landmarks. We also enjoy wine tasting at one of the region's top wineries and have time for lunch along the banks of the Danube River.

Continuing, we explore Novi Sad, located on the border of the former Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. A sightseeing tour will take us through the city's pedestrian zone, past key landmarks such as the City Hall, a Catholic church, the old city centre, Mileva Einstein's former residence, the cultural foundation Matica Srpska, and a synagogue. The tour will also include a visit to Petrovaradin, known as the 'Danube's Gibraltar', where we can enjoy panoramic views of the river and the city. After our tour, we return to Belgrade.
Overnight: Belgrade  |  Breakfast

Day 4

Timisoara & Sibiu sightseeing

Belgrade - Timisoara (Romania) - Sibiu. Departing Serbia, we cross into Romania and drive to Timisoara, the largest city in western Romania. Known as ‘Little Vienna’, the city boasts distinctive architecture and a vibrant cultural scene. Timisoara was the first European city to have electric street lighting, highlighting its historical significance.

Our guided tour will start from the main Unirii Square, surrounded by beautiful medieval buildings, including the Catholic Cathedral of Saint George. We take in highlights including Liberty Square, Victory Square, home to the Romanian National Opera and National Theatre, and Huniade Castle, a 15th century Gothic architectural gem.

We then drive to Sibiu and embark on a sightseeing tour. Sibiu was once the largest and wealthiest of seven fortified towns established by German settlers in the 12th century. Our tour will take in the Large Square with the Brukenthal National Museum, the Small Square, the Council Tower, the Bridge of Lies, Stairs Passage, and the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. The evening is at leisure in Sibiu.
Overnight: Sibiu  |  Breakfast

Day 5

Sighisoara & medieval Brasov

Sibiu - Sighisoara - Brasov. Leaving Sibiu, our first stop today is Sighisoara, a historic town in Transylvania. Sighisoara is known as the birthplace of Vlad III, also known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula, with his birthplace marked by the placard ‘Casa Vlad Dracul’. We visit the Church of the Dominican Monastery, the Clock Tower, Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, the Tailors’ Tower, the Covered Stairway, and other important sights.

Continuing to Brasov, we explore this 13th century town, founded by the Teutonic Knights as one of the seven walled citadels. Brasov is adorned with medieval towers, baroque buildings, churches, and charming cafes along the main square, Piața Sfatului. Our sightseeing will include the main square and the House of Council (Casa Sfatului), a stroll down one of the narrowest streets leading to the Gothic-style cathedral Biserica Neagra (Black Church), and a visit to Catherine's Gate, the only original city gate from medieval times still standing.
Overnight: Brasov  |  Breakfast

Day 6

Dracula's Castle

Brasov - Bucharest. Today we take in two majestic castles on our way to the Romanian capital, Bucharest. Our first stop is Bran Castle, famously known as Dracula's Castle and the former residence of the Romanian royal family. The gothic fortress was built in the 13th century, perched atop a 60 metre cliff. Bram Stoker drew inspiration for his horror tale 'Dracula' from the dark legends of the Carpathian Mountains and the cruel ruler Vlad Cepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, who was once held prisoner in Bran Castle.

Our next stop is Sinaia and Peles Castle, where King Carol I of Romania built his summer residence, the magnificent Neo-Renaissance Peles Castle. The castle features elaborate turrets, detailed craftsmanship, and panoramic mountain views, and the interior boasts over 160 rooms featuring hand-painted stained glass windows and intricate sculptures.

After a tour of Peles Castle, we make our way to Bucharest for the night.
Overnight: Bucharest  |  Breakfast

Day 7

Bucharest sightseeing

We spend today exploring the Romanian capital on a sightseeing tour. Bucharest is famous for its wide, tree-lined boulevards, stunning Belle Epoque buildings, and a reputation for lavish living that earned it the nickname 'Little Paris' in the 1900s. The city combines French, Byzantine, and communist architecture in its stylish buildings.

Our tour takes in key landmarks such as Piata Unirii for a view of the impressive Palace of the Parliament. We explore the medieval Old Town, home to historic sites like the Old Princely Court, Stavropoleos Monastery, Lipscani Street, and the National Museum of Romanian History. As you stroll down Calea Victoriei Avenue, admire the beautiful French-style buildings and learn about communist rule in Romania at Revolution Square. After our tour, the rest of the day is at leisure in Bucharest.
Overnight: Bucharest  |  Breakfast

Day 8

Rock-Hewn churches & Veliko Tarnovo

Bucharest - Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria). Say goodbye to Romania as we cross the border into Bulgaria today. Our first stop is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo. These structures were carved out by the first hermits during the 12th century, with stunning 14th century murals showcasing medieval art created by Bulgarian artists.

We make a brief photo stop in the small village of Arbanasi, an open-air museum with houses dating back to Ottoman times and five beautiful churches. Then we complete our journey to the Second Bulgarian Empire's capital, Veliko Tarnovo. We can stroll through the cobblestone streets of Veliko Tarnovo and learn about the city's history under Turkish rule, as well as its architectural masterpieces and strong craftsmen’s guild.
Overnight: Veliko Tarnovo  |  Breakfast

Day 9

Exploring Plovdiv

Veliko Tarnovo - Plovdiv - Sofia. Today we drive to the Open Air Ethnographic Museum Etar. This museum features a collection of 50 objects, including water-powered installations and houses with craftsmen's workshops, showcasing the architecture, way of life, and economy of central Bulgaria during the Bulgarian National Revival.

Continuing to the ancient city of Plovdiv, we visit the Ancient Plovdiv architectural complex, where many beautifully preserved houses from the Bulgarian Renaissance era can be found. The Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis, built in the 2nd century with perfect acoustics, is a significant monument where various cultural events are still held today. Other landmarks we visit include the Roman Stadium and the Church of Saint Constantine and Helena. Our tour concludes in Kapana, the creative heart of the city filled with shops, restaurants, and galleries.

After exploring Plovdiv, we complete our journey to Sofia, the Bulgarian capital.
Overnight: Sofia  |  Breakfast

Day 10

Sofia sightseeing & optional Rila Monastery

On this morning's guided tour of Sofia, we take in the highlights of one of Eastern Europe's most vibrant capitals. Known for its unique mix of communist-style architecture, Ottoman mosques, and onion-domed churches, Sofia is a melting pot of history and culture. Landmarks to see include the Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Church of Saint Nicholas the Miracle-Maker, Ivan Vazov National Theatre, Church of Saint George, Banya Bashi Mosque, Sofia Synagogue, National Palace of Culture, and Largo, a significant example of Socialist Classicism architecture.

The afternoon is at leisure, and there is an optional half-day tour to Rila Monastery for those interested.
Overnight: Sofia  |  Breakfast

Day 11

Nis & return to Belgrade

Sofia - Nis (Serbia) - Belgrade. Today we drive back into Serbia, exploring the country's east. We visit the city of Nis, birthplace of legendary Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. We enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city, taking in the archaeological park of Mediana and Skull Tower, made from 952 human skulls. We also visit Nis Fortress, a Turkish military construction located on the banks of the Nisava River. There is free time after our tour for you to explore Tinkers Alley, home to the city's old market. We then complete our journey back to Belgrade, where the evening is at leisure.
Overnight: Belgrade  |  Breakfast

Day 12

Belgrade to Zlatibor & heritage train

Belgrade - Zlatibor. Leaving Belgrade, we drive west towards the picturesque Ovcar-Kablar Gorge. We continue to Tara National Park, where we ride the authentic 'Nostalgia' train that runs along the narrow-gauge heritage railway, Sargan Eight. Enjoy the stunning mountain scenery as we pass through tunnels and viaducts. Originally part of the railway from Belgrade to Sarajevo in the early 20th century, the railway offers a nostalgic trip back in time.

Next, we visit the ethno village Drvengrad (Wooden Town), built by prominent movie director Emir Kusturica. The village is constructed mainly from natural materials such as wood. Hosting the annual Kustendorf Film and Music Festival since 2008, Drvengrad has attracted celebrities like Johnny Depp, Monica Belucci, and Jim Jarmusch.

Our next stop is Zlatibor Mountain, the location of Serbia's first royal resort. Here, we enjoy a leisurely stroll around the charming town centre of this picturesque air spa. In the evening, a delightful dinner featuring traditional Serbian cuisine is included.
Overnight: Zlatibor  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13

Exploring Sarajevo

Zlatibor - Visegrad (Bosnia) - Sarajevo. We depart Serbia today, crossing into Bosnia and Herzegovina. Reaching Visegrad, we can see where filmmaker Emir Kusturica built Andricgrad, also known as Stone Town. We stop for lunch at the unique restaurant Zlatna Moruna, adorned with frescoes by artist Bisenija Terescenko.

After lunch we head to the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. We enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city, visiting key landmarks such as Vijecnica (Sarajevo City Hall), Bascarsija (the old downtown area), the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque, and the Latin Bridge where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, sparking the First World War. We also stop at historic sites like the Orthodox Church, Sahat Tower, and the first public toilet in Europe. The day will end with visits to Bezistan market complex, Ferhadiya pedestrian zone, the Sarajevo Synagogue, and a Catholic cathedral.
Overnight: Sarajevo  |  Breakfast

Day 14

Mostar & Trebinje

Sarajevo - Mostar - Blagaj - Trebinje. Today begins with a drive to Mostar, one of the most beautiful cities of the Balkan Peninsula. On a walking tour, we see the iconic Old Bridge, a UNESCO protected landmark and one of the most photographed sights in the country. We also visit the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, the Crooked Bridge, and the old tanner’s quarter Tabhana. There is free time for lunch on the banks of the Neretva River, with a stunning view of the bridge.

Continuing to Blagaj, we can enjoy the view of the monastery built by dervish Sari Satluk, which is located in a picturesque setting, beneath cliffs on the shores of the emerald green river Buna.

Next on the itinerary is Trebinje, a picturesque town with a mix of sights from different cultures. We see the Arslanagića Bridge and take a leisurely walk through the narrow streets of the old town to 'Poet’s Square', where you can relax under the shade of 115-year-old trees. We spend tonight at a hotel in Trebinje.
Overnight: Trebinje  |  Breakfast

Day 15

Bay of Kotor

Trebinje - Kotor - Dubrovnik. Today we discover the most popular destination in Montenegro: the Bay of Kotor. En route to Kotor, we stop at the picturesque village of Perast, known for its baroque architecture. From Perast, we enjoy a leisurely boat ride along the Bay of Kotor to the beautiful island of Our Lady of the Rocks, home to a church adorned with valuable paintings and artifacts.

Upon arrival in Kotor, enjoy a guided walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include visits to the churches of Saint Nicholas and Saint Luke, the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, and other cultural landmarks. There is also free time to explore the town further or enjoy a meal at a restaurant in one of the charming squares.

We then complete our journey to Dubrovnik, and the evening is free for you to explore.
Overnight: Dubrovnik  |  Breakfast

Day 16

Exploring Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik - Split. Today we embark on a sightseeing tour of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Europe's best preserved walled cities dating back to the 7th century. The old town is encircled by a 2km long wall, offering panoramic views during a leisurely one hour walk. We also take in highlights such as the main street (Stradun), Placa Square, Pile Gate, the Rector’s Palace, Sponza Palace, Saint Blaise Church, the cathedral, and other picturesque landmarks.

After our tour, say goodbye to Dubrovnik as we travel along the stunning Makarska coast with breathtaking views of Croatian islands, vineyards, olive groves, and traditional villages. Arriving in Split, the evening is at leisure.
Overnight: Split  |  Breakfast

Day 17

Split & Sibenik

Split - Sibenik - Plitvice Lakes. On our morning sightseeing tour of Split, our guide will take you through the narrow streets of Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO Heritage Site built in the 4th century for the Roman Emperor Diocletian. We will also see the former Temple of Jupiter, which is now the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, the oldest Catholic cathedral still in its original structure.

Next, we make a short stop in Sibenik, a medieval Venetian city known for its winding streets, stone houses, stairs, and historic city walls. The city is home to notable landmarks such as the Cathedral of Saint James, a UNESCO World Heritage Site constructed over centuries by locals. We arrive at the Plitvice Lakes in the early evening.
Overnight: Plitvice Lakes  |  Breakfast

Day 18

Plitvice Lakes & Zagreb tour

Plitvice Lakes National Park - Zagreb. Today we discover the 16 interconnected cascading lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park, one of Croatia's natural highlights. Known as the ‘Devil’s Garden’ on old maps, it was the first site in the Balkans to receive UNESCO World Heritage status. Enjoy a 3-hour guided tour that includes visits to the upper and lower lakes, where you can relax and admire the untouched beauty of this lush paradise (swimming is not permitted).

The final destination on our Balkan tour is Zagreb, the Croatian capital and a small gem of European culture. Our included tour takes in sites including Kaptol (the medieval part of the city), the Franciscan monastery, and the 13th-century Church of Saint Francis. Take a stroll through Dolac, Zagreb's famous farmers' market, and marvel at the baroque architecture of the Church of Saint Mary from the 18th century. The tour ends at Ban Josip Jelacic's monument in the square named after him, located in the heart of Zagreb.
Overnight: Zagreb  |  Breakfast

Day 19


Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the hotel in Zagreb before check out, and our touring arrangements come to an end.

Prices & Dates

Departure dates are guaranteed with 1 traveller. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to all solo travellers, or if your booking party cannot reach the minimum of 2 persons in a room. Single Rooms can also be booked by any other person wanting the comfort and privacy of their own room.

Guaranteed Departure
Twin Share
Single Room
25 Jul - 12 Aug 20% off G
NZD $9,865
NZD $7,892
NZD $12,465
NZD $9,972
03 Oct - 21 Oct 20% off G
NZD $9,535
NZD $7,628
NZD $11,995
NZD $9,596
17 Oct - 04 Nov 20% off G
NZD $9,535
NZD $7,628
NZD $11,995
NZD $9,596

Extra Prices

Twin Share
Single Room
Pre Tour Accommodation - Belgrade
NZD $243
NZD $0

Prices & Dates

Departure dates are guaranteed with 1 traveller. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to all solo travellers, or if your booking party cannot reach the minimum of 2 persons in a room. Single Rooms can also be booked by any other person wanting the comfort and privacy of their own room.

Guaranteed Departure
Twin Share
Single Room
25 Jul - 12 Aug 20% off G
NZD $11,525
NZD $9,220
NZD $15,625
NZD $12,500
03 Oct - 21 Oct 20% off G
NZD $11,195
NZD $8,956
NZD $15,155
NZD $12,124
17 Oct - 04 Nov 20% off G
NZD $11,195
NZD $8,956
NZD $15,155
NZD $12,124

Extra Prices

Twin Share
Single Room
Pre Tour Accommodation Superior - Belgrade
NZD $420
NZD $0

At a Glance

Trip Type
Group Size
Min 1 / Max 16
Hotel Rating
4-star hotels (upgrade available)
Tour Guide
Escorted by a tour leader
Breakfast: 18, Dinner: 1
Bosnia And Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia
Minimum Age
No minimum age
Arr. Transfer
Dep. Transfer
Arial view of the city of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Aerial view of Dubrovnik, surrounded by water and filled with terracotta-roofed buildings
Boardwalk winding through the Plitvice National Park
OTG002928Central Balkans Explorer - 19 daysEuropeHandpickedEuropefalse20Serbia