12 days in The Balkans Itinerary

12 days in The Balkans Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in The Balkans Itinerary

Start: Tel Aviv, Israel
Fly:  6​h
1
Istanbul, Turkey
— 2 nights
Fly:  5​h
2
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
— 1 night
+2
Drive + ferry + Drive:  5​h 30​min
3
Hvar, Croatia
— 2 nights
4
Dubrovnik, Croatia
— 2 nights
Fly:  5​h 15​min
5
Athens, Greece
— 1 night
Fly:  4​h 30​min
6
Akrotiri, Greece
— 1 night
ferry:  2​h
7
Heraklion, Greece
— 1 night
bus + Fly:  4​h 45​min
End: Tel Aviv, Israel

2
nights
Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul ©
A physical and cultural bridge between Europe and Asia, the transcontinental city of Istanbul serves as a living reminder of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Thu): get engrossed in the history at Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya) and then steep yourself in history at Historic Areas of Istanbul. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: admire the landmark architecture of Dolmabahce Palace, get engrossed in the history at Topkapi Palace, then admire the striking features of Basilica Cistern, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Sultan Ahmed Mosque.

To see reviews, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Istanbul day trip planning site .

Tel Aviv, Israel to Istanbul is an approximately 6-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and shuttle. The time zone difference when traveling from Tel Aviv to Istanbul is 1 hour. Traveling from Tel Aviv in July, expect slightly colder with lows of 23°C in Istanbul. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Sat) early enough to travel to Sarajevo.

Things to do in Istanbul

Historic Sites Museums Shopping
Find places to stay Jul 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Sultan Ahmed Mosque ©
Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Topkapi Palace ©
Topkapi Palace

1
night
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Nearly destroyed by war during the 1990s, the riverside city of Sarajevo now serves as one of the region's major educational, cultural, and commercial hubs.
Kick off your visit on the 14th (Sun): explore the world behind art at Galerija 11/07/95, examine the collection at War Childhood Museum, then get the lay of the land with Walking tours, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque.

To find other places to visit, reviews, maps, and tourist information, read Sarajevo vacation planner .

Fly from Istanbul to Sarajevo in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and flight; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Eastern European Time (EET) to Central European Time (CET) is minus 2 hours. Expect a bit cooler evenings in Sarajevo when traveling from Istanbul in July, with lows around 16°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sun) so you can travel to Hvar.

Things to do in Sarajevo

Tours Museums Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jul 13 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Walking tours
War Childhood Museum ©
War Childhood Museum
Galerija 11/07/95 ©
Galerija 11/07/95

2
nights
Hvar, Croatia

Hvar ©
The Croatian island of Hvar serves as a picturesque location for a Mediterranean holiday, with a range of offerings from quiet coves to a lively medieval town.
On the 15th (Mon), admire the landmark architecture of Franciscan Monastery, take some stellar pictures from Spanjola, and then kick back and relax at Dubovica. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the spiritual surroundings of St. Stephen's Cathedral and then step off the mainland to explore Pakleni Otoci.

For reviews, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Hvar trip planning tool .

You can do a combination of car and ferry from Sarajevo to Hvar in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and ferry; or do a combination of flight and ferry. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Sarajevo in July; daily highs in Hvar reach 36°C and lows reach 26°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Dubrovnik.

Things to do in Hvar

Parks Nature Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jul 14 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Pakleni Otoci ©
Pakleni Otoci
Spanjola ©
Spanjola
Franciscan Monastery ©
Franciscan Monastery

2
nights
Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik ©
Along the Dalmation Coast, the city of Dubrovnik has become famous for its pedestrian-only Old Town surrounded by fortress walls, and its historical heft has earned it World Heritage Site status.
Start off your visit on the 17th (Wed): take a stroll through Old Town and then explore the ancient world of Walls of Dubrovnik. Keep things going the next day: contemplate the long history of Rector's Palace, then do sightseeing your way with Dubrovnik Boat Rentals, and then head off the coast to Island of Lokrum.

To see photos, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Dubrovnik itinerary planner.

Getting from Hvar to Dubrovnik by ferry takes about 4 hours. Other options: do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of ferry and bus. In July, plan for daily highs up to 34°C, and evening lows to 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Athens.

Things to do in Dubrovnik

Neighborhoods Tours Outdoors
Find places to stay Jul 16 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Walls of Dubrovnik ©
Walls of Dubrovnik
Old Town ©
Old Town
Island of Lokrum ©
Island of Lokrum

1
night
Athens, Greece

Athens ©
One of the world's most ancient cities, Athens remains Europe's undisputed historical and cultural capital.
On the 19th (Fri), explore the ancient world of Temple of Olympian Zeus, take an in-depth tour of Acropolis Museum, and then contemplate the long history of Acropolis of Athens. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the world behind art at National Archaeological Museum, then explore the world behind art at Benaki Museum, and then take a stroll through Plaka.

To see maps, photos, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Athens trip planner .

Traveling by flight from Dubrovnik to Athens takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Central European Time (CET) to Eastern European Time (EET) is 1 hour. Expect a bit warmer temperatures when traveling from Dubrovnik in July; daily highs in Athens reach 38°C and lows reach 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Sat) to allow time to travel to Akrotiri.

Things to do in Athens

Museums Historic Sites Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Jul 18 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Acropolis of Athens ©
Acropolis of Athens
Acropolis Museum ©
Acropolis Museum
Plaka ©
Plaka

1
night
Akrotiri, Greece

Akrotiri ©
Located on Santorini's southwestern coastline, the small village of Akrotiri sits just a short walk from one of Europe's most significant Bronze Age archaeological sites.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Sun): ride a horse along Santo Horse Riding, learn about winemaking at Boutari, J., & Son Wineries S.A., then enjoy the sand and surf at Red Beach, and finally delve into the distant past at Akrotiri.

For where to stay, ratings, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Akrotiri trip itinerary builder app .

Traveling by flight from Athens to Akrotiri takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can ride a ferry; or do a combination of flight, taxi, and ferry. When traveling from Athens in July, plan for a bit cooler days and about the same nights in Akrotiri: temperatures range from 35°C by day to 27°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sun) so you can ride a ferry to Heraklion.

Things to do in Akrotiri

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Boutari, J., & Son Wineries S.A.
Find places to stay Jul 20 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Santo Horse Riding ©
Santo Horse Riding
Akrotiri ©
Akrotiri
Red Beach ©
Red Beach

1
night
Heraklion, Greece

Heraklion ©
Crete's largest city, Heraklion remains best known for its proximity to a sprawling Bronze Age archaeological site, once the center of a vanished Minoan civilization.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Mon): get engrossed in the history at Heraklion Archaeological Museum, explore the ancient world of The Palace of Knossos, and then meet the residents at Cretaquarium - Thalassocosmos.

For more things to do, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, use the Heraklion journey maker .

Getting from Akrotiri to Heraklion by ferry takes about 2 hours. Expect a daytime high around 34°C in July, and nighttime lows around 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Heraklion

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

The Palace of Knossos, Cretaquarium - Thalassocosmos
Find places to stay Jul 21 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
The Palace of Knossos ©
The Palace of Knossos
Heraklion Archaeological Museum ©
Heraklion Archaeological Museum
Cretaquarium - Thalassocosmos ©
Cretaquarium - Thalassocosmos

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