Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia
11 - 18 May 2019
Sample the best of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Visit exuberant Belgrade on the Danube, where ugly Socialist blocks rub shoulders with grand Hapsburg palaces, art-nouveau buildings and Ottoman houses. Enjoy its great cafes and restaurants. Admire Sarajevo, which has emerged from the horrors of the 1990s but still carries some scars. Relax in sparkling Mostar. We have also included visits to the pretty countryside, and local food and wine for a perfect introduction to the former Yugoslavia.
SATURDAY 11 MAY 2019 AUSTRALIA – BELGRADE
Depart Sydney and transit via Abu Dhabi.
SUNDAY 12 MAY 2019 BELGRADE
Arrive in Belgrade early in the morning and transfer to the hotel. The day is free for you to relax and for you to enjoy dinner on your own. Please ask our helpful staff for recommendations.
MONDAY 13 MAY 2019 BELGRADE B,L,D
Enjoy a full-day tour of Belgrade. Stand in the Square of the Republic and view some of the city’s most important buildings, statues and fountains – a bustling gathering place for locals and visitors alike. Visit the 19th century neo-baroque style Patriarchate of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Learn about the fascinating, tumultuous history of Yugoslavia at the Museum of Yugoslavia and pay your respects to Tito at the House of Flowers.
Enjoy a hearty lunch at the Writers’ Club, the former haunt of local literati and the visiting elite (think Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre).
Walk off lunch with some free time in Knez Mihailova Street, a vibrant pedestrian zone full of bars, restaurants, bookstores, galleries, shopping malls, cafes, libraries and more. Then visit Kalemegdan Fortress. It has had many incarnations from Celtic fort to Roman Castrum (where a Roman legion protected the nearby harbour of the Roman Danube Imperial Fleet) to a Byzantine castle, a medieval castle of Serbian Despots and, later on, as Austrian and Ottoman fortifications. Gaze over the confluence of the River Sava and Danube with a refreshing drink before dinner in the groovy Bohemian quarter in the old city.
TUESDAY 14 MAY 2019 NOVI SAD - BELGRADE B,L
Today take trip out of busy Belgrade to laid-back Novi Sad for wine tasting and spend time with a local beekeeper. Visit mighty Petrovaradin Citadel, which towers over the Danube on a 40-metre high volcanic slab. It was constructed with slave labour between 1692 and 1780, and its dungeons have held notable prisoners including Karađorđe (leader of the first uprising against the Turks and founder of a royal dynasty) and Tito. Have a good gawk at the iconic clock tower: the size of the minute and hour hands are reversed so far-flung fisherfolk can tell the time. Walk through the mysterious underground tunnels.
Admire the view of the Danube during lunch before taking a walking tour of the old town. Then you have time to explore on your own – plenty of galleries, museums and shops. Pick somewhere for an evening meal before returning to Belgrade by coach.
WEDNESDAY 15 MAY 2019 BELGARDE – SARAJEVO B
This morning take a short flight to Sarajevo. In the 1990s Sarajevo was besieged and on the edge of annihilation. Today, the historic centre is restored and the bullet holes largely plastered over on the city's curious architectural mixture of Ottoman, Yugoslav and Austro-Hungarian buildings.
This afternoon take a guided walking tour. Cross the Princip Bridge, named after the 18 year old school boy who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and started WWI, the heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Visit the elaborate Ottoman Careva Mosque and the Svrzo Museum, a beautifully restored 18th century house-museum, and imagine Sarajevo life in times past. Admire Gazi Husrev Bey Mosque, one of finest examples of Ottoman architecture in the Balkans. For a grim reminder of recent history go through the Tunnel of Hope used in the Bosnian War of the 1990s to move supplies in and refugees out.
The evening is free for dinner on your own.
THURSDAY 16 MAY 2019 SARAJEVO – MOSTAR B,L,D
Take a scenic drive from Sarajevo to Mostar. Stop in Konjic for a special tour of Tito’s bunker, the biggest military secret of the former Yugoslavia. This atomic shelter could withstand a nuclear attack of 20-25 kilotons, covers 6,400 square metres, has 100 rooms and numerous exits. Particularly impressive is Tito's luxurious private residence with six rooms, including his office and bedroom.
After lunch travel on to Mostar and visit the old town, its sandstone houses straddling the Neretva River. Walk through Kujundziluk bazaar, bustling with golden trinket sellers. Walk across the iconic reconstructed 16th century Stari Most Bridge and its ‘mini me’ version, the Kriva Cuprija (crooked bridge). Enjoy a coffee at the charming Turkish House.
Have free time for shopping before meeting for dinner at a gorgeous riverside restaurant.
FRIDAY 17 MAY 2019 BLAGAJ – POCITELJ – MOSTAR B,L
A short distance from Mostar, visit Blagaj village that hugs the surreally blue-green Buna River as it gushes out of a cliff-cave past a historic Tekija (Sufi Dervish spiritual house).
Enjoy lunch and some wine tasting at a delightful vineyard.
Then travel to the quaint riverside fortified town of Pocitelj, a medieval and Ottoman-Mediterranean wonder of nature and architecture. It was once a strategically important frontier town between Ottoman Herzegovina and Venetian Dalmatia. Wander the cobblestone streets and stairs that wind in all directions through a surreal maze of medieval houses with distinctive round chimneys atop roofs clad with irregularly shaped stone slabs, and gardens where walnuts, figs, kiwis and pomegranates grow in abundance.
You will have time for shopping in the little shops and excellent galleries – since 1964 the town has hosted the Počitelj International Art Colony.
On the return trip to Mostar stop to admire the Kravice Waterfalls.
Your final evening is free for you to enjoy Mostar at your leisure.
SATURDAY 18 MAY 2019 MOSTAR – SPLIT B,L
Depart early to drive to Split to join the main conference group.