Trafalgar Travel: Review of a Regional Explorer Tour through Croatia and Bosnia & Herzogovina

If you are looking for a stress-free vacation that includes hotel, transportation, insider experiences and much more, then a guided tour may be a great option to consider for your next trip.


There are many different tour operators out there that cater to all different types of travel; from budget travel to luxury travel, big groups to small private groups, age demographics, family travel and everything in between.

Based on my experience with Trafalgar Travel on a guided trip through Croatia and Bosnia & Herzogovina, I can highly recommend Trafalgar as a great option for anyone looking for a stress-free guided vacation.

This trip was catered for selected travel advisors to help them understand what it's like on a Trafalgar tour and was very similar to the 'Balkan Delight' tour offered for everyone that is a longer twelve day trip across three countries (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia) and nine cities (Zagreb, Sarajevo, Mostar, Dubrovnik, Osojnik, Kotor, Split, Plitvice, Trogir).

 

Out trip was a condensed version of the 'Balkan Delight' tour over seven days, across two countires (Croatia and Bosnia & Herzogovina) with 6 nights total split in the beautiful cities of Zagreb, Sarajevo, Dubrovnik and Split.


If you are not familiar with Trafalgar Travel and the benefits of guided tours, check out my previous post here.


In summary, if you are looking for a stress-free vacation that includes all of the planning meaning hotel stays, transportation, insider experiences and much more, then a guided tour is your best bet:

The Trafalgar Style of Travel
This trip, Highlights of Croatia is one of Trafalgar's Regional Explorer trips, meaning the focus is a few countries within the region being explored.  For this trip it includes two countries in depth and included all of the following from Trafalgar:
  • 4 and 5 star accommodations, including hotel service charges, tips, baggage handling fees and taxes.  Rooms and standards can vary between cities/locations, but they are all clean and comfortable. 
  • 6 buffet breakfasts, and 6 Dinners including 1 Be My Guest experience
  • Locally guided sightseeing, including Local Specialist gratuities in Zagreb, Sarajevo, Mostar and Split
  • Small group sightseeing in Dubrovnik
  • Airport transfers on the first and last travel day
  • Audio headsets that will enhance your sightseeing experiences
  • A Travel Director to coordinate everything so you don’t have to worry about times, bookings, luggage and all the small things that can become frustrating while on vacation.
Trafalgar Trip Overview:
Day One: Arrive Zagreb
Embark on an off the beaten track discovery of the Balkans, a once troubled region and today a land of diverse cultures and traditions.  Meet your Travel Director and fellow travelers for an orientation drive, including a stroll around the 17th century Ban Jelalic Square.





Meal(s): Welcome Reception


Hotel: Westin Zagreb



DAY Two:  Zagreb ▶ Sarajevo
The paved squares and steep alleyways of Zagreb will be explored in the morning as we join a Local Specialist to delve into the city’s rich medieval and religious history.  See the majestic Cathedral on Kaptol, the Archbishop’s Palace, St Mark’s Church, with its vividly coloured tiled roof, and the Opera House.







Next, after the morning tour, we journey to Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzogovina, whose rich religious and multicultural heritage has spanned centuries and earned it the nickname, "the Jerusalem of Europe", reflected in its beautiful synagogues, mosques and Orthodox and Catholic Churches.


Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner


Hotel: Radon Plaza Hotel Sarajevo



Day Three: Sarajevo
Get ready for a long (but rewarding) day with a Local Specialist for a guided walking tour of the city’s old town, past the largest mosque in the Balkans, the Eternal Flame and the Sarajevo Roses that are dotted across the city as a stark reminder of the turmoil Sarajevo endured decades ago.
















Burrowing into the depths below Sarajevo, we join a Local Specialist for an insider tour of a Bosnian war tunnel that allowed food, war supplies and humanitarian aid to come into the city, and people to get out during the war in this region in the early 1990's.







After tours and lunch on your won, enjoy the rest of your day in the city, walking along Copper Street seeking treasures or drink from the fountain of Sebilj to secure your return to Sarajevo.







Optional Excurison: Brewery Tour and drinks at Sarajevska Pivara, which served an important function providing water during the war in the 1990's.


Be My Guest Dinner: Sarajevo Home Hosted Evening
Enjoy a true insight into local culture as you’re invited into a Sarajevo local's home, to savour warm hospitality and tasty traditional cuisine. There’ll be no more than several guests with each family, ensuring a cosy and memorable evening.



Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day Four: Sarajevo ▶ Dubrovnik
We journey to the secluded coves and dramatic cliffs of the Dalmatian Coast, that for centuries attracted famous artists, actors and aristocrats.




En route to Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic, we stop to see the magnificent bridge at Mostar, named after the bridge keepers who in medieval times guarded the “Stari Most” over the Neretva
River.  The 16th century bridge was destroyed during the war and has been rebuilt using the same centuries old traditions.




Enjoy some free time to explore the town before continuing to the ancient city of Dubrovnik.


Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner




Hotel: Ariston Hotel Dubrovnik


Day Five: Dubrovnik
Meander through marble streets of this stunning medieval city, joining an unforgettable Small Group Sightseeing walking tour of the main sights of Dubrovnik with a Local Specialist.




Admire the Rectors Palace, Onofrio’s Fountain and the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries before travelling to Osojnik to meet the Muhoberac family for a special Be My Guest traditional meal in the village their ancestors have lived for over 500 years.



Meal(s): Breakfast and Be My Guest Lunch

Day Six: Dubrovnik ▶ Split
We pass the old fishing villages and modern resorts, arriving in the vibrant city of Split.  Enjoy a city tour with a Local Specialist featuring the historic inner city, built around the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s 4th century Palace.

See Splits Renaissance and Gothic structures, Jupiter’s Temple, the Peristyle and the Cathedral.








Reminisce over an enchanting Balkan exploration over a final Farewell Dinner together.

Meal(s): Breakfast and Farewell Dinner



Hotel: Corner Hotel Split

Day Seven: Depart Split
Our time together comes to an end this morning after breakfast with transfers to the airport.

Meal(s): Breakfast


Summary
Overall this trip was amazing and very fast-paced.  Since we explored this region on a condensed itinerary, we explored amazing cities throughout Croatia and Bosnia & Herzogovina that included Zagreb, Sarajevo, Mostar, Split, Dubrovnik and small cities along the way where we stopped for short breaks.  

While a guided vacation may not be for everyone, I highly recommend checking one out for a destination that you have never explored before to see what it can offer you.  The seamless travel between cities, local specialist tours and insider experiences we were able to participate in were awe-inspiring.  

This Trafalgar trip reminds of an Anthony Bordain quote:

"Travel isn't always pretty. It isn't always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that's OK. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind."

This quote summarizes the type of trip you will experience with Trafalgar and I truly meant that.  The people you meet in the cities you visit, the locals you enjoy meals with, the personal stories you hear are heart-breaking and inspiring at the same time and you start to realize that everything you read and hear about the world can be misleading.  


Lastly, the travelers I met on this trip have become some of my good friends and meeting them on this trip was a joy!