Remarkable experiences. extraordinary value.

Journey to Istanbul, the Balkans and the Black Sea

22 Nights featuring Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Greece
Lake Bled, Slovenia

Includes: Roundtrip Airfare, Hotel, Tours, Transfers and More!

Start Date: April 25, 2022
(Sailing May 5, 2022)

About This Journey

Few Journeys explore so many destinations in one trip! This incredible, 22-night Journey will guide you through 9 different countries as you discover unspoiled natural beauty and partake in unique cultural experiences. In the last few decades, the restored nations of the Balkans and the Black Sea have rebuilt their infrastructure and revitalized their identity and culture. A recent boom in tourism has left the locals eager to share their way of life and showcase their national wonders. In the Balkans we will explore Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. This region of the world is an earthly paradise of clear blue lakes, snow-capped mountains, lush forests and green hillsides dotted with quaint villages. You will sample wine at local vineyards, clap along to traditional music, visit historic monuments, cruise on pristine lakes and walk below waterfalls. You will discover the area’s intricate mix of cultures and learn about the architectural wonders left behind by imperial legacies: Venetian palaces, Viennese mansions, Gothic churches, Hungarian-style farmhouses, Roman amphitheaters and Socialist Realist sculptures. We will then fly to Istanbul, an ancient city straddling both Europe and Asia, to explore its gorgeous mosques, palaces and monuments built during its long history of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman rule. After an incredible land program through an area renowned for its hospitality, you will embark the Azamara Pursuit. On this unique cruise itinerary, two exclusive shore excursions await you as you discover the highlights of the Black Sea, crossing the Bosphorus Strait to visit Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine, before disembarking in Greece. Don’t miss one of our most comprehensive Journeys yet!

33486 Visits: Azamara Pursuit, Zagreb, Banja Luka, Athens, Bosporus, Constanta, Odessa, Varna, Kepez, Volos, Istanbul, Turkey; SPID 33486, 100120B

Journey to Istanbul, the Balkans and the Black Sea


Start Date: April 25, 2022
(Sailing May 5, 2022)

Day Port Arrival Departure
1 Arrive Zagreb – Transfer to Hotel; Evening Walking Tour & Welcome Dinner
2 Zagreb – Tour to Trakoscan Castle and Apple/Wine Farm
3 Zagreb – Tour to Plitvice National Park and Local Winery
4 Zagreb – Free Time and Evening Cultural Experience
5 Zagreb – Tour to Slovenia and Lake Bled
6 Zagreb to Banja Luka – Winery Visit, City Tour and Traditional Dinner
7 Banja Luka to Belgrade – City Tour and Farewell Dinner
8 Transfer to Belgrade Airport, Fly to Istanbul, Turkey – Hotel Stay
9 Istanbul – City tour of Old Istanbul
10 Istanbul – Tour of the Grand Bazaar and Pierre Loti Hill
11 Istanbul – Morning Tour and Transfer to Ship for Embarkation
12 Istanbul – Exclusive Shore Excursion 6:00 PM
13 Varna, Bulgaria 8:00 AM 8:00 PM
14 Constanta, Romania 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
15 Odessa, Ukraine – Exclusive Shore Excursion 9:30 AM
16 Odessa, Ukraine 8:00 PM
17 Cruising
18 Kepez, Turkey 8:00 AM 6:00 PM
19 Kavala, Greece 8:00 AM 8:00 PM
20 Thessaloniki, Greece 8:00 AM 9:00 PM
21 Volos, Greece 8:00 AM 9:00 PM
22 Athens, Greece 9:00 AM
23 Athens, Greece – Disembarkation and Transfer to Airport for Return Flight 5:00 AM

**Please note that this itinerary is subject to change at anytime, including port of call changes. Please call a Personal Vacation Manager with any questions.

Land Program

St. Marks Church, Zagreb, Croatia

St. Marks Church, Zagreb, Croatia

Day 1 – Arrive in Zagreb, Croatia

Your adventure begins in the capital of Croatia, vibrant Zagreb! Upon arrival at the airport, transfer to your hotel for check-in. You’ll have time to get settled in and relax before joining your fellow travelers for a city introduction tour. We will walk through the center of Zagreb, including Zagreb Upper Town, the Lotrscak Tower, St. Mark’s Square, the Parliament Building, Stone Gate, Strossmayer Promenade and more. One of Zagreb’s most iconic landmarks is the funicular from Ilica Street to the Upper Town, where you can take in some of the best views of the city from the romantic Strossmayer Promenade. The promenade runs along the remains of Zagreb’s medieval defense walls and was named after a famous 19th-century Croatian bishop and politician. Lined with chestnut trees and offering expansive views of the city, this is one of Zagreb’s most popular and scenic footpaths. Local artists often display their products here, so it is a good spot to buy some souvenirs. After the tour, we will end our first day with a special meal at a local restaurant. (D)

Trakoscan Castle, Croatia

Trakoscan Castle

Day 2 – Zagreb and Trakoscan Castle

Today you’ll have a chance to visit the countryside in the north-west region of Croatia. Along the way you will enjoy scenic views of the green hills and picturesque villages of Zagorje. Our first stop will be Trakoscan Castle, one of the most attractive and visited castles in Croatia. It was built in the 13th century and is a beautiful example of Romanesque architecture. In the 16th century the castle was taken over by Croatian Ban Juraj Draskovic for his personal use, and his family remained its hereditary owners until World War II. In addition to the castle’s remarkably faithful reconstruction, the castle Trakošćan contains valuable examples of baroque furniture, various weapons used between the 15th and 19th centuries, and other items. The romantic English-styled garden and lake in front of the castle is also not to be missed. After the tour of the Castle, we will make our way through the hilly landscape to a family run farm. Here, you will learn about the estate’s apple and wine production, enjoy a tasting of some of these products and indulge in a delicious lunch. With a full belly and tipsy merriment, we will head back to Zagreb. (B, L)

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Day 3 – Zagreb and the Plitvice Lakes National Park

We will depart Zagreb early and drive to Croatia’s most famous national park – the Plitvice Lakes. Situated in the mountainous Gorski Kotar region, the Plitvice Lakes National Park covers almost 115 square miles of forested area and 16 crystalline lakes. These famous lakes are divided into 12 upper and 4 lower lakes, and are all connected by a series of cascades and waterfalls that culminate at the Great Waterfall. The park contains a myriad of walking paths that take visitors through the woods and along the lakes, providing spectacular views of the seemingly endless array of mesmerizing waterfalls. We will spend the morning on a walking tour of the park, including a boat ride along one of the lakes.

After our visit we will have lunch, then travel to one of the most renowned wine regions in Croatia – Plesivica. Here you will visit a local winery and taste some of the best wines in the country. (B, L)

Licitars Hearts

Licitars Hearts

Day 4 – Zagreb

Today you will have lots of free time to stroll around charming Zagreb. In the late afternoon, rejoin the group for an evening of cultural delights! First, we will learn how to make licitar – a traditional treat dating back to the Middle Ages. This sweet delicacy is made of honey dough, then formed into the shape of a heart and decorated in bright red with white trim; though it can also come in various shapes, sizes and colors. Smaller licitars are a favorite Christmas tree decoration in Croatian homes, whereas the larger ones are often given as gifts, especially on Valentine’s Day. The workshop will teach us about all stages of licitar production. After creating your licitar, sit back and enjoy both a feast of local cuisine and a lively folklore performance, which brings to life some of the traditional dances and music from Zagreb and its nearby regions. (B, D)

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Day 5 – Zagreb and Lake Bled, Slovenia

Today we will explore Slovenia, including the Slovenian Alpine region and the capital city of Ljubljana. Our first stop is the charming little town of Bled. This pearl of Slovenia sits on the banks of a mountain lake, beneath the peaks of the Julian Alps mountain range. We will visit the town, as well as an old castle nearby. Seated upon a cliff, the terraces of this medieval castle offer spectacular views of the glacial lake below.


Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia

We will then continue on to the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. This city lies on the river Ljubljanica and was first built as the Roman settlement of Emona in the year 15 AD. After an earthquake destroyed the city in the 16th century, Ljubljana was rebuilt in a Renaissance style. Then, after another catastrophic earthquake in the 19th century, it was rebuilt in a neo-classical and art nouveau style. We will stroll through the Old Town, hear all about its fascinating history and enjoy a boat ride along the Ljubljanica River. After some free time, we will head back to Zagreb. (B, L)


Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Banja Luka

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Banja Luka

Day 6 – Zagreb to Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and depart Zagreb toward Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Along the way we will make a stop at a local winery to enjoy a tour of the estate, a wine tasting and lunch. Banja Luka, the second largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is the administrative capital and largest city of the Republika Srpska (one of two official governments in Bosnia and Herzegovina). It is a notably green city, with many tree-lined avenues and parks. The city was first connected to the rest of Europe when a Roman trade route from Salona to Servitium passed right through it. To protect this route (and to enjoy the healing spring water they discovered in the area) the Romans built a fortress along the shore of the Vrbas River, the walls of which encompassed an entire town. When the Roman Empire collapsed, the Slavs took over and ruled over the region for a millennium. In 1527, the city fell to the Ottomans, who gave the city a distinct oriental touch.

Upon arrival to Banja Luka, we will enjoy a guided walking tour of the beautiful town, including entrance to the impressive Cathedral of Christ the Savior (based on availability). In the evening, dinner will be served at a traditional restaurant next to the Fortress. (B, L, D)

St. Sava Temple, Belgrade, Serbia

St. Sava Temple, Belgrade, Serbia

Day 7 – Banja Luka to Belgrade, Serbia

Today we will depart Banja Luka and travel to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. Upon arrival we will have lunch, then head out for a city tour. Belgrade is a vibrant city that is rich in history. Its most recognized landmark is the St. Sava Temple, one of the largest orthodox churches in the world. It is dedicated to Saint Sava and is located on an open plateau which dominates the Belgrade cityscape. After the church visit, enjoy a panoramic drive along the streets of Belgrade on the way to the main street and the central square – Knez Mihailo Street and Republic Square. This square contains two of the most important cultural institutions in the city, the National Theatre and the National Museum. A walk through the lively Knez Mihailo Street will lead us to Kalemegdan Fortress and Park, the most important historical complex of the city. This fortress, also known as the Belgrade Fortress, was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic tribe before being conquered by the Romans. After the tour we will go the hotel for check-in, where you will have some time to freshen up before dinner. Our farewell dinner in the Balkans will be held at one of the finest restaurants in Belgrade. (B, L, D)

Day 8 – Belgrade to Istanbul, Turkey

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel for check-in. Enjoy dinner this evening in a local restaurant. (B, D)

Day 9 – Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque Interior, Istanbul

After breakfast, meet your guide in the lobby for a sightseeing tour of Istanbul’s highlights. We’ll begin the day at the Roman Hippodrome, where chariot races were a favorite pastime during Roman and Byzantine times. We’ll continue to the Blue Mosque, often considered the symbol of the city. Constructed between 1606 and 1616, it is famous for its richly decorated interior of over 20,000 beautiful blue ceramic iznik tiles representing over 50 different flower designs. We’ll then head next door to the Hagia Sophia, considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. Completed as a Christian cathedral during the Roman empire, it was once the world’s largest interior space. After the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman empire in 1453 it was converted to a mosque. This afternoon we’ll visit the Cistern Basilica, one of several ancient subterranean cathedral-sized reservoirs built beneath the city to store water for its population, as well as tour Topkapi Palace where we’ll enjoy a lunch complete with panoramic views of the Bosphorus strait. Following lunch, we’ll return to the hotel to give you time to relax and freshen up before an exciting dinner experience. Meet your guide to depart for a cultural show featuring music and dance while eating delicious local favorites. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Istanbul, Turkey

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

This morning we’ll head to a Turkish rug school where you’ll have a presentation on the traditional techniques used in making the rugs. We will also learn about the history of this product that is so deeply rooted in Turkish culture. Then, we’ll get acquainted with another staple of Turkish society, the Grand Bazaar! Explore one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world as we visit for a tour and lunch. We’ll continue on to Eyup Ensari Mosque, one of Turkey’s most sacred Islamic sites. First completed in 1458, it was the site of coronation ceremonies for the Ottoman Emperor and, after sustaining earthquake damage, was reconstructed in the 18th century in baroque style. It is also the burial spot of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (Eyup Ensari in Turkish), a close companion and standard-bearer of Islamic Prophet Muhammad. His tomb is Istanbul’s most important Islamic shrine. We’ll then get a breath of fresh air this afternoon as we take a cable car to the top of Pierre Loti Hill where at the café we’ll take in spectacular views of the Golden Horn while sipping traditional Turkish coffee and tea. Back into the city, we’ll venture into bustling Istiklal Caddesi, which translates to Independence Avenue, to take in the sights. This street is Istanbul’s equivalent to Fifth Avenue in New York City or Oxford Street in London. Return to the hotel where you’ll have the remainder of the evening at your leisure. (B, L)


Day 11 – Istanbul, Turkey

Bosphorus Cruise

View from the Bosphorus

After breakfast, check out of the hotel for a half-day tour of the Asian side of Istanbul. First, we will board a boat and enjoy a relaxing cruise through the Bosporus strait, taking in beautiful views of the villages along the water and the dramatic landscape of the strait. It is one of the only places in the world where you can capture two continents in the same photo. Once back on the coach we will cross the Bosporus Bridge and enter the Asian continent. 65% of Istanbul’s population resides on the European side, with a smaller 35% residing on the Asian side. From here we will visit Camlica Hill, one of the seven hills of Istanbul and the highest point in the city, which offers sweeping views of the city and the Bosporus. We’ll continue to Uskudar, once the ancient Greek city of Chrysopolis and now a vibrant neighborhood of Istanbul. Stroll by the historic center’s local markets and shops and admire the magnificent architecture of the mosques. In the early afternoon, we will depart for the port where you will board the Azamara Pursuit and enjoy an overnight on the ship. (B)

Day 12 – Istanbul, Turkey – Exclusive Shore Excursion


Dolmabahce Palace

After breakfast, disembark the Azamara Pursuit and meet your guide on the pier for an exclusive shore excursion just for Enrichment Journey guests. Our first stop will be the lavish Dolmabahce Palace resting on the shores of the Bosporus. Commissioned by Sultan Abdul Mecit I and completed in 1854, the Ottoman-European style residence is quite impressive. Its ornate interiors were designed by the same man who did the Paris Opera house—perhaps explaining the theatrical extravagance. After touring such an opulent residence it’s only fitting to eat lunch in a similar setting. We will head to the historical Ciragan Palace, now a 5-star hotel, for the ultimate Ottoman dining experience. The elegant restaurant offers beautiful views of the Bosphorus, while the menu is based on inspiration from recipes recorded in the archives of Topkapi Palace. Enjoy dining like a Sultan while seated among century-old marble columns. We will then continue to a tile and pottery atelier to learn about Turkey’s rich history with these products. Turkish tiles and ceramics occupy a place of prominence in the history of Islamic art, with its roots tracing as far back as the Uighurs of the 8th and 9th centuries. You’ll get to meet the artisans and discover the secrets to this traditional Turkish trade. Return to the ship with a deeper understanding of Turkish culture and its contributions to society. (L)

Day 13-22 – Cruising onboard the Azamara Pursuit (see below for cruise highlights)

Day 15 – Odessa, Ukraine – Exclusive Shore Excursion

Odessa National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet

After breakfast, disembark the Azamara Pursuit and meet your guide on the pier for an exclusive shore excursion just for Enrichment Journey guests. Our first stops will be at the new Monument to Catherine the Great and then the statue of the Duke Armand Emmanual Richelieu, Odessa’s first mayor. Next, learn the history of Potemkin Steps, a giant stairway (193 steps), built between 1837-1841. The stairs are considered a formal entrance into the city from the direction of the sea and are the best-known symbol of Odessa. Tour the world-renowned Odessa National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet designed in the 1880s by Viennese architects Felner & Gelmer in the Habsburg Baroque style. Follow your guide for a chance to visit not only the interior of the Opera House, but also a behind-the-scenes look at the underground theater and sphere behind the stage. Next, head to the largest church of Odessa—Preobrazhensky Cathedral. Enter the recently restored cathedral to view its gilded interior, many icons and to learn its history. Continue to the Palace of Count Pototsky, housing Odessa Fine Arts Museum. Its maze of over 15 rooms has treasures, which run from 15th-century icons onwards and includes works by Levitsky, Ayvazovsky and Repin. One of the highlights of your visit will be to the museum’s Grotto where you’ll be treated to a private musical performance. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant where the chef will teach you how to make traditional vareniki (pierogi). Dine on local specialties along with wine and of course a local brandy. Your final stop before returning to the ship will be the Shustov Cognac Museum. The museum exhibits tell the story of the Shustov dynasty, the production and aging of cognac spirits. After touring the museum, it is only appropriate to partake in a tasting of brandy and local cheese. (L)

Day 23 – Athens Disembarkation

Enjoy breakfast onboard, then disembark the Azamara Pursuit and transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Optional 2-night Athens extension available, see “Extensions” section for details.

For meals not included in your land programs, all hotels chosen include a restaurant on property where you may relax and enjoy a meal. In addition, your guide is available to make suggestions on nearby dining, shopping or sightseeing.

Port Highlights

Varna, Bulgaria

Varna, Bulgaria

Varna, Bulgaria: Varna is handsomely laid out along the contours of the bay of the same name. This cosmopolitan city with its leafy promenades is perfect for strolling amidst baroque, turn of the 20th century, and contemporary architecture. In 1972 buried treasure was found near the port, the oldest hoard of processed gold ever discovered – 3,010 objects from 280 tombs of an ancient necropolis. Bulgaria prides itself on a documented millennia-old legacy of viniculture – the wines of ancient Thrace were praised by Homer in both The Iliad and The Odyssey. You will no doubt want to taste and savor some yourself.


Constanta, Romania

Old Casino, Constanta, Romania

Constanta, Romania: The Emperor Augustus banished the great Roman poet Ovid to Constanta in 8 AD. And while it may have been a valid form of punishment back then, we can think of far worse places to spend the rest of our life today. Continuously inhabited for over 2,600 years, Constanta is rich in history and culture, which means there’s no shortage of things to see and do.



Odessa, Ukraine

Primorsky Boulevard, Odessa, Ukraine

Odessa, Ukraine: Odessa is a big city with a small-town feel. An energetic and historic port, it has been described as “taking New Orleans and adding the weather of Marseilles, the people of Naples, the shop fronts of Cony Island, the grit of Baltimore, and the architecture of Paris and Rome.” But don’t get too caught up in comparisons, because Odessa is a place like no other.



ancient city of Lyrboton

Ancient city ruins, Kepez, Turkey

Kepez, Turkey: Kepez is a small seaside town, but real treasures can be found when you explore further beyond the shore. The ancient city of Troy was once just a myth, but archaeological excavations have brought this fabled locale to life. Also within reach of port is the Gallipoli Peninsula, where an ill-fated WWI campaign devastated Allied forces. In Assos, the Temple of Athena sits perched on an acropolis with sweeping sea views.



Kavala, Greece

Kavala, Greece

Kavala (Philippi), Greece: The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Kavala is the Byzantine castle built in 1425 that sits like a crown atop the city. The second thing you might notice is just how beautiful the scene before you is. Whitewashed, red-roofed buildings sit nestled amongst high stonewalls, with the azure-blue Aegean Sea lapping on the shore. A little off-the-beaten-path, locals have long treasured the city’s fantastic beaches – and Ammolofoi Beach is one of the most popular in the area. If you’re looking for a different kind of sightseeing, walk to the top of the castle or wander the streets of the colorful Panagia old quarter for plenty of shops.


Thessaloniki Greece

Saint Paul Church, Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki, Greece: As Greece’s second-biggest city and the Byzantine Empire’s second-most important city, the word “second” is often used to describe this port, but we’re here to tell you: Thessaloniki is anything but second-rate!




Holy Trinity Monastery, Meteora, Greece

Holy Trinity Monastery, Meteora, Greece

Volos (Meteora), Greece: Dating back to the Neolithic age and famed as the mythical “City of the Argonauts”, Volos is a modern city in the heart of Greece, and is a place of immense natural beauty and numerous archaeological sites.





Parthenon, Athens, Greece

Parthenon, Athens, Greece

Piraeus (Athens), Greece: You could spend a lifetime in Europe’s oldest city and still not see everything it has to offer. Settled over 3,500 years ago, Athens is like a mythological crossroads of the past and present, where modern buildings share the skyline with spectacular ruins like the Parthenon.


Journey to Istanbul, the Balkans and the Black Sea

Included Features

  • Roundtrip international airfare, transfers and baggage handling
  • 10-night pre-cruise land program
    • Zagreb, Croatia – 5-night hotel stay
      • Half-day city intro tour and welcome dinner
      • Full-day tour to Trakoscan Castle and an apple/wine farm
      • Full-day tour to Plitvice National Park and a local winery
      • Half-day cultural evening with licitar workshop and folklore performance
      • Full-day tour to Slovenia, including Lake Bled
    • Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina – 1-night hotel stay
      • Winery visit with lunch
      • Half-day city tour and dinner
    • Belgrade, Serbia – 1-night hotel stay
      • Half-day city tour and farewell dinner
    • Istanbul, Turkey – 3-night hotel stay
      • City tour of Old Istanbul
      • Tour of the Grand Bazaar and Pierre Loti Hill
      • Asian side city tour
  • Tour Leaders throughout pre-cruise land program in Balkans region as well as Istanbul and Local Tour Hosts during included tours
  • Most meals while on tour (see itinerary highlights) and all meals while onboard
  • 12-night sailing aboard Azamara Pursuit
    • Exclusive full-day guided shore excursions in both Istanbul and Odessa, specially created for Enrichment Journeys guests
    • Amenities included during your Azamara cruise:
      • AzAmazing EveningsSM event
      • Select standard spirits, international beers and wines
      • Gratuities
      • Bottle water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas
      • Self-service laundry
      • Shuttle service to and from port communities, where available
      • Concierge services for personal guidance and reservations
      • Much more!
      • Special Offer—Ends 3/31: Receive up to $250 Onboard Credit per stateroom. Call for details!

Journey to Istanbul, the Balkans and the Black Sea

What to Expect on Your Trip


Most days during the land portion will include full-day tours. The overall pace is rather quick, as there is much to see in these regions, however there is a healthy mix of both visits to historical sites and time to enjoy the landscape and scenery. Most days include two meals, allowing the third meal to be at your leisure. All hotels will have a restaurant on property where you may dine, then have the rest of the evening to relax. If you wish to go out, your guide is available to make suggestions for nearby dining.

During the cruise you will have a mix of relaxing days at sea and exciting days on land to explore the port cities. You may choose from optional shore excursions, which will allow for cultural immersion, exotic meals and numerous activities.

Physical Activity

The land portion of the trip should be considered active and includes a considerable amount of walking. The area around the Plitvice National Park will require walking on boardwalks with no handrails. Enrichment Journeys will do everything in our power to ensure comfort through our third-party providers, including air-conditioned buses and comfortable accommodations where applicable. However, some areas cannot be accessed by coach, so our drivers will get you as close to sites as is legally allowed. Sensible, rubber-soled walking shoes are strongly recommended. Historical sites often do not have elevators, escalators or ramps due to the age of the building/structure. Steps can be steep and uneven. Wheelchair access at many sites is limited to extremely limited. Based on crowds and traffic, order of visits may be changed. A fold-up wheelchair may be able to be stored on the bus but requires prior arrangements. Motorized wheelchairs and scooters cannot be accommodated on this group program. Guests must be able to transfer from their chair to the transportation. Guides/drivers are not allowed to lift or push wheelchairs, so guests requiring physical assistance must travel with a companion who can assist. For the cruise portion of the trip, passengers will board and leave the ship up stairways and gangways, and you may have to walk a moderate distance to transfer to train, bus and car stations. Time spent on the road and traveling can be long, so you will need to be prepared for stretches of down time in between destinations.

Cultural Focus

In the years following the Yugoslav Wars, tourism was almost non-existent in the Balkans. Charming multicultural towns, vast expanses of forests and national parks, and historic monasteries and citadels along the hillsides have remained unseen and unexplored by visitors. However, within the past decade this has changed, and with a new-found peace and reputation for warm hospitality, tourism is making a strong comeback. Now is the perfect time to visit. It is perhaps one of the most authentic regions in Europe, where the locals still have strong ties to their roots and maintain their local traditions, such as folk music, culinary delights and local artistry. On this Enrichment Journey you will visit a family run farm, learn how to make licitar (a traditional dessert), tour a local winery, and hear stories of daily life and their vision for the future. You will visit breathtaking natural wonders and visit historical monuments.

While visiting Istanbul, the call to prayer will quickly replace your need to look at your watch. Heard five times a day, this is when the faithful go to pray, and tourists should wait outside. During visits to Mosques, no shorts or sleeveless shirts on either men or women. At the most popular mosques in Istanbul, attendants may provide cloths to wrap around legs or shoulders during your visit if your clothing is too informal. Shoes are also to be removed before entering. During your Azamara cruise you will have the chance to explore the beautiful landscapes, historical wonders and intimate cultural experiences of each region.

You will encounter dishes and ingredients typical to the region that you may not have encountered before, and you will be introduced to local artistry of the region. Enrichment Journeys encourages an open mind when in unique situations and meeting people abroad. Sometimes the attractions, beaches and cities themselves can be crowded, especially while on the cruise.

Unique Factors

Please be cautious when talking about the region’s recent history and conflicts. Many locals are still sensitive to these topics, so it is best to avoid the subject. If the topic does come up, we advise that you politely listen and observe.

If you have special needs or physical limitations, you will need to check in with your personal vacation manager before booking the trip. The temperature can vary between day and night, so pack accordingly with items that can be layered. Some guests may wish to have a light sweater or windbreaker with them.


Enrichment Journeys is committed to providing remarkable experiences at extraordinary value. As a result, airlines and routes are selected to maximize that value and may involve multiple stops and extended layovers versus non-stop or direct flights. Passengers wishing to utilize specific carriers, or direct, or non-stop, or Business Class flights, or to extend their time in any of our beginning or ending destination cities may do so by contacting their Travel Agent or Enrichment Journeys directly. We are pleased to provide Custom Airfare arrangements for an additional $50 per person. This charge allows you to add and/or customize your flights and can be applied toward any flights or upgrades you choose to purchase. The $50 charge must be paid prior to receiving an air quote.

Transportation while on tour:

Coach:   Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes National Park: 2 hours

Coach:   Zagreb to Lake Bled: 2.5 hours

Coach:   Zagreb to Banja Luka: 4 hours

Coach:   Banja Luka to Belgrade: 4.5 hours

Flight:    Belgrade to Istanbul: 1.5 hours

Journey to Istanbul, the Balkans and the Black Sea

  • Special Offer—Ends 3/31!
    • Receive up to $250 Onboard Credit per stateroom. Call for details!

Journey to Istanbul, the Balkans and the Black Sea

1-night Zagreb Extension (pre-cruise)

Want an extra day to adjust to the new time zone? With this optional extension you will arrive to Zagreb a day early and have one extra day to relax at the hotel before the tour starts. Note: tours are not included. Price of $110 per person, based on double occupancy, includes:

  • 1-night hotel accommodations in Zagreb with daily breakfast
  • Private transfer from airport to hotel

2-night Athens Extension (post-cruise)

Although your Enrichment Journey program includes one night in Athens, you will have little time to explore the city and see the sites. With this optional extension you will stay for 2 nights in Athens after your cruise, giving you more time to explore the city on your own before flying home. Note: tours are not included. Price of $350 per person, based on double occupancy, includes:

  • 2-night hotel accommodations in Athens with daily breakfast
  • Private transfer from ship to hotel and hotel to airport

Journey to Istanbul, the Balkans and the Black Sea

Dates & Prices
04/25/2022 Retail Value EJ Price Savings Per Person Single Rates

Prices are in USD and are based on double occupancy.

Interested in the land program without the cruise? Land-only with air is $5,799.

Air Add-Ons
City Add-On City Add-On City Add-On
Atlanta $500 Los Angeles $400 Raleigh $300
Boston $150 Miami $200 San Francisco $400
Chicago $100 Newark $100 Seattle $400
Dallas-Ft. Worth $450 John F. Kennedy $0 Toronto $200
Detroit $450 Orlando $450 Washington – Dulles $200
Houston Intercontinental $450 Philadelphia $200
– Business Class Air Available on Request
– Additional Gateways Available on Request
– Air Add-On Rates are subject to change without notice. While we try to include the most common airports by default, we have many clients coming from different parts of the country. If you desire air from an unlisted airport, you must first reserve your Enrichment Journey with one of the listed airports as your default gateway and then ask, or have your Travel Agent ask, Enrichment Journeys to provide a quote for your preferred gateway.

All prices on our website and e-Journey Travel Guide are subject to change without notice. While we make every effort to provide you the most accurate and up-to-date information, occasionally, a trip or pricing category may be misprinted or unavailable at the time of booking. In the event of an incorrect price due to typographical, photographic, or technical error, or error in pricing information received from our suppliers, we retain the right to correct the price and to refuse or cancel any bookings placed at the incorrect price. In addition, all offers, prices, and conditions of sale may be subject to change without notice including tours, included features, highlights, minimum or maximum stays, itinerary, times in port, and/or other conditions/restrictions.

Journey to Istanbul, the Balkans and the Black Sea

The following hotel list is preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract for hotels a year or more in advance, unforeseen circumstances do occasionally require a change of hotel. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality or value will be substituted and you will receive confirmed hotel information with your final itinerary.

Hotel Dubrovnik (Zagreb)

Ljudevita Gaja 1, PP 246, 10000 Zagreb, Hrvatska

Telephone: 011 385 1 4863 501

Located on the city’s main square, Hotel Dubrovnik provides a warm and friendly environment with the right dash of Zagreb’s charm and a chance to feel the pulse of Croatia’s dynamic capital. It is the only hotel located in the heart of Zagreb and it is surrounded by most of the major tourist sites such as the cathedral, Zagreb old town, Dolac market, parks, bars and restaurants.

Courtyard by Marriott Banja Luka

Prvog krajiškog korpusa 33, Banja Luka 78000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Telephone: +387 51 337-700

The new state-of-the-art lobby at Courtyard provides greater flexibility and choices for our guests. At the center of it all is Bar, your destination for a great breakfast, or drinks and dinner during the evening. You’ll also enjoy inviting, flexible spaces where you can work or relax, free Wi-Fi throughout and easy access to the latest news. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, your stay at Courtyard is sure to be more comfortable, more productive and more enjoyable than ever before!

Hilton Belgrade

Kralja Milana 35, Beograd 11000, Serbia

Telephone: +381-11-7555700

The Hilton Belgrade is located in the heart of downtown, being about 10 minutes from St. Sava Temple, within three kilometers of the Old Town and Knez Mihailova nightlife. This hotel offers a rooftop bar and a restaurant with beautiful views overlooking the city.

Barcelo Istanbul

Kocatepe Mah Abdulhak Hamit Cad No 25 Beyoglu . 34437 Istanbul Turkey

Telephone: +90 212 377 45 45

The hotel Barceló Istanbul is completely renovated, and is located in the heart of the city, next to one of the most elegant districts in Istanbul, in the emblematic Taksim Square. Surrounded by a wide variety of restaurants, shops and businesses, its location allows guests to be absorbed by the vibrant streets of the country’s historical, cultural and financial capital.

Azamara Pursuit

Cruise Line: Azamara

Azamara Club Cruises provides guests with unparalleled service: the finest dining at sea, a glorious spa and wellness experience, and innovations such as Destination Immersion®, making it one of the world’s top up-market cruise lines. With the hallmark of longer stays, more overnights and night touring, Azamara will not only take you to awe-inspiring destinations, but also give you more time to fall in love with them.

Amenities Included

  • AzAmazing Evenings℠ event
  • Select standard spirits, international beers and wines
  • Gratuities
  • Bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas
  • Self-service laundry
  • Shuttle service to and from port communities where available
  • Concierge services for personal guidance and reservations

Ship: Azamara Pursuit

Like her sister ships, the brand new Azamara Pursuit offers some of the most extraordinary adventures on Earth, to places you’ve always dreamed of. In addition to visiting totally new-to-Azamara destinations, Azamara Pursuit will stay longer in each port, so you have more time to experience the world’s many wonders.

Onboard this boutique ship, built in the same style as her sisters, enjoy seven intimate restaurants, cafes and lounges, a refreshing onboard pool, sun-drenched decks, a revitalizing spa where you can truly relax…the list goes on.

Journey to Istanbul, the Balkans and the Black Sea

Before You Go

Money Matters

How you handle your currency and financials while on the trip is up to you. Some people prefer to exchange all their money in advance, while others will rely solely on credit cards. Consider calling your bank ahead of time to make them aware of your international travel, especially when using cards or withdrawing money.

ATM Machines

These are often readily available, especially in major cities. Some will charge fees on top of what your hometown bank may charge for using ATMs abroad. Look for well-marked machines that have the Visa or MasterCard symbols.

Foreign Banks

Currency can be exchanged at most banks, if needed. Ask a local host or tour manager if there is a nearby bank that is open.

Credit Cards

During your trip, you’ll find that most major credit cards are accepted. Call your specific card issuer ahead of time to find out its limitations and benefits overseas.


Do be aware that some additional charges for mini-bars, laundry and room service will not be included in the tour package. Plan accordingly for these extra charges.

Packing Guidelines

Pack as simply as possible for easy transfers and customs screenings. Check with your domestic and international carriers regarding baggage guidelines, allowances, and check for additional fees. All bags will be screened before boarding flights and the cruise ship.

What to pack

Basics and layers are key to a comfortable Journey. Be sure to check the weather in the destinations you will visit, and pack accordingly. There are always unpredictable variables as well, so make sure you have one sturdy jacket and an outfit for a formal occasion too, just in case.

Here are a few key items to take on your trip:

  • Raincoat/poncho
  • Hooded jacket/fleece pullover
  • Pants with pockets
  • Skirt with pockets
  • Hat with visor & sunscreen/bug spray
  • Warm socks
  • Sturdy sandals
  • Practical shoes for walking/easy hiking
  • Extra pair of prescription sunglasses and/or glasses (if needed)
  • Camera(s)

Have back-ups for everything to avoid disappointment. Charge batteries in advance and bring extra film or digital memory cards. If bringing a high-end camera, consider investing in insurance to protect your asset.

Luggage Screening Process

To pass through screening, have liquids either in small containers and bagged, or in checked luggage. All valuables necessary for the trip should be on your person at all times, if possible. This includes medications and documentation. We recommend one main bag and a carry-on, per airline guidelines for weight and size.


Have all your bags labeled with your name and address clearly marked. Add something to you luggage that is recognizable in the event your bags are misplaced. You may also consider marking your bags with “Enrichment Journeys” for efficiency.

Carry-on items

In many countries, including the US, large liquid containers are not allowed in carry-ons. On the way back into The States, food or agriculture items are prohibited. If you have questions about a certain item, visit for a list of items that cannot be packed.

Airport transfers

Airport transfers are included as part of your Enrichment Journey. Local representatives will advise you of the departure time from your hotel the night before departure. Generally speaking, arrangements have been made to have you at the airport approximately three hours in advance of departure, though this may vary depending on local circumstances. At the end of the cruise, an airport transfer will also be provided. Please advise your Personal Vacation Manager if you do not require transfer arrangements at the time of booking your Journey.

Cell phones

Some cell phones will work overseas, but incur additional charges for the use. Choose whether you would like to add an international plan by calling your carrier, or consider purchasing a pay-as-you-go phone overseas. However, in some destinations, many smartphones and tablets can pick up wireless Internet for free.

Protecting the Value of Your Travel Investment

Enrichment Journeys offers a comprehensive travel insurance package you can purchase alongside your trip. It eases the mind and lets you cancel your trip for a covered reason up until the departure date with a full refund of the Journey.

The insurance covers a wide variety of incidents, including travel delay, emergency medical services, and even baggage delay. You will also receive a pre-existing medical conditions waiver if travel insurance is purchased within 14 days of your initial deposit. For a full list of coverage provided, visit the FAQ section of the website.

Medical Issues and Handicaps

As with any extensive trip abroad, our excursions with Enrichment Journeys will require some physical capabilities, including transfers from cruise ships, walking on cobblestone streets and navigating through some busy cities with guides. Although we encourage all types of travelers to join us, we do ask you are aware of your own physical limitations. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual care to those who may have walkers, wheelchairs or other aids. Enrichment Journeys also cannot accommodate pregnant women past their six month gestation period. Please speak with one of our Personal Vacation Managers to see if certain itineraries are suitable for you and your needs. We are happy to suggest other viable options for you that are more accessible.

Per the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, travelers have the right to be reasonably accommodated in terms of tours in public situations. However, the laws do not apply for trips and outside the United States. So you must let Enrichment Journeys know ahead of time of any physical limitations, including information added to our questionnaire that needs to be filled out by all passengers. Failure to inform Enrichment Journeys of these limitations could result in refusal to participate, whether it be at the airport through the airline, on board the ship or at the accommodations booked.

If you have any sort of prescription medication, this should be a number one priority in packing. Bring extra, just in case. A small medical kit is also advisable for quick access to remedy minor aches and pains.

Briefing sessions

A local host or tour manager will be happy to guide you through the trip and answer all of your questions. Upon arrival to your destination, an Enrichment Journeys representative will meet with the group and go over items such as the daily schedule, weather and local customs.


All hotels booked by Enrichment Journeys are held to a high standard of comfort and quality, in accordance to international accommodation standards and rating systems. However, each accommodation varies so you may experience various types of properties throughout your excursions.

Journey to Istanbul, the Balkans and the Black Sea

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Journey to Istanbul, the Balkans and the Black Sea

Regional Information

Travel Documentation

Have your passport and visas ready and available at all checkpoints. Scan and copy these documents to print out. It is recommended that you e-mail a copy to yourself and someone back home in the event these documents are misplaced. Also, it may be worth bringing an international ID or license.

Passport and Visa

To travel internationally, you must have a passport in good condition, and it must be valid for at least 6 months after the last day of your trip. Visa requirements change frequently and for various reasons. As a result, our Personal Vacation Managers are not always able to provide visa information, and you should not rely on the information provided below to be the most current and accurate. The best way to obtain up-to-date information regarding visa requirements is to visit the official US government website for Americans traveling abroad, Travel.State.Gov (Canadian citizens should visit, for all other countries please visit your government website or local embassy), which details specific information on the countries you would like to visit, including visa requirements.

You may also use a third-party visa service, such as Expedited Travel. These services require an additional service fee but make the process of applying for a visa much simpler.

Note: as of April 2021, while most visitors to Turkey are required to obtain a visa beforehand, according to the state department website “U.S. citizens traveling on cruise ships can enter visa-free for a maximum of 72 hours with permission from authorities at the port of entry.” However, due to your stay prior to cruise departure, Enrichment Journeys strongly recommends that all clients apply for the e-visa online ($50 at time of publication) before your trip to avoid any entrance issues.

Note: as of April 2021, U.S. and Canadian passport holders traveling to Europe’s Schengen Zone will have to obtain an electronic travel authorization (ETIAS) starting January 1, 2022. US citizens will have to apply for an ETIAS prior to their travel towards Europe, in order to be allowed to enter the territory. More information can be found at


Vaccinations are recommended to protect one’s health from preventable diseases abroad. It is always good to have routine vaccinations up to date when traveling for ailments such as chickenpox, measles, and the flu shot. Use your own discretion when deciding on what vaccinations to have based on your preferences and personal medical history. During your Enrichment Journeys tour, the utmost care will be taken with prepared food, atmosphere and other elements, so the likelihood of contracting diseases is scarce.

For a list of recommended vaccinations based on destination, visit or feel free to contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention directly at 1-800-232-4636.

Electric Current

You will need an adaptor for some parts of your trip. To see what the plugs will look like at your destination, visit and click on each country from the right menu.

You may also need to use a converter. Most countries outside of North and Central America use 220-240 V, whereas the U.S. and Canada use 110 V. However, most chargers these days have a box which will act as a converter so that it can be used in all countries around the world. If your charger box says “Input: 100-240V, 50/60 Hz” then you do NOT need to use a converter (but you may still need an adaptor so that the plugs fit in the socket).

Some hotels may have two and three-pronged outlets to use for various appliances. Ship cabins also have outlets for you to use with their converter. However, we recommend having at least one or two adaptors with you, as we cannot guarantee that all hotels will be able to accommodate this.

Local Currency

Greece, Montenegro and Slovenia use the Euro (€), currency code EUR

Croatia uses the Croatian Kuna (kn), currency code HRK

Bosnia and Herzegovina uses the Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark (KM), currency code BAM

Serbia uses the Serbian dinar (РСД), currency code RSD

Ukraine uses the Ukrainian hryvnia (₴), currency code UAH

Romania uses the Romanian Leu (lei), currency code ROM

Bulgaria uses the Bulgarian lev (лв), currency code BGN

Turkey uses the Turkish lira (₺), currency code TRY

Please visit  for the current exchange rate.

How you handle your currency and financials while on the trip is up to you. Some people prefer to exchange all their money in advance, while others will rely solely on credit cards. We suggest having at least some local currency with you during the trip, at least enough to take a taxi if needed. Consider calling your bank ahead of time to make them aware of your international travel, especially when using cards or withdrawing money.

Tipping Guidelines

Tipping is always appreciated but not always required. Expect several instances throughout the hospitality industry that allow for tipping. Have small bills ready for hotel staff, boat crew, restaurant servers, drivers, guides, and baggage handlers. If you have a meal outside the itinerary or hire a resident driver, a few dollars in the local currency is customary.

Gratuities are included for group meals, at hotels, and at airports. The host, guide, or tour manager can be tipped roughly $8.00–$12.00 USD per person, per day, as can any ship staff member (which is often split at the end of the day by all). Drivers can be tipped $5 USD per person, per day.

For more information about when and how much to tip in each country, feel free to speak with your tour guide at the start of your Journey. A good reference for international tipping is

Time Differences

Please be aware that you may be crossing through several time zones throughout your Journey. To view a time zone map, visit


With the tour covering various regions, you will most likely come in contact with warm and/or cool weather, occasional rain, wind and/or damp environments. Check the weather online before departing for an up-to-date look at the conditions in major destinations.

Many countries outside of North America use Celsius. Here is a °C to °F quick reference guide:

-5° C = 23° F 5° C = 41° F 15° C = 59° F 25° C = 77° F 35° C = 95° F
0° C = 32° F 10° C = 50° F 20° C = 68° F 30° C = 86° F 40° C = 104° F

High/Low Temperatures in Fahrenheit:

Zagreb 40/31 44/33 54/40 63/47 72/55 78/60 81/64 80/63 71/56 60/48 50/40 41/33
Belgrade 39/29 44/32 54/38 63/46 73/54 78/60 82/62 82/62 74/55 63/47 51/39 41/31
Istanbul 48/37 49/38 54/41 62/47 71/56 80/64 85/69 84/69 77/62 68/55 59/47 51/41
Constanta 40/29 42/31 49/37 58/45 68/54 76/62 81/66 80/66 73/59 63/50 52/40 43/32
Odessa 35/25 37/26 45/33 56/43 68/53 76/60 81/64 81/63 71/55 59/45 48/37 39/29
Athens 53/44 54/44 57/47 64/52 71/59 80/67 82/71 82/71 77/66 70/60 62/53 56/47

Practice the Local Language

Knowing a few phrases in the local vernacular can be a wonderful way to connect with people and feel immersed in the culture. Here are some fun phrases:

Croatia: Croatian

  • Zdravo (z’drah-voh): Hello
  • Dovidenja (Boh(n)-zhoo): Goodbye
  • Kako ste? (kah-koh steh): How are you?
  • Molim (moh-leem): Please
  • Oprostite (oh-proh-stee-teh): Excuse me
  • Da (dah): Yes
  • Ne (neh): No
  • Koliko ovo košta? (KOH-lee-koh oh-voh koh-shtah?) How much is this?
  • Koliko je sati? (KOH-lee-koh yeh sahtee?) What time is it?
  • Gdje mogu razmijeniti novac? (Gdyeh MOH-goo rahz-MEE-yeh-nee-tee NOH-vahts?) Where can I exchange money?

Visit for more phrases and sound.

Slovenia: Slovenian

  • Živijo!: Hello
  • Adijo!: Goodbye
  • Žal mi je.: I’m Sorry
  • Hvala!: Thank You
  • ja: Yes
  • ne: No

Visit for more phrases and sound.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Please refer to the Croatian section above.
  • There are three official languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian. However, these three languages are identical. Depending on their ethnicity, a local may claim that he speaks Bosnian, another will claim that she speaks Serbian, and another will claim that he speaks Croatian. But they are all speaking the same language.

Serbia: Serbian

  • Please refer to the Croatian section above.
  • Serbian is a standardized variety of Serbo-Croatian language, but the differences are minimal.

Greece: Greek

  • Γεια σας (YAH sahss): Hello
  • Τι κάνετε (Tee KAH-neh-teh?): How are you?
  • Μάλιστα (MAH-li-sta): Yes
  • Όχι (OH-hee): No
  • Χάρηκα (HA-ree-ka): Nice to meet you
  • Παρακαλώ (Pah-rah-kah-LOH): Please
  • Ευχαριστώ (Ef-hah-rees-TOH): Thank you
  • Συγγνώμη (See-GHNO-mee): Excuse me
  • Βοήθεια! (Voh-EE-thee-yah!): Help!

Visit for more phrases and sound.

Ukraine: Russian and Ukranian (very similar languages)

  • Привет. (pree-VYEHT): Hello
  • Пожалуйста (Pah-ZHAH-luh-stuh): Please
  • Спасибо. (Spuh-SEE-buh): Thank you

Visit for more phrases and sound.

Bulgaria: Bulgarian

  • Здравейте. (zdrah-VEY-teh): Hello
  • Да. (dah): Yes
  • Не. (Neh): No
  • Моля. (MO-lya): Please
  • Благодаря. (bla-go-da-RYAH): Thank you
  • Извинете. (iz-vi-NEH-teh): Excuse me

Visit for more phrases and sound.

Romania: Romanian

  • Salut: Hello
  • Da: Yes
  • Nu: No
  • Merci: Thank you
  • Scuze: Excuse me

Visit for more phrases and sound.

Turkey: Turkish

  • Merhaba: Hello
  • Evet: Yes
  • Hayir: No
  • Teşekkür ederim: Thank you
  • Özür dilerim: Excuse me

Visit for more phrases and sound.

Facts and Figures

Check out these interesting facts about the destinations you will visit on your Journey.


  • Croatia was settled in the early 7th century.
  • Besides Croatian, Italian and English are commonly spoken, especially in the cities.
  • Approximately 10% of Croatia’s land is comprised of 8 national parks, 11 nature parks and 2 nature reserves.
  • Croatia has the most UNESCO Intangible Goods of any European country. These include lace making, gingerbread baking, and wooden toy carving.
  • Oscar-winning Fiddler on the Roof, Sophie’s Choice and Dr. Who all were filmed in Croatia, as were Game of Thrones and Star Wars.
  • Luka is the most popular boys’ name in Croatia, whilst Mia is currently the most popular female name.


  • The capital city of Ljubljana translates to “the loved one”.
  • The world’s largest ski jump is in Slovenia.
  • Slovenia is home to over 400 brown bears, probably thanks to the fact that approximately half of the country is covered in forest.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Its nickname is “Heart Shaped Land” because of the slight heart shape of the country.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina is a nation of coffee lovers! It has the tenth highest coffee consumption per capita in the world.
  • The country consists of two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (containing the capital Sarajevo) and the Republic Srpska (de facto capital of Banja Luka).
  • The country is filled with rivers, lakes and waterfalls. The name “Bosnia” comes from an Indo-European word meaning “water”.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina is slightly smaller than the state of West Virginia.


  • Serbia is the largest raspberry exporter in the world.
  • 18 Roman emperors (approx. 20%) were born on the land that is modern day Serbia.
  • The temple of the Saint Sava in Belgrade is one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world.


  • There are 10.7 million people in Greece, with its capital city of Athens hosting roughly three million residents.
  • Athens was the capital of Ancient Greece and the birthplace of democracy.
  • About 80% of Greece is mountainous and 50% is covered by forests.
  • There are about 3000 islands, only a few hundred of which are inhabited.
  • Ancient Greece is said to have laid the foundation for Western civilization, having a large influence on the Roman Empire and European culture.


  • Turkey is one of the world’s largest hazelnut exporters.
  • Turkey’s coastline along the black sea stretches for over 1000 miles.
  • Tulips were introduced to Europe by traders (especially Dutch traders) from Turkey in the 16th The word “tulip” comes from the Turkish word for turban, tulbent.
  • Turkey is slightly larger than the state of Texas.


  • Bulgaria is the oldest country in Europe that hasn’t changed its name since it was first established (681 AD).
  • Bulgarians express approval by shaking their heads instead of nodding.
  • Nearly a third of the country is covered in forests, which include over 40 mountains.
  • Bulgaria contains the highest number of natural mineral springs in continental Europe – over 600!
  • The Cyrillic alphabet was invented in the 9th century by two Bulgarian monks, Cyril and Methodius. The first digital wristwatch was invented by the Bulgarian Peter Petroff.


  • Romania is the ninth largest wine producer in the world.
  • Romania was a source of inspiration for two very famous novels: “The Castle in the Carpathians” by Jules Verne, and “Dracula” by Bram Stoker.
  • Europe’s second largest underground glacier, the Scarisoara glacier, is found underneath the Bihor Mountains in Romania.
  • The earliest Homo sapiens fossils, up to now, were discovered in 2002 in south-western Romania, in the Cave of Bones. The fossil’s age is estimated at 37,800 to 42,000 years old.
  • The Danube to Black Sea canal in southeast Romania is world’s third longest man-made navigation route, after the Suez and the Panama Canals.
  • The name “Romania” comes from the Latin word “Romanus” which means “citizen of the Roman Empire.” The Romanian language is a Romance language, cousin to Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese. It is the only Romance language still spoken in Eastern Europe.


  • Ukrainians wear their wedding rings on the right hand instead of the left.
  • Ukraine has many interesting animals including lynxes, wolves, wild boar, brown bears, beavers, otters, hamsters and gophers. Carp, bream and catfish are common fish species, while Great White Pelicans are native to south-west areas.
  • The popular Easter egg tradition originated in Ukraine. Originally, the eggs were patterned using wax and dye. The wax was eventually removed leaving an impressive pattern with dashing colors.

Recommended Reading List

Vacation should be easy, peaceful and, most of all, completely stress-free. Let us handle the details, so you can sit back, relax and curl up with a good book as you count down the days to your next Journey! We’ve compiled the following list of books and movies to introduce you to the destinations you are about to visit.


  • Croatia: Croatia: Travels in Undiscovered Country by Tony Fabijančić
  • Croatia: Girl at War by Sara Novic
  • Entire Balkan Peninsula: Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West
  • Entire Balkan Peninsula: Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends by Lonnie Johnson
  • Entire Balkan Peninsula: How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed by Slavenka Drakulić
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Logavina street – Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood by Barbara Demick
  • Bulgaria: Stork Mountain by Miroslav Penkov
  • Serbia: Kaya, Belgrade, and the Good American by Mirjana Đurđević
  • Greece: Iliad by Homer
  • Greece: The Summer of My Greek Taverna: A Memoir by Tom Stone

Travel Guides


  • Croatia: Harrison’s Flowers (2001)
  • Croatia: much of the HBO series Game of Thrones was filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Balkan Peninsula: No Man’s Land (2001)
  • Balkan Peninsula: The Diplomat (2015)
  • Balkan Peninsula: The Battle of Neretva (1969)
  • Balkan Peninsula: Border Post (2006)
  • Ukraine: Battle For Sevastopol (2015)
  • Ukraine: The Diamond Arm (1969)
  • Romania: Cold Mountain (2003) was filmed in Romania
  • Romania: Youth Without Youth (2007)
  • Greece: Mamma Mia! (2008)
  • Greece: 300 (2006)
  • Greece: Troy (2004)

Journey to Istanbul, the Balkans and the Black Sea

eJourney Guide

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Your easy-to-read, printable PDF-formatted eJourney Guide makes it convenient to review and plan your next world-class Journey with us!

It contains a wealth of valuable travel information including:
  • Detailed Destination Information
  • Day-by-Day Itinerary
  • Preparing for Your Trip
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Local Cultural Information
  • Recommended Readings
  • And so much more!
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