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Balkans

Welcome to Rustic Pathways in The Balkans!

Explore the rich history of the Balkans region by visiting small towns and big cities. Along the way we will meet local people and learn their stories. We will engage with history, past and present, and learn about the complexities of this crossroads of civilisation. You’ll have the chance to encounter local traditions and sample cuisine which varies from the Dalmatian Coast to the Bosnian Mountains.

Group Travel in The Balkans

We custom design our Journeys to meet your school’s requirements, so please contact us to discuss the type of experience you are looking for. As a general guide, here are some of the potential elements of your Journey through The Balkans:

Service Projects

Service in Mostar: This town has a rich and turbulent history. As recently as the 1990’s the town was a site of conflict, ravaged by war. With our local service partner, you will be able to contribute to the people of Mostar.

Education and Cultural Exploration

Split: This is the largest city in Croatia’s Dalmatian region, and it’s an incredible fusion of modern and ancient. Visit Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most impressive Roman monuments, which is a prime example of life intertwining with history. When you step inside the palace’s ancient bones, you’ll find bustling cafes, bars, restaurants, and shops.

Mostar: The city of Mostar is the cultural and economic capital of the Herzegovina region and home to the iconic “Stari Most” bridge, which is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most recognisable landmarks. After being one of the most heavily bombed cities in the Bosnian war, much of the city has been rebuilt and it is a lively and beautiful destination once again. If you keep your eyes open, however, there is still plenty of evidence of the violent recent history.

Sarajevo: This resilient city is the capital and cultural centre of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the Bosnian war in the 1990s, Sarajevo was war-torn to the point of near annihilation. Today, its largely-restored, historic centre is full of lovely cafes and it is a bustling and welcoming city.

Blagaj Tekke Dervish Monastery: This Sufi Dervish Monastery was built in the 1500s and is considered to be one of the most mystical places in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Situated at the base of a massive cliff, on the bank of the Buna River where it emerges from the depths of the mountain, it certainly is the stuff of fairytales.

Dubrovnik: This magical city is world-renowned for its beautiful limestone streets, baroque buildings and massive medieval walls rising against the sparkling Adriatic sea. In 1991 the city was under siege for 7 months by the Yugoslav People’s Army and was significantly damaged by shelling. Since then, however, massive restoration work has been undertaken and the city has re-emerged as one of the top travel destinations in the Mediterranean.

Bosnian Coffee: Very similar to (but not to be confused with) the thick, strong Turkish coffee, this drink is an important part of the Bosnian culture. Drinking it is a daily custom and it plays an important role during social gatherings. Students can attend a coffee workshop to learn the very specific process of brewing this coffee, and learn about its importance to the Bosnian people.

Adventure and Challenge

Plitvice Lakes: This is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Croatia. It’s an absolutely stunning series of 16 bright blue lakes interlinked by waterfalls. Visiting, and taking time to hike or go on a boat tour is a must if you are in the region.

Marjan Hill Park: This beautiful forested hill rising above the city of Split is a wonderful place to spend several hours hiking and enjoying the incredible Mediterranean scenery.

Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour: Dubrovnik is the main filming location used to create the fictional city of King’s Landing in the popular Game of Thrones TV show. While in Dubrovnik we can take a tour to visit many of the recognisable filming locations.

Accommodations

The accommodation on our programs in the Balkans are a combination of hotels and local guesthouses.

Hotels: A variety of 3, 4 & 5 star hotels in cities and towns

Guesthouses: The most comfortable style of accommodation when in smaller towns and remote areas.

Sample Itinerary

Peace and Reconciliation

Explore the fascinating history and exquisite beauty of coastal Croatia.

Day 1 Arrive in Croatia

Land at Split International Airport and explore the city while sampling the food of the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. Visit Diocletian’s Palace, built for a Roman emperor in the fourth century, after dark to experience what is now part of Split’s Old Town.

Customization Example: Arrive in Sarajevo and spend a day exploring the capital and business of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Day 2 Explore the Region’s Sites

Continue learning about Split as you wander through its historic markets where locals buy fresh seafood. Drive to Mostar, our base in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where you’ll spend the next three days. Take in the nighttime view of Mostar’s famous Old Bridge, built by Ottomans in the 16th century.

Days 3 – 4 Serve the Community of Mostar

Work on service projects with our local partner in Mostar. Learn about traditional life from local performers, participate in a coffee workshop, and visit sites that bear witness to the turbulent history of the Balkans. Hear our local staff share their experiences and visions for the future.

Day 5 Delve into Sarajevo’s History

Drive to Sarajevo, the capital and business hub of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Learn about the siege of Sarajevo during the conflict in the 1990s and visit the tunnel dug during the war, which served as the city’s only lifeline to the outside world. Visit Baščaršija, the town’s old bazaar, sample dishes influenced by Ottoman empire, and shop for souvenirs in its cobblestone alleys.

Customization Example: Follow the Neretva River back to Mostar, stopping at a Dervish house. The home of Islamic mystiques overlooks a breathtaking mountain stream.

Day 6 Experience the Walled City of Dubrovnik

Head to the ancient city and former republic of Dubrovnik to see its mighty walls. Walk these streets and absorb the history that made this city of stone. Drive back to Mostar and wrap up your program with a discussion about everything you’ve experienced.

Customization Example: Add a day to visit the memorial at Sutjeska, the site of a famous WWII battle where many soldiers lost their lives. Camp overnight on the banks of the breathtaking, emerald Drina River.

Day 7 Split From a Kayak

Drive to Split and kayak from one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia. Hike Marjan and marvel at the panorama of Split below.

Day 8 Depart for Home

After a final Croatian breakfast, head to the airport and fly home. Have a safe journey — Hvála!

Special Requests

Please chat to us if you have any special requests that you would like included in your Journey.
There is nothing too big, small, or out-of-the-box that we can’t handle.

What Next?

Please email us at rustic@rusticpathways.com.au to start designing your Journey!
We would be delighted to partner with your school to support the global education of your students.