Balk So Hard

Trip Region: Eastern Europe
Country(ies): Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia
Partners Trek? Yes
Cost: $1934
Airfare Estimate: $1400
Structure: 3   •   Lodging: 3   •   Nightlife: 3   •   Activity: 3

Do you enjoy rich history, mouthwatering cuisine, and perfect summer weather? Hikes with picturesque views and rafting through breathtaking canyons? Walking along ancient walled cities, diving off of cliffs, exploring underground war tunnels, and tasting local wines? There’s more but we’ll stop right there, because we know what you’re thinking. This is the best vacation I’ve ever heard of! How can it get any better?! WE. KNOW. In fact, we’re thinking the exact same thing, which means we’re probably soulmates and you should come to the Balkans with us.

We’ll travel to four once-in-a-lifetime countries virtually untouched by tourism, where East and West converge. Experience the vibrant culture and nightlife of Serbia, intriguing history and innovative cuisine in Bosnia & Herzegovina, beautiful nature and charming mountain villages of Montenegro, and the beaches and culinary delights of Croatia.

The Balkans are full of hidden gems, and we’ve planned them all into this trip! Five awesome MBAs and their equally awesome partners dreamed this MTrek up to prove that you can literally have it all in one vacation. We promise you amazing group activities, lots of free time to explore, and the best friendships and memories to carry you through the next two years!

Day 1 — Friday, Aug 18

Depart for Belgrade. Balkans here we come!

Day 2 — Saturday, Aug 19

The day is yours to explore one of the oldest cities in Europe! Shake off jetlag with a fancy cup of coffee at Belgrade’s innovative cafes and check out the historic buildings and industrial design districts. Visit a chic restaurant for lunch, or visit a winery/brewery and taste some Balkan spirits! That evening, we’ll gather for our first dinner together, followed by one of the epic nightclubs on the river.

Day 3 — Sunday, Aug 20

Today we learn about Belgrade’s history and check out centuries-old Kalemegdan Fortress! After our guided tour, the rest of the day is yours. Get cultured at the Tesla Museum or head down to Skadarska Street in the bohemian quarter of town to sample authentic local foods. While you’re there, enjoy the lively atmosphere of two worlds colliding, because you’ll see churches and nightclubs side by side! In the evening, make sure you’ve got your party pants on for an impromptu group pub crawl at the best bars in town.

Day 4 — Monday, Aug 21

Grab your things – we’re headed to Sarajevo today! Sit back and relax for the scenic 8-hour drive in a private vehicle through beautiful countryside. When we arrive, we’ll do a quick orientation walk, and then you’re free to explore! But don’t eat too much - tonight we’re going restaurant hopping at some phenomenal eateries. With delicious food and a few drinks in us, we’ll see where the night takes us (we’re looking at you cocktail lounges, cafes, and bars...)

Day 5 — Tuesday, Aug 22

Wake up, sunshine! (But not too early - let’s be real, we’re on vacation!) We’ll walk around with a guide and learn more about Sarajevo, the city where World War I essentially began. We’ll check out a fascinating history museum, go underground into war tunnels, and even hear stories from people who lived through the siege. Then you’ve got the rest of the day to explore! Relax at the famous Illidza hot springs, or check out Sarajevo’s old bazaar and try simple, delicious fare like bosanski cevapi (a local specialty of grilled minced meat with mild spices). Later on, enjoy a gourmet dinner at one of many fabulous restaurants such as Apetit, which has a “no menu” concept. Get some rest tonight – tomorrow is going to be amazing!

Day 6 — Wednesday, Aug 23

Bags packed? Check. Bathing suits on? Check. We’re on our way to Kotor, Montenegro! After a breezy four hour drive, we’ll stop to go rafting on the Tara River, with breathtaking views of the canyon (and a picnic break, because we love food!) Then it’s 3ish hours of driving to reach Kotor, aka the Star of Montenegro and an UNESCO World Heritage site. Phew – done with the long drives! You’re free to explore the rest of the evening. Check out the beautiful 12th century cathedral, the charming cafes, or listen to live street music. If you’re up for it, hike 1.5 hours to the Fortress of Sveti Ivan for magnificent views of the lit up city walls and the Bay of Kotor. Hungry? Order a glass of wine and fresh seafood at one of Kotor’s many fine dining establishments.

Day 7 — Thursday, Aug 24

Good morning, indeed - you’re waking up in a picturesque, charming mountain town! Roll out of bed and get ON A BOAT. That’s right, we’re throwing a party on our very own chartered booze cruise from 11:00am to 2:00pm. A rager + stunning views of Kotor Bay = a win for everyone! After the cruise, we’ll grab lunch in Kotor and get some downtime before hopping into our swanky private vehicles for a short 2-hour drive to Dubrovnik. When we arrive, you’ve got the night free to do what you wish! Check into your hotel, and head out for a fantastic dinner at your leisure.

Day 8 — Friday, Aug 25

Today we get acquainted with Dubrovnik, another UNESCO World Heritage site, on a guided walking tour. After the tour, maybe you’ll walk the city walls, or hike Srd Hill for spectacular city and coastal views. The food has been amazing everywhere we’ve been so far, but Dubrovnik takes it to a whole new level. Watch the sunset at a cliffside restaurant (Café Bar Buza or Buza I), go wine tasting (D’vino), or try fresh seafood anywhere. Then we’ll get dressed up to explore the glittering nightlife this city is known for!

Day 9 — Saturday, Aug 26

The day is yours to leisurely explore Dubrovnik and its surroundings today. Feeling adventurous? You’re only a boat ride away from amazing swimming at Locrum Isle, hikes at Elafiti Islands, or great food and beaches at Hvar Island. In Dubrovnik, visit Rector’s Palace, take that Game of Thrones tour, or swim while you wait for your food at cliffside restaurants like Gverovic-Orsan. It’s been quite the whirlwind, and we can’t believe today is our last official day of MTrek! Don’t worry, we’ll make the most of our last night together with a glorious send-off dinner at one of Dubrovnik’s unique restaurants built into the coastal city walls.

Day 10 — Sunday, Aug 27

Departure day. Say goodbye to the Balkans and your new friends, never to be seen again… KIDDING. Let’s be real, we’re already planning our next reunion! #friendsforever