21 days in The Balkans Itinerary

21 days in The Balkans Itinerary

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Route & dates

21 days in The Balkans Itinerary

Start: Johannesburg, South Africa
Fly:  13​h 30​min
1
Istanbul, Turkey
— 4 nights
Fly + Taxi:  2​h 45​min
2
Goreme, Turkey
— 3 nights
Fly + Taxi:  5​h 30​min
3
Pamukkale, Turkey
— 2 nights
Taxi + Fly:  6​h
4
Athens, Greece
— 5 nights
Fly + Drive:  10​h 30​min
5
Korcula Town, Croatia
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
6
Dubrovnik, Croatia
— 3 nights
Fly:  17​h
End: Johannesburg, South Africa

4
nights
Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul ©
A physical and cultural bridge between Europe and Asia, the transcontinental city of Istanbul serves as a living reminder of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires.
Istanbul is known for museums, historic sites, shopping, nature, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get engrossed in the history at Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya), admire the masterpieces at Istanbul Modern, hunt for treasures at Kapali Carsi, and contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Suleymaniye Cami .

For other places to visit, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Istanbul trip planning app .

Johannesburg, South Africa to Istanbul is an approximately 13.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and shuttle; or do a combination of bus and flight. Traveling from Johannesburg to Istanbul, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Expect a bit cooler temperatures when traveling from Johannesburg in April; daily highs in Istanbul reach 20°C and lows reach 9°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Tue) so you can travel to Goreme.

Things to do in Istanbul

Historic Sites Museums Neighborhoods
Highlights from your plan
Topkapi Palace ©
Topkapi Palace
Sultan Ahmed Mosque ©
Sultan Ahmed Mosque

3
nights
Goreme, Turkey

Famed for its landscape of unusually shaped stone formations and churches cut into the natural rocks, Goreme sits in the central part of the country, an area originally settled during Roman times.
Goreme is known for museums, historic sites, nature, shopping, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get outside with Outdoor Activities, view the masterpieces at Naile Art Gallery, take an in-depth tour of Museu a Ceu Aberto de Goreme, and get to know the fascinating history of Goreme National Park.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Goreme online driving holiday planner .

You can do a combination of flight and taxi from Istanbul to Goreme in 3 hours. Other options are to do a combination of shuttle and flight; or drive. Traveling from Istanbul in April, Goreme is little chillier at night with lows of 5°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Fri) early enough to travel to Pamukkale.

Things to do in Goreme

Nature Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Uchisar, Cappadocia Cave Dwellings
Highlights from your plan
Off-Road Tours
Balloon Rides
Goreme National Park ©
Goreme National Park

2
nights
Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale ©
A popular spa since the second century BCE, the modern city of Pamukkale continues to draw worldwide attention with its hot springs and travertines--naturally formed calcite bathing pools.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Sat): take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, soar above the sights with a balloon tour, and then witness a stunning natural landmark at Pamukkale Thermal Pools. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the different monuments and memorials at Anatolia Cemetery, contemplate the long history of Byzantine Church, and then delve into the distant past at Hierapolis.

For other places to visit, where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Pamukkale road trip site .

Traveling by combination of flight and taxi from Goreme to Pamukkale takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Sun) early enough to travel to Athens.

Things to do in Pamukkale

Historic Sites Outdoors Tours
Highlights from your plan
Hierapolis ©
Hierapolis
Pamukkale Thermal Pools ©
Pamukkale Thermal Pools
Balloon Rides

5
nights
Athens, Greece

Athens ©
One of the world's most ancient cities, Athens remains Europe's undisputed historical and cultural capital.
Change things up with a short trip to Archaeological Site Mycenae in Mycenae (about 1h 30 min away). There's lots more to do: delve into the distant past at Acropolis of Athens, explore the world behind art at Benaki Museum, take in the local highlights with Walking tours, and take in the awesome beauty at Mount Lycabettus.

To find reviews, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Athens trip maker site .

Traveling by combination of taxi and flight from Pamukkale to Athens takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Pamukkale to Athens, you'll gain 1 hour due to the time zone difference. In April, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 15°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Fri) so you can travel to Korcula Town.

Things to do in Athens

Historic Sites Museums Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Archaeological Site Mycenae
Highlights from your plan
Acropolis of Athens ©
Acropolis of Athens
Acropolis Museum ©
Acropolis Museum
Plaka ©
Plaka

3
nights
Korcula Town, Croatia

Korcula Town ©
Korcula Town perches on the edge of the island's eastern coastline.
Step out of Korcula Town with an excursion to Vela Luka Marina in Vela Luka--about 42 minutes away. There's still lots to do: get outside with Freestyle, contemplate the long history of Korcula Town Walls, make a trip to Velika Knezeva Kula, and look for gifts at Boya Crayons Shop.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, use the Korcula Town trip planner .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Athens to Korcula Town. The time zone difference when traveling from Athens to Korcula Town is minus 1 hour. In April in Korcula Town, expect temperatures between 22°C during the day and 13°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Mon) so you can go by car to Dubrovnik.

Things to do in Korcula Town

Parks Historic Sites Outdoors

Side Trips

Vela Luka, Lumbarda, Korcula Island
Highlights from your plan
Vela Luka Marina ©
Vela Luka Marina
Freestyle ©
Freestyle
Badija ©
Badija

3
nights
Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik ©
Along the Dalmation Coast, the city of Dubrovnik has become famous for its pedestrian-only Old Town surrounded by fortress walls, and its historical heft has earned it World Heritage Site status.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Tue): get to know the fascinating history of Dubrovnik City Walls, then browse the exhibits of Art by Stjepko, and then take a stroll through Old Town. On your second day here, take in the pleasant sights at Artist on Ancient City Wall Walk, then head outdoors with Doyouwed. Me, and then head off the coast to Island of Lokrum.

To see traveler tips, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Dubrovnik road trip site .

Getting from Korcula Town to Dubrovnik by car takes about 3 hours. Expect a daytime high around 21°C in April, and nighttime lows around 11°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Thu) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Dubrovnik

Neighborhoods Outdoors Nature
Highlights from your plan
Old Town ©
Old Town
Lokrum Island ©
Lokrum Island
Art by Stjepko ©
Art by Stjepko

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