Monastery, Skopje & Matka Gorge
After a guided tour of the main sights of Sofia we enjoy some simply breathtaking scenery as we cross into eastern Macedonia to spend a night at the 12th century Monastery of St Joakim Osogovski. Located on the slopes of the Osogovo mountains, the monastery is locally known as Sarandopor after the site on which it was built. In Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, we'll visit the fortress, Mustafa Pasha Mosque and the Old Bazaar, and have time for an optional excursion to nearby Matka Gorge.
Mountains & Lake Ohrid
Our route to Lake Ohrid takes us through Mavrovo National Park, en route to St Jovan Bigorski Monastery, before twisting through the dramatic Black Drim river valley. Arriving at the ancient centre of Ohrid we settle into our hotel for the next three nights. The setting is simply sublime, with a dramatic mountain backdrop almost encircling the tranquil waters of Lake Ohrid. Ohrid itself has much to offer: we'll visit Tsar Samoil's Fortress and the Roman amphitheatre for sensational panoramic views, take a trip on the lake, then stroll around the Old Town on cobblestone lanes. For those who wish, canoes and bicycles can be rented in town.
Exploring Ancient Sites & Thassos
Leaving Ohrid, we cross the Livada Pass (1,568m) on our route through Galicica National Park and descend to the shores of Lake Prespa. After viewing some impressive mosaics at the site of the ancient Macedonian town of Heraclea (founded by Philip II, father of Alexander), we head to the hills to spend our last night in Macedonia in Pelister National Park. Crossing into Greece, our next stop is at Vergina and Pella, birthplace of Alexander the Great, before reaching the shores of the Aegean and the bustling metropolis of Thessaloniki. A boat trip along the coast of the fabled monastic retreat Mt Athos, a day trip by ferry to Thassos Island, and a visit to ancient Philippi complete our activities in northern Greece. Finally we head north back into Bulgaria to enjoy Rila Monastery and complete our circuit in Sofia.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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