BALKANS RAIL EXPLORER

24 days/23 nights

Max group 12

Lifetime Deposit

24-Day Balkans Rail Explorer

Are you curious about the Balkans region? Perfect! Combine your ‘thing’ for rail travel and step right into a cultural experience that will outright blow you away. You may have seen Chris Tarrant’s version… but let us show you our version! 

Twelve lucky adventurers will experience this trip that we spent months fine-tuning so you can get the Goldilocks version of a rail trip around the Balkans region. Mind you, we have a bit of insider intel on this one, as we have four team members who live in that part of the world. They wanted to be beyond certain that you’ll have the time of your life, and nothing less! 

In 24 days you’ll get on nine different trains, including two heritage steam lines, and make seven country border crossings. Explore the capital cities and rural hinterlands. Marvel at nature in colour you may not have experienced until now, from forested mountains, canyons, rivers and sea as you migrate through Mediterranean, continental and alpine terrains

Most importantly, we hope you feel the warm hospitality that the region is so known for wherever you go, and of equal importance, immense enjoyment through the tastes of regional cuisine. All of this is waiting for you!

Trip Breakdown

Trip length

24 days, 23 nights


Dates

Start: 17 August 2024

Finish: 9 September 2024

Last Spot


Start: 21 August 2024

Finish: 13 September 2024

Booked Out

Start: 21 June 2025

Finish: 14 July 2025

New Date


Price

$10,282 AUD per person

  • $2,150 AUD deposit, per person
  • 2-week cooling-off period applies
  • Lifetime deposit. If you need to cancel, your deposit is transferable to other trips
  • Twin Share: we’ll match you with a roomie if you’re travelling solo
  • Private supplement available: $2,773 AUD

Please refer to our payment terms in the FAQs.


Meeting point

Solun Hotel, Skopje, North Macedonia


Ending point

City Hotel, Ljubljana, Slovenia


Group size

Maximum 12 people


Inclusions

  • Meals: 23 breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 11 dinners
  • List transport: 9 x trains, 1 x steam trains, 1 x funicular ride, 2 x boat rides, 10 x private transportation transfers
  • Boutique and premium accommodation
  • 1 top-rated tour leader throughout and specialist guides along the way
  • All listed activities and more!

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Any visas required
  • Late check-out at hotels
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinks with included lunches and dinners
  • Tip kitty (See FAQs for more information)
  • Personal expenditure

Have a group?

Contact us and we can arrange a private departure.

Trip Highlights

Explore 6 capital cities in 7 Balkan countries

Cross Europe's highest rail viaduct Mala Rijeka in Montenegro

Ride heritage steam trains through rural Serbia & Tara National Park

Overnight stays in UNESCO heritage cities Mostar & Split

Travel the Bar to Belgrade line in the footsteps of Chris Tarrant

Relax by the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro & on Hvar Island

Bosnian home cooking class in Sarajevo & truffle hunt in Motovun

Scenic train ride through the Julian Alps

Overview

Train Journeys Included

Day 3: Train Prishtina to Peja

Day 7: Train Bar  to Uzice

Day 8:  Steam Train Sargan 8

Day 9: Train Uzice to Belgrade

Day 11: Train ride Belgrade to Sremski Karlovci

Day 14: Train Sarajevo to Mostar

Day 18: Train Split to Zagreb

Day 20: Train Zagreb to Rijeka

Day 21: Train Nova Gorica to Bled

Day 23: Train Bled to Ljubljana

Accommodation Preview

Nearly all accommodation on this trip is 4 and 5 stars. Here are some examples:

KULA BOUTIQUE GUESTHOUSE

MONA PLAZA ZLATIBOR

KRIVA CUPRIJA HOTEL


Trip Summary

Trip Map

Itinerary

Day 1 – Welcome to Skopje: North Macedonia

Welcome to Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia! You’re about to kick off a surreal rail adventure, snaking your way north through seven countries to explore this little corner of southeast Europe – and if you’ve not been to the Balkans region, it will be nothing like you would have imagined!

A friendly face will pick you up from the airport and get you to your hotel. Settle right in, freshen up, then get set to join your tour leader and other Mag Railers for the very first time over dinner – in typical, Balkan-style hospitality. 

💡Please note! Something we need to clarify upfront – you will not go hungry in the Balkans… it’s just how it is!

Accommodation: Solun Hotel or similar, Skopje – North Macedonia
Included: Dinner


Day 2 – Explore Skopje

You’ll have a chance to get to know Skopje’s Metropol after spend the morning in nature on a trip to the nearby Matka Canyon. ‘Wow’ away at this unexpected beauty as you take a boat ride down the river to your lunch destination.

Time to get to know Skopje. Enjoy your first lunch of the trip before taking a leisurely stroll around this rather surprising city, where you’ll discover a mash-up of ancient civilisations and ethnicities, all fitting in rather harmoniously.

💡Did you know, that Skopje happens to be the birthplace of a rather special Albanian woman… a Catholic nun famously known as Saint Mother Teresa? 

Accommodation: Solun Hotel or similar, Skopje – North Macedonia
Included: Breakfast, lunch & dinner


Day 3 – Pristina to Peja by train: Kosovo 

Bye-bye North Macedonia and hello Kosovo… the world’s youngest country! A cheeky private transfer takes you up north to Pristina railway station after breakfast. Here, you’ll store your luggage as our local guide shows you the sights that made history around the Kosovar capital city. As Pristina is a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures, expect a quirky mix of architecture and monuments, including new art installations acknowledging the birth of the small nation. 

💡Note! In Albanian, Pristina is written as ‘Prishtina’. The Kosovar city is home to the second-largest Albanian population outside of Tirana (Albania’s capital). 

If you’re feeling a tad peckish, now would be a good time to grab some lunch… before your very first train ride of this trip! Woohoo! The afternoon plan is to get yourself on board the 2-hour train ride and head west from Pristina to Peja. You’ll arrive at 18:30, get yourself organised and later the group will head out to a much-anticipated Balkan-style dinner.

Accommodation: Seraphine Plaza or similar, Peja – Kosovo
Included: Breakfast & dinner


Day 4 – Offbeat Peja 

You won’t find Peja on too many travel itineraries. That’s what makes it more appealing in our opinion, and we’re sure you’ll agree. It’s a ‘green’ city of open space and parklands, encircled by mountains, cave-filled gorges, lakes and a little-visited waterfall. It still carries the architectural reminders of its Ottoman rulers – many buildings, artisan workshops and landmarks like the old central bazaar, Bajrakli mosque and hammam (traditional Turkish baths)… plus a couple more secrets to discover!

Your guide will take you exploring the must-see city sights this morning, leaving you the afternoon free to check out local museums, hunt down more delicious food (ask your guide for tips)… or however you wish to spend it! 

Accommodation: Seraphine Plaza or similar, Peja – Kosovo
Included: Breakfast


Day 5 – Stari Bar: Montenegro

It’s day 5 of the trip and things are warming up. Which means, this morning you’re leaving Peja behind and heading off to the Adriatic seaside! That’s right, you’ll make your way south-west in a private vehicle that will have you in Bar, Montenegro – one of Europe’s smallest countries – by the afternoon. Enjoy a leg-stretch as you make a lunch-stop somewhere. 

Soak up the green, forested, hilly scenes interspersed with red-topped rural houses along the way… these are the kind of memories that will hit you time and again… long after the trip is over. Once your driver passes through Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital, and over Skadar Lake (a national park) you can get excited because it’s not long to go now! 

When you arrive in Stari Bar (Old Town ‘Bar’) , get yourself comfortable, as you’ll be spending the next two nights here in an ‘old-school’ guesthouse of very distinct Balkan architecture. Stari Bar is one of the oldest towns in Montenegro, originating as a hilltop fortress over a millennia ago. For dinner, hit the hotel’s traditional-styled restaurant with its authentic regional cuisine for the full local dining effect.

Accommodation: Kula Boutique Guesthouse or similar, Stari Bar – Montenegro
Included: Lunch & dinner


Day 6 – Beach Day in Novi Bar

Today is basically yours to do as you please… so enjoy a free day before tomorrow’s long train ride. Although, after breakfast, the seaside town of Novi Bar (New Town ‘Bar’) is surely calling out to you. With Stari Bar being 4 km inland, our driver will be at-the-ready to give you a lift in. Use the opportunity to hit the beach and take a swim in the appealing turquoise tones of the Adriatic Sea… It’s pretty hard to resist. And say ‘hi’ to the locals – they’re super friendly!  

💡Tip! The average sea temperature for Novi Bar (New Town Bar) in June is a delightful 23 degrees.

Accommodation: Kula Boutique Guesthouse or similar, Stari Bar – Montenegro
Included: Breakfast


Day 7 – Bar to Uzice by train: Serbia

What a day – get ready for one of the most exciting train trips in Europe! No doubt one of the rail highlights of the entire trip – and one of the ‘famous’ routes shown to rail enthusiasts by Chris Tarrant.

This line runs between Bar and Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, normally taking 11 hours. Today, however, you’ll get off 3 hours earlier at Uzice and spend a couple of nights in the mountains of Zlatibor nature park. But more about that later!

The trains only operate during summer so don’t expect to have it to yourselves… but if you ask us, that just turns the adventure level up a couple of notches. We’ve got you on the daytime train for a very good reason – despite being a long ride, it is ridiculously scenic and you’ll pass briefly through Bosnia and Herzegovina along the way.  

You’ll conclude your day with a well-earned traditional dinner, in a local restaurant.

💡The curvaceous journey will cross more than 435 bridges above steep gorges – including Montenegro’s renowned ‘Mala Rijeka’ viaduct, Europe’s highest – and pass through 254 tunnels. You will surely marvel at the feat of workmanship that lasted more than 20 years in the making!

Accommodation: Mona Plaza or similar, Zlatibor – Serbia
Included: Breakfast & dinner


Day 8 – Tara National Park by Steam Train

Rail and nature lovers, get ready for a magical day with a ride on the heritage Sargan 8 railway through the jaw-dropping beauty of Tara National Park in western Serbia. ‘Fairy tale vibes’ is the only way to describe this. Taking off from the dreamy little village of Mokra Gora,  the ingenuity of the railway construction is proudly on show as the train chugs its way around the mountain taking you over five large bridges, gorgeous ravines, rivers and gorges. Even Chris Tarrant was impressed!

💡For all the train nerds: steam locomotive #83-052 is your engine, built in 1926 by Arnold Jung Lokomotivfabrik. The 15-kilometre, narrow-gauge track winds its way around the mountain in a figure-of-eight-like shape – hence the name Sargan 8 – to climb a 300-metre steep incline that would otherwise be a mere 3.5 kilometres as the crow flies. Its 22 tunnels, incredibly, are carved through solid rock.

Accommodation: Mona Plaza or similar, Zlatibor – Serbia
Included: Breakfast


Day 9 – Uzice to Belgrade by train

A change of scenery today! After breakfast, wave goodbye to Uzice as you board the train to Belgrade, enjoying the last rural landscape views before they fade into the urban cityscape of Serbia’s capital. Your local guide will acquaint you with Belgrade this afternoon, as you soak up the local vibe and enjoy what this hospitable and entertaining city does best – looking after its guests.

💡An unforgettable group dinner tonight in the bohemian Skadarlija district, and one of Belgrade’s oldest, most charming streets. It may be a bit touristy, but trust us you are going to love this! Once a gathering place for artists, the arts and entertainment scene thrives via antique shops, art galleries, cafes and bars with live music and its renowned, traditional restaurants.

Accommodation: Mona Plaza or similar, Belgrade – Serbia
Included: Breakfast & dinner


Day 10 – Belgrade: free day

Hard to believe, but you’ve been on the go for nine days already. You’ve explored four countries, with three more to go! This is your first chance to relax and chill out since your beach day in Bar. Use the day exactly as you wish… perhaps a sleep-in with a late breakfast. Stroll around the city and explore its museums, Kalemegdan and other parks… maybe a fortress. And, more tasty food to discover whether you’re a meat lover or vegetarian. Don’t forget to hit up your guide for some good tips.

Accommodation: Mona Plaza or similar, Belgrade – Serbia
Included: Breakfast


Day 11 – Sremski Karlovci to Novi Sad by train

Let’s get going again. We wanted you to amble out of Belgrade on ‘Romantika’ – a sweet train still decked out in its vintage décor, but she’s been hauled off the rails for 2024! So, we’ll pop by to see her where she’s garaged on a short excursion on Day 10 – then take a commuter train to Sremski Karlovci on Day 11 instead! This cultural town is also famous for its wine cellars. Let your guide give you some insights into the local history before you break for lunch nearby.

(Now, on the topic of lunch – we are just dying to leak the details here… it’s so special… but we’ll very reluctantly leave it as a surprise – you’ll appreciate it all the more and thank us for it later!)

Only thing left to do now is hop on a vehicle bound for the beautiful city of Novi Sad, where you’ll be introduced to the Novi Sad hilltop fortress (nicknamed ‘Gibraltar of the Danube’) by your guide. After that, the rest of the evening is yours to explore this absolute stunner of a city.

Accommodation: Garni Hotel Ami or similar, Novi Sad – Serbia
Included: Breakfast & lunch


Day 12 – Novi Sad to Sarajevo: Bosnia & Herzegovina

A train-free day to get from Novi Sad to Sarajevo. It’s a bit of a drive (around 6 hours), but you’ll stop for lunch in the Bosnian river town of Zvornik – a busy trades and crafts town back in the Middle Ages.

(‘Why aren’t we going by train?’ you may be wondering. In this instance, there’s no international rail border crossing. The reason being, the rail infrastructure built in this region during the communist era of former Yugoslavia was strategically destroyed, as some rail lines were, during the war of the 1990s.)

Continue on your journey… and finally, you’ll get to hear: “Welcome to Sarajevo!” 

Ah, Sarajevo! Your home away from home. A true melting pot of cultures and old-world religions, and none are prouder of this than the locals – probably the most hospitable people you’ll ever meet. Being at the crossroads of Continental Europe and the old Ottoman Empire has earned Bosnia’s kind and tolerant capital the apt nickname of “Europe’s Jerusalem”. 

Tonight, kill your hunger with a long-awaited dinner at one of our favourite local restaurants. 

Accommodation: Hotel Holiday or similar, Sarajevo – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Included: Breakfast, lunch & dinner


Day 13 – Sarajevo

Today is all about Sarajevo, Bosnia. Your guide will show you around the famous Bascarscija, the city’s historic centre filled with old architecture and the alluring scents of grilled cevapi, freshly baked burek and Bosnian coffee. Mouth. Watering. 

A slightly more sombre visit to the ‘Tunnel of Hope’, constructed during the period that Sarajevo was under siege for 1,425 days. Now, incredibly, operating as a private museum, you’ll learn of the vital role it served during the 1990s war.

This evening, learn how to prepare a traditional Bosnian meal and enjoy a home-cooked dinner in a local house in the Sarajevo hills. 

Accommodation: Hotel Holiday or similar, Sarajevo – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Included: Breakfast & dinner


Day 14 – Sarajevo to Mostar by train

Day 14. Sadly, you’ll be leaving Sarajevo behind as you take a bright and early train ride to Mostar, Herzegovina – one that’s very worth it. Winding its way around little hillside villages through the scenic Neretva river canyon, this is considered one of Europe’s most beautiful train rides. Once you’ve done it you’ll understand why. 

If you’re like most, you’ll fall totally in love with Mostar Old Town, a UNESCO-protected zone with its landmark bridge framing the intense blue waters of the Neretva River below. An eclectic mix of Mediterranean and continental vibes, the banks on either side are a hive of activity with all the coffee houses and ethnic crafts stalls. 

With a bit of luck, you’ll observe the local tradition of young men diving 24 metres from the top of the bridge. Get a lesson in making Bosnian coffee in a traditional coffee house and enjoy more delicious Balkan goodies for lunch. 

Tonight will be spent in an authentic guest house in the UNESCO heritage Old Town – just wait until you see it… you’re going to fall in love with this one as well! Sweet dreams.

Accommodation: Kriva Cuprija Hotel or similar, Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Included: Breakfast & lunch


Day 15 – Split: Croatia

The time has come to get yourself down to the Croatian Adriatic. Your destination today will be the port city of Split, Croatia’s second-largest city, the unofficial ‘capital’ of Dalmatia… and more famously, the retirement home of a Dalmatian-born Ilyrian who went on to become the Roman Emperor Diocletian, back in the 4th century AD. But first, a couple of cool stops along the way to enjoy some of nature’s stunners before heading out of Hercegovina. 

Once you cross the border into Croatia your first stop is the coastal town of Omis. Now, just heads’ up… there’s nothing that can prepare you for the beauty you’re about to see, from the karst mountain tops, down to where the emerald Cetina river flowers into the Adriatic – with the most insane views along the way. Your mouth will constantly be opening along with a ‘WOW’.

Accommodation: Jupiter Hotel or similar, Split – Croatia
Included: Breakfast & dinner


Day 16 – Split

Your first night was spent smack-bang in the midst of the ancient UNESCO city of Split, only a stone’s throw from the magical, palm-lined riva overlooking the port towards the ferry terminals. 

Right after breakfast, your guide will get you an up-close-and-personal view of Diocletian’s palace, the first-ever Roman Emperor who survived long enough to retire and later died of natural causes! Ironically, he never actually liked Rome and only ever visited it once. 

Enjoy your free afternoon to explore the narrow streets and corners of the Old City, or the riva as you wish, and observe the locals enjoying their hours-long coffee catch-ups or going about their day! 

Accommodation: Jupiter Hotel or similar, Split – Croatia
Included: Breakfast


Day 17 – Day trip to Hvar Island

Of all the days you’ll want to finish breakfast in a hurry, this is it. 

This morning you’ll sail on a catamaran over to Hvar (ancient Pharos). Your first sighting of the heavenly Dalmatian islands is a real ‘pinch me’ moment… Seriously, you’ll be convinced you’re dreaming. Explore the secret nooks and crannies of Hvar old town, and if you’re feeling up to it, you can walk up to Spanjola fortress for some killer views across the Adriatic and the Croatian islands. You’ll enjoy a leisurely lunch like a true hedonist today on Hvar.

Accommodation: Jupiter Hotel or similar, Split – Croatia
Included: Breakfast & lunch

Day 18 – Split to Zagreb by train

It’s now Day 18 – less than a week to go – and chances are, you might want to skip the rest of the tour and hang out in Split – but don’t! There’s so much more in front of you to be experienced. An 8am departure by inter-county commuter rail from Split will have you travelling along the coast, through the rural Dalmatian hinterland and across the mountainous beauty of Lika before arriving in Zagreb, around 3pm. 

Nicknamed ‘Little Vienna’, the Croatian capital may actually surprise you! The modern Old Town has medieval origins, but also many stunning architectural examples from its days in the Austro-Hungarian empire, and hundreds of green parks and gardens. Your local guide will show off the sights to you in the late afternoon.

Accommodation: Westin Hotel or similar, Zagreb – Croatia
Included: Breakfast & dinner

Day 19 – Zagreb

Sleep in this morning if you wish, or go out for a relaxing stroll. You’ll pick up on the Zagreb city vibe by now… a city so chill it’s got a village feel. 

By now, you’ve well and truly noticed that wherever you go in the Balkans it seems like everyone is on a day-long coffee break, and you might be wondering whether anyone actually works! That’s just how they roll 😄

Get your wine taste-buds ready for an afternoon in the vineyards of Zagreb’s hilly wine region, rounded out with a traditional, local lunch. 

Accommodation: Westin Hotel or similar, Zagreb – Croatia
Included: Breakfast & lunch

Day 20 – Opatija

Back on a train this morning as you farewell Zagreb and head to Croatia’s industrial seaport and third-largest city – Rijeka. A short transfer and you’re in Opatija, a seaside town oozing with such charm that it feels like you’ve time-travelled back to the Habsburg era.

Opatija is the town that kicked off tourism in Croatia, with the first tourist hotel built there in 1844 and Austro-Hungarian royalty declaring it a climatic seaside resort not long after. If you don’t feel like resting just yet, you can stroll along the famous Lungomare promenade to enjoy the atmosphere and inhale that fresh sea air. 

Opatija is right on Istria’s doorstep – sometimes referred to as ‘Croatia’s Tuscany’, and home to several regional gastronomic delicacies, including an abundance of truffles.

Accommodation: Hotel Gardenija or similar, Opatija – Croatia
Included: Breakfast

Day 21 – Motovun to Bled: Slovenia

Your stay in Opatija was short and sweet, so after breakfast it’s time to move on… with a private transfer to Motovun in the heart of Istria. After a short visit to this idyllic medieval hilltop town, get ready to hunt for underground treasure… the prized local black truffle (you saw that coming, right?) Enjoy a truffle brunch washed down with a local wine. 

Next, the group leaves Croatia behind, crossing the border to Slovenia, our final country of the trip. From Nova Gorica you’ll catch a scenic train through the jewel of nature that is Soca valley. The terrain is starting to resemble more of an alpine-like appearance, and the colours of the Soca River, Lake Bled and all the surroundings will seem totally surreal. Forget what you’ve seen in photos, that will pale into insignificance compared to what you are witnessing right now. And with two nights in Bled, you have enough time to soak it up.

Accommodation: Hotel Lovec or similar, Bled – Slovenia
Included: Breakfast & brunch

Day 22 – Bled

Feeling a bit contemplative today? You’ve woken up and still can’t believe where you are! It could be because the scenery has taken your breath away… or that you know the trip is drawing to an end. 

A morning stroll around the dreamy fairytale of Lake Bled is calling out to you, then take the rest of the day at your leisure. Maybe explore some more… or maybe gather the rest of the crew, who are well and truly like family by now, and try out the local signature sweet ‘kremsnite’ (similar to our vanilla slice). 

Accommodation: Hotel Lovec or similar, Bled – Slovenia
Included: Breakfast

Day 23 – Ljubljana

Sadly, this is your last full day of the trip. But there’s still some more action to be had! Catch the morning train from Bled to Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital. You’ll walk the city with your guide, while having the feeling you could almost be somewhere in Austria. 

For the trip finale, you’ll ride the funicular up to Ljubljana castle – of course we’ve squeezed in one final rail experience – where the group will enjoy one very special, farewell dinner, reflecting on all that you’ve seen, done and enjoyed. Final hugs, promises to exchange photos, and in a couple of days’ time you’ll all be asking our Magnificent Rail team not to delete the chat group.

Accommodation: City Hotel or similar, Ljubljana – Slovenia
Included: Breakfast & dinner

Day 24 – Farewell, Friends

Reluctantly depart Ljubljana today, but think about this! You’ve seen all the layers of the Balkans in its diversities and various influences, from the Roman and Ottoman Empires, the Venetian Republic and Austro-Hungarian rulers – right through to a blend of modern European culture. Cheers to a memorable trip, a memorable time and a memorable group!

Included: Breakfast



Frequently Asked Questions


Prior to the payment of your full balance, the final price may change if there is significant variation in the AUD:EUR exchange rate. Our trip pricing is determined by what the exchange rates are at the time of publishing the trip.

The pricing on these trips is based on the following exchange rates:

15 June 2024 departure: 1 AUD:0.61 EUR

22 June 2024 departure: 1 AUD:0.61 EUR

17 August 2024 departure: 1 AUD:0.61 EUR

21 August 2024 departure: 1 AUD:0.61 EUR

A deposit of $2,150 is required to hold your spot. Payment can be made by credit card (fees apply) or bank deposit.

There is a cooling-off period of 2 weeks. (Applicable to all bookings made 110 days in advance.)

We have implemented a ‘lifetime deposit’ guarantee. Deposits are not refundable, but they are transferable at any time, right up until the first day of the trip.

The final balance of the trip is required 95 days in advance of the departure date. Our suppliers require upfront payment well in advance to guarantee availability.

Your trip has been designed by Mat & Lisa, the two cultural adventure experts behind Magnificent Rail.

Magnificent Rail is brought to you by the same team who built Patch Adventures, a boutique women-only adventure company.

Lisa is a travel guidebook author and photographer. Mat’s first rail journey was an epic adventure through Europe at the age of 13 (accompanied by parents of course.) He has since organised highly successful tours to far-flung destinations around the world. Between them, they have put together this well-balanced adventure for you.

The preparation of this trip has taken months and months of work.

Your trip will be led by local experts that have been selected by our team for their knowledge and experience.

Level 1 or Easy

So long as you have a general level of health and fitness, you’ll be fine. There’s no specific exercise planned for this trip, but there will be days where you’ll be walking and spending a lot of time on your feet. Daily activities may include half-day city and country walks and getting on and off various forms of transport.

All activities are optional, meaning that if you don’t feel like it, you can skip it but it will be impossible to enjoy your trip if you’re not able to do a walking tour for a full afternoon. Unfortunately this tour cannot accommodate people requiring walking aids.

There are several code share flights departing Australia and New Zealand for Skopje in Northern Macedonia and flying via SE Asia, Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, or Frankfurt. Similar routes are available for the return trip from Ljubljana in Slovenia. That’s an exotic list of locations if you fancy a layover to break the journey!

Being tour operators (not travel agents), we are not licensed to sell flights. We recommend contacting your trusted local travel agent to book flights, if you’re in need of assistance.

The Arrival airport is Skopje Airport. The baggage allowance is 23 kg. The regulation also specifies the maximum permitted dimensions for hand luggage (56 x 45 x 25 cm).

Aussies and Kiwis can enter all the countries listed in the itinerary, Visa-free.

Most of our trips have a tip kitty because many cultures have interesting and diverse rules when it comes to tips. We’ve found it to be the easiest way to combat over-tipping, under-tipping, or having the tip fall into the wrong hands. Our goal is for guests to relax and know that the complexities of tipping are taken care of, on their behalf.
For your Balkans Rail adventure, we ask your contribution be: €100 Euro on Day 1. The kitty will be managed by your guide and distributed along the way for included meals, hotel staff and other services.
What is not covered is a customary tip at the end of the trip for your guide. If they’ve ensured that your trip is memorable, we recommend the following guidelines:
  • Guide: €120 to €170 per person at the end of the trip.

ATMs are widely available. Even in smaller towns, you’ll be able to find an ATM. Cash is still a preferable way of paying in the majority of countries. We would advise you to always have cash with you. Even in tourist zones, you won’t be able to pay with a credit card in some restaurants and souvenir shops. You’ll be able to pay with a credit card in malls, hotels and branded shops. 

Euro is the official currency in the following countries: Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Kosovo.

Serbia, Bosnia, and Northern Macedonia have their own currencies. However, you’ll be able to pay in Euros almost everywhere, but you’ll get a change in local currency. 

If you want to bring cash with you rather than using ATMs we recommend bringing Euros. Cash exchange offices are available in tourist zones, airports and shopping malls. It’s also possible to exchange euros for local currency at most banks.

The weather in June and July is very warm with an average temperature from 25°C to 30°C.

Whether you are a couple, or a couple of friends, or travelling solo, our Magnificent Rail journeys will appeal to anyone who is inspired by the charm of scenic rail travel and wants to see the best of a country.

Our adventures are designed to appeal to those in their 50s, and 60s and early 70s (but of course, everyone is welcome!) Our clients are curious and active, and want to find the magic of travel again, but with some modern comforts in unique and interesting places along the way. They’ve often avoided tours in the past because they’re not attracted to being herded around in large groups.

They prefer insider perspectives and lingering longer in the right places for a deeper experience.

Send us an email at contact@magnificentrail.com.au or give us a call at +61 482 095 648; A deposit is required to reserve your spot.

Have more questions? Check out our FAQ page!

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