2017 Land Cost Per person (double occupancy):
Available Anytime – $3370
Single Supplement – $699
- 11 days/10 nights on BB basis
- Accommodation (2 nights in Ohrid, 3 nights in Demir Kapija, 2 nights in Sandanski, 2 nights in Drama, and 1 night in Thessaloniki)
- Breakfast daily
- Lunch on days 1, 2, 3, 4
- Wine tastings with food as mentioned in the program
- Private transfers throughout the journey
- Sightseeing tours with licensed English-speaking guide (all days)
- All wine tours mentioned in the program
- Wine specialist throughout the journey
- Entrance fees
Price Does Not Include:
- Airfare (unless otherwise arranged)
- Departure and custom fees
- Gratuities and individual daily expenses
- Additional beverages
- Travel insurance
- Trip cancellation
- Medical and luggage insurance are recommended for coverage against all unforeseen circumstances
- Republic of Macedonia:
- Ohrid: Hotel Vila Sofija 3*
- Demir Kapija: Popova Kula Winery 3*
- Skopje: Urban Apartments or 3* Hotel
- Sandanski: Interhotel Sandanski 4*
- Drama: Hotel Kouros 3* or similar
- Thessaloniki: Hotel Capsis 4* or similar
Day 1: Skopje – Ohrid
On arrival at Alexander the Great Airport in Skopje, Macedonia, you will be met and transferred to Ohrid.
If your arrival is early, you will have a half-day tour of the most famous Skopje sights, including the Old Rail Station, the Memorial House of Mother Theresa, the pedestrian street Makedonija, the Stone Bridge, Kale Fortress, the Church of St. Spas, with its intricately carved walnut iconostasis, and the Museum of Ilinden Uprising (1903). At the Old Turkish Bazaar you’ll explore the Ottoman monumental architecture of the beautiful Mustafa Pasha Mosque. Visit the old Turkish baths, Kurshumli Han and Chifte Hammam, which now function as art galleries. Enjoy a late lunch or dinner in the Old Bazaar before your transfer to Ohrid (2-hour drive). Overnight in Ohrid.
In the case of a late arrival to Skopje, your sightseeing tour will take place the following day. Overnight Skopje. (L)
Day 2: Ohrid (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Today’s full-day sightseeing tour of Ohrid includes the Church of St. Sofia, one of the most impressive medieval buildings in Ohrid; Plaoshnik archaeological site, an utterly unique phenomenon of Byzantine architecture; Tzar Samuel’s Fortress; the Ancient Theater, built in the 3rd century BC; and the church of St. Jovan Kaneo, built in the 13th century. Take a lunch break at a restaurant in the old part of Ohrid before exploring the Ohrid Bazaar. Later, visit the traditional handmade paper workshop, the Monastery of St. Naum, and the Bay of Bones Museum. Overnight in Ohrid. (B, L)
Day 3: Ohrid – Povardarie Wine Region (Demir Kapija Municipality)
After breakfast, check out from your hotel and depart for Povardarie wine region. The Republic of Macedonia can be divided geographically into three grape-growing regions: Povardarie (central), Pelagonia-Polog (western), and Pchinya-Osogovo (eastern). Povardarie region represents 83% of the country’s total production of wine.
Here you will visit Bovin Winery, the first privately-owned winery in Macedonia. The company was established in 1998, a year when 120,000 bottles of high-quality white and red wines were produced. Their Venus wine won the champion title in the 1999 Agro-Expo Fair in Skopje, while other Bovin wines were awarded gold medals. Bovin Winery achieved its highest success at the Food and Wine Fair 2000 in Copenhagen, where its Pinot Noir was proclaimed absolute winner in a competition of more than 650 types of wines from France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, California, Chile, and beyond.
Later, continue to Stobi Winery. Young in years but experienced in knowledge, Stobi Winery is the newest and most modernly designed Macedonian winery, located in the municipality of Gradsko next to the ancient site of Stobi. From here, transfer to Popova Kula Winery, where you will check into the hotel located on the premises. Overnight in Popova Kula. (B, L)
Day 4: Povardarie Region (Doshnica River Walking Tour and Wine Tasting)
Have breakfast before you enjoy a relaxing guided walking tour to Doshnica River, the clearest river in Macedonia. You’ll start from Popova Kula Winery, walking along the vineyards down to the river valley and along the banks of the Doshnica. Before joining Vardar River at the Demir Kapija Gorge, the Doshnica passes through lowlands of the Demir Kapija Valley. Stop along the riverbank for a barbecue lunch with wine, prepared by a designated cook. Walk back to Popova Kula Winery. Overnight. (B, L)
Day 5: Demir Kapija (Tikveš Winery)
Check out after breakfast and transfer to Tikveš district, situated at the very heart of Macedonian wine production. Tikveš Winery was founded in 1968 by the merging of several smaller agricultural cooperatives, making it the largest in Southeast Europe, with a production of 24 types of wine. Some of the most noteworthy of these are: T’ga za Jug, Traminec, Kratoshija, Chardonnay, Alexandria Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexandria Riesling, and the famous Tikveš grape brandy (or lozova rakija) known as Zolta. Tikveš Winery has been crafting and aging premium Macedonian wines ever since 1885. At the Wine Innovation Forum in Paris, 2008, Tikveš was ranked among the world’s 30 most innovative wine brands.
After a short tour of the winery premises with an enologist, indulge in some lunch and wine tasting. Then continue to the ancient city of Stobi, which lies at the intersection of the Via Militaris and the Via Diagonalis. Located between Veles and Negotin, Stobi was once the biggest Roman city in the Balkans and is now the most important archaeological site in Macedonia. Archaeologists have discovered traces of the Paeonians, an ancient Macedonian tribe, as well as remnants from the Hellenic, Roman, and early Christian periods. At the time of Philip of Macedon, this was already an important strategic military center and a significant cultural, trade, and communication center; under the Roman Empire, Stobi maintained this status and experienced major growth. Walk through the site and view basilicas, palaces, the Forum, the Theatre, the ancient synagogue, casino, and museum. Later, transfer back to Popova Kula Winery. Overnight. (B)
Day 6: Demir Kapija – Melnik, Bulgaria
After breakfast, check out and depart for Melnik, the smallest town in Bulgaria, which is famous for its wine production. The town is an architectural reserve and has a population of less than 400 inhabitants; it retains its status as a city based on its historical value. Melnik is renowned for its dramatic landscape, its warm, dry weather, and its native varietal, Shiroka Melnishka Loza, which is grown nowhere else in the world. Bulgaria’s history lives in the hills around Melnik, with the Rojen Monastery just a short walk above the town through the natural sandstone pyramids and the remains of medieval fortresses and churches interspersed between the vineyards and forests. You will have a chance to explore the village and meet some local people, as well as visiting a small winery. Transfer to Sandanski town to check into your hotel. Overnight at Hotel and Spa Sandanski. (B)
Day 7: Melnik
Today you will return to Melnik to visit a few small wineries which produce high-quality wines of local and international varieties. Most of these wineries offer tasting rooms, some of them located in the same caves where the wine is stored. This region has been active in wine production for nearly 8,000 years… Homer mentions wines from the area in both The Iliad and The Odyssey. Melnik itself has been a major wine production center since 1346. Seventy-five percent of the grapes grown in this region are of the native Broad-Leaved Vine of Melnik variety (a name sometimes shortened to just Melnik). The land surrounding the town is the only place in the world where this variety is grown; attempts to transplant it to other countries have continually failed. The wine the Melnik grape produces is dense and bold, the perfect accompaniment to Bulgaria’s spicy meat dishes and hearty salads. Less wine is being exported from the region these days, but this simply gives wine lovers an excuse to journey to Melnik and enjoy its fine wines with exclusivity! Transfer back to your hotel. Overnight. (B)
Day 8: Melnik – Drama, Greece
After breakfast, depart for the Greek city of Drama. Check into your hotel and embark on a half-day tour of Drama’s most important sights, including the Macedonian Tomb found in the city from Hellenistic years; and Agia Varvara Park, an idyllic location in the city center with fountains, small lakes and waterfalls, tavernas, an outdoor theatre, and leisure venues. See traditional watermills and multi-story tobacco warehouses, the renovated building of the city’s oldest cinema (Olympia, 1913), the 10th-century Agia Sophia Byzantine Church, and the Archaeological Museum. Overnight. (B)
Day 9: Drama (Wine Tasting)
Enjoy breakfast before making your way to some local wineries, where you will be treated to wine tasting and lunch. The area of Drama has always been one of the most traditional grape-growing and winemaking regions of Greece due to its unique soil and climate conditions. Numerous sites near the city of Drama were reported to be places of worship of Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of wine; many of these rituals still survive in various forms today. It has been predicted that within a few decades Drama will become to Greece what Provence and Bordeaux are to France. Overnight. (B)
Day 10: Drama – Amphipolis – Thessaloniki
This morning depart for Thessaloniki, pausing on the way to visit Amphipolis, the site of the largest ancient tomb ever discovered in Greece, a tomb whose grandeur invites much speculation as to whether the ancient conqueror, Alexander the Great, or a member of his family may have been buried there. Though Alexander died in Babylonia (present day Iraq), his burial site is unknown. Excavations at Amphipolis began in 2012, capturing global attention in August when archaeologists announced the discovery of this vast tomb guarded by two sphinxes and encircled by a 497-meter marble wall. After this detour back in time, continue on your way to Thessaloniki, where you will check into your hotel. Enjoy a free afternoon in the city. Overnight. (B)
Day 11: Departure After breakfast, check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for your departure flight. (B)
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Kutrubes Travel also offers a variety of other tours throughout this region. Contact us for detailed itineraries and descriptions.