Frequently Asked Questions

Contents

  1. Terms and Conditions   

  2. Travel Insurance

  3. Cost

  4. What's included in the price

  5. What's not included in the price

  6. Group size

  7. Booking & Deposit

  8. Changes to Itinerary

  9. Arrival & Departure Details

  10. Flights

  11. Train/Ferry

  12. Tour Transport & Driving Times

  13. Accommodation

  14. Meals

  15. Weather

  16. Pace, difficulty, mobility

  17. Visas and Passports

 

​Terms and Conditions

Please take the time to read our Terms and Conditions. They include important information on your rights, including cancellation.

Travel Insurance

It is a condition of your travelling with us that you have suitable travel insurance before coming on this tour. EU citizens shouldn’t just rely on the E1-11, which isn't valid in Albania and North Macedonia. After Brexit and the transition period, it's unknown if any arrangement will replace the E1-11 for UK citizens in the EU. Comprehensive travel insurance is a must.

 

We respectfully ask you to have in mind that medical services in the Balkans may not be of the same to those that you are used to at home. Therefore, travel insurance with transport and repatriation cover could be more than just peace of mind.

If there is some reason why you cannot take out travel insurance, please contact Sarah at BLI.

 

Cost

The per-person costs on our website are for two people sharing a room. For single travellers, some hotels that we use do not have single rooms and so charge us for a twin or double room. For that reason, the single supplement varies from tour to tour.

The tour prices are subject to unforeseen increases in tour related costs and may have to be adjusted as a result. Further information on this can be found in the Terms and Conditions.

 

 

What's included in the price

  • Main Tour: all meals from the start to the end of the tour.

  • Bottled drinking water
    In most parts of the Balkans, the locals drink from the taps. We provide bottled water if not. That said, we kindly request that you bring your own reusable bottle that we can fill up for you from a big bottle. This saves us buying dozens of small bottles each day.

  • All accommodation during the tour;

  • All ground transportation;

  • Transport to and from the airport

  • All national park and other entrance fees;

  • All guiding services (including tips for local guides and services, but not the Balkan Tracks leader).

  • Financial Failure Insurance (in line with the EU’s Package Tour Regulations)

     

What's not included in the price

  • ANY flights;

  • Travel insurance (please don’t forget this)

  • Visa fees
    (as of December 2019, tourist visas for under 90 days aren’t required for UK, EU and US citizens. Please double-check with your respective government departments/ministries before booking);

  • Any drinks with or between meals, except bottled water (where necessary) during the day;

  • Snacks between meals

  • Special gratuities, telephone calls, laundry and other items of a personal nature.

  • Single Supplement: the single supplement cost for this tour will be charged if you wish to have single accommodation. If you choose to share but we cannot match you with another to do so, then the single supplement will still apply. We will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a rooming partner is found if you do wish to share.

 

Note on Tipping

As noted above, gratuities (drivers, hotel staff, restaurants etc.) are included on this tour. However, this does NOT include your Balkan Tracks leaders. Therefore, if you feel that they have given you excellent service, it is entirely appropriate to tip them.

 

 

Group size

Our tour run with four guests at a minimum and usually seven as a maximum. We've had couples book on in the past for one last seat, and so we will take eight.

 

If a tour does not have sufficient registration, a supplement charge will be offered to those who have booked or expressed an interest in booking.

 

 

Booking & Deposit

Booking is done via the online form.

Please contact Chris at Balkan Tracks (details on the Contact page) for all booking enquiries.

 

Deposit

To reserve your place and book onto the tour we request a deposit of £300.00 per person.

 

The remaining balance is due at least 8 weeks before the first day of the tour.

 

 

Changes to Itinerary

As with all tours of this nature, we may be forced to change or alter the itinerary and / or the designated Balkan Tracks leader/s at short or no notice due to unforeseen circumstances; please be aware that we will attempt to adhere as close to the original program as possible.

 

Should there be an unseasonably hot and dry, or equally a really wet spring, then we may also change locations slightly, to higher or lower altitudes, in order to accommodate any shift in wildflowers.

 

If there are to be any changes, we will only jiggle things around to ensure that you see as many birds and varying habitats, in optimum condition as possible, over the course of the eight days.

 

Arrival & Departure Details

 

First, a reminder that these tour prices do not include any airfares.

Either side of the trip, we highly recommend Thessaloniki, Athens and Sofia as destinations for a day or two; history fans would be happy with two full days and three nights.

 

If you wish to arrive early and/or depart late, or you are considering flying first to other parts of the Balkans before travelling to the Starting City and would like assistance in this regard, or have any questions about other things to see and do in the Balkans, do get in touch with Chris Mounsey (details on the Contact page).

A reading list and recommended hotels will be found in the Tour Confirmation package for those who book on, but if you’d like to see it early, please do get in touch.

 

 

Flights

Whilst flights are not included in our tours, we would be glad to talk to you about the best options from your nearest airport.

Please DO NOT book any flights until you have double-checked that a tour is quorate and confirmed.

 

 

Train/Ferry

For those wishing to travel without flying, there are some spellbinding routes through France, Switzerland and Italy to reach Thessaloniki, or Athens, by train and ferry via Italy.

 

For the adventurous, trains can whizz you from London to Belgrade, and then there are seasonal routes to Skopje or Sofia before a change to Thessaloniki. If this would interest you, have a word with Chris (details on the Contact page) about this. In April 2020 he will be travelling to Athens via this route:

 

Day One

Breakfast at St Pancras

Lunch at Train Bleu in Paris

Dinner and overnight in Geneva

Day Two

Train through the Swiss Alps and alongside Lake Como before dinner in Padua

 

Day Three

Train to Bari for the overnight ferry to Greece

 

Day Four

Arrive Greece

 

Tour Transport & Driving Times

We generally use a nine-seat minibus with air-conditing, space for everyone's luggage and one. There may be some habitats where we move to 4x4 vehicles if the road is not in good enough condition for the minibus.

Driving
There can be long-ish drives from the airports to the tour destination. As we're never in a rush, we tend to break these up with nature or culture stops along the way, so we aim to not have you cooped up inside more than is absolutely necessary. The views are always fantastic!

 

Road conditions in the Balkans are generally good and with tarmac. We can’t escape driving in the mountains though - which are everywhere - which does, of course, mean roads can be a touch on the windy side.

 

 

Accommodation

Throughout the trip, hotels range from modest in remoter areas to very comfortable in cities such as Thessaloniki.

 

In this part of Europe, treading where few visitors go comes hand in hand with a smaller range of accommodation.

 

Very recently this has started to change in cities, and to a lesser extent around the national parks, but there are no eco-lodges or such yet, and wine country has only just started to see the advent of wine tourism.

 

That being said, the hotels we use are all clean, serviced and with hot and cold water. Hotels have Wi-Fi, although it's sometimes the case that it does not reach every room given rural broadband speeds and bandwidths.

 

Important note: we prefer to use small, family-run hotels wherever possible. Even if a concrete monster next door is a 'five-star hotel', if it's completely devoid of charm and run by a foreign company, we will often err to keep money in the local economy.

 

Meals

The food in the rural Balkans and northern Greece is a delicious mix of home-cooked Balkan meats and dairy mixed with Greek and Anatolian flavours.

 

Vegetarians can be very well catered for, as the region is rich in meze and salads. For vegans and those with glucose or lactose intolerances, we'll contact you to get some ideas for what you'd like to eat each day. It's sometimes a more limited menu, as is often the case, but we’ve not had any difficulty before.

 

On some days we will bring packed lunches with us to remoter areas, which include local pies, peppers, boiled egg, feta, fruit and often yoghurt.

 

 

Weather

This very much depends on the tour and location, so see the FAQs for each particular tour.

 

 

Pace, difficulty, mobility

We’ve tried to design the tours so that each day feels like a gentle ramble at a pace that allows people to enjoy what they see.

 

For further information on each day’s walking, please do email or call us.

 

 

Visas and Passports

 

All visitors are responsible for having the correct travel documents to enter each country. Please note that only Greece and Bulgaria are members of the EU.

 

It is especially important that EU citizens check whether they are able to cross borders with their ID cards instead of passports. Either way, we strongly recommend that you bring passports. Old identity cards, especially those which are still handwritten, have been rejected at certain border crossings.

For visitors from the UK, the Foreign Office recommends that no British citizen travels without at least 6 months remaining on their passports (this is their advice in light of Brexit, regardless of withdrawal, transition or future deals).

 

Citizens of other countries should speak to their government department for specific advice.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

BALKAN TRACKS

CONTACT

info@balkantracks.com

0044 (0)7506 381757

 

 

Unit 8A, Red Lane Mill, Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley, LS28 5UJ

UK

 

 

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