International Tours

Greece and the Balkans

On the streets of the city of Sofia. Milan Sladić (Unsplash)

The ERA is proud to announce its 15th biennial international tour. Greece and the Balkans 2020 will cover two cities in Greece and seven Balkan cities in an extensive 16-day tour. The tour will include visits to six major regional cities that have electrified transit operations such as trams, metros or trolley buses, and includes first-class travel on the new Greek high-speed rail line between Athens and Thessolaniki, followed by coach travel throughout the Balkan countries. Sightseeing opportunities will be provided to cover many beautiful and historic places in Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.

Greece and the Balkans starts in Athens on Saturday, May 9 as we settle into our luxury hotel. We will begin our activities with an Athens sightseeing tour. There will be time to ride the Athens Metro the following day followed by our welcome dinner. The final tour activity will be a group sightseeing tour of Belgrade in the afternoon of May 23, followed by our farewell dinner. After an overnight stay we will depart from Belgrade on Sunday, May 24. All breakfasts, one group lunch plus seven group dinners will be provided.

We will stay three nights in Athens, three nights in Sofia, two nights each in Dubrovnik, Sarajevo and Zagreb, and three nights in Belgrade. Four- and five-star hotels will be our homes during the tour. Baggage handling will be at a minimum as we will travel on our own private coach.

We plan on chartering historic equipment (where available), visiting depots and railway museums, utilizing service trams, metros and interurbans, and experiencing escorted sightseeing. Regional and local passes in all cities will enhance your independent riding experiences.

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Itinerary

Day 1 / Saturday, May 9

Arrive in Athens on your own. If time is available, visit the Athens Railway Museum between 9:00 AM and 1:30 PM.

Day 2 / Sunday, May 10

There will be a morning sightseeing tour of Athens with an afternoon trolley coach charter requested. The day will end with a welcome dinner.

Day 3 / Monday, May 11

We will travel via light rail to Piraeus, a suburb of Athens, for a visit to the Athens Electric Railway Museum. The afternoon will be free for further sightseeing in Athens, and tram or metro riding.

Day 4 / Tuesday, May 12

We will travel by the new (opened May 2019) high-speed rail line from Athens to Thessolaniki. There will be lunch on the train. We will be met by our private coach and joined by a local guide in Thessolaniki for a short sightseeing tour, then travel to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. There will be a welcome dinner upon our arrival.

Day 5 / Wednesday, May 13

We will take a roundtrip day visit to Pazardzhik, Bulgaria, via our private coach, with a possible trolleybus charter from the Pazardzhik depot.

Day 6 / Thursday, May 14

A morning tram tour from Banishora depot to Krasna Polyana depot in Sofia has been requested. Lunch and riding on your own will follow. As an option, a half-day panoramic tour is being offered, including a visit to Sofia’s St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral.

Day 7 / Friday, May 15

An early departure from Sofia is scheduled. We will travel in our private coach to Dubrovnik, Croatia, with a group lunch along the way and a group dinner upon arrival. If Dubrovnik looks familiar, that’s because it was used in Game of Thrones to film King’s Landing.

Day 8 / Saturday, May 16

A local guide will join us in our private coach for a half-day tour of Dubrovnik, including city walls and cable car. The afternoon will be on your own.

Day 9 / Sunday, May 17

We will travel from Dubrovnik in our private coach to Sarajevo, the Capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a stop at the famous Mostar Bridge. A group dinner is scheduled in Sarajevo.

Day 10 / Monday, May 18

There will be a morning tram and depot tour in Sarajevo, followed by an afternoon sightseeing tour through Belgrade Fortress in Stari Grad’s Kalemegdan Park. Stari Grad (Old City) is entirely free of motorized vehicles.

Day 11 / Tuesday, May 19

We will rejoin our private coach for travel to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. A group dinner is scheduled here.

Day 12 / Wednesday, May 20

A morning tram tour from the main depot of Zagreb is scheduled. An optional sightseeing tour will be offered in the afternoon, including the funicular, Zagreb Cathedral, St. Marks Church and Stone Gate.

Day 13 / Thursday, May 21

We will travel in our private coach back to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, via Osijekl, Croatia. There will be an opportunity to ride and photograph parts of the Osijek tram system. A group dinner is scheduled upon our return to Belgrade.

Day 14 / Friday, May 22

A full-day tram tour of Belgrade and visit to both tram depots will be offered.

Day 15 / Saturday, May 23

The last full day of the tour will begin with a leisurely morning in Belgrade with no planned activities. This will be followed by an afternoon panoramic tour including St. Sava Temple and Kalemegdan Park. The day will end with our farewell dinner.

Day 16 / Sunday, May 24

Final day of tour. Depart from Belgrade for onward travel or for a continued stay in Belgrade.

Tour and Accommodation Information

Air transportation is by individual choice. First arrival is in Athens on May 9. The Athens Hotel Titania is centrally located. Transportation from the airport (about an hour away) is available by metro, suburban rail and metro, or express bus. Taxi fare is about 40 euros (approximately $45). Local transit passes and rail tickets will be distributed as needed for most travel from May 9 onward. Departure will be from Belgrade on May 24. Accommodations are available for three days before and three days after the formal tour period. Air arrangements, especially if you are using frequent flyer miles, are best made as soon as possible.

Ticket Price: $3,195 per person

The tour costs $3,195 per person double occupancy ($895 single supplement) and includes:

Extra Nights

Extra nights are available up to three days before the tour in Athens and three days after the tour in Belgrade. If you choose to arrive before the trip, from May 6–7 onward you may stay at the Hotel Titania for an additional $90 per person per day, double occupancy or $170 single occupancy. If you stay after the trip on May 24–25 to May 26–27 you may stay at the Old Mill Belgrade for an additional $90 per person per day, double occupancy or $150 single occupancy. Note this on the order form below when sending in your reservation.

Travel Insurance

We urge you to purchase cancellation insurance and supplemental medical coverage (which covers pre-existing conditions). This is a smart way to safeguard against life’s surprises. In order to receive maximum coverage, most insurance policies require purchase within 21 days of your initial payment.

We have made arrangements with Travel Insurance Center, a division of SMS in Omaha, Nebraska. SMS (Senior Market Sales) has over 25 years of experience as worldwide insurance brokers and can help you choose the policy that best meets your needs. International insurance includes coverage to all destinations.

Our contact person is Jonah Engel
Mention promo code: ERA USA
Email: travelinsurance36@gmail.com
U.S. Phone: 402-404-5205

We cannot accept responsibility for any losses or expenses which you or any member of your party may incur as a result of failure to secure adequate coverage.

Cancellation Policy

The ERA works with third party travel agents and local transportation providers in planning and implementing its tour programs. These agents have cancellation policies which we must follow as they may not refund the full payment amount by certain deadlines. Our policy is that we may have to deduct certain amounts and percentages from refunds if our agents do not reimburse us after their stated deadlines. Our policy is as follows:

We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover. We also accept American Express but prefer an alternative if you have a choice. You may also pay by check or money order payable to: Electric Railroaders’ Association, Inc. Full payment must be received by February 8, 2020. For questions call 917-714-7087, or use our Contact Us page.

 

2020 Greece and the Balkans Order Form

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