Adriatic Balkans tour with OAT

By Tom Kilroy
This item appears on page 24 of the January 2019 issue.

My longtime traveling companion, Joan Anderson, and I took a tour of several Balkan countries in September 2017 with Overseas Adventure Travel, or OAT (Boston, MA; 800/955-1925,

First of all, I'm an independent traveler and have taken only two tours over the past 38 years. Joan and I were thinking about taking an independent tour of the Balkans, but I remembered how difficult this was for me in 1990.

Back then, the main transportation was bus (and an infrequent one, at that). Even today, without having a car, it would be impossible to reach some of the places OAT took us, meaning a long independent tour of the Balkans would be difficult to arrange.

A friend suggested OAT. Their 18-day, 17-night tour "Crossroads of the Adriatic: Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Slovenia" had prices starting at $4,395 per person, including airfare from San Diego.

I noted that the itinerary would take me back to some of my favorite places plus some I had been unable to visit in 1990. The maximum number of group members was 16, and they would stay at least two nights in each city, with some time to explore on their own. This I liked. We booked the tour, adding an extension.

We left San Diego on Sept. 11, 2017, flying to Chicago, Frankfurt and Dubrovnik in "premium economy." We would return on Sept. 30.

In Dubrovnik we were driven to our hotel, where our guide, Tina Nahmijas, met us. Our tour went smoothly. All of our accommodations were first class, and the meals were delicious. A 30-passenger bus was used for the 15 members in our group.

Imparting the feeling that she genuinely loved being our guide, Tina was a delight, competently leading us through her home country of Croatia and the other Balkans with humor and interesting facts.

Among the highlights was a home-hosted dinner in Sarajevo, where we were able to talk about the siege of the city (1992-1996). Having been in that area right before the Balkan conflict, I was interested in that subject.

I truly enjoyed staying at a rural homestead in the Croatian village of Karanac.

The Postojna Cave was a place I had never experienced.

And how can I forget my favorite city, Ljubljana? Our group stayed at the Grand Hotel Union Executive (Miklošicˇeva 1, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia;, and Joan and I were pleased that it was there that we had made plans to extend our stay (three extra nights).

Much of this tour I haven't mentioned, including Mostar, Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes and Lake Bled, but all of it was wonderful! Our tour ran like a finely tuned watch.

I am still an independent traveler, but this tour did cause me to think more positively about "tour traveling."

San Diego, CA