Guide for the Balkans

By David Reid
This item appears on page 29 of the December 2019 issue.

My wife and I took a private tour of the Balkan countries with Bulgarian guide Martin Semerdjiev ( We selected him after seeing a reader’s report in ITN (Dec. ’18, pg. 36). It was a bit of a risk to sign on to spending 24 days with one person, but we were very pleased with the result.

Starting and ending in Sofia, Bulgaria, we did a loop, going to Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Romania. Martin planned where we would go and where we would stay, with a few suggestions on our part. Each evening, usually over dinner, we would discuss the plans for the next day and decide what time to get started.

For our 24-day tour, Sept. 4-28, 2019, we paid him a total of $7,000, which included hotels plus pickup and drop-off at the airport in Sofia. Not included were airfare, meals (except for breakfast, since most hotels included this) and site entry fees.

We found the expenses for food to be very reasonable. We often just snacked on fruit and nuts for lunch in the car, while dinners were usually around $20 for the two of us.

Martin was always cheerful, helping us with our luggage at each stop. A careful, skillful driver, he drove us in his small SUV, which was comfortable. I normally do the driving on our trips, so it was wonderful to be able to see more of the countryside this time.


Clemmons, NC