Reviewed July 22, 2017
We know little about Bulgaria until we heard about the travelling story from Radio Hong Kong in March July and I then searched the web for more information. I found many more comments about the excellent trip experiences from Pavlina ( at that moment, I was not aware of her company. Then I tried to approach this wonderful lady and requested her for a trip plan around 12 to 15 days. She then made a draft for me to comment. The overall plan was very good and I just made a little adjustments and then finalized our plan for 15 days ( July 3 to 17 2017 ). She behaves so helpful to assist me to alter the plan even it was finalized.
The plan is a combo and it includes a lot of interests: 1) beautiful scenic spots 2) cultural spots 3) some hiking within 5 hours - we requested 4) natural areas as well.
Day 1 ( July 4 2017 ): The day's focus on city tour in Sofia. Due to our late connection flight to Sofia, we could be able to start our city tour from 1100hrs in Sofia. Pavlina is so good to pick us up at the airport and asked us if we like to take tour first or back to hotel . We then decided to go around the city first and she gave us a lot of historical information about her country by a preliminary outline of her country upon introducing those famous spots. In the afternoon we got back to the hotel for a short rest and she helped us arranged a car ( she said to make sure it's safe n comfortable for us ) to us to go up to Kopitoto to take the sunset view. There we could enjoy a great sunset and have a great city view as well ( worth to go there even you don't like to take photos ).
Day 2 ( July 5 2017 ) [ today's focus = 7 x Rila lakes / Rila Monastery ) She assigned the best guide ( Volen ) to us and he took us to the Rila mountain to see those great views of 7 Rila Lakes ( due the time constraint, we could be able to see 5 lakes ) and then we down the mountain to continue 2nd both scenic n cultural spot ( Rila Monastery - UNESCO ) . [ tips: temperature at the Rlia Mountain is around 10C but no snow n so be prepared the warm clothes. And, Rila Monastery ( remember photo fee 6 lev ) - please take more SD cards because I am sure you will take many pictures over there ] After that, we went back to the hotel where we enjoyed hot spring and free dinner (provided by the hotel ) as well.
Day 3 ( July 6 2017 ) [ today's focus = high altitude narrow gauge train / Batak - sad church / Devil's Throat Cave - waterfall in the mountain ) In the morning, Volen took us the train station first and he is so good to find the local person ( a teacher ) sitting next to us to ask him to remind us where we should get off the train and even he wrote a note on paper with local language for contingency if we got any problem. Thanks. After that, he took us to Batak to hear about the say story and it's talking about the massacre about 7000 people happened in Ottoman period. Then we direct to the Devil's Throat Cave - the constant temperature is around 8C and where we enjoyed the magnificent view of a waterfall in a mountain though we had seen on in Switzerland last year. At the end of the day, we were back to the hotel in a ranch ( another kind of the hotel arranged by Pavlina ). We spent our happy time there in the evening.
Day 4 ( July 7 2017 ) - [ today's focus : Eagle's Rock / architectural reserve city - Shiroka Laka / Devil's Bridge ] Before we went to the Eagle's Rock that morning, we passed by the beautiful architectural reserve city - Shiroka Laka and Volen showed us the church ( built in 38 days - as imposed and contrained by Ottoman period ). After that, we climbed up a bit to see the Eagle's Rock ( still a lot of questions from archaeolgists ) and we direct the sightseeing point - Devil's bridge ( with some legends mentioned by Volen ) and I took a lot of photos over there. At the end of the day, we were back to the lakeside hotel ( very nice n beautiful and actually, it is not a like n is reservoir but the view is so great ).
Day 5 ( July 8 2017 ) [ today's focus: Womb Cave / hosted lunch / European Macchu Picchu - Perperikon ]. In that morning, we first went to the Womb cave where there is a lot mysterious guess and the archaeolgists still thinking their man-made cave purpose ( Thracian period ). Please take care when you are there and you have to ( like us ) to prepare to climb up a steep wooden ladder to go inside the Cave. After that, we direct to a small village (turkish village), namely Zvezdelina to have a lunch hosted by Shelin who behaves so warm and nice to welcome us. She lives both Turkey and Bulgaria as well and at the lunch, she invited her relative and her friends ( Sussie n Alexander - 2 x little girls ) to sit together with us and had a photo after that. We chatted a lot and Shelin instroduced her house and garden to us after lunch. We are quite happy with this kind of interaction that we could learn more about other people's culture. Then, we headed up to the European Macchu Picchu - Perperikon ( be prepared to hike up around 30 and more mins ) and it's talking about the history ( Thracias, Romans and Byzantines ). It may not be the same as we saw in Macchu Picchu in Peru but one thing is the same = that they built up their kingdom in the mountain top with giant rocks. At the end of the day, we were back to the 2nd largest city in Bulgaria ( Plovdiv ) to see the sunset ( which is not included in the itinerary but Volen would like to show us and led us to walk to this sunset point. Great as we could have both a great city view and nice sunset as well. Thanks to our guide.
Day 6 ( July 9 2017 ) [ today's focus : city tour in Plodiv ] We got a leisure time to walk around this 2nd largest city in Bulgaria and a little more about her history background. In that evening, we went to the sunset site to enjoy this great view again ( it's talking about 15 mins walk - one way - to the point ).
Day 7 ( July 10 2017 ) [ today's focus: Rose Valley / Shipka Pass / "UFO" monument / UNESCO site Kazanlak Tomb / picturesque village - Zheravna ] In the morning, we direct to the Rose Valley to buy some sourvenirs and then Volen asked if we would like to alter the plan a bit cos he the weather may change on the day to see those sightseeing points in the mountain peak. We did agree cos he is an expert and we direct to Shipka Pass first and the went up to see another quite special monument ( others name it as "UFO" = is a past communist building ) the view over there is great and we were advised not to go inside the building cos risk of collapse is substantial. Though, the view there is worth to take a look. After that, we headed to the Thracian tomb to learn the ancient history and we were back to the hotel in the picturesque village ( is also an architectural reserve ). We like the village as it seems we are "back to the future" = the olden days.
Day 8 ( July 11 2017 ) [ today's focus = morning walk in Zhervanva / Nessebar - city near Black Sea ] At that morning, Volen took us to walk aruond this picturesque village and got inside some of the house to understand their living in olden days. I like this village very much cos it makes me sense what the meaning of " peaceful mind". Great! After that, we direct to the pearl of Black Sea - Nessebar where there were a lot of people around and Volen firstly instroduced some important points for us and then, we had our leisure time to walk around this nice city though crowds of people. At the end of the day, we stayed in the middle of the city where we can walk everywhere as we wish.
Day 9 ( July 12 2017 ) [ today's focus - Kozichene - past lemonade juice production / Varna - archaeological museum / Madara Horseman ] In that morning, we left Nessebar and headed to Kozichene where a lady still living in this house to produce lemonade by using the old machine and she is very kind to show up not just the production of lemonade but everything in her house. At the end, she helped my wife to dress up her olden lady dress to take photos in her house. Thanks for her hospitality. And we left for Varna - archaeological museum to understand more their history far from 4200 or more years ago, especially those golden artifacts (photo fee = 20 lev is the most expensive in Bulgaria ) . Then, we went to another UNESCO site - Madara Rider ( the sculpture tell of events that occurred between AD 705 and 801 ). Before that, Volen let us know the cave nearby first. At the end of the day, we were back to the hotel where some village ladies dress up in tradition to sing and dance with us. And, these ladies are so nice and they taught my wife how to their traditional bread as well. Thanks to their marvellous contribution to us.
Day 10 ( July 13 2017 ) [ today's focus = UNESCO site Sveshtary Tomb / small town - Ruse ] In that morning, we departed to the UNESCO site to see 3rd/4th century BC tomb where a unique architectural decor, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals inside. After that, we stopped at the small town Ruse and took a look her beauty. At the end of the day, we got back to the most beautiful hotel where it locates in the Mechka village overlooking the Danube river. Both the view and the hotel facilities are very good and I took a lot of photos on sunset and sunrise as we..
Day 11 ( July 14 2017 ) [ today's focus - UNESCO site - Ivanovo Rock Church / Sistine Cjapel - The Nativity of Christ / hosted dinner in Arbanassi / 2 x fortressess in Veliko Tarnovo ] In that morning, we went to the church to see the wall painting from 14th century and hiking to this rock church is a little bit easy ( not much hiking ) and then we direct to Veliko Tarnovo. Firstly, we stopped at the Sistine Cjapel ( The Nativity of Christ ) to see those beautiful wall paintings and we then got to the 2 x fortresses for a walk to understand the history from the Second Bulgarian Kingdom ( 1186 - 1396 ). We then back for a dinner hosted by a twin ladies. They behave so warm and stood at the door to welcome us. Until we finished our dinner, they took us to go around her garden and took photos with them as well. For us, it's a good time to interact with people in Bulgaria as they are so nice to get along with. Thanks. At the end of the day, we were back to the hotel where it sits in the middle of the valley and thus we could have a good view to look at the city. And, it is a close proximity to with the city center as well ( just walk a few minutes through those village lanes ).
Day 12 ( July 15 2017 ) [ today's focus = Tryavna village / Etara open air museum ] This morning, we departed to the small n picturesque village - Tryavna first where Volen showed us the church - St. Michael church and the 18th century school and then we had a leisure walk around this small village. After that, we direct to the Etara Open Air museum where presented a lot of crafts that people used in 18th and 19th century. The lunch over there is great and Volen introduced to me their traditional food - Sarmi ( those rice dumpling wrapped with Loza leaves - quite delicious ) and of course, we tried the special bread, namely Pitka and he told us how to take it with their traditional powder ( mixed with some pepper, I think ). After that, we back to the same hotel in Veliko Tarnovo.
Day 13 ( July 16 2017 ) [ today's focus = Eyes of Gods Cave / Belogradchik ] In that morning, we had to leave a bit earlier cos we had to take a long way back before staying in Sofia. Firstly, we went to the Eyes of Gods Cave. All of us did have a little bit worry about the weather that day, luckily, when we got there, not much rain happened and we got in the cave safe. After taking some pictures, we continued our trip to Belogradchick. Over there, Volen just took us to have a look to the fortress first ( great view over there ) and then we joined the safari trip by a 4-wheels drive jeep to take us around the Belogradchik areas. The driver/guide ( Andrew ) is a very nice guy and he would stop at the suitable point to expain or interpret those rock's stories ( of course, we have to use some imagination ) and the riding experience in this jeep is wonderful and a little bit crazy and so we have to hold the handle tightly cos the road (it may not be a road ) is quite bumpy but we enjoy it very much. The road back to our hotel in Sofia is long and we we could be able to return to hotel before 9pm.
Day 14 ( July 17 2017 ) our last day in Bulgaria. Since our flight left in around 1:40pm and so we got a lot of time to walk around city again. Pavlina came to pick us up to airport at around 1115hrs.
Overall, we did have a very good, happy, wonderful and amazing time in Bulgaria. Her country is full of ancient culture and their people ( mostly ) is very nice even some may not speak English. All of them are easy going. In comparison with what we see in Peru last December, I would rather say, their people are vey warm and nice and I got no worry when I take my camera walk around both the cities and villages ( in Peru, I have to hide it in my bag ). July is a very good season to go around and I just came across a day with shower only and most of the time, we could be able to take sunrise and sunset photos. Thanks to Pavlina's marvellous trip plan that we could not only learn about her country culture but enjoy the different setting and atmosphere by different hotel planning. We are sure we will go back to Bulgaria again with some combo with other countries nearby. ( our happier experience - from Hong Kong July 2017 )
Mr Wong, Hong Kong, July 2017 01/02/2018
Reviewed September 10, 2017
We travelled with Easy Bulgaria Travel travelling through Macedonia and Bulgaria.
The trip was wonderful, such a delight to travel in Eastern Europe, beautiful scenery, fantastic history, ancient archaeological site and delicious food and wineries,
All accommodations was great and most importantly well located
We had driver/guide, Steffan in Bulgaria and an additional guide, Naumka, in Macedonia, both guides were very knowledgeable, helpful and considerate.
Easy Bulgarian Travel was a great company to deal with, I would highly recommend this company to anyone wishing to travel in this area. Pavlina, from Easy Bulgarian Travel was extremely helpful and accommodating when we were planning our trip.
Terry Norman, Australia, August 2017 01/02/2018
Reviewed December 13, 2017
Pavlina is exceptional at planning and organizing private tours in Bulgaria and Romania. She is delightful to work with and thorough in her itinerary recommendations. Pavlina matched tour guides, Volen in Bulgaria and George in Romania, perfectly to our interests and pace. Both Volen and George were knowledgeable, excellent communicators, and had a delightful sense of humor. Bulgaria and Romania are truly wonderful travel experiences in every way...not to be missed. Pavlina,s itinerary planning and execution made our visit perfect. Pavlina is the best!!
Mr William Bath, USA, September 2017 01/02/2018
Reviewed December 24, 2017
I used Pavlina's company "Easy Bulgaria Travel" in 2016 for a day trip to Plovdiv and around Sofia. I had an excellent time and decided to return in 2017, but with much more demanding requests. I wanted to see more of Bulgaria this time, such as Veliko Tarnovo, Rila Monastery, and the Rhodope Mountains. However, I saw Pavlina's company could also do day trips to Thessaloniki. I asked her if she could - instead - add a 3 day excursion to Greek beaches - in addition to the Bulgaria tour. No problem! Wow... what a wonderful trip. Thanks again, Pavlina, for putting together a trip that covered 2 countries and 9 days. Your planning was superb!
Tim French, USA, August 2016 01/02/2018
We would recommend this company to anyone. They're extremely professional and responded to all our enquiries promptly. When we asked about including 2 things that particularly interested us they had no hesitation about adapting our itinerary. We were the only people on our tour so it became our own private tour. We visited tiny villages and amazing places in this beautiful country and ate and stayed at places we would never have found on our own. Our guide was extraordinary, patient (I was on crutches ) knowledgeable and a passionate bulgarian. Pavlina who owns the company contacted us on our arrival and departure to get our feedback. They are prepared to tailor a tour to particular interests Be aware that tour guides are licensed and operate independently. The tour companies contract them per tour so if you want the best guides you need to book early. Dilyan our guide was fully booked for seven months Visit this fascinating safe and friendly country.
Jane Marsh 01/02/2018
We were six persons started our tour from Romania, through Bulgaria to Turkey. The tour was organized by Pavlina of Easy Bulgaria Limited. Pavlina is a fantastic organizer, taking people to three different countries is not easy on logistics. We had three guides including Pavlina for the duration, we crossed all the borders smoothly during Middle Eastern Refugee crisis. Hats off to Pavlina for her meticulous planning. On the personal side she became one of us and we felt like travelling with another friend, no rush, no forcing the trips. Wealmost became family with her. We all agree that she is great and will highly recommend to anyone traveling in that area.
We reached Istanbul safe and sound. Immigration went very smooth. Tomorrow we will be starting our Cruise. Once again thank you for arranging a wonderful trip for us. Will pass your wishes to All. We enjoyed your company very much and had a pleasant journey with you. Will update you on a cruise from time to time.
Would love to meet you again whenever life gives a chance.
Mrs Zeba Jawaid, Pakistan 19/11/2015
Pavlina thank you for your devotion and professionalism. I was amazed by your energy and your knowledge of the history of your country. I spent a great holiday in Bulgaria.
Antonie, Antibes, FRANCE 27/05/2015
It was such a good decision that I made to have you help us during our trip. My Mother thought you were terrific and had a wonderful time. Thank you for all of your kindness to us.
MAUREEN and the family, Boston, USA 27/05/2015
I had a great time in Bulgaria and you were the high point of the entire trip. Thank you so very much for your assistance.
Bob Licata, Atlanta, USA 27/05/2015
We did have a particularly rousing evening at a restaurant in Plovdiv (I cannot remember the name) which featured good food, live entertainment and some spontaneous local dancing by several private party groups. What a riot of fun!! By the way, Pavlina was kind enough to drop us off at the restaurant and pick us up later in the evening. She thought it would be easier than a taxi. Finally a grateful nod to you and the driver. You were superb. Please feel free to use us as references should you wish and to be certain that we will enthusiastically endorse your services to any one interested in travel to Romania or Bulgaria.
Sanford and Carol Goldman, Chicago, USA 27/05/2015
Pavlina I wish to thank you for arranging this successful tour. I would also like to point out that I have been impressed by the professionalism and efficiency that you have demonstrated in arranging this tour.
Mr and Mrs Meletiou, Geneve, France 27/05/2015
Dear Pavlina: Just a quick note to catch up saying thank you for your safe driving and helping us negotiating our way through all the border formalities! As said, we have enjoyed our excursions and we enjoyed meeting you!
Mr and Mrs Moorhouse, London, England 27/05/2015
Pavlina, I had a wonderful trip while I was in Bulgaria. Thank you for taking me around to see all the different sites. I am back home now and have to get back to reality working. I will recommend to anyone who wishes to visit Bulgaria to hire you as a tour guide.
Mr Vandersteeg, Texas, USA 27/05/2015
Pavlina, Vivian and I would like to thank you very much for all your help and guidance this week in Bulgaria. You made our trip in your beautiful country a memorable experience. In a very good English or French always in a good mood and with an extremely vast knowledge you are the perfect guide and friend. We hope to have you one day in Montreal where we will be your guide.
Mr and Mrs Benzacar, Montreal, Canada 27/05/2015
Your guided tour was just what I wanted. It put me in touch with the City and its history. Being with a Bulgarian guide who is both professional and friendly, made the whole visit worthwhile and relaxing: you are recommended without any reservations.
Mr Andrew, England 27/05/2015
Hi Paulina, This is great! Thank you very much for everything. You are the best contact in Bulgaria 😉
Mr Jesus Planella, Barcelona, Spain 27/05/2015
Excellent private guide in Sofia”
Recently we visited Sofia on a long weekend and had the pleasure to have met Pavlina Docheva as our guide. She was wonderful to be with. Very kind and polite, lots of humor and extremely accommodating. Besides hat her English is perfect and her knowledge quite impressive. She showed us Sofia, Rila Monastery and Plovdic. We enjoyed every moment of our trip thanks to her. Highly recommended. She can organize tours in whole of Bulgaria. She can be reached through www.easytouristguides.com.
Mr Dave Tjan, Holland 27/05/2015
We have just returned from our cruise. I want to let you know that we enjoyed our tour of Nessabur with the excellent guide you provided. She was knowledgeable and a pleasure to be with. Thank you for arranging the tour for us.
Mrs Electra Coumou, USA (Nessebar cruise tour) 27/05/2015
Dear Mrs. Pavlina, we are now in Haskovo and wish to thank you very much for organizing our trip in your country.Everything, thanks to your professionalism, patience and kindness, went as agreed.Should I ever in the future visit your country again I will have in you a lighthouse.
Mr Algisi, Italy 27/05/2015
What an incredible week touring in Bulgaria. Pavlina is Bulgaria’s hidden gem! She is well versed and extremely knowledgeable regarding her homeland – the history, sites and culture. Each day was a great adventure! She created a tour to meet our needs highlighting several UNESCO sites, spas, a winery, interesting cities and incredible mountain passes. We relished every moment touring – we would recommend Pavlina without reservation.
Mr and Mrs Houston, USA 27/05/2015
Thank you Pavlina for a lovely experience!
Rachel Perry 27/05/2015
Hi Pavlina, Just wanted to let you know we had a great time in Bulgaria with you. We really enjoyed everything we saw, and to learn so much about your history and culture. We have some wonderful memories. Hopefully we will be able to return one day and see those areas we did not have time for. We will definitely allocate more time for sightseeing. There is so much to see. Thanks for sharing your very interesting country with us.
Jackie, Peter, Margie & Jake (The Roser’s) 27/05/2015
Thank you Pavlina for a great experience – you are a safe driver, a good guide and fun company.
Lilo A. 27/05/2015
Thank you very much for showing your beautiful country to me. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and hope to be back in the future. Wish you all the best.
Jamak, Canada 27/05/2015
Dear Paulina (I hope I spelled it correctly), Thank you soooooo much for your wonderful services as a guide. It is obvious (clear) that you know your history very well and that you truly know Bulgaria. Your enthusiasm and your knowledge are a reason for your success. I have seen so many interesting and diverse sights and I have learned so much thanks to you.Thank you also for your “extra” care on the day of my birthday – you truly care about your clients and it is evident in everything you do. I hope to see you again. If you make it to New York, please contact me.
Sherry Bass, USA 27/05/2015
Paulina thanks for the fantastic tour of your wonderful country.
Billy, USA 27/05/2015
We want to thank you again. You are a genuine and good person and we will never forget it.
Mr and Mrs Hickie, USA 27/05/2015
Thank you for showing/telling us the history of Bulgaria and for taking care of us!
Larry and Mary Kreczmer, USA 27/05/2015
A million thank you’s Pavlina – we had a lovely time – enjoyed every moment!
The Houston’s, USA 27/05/2015
Dearest Pavlina, Just want to thank you again for the nice and wonderful Sofia day tour.
Gil de Leon, the Philippines 27/05/2015
What a wonderful trip we had to Sofia and The Black Sea. We thank you Pavlina for our tour around Sofia. You really made us feel at home.
James Rhoten, USA 27/05/2015
Evidemment que “j’aime” cette page puisque, grâce à Pavlina nous avons fait un magnifique voyage en Bulgarie et découvert un pays d’une richesse naturelle et historique exceptionnelle.
Thérèse Jamin, Belgique 27/05/2015
I had a wonderful day with a friendly and knowledgeable guide. It was a pleasure sharing this day with Pavlna.
Jack Goldstein, Columbia 27/05/2015
An Excellent tour , thoroughly recommended , Pavlina knowledge is outstand as is her Command of English , when I return I will be certain to take another tour with Pavlina of the surrounding area of Sofia .
Carl Crome, England 27/05/2015
Pavlina, You wrote a great piece. More Americans should contact you to arrange a visit to your beautiful country.Beaches were beautiful, music and live entertainment at the seaside restaurants were fun and a beautiful casino for those looking for some gambling. Prices were also a pleasant surprise, You are the best….”
Bob Licata, USA 27/05/2015
My husband and I have visited over 80 countries and, in the process we have had many guides, but none the quality of Pavlina. She obviously loves her work and it shows. We spent just a week with her in Bulgaria and have decided to go back to Bulgaria next year to spend more time with her in Bulgaria and some contiguous areas. The trip to the Rila Monastery by way of the Bristritsa residence was amazing. We loved the historic town of Plovdiv. From there we saw Batchkov and then onto Veliko Tarovo. There is so much more to see in Bulgaria. Loved the food, the peolpe, most of the commodations are very good, but most of all we loved being with Pavlina. Can’t wait to get back!!
Side note: The morning we were driving to the Romania boarder the car seems to have a problem and we walked out of the hotel to see her under the car implementing a fix!! What a gal!!
Mr and Mrs Schulman, USA 27/05/2015
Pavlina is an intelligent, articulate, and extremely knowledgeable tour guide. Her easy smile and pleasant demeanor combined with her flexibility contribute to her professionalism. Pavlina is an asset to the Bulgarian tourist industry and she is far and away the best tour guide I’ve ever employed.
Pavlina created two custom itineraries for me during my recent excursions to Bulgaria and was able to modify them en route when I asked her to add or change the locations. Pavlina also recommended sites which one guidebook completely overlooked.
The accommodations and meals which she selected were always clean, comfortable, and delicious.
Pavlina has my highest recommendation for those seeking to tour Bulgaria.
Mr Kelly McGrew, USA 27/05/2015
Pavlina is extremely passionate about history in Sofia, and her excitement and commanding grasp of historical time periods comes out in her tours. When you tour with her, you get a great sense of the deep history of Bulgaria, and the status of Bulgaria during the present. I was constantly impressed by her knowledge and ethic in giving tours – she insists on giving her best tour each time she does. I consider her an authority on Bulgaria and would recommend her to anyone.
Mr David Baker – Tour of Sofia 27/05/2015
Pavlina impressed me tremendously on this tour. She presented the 8000+ year history of Plovdiv effortlessly, weaving it all together as we walked through the main square and traveled down the cobblestone streets.
Everyone needs to see this city to appreciate how much history this region has, and I would recommend Pavlina to anyone interested. Her choice of restaurant for a traditional Bulgarian meal exceeded my expectations as well. A very memorable time I won’t forget.
Mr David Baker - One Day Tour to Plovdiv 27/05/2015