General

PRICE FROM1845 euro
DURATION
16 days
ROUTE:
Romanian border – Rousse – Sveshtary – Varna – Veliko Tarnovo – Plovdiv – The Rhodopi mountain- Devin – Melnik – Bansko – the Rila monastery – the Seven Rila lakes – Sofia
INFO
Bulgaria Tour, Visit Bulgaria with a professional guide

Brief itinerary:

Day 1 – Pick up from the Romanian Bulgarian border at Ruse – Ivanovo – Mechka

Day 2 – Mechka – Sveshtari – Shoumen – Varna

Day 3 – Varna – Nesebar – Pomorie – Varna

Day 4 – Varna –Devnya – Zheravna

Day 5 – Zheravna – Kotel – Maryan – Veliko Tarnovo

Day 6 – Veliko Tarnovo – Arbanassi – Nikopolis Ad Istrum – Veliko Tarnovo

Day 7 – Veliko Tarnovo – The Krushuna falls – the Devetashka cave – Veliko Tarnovo

Day 8 – Veliko Tarnovo – Etara – the Shipka pass – Kazanlak – Plovdiv

Day 9 – Plovdiv

Day 10 – Plovdiv – Hissarya – Koprivshtitsa – Starosel – Plovdiv

Day 11 – Plovdiv – the Assen’s fortress – the Bachkovo monastery – Pamporovo – Shiroka Laka – Gela

Day 12 – Gela – the Trigrad gorge – Batak – Avramovo – Razlog – Banya

Day 13 – Banya – Melnik – the Rozhen monastery – Sandanski – Bansko – Banya

Day 14 – Banya – the Rila monastery – the Rila lakes – Sofia

Day 15 – Sofia – Boyana church (UNESCO) – The National museum of history

Day 16 –  Transfer to the Sofia airport for your departure flight. End of service.

Welcome to Bulgaria!

Day 1 – Arrive from Romania. Pick up from the Romanian- Bulgarian border

Continue to the town of Rousse called “the little Vienna of Bulgaria” due to its Vienniese architecture. Explore the central part of this charming town with its beautiful buildings along the main street. Proceed to the nearby complex of the Ivanovo rock church (UNESCO). Admire beautiful paintings from the 14th century.

Continue to the Seven Generations winery in the village of Mechka 22 km from Rousse with a beautiful view toards the Danube river.

B Accommodation in the village of Mechka in the Seven Generations Winery

Day 2 – the Metchka village – Sveshtary – Shoumen – Devnya – Varna

In the morning departure to the Sveshtary Tomb (UNESCO) dating to the 4th – 3rd century BC. The tomb has a unique architectural decor, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals. It is a remarkable reminder of the culture of the Getes, a Thracian people who were in contact with the Hellenistic and Hyperborean worlds, according to ancient geographers.

Proceed to the town of Shoumen. Visit the monument « Founders of the Bulgarian State ». The monument consists of two groups of concrete blocks separated from one another by small spaces. The biggest outdoor mosaic-triptych in Europe can be seen here. Together with 21 sculptures they symbolize the establishment, development and progress of the Bulgarian state in the period 7th – 10th centuries. The concrete panels on which the mosaic-triptych is laid are arranged at different angles so as to demonstrate the gradual development of the state.

A granite lion weighting 1000 tons is placed on the top of the memorial.

Next stop is the Madara Horseman (UNESCO)– a bas-relief cut in a rock some 23 meters above the ground dating to the beginning of the 8thcentury. The relief depicts a horseman in a natural pose with a sword in his hand. At the feet of the horse is a lion, and behind the rider is depicted his hunting dog. One legend has it that a Roman emperor was hunting on the plateau when he fell off the cliff and died. His relatives memorialized him by engaging a master to carve his image on the cliff.

Proceed to Varna. Accommodation. Overnight.

B Accommodation in Varna in hotel Boutique Hi ***

Day 3 – Varna – Nessebar – Pomorie – Varna

After breakfast departure to Nessebar (UNESCO) -an undoubted jewel of Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, historical and archaeological reserve with ancient archaeological remains of various periods, original churches from the 5th – 17th centuries and more than hundred authentic Revival houses. After getting to Nessebar stop at the Pomorie Lake – Home of numerous bird species. Walk around the lake and admire the birds flying flocks.

Return to Varna. Overnight. In the late afternoon walk along the main street and enjoy the ambience in the Marine garden next to the sea shore. Here you will see the monument of the Bulgarian – Russian Friendship.

Day 4 – Varna –Devnya – Zheravna

In the morning visit the Archaeological museum admire the Oldest Manworked Gold in the world discover in Varna in 1972 dated between 4600 – 4200 BC. Next visit is the Roman bath complex – the fourth biggest batch complex in the entire Roman empire situated on 7000 sq.meters.

Departure to the town of Devnya. Departure to the town of Devnya, see the museum of the Roman mosaics, an extremely interesting and beautifully preserved Roman mosaics, some of them “in situ”. Proceed to the village of Zheravna. Here you will admire 200 years old houses, cobble stone streets, stone walls surrounding yards with beautiful flowers and fruit trees. Today the village is an architectural reserve. It has been used as a natural decor for many Bulgarian and foreign movies.

B Accommodation in Guest House Yovina Kashta

Day 5 – Zheravna – Maryan – Elena – Veliko Tarnovo

Visit the building of the school, constructed in 1867, houses a picture gallery that comprises more than 450 paintings of Bulgarian and foreign artists. Every year it hosts travelling exhibitions of artists and ethnographical exhibitions from museums around the country. Visitors of the House of Rusi Chorbadzhi (House of Master Rusi) can see an interesting exhibition where the different crafts practiced in Zheravna during the Bulgarian Revival Period are demonstrated. The enormous hand loom and the skillfully-weaved delicate linen fabrics produced by the women of Zheravna are particularly impressive. In Zheravna was born and raised one of the most renown Bulgarian writers – Yordan Yovkov. His books have been translated in more than 20 languages.  

Departure to Kotel. Visit the « Galatanskoto » School where you will admire a unique exposition of Bulgarian carpets and rugs. Here the visitor will see the most versicoloured carpets woven by the local master craftsmen. The exposition presents the development of the patterns and their complexity throughout the years starting from the most simple to the most complicated typical local patterns. The excibits are 150-200 years old, but they have not lost their glittering and saturated colours. Typical for the local rugs and carpets are the lucent colors and the geometrical figures. Continue to the village of Maryan. Stop at the Maryan winery where you will visit the Maryan family run boutique wine cellar. Taste some of its renown wines that in the last few years won numerous awards. The owner will personally take you around the winery and will give you interesting information about the wine production and the Bulgarian wines.

Continue to Veliko Tarnovo. Accommodation. Overnight.

B Accommodation in Veliko Tarnovo in hotel Gurko*** – three nights

Day 6 – Veliko Tarnovo – Arbanassi – Nikopolis Ad Istrum – Veliko Tarnovo

After breakfast take a sightseeing tourof Veliko Tarnovo where you will be captured by the beauty of the setting of the town. Old houses perched on the rocks and two Mediaeval fortress preserve the glorious past of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1186 – 1396). Visit the Tsarevets and the Trapezitsa fortresses. In the village of Arbanassi is situated the richestly decorated church in Bulgaria of « The Nativity of Christ » called the Sistine Cjapel on the Balkans. Another visit in Arbanassi is the St Archangel and St Gabriel church. A short ride to the local monastery of the St Virgin Mary is also a worth. Here has been preserved an icon of the Virgin (three-handed) venerated as one of the miraculous icons in Bulgaria. Many people come to spend the overnight in this monastery on August 14 against August 15 – the day when we celabrate the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.

Deprature to Nikopolis Ad Istrum – A Roman town sitated some 25 km from Veliko Tarnovo, founded in the 2ndcentury by the Roman Emperor Trajan. Nowadays we still can see well preserved streets, heating system, Odeon, statues, plates with inscriptions. In the evening enjoy a home hosted dinner in the village of Arbanassi. Accommodation. Overnight.

B D Accommodation in Veliko Tarnovo in hotel Gurko *** or hotel Studio ***

Day 7 – Veliko Tarnovo – Krushuna waterfalls – the Devetashka cave – Veliko Tarnovo

In the morning departure to the enchanting Krushuna waterfalls. The largest travertine cascade in the country and famous for its babbling little pools and emerald waters spilling over rounded terraces, Krushuna falls are a virtual fairyland and a perfect place for relax for few minutes.

Continue to the Devetashka cave, one of the biggest in Bulgaria. The site has been continuously occupied by Paleo humans for tens of thousands of years, served as a shelter for various faunal species during extensive periods and is now home to nearly 30,000 bats.

It is 35 meters wide and 30 meters high at the entrance. The cave widens after around 40 meters forming a spacious hall. Several large openings in the ceiling allow daylight to lighten the vast interior, due to commercial use of the site during the 1950s.Discovered in 1921, excavations began only in the 1950s and revealed almost continuous human occupation since the late Paleolithic.Earliest traces of human presence date back to the Middle Paleolithic around 70,000 years ago. The site also contained one of the richest sources of Neolithic cultural artifacts (6,000 to 4,000 BC). Devetashka cave was shown in the action movie The Expendables 2,filmed in 2011.On the way back if time permits walk through the Emen Canyon. Head to Veliko Tarnovo. Accommodation. Overnight.

B Accommodation in Veliko Tarnovo in hotel Gurko ***

Day 8 – Veliko Tarnovo – Etara – Kazanlak – Plovdiv

In the morning departure to the South. Your first visit will be the little town of Tryavna. Mixture between thousands colors of the nature and 19th century architecture will make you fall in love with the area. In Tryavna you will spend your morning in the old part taking photos of the Clock tower and the houses around, the stone bridge, the Daskalova’s house (1808) where is housed the Museum of woodcarving, unique of its kind in Bulgaria. The ceilings of the rooms are unique with its wood carved sun, daysies and floral motifs. Here you will also see a great collection of wood carved busts of local Bulgarian kings. Next stop is the open air Ethnographic museum of Etara. 22 crafts practiced locally have been preserved here – weaving, cutlery, icon-painting, water-mill, saw-mil…

Start climbing the Shipka pass. On its top you will make a stop at the Shipka monument built in 1934. Continue to Kazanlak known also as the Valley of Roses or the Valley of the Thracian Kings. Here you will visit a rose distillery and will learn more about the rose industry in Bulgaria. We are the biggest producer of rose oil in the world.

Other visits in the region of Kazanlak will be two Thracian tombs dating to the 4th century BC – one of them original – The Golyamata Kosmatka and the second one included in the list of UNESCO – the Kazanlak Tomb. You will visit its copy as the original has been closed for the public. Continue to Plovdiv, another highlight of your Bulgaria tour. Arrive in the afternoon. Accommodation. Overnight.

B Accommodation in Plovdiv in Villa Antica – three nights

Day Plovdiv Sightseeing

In the morning take a sightseeing tour of Plovdiv. Visit the most impressive building of Roman time that has come to us rising above the city is the Antique Amphitheatreby Emperor Mark Avrelii during the 2nd c. A.D. Its magnificent arcade adorned with marble statues is simply breath-taking. Visit the Ethographic museum housed in the biggest and the most beautiful house of the Old town – the Kuyumdzhioglu’s House. The Roman Stadiumis also constructed during the II century and reproduces the layout in Delphi, Greece. Within the centre of the ancient major town of the Roman province of Thrace remains of stone paved streets, foundations of buildings and columns and ancient fortress walls and gates reside. After lunch visit the Roman house « Eirene » where you will admire extremely well preserved mozaics “in situ”, originals from the 4thcentury. Last visit for today is the Small Bishop’s Basilica dated to the late 5thcentury and today is one of the Plovdiv’s landmarks with its mozaic floor with geometrical motifs and a small chapel and a baptistery. Relinder of the day – time to explore the art quarter « Kapana » and have coffee in one of its little cafés.

B Accommodation in Plovdiv

Day 10 Plovdiv – Hissarya – Koprivshtitsa – Starosel – Plovdiv

In the morning departure to Hissarya where you will see very well preserved fortress wall dating to the Roman period – 4th century. Visit the Roman tomb dating to the same period. Hissarya is also one of the most popular balneal resorts renowned for its more than 20 springs of curative mineral water.

Continueto the village of Koprivshtitsa. The village of Koprivshtitsa boasts a large number of architectural monuments from the Revival period, 383 in all, most of which have been restored to their original appearance. Collections of ethnographical treasures, old weapons, National Revival works of art, fine fretwork, household weaves and embroidery, national costumes and typical Bulgarian jewelry has also been preserved. Continue to the Starosel tomb – one of the biggest of its kind, discovered only in 2004 and dated to the 4thcentury BC. Return to Plovdiv. Overnight.

Day 11 – Plovdiv – the Bachkovo monastery  – Vievo (lunch) – Pamporovo – Gela

Today in your Bulgaria tour you will admire the beauty of the Rhodopi mountain. After breakfast departure to the Assen’s fortress, one of the ancient Thracian fortresses that was used by the Bulgarian army in 1231 by king Assen (who gave the fortress its name). Next stop is the Bachkovo monastery – the second largest in Bulgaria founded in 1083 by two Georgian brothers. Until now-a-days is proudly standing the church in the monastic yard built in 1604 and survived the Ottoman domination. Continue to the village of Vievo. No historical sites you will visit here, but will have a chance to have a great lunch in a local’s family house. The hostess will have prepared for you some delicious local meals, mostly with home made products.

After lunch proceed to Pamporovo. Get to the Television tower (by chair lift) and admire some aboslutely splendid and breath-taking views. Continue to the village of Gela.

B L Accommodation in the village of Shiroka Laka

Day 12 – Gela – The Devil’s Throat cave – Batak – the narrow gauge train at Avramovo – Banya

In the morning drive to the nearby Trigrad gorge cave. The gorge itself is 6-7 kilometres long. At its bottom flows Trigrad River, which high waters created the vertical walls of the gorge, between 100-300 meters high, millions of years ago. At the foot of the highest cliffs of the gorge is the artificial entrance of Devil’s Throat Cave. It is famous with the 42 meters high underground waterfall inside it. An artificial tunnel leads to the so called Noisy Hall, where the waters of Trigrad River drop down through the natural entrance of the cave. The hall itself is impressive with its size. Waters of the river disappear through some small cracks inside the hall and flow as a karst spring on the surface again 500 metres away, at the bottom of the gorge.

Continue to the little town of Batak. Visit the church St Nedelya (a museum today) where on the walls still you see the spilled blood of 2000 people massacred by the Ottomants. Continue to the village of Avramovo where at 15:13 you will get the narrow gouge train from Avramovo to razlog where you will arrive at 16:50. The guide will be waiting for you at the train station in Razlog.

Drive to your spa hotel in the village of Banya. 

B Accommodation in the village of Banya in Hot Springs luxury spa hotel ****

Day 13 – Banya – Melnik and the surroundings – Bansko – Banya

After breakfast departure to Melnik – the smallest town of Bulgaria. Visit the Kordopulova house – the oldest Revival house in Bulgaria built in 1754. Drive some 6 kilometers further to the nearby Rozhеn monastery nested in a beautiful area surrounded by the sand pyramids. On the way to the monastery have a small detour and reach the tunnel cut under one of the pyramids by the locals to assure shorter access to the next village Lyubovishte. In the Rozhen monastery is kept one of the miraculous icons of the Virgin Mary. Pilgrims from all over the region visit the cloister to pay respect to the icon.

Next visit is the town of Sandanski, the sunniest town of Bulgarian known for its mild climat and curative hot mineral springs. Walk on the main street and enjoy the local ambience. Departure to Bansko. Visit the Velyanova kashta (the Velyanov’s House), one of the best models of the Revival architecture. It was built in the 18th century, and nowadays it is declared a monument of culture with national significance and a model of the architectural type of reinforced house. The unique wall paintings and fretworks on the ceilings are made by the artist Velyan Ognev. Return to your hotel.

In the evening drive to the village of Gorno Draglishte where your hostess will demonstrate preparation of a local salty pastry called “banitsa”. Have a home hosted diner prepared for you by the hostess.

B D Accommodation in the village of Banya in Hot Springs luxury spa hotel ****

Day 14 – Banya – the Rila monatsery –the Seven Rila lakes – Sofia

Departure to the Rila Monastery (UNESCO) – a must see for every Bulgaria tour. It is the richest historical and architectural monument of the Orthodox enclave, founded in 10th century and transformed to the most important spiritual and cultural center of Bulgaria. The Monastery’s unrivalled architecture and murals will captivate you. In the monastery visit the Ethnographic museum – very rich with its carpets and rugs exhibition, jewelry, customs, buckles. Also you will visit four rooms decorated according to the typical styles of decoration of four regions of Bulgaria.

Departure to the village of Panitchishte. Take the chair lift to the Seven Rila lakes. Take a three hour hike around the lakes and get back to the car again by the chair lift. Departure to the Rila Lakes. Departure to Sofia.

B Overnight in hotel Rosslyn Thracia Premier **** (two nights)

Day 15 – Sofia – Sightseeing tour of Sofia

In the morning depart to the National Museum of History you will get acquainted with the rich history of Bulgaria. Here is the Gold Thracian Treasure dating to the 4thc. BC. Next stop is the Boyana Church (UNESCO) situated in the foothills of the Vitosha mountain. Admire its beautiful frescoes dating to 1259. Return to the central part and have lunch in a local restaurant. Start your walking tour of Sofia. Visit the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral – the biggest and the most beautiful on the Balkan Peninsula, the Monument of Alexander II – Tzar Liberator, the Parliament, The Statue of St Sofia – the symbol of the city, the Presidency, the National Theater, the Ruins of Serdica and the Rotonda St George 4th c. AC, the Synagogue, the Russian Church, the St. Sophia early Christian basilica, which has given the city its name. After lunch continue your tour with visit to the local vegetable market known as the “Womens’ market” where you will feel the local ambience of the merchands.

B Overnight in hotel Rosslyn Thracia Premier ****

Day 16 – Transfer to the Sofia airport for your departure flight. End of service.

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