PRICE FROM: 1115 euro
DURATION: 8 days / 7 nights
ROUTE: Sofia – the Rila Monastery – Melnik – Dolen – Devin – the Bachkovo monastery – Plovdiv – Zheravna – Nessebar – Varna – Madara (UNESCO) – Sveshtary (UNESCO) – Ruse – Veliko tarnovo – Sofia
INFO: This is the favorite tour of few of the guides in our company and it is not by chance. With this tour you will visit small, hidden villages where the time has stopped, you will enjoy the scenery of few mountain passes and you will dive in the time honored local traditions.
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY of the The Jewels of Bulgaria Tour
Day 1 – Arrive and Sightseeing tour of Sofia
Arrive in Sofia. Meet your guide at the airport. Departure to the Vitosha mountain at the Golden bridges area. Have a walk to the Stone river or the way the locals call it “Moreni”. Transfer to the Boyana Church (UNESCO). Admire its beautiful freascoes dating to 1259. In the National Museum of History you will get acqueinted with the rich history of Bulgaria. Here is the Gold Thracian Treasure dating to the 4thc. BC. Return to the central part. Continue with a walking sightseeing 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. Finish the tour at around 6:30 pm at your hotel.
B Accommodation in Sofia in hotel Premier Thracia ****
Day 2 – Sofia – the Rila monastery – Sandanski – the Rozhen monastery – Melnik
Departure to the Rila Monastery – 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 town of Sandanski. Sandanski has occurred and developed on the ruins of the Early Byzantine town. Remains of four Episcopal basilicas were found in Sandanski. The central Episcopal basilica dates back to the period of the 5th – 6th century AD and impresses visitors with its unique mosaics. The archaeological museum of the town was built on the foundations of the basilica of bishop Yoan.
Visit the Roman Basilica dating to the 4thcentury and beautiful park “St Vrach”, unique with its numerous species. Continue to village of Melnik. Overnight.
B Accommodation in Melnik in hotel Melnik ***
Sofia – the Rila monastery – 130 km – 2 hours
The Rila monastery – Melnik – 120 km – 2 hours
Day 3 – Melnik – Dolen – Trigrad gorge – Trigrad
In the morning visit the Rozhen monastery situated 6 km from Melnik. Visit the Kordopulova house – the oldest Revival house in Bulgaria built in 1754. Departure to the little town of Trigrad. On the way pass through the village of Dolen – one of the villages where the old Bulgarian houses still exist in its original conditions, the time here has stopped long ago. Have lunch in a guest house and taste absolutely delicious local meals. Continue to the Trigrad gorge. The gorge itself is 6-7 kilometers 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 – the most popular tourist destination in the area. Devil’s Throat 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. Arrive in Trigrad. Accommodation. Overnight.
B L Accommodation in Trigrad in hotel Arkan Han
Melnik – Trigrad – 150 km – 3 hours 15 mins
Day 4 – Trigrad – the Bachkovo monastery –Plovdiv
Departure to Plovdiv via the Bachkovo monastery founded in 1083 and the second largest after the Rila monastery. In the Refectory enjoy beautifully preserved genealogical tree of Jesus from the mid 17thcentury. Continiue to PLOVDIV: Thesecond largest town of Bulgaria, an area since the time of Philip, King of Macedonia, father of Alexander The Great. 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. Theatre and opera performances are still staged here on warm summer nights. 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. The Old Plovdiv nowadays is an original living museum, an architectural phenomenon with many of the houses of those times’ most prominent Bulgarians turned into museums, galleries hosting various art exhibitions and festivals.
B Accommodation in Plovdiv in family hotel house “At the Renaissance Square”
Day 5 – Plovdiv– Hissarya – Kazanlak – Zheravna
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. Continue to Kazanlak. Visit the Golyamata Kosmatka Thracian tomb dating to the 4th century BC. Next to it is the Russian church built in 1902 to commemorate the Russian soldiers who died in the war for our liberation. In the town of Kazanlak visit the copy of the Kazanlak Thracian Tomb (the original is UNESCO, closed for the public).
Departure to Zheravna – a living museum village with houses built some 250, even 300 years ago. Spend the overnight in an old house, without being deprived from convenience and facilities.
B Accommodation in Zheravna in Iovina Kashta
Day 6 – Zheravna – Nessebar – 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. Departure to Varna. On the way pass by the village of Kozichene where you will visit an authentic house from the 19th century where the hostess will welcome you and will offer you to taste some local products. In teh village has been preserved the oldest in Bulgaria functioning machine for producing lemonade. Charles Dickens him self wrote about the village after the end of the Crimea war when he is in Greece. He sent here his correspondants to write about “the life and the traditions in this beautiful village located in the Eastern Balkans”.
Continue to Varna. During the Second Bulgarian state it was one of the most important trading and craft centers in the country. Now a day it is the biggest sea port and one of the favorite holiday places. Numerous hotels, restaurants and night clubs make it a preferable seaside centre. We will make tour of the town – The city center, the Cathedral, the Archaeological museum where is being kept the oldest gold treasure in the world dating back 4000 years B.C. If time permits your last visit will be the Roman baths.
B Accommodation in Varna in boutique hotel Hi
Day 7 – Varna – Madara (UNESCO) – Sveshtary (UNESCO) – Rousse
In the morning deaprture to 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.
Continueto 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. Continue to the Madara Horseman (UNESCO) – a bas-relief cut in a rock some 23 meters above the ground dating to the beginning of the 8th century. Continue to Rousse – the biggest Bulgarian town situated on the Danube river, called the little Vienna thanks to its Viennese architecture from the beginning of the 20thcentury.
B Accommodation in Rousse in hotel Vega ***
Varna – Madara – 75 km – 1 h
Madara – Sveshtary – 110 km – 1 h 40 mins
Sveshtary – Rousse – 90 km – 1 h 50 mins
Day 8 – Rousse – Ivanovo (UNESCO) – Cherven – Veliko Tarnovo
In the morning departure to the Ivanovo rock church (UNESCO). The church is unique with its Last Supper painting and all the other frescoes painted in the mid of the 15thcentury. Continue to the fortress of Cherven. It was one of the Second Bulgarian Empire’s primary military, administrative, economic and cultural centers between the 12th and the 14th century.
Arrive in Veliko Tarnovo. Start exploring the city with the Tsarevets Royal hill. The neighboring Arbanassi museum village is a genuine gallery of art. A must here is the 15th century Church of the Nativity, repainted in the 17th century. Because of its more than 1200 frescoes, It is also called the Sistine Chapel on the Balkans. Located on the hills above the meandering river Yantra, this city, once a glorious mediaeval capital (1186 – 1393), is now attracting thousands of romantic travelers with its irresistible atmosphere. Mixing the legends of the past with bursting joy of hundreds of young students – this is Veliko Tarnovo today, the second most important University City after Sofia. Accommodation. Overnight.
B Accommodation in Veliko Tarnovo in hotel Gurko ***
Day 9 – Veliko Tarnovo – Sofia – 3 hours
Transfer to the Sofia airport for your departure flight. End of service.
ACCOMMODATION IN TOTAL 8 OVERNIGHTS
- In Sofia – hotel Thracia Best Western ****
- In Melnik – hotel Melnik ***
- In Trigrad – hotel Arkan han ***
- In Plovdiv – Family hotel house « At the Renaissance Square »
- In Jeravna – Yovina Kashta (the Yovina house) – http://www.yovinahouse.com/index.php?lng=en
- In Varna – Boutique hotel Hi
- In Ruse – hotel Vega ***
- In Veliko Tarnovo – hotel Gurko ***
Trajectory from Day 1 to Day 6 – https://goo.gl/maps/BEg18s8Xax52
Trajectory from Day 7 to Day 9 – https://goo.gl/maps/rFSkbpyRGnH2
TRANSFERS AND TRANSPORTATION
- All transfers and transportation with private vehicles according to program
- Transfer from the Sofia airport on arrival and departure
- Fuel costs, parking fees
TOURS / GUIDES / FOOD
- 8 Breakfasts, 1 lunch
- Professional English speaking Private Tour Guide (to drive) throughout the tour
- All sightseeing tours and cultural connections
- Admission fees for sites and museums as per program
PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
Additional private expenses of a client
All that is not mentioned in section “Price includes”
Travel insurance package
Other meals than stated
Photo/video fees at sites and museums
Bank and pay pal fees
The above stated price is based on cash payment.
Using another method of payment: All taxes and fees are at the expense of the customer: supplement for paying by Visa card – 2,5%, Master card – 2,5 %, pay pal – 4%.