Churches and monasteries of Bulgaria
There are approx. 3720 churches, 1985 priests and more than 211 monasteries in Bulgaria. During this 8-day trip you will discover the most important churches and monasteries of this beautiful country and learn more about the land and its people as well as about the Orthodox faith. Your programme includes also a delicious wine tasting and dinner with folklore programme and Bulgarian wine.
Your Bulgarian tour guide will greet you at Sofia Airport. Your city tour begins after a short drive to Sofia. Admire the unique architecture and history of various Bulgarian monuments such as the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the St George Rotunda from the 4th century, the ruins of the Roman city of Serdika and one of the oldest churches in South-eastern Europe, the St Sofia Basilica. Dinner at the hotel.
Today you drive along the Balkan Mountains to Koprivshtitsa. This historic town from the time of the Revival is a living museum. Characteristic of the town is the well preserved distinctive Bulgarian style of the houses from the 19th century. The travel through the mountains towards Troyan is a delight for the soul and senses. Explore here the Troyan Monastery, the third largest monastery in Bulgaria. In the afternoon you reach Veliko Tarnovo – the medieval capital of Bulgaria. In the past, Veliko Tarnovo was a very important religious centre of the Orthodox Church and home to more than 40 churches and monasteries. Today there are still more than 10 churches and monasteries in operation. Explore here the Tsarevets Fortress and the traditional crafts shopping quarter, Samovodska Charshiya. Dinner at the hotel.
In the morning, you depart towards the historical village of Arbanassi, a real open-air village museum with monuments dating from the 16th and 17th century. Visit the Nativity of Christ church with its fascinating frescoes. The trip continues to the Preobrazhenski Monastery (Monastery of the Transfiguration). The monastery is famous for its fresco ‘The wheel of life’. Your next stop is at the town of Lyaskovets, where you visit one of the oldest wineries in Bulgaria and enjoy a wine. Return to Veliko Tarnovo in the late afternoon. Dinner at the hotel.
You first stop after breakfast is the open-air village museum Etar. Here houses with artisan workshops, watermills, fulling mills can be seen. Continue then through Shipka Pass to Kazanlak. On the way admire the Shipka Memorial Church with its golden domes. Kazanlak will impress you with its Museum of the Roses and the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak. Your journey ends in the afternoon in Plovdiv, one of the oldest cities in Europe. Highlights of the sightseeing tour of the old town are the well preserved Roman Amphitheatre and the St Constantine and Helena Church. Dinner at the hotel.
Depart in the morning towards Asen’s Fortress. The fortress was built at the time of the Roman Emperor Justinian as one of 300 fortresses erected to defend the Empire against the invading Slavic tribes. Your travel continues further to the Bachkovo Monastery. The beautiful 11th century monastery is located in the Rhodope Mountains and is the second largest monastery in Bulgaria. It is a still functioning monastery with a unique botanical feature in the courtyard – the more than 300 years old tree ‘Djindjifir’. Transfer to Sandanski. Dinner at the hotel.
Today’s day trip will take you to Melnik and Rozhen. Visit first the Rozhen Monastery from the 12th -13th century. The church houses the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary the Platytera. The trip continues to Melnik, the smallest town in Bulgaria today. Discover the Kordopulov Museum in Melnik. The house once belonged to a wine merchant well-known throughout Europe. Its features are the size, the unique Venetian glass panes, the covered with paintings ceilings. Enjoy afterwords a wine tasting of 3 different wine varieties from the region. Transfer back to Sandasnki. Dinner at the hotel.
On the way to Sofia, you pay a visit to the largest monastery in Bulgaria, Rila Monastery. Rila Monastery is nestled in the Rila Mountains. The name originates from the Thracians and means ‘well-watered mountain’. The monastery was founded in the 10th century and has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1983. Afterwards, you return to Sofia. Enjoy more free time and explore the old town. Farewell dinner with folklore programme and wine at a traditional restaurant.
On the last day of your trip in Bulgaria, you visit the unique Boyana Church. The church is world renowned for its exquisite frescoes, forerunners of the Renaissance, and is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Transfer to the airport and goodbye to the local tour guide.