Highlights of Bulgaria
This 7-day trip presents you with the highlights of Bulgaria such as the capital Sofia, the UNESCO monument Boyana Church, the medieval town of Veliko Tarnovo, traditional villages like Arbanassi, one of the oldest cities in the world, Plovdiv, as well as Orthodox monasteries Rila and Batchkovo, two of the largest monasteries in Europe. You get to know the Bulgarian people, their ancient traditions and sample the delicious local cuisine.
‘Welcome to Sofia!’ greets you the Bulgarian tour guide at the International Airport. Together you will explore the beautiful Bulgarian capital Sofia. The city tour starts at the Sveta Nedelya square, where the large and wide boulevards begin. The oldest church of the city, the St George Rotunda, built by the Romans in the 4th century is situated a few steps away from the square. Then enjoy the precious and fascinating buildings of the Banya-Bashi Mosque, the Archaeological Museum and the Presidency. The landmark of the city is the Orthodox Cathedral Alexander Nevsky. Built in the 20th century, its construction took 30 years. Dinner at the hotel.
In the morning, the Boyana Church awaits you. Built in the 11th century, it is included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The outstanding frescoes were painted in 1259 and depict biblical scenes and images of religious and secular leaders. Afterwards you visit the National History Museum, one of the largest and richest museums in the Balkans, where you will learn more about the history of both Bulgaria and the Balkans. Travel to Veliko Tarnovo in the afternoon. Check-in and dinner at the hotel.
Attend a city tour in the beautiful old town of Veliko Tarnovo in the morning. The heart of the old town, former medieval capital of the Bulgarian Empire, is set amidst three hills. Visit the Tsarevets Fortress, where the castle of the Tsar was once built and enjoy some free time in the ancient arts and crafts district. Your journey in the afternoon continues to the pretty village of Arbanassi, founded in the 15th century by Bulgarian, Greek and Albanian Christians. Here you can admire the Nativity of Christ Church from the 17th century with its astounding frescoes. Relax in the evening and enjoy a traditional dinner at a local restaurant.
Right after breakfast – transfer to the Etar Ethnographic Village Museum, where you can see various objects that illustrate the way of life during the Bulgarian National Revival period. The complex features typical Bulgarian Revival-style houses, artisan’s houses, mills and more. Through Shipka Pass your trip continues towards the small town of Kazanlak, world renowned for its rose oil production. Enjoy a visit at the Museum of Roses, where the process of rose oil extraction is explained. Not far from here visit the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Transfer to Plovdiv, check-in and dinner at the hotel.
The city of Plovdiv is situated in the Thracian Valley and with its 370,000 inhabitants it is the second largest city of Bulgaria. Archaeological excavations show that the city has been inhabited since the 2nd century BC. Nowadays the old town of Plovdiv resembles an open-air museum with its wooden and stone structures from all eras. In the old town you can admire the Roman Amphitheatre and the Roman Odeon. Then continue to a vineyard where you can sample some of the best Bulgarian wines. Return to Plovdiv. Free time to wander around the old town of Plovdiv. Dinner at the hotel.
Enjoy a scenic drive to the most famous monastery in Bulgaria, Rila Monastery, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The foundation of the monastery dates back to the time of the hermit Ivan Rilski (9th -10th century). From the outside the monastery resembles a fortress and inside, on 4 floors, there are more than 300 monks’ cells. Also visit the monastery museum which houses the most important piece of woodcarving art in Bulgaria, Raphail’s Cross. Transfer to Sofia. In the evening, you say goodbye to Bulgaria at a festive dinner with folklore performances at a traditional restaurant.
Free time until transfer to the airport. Goodbye to your local tour guide.