ESSENTIAL BULGARIA • 8 DAYS FROM 450 EUR

VISIT SOFIA, PLOVDIV  AND TARNOVO, RIDE ON A MOUNTIAN RAILWAY,  EXPLORE THE BLACK SEA COAST ON THIS COMPREHENSIVE BULGARIA HIGHLIGHTS TOUR.   

   


ITINERARY AND VISITED SITES:

01 SOFIA Pick up from the airport, help with hotel check in. Start with walking tour of Sofia – one  of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Visit: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, St. Sofia church, the 4-th century  St. George Rotonda, the Mosque, the Synagogue, the old market etc. In the aftenoon we drive to the foot of Vitosha  Mountain to visit the amazing medieval frescos of the UNESCO listed Boyana church. Back to Sofia, free time in the evening and welcome dinner. 

02 BANSKO Morning departure to Rila Mountain. We drive for 120 km south of the capital Sofia in the deep valley at an elevation of 1,147 m above sea level to see the magnificent Rila Monastery – the biggest in Bulgaria and one of Europe's oldest, UNESCO Site. This is a place for massive pilgrimage for people coming from all over the world – an outstanding and vivid spiritual, cultural and religious center with impressive historic, artistic values of world significance. Visit the monastery museum and enjoy a delicious outdoor local lunch. Drive to Bansko for dinner and overnight. 

   
 

03 PLOVDIV Short sightseeing in Bansko before getting on the Rhodope Narrow Gauge - the last operational narrow gauge line in Bulgaria with the rare track gauge of 760mm. After spending a couple of hours on board viewing the striking mountain vistas we get off at Avramovo Railway Station, which at 1,267 metres above sea level is the highest in the Balkans. From here we re-board our bus and go to village of Yundola for lunch break and where we try some local Rhodopean specialities. Afternoon transfer to Plovdiv - Europe's oldest continuously inhabited cities. Dinner and overnight.

04 PLOVDIV Guided walking tour of The Old Plovdiv, visit the 2nd century Roman theatre  - accidentally ‘discovered’ after a landslide exposed the site in the early 1970s. Built in the 2nd century BC during the reign of Trajanus, the theatre seats about 6,000 people and is now back in use. After  lunch we visit The Etnographic Museum and climb up Nebet Tepe where you can enjoy excellent views of the city. Head back down to visit the 15th-century Dzhumaya Mosque, still in use today. Later in the evening we indulge you in the local cuisine, famed for its grilled meats and vegetables on skewers.etc. 

   
 

05 VARNA Morning departure to Nessebar - pretty-as-a-postcard Nessebar is the one of the most visited palces on the Bulgarian Black Sea cost. Famous for its numerous medieval churches and designated by Unesco as a World Heritage site, the town has a handful of interesting museums, remains of fortress walls, authentic medieval Roman and Greek street pavements, fortifications of different epochs. We spend time exploring the old town. After a lovely fish lunch by the sea we follow the coast up North to arrive in Varna at late afternoon. Dinner and overnight.

06 VELIKO TARNOVO The beautiful seaside Varna is Bulgaria's third largest city. We take a walk to the seaside, visit Varna Cathedral and Varna Archeological museum to see The Neolithic necropolis (mid-5th millennium BC)  - a key archaeological site in world prehistory and internationally considered the world's oldest large find of gold artifacts. After lunch we travel to Veliko Tarnovo via the town of Shumen and the UNISCO listed Madara rider - the principal sacred place of bothe the Thracians and The First Bulgarian Empire before conversion to Christianity. Evening arrival in Veliko Tarnovo for dinner and overnight.

   
 

07 VELIKO TARNOVO The capital of The Second Bulgarian Kingdom still tells many stories of that glorious time. Veliko Tarnovo exudes medieval history with its fortified walls, cobbled ramshackle lanes and the mighty Tsarevets Fortress, which was formerly the city citadel. We do a full sighseeing walking tour of Veliko Tarnovo through the old town and the bank of Yantra river. For lunch we take you to the nearby traditional village of Arbanasi to visit the famous Church of Nativity of Christ and enjoy some great vistas of the surrounding landscape. Back to Tarnovo in the evening, walk down the colorful crafts market and enjoy the variety of bar and restaurants. 

08 SOFIA  Departurte to Sofia after breakfast. On the way we take you to The Balkan Mountans and visit the wonderful Glozhene Monastery - built right on top of a mount it resembels a castle when viewed from a distance. It was founded in the 13th century and renewed in 1931 after an earthquake. Glozhene Monastery is a very special place hidden in a beautiful forests that offers amazing vistas of The Balkan Mountains. For lunch we try some typical local specialities and depart for Sofia. Hotel check in on to Sofia and nice farewell dinner. 09 SOFIA Transfer to airport according flight schedule.  


TOUR DETAILS AND INCLUSIONS:

ACCOMODATION: 8 nights in comfortable 4* hotel with amenities such as restaurant, bar, relax center, garden or swiming pool 
TRANSPORT: Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer. Train tickests included. 
MEALS: 8 hotel breakfasts, 7 local lunches, 7 local dinners in specially selected restaurants with varied menu and great service.
* Traditional dinner with folklore programe available on request in Sofia or Plovdiv
ENTRANCE FEES: Boyana church, Rila Monastery museum, Roman Theatre Plovdiv, Ethnographic Museum Plovdiv, Varna Archeological Museum, Madara Rider, Tsarevets Fortress, Church Of Nativity Arbanasi
TRIP STAFF: Professional licenced English speaking guide - driver. 
 * THE TOUR CAN BE MODIFIED ON REQUEST  
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