THE GREAT MONASTERIES OF BULGARIA AND NORTH MACEDONIA

TAKE A FASCINATING TRIP THROUGH THE REMOTE PARTS OF BULGARIA AND NORTH MACEDONIA AND EXPLORE SOME OF THE BEST MONASTERIES IN EUROPE. 

   


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 SKOPJE Morning departure to South West Bulgaria where we cross the border and enter North Macedonia. Osogovo Monastery – the Legend of Saint Joakim Osogovsky shows that during the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Komnin (1143-1180) the priest Theodor (with monk name Theophan) founded the monastery and buried the relics of the Saint Joakim in the monastery church. After lunch and tour of the monastery we head to the capital Skopje for overnight. 

   
 

03 SKOPJE After breakfast walking tour of Skopje and departure to Mavrovo National Park and The Monastery of St. Jovan Bigorski. According to its 1833 chronicle the monastery was built in 1020. It is widely known for its iconostasis - а colossal work depicting biblical scenes is enlivened with 700 tiny human and animal figures. After the visit here and lunch we proceed to Ohrid the largest city on Lake Ohrid and the eighth-largest city in the country. Dinner by the lake and overnight. 

04 OHRID Guided walking tour of Ohrid. During the 10 century Ohrid was an episcopal city and a cultural center of great importance for the Balkans. The city is rich in picturesque houses and monuments, here we visit : St. Sofia Church, The Old Town, Samuel’s Fortress etc. After delicious local lunch we drive some 30 kilometers south of Ohrid, on a plateau close to the Albanian border. Here we visit The Monastery of St. Naum - one of the most beautiful monasteries in North Macedonia and an important pilgrimage spot. We visit the monastery and enjoy some breathtaking panoramic views of the entire bay. Back to Ohrid for dinner and overnight.  

   
 

05 PRILEP Morning departure to Prilep via Galičica mountain between Prespa Lake and Lake Ohrid. We stop for a break at the top of the mountain pass for some stunning veiws of the surrounding area. Arrival in the small town of Prilep for lunch and prepare for our 2 hours walk to Treskavec Monastery – a medieval pilgrimage site founded in the 12 century. The church preserves a highly significant body of frescoes from the 14-th, 15-th, 16-th, and 19-th centuries, including the first known representation of the Heavenly Courtsits. Back to Prilep for dinner where we try some very special local dishes. 

06 SANDANSKI Departure after breakfast towards the Bulgarian border and the town of Sandanski – famous mineral water resort and recreation centre in south-western Bulgaria. We stop here for lunch and hotel check in. In the afternoon we drive some 20 kilometers to the South to Melnik – the smallest town in Bulgariaa remarkable architectural reserve and wine production center. Here we visit Rhozen Monastery - set in a splendid surroundings this is the biggest monastery in southwestern Bulgaria. Visit the monastery and drive back to Snadanski for lovely traditional dinner and maybe enjoy our hotel SPA services. 

   
 

07 SOFIA 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. Transfer to Sofia for farewell dinner and overnight. 08 SOFIA Transfer to airport according flight schedule.  


TOUR DETAILS AND INCLUSIONS:

ACCOMODATION: 7 nights in comfortable 4 * city hotels 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. 
MEALS: 7 hotel breakfasts, 6 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
ENTRANCE FEES: Boyana church, Monastery of St. Jovan Bigorski, Monastery of St. Naum, Kordopulova House Melnik, Rila Monastery 
TRIP STAFF: Professional licenced English speaking guide + driver. 
 * THE TOUR CAN BE MODIFIED ON REQUEST
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