BEST OF BULGARIA

Bulgaria is the pearl of the Balkans. Here plenty of remains from the Thracian tribes (5th century BC) can be discovered, through medieval ages till our days. This tour combines most important Bulgarian sites, some of them part of UNESCO world heritage, some important for Balkan history, but all of them well preserved, interesting and fascinating.

Day 1.Arrival. Transfer to the hotel. Dinner and overnight in Sofia.

Day 2. Breakfast. Tour of Rila Monastery, which is the biggest monastery in Bulgaria and the second largest on the Balkans, and Plovdiv – known for its Old Town and the ancient theater. Dinner and overnight in Plovdiv. Rila Monastery was founded in the 10th century by St. John of Rila, a hermit, canonized by the Orthodox Church. His ascetic dwelling and tomb became a holy site and were transformed into a monastic complex which played an important role in the spiritual and social life of medieval Bulgaria. Destroyed by fire at the beginning of the 19th century, the complex was rebuilt between 1834 and 1862. A characteristic example of the Bulgarian Renaissance (18th–19th centuries), the monument symbolizes the awareness of a Slavic cultural identity during the centuries of Ottoman occupation. Plovidv is considered to be one of the oldest cities in Europe. Here you will see remains of a Thracian fortress (5th century BC) and well preserved remains from the Roman times to our days. The Old Town is a marvelous site, with its picturesque churches, the mosque and many houses with architecture, specific atmosphere and the spirit of Bulgarian Revival period. Your guide will show you the fabulous remains of the Ancient Roman Empire – the Roman Stadium, the Roman Forum, the Amphitheater.

Day 3.. Breakfast. We start with a tour to Kazanlak tomb – the jewel of the Valley of Thracian Kings, known for its golden treasures. Transfer to Sozopol which is one of the ancient towns and harbors on Bulgaria’s coast and one of the famous Black sea resorts. Tour of Sozopol. Dinner and overnight in Burgas. The Kazanlak Tomb, UNESCO world heritage site is based on its architectural outlook, it belongs to the dome tombs, typical for the Thracian funeral architecture from the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 3rd century BC. The Valley of the Kings is full of remains. There you will see numerous tomb of different kings ruled the Thracian territories during the ages. Sozopol’s Old Town was declared a museum-reserve. The reserve includes more than 180 residences, constructed from the middle of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century. Houses in the Old Town are built of stone and wood and conform to the so-called Black Sea school of architecture. In 2010, during archeological excavations of the nearby Saint Ivan (Saint John’s) Island, researchers unearthed holy relics of Saint John the Baptist. Today these invaluable relics are in the care of authorities at The St. Cyril and St. Methodius Church and attract pilgrims from all over the world. Old Sozopol and the relics of Saint John the Baptist were voted the most important of “Bulgaria’s Wonders” in 2011.

Day 4.Breakfast. Full day tour: Nesebar – the town is part of the UNESCO’s World Treasures; Aladzha Manastir, which is a rock monastery known for its location in the caves on a vertical cliff, Cape Kaliakra – dolphins can be observed here, Balchik, Varna – the capital of the Black sea coast. Dinner and overnight in Varna. Nesebar is one of the most ancient towns in Europe, founded 3200 years ago. During the antiquity the town was called Mesembria, in the Middle Ages it was known as Mesemvria, and it was later renamed to Nesebar. Numerous archeological finds provide evidence of the centuries-old history of ancient Nesebar. Ever since it was founded, the town has always been surrounded by fortified walls, some remains of which have survived to this day. Aladzha Monastery is one of the few cave monasteries in Bulgaria, where the different premises and their functions are clearly distinguishable. The monastery premises are carved and arranged on two levels in a limestone rock that is almost 40 m high. There are no reliable historical records as to when the monastery was established, but there is evidence that it already existed in the 11th – 12th centuries. Cape Kaliakra and the architectural reserve on its territory are located 12 km southeast of Kavarna. It is an oblong, narrowing rocky peninsula that juts out about 2 km into the sea. The rich history, the well-preserved landscape, and the beautiful panoramic views make Cape Kaliakra one of the most attractive tourist spots on the Black Sea Coast. The Palace in Balchik is the former summer residence of the Romanian Queen Maria Alexandrina Victoria de Edinburg (1875 – 1938). It is situated approximately 2 km south-west of Balchik in a beautiful locality between the Balchik rocks and the sea. The Palace is a designated archeological and constructional monument of culture and a monument of the gardening and landscape art. Just next to the terraces, a beautiful waterfall is formed, with a height of 25 meters. Another smaller waterfall lours from “Allah’s garden” through thick wall to three-flow fountain into a deep stone pool. The University Botanical Garden in Balchik was established in 1955 by Acad. Prof. Daki Jordanov on the territory of the park of former summer residence of Queen Marie of Romania. Today the Botanical Garden spreads over an area of 190,000 m² and accommodates collections of over 3500 plant species. Varna was established in the 6th century BC under the name of Odessos by emigrants from the town of Milet in Asia Minor. For a short time it turned into a polis and one of the most important ports and commercial centers on the Black Sea. Because of its history and its economic and cultural

Day 5.Breakfast. Visiting of Pliska – the first capital of Bulgaria, Madara Rider who is chiseled in the rock, Shumen, Preslav – the second capital of medieval Bulgaria, Arbanasi – an old style village. Dinner and overnight in Veliko Tarnovo. In Pliska one can observe the incredible excavations of the oldest capital of Bulgaria. The most notable monument at the Madara reserve is the unique stone relief known as the Madara Rider. 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 Bulgarian King 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. Preslav was known as a spiritual and literature center, where the development of the Slavic written language and the Golden Age of Bulgaria during the rule of King Simeon I (who reigned in the period 893 – 927) took place. The village of Arbanasi is located on a high plateau 5 km from the city of Veliko Tarnovo. It is known that the village existed during the time of the Second Bulgarian State (1185 – 1421). At that time the Bolyari (nobles), living in the capital Tarnovo, used it as a summer residence. According to the legend, the King of Tarnovo minted coins here.

Day 6.Breakfast. Tour of Veliko Tarnovo, which is the Town of Great Bulgarian Kings, Etar – the ethnographic museum. Transfer to Sofia. Dinner and overnight in Sofia. Veliko Tarnovo is one of the oldest towns in the country, as its history dates back to more than five thousand years ago, which is proven by the archeological excavations made here. The upsurge of Veliko Tarnovo is related to the period of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185 – 1421). In 1185 the town was declared capital of the restored Bulgarian state by the brothers Asen and Petar, which marked the end of the Byzantine dominion, that continued for 167 years. After its selection for a capital, the town developed fast, as within the period 12th – 14th century it was the most unconquerable Bulgarian fortress, as well as a cultural and intellectual center of Bulgaria and the Balkan peninsula. The Architectural And Ethnographic Complex Etar is situated on the outskirts of the town of Gabrovo. It is an open air museum. The Complex Etar was established in the year 1964 and was declared an architectural and ethnographic monument of national significance. The museum contains a total of 50 sites – houses with handcraft workshops, water installations and other buildings. The only collection in Bulgaria of technical installations driven by water – filling mills, water mills, grindstones, etc., are situated here. 16 houses can be seen on the handcrafts bazaar (the central commercial street) in the Etar, which are exact copies of buildings, existing in the past in Gabrovo and the region. On the handcrafts street the visitors can observe in real time the work of the craftsmen. Multiple handcrafts are presented – bell-making (manufacturing of wrought bells for animals), pottery-making, sugar-making (manufacturing of sugar articles), furriery, manufacturing of copper vessels, etc.

Day 7.Breakfast. Walking tour of Sofia – the capital of Bulgaria, which combines the ancient and the modern city in one. Dinner and overnight in Sofia. Sofia – panoramic tour on foot, during which you will see the main sights – Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the Parliament, Banya Bashi Mosque, The Synagogue, the National Theater, the Kings’ Palace.

Day 8.Breakfast. Transfer to the airport.

Price includes:

  • 7 HB in quality 4*, centrally located hotels
  • Arrival, departure transfer
  • Seat in luxury vehicle
  • English speaking guide
  • English speaking driver
  • 6. All entrances in the sites visited during the tour, including: Rila Monastery; Plovdiv Old town; Kazanlak tomb; Valley of the Thracian Kings museum; Sozopol old town; Nesebar ancient sites; Aladzha Monastery; Cape Kaliakra; Balchik royal residence; University Bothanical garden Balchik; Old capital Pliska; Madara rider; Old capital Preslav; Arbanasi; Veliko Tarnovo; Ethnographic museum Etara; Sofia historical center.

Price does not Include:

  • All lunches
  • All beverages
  • Tips & personal expences