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Bulgaria – ancient times, monasteries and nature (8 days)


Enjoy this  small group tour and all its advantages and benefits. This is a classical journey through all major captivating sights of Bulgaria. Centuries will pass in front of your eyes while exploring museum-villages, ancient monasteries, tombs, sanctuaries and natural phenomena. Besides the guided tours in the cities and tourist sites, you will be able to experience the Bulgarian style of living and mix with the locals and their traditions.

Day 1. Arrival at Sofia Airport. Transfer to the hotel. Time at leisure (time permitting) and overnight.
Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe and one of the youngest capitals on the continent. Due to its strategic location in the heart of the Balkans, Sofia became the capital of the Roman province of Inner Dacia, later it played role as an important trading and administrative center in the Byzantine, Ottoman and Bulgarian Empires. Sofia became the capital of liberated Bulgaria in 1879. Today Sofia is home to some of the finest Bulgarian museums, galleries, monuments and restaurants.
Day 2. Sightseeing Sofia. Transfer and visit of Rila Monastery (UNESCO). Transfer and overnight in Plovdiv.
The day starts with a 3-hour sightseeing tour of Sofia. All the top tourist attractions in the city center are included. On the list are St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, St Sofia Church, the National Theater, Sofia’s oldest building – St George Rotunda (from the IV century), the ruins of the ancient city of Serdika (dating from the V century) etc. In the afternoon we head southwards to Rila Monastery (the biggest monastery and probably the most famous monument in the country), situated in the picturesque Rila Mountains. The tour of the monastery complex and its main museum. Transfer to Plovdiv – the cultural capital of Bulgaria.
Day 3. Sightseeing Plovdiv. Free time in the afternoon.
Plovdiv is a town older than Athens and Rome. A guided tour of the historic quarter “the Old Town” will introduce you to millennia of history –  ancient fortress walls, the Roman forum and stadium, magnificent churches, museum-houses and colourful 19th-century mansions. Free time in the afternoon to explore further the city that will be the European capital of culture in 2019.
Day 4. Transfer to the Valley of Roses and Thracian kings. Rose-oil distillery and Kazanluk Thracian Tomb (UNESCO) to be visited. Transfer and guided tour of the Old Town of Nessebar (UNESCO). Overnight in Nessebar.
One of the products that is unmistakable symbol of Bulgaria is the rose oil and the roses it is made of. The rose bushes grow in a specific area of Bulgaria know as the Valley of Roses. You will explore this area and learn how, where and when the rose oil is produced. The Kazanluk Thracian Tomb is also there and is on the tour’s agenda. Transfer to Nessebar – a town on the Black sea coast. Located on peninsula is the Old Town with its many churches, old houses and rich history are the reasons why it has been added to the UNESCO Heritage List more than 20 years ago. Guided tour of the Old Nessebar and overnight in the town.
Day 5. Transfer to Varna and tour of the city’s center. Drive to Veliko Tarnovo with en-route stop at Madara Horseman (UNESCO) and the village of Arbanassi. Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo.
It will be a day with an intensive itinerary. A 2-hour drive along the Black sea coast to Varna. Guided walking tour of the city center with entry to the Museum of Archeology. The oldest man-made gold was found in Varna and is usually exhibited in the Museum of archeology, which you will visit. The next stop is The Madara Rider – a unique relief of a horseman, carved on the rocks of the Shumen Plateau, which is recently under the auspices of UNESCO. Later on we continue towards the old capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom – Veliko Tаrnovo. Just before the city we will stop for sightseeing in Arbanassi – a village turned into architectural museum. It is famous for its massive houses that resemble minor fortresses on the outside and boutique mansions from the inside. There are breath-taking panoramas from Arbanassi. Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo.
Day 6. Sightseeing Veliko Tаrnovo. Free time in the afternoon.
Veliko Tаrnovo was the capital of the medieval Bulgaria state and today is considered the most picturesque town in Bulgaria. Located in the meander turns of Yantra river, the town features remains of the medieval fortifications, churches and a palace, museums, galleries and craftsmen pavilions. A guided tour will introduce you to all major historical sights such as Tsarevets fortress, Samovodska charshia street, St. Peter and Pavel church ect., while the afternoon is left for you to enjoy and explore the city on your own.
Day 7.  Transfer to Etara open-air museum and guided tour of the complex. Transfer and guided tour of Boyana Church. Gala dinner in Sofia.
After breakfast you will head for the open-air Ethnographic Heritage Museum Etara. Located in a lovely valley at the foothills of the Balkans Mountains, it recreates the lifestyle of end of the 19th century – the Bulgarian National Revival period.  Fully operational workshops for ceramics, copper and other handicrafts are open and work in them is driven not by electricity, but by flowing water. Transfer to Sofia with visit of the notable Boyana Church (UNESCO). The day ends with a gala dinner in a downtown restaurant in Sofia. Overnight in Sofia.
Day 8. Breakfast. Transfer to the airport for departure.

Accommodation: 3-star hotels, en-suite double rooms incl. breakfast. During the days good restaurants will be suggested for lunch en-route.

Guaranteed departure dates for 2019: TBA

Limited time offer
590 Euro/person sharing
Single room supplement: 105 Euro

The price includes:
entrance fees, transfers from/to Sofia airport and private transportation with convenient car or Minivan throughout the tour; English-speaking guide; accommodation and boarding as mentioned; VAT and all local taxes.
The price does not include: tips, other meals, alcohol drinks and personal expenses

Best period: May-October