FESTIVAL OF ROSES, GASTRONOMY, WINE AND HISTORY TOUR DESCRIPTION

Highlights of this tour are many, starting with the Valley of Roses and its century-old annual festival, Festival of Roses, a kaleidoscope of folklore and traditions. Other notable tour features include: Rila Monastery (a UNESCO Site); Sofia; Plovdiv, the oldest continually-inhabited city in Europe; the Arbanassi Museum Village (including a visit of with a local family for lunch); the medieval fortress of Veliko Turnovo; and the legends of emperors, crusaders and kingdoms.

Some say that to visit Bulgaria and not go to the Valley of Roses is like going to Egypt and not seeing the pyramids.  For a period of 330 years, Bulgaria has won recognition as the country of roses, and the rose flower has rightfully become one of its symbols. Statistics show that once about 75% of the world’s rose oil was produced in Bulgaria. Today a kilo costs almost two kilos of gold on the world markets.  Incidentally, it takes 3000 kg of rose petals to produce one kilogram of rose oil.

When to Visit Valley of Roses

The valley is always beautiful, but it is most charming in late May and early June, when the rose trees are in full bloom, making the place a big sweet-smelling garden.  In 1903 the citizens of the small town of Kazanlak organized the first Rose Festival in Bulgaria, dedicated to flowers, beauty, and grace. Today  the Rose Festival has come to symbolize and reflect the lifestyle, spirit and culture of the Kazanlak Region and of Bulgaria as well.

Tour Highlights:

  • Annual Festival of Roses in Karlovo ( May 28th ), visit rose distilleries and rose fields, taste rose products
  • Traditional dishes and local specialties, a lesson of preparation of Bulgarian yogurt
  • 3 wine tastings, incl. a visit to the boutique wine cellar
  • UNESCO sites, museum towns, and villages
  • Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture in 2019, the oldest permanently inhabited city in Europe
  • Spectacular mountains, river valleys and nature site

Check out also our tour Bulgarian Gardens, Flowers, and Traditions

TOUR DETAILS

2022 pricing, please contact us for an estimate anytime

2021 Land Cost Per Person (double occupancy)
25 May – 01 June

3* Hotels:
2 Travelers: $1881
4 Travelers: $1456

4* Hotels:
2 Travelers: $1937
4 Travelers: $1515

Rates available for parties with less or more than 4 people

Price includes:

  • 7 nights accommodation with breakfast at 3* hotels or 4* hotels
  • Licensed tour guide in English/ Spanish/ French
  • 5 dinners, 3 lunches ( 3-course menu + mineral water )
  • 3 wine tastings: Ustina, Brestovitsa, Veliko Turnovo
  • A lesson of preparation of Bulgarian yogurt – Arbanassi museum village
  • Coffee break in Etura Open Air ethnographic complex
  • Transport/ car or minivan, parking
  • Activities during the Festival of Roses in Karlovo
  • Entrances for the visited sites
  • 1 small bottle of mineral water per person per day in the vehicle

Price Does Not Include:

  • Airfare (unless otherwise arranged)
  • Departure and custom fees
  • Gratuities and individual daily expenses
  • Additional beverages
  • Travel insurance
  • Trip cancellation
  • Medical and luggage insurance recommended for coverage against all unforeseen circumstances

Day 1: Sofia ( D )
Arrival and transfer from Sofia Airport to your hotel. Panorama tour of the city en route. Dinner and overnight at a 4* hotel.

Day 2: Sofia – Rila Monastery – Bansko ( B, L, D )
Morning sightseeing in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, which Constantine the Great once called “My Rome”. Visits include the  Alexander Nevski Memorial Cathedral, St. George Rotunda from the 4th Century being the oldest building preserved in Sofia. Other stops include the St. Sofia 6th Century basilica, the remains of the Roman fortification walls, the Presidency, the National Theatre, the Old City Garden, and the Parliament square. We will leave south towards Rila Mountain National Park. Lunch at a family-run restaurant close to Rila Monastery UNESCO site. Afternoon visit of the largest monastery in Bulgaria – visit the monastery’s yard and main church. Proceed to Bansko museum town, located at the foothills of Pirin Mountain ( National Park, UNESCO site ). Dinner at a traditional Bansko Mehana. Overnight.

Day3: Bansko – Ustina – Plovdiv ( B, D )
We will have a walking tour of the Old Bansko, including St. Trinity church and the complex of National Revival houses with their typical architecture: thick stone walls, narrow and dark loop-holes, iron wires on the windows, and heavy doors.
Traveling via the western Rhodope mountains, we will enjoy small villages and picturesque spots, leading us to Ustina village. There, we will stop for a visit to Villa Ustina local winery and taste some local wines. In the late afternoon, we will arrive in Plovdiv, check-in at the hotel, and have evening free. Dinner at the hotel.

Day 4: Plovdiv – Brestovitsa – Plovdiv ( B, L )
After breakfast, we will tour Plovdiv, the 2nd largest city in Bulgaria, once the capital city of Philip the 2nd of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great. The city is much older than in Athens and Rome. The tour includes the Roman Amphitheatre, the Stadium, the Old Plovdiv Architectural reserve with the Ethnographic museum, and the National Revival Houses
complex. Plovdiv was the European capital of culture in 2019. We will have lunch in the Old Plovdiv at a restaurant built over roman fortifications. The place was famous as the only dervish center on the Balkans at the period of the Ottoman Empire.
In the afternoon we will depart south to visit Todoroff Boutique wine cellar. Wine tasting and tour of the winery, established in 1945. It is specialized in the production of high-quality red wines of “Mavrud”, “Merlot” and “Cabernet Sauvignon” grape varieties in boutique series of limited quantity. Return to Plovdiv for the second night at the hotel.

Day 5: Plovdiv – Karlovo – Skobelevo – Kazanluk ( B, L )
Early breakfast and departure to Karlovo, where the Rose Festival starts today! Arrival at the rose fields, rose picking, depart to the center of Karlovo wherein open stage perform folklore teams, welcoming Queen of Roses at the main square of Karlovo, presentations of traditional songs and dances, demonstration of the rose distillery and tasting of rose products and the History Museum of Old Karlovo. Lunch and some free time.
Afternoon departure to Kazanluk. En route we will stop to Damascena family-run distillery for rose products, which gardens are home to about 150 types of roses. Check-in at your hotel. Free evening to rest. Overnight.

Day 6: Kazanluk – Shipka – Etura – Veliko Turnovo ( B, D )
Breakfast and visit the Kazanluk Thracian Tomb ( UNESCO site, copy ). Departure north towards Shipka memorial church ( stop for pictures ) and Etura Open Air Ethnographic complex. Here, we will have a break to taste traditional coffee prepared on the hot sand. Free time for lunch. Afternoon departure towards Veliko Turnovo – the medieval capital city of Bulgaria, picturesquely located on 4 hills above the Yantra river. Check-in at your hotel.
Late afternoon walk in the old part of Veliko Turnovo – Gurko Street, the Monument of Asenevtsi, Samovodska Charshia ( the old marketplace ) with the many traditional workshops, the House with the Monkey, Hadjinikuli Inn, etc, where we will taste some local wines. Dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Veliko Turnovo – Arbanassi – Sofia ( B, D )
Morning visit of Tsarevets Royal Hill – the medieval citadel of Veliko Turnovo with the Patriarch’s complex and Baldwin tower ( the leader of the 4th Crusade, who was imprisoned here ). A lesson of preparation of Bulgarian yogurt and tasting of banitsa – traditional Bulgarian pastry with cheese in Arbanassi museum village, located on a hill above Veliko Turnovo. Free time for lunch and departure to Sofia. Arrival in Sofia, check-in at the hotel. Dinner and overnight.

Day 8: Sofia – departure
Free time and departure transfer ( no services of the tour guide ).

Payment and Refund Policies

If you have any questions or you’d like to book this trip, please contact us.

Custom itineraries available to this or any of the destinations we travel to.

Please check the Resources page for more information on Travel Insurance, Visa Service, and other useful links.

SPECIAL AIRFARES: Kutrubes Travel can assist you with your flight reservations to your destination with all major carriers. We offer special rates through our various airline contracts. Please call us or email us with your proposed travel plans and we will be sure to accommodate you and respond quickly.

Kutrubes Travel also offers a variety of other tours throughout this region. Contact us for detailed itineraries and descriptions.