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; St. Anastasia Island and the town of Apollo; Sozopol; 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.
2018 Land Cost Per Person based on a party of 4 travelers (double occupancy)
May 23rd: $1722
Single supplement – $250
Rates available for parties with less or more than 4 people.
- 7 nights accommodation at 4* hotels
- Full board basis ( starts with dinner on Day 1, till breakfast on Day 8 )
- Licensed tour guide in English
- Transport/ car or minivan, parkings
- Activities during the Festival of Roses in Karlovo
- 3 wine tastings: Liaskovets, Ustina, Brestovitsa
- Lesson of preparation of Bulgarian yoghurt – Arbanassi museum village
- 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
23 May – Day 1: Sofia
Arrival and transfer from Sofia Airport to your hotel. Panorama tour of the city en route. Dinner and overnight at a 4* hotel. (D)
24 May – Day 2: Sofia – Veliko Turnovo
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.
Lunch at a downtown restaurant with traditional Bulgarian dishes.
Proceed to Veliko Turnovo – the medieval capital city of Bulgaria, picturesquely located on 4 hills above Yantra river. En route, we will stop to Liaskovets winery. Visit the small museum collection to see the Roman vine-press from the 3rd Century and taste some local wines.
Check in at the hotel in Veliko Turnovo, evening walk along Samovodska Charshia, the street of crafts and workshops.
Please note: May 24 is a National Holiday – the Day of the Cyrillic Alphabet and Bulgarian culture. Because of this, small modifications of the itinerary are possible for May 24 and May 25.
25 May – Day 3: Veliko Turnovo – Arbanassi – Liaskovets – Shipka – Kazanluk
Morning visit of Tsarevets Royal Hill with the fortress. Proceed to Arbanassi museum village, located on a hill above Veliko Turnovo. The village is mentioned for the first time in documents from 1538. The village was so scenic that Greek bishops from Mount Athos and from as far as Jerusalem journeyed to spend the summer!
Lesson on how to prepare the traditional Bulgarian yoghurt and tasting of Bulgarian pastry with cheese.
After lunch proceed via Shipka memorial peak and mountain pass to Kazanluk, the centre of the Valley of roses, known as well as the Valley of the Thracian kings. Visit Museum of Roses. Check in at your hotel, overnight.
26 May – Day 4: Kazanluk – Karlovo – Plovdiv – Festival of Roses, Karlovo
Early breakfast and departure to Karlovo, where the Rose Festival starts today!
09:00 – arrival at the rose fields, rose picking
10:00 – depart to the centre of Karlovo where folklore teams perform on open stages
10:20 – Welcoming the Queen of Roses at the main square of Karlovo, presentation of traditional songs and dances
12:00 – Demonstration of rose distillery and tasting of rose products and the History museum of Old Karlovo
13:30 – lunch and free time
Afternoon departure to Plovdiv.
Check in at your hotel. Free evening to rest. Overnight.
27 May – Day 5: Plovdiv – Brestovitsa – Plovdiv
After breakfast, we will tour Plovdiv, the 2nd largest city in Bulgaria, once capital city of Philip the 2nd of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great. The city is much older than 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 will be European capital of culture in 2019.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 production of high quality red wines of “Mavrud”, “Merlot” and “Cabernet Sauvignon” grape varieties in boutique series of limited quantity. Return to Plovdiv for dinner and overnight.
28 May – Day 6: Plovdiv – Bansko
Traveling through mountain roads we arrive at Bansko museum town. En route we will stop over at Villa Ustina Winery to visit its vine fields and taste some wines during the lunch. Bansko is located at the foothills of Pirin Mountain National Park ( UNESCO site ). 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. Dinner at a traditional Bansko restaurant. Overnight.
29 May – Day 7: Bansko – Rila Monastery – Sofia
From Bansko, we will leave for Rila Monastery (UNESCO site), the largest monastery in Bulgaria, located at Rila Mountain National park. Visit the monastery`s yard and main church.Lunch at a family-run restaurant located close to the monastery. Return to Sofia in the late afternoon and free time for your own shopping. Farewell dinner with folklore performance and Nestinari, which is a unique dance with bare feet on burning coal, UNESCO protected.
30 May – Day 8: Sofia – departure
Free time and departure transfer to Sofia Airport
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.
Kutrubes Travel has SPECIAL AIRFARES – Contact us for details.
Kutrubes Travel also offers a variety of other tours throughout this region. Contact us for detailed itineraries and descriptions.