Highlights of the tour: The Valley of Roses and its century-old annual festival; a kaleidoscope of folklore and traditions; Rila Monastery (a UNESCO Site); Sofia; Plovdiv, the oldest continually-inhabited city in Europe; the Black Sea Coast with Nesebur (UNESCO Town); 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.
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. It takes 3000 kg of rose petals to produce one kilogram of rose oil. In 1903 the citizens of the small town of Kazanlak organized the first Rose Festival in Bulgaria, dedicated to flowers, beauty, and grace. Nowadays, the Rose Festival has come to be a symbol of the reflection of the lifestyle, the spirit, and culture, typical not only of the Kazanlak Region, but of Bulgaria as well…
2017 Land Cost Per Person based on a party of 4 travelers (double occupancy)
May 31st – $1885
Single supplement – $235
Rates available for parties with less or more than 4 people.
- 8 nights accommodation at 4* hotels
- Full board basis ( starts with dinner on Day 1, finishes with breakfast on Day 9 )
- 4 wine tastings
- Licensed English Speaking Guide
- Entrances for the visited sites
- Festival of Roses activities, seat for the Carnival procession
- 1 small bottle of mineral water per person per day
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 are recommended for coverage against all unforeseen circumstances
Day 1 (May 31st): 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)
Day 2 (June 1): Sofia (B, L, D)
Full Day 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. After lunch on the outskirts of Sofia we visit the National Museum of History and Boyana Church a UNESCO site. Upon return, we will visit the Wine House of Sofia a 130 years wine old cellar which contains over 150 different types and wines from 17 of the best wine producers in the country. Visit and wine tasting. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3 (June 2): Sofia – Koprivshtitsa – Liaskovets – Arbanassi (B, L, D)
Departure to Koprivshtitsa, one of the most famous museum-towns in Bulgaria, declared a national historical and architectural reserve where one can still feel the spirit of the Bulgarian National revival. Narrow cobbled streets, arch-like bridges, stone fountains, high-stone walls with big gates, lead to the picturesque houses creating an intimate romantic atmosphere. Following lunch we depart to Central Bulgaria crossing the Balkan range via Beklemeto Mountain pass. Visit Vinprom Liaskovets one of the oldest wine factories in Bulgaria producing sparking, herbal and dessert wines in the small town of Liaskovets. Visit the small museum collection to see the Roman vine-press from the 3rd Century and try wine tasting. Next, arrival in Arbanassi museum village located on a hill above Veliko Turnovo where we will spend the night. 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! Panorama tour of the village, check in at the hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 4 (June 3): Arbanassi – Veliko Turnovo – Etura – Stara Zagora
Morning tour of Veliko Turnovo, the Medieval capital city of Bulgaria, picturesquely located on 4 hills above Yantra river. Visit Tsarevets Royal Hill with the fortress, Patriarch`s complex and Baldwin tower (the leader of the 4th Crusade ), Samovodska Charshia, the street of crafts and workshops. Lunch in the Old Veliko Turnovo. Proceed to Etura open air ethnographic complex, where we wil make a coffee break for coffee prepared on hot sand and taste some local sweets. We will tour Stara Zagora and visit the Neolitic Dwellings museum – the best preserved in Europe and containing ruins of two of the oldest surviving buildings in the world ( in situ ), dinner and overnight in Stara Zagora.
Day 5 (June 4): Stara Zagora – Kazanluk – Plovdiv – Festival of Roses
Early morning departure to the rose fields to participate in the rose picking. Visit modern and traditional rose distillery, tasting of rose liquor, rose jam, traditional Bulgarian pastry with cheese. Visit the Museum of Roses and Kazanluk Thracian tomb ( UNESCO site, copy ). At 12:00 – witness the carnival procession on the main street of Kazanluk. Lunch BBQ with folklore performance. Afternoon visit of Shipka memorial church. Depart to Plovdiv, check in at the hotel and overnight.
Day 6 (June 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.
Day 7 (June 6): Plovdiv – Ustina – 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 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.
Day 8 (June 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.
Day 9 (June 8): Sofia
Free time and departure transfer.
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