The small territory of Bulgaria includes many breathtaking sights. Nine of them are declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Sights.
During this extraordinary journey you will explore Thracian necropolises, ancient cities, Bulgarian Medieval and Renaissance churches and monasteries. All of them are supreme achievements not only of Bulgarian, but of the whole human civilization. Bulgaria ranks third in Europe only after Greece and Italy for the number of its valuable archaeological monuments.
Day 01 Sofia – A tour of the city will follow during which you will visit Sofia’s main landmarks including the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Holy Sophia Church, The Russian Church of St. Nicholas the Miracle Maker, St. George’s Rotunda, the Ivan Vazov National Theatre, the National Palace of Culture, Parliament Square and the National Archaeological Museum.
Day 02 Sofia – Breakfast, you will visit the nearby Boyana Church, one of nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bulgaria. Inside, its frescoes from the 13th century are highly regarded works of Eastern Christian art and attract visitors from all over the world. Built in the 10th century, the church is considered one of the earliest symbols of the Renaissance period. Following your visit, you will be free to explore the rest of the city or return to your hotel.
Day 03 Sofia – Pleven – Ivanovo Rock Monasteries – Ruse You will depart for the town of Pleven and its Panorama monument before continuing to the Ivanovo Rock Monasteries. Formed out of solid rock, this is another site under UNESCO protection. The rock formations and 14th century frescoes are exceptionally preserved. A busy day concludes with an overnight stay in Ruse, a charming town on the Danube River, known as ‘Little Vienna’ for its beautiful architecture.
Day 04 Ruse – Sveshtari Thracian Tomb – Pliska – Madara Horseman – Varna –The Thracian tombs of Sveshtari is your next destination before trips to Pliska – the first capital of Bulgaria – and the Madara Horseman National Preserve precede your three night stay in Varna, the third largest city in Bulgaria and the primary calling point on visits to Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.
Day 05 Varna – The city of Varna marries a splendid coastline with a vibrant metropolis. The Black Sea is the biggest attraction in the area but Varna is more than just a seaside resort. The former ancient Greek colony has many notable sights including the 2nd century Roman thermal baths, the Cathedral of the Holy Mother and several museums – the National Revival Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Navy Museum and the Ethnographic and Historical Museum – if you need an escape from the crowded beaches. Varna is also popular amongst animal lovers with the city’s aquarium, zoo, dolphinarium and the Sea Gardens amongst the options for your day here.
Day 06 Varna – Nessebar – Bourgas You will travel to the one of the oldest towns in Europe. Nessebar’s Old Town is dotted with ancient monuments and architecture from through the ages. The city is declared by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage with churches from the 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th centuries.
Day 07 Bourgas – Veliko Tarnovo The medieval capital of Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo, and the fortress of Tsarevets, is symbolic of the reign of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The town is steeped in regality as the former home of several Bulgarian Emperors with its palaces, marketplace and patriarchal cathedral among the points of interest before you return to your hotel.
Day 08 Veliko Tarnovo – Etara – Shipka – Kazanlak – The Etara open air museum commemorates the arts and crafts traditions of the region and you can get a real sense of the skill and passion of the craftsmen here. Bulgaria is also famous for its production of rose oil and hosts an annual Rose Festival and you will be able to get an insight into this bustling trade in the Valley of Roses. Shipka is home to the Memorial Church, a tribute to the soldiers who died during the country’s liberation from Ottoman rule, and some of the most spectacular views of the mountain range. Kazanlak is the final stop on your whirlwind tour of northern Bulgaria, where you will take in the sights of the Museum of Roses and the Thracian tombs. Return to Veliko Tarnovo.
Day 09 Veliko Tarnovo – Plovdiv – The ancient city of Plovdiv awaits on the next part of the tour. The city is renowned for its ancient Roman heritage, with the Roman Theatre, Roman Stadium and the Aqueduct popular haunts for sightseers. The City of Seven Hills is brimming with cultural significance with the St. Marina Church and the Ethnographic Museum also well-worth a visit before you retreat to your hotel.
Day 10 Plovdiv – Rila Monastery – Sofia
Rila Monastery is the most cherished monastery in Bulgaria. You will visit the church with adjoining museum and kitchen before spending your final evening in the capital.
Day 11 Sofia Departure