The Balkan Peninsula has served as a major crossroad between different cultures. The most ancient processed gold treasure known on Earth is found in the Bulgarian lands. The country can also offer to its visitors numerous Thracian tumuli, remains of ancient and middleaged fortifications as well as hundreds of churches, all of which are still uniquely preserved.
Now you have the incredible opportunity to explore the ancient times of glory and grandeur!
Day #1 Sofia
Arrival at Sofia airport. Transfer to your hotel. Dinner with a folklore show at a traditional Bulgarian restaurant. Overnight in Sofia.
Day #2 Sofia
After breakfast you will take a panoramic city tour of Sofia. You will see the National Museum of History with its famous gold Thracian treasures, the historical center of the city, the Byzantine Church of St. Sofia. You will also see the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, known as one of the symbols of Bulgaria. You will pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum and the famous Boyana church, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. You will have the opportunity to buy some genuine handmade Bulgarian souvenirs. Leisure time. Dinner and overnight in Sofia.
Day #3 Plovdiv
Following breakfast you will travel to Plovdiv, where many archaeological remains are still preserved. The city is one of the oldest in Europe. It is a contemporary of Troy and Mycenae, and older than Rome, Athens, Carthage and Constantinople. In the Old town of Plovdiv you will visit the Roman theatre (2nd century BC), the Roman Stadium (2nd century BC), the Mosque and the Archaeological Museum. You will also see the St. Constantine and Helena Church, Tsar Simeon's Garden and the Singing Fountains. Dinner and overnight in Plovdiv.
Day #4 Stara Zagora - Kazanlak - Veliko Tarnovo
Breakfast. Continue to the city of Stara Zagora, founded by the Thracians around 6th-5th century BC. You will take a guided sightseeing tour of the city – you can closely examine the Antique Forum, the Roman Baths, the South Gate of Augusta Trajana and the Opera House (built 1925). Next, you will proceed to the town of Kazanlak, known as the heart of the Bulgarian Rose Valley. There you will visit the painted Thracian Tomb (4th century BC), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After that you will continue to Veliko Tarnovo, famous as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. It is the town carrying the most famous historical heritage in Bulgaria. There you will visit the Royal palace, the Patriarchal palace and the Memorial Church on the Tsarevets hill, the small churches in the foothill of Trapezitsa and the St Forty Martyrs Church (some of the Bulgarian Empires most significant historical records are stored in this church). Dinner and overnight in Veliko Tarnovo.
Day #5 Madara - Pliska - Shumen - Razgrad - Preslav - Shumen
After breakfast you will continue your journey to some of the places with the greatest archaeological interest in Bulgaria. Near the village of Madara you will see the world famous Madara Rider an early medieval large rock relief that depicts a majestic horseman 23 m. above ground level in an almost vertical 100 metre high cliff. The monument is dated back to circa 710 AD and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979. Your next stop is the town of Pliska, the first capital of Bulgaria. There you will visit the ruins of the early medieval fortress. Pliska is a place where archaeological discoveries are literally everywhere. The next town on your trip is Shumen an ancient fortification town. There you will visit the Shumen Fortress, partially restored after being destroyed by the Ottomans in the past. You will also see the momument dedicated to Bulgaria's 1300 anniversary. It is regarded as the only monument in the world to depict the history of a whole country from its creation to the present day. You will continue to the town of Razgrad, where you will see the Varosha architectural complex from the 19th century, the unique clock tower in the centre built in 1864 and the St Nicholas the Miracle Worker’s Church from 1860. You will proceed to the town of Preslav, known as the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire. There you will see the ruins of the medieval Preslav – currently a national archaeological reserve. In the evening you will go back to Shumen, where you will overnight.
Day #6 Burgas
Following breakfast you will head to the town of Burgas on a panoramic road along the Black Sea coast. Burgas was a famous harbour town in the past. Archaeologists discovered remarkable collections of utensils, coins and ornaments that are now exhibited in the local History Museum. You will take a guided sightseeing tour of Burgas including visits to the Opera House, the above mentioned Burgas Regional Historical Museum and many more interesting places. Free time at leisure. Dinner at a fish restaurant. Overnight.
Day #7 Sozopol - Pomorie - Nessebar - Varna
After breakfast your journey continues to the town of Sozopol. It is an ancient town that fascinates everyone with its beauty, its traditional architecture and the calm lifestyle of its inhabitants. You will take a walk through the Old Town of Sozopol. Later you will proceed to Pomorie an old city, which today has been transformed into an important tourist attraction. There you will visit the ancient Thracian beehive tomb (3rd century BC). Next, you will go to the town of Nessebar “another pearl in the crown of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast”. It is a charming small town, where you will see the remains of ancient civilizations. You will be impressed by the fact that there are 41 churches in Nessebar. You will see the most notable ones among them – the Church of St. Sophia (5th – 6th century), the Church of Crist Pantocrator (13th – 14th century) and the Church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel (13th14th century). In the late afternoon you will travel to the town of Varna, where you will overnight.
Day #8 Varna
Varna is known as the most beautiful town in Bulgaria. It is a place of rich history as well. After breakfast you will take a fullday city tour, visiting the remains of the Roman Baths (built in 2c. by the Roman Emperor Antonio), the Museums of History and Archaeology and the Catholic Necropolis. You will also see the picturesque place Pobiti Kamani (18km away from Varna). Dinner and overnight in Varna.
Day #9 Silistra - Pleven - Sofia
Following breakfast you will head to the town of Silistra where the Roman Tomb and the Archaeological Museum will be visited. On the way back to Sofia, you will visit Pleven – a town of rich history, a battlefield during the RussianTurkish War of 1877–78 for liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule. You will visit the famous historical Pleven Panorama and the Pleven Regional Historical Museum. Then you will proceed to Sofia, where you will overnight.
Day #10 Rila monastery - Sofia
After breakfast you will see arguably the most amazing and sacred place in the whole of Bulgaria – the Rila Monastery. It is the biggest, oldest and most renowned monastery in the country, located close to a river and in the heart of high rising mountain peaks. The monastery complex became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. You will visit the main church of the monastery, famous for its unique frescoes and its goldplated iconostasis; the monastery museum, known for housing Rafail’s Cross and the monastery kitchen “Magernitsa”, noted for its uncommonly large vessels. In the late afternoon you will return to Sofia. Farewell dinner with Bulgarian specialties at a traditional restaurant. Overnight.
Day #11 Sofia
Breakfast. Transfer to the airport for your flight home.