Authentic Bulgaria – Folklore, Traditions, Cuisine and more
Any date at your convenience from April to October!
Duration: 10 days / 9 nights
• Visits to some of the most famous tourists sights in Bulgaria
• Getting acquainted with the Bulgarian way of life, culture, history, traditions and crafts
• Getting to know the Bulgarian national cuisine, traditional specialties, as well as high-quality wines
• Visits to some of the most beautiful small towns from the National Revival period
1. Day: Sofia
Arrival in Sofia. Transfer to the hotel.
Sightseeing tour of Sofia including the “Alexander Nevski” cathedral and other sights in the city centre – the remains from the ancient Serdika fortress, one of the oldest towns in Europe, the buildings of the Parliament, the National Theater “Ivan Vazov”, “St. Kliment Ohridski” University, the rotunda “St. George”, “St Sofia” church and more.
If there is enough time and at the group’s will we can also arrange visits to the National Museum of History and the Boyana Church – one of the most remarkable monuments of the Bulgarian medieval painting art, included in UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list.
Evening visit to an opera or ballet performance, or to a concert of the Sofia philharmonic orchestra.
2. Day: Sofia – Rila monastery – Melnik
After breakfast you depart for one of the symbols of Bulgaria – Rila monastery. Throughout the centuries the highest situated monastery in Rila Mountain has been an important religious, cultural and educational centre. The monastery is included in UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list. Besides with its size, the monastery complex is impressive also with its beautiful architecture, master’s wood-carved iconostasis and wall-paintings, and with the magnificent view of the surrounding mountains.
Depart for Melnik – the smallest Bulgarian town, with population of only 216 people. The small town is situated on the southern slopes of Pirin mountain, amidst sand pyramids, and is famous for the numerous architectural, artistic and historical monuments, as well as for its quality wine, produced from the local grape variety “Shiroka Melnishka Loza”, and traditional cuisine. The most significant places of interest in Melnik are from the period of the National Revival. Among them is the largest renaissance building in Bulgaria – the house of the wealthy Melnik family Kordopulovi. The house impresses with its architecture, wealth and history. Particularly interesting are the wine-cellars, which have been carved in the rock below the house. Here you will have the opportunity to taste the famous wine from Melnik. Besides the beautiful Melnik houses, close to the town can be seen remains from a few old churches.
Dinnner and overnight in Melnik.
3. Day: Melnik – Dobarsko – Bansko
After breakfast – a walk in Melnik and a visit to Kordopulova house.
Depart for the picturesque mountainous village Dobarsko. The village is famous for its church “St. St. Theodore Tyron and Theodore Stratelates”, which preserved valuable wall-paintings and icons, remarkable for their exceptional mastery and unusual techniques, used by the icon-painters. The most famous wall-painting in the church is the depiction of Jesus Christ in a space ship. In the churchyard you will enjoy a folklore performance by the grannies from Dobarsko and you will have the opportunity to try home-made traditional Bulgarian “banitza”.
The tour proceeds to the most famous Bulgarian ski resort – Bansko. Apart from the excellent conditions for winter sports the town has also many places of interest and architectural-historical monuments. The typical houses in Bansko from the revival period are impressive with their architecture. A trade mark of the town are the folk-style taverns, which offer traditional specialties.
Accommodation in a hotel. Dinner.
4. Day: Bansko – Plovdiv – Brestovitsa – Plovdiv
After breakfast you depart for Plovdiv.
One of the oldest towns in Europe impresses with its rich history and culture. During the walk you will see some of the most significant historical monuments – the ancient theater and stadium from Roman times, the Ethnographic museum, as well as the architectural reserve “Old Plovdiv”.
Next is s visit to the first boutique winery in Bulgaria, situated close to Plovdiv, and tasting of high-quality local red wines.
Accommodation in a hotel in Plovdiv and dinner.
5. Day: Plovdiv – Kazanlak – Etar – Tryavna
After breakfast you depart for the heart of “The Rose Valley” – Kazanlak town.
A visit in a rose-distillery, producing the world-famous Bulgarian rose oil – demonstration of the rose-distilling process and a tasting of rose honey.
Proceed to Kazanlak, where you visit the famous Kazanlak tomb – another site under the protection of UNESCO. The tomb is one of the most remarkable monuments of the Thracian culture and art in Bulgaria and is dated back to ІV-ІІІ century BC.
After you cross the historical pass Shipka you reach the complex “Etar”. The architectural-ethnographic complex “Etar” is a unique open-air museum and has been designed to recreate the architecture and lifestyle of the Balkan region more than 200 years ago. Here can be seen authentic craftsman’s workshops and every visitor has the opportunity to closely get acquainted with the Bulgarian traditions while observing the work of the masters – potters, fur-dressers, wood-carvers, candy-makers, weavers and many others.
Depart for the renaissance town Tryavna. Dinner and overnight in the town.
6. Day: Tryavna
After breakfast you go on a tour in Tryavna. During the national Revival period the town was recognized as a centre of culture and crafts. Nowadays this Balkan jewel still keeps its revival spirit. In Tryavna has been founded the oldest in Bulgaria art school and it develops three major skills – icon-painting, wood-carving and building. The works of the school can be seen in the different museums and art galleries in the town. The city tour passes throughout the town centre with the Clock tower and continues along the old-time main street of Tryavna, where you can see a number of workshops – for wood-carvings, leather shoes, national costumes, etc., as well as the unique for the country museum of wood-carving, located in a wealthy house from the early Revival period where various models of this traditional craft are exhibited.
City-tour of Tryavna with a visit to the museum of wood-carving and icon-painting.
7. Day: Tryavna – Bozhentsi – Dryanovo monastery – Arbanassi
Breakfast. Visit to architectural-historical reserve Bozhenci. The lovely village Bozhenci is located in Gabrovo region and is one of the most beautiful architectural reserves in Bulgaria. The village is impressive with its well-preserved houses from the revival period, public buildings, tile-stone roofs and cobbled streets.
A walk through the eco-trail “Bozhentsi – Dryanovo monastery”. This easy and pleasant trail passes along beautiful forest paths, interesting natural formations, remains from an ancient fortress and can meet you with different representatives of the forest flora and fauna. Here it is possible to organize a picnic in the open air.
The final aim of your walk is Dryanovo monastery. It is one of the centers for preservation and development of the Bulgarian Christianity and culture. The monastery was founded in XII century and during the ottoman yoke it was one of the centers for preparation of the Bulgarian national-liberation movement. It is a temple without wall-paintings. On their place within the monastery walls you can see bullet holes, reminding of the glorious past.
Drive to Arbanassi. If you wish, on the way you can visit the museum of Koljo Ficheto in Dryanovo town – one of the most renowned Bulgarian renaissances builders, who has designed bridges, houses and numerous churches.
Dinner and overnight in Arbanassi.
8. Day: Arbanassi – Veliko Tarnovo – Lovech – Staro Stefanovo
After breakfast you head for a walk in Arbanassi – architectural reserve and village-museum. The tour includes a visit to the church “Nativity of Christ” – the oldest church in Arbanassi. It is a solid stone building preserving a unique wall-painting ensemble, impressive with the great number of scenes.
Next stop is Veliko Tarnovo – the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom and one of the oldest towns in the country. Here you will visit the Tsarevets medieval fortress and the “Samovodska Charshiya” (the street of the crafts), which is an original ethnographic complex.
After the city-tour you head for a visit of another Bulgarian town with rich millennia-old history – Lovech. The most valuable place of interest here undoubtedly is the old part of the town – “Varosha” reserve and the Covered Bridge. The bridge is a work of the self-taught master Koljo Ficheto and was completed in 1876. It was 10 meters wide and 84 meters long. The bridge is wooden and has stone foundations. Once he was a centre of the local craftsmen and merchants with its typical-for-this-time 64 small shops. Today the covered bridge connects the new part of the town with the architectural-historical reserve “Varosha”.
The reserve occupies the whole old part of Lovech and still keeps the renaissance architecture typical for the XIX c. in Bulgaria – small houses, surrounded with high stonewalls, situated on narrow and winding streets. In “Varosha” you can see some of the best representatives of the local architecture, as well as more than 200 monuments from the Bulgarian history and culture.
Drive to Staro Stefanovo village. Overnight.
9. Day: Staro Stefanovo – Sofia
After breakfast you will enjoy a walk in Staro Stefanovo. This is the name of a small village, which has preserved the atmosphere of the National Revival. It has been proclaimed for an architectural reserve and has about 100 cultural-monument houses. Most of them were built in the middle of XIX century and still bear the typical marks of a “Balkan house” – white walls and a roof covered with thin tile-stones. The village possesses a unique coziness and tranquility. Life here flows with at least a century-delayed speed. In Staro Stefanovo you can see many wells and fountains, typical for the Bulgarian villages. The authentic atmosphere and the beautiful nature turn this place into a heaven for every guest.
Drive to Sofia.
10. Day: Sofia
Breakfast and transfer to the airport.
Accommodation 9 nights in good 3 and 4 stars hotels and a family-run hotel Board Half board – 9 breakfasts, 8 dinners and 1 dinner with folklore show Tour guide Guide in English Entry fees Entry fees for the visits according to the program Tastings 1x tasting of rose honey
1x folklore show with tasting of traditional Bulgarian pastry and yoghurt drink in Dobarsko
Transportation Bus or minibus for the whole trip from/to Sofia airport
The program and the services could be modified according to your requirements!
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