Nostalgic steam train journey in Bulgaria
“There is something so romantic about retro train travel!”
Duration: 9 days / 8 nights
Price: per request
• Getting to know the national cuisine, the traditional Bulgarian specialties and high-quality wines and brandies
• Getting acquainted with the Bulgarian everyday life, culture, history and traditions
• Visits to some of the most popular tourist sites in Bulgaria, incl. three UNESCO sites
• Special train on the route Sofia-Mezdra (Iskar gorge)-Pleven
• Charter train on the route Veliko Tarnovo–Tryavna–Kazanlak
• Special train on the Rhodope narrow-gauge railway Septemvri–Velingrad and Velingrad–Bansko
• Visit to the National Museum of Transport
1. Day: Sofia
Arrival in the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia. Sightseeing tour of Sofia including the largest Orthodox Church on the Balkan Peninsula – Alexander Nevski cathedral and other places of interest in the historic centre of Sofia as the “Ivan Vazov” National Theatre, The National Assembly, and The Central Baths, the “Kliment Ohridski” University of Sofia, the “St. Nikolai” Russian Church, the “St. Nedelya” Church and others. Tourists can also visit the locomotive depot in Sofia, where many classic diesel and legendary steam engines are being held under roof.
If the guests are interested we could organize a visit to eighter the locomotive or the tram depot in Sofia.
Dinner in a restaurant out from the hotel. Overnight in Sofia.
2. Day: Sofia – Pleven
*Special train on the route Sofia – Mezdra – Pleven
Breakfast and transfer to the Central railway station in Sofia. A trip with a special train through the beautiful Iskar gorge will follow. The Iskar Gorge is a gorge passing through the Balkan Mountains (Stara Planina). The road and railroad follow the course of the Iskar river through a winding and scenic canyon.
After the arrival in Pleven the guests will visit the famous “Pleven Epopee 1877” Panorama which depicts events from the battles during the Russian-Turkish war 1877-78 combining painting, plastics and architecture in a whole art work.
Dinner and overnight in Pleven.
3. Day: Pleven – Rousse
Breakfast and departure in eastern direction to the Ivanovo rocky monasteries. Their story begins in the Late Medieval Period (12 – 14 century) when many monks came to live in the hollows of the rocks. The number of medieval monks’ cells and churches in the region of Rousse is over 250. The Ivanovo Monastery owes its cultural and historic value predominantly to the mural paintings dating from the 13th and 14th century, preserved in 6 of the rock chapels. The paintings in the church of “Virgin Mary” are recorded on the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage.
After the pause for a lunch a visit of the National Transport museum in Rousse will follow. The exhibits in the museum are laid out both inside and outside the old train station. Among the exhibits outside the building are more than ten steam engines, including the oldest steam engine preserved in the country, built in England in 1865, and various railroad carriages, including the personal carriages of the Kings Ferdinand of Bulgaria and Boris III of Bulgaria, as well as the carriage of the Turkish sultan of 1866.
Dinner and overnight in Rousse.
4. Day: Rousse – Arbanassi – Veliko Tarnovo
After breakfast the group will make a short sightseeing tour of Rousse. The city is an old Bulgarian town with traditions in culture, art and education and with developed industry and trade. It used to be the most important Bulgarian town on the Danube river, known also as “Little Vienna”, because of its architecture.
Departure for a visit to the beautiful village-museum Arbanassi. In this nice small village, filled with the atmosphere of bygone times, the guests can relax from the whirl of the strenuous daily round. They will visit some museum-houses presenting the onetime building architecture and the past Bulgarian way of life. If desired on the way to Arbanassi the guests can visit the Gorna Oryahovitsa depot as well. Time for lunch.
Short transfer to Veliko Tarnovo and sightseeing tour of the city. This city is picturesquely situated on the steep banks of Yantra River – ochre-coloured houses, churches and palaces with narrow streets, turrets and walls. Remains from the Czar’s Palace (13 – 14 century) can be seen on the Tsarevets Hill in the old part of the town.
Dinner and overnight.
5. Day: Veliko Tarnovo – Tryavna – Kazanlak – Plovdiv.
*Special train on the route Veliko Tarnovo – Tryavna – Kazanlak
Breakfast and short transfer to the railway station in Veliko Tarnovo. Special train on the route Veliko Tarnovo – Tryavna – Kazanlak. This route crosses the Balkan Mountain range again but this time at one of its highest parts. After the arrival in Kazanlak and the lunch break the group will visit the Thracian tomb of Kazanlak. The original Thracian tomb (4th – 3rd century BC) is situated in the town of Kazanlak and is under a special storage regime – no visits are allowed. Its duplicate, constructed in scale 1:1, which presents the architecture, the archaeological materials and the wall-paintings of the Kazanlak Tomb, is situated next to it. This Tomb is one of the most significant monuments of the Thracian culture in the Bulgarian lands and is included in the list of UNESCO.
After a very short transfer the group will reach a small ethnographic complex. Here the guests will be introduced to the typical for the whole region distillation of rose and lavender oil. They will be able to observe the old technologies of oil-extraction (from the beginning of 20 century) as well as the modern one, while enjoying the fragrance of this rare rose sort. A tasting of rose honey will follow.
Transfer to the second biggest city in Bulgaria – Plovdiv. Dinner with folklore program in a restaurant. Overnight.
6. Day: Plovdiv – Septemvri – Velingrad
*Special train on the route Septemvri – Velingrad
Breakfast and walking tour through the Old town of Plovdiv – visits to the Ethnographical museum, the Ancient theatre, the Ancient Roman stadium, the old fortified walls and the well-preserved old houses from the Revival period. Time for lunch.
Transfer to Septemvri. From here the group will board on the Rhodope narrow-gauge train. Well known as the Rhodope railway, it is the last narrow-gauge railroad in Bulgaria. The route passes through stunning views between the river Chepinska and the road to Velingrad onto a steel bridge and continues on the left (eastern) bank of the river. The railroad goes through 10 tunnels on the way to Velingrad and the whole route is surrounded by beautiful nature. The trip with the small train is extremely interesting and exciting not only because of the views – it brings you to a whole different world.
Dinner and overnight in Velingrad, one of the most popular spa and wellness resorts in Bulgaria.
7. Day: Velingrad – Bansko
*Special train on the route Velingrad – Bansko. Folklore show in Dobarsko.
After breakfast the guests will continue their ride on the romantic Rhodopi narrow-gauge railway, passing through marvelous mountain views, tunnels and curves, including the highest railway station on the Balkan Peninsula – Avramovo, 1267 m above sea level.
After the arrival in Bansko the group will be transfered to the village of Dobarsko. Here the guests will visit the small church (12th century) well-known for its unique (1622 AC) wall-paintings depicting Jesus Christ in a space ship. In the church yard, local grannies will welcome the guests performing folk dances and singing songs. The guests will be kindly treated to “Banitsa” (cheese pastry) and “Ajran” (yogurt drink) – specialties of the region.
In a good mood the group will go back to Bansko, the most famous winter resort in Bulgaria, cozily situated at the foot of three mountains – Rila, Pirin and the Rhodopes.
Dinner in traditional restaurant with delicious Bulgarian specialties. Overnight in a cozy hotel.
8. Day: Bansko – Rila monastery – Sofia
After breakfast the guests will make a short walking tour in the old town of Bansko which preserves the atmosphere of the Bulgarian Revival Period. Visit to the church “St. Trinity”.
Departure for the famous Rila monastery – the highest situated monastery in Rila Mountain. The monastery is included in UNESCO cultural heritage list. The quadrangle building complex with its arch-shaped entrances, its black and white pattern drawn along the outside walls, its outward stairs and bay-windows surrounded by mighty mountainous scenery on all sides is very impressive. This masterpiece is a work of builders, wood-carvers, icon-painters and of Mother Nature as well.
Transfer to Sofia. Free time at disposal for shopping and chilling after the tour.
Dinner and overnight.
9. Day: Departure
Breakfast. Transfer to Sofia airport according to the flight schedule.
Accommodation 8 nights in good 5*, 4* or 3* stars hotels Meals Half board – 8 breakfasts and 8 dinners, including 1 dinner with folklore show Tour guide Licensed guide in the requested language Entrance fees Entrance fees for the visits according to the program Extras 1x tasting of rose honey
1x folklore show with tasting of local meals
Transportation Air conditioned bus for the whole trip from/to Sofia airport
The program and the services could be modified according to your requirements!
The charter trains could be set with steam or diesel locomotives or railcar and carriages, whose number, kind and arrangement are in accordance to the clients’ request (“modern” or Corona Express passenger cars or freight waggons).
The following services could be included in the program:
• On board catering – cocktail, lunch, wine tasting
• Picnic lunch – in nature or in the train
• Visit to winery and wine-tasting
• Visits to the train depots in Sofia and Gorna Oryahovitsa
• Visits to the tram depot in Sofia
- PicturesComing soon!