Perfect nature, old towns monasteries, national cuisine and wine, unforgettable time. The most ancient European culture, thousands of treasures and almost every week new archaeological finds.
Day 1: Landing at Sofia Airport and accommodation at Hotel Prostor /2 nights/ in Vitosha. Mt National Park, which is situated just a few minutes drive from the center of Sofia. Only a few capitals in the world are less than an hour by car or chair lift to the top of the mountain where one finds himself in wild nature. Bears, wolfs, wild cats, red deer, rare and interesting species of birds and plants can be seen, if we have a luck. The hotel offers an exceptionally beautiful view of the neighboring mountains and Sofia city. The drive to the hotel takes about 45 min. It is located at 1 800 m above sea level and is surrounded by splendid pine forests.
Day 2: After breakfast a walk to Bistrishko Branishte Reserve follows. This reserve is above the tree line, in the tundra zone at about 2 000 m altitude. It is a very easy and pleasant walk. There are many rare and endemic plants and animals. In the afternoon we shall visit Sofia and Al. Nevski Cathedral which is the biggest orthodox church in the Balkans, built by the Bulgarian people in honor of our liberation from Turkish slavery. We shall visit the historical and the archaeological museums where you will get acquainted with fragments of our history and you will see exhibits thousands of years old. You'll get to see many remains and centuries old ruins. Fortress walls 1800 years old, settlement burial place dating 6 000 years, old Christian churches dating 1500 years etc. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: After breakfast we can complete our historical and archaeological tour of the oldest capital of Europe - Sofia, in case the previous day was too short for this and about noon we head for the museum-town of Bansko. On the way we will make a short detour and see the Rila Monastery. Late afternoon accommodation at the beautiful DZI Hotel /3 nights/ at about 1000 m altitude, surrounded by gorgeous old coniferous forests. The hotel offers an incredible view of the imposing peaks of Pirin National Park.
Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: After breakfast we drive along the steep and winding mountain road to about 2 000 m. We reach Banderitsa Lodge from where we start an incredibly relaxing and unforgettable walk of about 3 km to Vihren lodge. We follow the road to this lodge and the hike is not demanding at all, we reach the hut in 90 - 120 min. We are surrounded by centuries old endemic coniferous forests /we will see the oldest tree in the Balkans - a Black Fir which is calculated to be over 1300 years old, huge hills, rocks and peaks of Pirin Mountains. We reach Vihren Lodge which offers an unforgettable view of the valley beneath us and Mt. Vihren. Late in the afternoon we go back to the hotel and early in the evening we go to see the museum town of Bansko. Dinner will be in a traditional old-style Bulgarian restaurant with folk music. Overnight at DZI hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: A visit to Melnik and Rozhen Monastery, return to Bansko late in the afternoon. Overnight at DZI hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Transfer to Pamporovo with stops at the Trigrad Gorge and the caves Yagodina and Devil's Throat. Yagodina Cave - exceptionally long underground formation. 1500 m of it are made suitable for visit. It is exceptionally beautiful with its inner halls, narrow corridors, and thousands-of-years-old stalactites, stalagmites and stalactons, which descend and ascend from everywhere around us. Temperature is about 5 C so be prepared with some extra clothing. The walk is very easy and pleasant, we are accompanied by a local guide. The Devil's throat cave is a bit awesome. There are no rock and limestone formations in it but instead it has an enormous hall in which the waters of the Trigrad River fall from 70 m right beneath your feet. Once again we feel with all our senses the greatness and might of mother nature, and also that man is just a microscopic particle of it. Early in the evening we reach the high mountain resort of Pamporovo and we check in for one night at Hotel Perelik. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Transfer to Etara with stops at Bachkovo Monastery, Old Plovdiv town, one of the most ancient towns in Europe. On its territory there were found settlements from before 6 000 years. The world-famous sights of the town are following:
Thracian Tomb. Perfectly preserved, built of well worked stone blocks.
Antique theater, antique stadium, fortified walls with turrets, Roman thermal baths, multicolored tessellate pavements preserved in their proper place.
The ancient town. District preserved in original manner with buildings from the Renaissance in original style with ruins of Roman fortified walls among them from before 3 500-2500 years.
Museum of Archeology. One of the richest in the country. There could be seen collections of prehistorically utensils, golden and silver decorations, pectorals and arms from Thracian mounds in the region, the famous treasure from Panagiurichte and a big numismatic collection.. Accommodation at Etara Hotel for 2 nights. Etara hotel is built in the traditional Bulgarian style. At the open air museum people who are interested can see our old Bulgarian crafts and buy typical Bulgarian souvenirs. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Etar - the ethnographic complex and the Sokolski Monastery. Overnight at Etara hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Visit to Dryanovo Monastery, Tsarevets in Tarnovo, Bozhentsi. Overnight at Tarnovo hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Transfer to Kavarna with stops at the old Bulgarian capital Pliska. This is the first Bulgarian capital, built 1 300 years ago. The biggest medieval fortress on Balkan peninsula /besides this one in Konstantinopol/ on an area of 28 sq. km! Walls with gateways and turrets are preserved as well as two khan's palaces, public and residential buildings, buildings of cult and the biggest one in the medieval world - the Big Basilica. A visit to the site called the Horseman of Madara follows. Accommodation at Panorama Hotel for 3 nights. The hotel is situated outside of the town , on a hill just above the sea. Two nice woody valleys are also visible from the hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Kaliakra reserve with the fortress and the historical and ethnographic museum. Those who wish can simply go to the beach. A trip to Kaliakra reserve, Kamen briag and the valley called Bolata. This is the real steppe for as far as the eye can see there is only steppe interspersed here and there with scrub and small stunted trees. The steppe is traversed by unexpectedly deep valleys. The coast is rocky, with vertical reddish orange cliffs descending over 100m into the clear bluish green depths of the sea. In front of us are the remains of the ancient Kaliakra fortress, which is shrouded in legends. Overnight at Panorama hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Visit Balchik town - the botanical garden, the castle, and the museum. Balchik is an ancient Greek colony of Dionissopolis. One of the earliest towns on Bulgarian Black sea coast after 6th century B.C. Its use continued during Roman, Byzantine and Bulgarian periods. There are preserved fortified walls, tombs, proto Bugarian center of cult with heathen calendar etc. Beach option. Overnight at Panorama hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 13: Transfer to Burgas with stop at Nessebar old town. built more than 2 500 years ago. There are preserved and exhibited great number of archaeological finds and among them the most interesting in Bulgaria Byzantine and medieval Bulgarian churches as Pantokrator, St.Stephen. Today we visit the Pomorie tomb too, which is the biggest tomb from Roman period on Balkan peninsula. Built under mound embankment. A corridor leads to enormous dome-shaped chamber in the middle of which a circular stairs come to the surface of the mound. Accommodation at Park Hotel for one night. The hotel, is situated outside of the town close to the Atanasovo salty lake reserve and the Burgas beach. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 14: Transfer to Koprivshtitsa old town and overnight there. Evening in a Bulgarian mehana. Accommodation at Koprivshtitsa hotel for one night. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 15: Transfer to Sofia and departure. Includes: (B).
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