There will be also a chance for walking in the mountains to admire natural scenery and beauty, as well as for visiting historical sites. And you should definitely try the original local grape and plum brandies (‘rakiya'), usually served as a starter (‘aperitif') combined with abundant salads of fresh vegetables and white cheese, another solid Bulgarian tradition.
Day 1: Arrive in Sofia. Transfer to your hotel in central area and check-in for 2 nights. Guided sightseeing tour by foot: introduction to landmarks in downtown Sofia. Visit to the Orthodox Icons Museum in the Crypt of St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral. Dinner in the hotel/restaurant in town (wine included).
Day 2: Guided visit to the National Museum of History and to the Boyana Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk in Mt. Vitosha. Free time in town. Packed lunch will be provided. Dinner by your own.
Day 3: Transfer Day. Depart for the Region of the Pirin Mountains. Approximate mileage: 220 km. En route: guided visit to the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and walk in the vicinity area. Late afternoon arrival in the town of Bansko and check-in at your hotel for the next 2 nights. Lunch in a restaurant in the mountains and dinner in the hotel/restaurant in town (wine included).
Day 4: Half-day walk in the impressive Mt. Pirin National Park (altitude of 1,800 - 1,950 m). Guided sightseeing tour of Bansko in the afternoon. Free time in town. Packed lunch will be provided and dinner will be enjoyed in a national style restaurant in town, and we'll have the opportunity to sample wines which are typical for the southwestern region, like the local sort “Shiroka melnishka”, as well as some sorts of “Cabernet sauvignon” and “Merlot”. These wines are characterized by rich taste with hot southern tones. Also, we'll enjoy a folk music performance.
Day 5: Transfer Day. Depart for the Region of the Rhodope Mountains. Approximate mileage: 220 km. We'll drive all day through the gorgeous scenery of the Rhodope Mountains and will spend a few hours exploring in the spectacular Trigrad karst region with its beautiful caves and gorges, and will sightsee in the architectural and ethnographic reserve village of Shiroka Lucka. Late afternoon arrival in the guest house picturesquely located in the vicinity of the Smolyan lakes, and which will be our base for the next two nights. Lunch will be provided in a restaurant en route, and dinner will be enjoyed in the cosy tavern of the house, where the housekeepers will prepare for us some delicious local culinary specialties, combined with wine.
Day 6: All day for walks and explore the area of the Pamporovo mountain resort (1,650 - 1,925m), to enjoy scenic beauties and breathtaking views, and get introduced to the turbulent history of the region. Legend says the enchanting beauty of these mountains inspired mythological Orpheus, who tamed wild beasts with the heavenly music of his lyre. Packed lunch to be provided, and at dinner we'll sample a variety of wines, and will listen to a local woman musician, who play pipe, which is the most typical for the region folk instrument, and sings authentic Rhodopean folk songs.
Day 7: Transfer Day. Depart for Plovdiv. Approximate mileage: 100 km. En route we'll visit the 11 century Georgian Bachkovo Monastery, the second in Bulgaria, and will walk to reach Assenova fortress, which has been built in the 12 century as an important military fort. In the afternoon we'll drive to the wine cellar of Brestovitsa village for a guided visit and tasting wines, typical for the south Bulgarian region and the Thracian plain, among these is the famous local “Mavrud”. Late in the afternoon we'll arrive in Plovdiv and will check in at your hotel, located in downtown area for the last two nights. Lunch in a restaurant en route and dinner in the hotel (wine included).
Day 8: All day for walks and explore in the ancient city of Plovdiv. We'll take guided visits to the Roman Forum, Stadium and Amphitheater (2 century), and will be attracted by its beautiful 18 - 19 century National Revival houses, located in the architectural reserve of the Old Town. And you'll have the afternoon free to stroll around by your own, for shopping, etc. Lunch is by your own and dinner will be enjoyed in a national style restaurant in the Old Town (wine included).
Day 9: Transfer Day. Direct transfer to Sofia Airport. Approximate mileage: 150 km. Check-in for departure flights. End of Program.
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