In our mountain walk we visit beautiful landscape and enjoy the remarkable bio-diversity of Bulgaria. We visit the Valley of Roses that is the home of the exquisite Bulgarian rose oil, also known as “attar of roses”, a well renowned world center for rose oil production. We talk about roses and nature as a resource for healing, creativity, balance, peace and beauty. We visit small towns of well preserved nature, variety of landscape, fauna and flora.
We have excursions through narrow cobblestone streets of old towns examining the harmony of architecture and landscape. Activities include spa and swimming in a thermal pool, energizing exercises and relaxing massage. We walk in the park of a spa resort and heighten our consciousness of parks as a part of the healing process along with mineral water and clean air.
We have folk dancing lesson as exercise and fun, we visit a local winery for wine sampling. We absorb Bulgarian culture as we enjoy traditional cuisine such as the traditional natural Bulgarian yogurt and ‘shopska’ salad. This ‘Women Only’ program experiences the best of Bulgaria through talks and activities.
Day 1: Arrive Sofia. Dinner. Welcome cocktail and dinner at the hotel.
Day 2: Breakfast at the hotel. Morning: we take a field trip to the National Museum of History where magnificent world-famous Thracian treasures of ancient gold are on display. We also visit The famous Boyana Church, a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site with fascinating frescoes from 13th centuries, reflecting both Byzantine and local Christian art traditions. We focus on the woman’s portrait of Dessislava, 1259. This genuine masterpiece of 13th century painting, created 200 years before the European Renaissance, marks a remarkable peak in the European Medieval Art. Lunch at a local restaurant in town.
Afternoon: we embark on a walking field trip through the downtown area to some of the most characteristic historical, architectural and cultural landmarks of the city. During a walking excursion we explore the Roman Serdica Fortification (3rd -5th century) and St. George’s Rotunda (4th century), famous for its original structure and unique frescoes, the magnificent Alexander Nevski Memorial church, a masterpiece of 20th century architecture and splendidly decorated. Evening: we attend a musical performance or enjoy a dinner in a national style restaurant in town with traditional folk music and dancing entertainment.
Day 3: Breakfast at the hotel. Morning: we depart for our full-day excursion to Rila Monastery, the most impressive of all Bulgarian monasteries - an original national museum with a century old history. This renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site is located 90 miles south of Sofia in gorgeous natural scenery of the Rila Mountains and is considered one of the highest achievements of Bulgarian monumental architecture of the National Revival period (18th - 19th centuries). We enjoy breathtaking landscape. Lunch at a local restaurant in the mountains. Dinner at the hotel, restaurant in town.
Day 4: Breakfast at the hotel. Morning: we have a 3-4 hour easy walk in Mt. Vitosha to enjoy the scenery and natural environment. Afternoon: we visit the National Art Gallery in downtown.
Free in town. Lunch pack to be provided for our walk in the mountain. Dinner at the hotel, restaurant in town.
Day 5: Breakfast at the hotel. All day transfer from Sofia to Veliko Turnovo by bus (190 miles drive). En route: we visit Troyan, a town of well preserved nature, variety of landscape, fauna and flora.
Arrival in Veliko Turnovo and check-in at your hotel (2 nights). Lunch at a local restaurant en route. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 6: Breakfast at the hotel. Morning: we immerse in history and culture of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (12th -14th centuries) with a walking field trip on an even and cobblestone terrain to the medieval Fortress of Tsarevetz Hill where the Royal Palace and the Patriarch Church were located; the Museum of the National Revival, where the first constitution was adopted in 1979.
Activities include walk in the village of Arbanassi, famous for the traditional architecture. We talk about everyday life of women in today’s Bulgaria and visit the beautifully decorated Nativity Church, dating back to 16th-17th centuries. Afternoon: we also take an excursion through the narrow cobblestone street of the old “Samovodene market”, leading into small, sunny squares. Free at town. Lunch at a local restaurant in town. Dinner in a national style restaurant in town.
Day 7: Breakfast at the hotel. All day transfer from Veliko Turnovo to Hissar, a spa resort (100 miles drive). Drive through the famous Valley of Roses that is the home of the exquisite Bulgarian rose oil, also known as “attar of roses”, a world center for rose oil production. The Bulgarian rose oil is considered as the best oil- becoming renowned worldwide. En route: we visit the world famous 4th century BC Thracian Tomb at Kazanluk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arrival in Hissar and check-in at your hotel (2 nights). Lunch at a local restaurant en route. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 8: Breakfast at the hotel. All day in Hissar. The Thracians first settled around the hot mineral springs of Hissar. During Roman times Hissar developed into a large town and resort, called Diocletianopolis, after the Roman emperor Diocletian (284 – 305 AD). The town was built according to all requirements of Roman town planning – with wide, straight streets, decorated with statues of gods and goddesses, with marble baths, beautiful palaces and villas for Roman aristocracy.
The town is surrounded by splendid Roman Fortress. Hissar has 22 mineral springs - ranging from 98.6 F- 123.8 F. (37 C to 51 degrees C). Hissar is famous for its parks with over 300 plant species, some of them listed in the Bulgarian Red Book of endangered species. For this purpose along some of the park lanes there are tracks for physical and breathing exercise. Morning: swimming in Thermal Pool. Therapeutic Massage. Afternoon: walking along the Roman Fortress of Hissar. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants in town, at the hotel.
Day 9: Breakfast at the hotel. Morning: energizing exercises. The thermal pool offers swimming and relaxation. Afternoon: transfer to Plovdiv. En route visit a local winery and enjoy wine tasting. Arrive in Plovdiv and check-in at your hotel (3 nights). Lunch at a local restaurant en route. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 10: Breakfast at the hotel. All day in Plovdiv. Plovdiv is cradled between seven hills, the river Maritza and the Rhodope Mountain. The ancient and picturesque town of Plovdiv has a history that goes back two thousands years ago, traces of which survived to the present day. Morning: field trips involve walking on cobblestone streets while exploring a 2nd century Roman forum and stadium as well as the fabulous Roman amphitheater, which was built during the time of Emperor Trajan (98-117). Particularly beautiful is the Old quarter built in 18th- 19th century as the center of the Bulgarian National revival architecture.
Afternoon: during our walk on the cobblestones street of the Old town we see the harmony of architecture and landscape. Evening: the folk dance lesson with local residents is an exercise and fun. Dinner: activities include tasting a traditional natural Bulgarian yogurt and a homemade food by a Bulgarian woman at her home. Lunch at a local restaurant in the Old Town. Dinner at the hotel, restaurant in town.
Day 11: Breakfast at the hotel. Morning: excursion to Georgian Bachkovo monastery 11th c. (20 miles north of Plovdiv), situated in the foothills of the Rhodope Mountains. We enjoy the murals in the monastery dining room (built in 1604 and decorated in 1643) that are considered masterpiece of European Renaissance Art. Afternoon: Free time. Lunch at a local restaurant in town. Evening: farewell dinner at the hotel.
Day 12: Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to depart to Sofia airport. End of the program.
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