This tour is not just a circuit of some of the most interesting Bulgarian monasteries. It is also a journey through Bulgaria's history, since all of the featured religious buildings are monuments to everything that happened in Bulgaria over the last 700 years or so. Along with the rich history you will submerge in the green hug of the mountains (“Balkana”) and admire its outstanding nature - beautiful waterfalls, caves, rock cliffs, forests, vast meadows, rivers and valleys combined with crop and potato fields. We bike along the Central part of the Balkan mountains exploring many scattered villages nestled among quiet valleys and beautiful green mountain landscapes. It seems that time has stopped here and life is quiet and peaceful - people still use the horse driven cart, look after their small herds of sheep, goats and cattle, cut the grass in the old fashion way, take care of their small vegetable gardens or just sit in front of their houses and have a chat with smiles on their faces.
♦ Arbanasi village is famous for its massive houses that resemble minor fortresses, several monasteries and old churches
♦ Dryanovo Monastery “St Archangel Michael” is situated in the gorge of Dryanovska River where limestone rocks rise high on all sides of the gorge as unapproachable forest walls.
♦ Tryavna has preserved its old town square, the only one left in the country, which has been proclaimed as a Monument of Architecture.
♦ Etura Open-air Ethnographic Museum Master craftsmen fashion beautiful gold, silver, copper, leather and wooden articles right before your eyes from early morning until late at the night.
♦ Shipka monastery - built in the traditional style of 17th-century Russian cathedrals the monastery stands to the living memory of Russian soldiers and Bulgarian revolutionaries who died during the Russian-Turkish Liberation War.
Day 1. Arbanasi
Arrival at Sofia airport and transfer to the architectural reserve of Arbanasi village and St. Virgin Mary monastery where we stay the next two days. Dinner in a traditional Bulgarian restaurant (mehana).
Day 2. Transfiguration monastery - Hotnitsa waterfall - Veliko Tarnovo
Today we start with a visit of the picturesque Transfiguration monastery near Veliko Tarnovo. Then we get on the bikes and reach the beautiful Hotnitsa waterfall and eco trail. After a short walk we continue biking near Hotnista gorge until you reach the main road to Sofia. You get on the car for short transfer and start biking again to Buria (Storm) village. among beautiful hilly landscapes with nice views to Dryanovo rock cliffs. You finish cycling near Dryanovo town. Then we go for sightseeing in Veliko Tarnovo and have transfer back to St. Virgin Mary monastery in Arbanasi. Cycling distance: 34 km
Day 3. Merdanski monastery - Kapinovo monastery
Transfer to Dragizhevo village where you start biking. Enroute you pass by Merdanski Monastery and continue in direction to Plakovo and Kapinovo monastery. We stay overnight in the peaceful Kapinovo monastery and enjoy dinner in the lovely monastery yard. Cycling distance: 33 km (or 53km with possible extension) km;
Day 4. Kilifarevo monastery - Dryanovo monastery
After short transfer you start cycling through the villages Plakovo, Golemanite and Natsovtsi to Kilifarevo monastery. After lunch and a visit of the monastery you continue with a short but challenging ascent to Ialovo village. Then you cycle along Dryanovska River to Dryanovo town. From there you are transferred to Dryanovo monastery where we stay overnight. Optional visit of the nearby Bacho Kiro cave. Cycling distance: 34 km
Day 5. Bojentsi architectural reserve - Tryavna
In the morning we have a short transfer and then start cycling up and down to Bojentsi village where we spend some time for sightseeing. After a short transfer back you start cycling before Tsareva livada village on isolated village roads to National revival town of Tryavna, where we stay overnight. Cycling distance: 35 km
Day 6. Gabrovo - Etura open air museum - Sokolski monastery
Cycling from Tryavna up to a mountain pass and then downhill to Gabrovo. The next stop is the open-air ethnographic museum of Etura. Its 18-th-19-th century water driven machinery, crafts and lifestyle come alive before the eyes of the visitors. From here you have four more kilometers to the picturesque Sokolski Monastery and cycling back to Etura where we stay overnight. Cycling distance: 28 km
Day 7. Shipka monument - Shipka monastery - Plovdiv
After breakfast in Gabrovo town in typical Bulgarian pastry we go for a transfer to the historic Shipka pass and memorial. You get on the bikes for a 10 km up/down ride in beautiful beech forest to the historic Buzludza area. A supreme downhill ride on the Southern slopes of the mountains awaits us. You continue biking to Shipka town where we visit the richly decorated Shipka monastery and church. Transfer to Plovdiv, where we stay overnight. Cycling distance: 30 km
Day 8. Departure
After breakfast transfer to Sofia or Plovdiv Airport for departure
departure dates: 31/5; 14/6; 12/7; 16/8; 13/9; 27/9
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Europe Bulgaria Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Church Tours
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