Bulgarian Wonders Grand tour

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Discover Bulgaria

Grand Tour "Bulgarian Wonders"

"Seven Bulgarian Wonders to Impress the World"

Highlights: On this tour we have included the highlights of Bulgaria, most of which are registered in the UNESCO World Heritage and 10 of the"24 wonders of Bulgaria". This tour begins from Sofia - the capital city of Bulgaria to Danube River, Black Sea Coast and ends with visit of the Bulgarian symbol "Rila Monastrey". Such monumental highlights will be Ivanovo Rock monastery, Sveshtari and Kazanlak Thracian tombs, Madara Horseman, Varna, Old town of Nessebar, Ancient Plovdiv and more. Along the way you will also have a chance to experience the country's local life and traditions.

Option 02: 12 Days - 11 Nights

Itinerary: Sofia - Etara - Kazanlak - Veliko Tarnovo - Rousse - Isperih - Madara - Varna - Nessebar - Sozopol - Plovdiv - Rila Monanstery - Sofia

Day 01: Welcome to Bulgaria

Arrival in Sofia - a 8500 years Old Town and has long been an important crossroads between Asia Minor and Europe. Sofia's monuments attest to the many cultures and civilizations that flourished here. A beautiful city on its way to grow to a big and modern European city, with nice green areas, beautiful ancient churches and buildings from the beginning of the 20th century and incessant night life.

Welcoming and transfer to the hotel. Dinner and Overnight. (D)

Day 02 : Sofia - The Capital of Bulgaria

Full day Sofia sightseeing with lunch at the Vitosha mountain: a visit to the historical, cultural and administrative sites of the of the capital.

Dinner at a typical restaurant with folk style music and dances. Overnight in Sofia. (B,L,D)

Sofia Sightseeing tour: We'll start the day with visits - The ancient Serdica Fortifications dating from the 3rd-5th century. The 4th century St. George's Rotunda famous for its unique frescoes and original architecture. Its majestic figures illustrate the development of Christian Painting over several centuries, making the Rotunda one of the gems in Bulgarian and East European culture. The magnificent Alexander Nevski Memorial Church is a splendidly decorated masterpiece of late 19th - early 20th century architecture. It was designed by the Russian architect Pomerantzev in 1912. This is the biggest Orthodox Church on the Balkans built in post-Byzantium style. The beautiful Banya Bashi Mosque built in 1566 by the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. St. Sophia basilica, 6th century, is one of the most valuable pieces of early Christian architecture in the Balkans. Battenberg Square with its emblematic landmarks: The former Royal Palace, nowadays housing the impressive collection of the National Art Gallery and the Ethnographical Museum; the Presidency building, and the building of the Bulgarian National Bank. The National Theater designed by the architectural firm of Helmer & Felmer from Vienna. The style of the building is a mixture of the neo-Baroque and Secession style. The neo-Renaissance building of the Bulgarian Parliament /1884-1886/ designed by architect Konstantin Yovanovic. The Central Military Club, built in the same neo-Renaissance style. The Sofia University, spectacularly designed by the French architect Breansson.

Afternoon: The tour continues to the National History Museum and to the Boyana Church. Both sites are located at the footsteps of Vitosha Mountain. In the National Museum of History one can see the magnificent Thracian golden treasures, as well as artefacts from the oldest in the world discovered so far golden objects, processed by Europe's most ancient civilization (4600-4200 BC). The 13th century Boyana Church is a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site. The murals of this famous site reflect both Byzantine and local traditions of the preceding two centuries. The portrait of Dessislava is a genuine masterpiece of 13th century painting, created 200 years before the European renaissance.

Day 03: Kazanlak - The Valley of the Roses and the Thracian Kings

Departure to Veliko Tarnovo through the picturesque Rose Valley.

We will stop in the town of Kazanlak - the capital of the Rose valley and Thracian kings. Visit to the Museum of Roses and The Thracian Kazanlak Tomb - from the late 4 century B.C., in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The frescoes are the finest masterpiece of the Thracian art discovered to date. The rose had an important role in the history of Kazanlak region and is an unchangeable part of the life style of the local people. The rose cultivation and rose industry had been kept by generations of enterprising people from the valley.

The trip continues to the "open-air museum" - architectural ethnographic complex Etara, situated 8 km from the town of Gabrovo. Sightseeing of the unique village. Acquaintance with the typical handicrafts. The exposition of Etara museum includes traditional Bulgarian houses from the Revival Period, a street with craftsmen's shops where the successors of Renaissance craftsmen demonstrate their skills and the symbol of Bulgarian Revival Architecture - the clock tower. The museum territory covers an area of 7 ha and comprises 50 sites - water technical equipment, houses with craftsman's workshops, places with social importance.

Arrival in Veliko Tarnovo. Dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Distance: Sofia - Каzanlak - Eтara - Veliko Tarnovo (290 km - 4.00 h)

Bulgarian Rose Oil: Bulgaria is the second largest producer of rose oil in the world. A ton of rose oil is exported annually to the major perfumeries and cosmetics companies in France, Germany and the United States.
Rose oil has been a traditional product for Bulgaria since the 17th century. The Rosa Damascena, the oil giving rose, is cultivated in the famed Valley of Roses, an area of 14 000 square kilometers to the south of the Balkan Range. The roses bloom in May and June and fill the air in the whole region with their sweet, intoxicating scent. Rose petals are collected early in the morning before dawn and are steam distilled into rose oil, an essential 'top note' ingredient in quality perfumes and cosmetics products. It takes 3000 kg of rose petals to make 1 kg of rose oil.

Bulgarian oil producing companies are making new investments in an effort to improve further the quality of rose fields and rose oil and strengthen the country's position on the world's essential oils market.

In late spring tourists from around the world flock to the Valley of Roses to observe the gathering of rose petals and attend the festivities on the Holiday of the Rose.

Day 04: Veliko Tarnovo "Capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom"

Sightseeing of the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom: visit the Tzarevez hill with the remains of the castle and church of the bulgarian kings - that established the Bulgarian state after the byzantine domination in the 12th century - with the Fortress, the Patriarchal church, the Royal Palace and the Emperor Bolduin's tower.

In the afternoon - departure to the village of Arbanassi. Set off for Lyaskovets, where the wine lovers will have the chance to taste some sparking wines in the renowned "Lyaskovets" winery.

Visit to Museums village Arbanassi and the unique underground Nativity church with some of the oldest and most renowned paintings in Bulgaria and the Konstanzalieva House - a typical house from the 17th century.

Return back to Veliko Tarnovo. After Dinner - visit an unique attraction in front of the Tsarevets Fortress - Show "Sound and Light" (B,L,D)

Day 05: Rousse - Bulgaria's first European style city

Departure to the Danube river.

Excursion to the Rock churches near the village of Ivanovo - Bulgarian Mediaeval churches, chapels and monastic cells hewn into the craggy gorge of Roussenski Lom River. Inscriptions, portraits of saints and other restorated items from the 13 century. A unique monument of Bulgarian Mediaeval Art included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Arrival in Rousse - Bulgaria's first European style city with the first streets with curb stones and pavements, Viennese lanterns and catering establishments. Bulgaria's first lift was installed here in 1896. Monuments: Downtown square, Palace of Justice, Catholic boarding - house, French College, the Pantheon, the Neo-Gothic Catholic Church of Sveti Pavel, period houses - more than 200 buildings designated monuments of culture. Diner and Overnight. (B,L,D)

Distance: Veliko Tarnovo - Rousse ( 108 km - 1.30 h)

Day 06 : The Bulgarian Wonders

Departure to the village of Isperih.

Visiting the Sveshtari Tomb - a Thracian tomb from the first half of the 3rd century B.C. in the UNESCO World Heritage List and Demir Baba Tekke - Islamic Monastery on the site of an ancient sanctuary.

Excursion to the village of Madara and the Madara Horseman, bas-relief into a vertical cliff at a height of 23 m on the slope. The monument was carved at the beginning of the 8th century and symbolizes the victory over the enemy. It is believed that Khan Tervel is depicted as a winner. of the Proto-Bulgarian origin of relief. The details bring to mind its likely Proto-Bulgarian origin. Madara Horseman is included in the UNESCO list of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

Transfer to Varna at Golden Sands Resort. The resort of Golden Sands is the largest one on the Northern Black Sea coast - more than 1800 hectares. The area is famous for the purest sand on the Black Sea coast. Dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Distance: Rousse - Isperih - Madara - Varna (235 km - 3.20 h)

Day 07: Leisure at the Seaside

Half-day sightseeing tour in Varna "Bulgarian Sea Capital" - the Museum of History with expositions, the oldest gold in the world, Bulgaria's largest collections of terra-cotta, the largest collection of Ancient earthenware lamps, Eastern china/, remains of Roman baths and others.

Afternoon - leisure at the seaside. Dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 08 : Nessebar - Sense of Beauty and Eternity

Departure for the South Black Seaside. Visit to the Ancient town of Nessebar. The town is listed in the UNESCO World heritage. There are more than 40 churches, dated from 18-19th century of National Revival. The atmosphere is very pleasant with the old architecture of the houses and narrow streets. Nessebar is one of the oldest cities in Europe that carries the spirit of the Thracians, Romans, Slavs, Byzantines and Bulgarians.

Transfer to the hotel in Nessebar or Sunny Beach Resort. Dinner and Overnight. (B,L,D)

Distance: Varna - Nessebar (100 km - 1.20 h)

Day 09: Town of Sozopol and Saint John the Baptist's relics

Departure to Plovdiv.

On route visit to the town of Sozopol which has preserved the culture of several ancient civilizations. The town of Sozopol is one of the most ancient on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, dating from the Bronze age. It was colonized by Greeks, headed by philosopher Anaximander, around 610 BC. Sozopol became an early Christian centre with its own bishop. For most of the Middle Ages, it was part of the Byzantine empire. The old town is still there with it's picturesque small streets and the old houses with the typical old Bulgarian architecture. Sozopol - is the first in the top ten tourist spots in the rankings in 2011 "Wonders of Bulgaria". Last year have been discovered the Parts of Saint John the Baptist's relics during archaeological excavations in the ancient church bearing the name of St. John the Baptist in the St. Ivan Island, Sozopol. The relics are open for public in the St. George church (Bulgarian Orthodox) in the Old town.

In the afternoon - drive to Plovdiv. Transfer to your hotel. Dinner and Overnight. (B,L,D)

Distance: Nessebar - Sozopol - Plovdiv (365 km - 5.00 h)

Day 10: The Second biggest City and the Ancient Plovdiv

After breakfast - visit the Old Plovdiv, built in the IV century before Christ from King Philip of Macedonia. Sample list of recommended sites of interest: The typical Plovdiv symmetrical houses with their painted facades, oriels and jetties and grid windows; The St. Constantine and St. Helena Church completed in 1832, contains murals painted in 1836 by Zachary Zograph, the best known Bulgarian National Revival painter; The Roman Forum, Stadium, Fortress Walls, and above all, the fabulous Amphitheatre, which was built during the time of Emperor Trajan (98-117). It has 28 rows with tiers of marble seats, which can accommodate over 3 500 spectators and today it is still functioning. Plovdiv is Bulgaria's second biggest city, which treasures a history that goes back thousands of years, traces of which have survived to the present day.

Next is a visit to the Bachkovo Monastery. Founded in the 11th century by two Georgian brothers, this is the second largest Bulgarian Monastery after the Rila Monastery. In the monastery there are extremely valuable frescos of biblical subjects from 16-th century. The Icon of Virgin Mary, the patron saint of the monastery, is considered as miraculous.

Stop in the village of Brestovitza. This village has always been a symbol of Bulgarian red wine. And when you want to run away from the tension of the every day life and you are looking for the pleasant comfort of the Bulgarian countryside, this is the place for you. Your best option is "TODOROFF" Wine Cellar. Only 15 min drive from Plovdiv or 140 km from Sofia. At the foot of the Rhodopes Mountain you will find yourself in a quite different atmosphere. Atmosphere, created thanks to the combination of pure nature, rich historical inheritance, ancient spirit of Thracians and hosts' eagerness to make you feel wonderful - wine tasting, tour around the cellar accompanied by lecture, myths, legends, wine producing technologies and methods of wine storage.

Return to Plovdiv. Dinner and Overnight. (B,L,D)

Bulgarian Wine: Legend says that the temple of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, was built on Bulgarian land. What we know for fact, is that grapes had been cultivated on the territory of present-day Bulgaria since 4000 B.C.
Bulgaria's climate is influenced by the Black Sea and the Mediterranean and is excellent for the cultivation of a variety of grapes. The country produces a number of fine wines from local grapes - Mavrud, Melnik, Gamza, Dimyat, Misket - as well as quality international varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Bulgaria exports 770 000 hectoliters of bottled wine annually. The three top export markets are Great Britain, Germany and Russia.For the last three, years a total of 55 million Euros from the SAPARD pre-accession program of the European Union have been invested in new vineyards, plant capacity and production improvements.

Day 11 : The Bulgarian Symbol "Rila Monastery"

Leave for Rila Monastery - the biggest monastery on the Balkan Peninsula, the most important example for bulgarian revival architecture, painting and in the time of ottoman domination the most important cultural and educational centre. The monastery is a complex of cultural, dwelling and farming buildings which take about 8800 square meters and has an unique architecture. Human imagination and the talent in combination with nature have fashioned true perfection in the heart of the Rila Mountain, 120 km from Sofia. The RILA monastery is included in the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage. Sightseeing of the monastery and its museum - the Church "Birth of the Holly Virgin", The Monastery Kitchen /called Magernitsa/, Hrelyo Tower, Transfiguration Chapel.

Arrival in Sofia. Dinner and Overnight. (B,L,D)

Distance: Plovdiv - Rila Monastery - Sofia (362 km - 4.40 h)

Day 12: Departure

Transfer to the airport and flight back home. (B)

The Tour includes:                        
  • 11 nights accommodation at hotels 4 stars centrally located on basis BB;
  • All Lunches and Dinners according to the programme(Festive dinner throughout);
  • Transport by by luxury air-conditioned vehicle during of the tour;
  • Professional guide services throughout the tour;
  • Entrance-fees and taxes to all mentioned objectives - museums, monasteries, attractions, wine tasting, etc;

Further information:

  • The program is with full board in order to save time and to present as much as possible various dishes of the bulgarian cuisine to the guests, but we can also make a HB program
  • Of course we can combine all kinds of landmarks and offer you Sea, Ski, Cultural, Hunting, Horse riding, Golf, Wellness and Spa, Trekking, Business or other individual trips, also combined with visit of Romania, Greece, Turkey, Macedonia… Also we expect your opinion and your wishes and interests and would be glad to answer your questions.
  • We would be happy to make a completely new program for you with a roundtrip, which will response better to your expectations.
  • We would recommend to offer also one week staying at the Black Sea Resorts after the trip.
  • We can offer different hotels categories and make a prise for bigger or smaller groups or individual tourists.

Here some offers for other objects in the country, which could be interesting for visitors:

Seven Bulgarian wonders are part of the list of UNESCO's Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Two more wonders are natural sights.The cultural pearls that lead the Bulgarian wonders are:

The Rila Monastery part of the convention since 1983, it is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria, situated in the North-Western Rila Mountain (117 km South of Sofia).

The Boyana Church in the list since 1979, it is a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church originally constructed in the late 10th or early 11th century, located in the outskirts of Sofia city, in the Boyana quarter.

The Madara Rider (or Madara Horserider) - part of UNESCO World heritage list since 1979, it is an early medieval large rock relief situated Eastern of the city of Shumen (Northeastern Bulgaria), near the village of Madara.

The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak - it is protected since 1979, it presents a vaulted brickwork "beehive" tomb, part of a large Thracian necropolis, situated near the town of Kazanlak in central Bulgaria.

The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo - part of UNESCO list from 1979, group of monolithic churches, chapels and monasteries hewn out of solid rock and completely different from other monastery complexes in Bulgaria, it is located 20 km South of the Danube river side town of Rousse, near the village of Ivanovo.

The Ancient Town of Nesebar - protected cultural area since 1983, it is an ancient city on the Black Sea coast, located in Nesebar municipality, Bourgas province.

The Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari - it is in the list since 1985, the tomb is situated 2,5 km South-West of the village of Sveshtari, Razgrad province, which is 42 km North-East of the city of Razgrad (Northeastern Bulgaria).

The Pirin National Park - world heritage since 1983, the park encompasses the larger part of the Pirin Mountains, including two nature reserves (Southwestern Bulgaria).

The Srebarna Nature Reserve - considered as world heritage from 1983, itis a natural reserve, situated 18 km West of the riverside of Silistra town and 2 km South of the Danube River (Northeastern Bulgaria), the reserve is located on the Via Pontica - a bird migration route between Europe and Africa.

For people, who like nature:

Magura Cave - the biggest and most impressive in Bulgaria; in the South - in the hearth of Rodopi Mountains Trigrad gorge and the caves Devils Throat; the Spa resorts Hissarja, Sliven); we can add to the cultural programs short or bigger trekking into the wonderful Pirin, Vitosha Mountains (Pictures from Bulgarian Mountains, The seven Lakes in Rila).

For people, interested in Archaeology and History:

Perperikon, unique relief like Starosel, Valchitran, Panagjurishte, Nikopolis ad Istrum from the 2 century; historical and museum villages like Melnik, Sozopol, Jeravna and many others.

For religion-oriented people:

We recommend a Monastery trip, which will include beside other sightseeing landmarks more monasteries like Sokolovski Manastir, Dryanovski manastir, Aladja manastir, Rocky Monastery near Ivanovo, but also mosques and other sacred places.

For people arriving in Varna or Burgas or people, who will stay at the Black Sea:

Kaliakra, Sightseeing of Cathedral of Holy Virgin, the The Stone Forest, The Old town of Ropotamo River and reserve and others.

For wine fanciers:

Bulgaria is known about its good wines. In the last years more and more people come and make a trip trough the different arias of wine producing and try the famous wines like Mavrud, Gamza, Melnik and others.