Classic Tour of Bulgaria

Classic Tour of Bulgaria

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Upon arrival at Sofia airport you will be met and assisted by your tour-guide, then transferred to your hotel. En route you’ll have a brief overview city tour, along with useful hints regarding shopping, money-exchange, optional visits

Day 2 - Start your day with walking tour of the capital - Sofia,  first on your agenda is the square around Alexander Nevski Cathedral – the city’s  greatest site. Along with the cathedral’s visit you’ll see: 5th century St Sofia Basilica (which has inspired the city’s coat of arms), the National Parliament and Sofia University buildings, the monument of Tzar Alexander II – Liberator. Half hour break (at country’s largest flea market), before continuing with city tour’s second part - following the famous yellow-brick tourist path from the Parliament House west  to the Cynagogue – the largest of its kind (Sephardic) in Europe. En route see the impressive buildings of the ex-Royal Palace, the Military Club, the National Theater, the National Bank, the gold-domed St Nikolay Church, reach the Presidency where you just plunge into the ruins of Roman Serdica – a large archaeological complex, dominated by St George’s Rotunda (the oldest fully preserved structure from the 4th century).

Day 3 - drive to 10th century Rila Monastery (in UNESCO’s List of World heritage).
Comprehensive sightseeing of the monastery complex –one of the most impressive on the continent with its size, unique architecture, unsurpassed abundance of frescoes. Admire the 1,200 murals of the Blessed Virgin Church, see the 1335 Hrelyo Tower.

Day 4 - Next on your itinerary is the old town of Plovdiv. During your exploration of sights see masterpieces of 18-19th centuries Bulgarian city architecture, orthodox churches, muslim mosques, a catholic cathedral (visited by the Pope in 2002) and its highlight - the 2nd century Roman Theater. During the tour – pay a visit to one of the 4 museum houses your guide will suggest.

Day 5 - Depart for Veliko Turnovo. On your way spend an hour or so in the Valley of Roses and the Valley of Thracian Kings, including a visit to the newly discovered Tomb of King Seutus (3rd century BC).Visit  the exquisite gold-domed Shipka Memorial Church. Continue uphill the scenic Shipka mountain pass. Short stop on the top – at the foot of Stoletov Peak, decorated with a huge granite monument, commemorating the Liberation of Bulgaria from Turkish domination (1878).
Drive downhill for about 40 minutes to Etara.
During the hour-long tour of this open-air Village Museum you get familiar with the Bulgarian authentic housing and craft traditions of the past 3 centuries. Another hour on your own in this picturesque place–for optional lunch, souvenir buys.etc. Short stop in the city of Gabrovo (sister city of Scotland’s Aberdeen) – famous for its yearly festival of humor.

Day 6 - An extensive sightseeing tour of Bulgaria’s medieval capital - starting with a visit to Tsarevets Royal Hill - will show you the remains of its past glory – fortress walls, palaces, and churches perched on the steep cliffs of the meandering Yantra river gorge, then spend an hour at the charming Samovodene Street, lined-up with authentically preserved craft- and art-shops. Free time in the early afternoon.
Short drive uphill to Arbanassi village – known as the summer residence of the Bulgarian royalty in the Middle Ages - for one-hour walking tour letting you get dipped into the traditional atmosphere of this very special place. Its highlight is the visit to the Church of Nativity – hiding layers of unique 16-17th century frescoes. Dinner at a local restaurant with character. Evening return to V.Turnovo – for your second overnight in the royal city.

Day 7 - returnto Sofia or round out your visit of Eastern Europe with another Balkan country, namely Romania.