Delve into Bulgaria’s rich history on a round trip from its bustlingcapital, Sofia.
- Return flights from Heathrow with British Airways
- 7 nights in 3 and4-star hotels
- 11meals: 7 breakfasts,4 dinners
- Travelsphere Tour Manager and Local Guide
- Overseas transfers and other transportation
- Audio Guide
- Day 1 UK/Sofia
- After your flight to Sofia we'll transfer you to your hotel in Plovdiv. This evening we'll get together and head into the Old Town where we'll enjoy dinner in one of the restaurants.
- Day 2 Plovdiv & Nessebar
- Enjoy breakfast before setting off on a day of sightseeing, which begins with a walking tour of Plovdiv. As we explore the Old Town we'll see its Roman amphitheatre, which dates back to the 2nd century AD and was uncovered during a landslide in 1972. We'll then continue by road to Varna, with an included visit en route to Nessebar. This UNESCO-listed city is situated on a rocky peninsula jutting out into the Black Sea and is connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway. Here you'll find remains of Roman and medieval walls and cobblestone streets lined with houses built in Bulgarian National Revival style. However, it is mostly known for its many ancient churches from different periods of history. Each has a tale to tell, from the Church of St John the Baptist with its cylindrical dome, to St Stephen's Church and its 16th century frescoes. Our tour also takes in the archaeological museum, where exhibits chart Nessebar's fascinating history.
- Day 3 Varna
- Today you'll visit Varna, to see the fascinating relics housed in its archaeological museum. There are thousands of exhibits from the Stone and Middle Ages, including the Gold of Varna. This is the oldest gold treasure in the world and was found in the necropolis of Varna known as the largest prehistoric necropolis in south-eastern Europe. The afternoon has been left free for you to explore Varna at your own pace. The city has plenty of shops and restaurants as well as art galleries and an aquarium showcasing the creatures found in the Black Sea.
- Day 4 Madara & Veliko Tarnovo
- You're heading to Kmetovtsi for an overnight stay, and on the way you'll pack in plenty of sightseeing. Your first stop is Madara, where you'll see the impressive Madara Horseman. This early medieval rock relief is carved into a plateau and depicts a horseman trailed by a running dog, with a lion crushed beneath the horse's hooves. The sculpture was created in the 7th century more than 20 metres up a 100-metre-high cliff and is one of Bulgaria's most famous monuments. Next we continue to the town of Veliko Tarnovo, which is home to a reconstructed fortress and well-maintained streets lined with wooden houses. Perhaps walk up Zarevets Hill to enjoy breathtaking views over the town and the numerous monasteries that decorate the picturesque gorges of the Yantra River.
- Day 5 Tryavna & Etara
- The town of Tryavna, which lies at the foot of a mountain, is where you'll head today. Known as a centre of culture and crafts, the Tryavna Artistic School was established here in the 18th to 19th centuries, and you'll see evidence of craftsmanship all around as you explore. The clock tower is the first sight sure to catch your eye. This central landmark has been standing since 1814, and the whole square in which it sits is the only completely preserved complex from the Bulgarian National Revival period. You can also watch craftsmen at work and visit the Woodcarving Museum, one of many in the town, before we head to the open-air museum of Etara. In all, this museum boasts 50 sites showcasing Bulgarian life at the turn of the 19th century. So as you stroll around you can watch bell-makers, potters and other artisans at work as you relive the past.
- Day 6 Shipka Pass & Kazanlak
- After breakfast today you're going to visit a rose oil distillery. The damask rose, or Bulgarian rose, has a deep and intense scent, and the country is one of the top producers of rose oil. This highly prized commodity is used to make some of the world's most famous and expensive perfumes, and to make just 1kg of oil it takes three tonnes of petals. This is why rose oil is known as 'liquid gold'. You'll see just how it is produced on your tour and you'll even get to sample products including rose water and rose and lavender oil. Next we'll head to Kazanlak to see a Thracian tomb dating back to the 4th century BC. Our journey here takes us via the scenic Shipka Pass, which winds through mountainous terrain. Later, we head back to Sofia.
- Day 7 Sofia
- This morning join your Tour Manager for a walking tour of Sofia to discover onion-domed churches, Ottoman mosques and many of the country's finest museums and galleries. This afternoon, why not come with us on an optional excursion to the Rila Monastery. Founded by a hermit monk in around 927 AD, it's the largest in Bulgaria. Tonight, we're going to head back into the capital to enjoy dinner and a traditional folklore show.
- Day 8 Sofia/UK
- Today we'll transfer you to the airport for your return flight to the UK.