You'll visit 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
- Boyana Church
- Rila Monastery.
- Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak
- Moldavian outside-painted monasteries
- Historic Centre of Sighisoara
- Biertan Fortified Church
- Sibiu Historic Centre
Itinerary - 14 days Bulgaria - Romania: GUARANTEED DEPARTURES
14.10.2018 – 27.10.2018
15.04.2019 – 28.04.2019
11.05.2019 – 24.05.2019
17.06.2019 – 30.06.2019
15.07.2019 – 28.07.2019
23.09.2019 – 06.10.2019
Day 1: Arrival in Bulgaria/ Sofia
We will meet you at Sofia airport and assist for a transfer to your downtown hotel. Familiarization with hotel’s neighbourhood, panoramic city tour en route to your hotel.Check in, evening at leisure to overcome jet lag.
T, Accommodation in Sofia (2 nights).
Day 2: Sofia - Rila monastery – Sofia (250 km)
Following breakfast, you will enjoy a walking city tour of Sofia and see the landmarks of the city – St George’s Rotunda, the National Theater, walk along the yellow brick road to visit the basilica of St Sophia and Alexander Nevski Memorial Cathedral. Proceed to the famous Rila monastery. Located some 120 km to the south of Sofia, in the heart of the Rila Mountain, it has been the biggest spiritual and cultural centre in Bulgaria for
hundreds of years. Visiting the Monastery is a must. The Monastery's unrivaled architecture and murals will captivate you. Rila monastery is the largest in the Balkans and included in the List of World Cultural Heritage. Tour of the monastery starts with a visit to the Monastery Church carving. In the Monastery's museum you can see the famous wood carved Raphael's cross. It took monk Raphael 12 years to finish the cross with its 140 biblical scenes and 1500 human figures, not larger than a grain of rice.
Bulgarian welcome dinner, featuring national cuisine will mark the end of the day.
B, D, Overnight in Sofia.
Day 3: Sofia - Koprivshtica – Starosel - Plovdiv (220 km)
After breakfast leave for Koprivshtica – a museum town of Bulgarian National Revival architecture. Situated at an altitude of some 3,000 feet above sea level amid lovely meadows and pine forests, the town has long had a magnetic appeal for tourists. Tour of the town (mainly on foot) includes visit to the beautiful old Bulgarian-style houses of Lyutov, Debeljanov, and Kableshkov, which will fascinate you not only with their original architecture but also with their interior 19-century decoration and furnishing. Every single house here is part and parcel of Bulgaria’s history. It was here that the first shot of the April Uprising against Ottoman rule rang out in 1876. Although drenched in blood, the uprising resounded in all of Europe. It is a miracle that Koprivshtica itself was spared destruction and survives in its original appearance. Following a lunch break, proceed to Plovdiv. Stop over in Starosel for a wine-tasting session. Plovdiv is one of the oldest and most colourful towns in Bulgaria. No one can tell exactly when the foundation stone was laid here, although it must have been over 5000 years ago. Old Plovdiv on Trimontium hill is the centre of Bulgarian national revival architecture at its height.
B, L, Overnight in Plovdiv. ( 2 nights)
Day 4: Plovdiv
You will enjoy a walking city tour including a visits to the Old Town, the
2000yrs old Roman Theatre, the Byzantine and medieval fortifications, the 15th century mosque. Walk along the narrow cobbled streets and admire the silence and tranquility of this historic town.
Stop for lunch at the famous “Paldin” restaurant in the Old city.
Plovdiv was appointed “2019 European City of Culture” and the cultural events are numerous. In the afternoon, enjoy an independent time to stroll the old city. Discover the hidden secrets of this city – small art galleries, shops selling antiquities, artists’ workshops, or visit an old house, where the owners will tell the century-old local traditions of distillation. Here you can taste a home-made anisette with 12 herbs, which recipe is patented by a local family. Kapana neighbourhood is worth your special attention, it had become a magnet for creative industries, small restaurants featuring local cuisine.
There are special events at different locations and the most spectacular one is the ancient Roman theater. From late May through October you may decide to attend such an event optional, (extra fee), should there be one during your visit.
B, L, Overnight in Plovdiv.
Day 5: Plovdiv Kazanlak -Shipka Pass -Etara -Veliko Tarnovo (220 km)
Leave Plovdiv after breakfast and drive to the Valley of the Roses and Kazanlak. (Roses are in full bloom from mid-May to mid-June). Your sightseeing tour includes: the Thracian Tomb (replica), the Tyulbe (small Islamic mausoleum, 15th century), Museum of the Rose and Rose Oil. The Kazanlak Tomb is a Thracian Tomb from the late 4th - early 3rd century B.C. and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The funeral objects and frescoes depicting hunting scenes and the funeral suggest that a Thracian king was probably buried here. The frescoes are the finest masterpiece of ancient Thracian art. Next, a pleasant quick stop in Shipka - the peak where the most decisive battles were held in 1877-1878 for the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman domination. There is a monument on the top, a wonderful panorama of the Central Balkan Range and a very beautiful memorial church.
Stop over to visit Etara open-air Ethnographic Village museum. Everything surrounding the visitor brings him/her back to the period of Bulgarian Revival with numerous workshops where even today the craftsman work, using the same instruments and techniques. You can talk to the craftsman and watch them work,Certainly, you can even try to make something yourself.
B, Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo ( 2 nights).
Day 6: Veliko Tarnovo
Morning sightseeing tour of Veliko Tarnovo, the capital city of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (12-14th c.). Visit the fortress on Tsarevets Hill, the hill where Baldwin's Tower still rises, and Patriarchal Church. Enjoy walking downtown in Samovodene market place, brought back to life by artists and craftsmen, who create and sell exquisite items in their small workshops. Enjoy having lunch in an old inn, restored and made one of the most popular gourmet places in Veliko Tarnovo. In the afternoon drive to the mediaeval museum village of Arbanassi, rich in churches,
monasteries and old Bulgarian houses. Visit the 15th century church of the Nativity and the Konstantsaliev’s house, an 18th century architectural masterpiece.
B, L, Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo.
Day 7: Veliko Tarnovo Ruse Bucharest (220 km)
After breakfast you leave to Romania, en route visiting yet another UNESCO site. The archaeological reserve Ivanovo rock-hewn churches (13th-14th c) was listed in the UNESCO 's List of World Heritage in 1979. Six of the monastery churches and chapels preserve frescoes from 13th-14th C. Admire the famous frescoes at the "Holly Mother" church, created in the middle of the 14th c by an anonymous Bulgarian author. Enjoy a short walking tour of Russe, the largest river port in Bulgaria and one of the cities with years-long European cultural traditions. Ruse has been even referred to as "Little Vienna" in the past, for its Neoclassicism style of buildings. Stunning and brilliant Austrian style architecture abounds, particularly around the city's main square which features the Statue of Liberty, erected in 1906 in honour of the Liberation (1878). Following a lunch break, cross the Danube border into Romania and drive to Bucharest. ( 1,5 hrs) Arrival in Bucharest and meeting with the Romanian guide. Welcome dinner and accommodation in Bucharest.
B,D, Overnight in Bucharest.
Day 8: Bucharest – Bran – Brasov (190 km, ~ 3h 30min)
Drive from Bucharest towards the mountains. Arrival at Bran Castle. The Bran Castle Museum is located on the former border between Transylvania and Walachia. Also known as Dracula Castle, it was built in 1377 to safeguard the trading route between Transylvania and Walachia, enlarged and restored a few times since then. This castle is known as the homestead of Vlad Țepeș (Vlad the Impaler) and it’s the most visited attraction in Romania. The writer Bram Stoker brought the fame of the Dracula myth in our country at the beginning of the 20th century.
During our city tour in Brașov we’ll see the market place and the historic monuments of the city. The main attraction is the Black Church, built in the 14th century in the Gothic style. Here we'll also find a large collection of Oriental carpets, which is quite unusual for a Protestant church.
B,D, Overnight in Brașov.
Day 9: Brasov – Voronet (380 km, ~ 5h 30min)
Today we leave Transylvania behind and we arrive at the Red Lake (Lacul Rosu), where we take a hike around the lake. Afterwards we drive along the Bicaz Gorge, an impressive natural canyon with hundreds of meters of limestone-walls, towards Piatra Neamt. We then visit the Agapia monastery with 500 nuns and novices, one of the largest monasteries in Europe. Then we drive to Gura Humorului for a 2-night stay.
B,D, Overnight in Voronet.
Day 10: The Moldavian Monasteries (120 km, ~ 2h 0min)
After breakfast you'll visit the UNESCO-Monasteries in Bukovina, also named the
Moldavian Monasteries. First you'll visit the Voronet Monastery or “The Sistine Chapel of the East”, one of the best preserved monasteries of the 15th century. It is especially famous for the deep
blue shade of its frescoes, known in Romania as “Voronet Blue”. Next you'll visit the Moldovita Monastery, where one of the nuns will tell you more about the everyday life of the nuns. Next you go to Sucevita, the “Pearl of the Moldavian Monasteries”. In the evening we enjoy an egg painting demonstration. Drive back to Voronet.
B,D, Overnight in Voronet.
Day 11: Voronet – Bistrita - Sighisoara (300 km, ~ 5h 0min)
Depart to Bistrita over the picturesque Borgo Pass of the Eastern Carpathians with a stop at Castle Dracula Hotel. This is where Bram Stoker placed the “residence” of his imaginary character: Count Dracula. You then pass through Bistrita heading south to Sighisoara. Here, we take a city tour in Sighișoara to admire the most beautiful medieval
cityscape in Romania. We’ll see the Clock Tower, the Church on the Hill, the Citadel, the former defensive towers and walls of the city and also the birthplace of the Wallachian leader Vlad Dracul who later became known as Count Dracula in the Gothic literature and film.
B,D, Overnight in Sighisoara.
Day 12: Sighisoara – Sibiu (120 km, ~ 2h 0min)
Today we’ll visit the former bishop's seat Biertan where you'll find a carefully restored fortified church which has been listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Drive to Sibiu through the picturesque
Hartibaciu Valley. A walk through the city center of Sibiu will take you along narrow alleys, old bargain houses, palaces, churches and towers. Among others we’ll visit the following sights in the historical center: the Evangelical Church, the Council Tower, the Large and the Small Square, the Liars' Bridge, the Peasants' Market etc. Dinner in Sibiel, at a farmer family. The meal will consist of traditional Romanian dishes.
B,D, Overnight stay in Sibiu.
Day 13: Sibiu – Bucharest (280 km, ~ 5h 0min)
Today we head alongside the Olt River breakthrough towards southern Romania. Visit of the monastery from Cozia, a typical Romanian architecture from the 14th century. We then continue to Bucharest. In Bucharest we’ll see the Athenaeum, the former royal palace, the Patriarchal Cathedral, the Stavropoleos church and other religious buildings, but also Ceausescu's megalomaniac legacy, nowadays known as the Parliament Palace. The ruins of the old royal court remind us of Vlad Țepeș, a model for the literary character Count Dracula. The controversial Wallachian prince is rumored to be the founder of Bucharest. Dinner in Restaurant and accommodation in Bucharest.
B,D, Overnight in Bucharest.
Day 14: Departure
Transfer to airport and departure.
Recommended period: April – September, valid for minimum 2 persons per booking. Prices are quoted in USD.
Supplements: Accommodation in Plovdiv (1 night) during the periods of the Trade Fair: September 22 – October 01,2019 :
- Per person in single room – 23 US$
- Per person in double room – 35 US$
Note: Tour is available with upgraded hotels. Please ask for a custom quote.