7-day/6-night budget tour for travellers with deeper interests and limited time, who are also on a budget. Along with Sofia and Plovdiv, you will visit the mediaeval capital Veliko Tarnovo and the famous Rose valley, known also as the Valley of the Thracian Kings. All your sightseeing tours will be guided by the best local private guides.
- 3 UNESCO sites visits in Sofia
- Rila monastery
- Rose valley
- Veliko Tarnovo
Itinerary - Best of Bulgaria ...on a Budget
7-day /6-night cultural tour
Day 1: Sofia
We will meet you at the airport and assist for a private transfer to your hotel. Check in and time at leisure. Accommodation at a 3* modern, downtown hotel for 3 nights.
Day 2: SOFIA
After breakfast, morning walking sightseeing of Sofia, a city with 7000-year long history. Your Sofia highlights include the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Rotunda of St George, the St Nicholas Russian Church.
Afternoon optional tour by car: visit the National History Museum, displaying the gold and silver Thracian treasures, and the Boyana Church, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, one of Bulgaria's most significant historical treasures dating back to the 13th century.
Day 3: SOFIA – Rila monastery – SOFIA
After breakfast, take a full day private guided tour to Rila Monastery. Tour the largest monastery in the Balkans. With its unrivaled architecture and murals, you’ll understand why this marvel is included in the List of World Cultural Heritage. Rila monastery is a starting point for short hikes, the shortest one (1, 5 hrs.) is to St. John of Rila cave. Beech forests in the region are amazing. Take your time and enjoy both Nature and culture. Following lunch in a local restaurant, drive back to Sofia, where tour ends.
Day 4: SOFIA - PLOVDIV
Following an early breakfast, drive to Plovdiv. Plovdiv is the first Bulgarian city to take on the mantel of European Capital of Culture in 2019. The irresistible charm of this city goes into your blood slowly. Here the Hills meet the Valley and the River... and so the Legends were born. Eumolpus, a mythical Thracian Hero, became its founder. In the 4 c. B.C. the city becomes Philip of Macedon’s pride and was named after him - Philippopolis. The Roman Empire declares the city Capital of Thrace under the name Trimonzium - and so the city changed many names over so many years.
Start your afternoon sightseeing guided tour of Plovdiv (mostly walking), including a visit to the Old Town, the 2000yrs old Roman Theatre; the Byzantine and mediaeval fortifications, the 15th century mosque. Walk along the narrow cobbled streets and admire the silence and tranquility of this historic town. Stop by a beautiful house in the Old Town, where you will be treated with liqueur of roses and home-made 12 herbs’ anisette.
Enjoy some free time in the afternoon. You may choose to attend a concert at the Ancient Theatre, should there be one during your visit. Overnight in Plovdiv at a 3* hotel.
Day 5: PLOVDIV-Rose Valley/Kazanlak–Shipka Pass–VELIKO TARNOVO
Following breakfast, enjoy a breathtaking drive through the Valley of Roses and Shipka Pass en route to Veliko Tarnovo. Stopover in Kazanlak and meet your local guide for a visit of the Thracian beehive tomb, a unique monument of the Thracian Culture, included in UNESCO's List of World Heritage. The Thracians had an extremely original culture and created an amazing civilizations. Local history museum is also included in your tour. This small museum displays one of the most precious gold artifacts, unearthed in 2004 by Prof. Kitov and his team. Proceed to Etara. The 18th – 19th century crafts and lifestyle will come to life in front of you as you visit the famous open air ethnographic museum. Next stop is Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria’s mediaeval capital city. Picturesquely situated on the three hills circled by the Yantra River, Veliko Tarnovo still preserves the typical 19th century architecture with its houses perched one above the other along the sloping hills! Overnight at hotel in Tarnovo.
Day 6: VELIKO TARNOVO – Arbanassi – VELIKO TARNOVO
Morning guided sightseeing tour of Veliko Tarnovo (partly on foot), including stops at the historical Tsarevets Hill with the remains of the Royal Palace, the Patriarchate and the fortress gates. Stroll through the Samovodska Market Place, where you’ll be taken in as pastry cooks, master goldsmiths, potters, and carvers still pursue their crafts as they did in centuries past.
Proceed with a visit to the neighbouring museum village of Arbanassi. Apart from a spectacular view over the city of Veliko Tarnovo, there are two musts here: the 15th century Church of the Nativity, repainted in the late 17th century and the fortress-like house of Konstantsaliev’s, excellent example of the 18th century architecture at its height. Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo.
Day 7: VELIKO TARNOVO – Lovech - Pleven - SOFIA
After breakfast, drive to Lovech and Pleven. Walk in the old part of the city of Lovech and see the famous “Covered Bridge “designed and built by the self-taught master-builder Kilo Ficheto. Pleven became very famous during the War of Liberation (1877-1878), when for over 5 months the Russian and Romanian troops were engaged in epic battles against the besieged forces of Osman Pasha. The fall of Pleven decided the outcome of the war, and the liberation of Bulgaria followed soon after that. Visit the Pleven’s Panorama Museum, representing the most dramatic moments of the battles during the Russo-Turkish war. Proceed to Sofia and catch your connecting evening flight.