A TASTE OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE - ROMANIA, BULGARIA & GREECE
Route: Bucarest, Constanta, Varna, Nessebar, Burgas, Kazanlak, Plovdiv, the Rila Monastery, Sofia, Thessaloniki, the Meteora Monasteries, Athens
Countries: Romania, Bulgaria, Greece
Price from: request
DAY 1 / WELCOME TO ROMANIA AND THE CAPITAL CITY OF BUCHAREST!
After the arrival at Bucharest, we will take time to explore the capital of Romania with its colorful commercial streets and intimate cafes, the cosy beer houses and the cosmopolite restaurants, the monumental buildings and the numerous green parks. We will start with a visit to the Patriarchal Church which is a part of the patriarchal complex perched on the Dealul Mitropoliei hill (‘the Metropolitan Hill’). Next, we will visit the House of Parliament, known worldwide as “The House of Ceausescu” even though the dictator never lived there. This is the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon and today it houses the Parliament of Romania and an international conference centre. Our last stop will be in the center of the city, at the famous Revolution Square where the popular revolt against Ceausescu erupted back in the day. It led to the end of the communist regime; this is why nowadays the Revolution Square is one of the most important places to visit in the Romanian capital. We will of course spare some time to enjoy shopping in the city center.
Overnight in Bucharest. (diner)
DAY 2 / BUCHAREST - CONSTANTSA - VARNA
Today we will travel to the coastal Romanian city of Constantsa. An ancient metropolis and Romania's largest sea port on the Black Sea coast, Constanta originated some 2,500 years ago. Originally called Tomis, the legend has it that Jason landed here with the Argonauts after finding the Golden Fleece. Constanta is more than just the entry point to the Black Sea coast. It is a place with a long and interesting past, attested by its many Roman vestiges, historic buildings, facades and mosques that define the special charm of its Old City Centre. During our city tour of Constanta, we will visit to the Ovidiu’s Square, the Great Mahmudiye Mosque, the Old Casino and the Roman Mosaics.Afetr lunch, we will have some free time to enjoy the city on our own.
In the afternoon, we will cross the Romanian - Bulgarian border at the Vama Veche border point. Then we will have a scenic trip along the stunning cliffs of the Bulgarian Black sea coast.
Overnight in Varna. (breakfast,lunch,diner).
Constanta Cazino on Black Sea coastline beaches, Romania
DAY 3 / VARNA - NESSEBAR / BURGAS
Today we will explore the city center of Varna with the famous Archaeological Museum which houses the oldest golden treasure in the world. Before noon, we will continue our trip traveling south along the Black sea coast. We will pass the eastern part of the Balkan mountain range and reach the charming peninsula of the Old Town of Nessebar. The ancient town has existed for more than 9000 years and it is today a cultural monument also enclosed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. We will visit the St. Stefan church and experience the romantic spirit of the old “Mesembria”: narrow cobblestone lanes, tiny squares, two-storied period houses with stone ground levels and wooden upper floors, gift shops, pubs, taverns and lovely flower gardens!
We will take time to enjoy a cup of coffee or a quick shopping round in this beautiful place. Then we will set off for Burgas, where we will have a brief city tour before we check in at the hotel for the night.
Overnight in Burgas. (breakfast,lunch,diner)
DAY 4 / BURGAS - KAZANLAK - PLOVDIV
After breakfast we will travel to Kazanlak, the town of the Bulgarian Rose Damascene and the Capital of the Valley of the Thracian Kings. Our sightseeing list today features the Thracian Tomb, dating from the end of the 4th century B.C., famous with its murals. Next on our agenda for today is a visit of the Shipka Memorial church with its shining golden domes, built in seventeenth century Russian style. Then we will travel west to the heart of the South Bulgaria, where the city of Plovdiv is located. Plovdiv is a picturesque city with many parks and gardens, museums and archaeological monuments. Its Old Quarter, with houses from the National Revival period (18-19th century), is an imposing open-air museum situated on the three hills of the ancient Trimontium. One of the most remarkable sights here is the Ancient Theater (a well-preserved Roman theater dating back to 2nd century A.D.), today used for open-air opera performances. The theatre is the largest building of its type designed for public performances so far discovered on the Balkans. In the modern city centre of Plovdiv you can find plenty of trendy shops, cafes and restaurants. Around the mosque (known as the “Friday Mosque”) dating back to the 15th century, there are plenty of places to try some delicious Bulgarian sweets and sip on a cup of aromatic coffee. Well worth visiting is also the Ethnographic Museum housed in one of the largest and most beautiful National Revival houses in the Old Town. In the afternoon, we will take time to people-watch and take in the city’s vibe during a pleasant break in the recently restored old Turkish cafeteria situated upon the remains of the old Roman stadium.
Overnight in Plovdiv. (breakfast,lunch,diner)
Rosa damascena Kazanlik trigintipetala, Bulgaria
DAY 5 / PLOVDIV - RILA MONASTERY - SOFIA
Today we will leave Plovdiv and head towards the gorgeous Rila Mountain towering to the sky with the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula - the Musala Mount (2925m). Our highlight today is the Rila Monastery. Having survived the times and the complicated history of our country, it still fascinates the visitor with the pure and harmonious line of the buildings’ exquisite colonnades, arches richly decorated with murals and fretwork. Some of the best Bulgarian artists have created their masterpieces here: the golden iconostasis of the monastery church; the double-sided cross, carved by the monk Raphael; the Hrelyo Tower. We will have lunch nearby the Monastery and then travel to Sofia. We will get our first impressions from the Bulgarian capital during a sightseeing tour and a walk in the centre of the city. We will visit of the recently restored synagogue, the Old Catholic church, Aleksander Nevski cathedral. We cannot miss the Church of "St Sofia” that has given the capital its name in 14th century. As we go on with our trip through time, we will explore the ruins of the Roman fortress “Serdika” and Martyr Saint George Conqueror Church-Rotonda. Of course we will pass by the National Theatre, the Banya Bashi Mosque - a remnant of the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria that lasted nearly five centuries. The mosque’s name derives from the phrase Banya Bashi, which means “many baths”.
Overnight in Sofia. (breakfast,lunch,diner)
Alexander Nevski Cathedral - Sofia, Bulgaria
DAY 6 / SOFIA - THESSALONIKI
After breakfast we will pass the Bulgarian- Greek Border at the check point Kulata and travel to Thessaloniki, known as Greece’s “second city”. Located in the Thermaic Gulf in northern Greece, it is a busy port that boasts an attractive waterfront promenade, beautiful parks, and many museums. Home of Alexander the Great and the heart of the ancient Hellenistic empire, the city is also the site of a rich Roman heritage and the finest collection of Byzantine churches in Greece. The hallmarks of the city are the White Tower (15th century), the old Mosque of the Hamza Bey and the Turkish baths dating from the 15th century.
In the afternoon we will have free time to enjoy the beautiful sea promenade in Thessaloniki, and the colorful shopping areas of the city.
Overnight in Thessaloniki. (breakfast,lunch,diner)
DAY 7 / THESSALONIKI - METEORA MONASTERY - ATHENS
This morning we will leave Thessaloniki and travel towards the Meteora Rock Monasteries. The immense, solid rocks, split by earthquakes, weathered by water and wind over millions of years, are nature’s authentic masterpiece, chosen from our anscetors as a sacred place for seclusion. Emerging about 25 million years ago as the elevated seabed material that was the outcome of strong tectonic movements, the Meteora rocks became a shelter of humankind. The first hermits arrived in this area to seek spiritual isolation and inhabited the caves of the rocks, with the sole aid of ropes and ladders. Common existential needs and strong religious faith compelled them to live united in the first monastic communities, their common drive of faith guiding them towards the unrepeated construction of monasteries of highest architectural and artistic value. The 24 monasteries emerged on the countless summits of the rocks from the 14th until the 16th century, 6 of them remaining to be explored and admired by all. These monasteries became the centres of the Orthodox creed in the Byzantine era, having produced some of the best pieces of religious art and craft and still possessing a collection of precious manuscripts, which today are on display in their museums. The Meteora monasteries have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and the Meteora-Antichassia region has been officially declared a Natura 2000 Ecological Zone by the Greek Ministry of Environment, for the protection of rare species of birds and flowers. Visit of one of the famous Meteora Monasteries.
In the afternoon we will make short refreshing stop at the nearby town of Kalampaka, before we continue our trip towards Athens.
Overnight in Athens. (breakfast,lunch,diner)
Athens Acropolis, Greece
DAY 8 / TRIP FINISHES IN ATHENS
The last day of our trip will start with a half-day highlights tour of Athens. We will make a photo stop at Panathinaiko Stadium where the first Olympic Games took place in 1896. It is the only stadium built out of white marble. Then we will pass by the Zappeion and the remains of the Temple of the Olympian Zeus, the Athens Trilogy which includes the University of Athens, the Academy of Athens, and the National Library. Then we will drive by the National Garden, the Hadrian’s Arc, the St. Paul’s Church, the Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown soldier, the Schliemann’s House (Numismatic Museum), the Catholic Cathedral, the Old Parliament, the Constitution Square, the Russian Orthodox Church, and finally the Acropolis (visit of the Propylae, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Parthenon, the Erechtheion with its Porch of Maidens).
In the afternoon, it will be time for us to say “goodbye” with the promise to keep the memories we created together during our Balkan Adventure! (Transfer to the Athens Airport). (breakfast)
If you like the suggested program, ideas, services and this is really your kind of holiday please send us your request for further details! We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and give you our professional advice. Thank you!
- The picturesque Romanian capital city Bucharest!
- Bulgaria’s Maritime capital – Varna!
- The charming coastal town of Burgas and its artistic atmosphere!
- The authentic Old Town of Plovdiv!
- The Bulgarian capital city Sofia - a blend of ancient archaeological monuments and modern-day landmarks!
- The spectacular Meteora Monasteries!
- The legendary ancient city of Athens!