THE ROSE FESTIVAL AND THE TOP CULTURAL LANDMARKS OF BULGARIA
7 days / 6 nights
Route: Sofia, the Rila Monastery, Plovdiv, Kazanlak, Stara Zagora, Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanasi, Sofia
Price from: T/A
The Rose “Damascene“ has become one of the symbols of Bulgaria! The delicate flower was brought from the Middle East in the 17th century to find its second home in the fertile fields sheltered by the Balkan Mountain range, an area which soon became known as The Rose valley of Bulgaria. In June when the roses are covered with blossom the scent of heavenly aroma fills the air in the area around the fields as if to revive once again an old legend…A legend about the impossible but everlasting love between a Bulgarian architect and a Sultan’s daughter. They met while he was constructing a mosque in Istanbul but when the job was finished he had to return home. Then she gave him the most beautiful gift she could think of – the seed of the Rose ”Damascene”, a seed that he planted in his country’s soil like the love that was forever planted in his heart; a seed that produced a gentle and aromatic rose blossom every June and continued to tell the story of their everlasting love over and over again, year after year… We invite you to become part of this capturing legend, to celebrate the aromatic beauty of life during the Rose Festival in Kazanlak, to dive into the colourful Bulgarian traditions and folklore and to create your own everlasting memories exploring the Top cultural landmarks of Bulgaria!
DAY 1 / WELCOME TO SOFIA!
Our Lucky Holiday Travel representative will welcome you upon your arrival at Sofia Airport and accompany you to the hotel. (Coach transfer service provided.)
Dinner and overnight in hotel in Sofia.
DAY 2 / ANCIENT SERDIKA VS. MODERN SOFIA & THE SPECTACULAR RILA MONASTERY - BULGARIA'S MOST VISITED LANDMARK
Route: Sofia - Rila Monastery – Plovdiv
The day will start with a delightful breakfast and a sightseeing tour of the Bulgarian capital. Our first stop will be the Aleksander Nevski Cathedral, the cathedral a seat of the Bulgarian Patriarchy. Apart from being one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world, it is one of Sofia's emblematic symbols. We cannot miss the Church "St Sofia” that has given its name to our capital in the 14th century. We will also explore the ruins of the Roman fortress “Serdika” and Martyr "Saint George” Conqueror Church-Rotunda. Of course we will pass by the National Theatre, the Old Bath House and the Banya Bashi Mosque - a remnant from the time of the Ottoman rule in Bulgaria. In the afternoon we will take a scenic trip to the imposing Rila Mountain with the highest peak on the Balkan peninsula, Musala (2927m). Here, tucked in the heart of the mountain we will find the Rila Monastery, a true architectural masterpiece of its time survived the centuries to fascinate us today with the harmonious line of its exquisite colonnades and colourful arches richly decorated with murals and fretwork. We will have the chance to learn more about some of the works by the most praised Bulgarian artists: the golden iconostasis of the monastery church; the double-sided wooden cross, carved by the monk Raphael; the notorious Hrelyo Tower.In the late afternoon we will travel to Plovdiv.
Dinner and overnight in hotel in Sofia.
DAY 3 / THE CHARMING OLD TOWN OF PLOVDIV & STARA ZAGORA - A CITY OF STRAIGHT STREETS, LIME TREES AND POETS
Route: Plovdiv – Stara Zagora
We will spend the morning in the Old Quarter of Plovdiv famous for its spectacular Roman Theatre (2 A.D.), the multitude of tiny art galleries and the authentic cobbled streets lined with aristocratic Revival period houses. Next we take a short drive to the city of Stara Zagora, one of the oldest settlements in central Bulgaria with a history of 8 millennia. The city is also famous for its straight streets since it was build in a grid pattern which makes the local people joke about how it is impossible to get lost while walking around here. We will learn more about the ancient Roman town Augusta Trayana, the remains of which are open for public and are situated in the centre of modern-day Stara Zagora. Next on our agenda for today is a visit of the preserved archaic Neolithic dwellings, situated in a museum in the western part of the city. Tonight we will stay in a SPA Hotel in the nearby Stara Zagora also famous for its healing hot (up to 42°C) mineral water springs. Before dinner we will take some time to unwind, relax in the SPA centre of the hotel or get a massage.
Dinner & overnight near Stara Zagora
DAY 4 / SCENT OF A HEAVENTLY ROSE AROMA ... IT IS TIME TO PICK THE FAMOUS BULGARIAN DELICATE FLOWER
Route: Stara Zagora - Skobelevo – Kazanlak - Stara Zagora
Early in the morning we will set off to the village of Skobelevo situated within 20 km from Kazanluk. Here we will attend a demonstration of Bulgarian folklore costumes making and a live folklore music show. Then we will walk together to the rose fields and take part in the traditional Rose-picking ritual, unchanged for centuries. Every single rose but is picked by hand and carefully preserved before the distillation of the essential oil. The process engages more than 2000 people and for the production of a litre of essential oil about 3500 rose buds are used. Everyone will have the opportunity to try and pick some rose blossoms and for the most skilful rose-picker there will be a special surprise. Next we will visit a Bulgarian Rose Essencial Oil Distillery where a rose expert will introduce us to the ancient technique of extracting the oil from the roses and we will have the chance to taste some delicious raised liqueur and rose jam. The afternoon we will spend in Kazanluk – the capital of the Rose Valley, where we will attend the International Folklore Festival to enjoy some Bulgarian traditional folklore dances! In the evening we will return for one more relaxing night at our SPA hotel nearby Stara Zagora.
Dinner & overnight near Stara Zagora.
DAY 6 / THE MEDIAVAL CAPITAL OF BULGARIA - VELIKO TARNOVO & ARCHITECTURAL RESERVE ARBANASI
Route: Veliko Tarnovo – Arbanasi – Sofia
Today we will travel to the beautiful town of Veliko Tarnovo, which used to be the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185-1396). During the guided sightseeing tour we will discover all traces of the bravery and pride in the history of this glorious Medieval capital and we will visit the well preserved Tsarevets Fortress, the Baldwin's Tower, the "execution rock" and the Holy Ascension patriarchal church. Afterwards we will stroll down the preserved Medieval market street “Samovodska Charshia” where in the many authentic workshops we will have the chance to learn more about the ancient Bulgarian crafts. We will also take some time for a cup of aromatic coffee prepared in a traditional coffee house. After a short trip we will find ourselves in the village of Arbanasi, one of the important merchant and cultural centres during the Bulgarian Revival period. Here we will explore the impressive Revival architecture of the famous Konstantsalieva house and the beautiful frescoes at the UNESCO classified Rojdestvo Christovo Church. In the afternoon we will travel back to Sofia.
Dinner & overnight in Sofia.
DAY 7 / TOUR FINISHES IN SOFIA
Today we say “Goodbye” with the promise to keep the beautiful memories of our colourful journey forever.
(Transfer services to the Sofia airport provided)
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!
WHAT IS INCLUDED:
- 7 days / 6 overnights
- 6 breakfasts (B), 6 dinners (D)
- 4 nights 4 - star hotel accommodation on a twin-share or double basis
- 2 nights 3+ - star hotel accommodation on a twin-share or double basis
- A special lunch in a traditional restaurant in Kazanluk, a rich folklore show & unlimited drinks included
- A welcome drink in Sofia
- Coffee & sweets at a traditional coffee house in Veliko Tarnovo
- Guided sightseeing tours of all visited cities and sights
- Escorted services of an experienced guide in the requested language for the whole tour
- Group Size: T/A
- Transport: Modern air-conditioned coach
We will be amazed by the dazzling rhythm of life in the Bulgarian Capital Sofia: a colourful blend of archaic monuments and modern-day urban landmarks!
We will drift back in time while strolling in the ancient streets of the charming Old Quarter of the city of Plovdiv!
We will marvel at the spectacular Rila Monastery - an architectural masterpiece of it time!
We will explore Stara Zagora - a city of the poets, straight streets and lime trees!
The picturesque Valley of the Roses and of the Thracian Kings will be our main highlights!
We will take part in the traditional Rose-picking ritual - you will have the chance to pick your own rose bud!
We will visit an authentic Bulgarian Rose Essencial Oil Distillery to learn how the rose essential oil is extracted!
We will observe how traditional folklore costumes are made by hand by the ladies in Skobelevo!
We will enjoy a folklore music show at the Rose Damascene Ethnographic Complex in Scobelevo!
We will attend the International Folklore Festival in Kazanluk and try some Bulgarian dances!
We will indulge in the pampering care of the healing thermal water in a SPA Hotel near Stara Zagora!
We will take time for a cup of aromatic coffee at a traditional coffee house in the preserved Medieval capital of Bulgaria - Veliko Tarnovo!