ON THE TRACKS OF THE ORTHODOXY
8 days / 7 nights
Route: Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanassi, Kazanlak, Plovdiv, Velingrad, Dobarsko, Bansko, Rila Mountain, Sofia
Price from: request
The Bulgarian orthodox monasteries reflect the nation’s identity and cultural development throughout the rapidly twisting history of the country. Built by renowned architects and decorated by some of the most talented Bulgarian artists, they are true masterpieces of their time. Behind the high stone walls of the sanctuaries you will find warm and welcoming atmosphere and will be impressed by the magnificent frescoes, the intricate woodcarvings and the authentic icon collections. During the darkest periods in the Bulgarian history the monasteries played an essential role in the resistance of the Bulgarian people to the foreign invaders.
DAY 1 / WELCOME TO SOFIA!
Our guide will meet you at the Sofia Airport upon your arrival and escort you to the hotel. The afternoon will be devoted to a guided sightseeing tour of the Bulgarian capital Sofia – a colourful blend of numerous ancient sites and modern city landmarks. During the welcome dinner you will have the chance to get to know your fellow travellers who will share the amazing experience with us.
Overnight in Sofia. (D)
DAY 2 / THE TROYAN MONASTERY, THE KAPINOVO MONASTERY, THE KILIFAREVO MONASTERY
The highlight this morning is the enchanting Trojan Monastery founded in the 16th century and home of one of the holiest icons in Bulgarian Orthodoxy - the Three-Handed Virgin. Being among the biggest monasteries in the country, it boosts intricate woodcarvings, splendid frescoes and exquisite architecture. Our next stop is the Kapinovo Monastery that dates back to the 13th century and is a beautiful architectural example from the National Revival period. We will not miss to visit the nearby Kilifarevo Monastery, established in the 14th century to play a significant role as an educational and a favourite place of retreat for the kings from the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185 – 1396). Afterwards we travel to Veliko Tarnovo.
Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo. (B, L, D)
DAY 3 / VELIKO TURNOVO, THE ST.PETER&PAUL MONASTERY, THE ARBANASSI VILLAGE, THE PREOBRAJENSKI MONASTERY
Our day will start with a guided sightseeing tour of Veliko Tarnovo - the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185 -1396). We will visit all significant landmarks of the city starting from the picturesque Tsarevets Fortress and learn about the bravery and pride in the history of the glorious Medieval capital. St Peter & Paul Monastery is where we will head to next. Picturesquely perched on a massive rock overlooking the valley, the sanctuary played an important role in the national uprising from 1185 which lead to the restoration of the Bulgarian state.
The afternoon we will dedicate to the village of Arbanassi that used to be an important merchant and cultural centre during the Bulgarian Revival Period. Last but not least we visit the Preobrajenski Monastery to enjoy the spectacular view towards the fertile plains north from the Balkan mountain chain.
Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo. (B, L, D)
DAY 4 / THE ETARA ARCHITECTURAL RESERVE, THE SOKOLSKI MONASTERY & KAZANLAK
Today’s fresh start will be a walk through the architectural reserve Etara, where traditional Bulgarian crafts are presented in a myriad of authentic workshops. Next we will visit the nearby Sokolski Monastery that was founded in the 19th century and became a centre of enlightenment and a refuge for revolutionaries during the Ottoman rule. In the afternoon we will head to the heart of South Bulgaria through the picturesque Shipka pass. En route we will visit the Shipka Memorial church - a monument dedicated to the bravery of the Russian and Bulgarian defenders of the Shipka pass in the War of Liberation in 1878. Our itinerary today will take us to the Valley of the Bulgarian Roses and the Thracian Kings where we will explore the most interesting one among the many ancient Thracian Tombs. We will spend the night at the cosy town of Kazanlak.
Overnight in Kazanlak. (B, L, D)
DAY 5 / PLOVDIV & THE BACHKOVO MONASTERY
We will head to Plovdiv - a city with rich cultural and artistic heritage. Our guided tour will take us to the Old Quarter of Plovdiv famous for its spectacular Roman Theatre, the multitude of tiny art galleries and the authentic cobbled streets lined with Revival period houses. We will visit the situated nearby second in size and importance monastery in Bulgaria - the Bachkovo Monastery.
Overnight in Plovdiv. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Velingrad, the village of Dobarsko & Bansko
This morning we make our way to Velingrad where we will take the narrow-gauge line for a picturesque trip towards the town of Bansko. Before we explore Bansko, we head to the tiny village of Dobarsko situated nearby to explore the famous “Church of Sveti Tiron & Sveti Stratilat” dating back at the 17th century and enjoy a folklore program presented by the Dobarsko granny’s choir. We return to Bansko and go for a walk in its preserved Old Quarter.
Overnight in Bansko. (B, L, D)
DAY 7 / THE RILA MONASTERY
Today our highlight is the Rila Monastery - a true architectural masterpiece of its time fascinating with its distinguished works of art. Our afternoon we will spend at the foot of the Vitosha Mountain at the outskirts of Sofia where we will visit the National History Museum and the UNESCO classified Boyana Church with its stunning 13th - century frescoes.
Overnight in Sofia. (B, L, D)
DAY 8 / TOUR ENDS IN SOFIA
Today after breakfast we say “Goodbye” with the promise to keep the beautiful memories we created together. (B)
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:
- 8 days / 7 overnights
- 7 breakfasts (B), 6 lunches (L), 7 dinners( D)
- 2 nights 3+ - star hotel accommodation on a twin-share or double basis
- 5 nights 4 - star hotel accommodation on a twin-share or double basis
- 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