Central Balkan Mountains and the wonderful Rhodope Mountains - a tour for connoisseurs, 7 nights, from €692

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Sofia - Lovech - Troyan - Kalofer - Karlovo - Sopot - Plovdiv - Koprivshtitsa – Sofia

8 days, 7 nights

Day 1:
We will welcome you at the airport in Sofia and transfer you to our accommodation guest house in the old quarter of Lovech - Varosha. For the afternoon, we plan a walk to the centre where we will look at the tiny workshops on the covered bridge over the Osam River (also known as the Bridge of Kolio Ficheto - the symbol of the city). In the evening you will have some free time to relax or have a treat in one of the many modern cafes in the pedestrian street, the favourite spot of the locals.

Day 2:
After breakfast, we will climb up to the Hisarya medieval fortress and listen to the history and legends of brave battles, bloodshed and glory. By the entrance of the fortress, all visitors are greeted by the majestic monument of Vasil Levski - the Bulgarian Apostle of Freedom. Next, we will see the architectural reserve Varosha with its narrow, meandering streets, churches and houses that are particularly valuable architectural landmarks and the Ethnographic Museum. We will have lunch in traditional restaurant with a superb chef and then head to the Devetashka Cave - a cultural monument inhabited since the Middle Paleolithic, and the film set for the Hollywood superproduction, "The Expendables 2"! Our hosts will await us a delicious dinner prepared from the local products eco-farms and producers.

Day 3:
After breakfast, we set off to Troyan. The first important stop will be the Sostra Roman Fortress, a fort built in the 2nd century. In the village of Cherni Osam we will dive into the world of wild animals in the local Museum of Natural History. Then, we will proceed to the Troyan Monastery with its famous frescoes by Zahari Zograf and the miraculous icon of the Holy Virgin. We cannot miss the Exhibition of Crafts in Oreshak, where we will have a chance to watch and learn from the masters as well as produce something original to take with us as souvenirs. After a delicious lunch, if we still have some time left, we will head to the Konaka Museum to see its Archaeology, History and Ethnography exhibitions. Finally, we will transfer you to the airport.

Day 4:
After breakfast we will head to the School and Museum of Education. We will visit the house museum of Hristo Botev. We will stop at a monastery, a place of peace and enlightenment, where many people found shelter in the past. We will head to Karlovo to have lunch in the best restaurant in the area situated at the foot of the mountains. This is the hometown of the undisputed hero of Bulgaria - Vasil Kunchev - Levski, who awoke, after five centuries of Ottoman rule, the Bulgarian national spirit and gave his lives for the freedom of his country. His birthplace is now part of the museum complex. We will stroll in the Old Town of Karlovo and admire the Renaissance houses. There, you can really feel the atmosphere of the Renaissance. We will also see the local craftsmen at work, housed in Buhalov Khan. In the evening, we will head back to Kalofer and celabrate Bulgarian style: appetizer with a salad, culinary and folklore surprises with happy chirping of crickets in the background.

Day 5:
On the fifth day, we will visit the Historical Museum in Karlovo, which has preserved monuments and objects coming from antiquity to the present day. Our next stop will be Sopot and we will continue by exploring the birthplace of Ivan Vazov – one of the greatest Bulgarian writers. Then, we will show you some fascinating elements of rich Bulgarian folklore in the Dyukyana Ethnographic and Craft Centre. We will proceed to the Metochion in Sopot, where the oldest wine in South-eastern Europe (and possibly in all of Europe) is preserved, which is 350 years old. Next, we will see the Grandpa Stoyan Mill - a historic mill is known from Vazov's novel - "Under the Yoke". We will also visit a nearby monastery surrounded by marvellous nature. Here, we will have a ride on the longest aerial lift in the Balkan Peninsula, which will take us into the heart of the Stara Planina Mountains. During the day, we will grab a bite in a renowned for its exquisite quality restaurant in Sopot, located in the pine forest above the town. For dinner and well deserved rest we will go back to our accommodation in Kalofer.

Day 6:
After breakfast, we will travel to Plovdiv, where we will do a tour of the city including the trail of the ancient Romans and visit to the most impressive buildings of ancient times such as the Roman Stadium and the Odeon, the ancient theatre and the early Christian basilica. Then, we will take you on a walk through the cobbled streets of the Old Town of Plovdiv - a little oasis of the 19th century, where wealthy merchants built their unique houses as large as royal palaces. We will have a delicious lunch of traditional Bulgarian food. The next place we will visit is the Hindlyan house - one of the most beautiful authentic revival houses, rich in artistic decorations. Then we will visit the Archaeological Complex Nebet - the place where the first inhabitants of the city have chosen to settle. Finally, we will see the Arts and Crafts Centre – the Bakalov House, where you can witness demonstrations of the five traditional Bulgarian crafts. Our accommodation will be the St. Nicholas guesthouse in Galabovo, where you will enjoy cool and fresh air and the hospitality of our hosts, their artful creations and incredible panoramic views of Plovdiv by night.

Day 7:
We will make a trip to the Middle Ages of Bulgaria and see some breathtaking landscapes. After breakfast, we will head towards Asenovgrad and visit the magnificent Asen'sFortress filled with medieval atmosphere. Then, we will continue to the Bachkovo Monastery - the second largest in Bulgaria. It is one of the most visited and admired places in the Balkans. The complex comprises buildings from the 11th, 12th, 17th and 19th century, harmoniously integrated into an architectural ensemble. After Bachkovo, a nutritious lunch will follow. Then we will continue to a unique rock formation called Wonderful Bridges, located in the beautiful Rhodope Mountains. Our charming hosts in Galabovo will be waiting for us with a delicious dinner and some surprises.

Day 8:
After bidding farewell to our lovely hosts, we will visit Koprivshtitsa, an architectural and historical reserve, featuring 88 architectural, historical, artistic and ethnographic monuments, located in the Sredna Gora Mountains. We will spend the whole day exploring this amazingly picturesque village, assisted by local guides.

Price per person:
€1297 for individual travellers
€885 for a group of 2
€834 for a group of 3
€799 for a group of 4
€737 for a group of 5
€692 for a group of 6 or more

The price includes:
- Two transfers from/to the airport
- Transportation throughout the tour
- 7 nights in authentic Bulgarian guest houses
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner, cold and hot drinks, Bulgarian alcohol
- Tickets for all sites included in the tour
- Guided tours at the visited sites
- Medical insurance with coverage up to 2000€

The price does not include:
- Plane tickets
- Personal expenses

*The tour is available all year round Mitkulishev Photography Ivan Mandevski © Photo: Svetoslav Todev

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