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Bulgaria Tour
TOURCODE: BU1
Duration: 8 Days Countries Visited: 1 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural
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Bulgaria Tour
8 Days
TOURCODE: BU1

The Old Quarter of ancient Plovdiv; Famous Valley of the Roses; Breathtaking views from Tsarevets Citadel; Unsurpassed frescoes of Rila Monastery; Sofia: City tour

Tour Overview
Tour Overview
Countries Visited: 1 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural

Our Bulgaria tour reveals a land with a turbulent history that stretches back to the 7th century, a diverse topography of great beauty and an ever-welcoming people who are still in the process of trying to adapt to a capitalist framework, Bulgaria is a land of intriguing contrasts that proves a highly rewarding tour destination.

We travel across the Plain of Thrace to meander through the Old Quarter, visit the Roman amphitheatre and see typical 19th century Bulgarian architecture in the streets of Plovdiv.

We take to the countryside through the world-famous Valley of the Roses, where a mind-boggling 70 per cent of the world's rose extract is produced.

Thracian tombs, domed churches, fortress walls and Czar castles are just a few of the ancient sites that we'll be exploring en route to the highly revered, 1000-year-old Rila Monastery, wherein we find stunning frescos, and then it's on to the capital, Sophia, to finish our tour in style.

 


 

Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices

 

 

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to below Prices & Dates table.

Select the Number of Travellers:   -   1   +

 

Select a date below to reserve your spot:

 

Optional Single Supplement: $485 USD (number of singles limited).



$500 USD DEPOSIT REQUIRED per person
ESTIMATED TOTALSelect Date first

 


 

Full Itinerary
Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrive in Sofia
Arrive in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.

Overnight in Sofia.

Included Meal(s): Dinner



Day 2 Sofia & Rila Monastery
This morning we depart for the 10th century Rila Monastery, 121 km (75 miles) south of Sofia at the end of a winding road through high rock walls with formations like giant animals waiting to pounce. This most-revered of all Bulgarian monasteries lies nestled in a soft, green wood. Mountains rise all around it; below it the Rilska River races over a stony bed.

In the 9th century, twenty-year old Ivan Rilski (John of Rila) fled to this peaceful place seeking escape from the sordidness of the world. Finding a cave in the woods above this present monastery site, he took up the hermit life. Here he fed the animals and the birds and prayed in the stillness to God. In time, like-minded men joined him and they built the first monastery here about a 2.4 km (1.5 mile) from the present site, where, today, you will find his tomb, the little Church of St. Luke, and the cave he inhabited. In the past, pilgrims were not deemed sinless enough to enter the monastery.

The Rila Monastery is one of Europe's largest monasteries, located in some of Bulgaria's most beautiful terrain. Sightseeing of the monastery features the unsurpassed frescoes of the Church of the Blessed Virgin. Monks still practice within this five-domed treasure. Also contained within the exquisite fortress-like walls of the monastery is the Historical Museum featuring a collection of objects connected with the monastery's thousand-year history. After lunch we will return to Sofia.

Overnight in Sofia.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 3 Sofia - Plovdiv
Today we travel to the ancient city of Plovdiv, situated in the Plain of Thrace. Plovdiv was formerly known as Pulpudeva until Philip II of Macedon's weary horse collapsed under him here at the edge of the Thracian plain in AD 342. Since that was surely an omen, he built Philippolis on the site in the horse's honour. Later the Romans renamed it Trimontium -- the City on Three Hills. For five centuries, under Turkish rule when it was known as Philibe, it suffered much devastation. Today it is a city of great charm, with legacies of a hectic past.

Plovdiv has a lovely "stariyat grad," or old town, with Turkish influences and a charming character. Our tour includes the Old Quarter, the Ethnographical Museum, and the Roman Amphitheatre. Within Trimontium, the historic heart of Plovdiv, typical 19th century Bulgarian homes line the streets.

Overnight in Plovdiv.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 4 Plovdiv - Valley of the Roses - Veliko Tarnovo
This morning we depart Plovdiv for the world famous Valley of the Roses.

In this valley, 70 percent of the world's "attar", or extract from roses, is produced. Nimble- fingered women and girls do most of the picking, while donkeys are used to carry the petals away.

In the town of Kazanlak we visit the Thracian Tomb (fourth and third centuries BC). The Thracians are regarded as the original Bulgarians, a people closely linked with the ancient Greeks. Before our climb over the Shipka Pass we will visit the Shipka Memorial Church. The golden Domes of this Russian-style church rise out of the hillside. After crossing the spectacular Shipka with its majestic vistas and momentous history we visit the open-air Ethnographical Museum of Etura, a recreation of a typical 19th century village.

After a tour of the museum we continue on to Veliko Tarnovo, once the capital of Bulgaria (1185-1396) and still showing the remains of its past glory -- fortress walls and palaces perched among the steep cliffs of the Yantra Gorge. Clinging to the crags that rise above the River Yantra, this capital of the second Bulgarian Kingdom of the Middle Ages is one of the country's most picturesque sites. It rises on three main hills: fortified Tsarevets; Trapezitsa, where boyars lived; and Sveta Gora, then the centre of a scholarly monastery, now a university site.

Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 5 Veliko Tarnovo: Town Tour
Today we have a tour of this town laced with history. We will admire the breathtaking views of this picturesque region during our tour of the Tsarevets Citadel (Castle of the Czar). This commanding position was first fortified in the 6th century and had become the royal centre of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom by the end of the 12th century. A short drive away is the hilltop village of Arbanassi, first settled by Albanian immigrants in the 15th century. We will have the opportunity to visit several of the houses in the region dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.

Balance of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 6 Veliko Turnovo - Sofia
Today we travel to Sofia via the beautiful Danube Plain. En-route we will cross over the Troyan Pass and visit the nearby Troyan Monastery, Bulgaria's third largest. After a lunch break we will continue on the well-preserved 'museum-town' of Koprivshtitsa. It was here that the revolt against the Ottoman occupation began in 1876. A visit here gives us an insight as to how Bulgarians lived a century ago. Our WALK throughout the enchanting town will bring us to many unique houses with wooden columns, painted facades, richly decorated interiors, and lovely gardens.

Overnight in Sofia.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 7 Sofia: City Sightseeing
Today we have a sightseeing WALKING tour of Sofia.

The motto of the city is "Sofia Grows but Never Ages"; founded over 7,000 years ago, Sofia today is an exciting meeting place of history and the present. Traces of the lives of Thracians and Romans, Proto-Bulgarians and Slavs can be seen here. More than 250 historic, archaeological and architectural monuments have been preserved in Sofia, the center of the country’s political and cultural life. A highlight of our day is the National Museum of History, which will act as retrospective summation of the things that we have experienced and seen on our trip.

We'll also see some of the most famous landmarks: The magnificent St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, one of the most spectacular buildings in Sofia. In addition to the splendor of the building itself, the cathedral is also remarkable for its icons and murals, painted by the time's foremost artists. Its crypt contains the most valuable collection of Bulgarian icons.

St Sofia's Church is the second oldest, but most significant building, which gave the city its name. Specialists highly value this remarkable archaeological monument, witness of Serdica's golden age during the 6th century. The large archaeological complex of Roman and medieval ruins, dominated by St George Rotunda is the oldest building in Sofia. Repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt, the St George Rotunda has been restored to its original 5th century appearance when it was used as a Christian church.

The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure.

Overnight in Sofia.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 8 Departure
Departure from Sofia.

PRIJATNO PATUVANE!!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

 


 

Trip Info
Trip Info

 

Inclusions
Breakfast and dinner (hotels & local restaurants) daily. All transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving / departing on tour dates.


Exclusions
International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international air taxes (if applicable), excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs and shopping.


Seasonality and Weather
This tour is offered in spring, summer and fall the most popular of which is are spring and fall when temperatures are relatively mild and crowds thinner. Showers quite possible in spring and fall, somewhat less so in summer though can occur any time. Summers can be humid though long daylight hours maximize exploration.


Transport and Travel Conditions
Land transport throughout by private air-conditioned motor coach, 24-36 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). Though we will have a couple of full bus days there are plenty of stops of interest. There may not be porters available in all locations. We also make use of public transit in some cities in order to maximize sightseeing where vehicles are impractical (most people quite enjoy this insight into daily life).

This trip is typical of most of our European tours, which are ambitious and involve full days of travel and sightseeing. While we don't have any actual strenuous activity (ie hiking) built into the program, you will do a lot of walking on this trip. These walks will mostly be in the form of walking tours of towns and cities and short walks to dinner. Being Europe, and a hilly/mountainous area, cobbles, uneven surfaces, and slopes/stairs are common. If you are accustomed to typical "bus tours," which rely heavily on vehicular transport for all sightseeing activities, you should be aware that this tour is considerably more active.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.


Accommodation
Well-located, air- conditioned, mid-range hotels (3 star) throughout. Many are smaller properties (3-4 story) that may not have elevators. All hotels have en suite toilet and bath, though most have shower only. Porter service is sometimes available; you MUST be independent with your luggage. Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins.


Staff and Support
Tour Leader, driver, local step-on guides in various locales.


Group Size
10-18 (plus Tour Leader)

 


 

Map & Hotels
Map & Hotels

Regions visited: Central And Eastern Europe
Countries visited: Bulgaria


*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Best Western City Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Sofia
Country: Bulgaria

As part of the Best Western brand, City Hotel in Sofia features: full buffet breakfast, data ports for Internet connection and hair dryers, iron and ironing boards, coffee/tea makers (upon
... complimentary toiletries available in all rooms and upon request. Our hotel rooms have individually controllable air-conditioning. They are equipped with telephone (in both room and bathroom), colour TV set (international satellite TV channels, as well as Pay-TV are available), hairdryer, music system, in-room electronic safe, a stocked mini-bar, magnetic card lock.
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Novotel Plovdiv
5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation
Location: Plovdiv
Country: Bulgaria

Novotel hotel offers 321 rooms with:
luxurious bathroom with a separate toilet; air conditioning; Mini bar; Colour TV with satellite programs; direct dial phone; possibility for internet connection; 24 hour
... service. Hotel offers: indoor swimming-pool; jacuzzi; solarium; bowling hall; pool hall; fitness-room.
Read More

 


 

Gallery

 


 

Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?
The easiest way to make a reservation is to contact us by telephone. You can also book online through our website. A non-refundable $500 deposit is payable at the time of booking; if a reservation is made within 60 days, full payment is required. Some trips require a larger deposit. If international airline bookings require a non-refundable payment in order to secure space or the lowest available fare, we will require an increase in deposit equal to the cost of the ticket(s). Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require greater preparation time. Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and send you a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and forms for you to complete, sign and return to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.
I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?
All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location. This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement. The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible. On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available. Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.
What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?
Should you need to cancel your trip, you must notify us in writing, by letter, e-mail, or by fax immediately. Deposits are non-refundable, though if you cancel more than 90 days prior to tour departure date, the deposit is transferable to any other tour taken within 12 months of the original tour start date, minus a per person transfer fee (some tours have a 100% nonrefundable/ nontransferable deposit; you will be informed of this at the time of booking). Less than 90 days prior to departure, all monies paid are 100% non-refundable, nontransferable. Name changes are not permitted. Insurable risks may be covered under trip cancellation insurance policies, if purchased. We will not grant partial refunds for any unused trip arrangements—voluntarily missed meals, sightseeing, transport, etc—after the trip has commenced, or any refunds to trip members who do not complete any portion of the itinerary for whatever reason. All air tickets are non-refundable and valid only for the flight(s) indicated. We may cancel departures if forced to do so by circumstances such as war, civil or political unrest or what is commonly referred to as force majeure. In these instances we will refund all passengers in full if cancellation takes place more than 60 days prior to tour start date. If cancellation occurs within the 60 day period, we will offer to postpone your trip to another departure of the same tour code within 12 months of the original tour start date; or, if circumstances do not permit, an alternative will be offered at that time. We will not be responsible for costs associated with re-issuance or extension of visas, airline change fees, or for any compensation. We strongly recommend that all travellers purchase trip cancellation insurance, either through Adventures Abroad or elsewhere, as this may provide coverage under such circumstances. If we cancel your tour due to insufficient enrolment, we will endeavour to find an alternative tour for you. If this is not acceptable, all monies paid will be refunded in full and will constitute full settlement. We will not be responsible for any expenses incurred, such as visas, vaccinations, independently purchase airfare, or any compensation. Notice of cancellation due to insufficient enrolment in any program will be given approximately 60 days prior to departure.
Do you have a shared accommodation program?
Yes! If you are single traveller and are willing to share, we will do our best to pair you with a same-gender roommate. On most of our tours, if we fail to pair you, we will absorb the single supplement fee and you will default to a single room at no extra charge. At some destinations, however, where single rooms are not significantly discounted, or not at all, we may apply a "mandatory" single in the event that we cannot find you a share partner. This is usually 50% of the usual supplement, but can be as much as 100%. If applicable, this proviso will be noted on each tour page on this website, on your invoice, and in our tour date/price book (available for download under "Resources").

 

What People are Saying
Elaine D.
Coupeville, WA - US
Torres del Paine and our local tour guide were great. Also, I really was amazed at our guide's knowledge while visiting Perito Moreno glacier. Seeing it calve was fantastic. The hotels were all very good. Our tour leader was very easygoing but always aware and on top of things. His great sense of humor helps to diffuse any bumps in relations. Truly value his experience and great natural way with people. I would recommend this company and tour to anyone!
Michael N.
St Albert, AB - CA
We tried to plan a trip to Italy for several years and this tour exceeded our expectations. We never felt rushed yet we covered a lot of the major sites and museums and still had time to do a few of our own things Our tour guide Andrew was amazing and we would highly recommend him and this tour. November turned out to be a wonderful time to go because, although it did rain and was cloudy,the museums and many sites were not crowded at all. Our local guide at the Uffuzi gallery in Florence was amazed that there were so few people. He told us that he had never been in the gallery that holds the Michelangelo painting by himself.. ever! Italy is an amazing country to visit and this tour covers the highlights with a fantastic guide, delicious food and charming hotels, all arranged for you.
Alan A.
St Agatha, ON - CA
An insightful trip into a major cultural event, Day of the Dead. As well you visit significant archeological sites and churches. If you have any interest in Mexican culture, beyond beaches and tequila, this is the trip for you. You will gain so much knowledge of the history and struggles of the Mexican people. I can't recommend this trip enough.
Eleanora M.
Kingston, ON - CA
Having a narrow and perhaps stereotypical view, influenced by the media. I was blown away by what I experienced:Turkey is a beautiful country with modern, safe cities,dramatic scenery, spectacular mosques and palaces, amazing well-preserved ruins of Greek and Roman antiquity. A melting pot of Muslim, European, Greek, Roman cultures, fabulous food and warm friendly people... so many World heritage sites I would encourage others to visit Turkey.
Arleen C.
Sagamore Hills, OH - US
I had been searching for several years for a tour that included Paraguay and was delighted to find this one. The mission visits were excellent, in terms of both the sites and the explanations. The Pipore Yerba Mate tour was terrific and I loved our guide there. Iguazu Falls was spectacular and again, we had a very good guide. Our trip to Purmamarca was surprising and very good. The buses and vans were very good. The hydrofoil trip was good also. All the dinners were wonderful, with excellent food and in lovely locations. The hotels were very good. Overall it was an excellent tour, with many interesting destinations.
Erle J.
Gloucester, ON - CA
A good tour with lots of interesting sites and spectacular scenery. I really learned a lot about these 3 countries and Latin America. I most enjoyed the Jesuit Missions, Iguazu Falls, and the Safari to the Clouds. All the hotels were very good. Meals on the tour were very good. I really liked our tour leader ordering appetizers to be shared which allowed me to try more local foods. Local Guides were either very good or excellent.
Merle H.
Glenview, IL - US
We loved the whole trip and the surprises of touring in between trains. Also some of the little towns for lunch were a delight. The food on this trip was exceptionally great. All the meal choices and ordering off the menu was perfect. Our tour leader ordered tapas for us and a few planned meals were great too. If we hadn't walked as much as we did, we would have gained weight. The best thing was that all the hotels were centrally located and we could walk easily to highlight places and good restaurants. Perfect. You did an outstanding job selecting these hotels. Loved the train (and dashing for two of them). Had never done train travel before and the stations and facilities were mind blowing. First class seats were really nice. Love your guides and quality of local guides. Love AA.
Linda R.
Thunder Bay, ON - CA
We enjoyed the scenic west coast of Ireland the most. In particular, Killarney, Dingle peninsula, Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands. Also the Giant's Causeway. The local guides in Dublin, Londonderry and Belfast were very good. We had a small van for our small group and it worked out very well. The meals were tasty and substantial. There was generally a good variety of selections. A very good tour.
Vera G.
Victoria, BC - CA
I loved the Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula and Aran Islands. Belfast, Dublin and Killarney were the best cities. The hotels were good and well located. Hotel staff were excellent and rooms were clean and comfortable. Another great Adventures Abroad trip! You never disappoint!
Steven H.
Vancouver, BC - CA
By-and-large the sights, locales, neighbourhoods, etc were extremely interesting. The bus was great! A good size for the group size. It gave us a good sense of a 'home-on-the-road'. I didn't know what to expect for meals and was very pleased with what was presented. Our tour leader, Subash's, knowledge of 'everything Indian', the customs, sights, culture, etc was inexhaustible. He was the perfect person to introduce us to the culture, people, sights and history of India. His insights into the Hindu philosophy were deep, informative and colourful. I consider myself luck to have had him as our guide (almost a mentor). I felt that the quality of the hotels were very good and more often than not, higher than expected. The uniqueness of the two 'Orchard' settings and the desert 'camp' tents were quite fun and very comfortable. Overall: Highly Enjoyable, Very Well Managed, Well thought out Itinerary, Excellent Tour Guide.
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