Fly EasyJet from Gatwick airport, leaving at 9.30am to Sofia, Bulgaria, landing at 11.30am local time. A luxurious mini-bus takes the group to the Rila Monastery, located in the heart of the Rila Mountain, the highest mountain range in Bulgaria. The trip by road will take between 2 and 3 hours. Accommodation will be in the monastery ‘cells’ or in the nearby hotel.
Travel to Bansko (2 hrs drive) – explore old churches and other historical museums and monuments in this small historic town, visit ‘Baykushevata Mura’ – 3, 000 old conifer tree high in the mountain (the minibus will drive there). Accommodation in a local hotel.
Travel to Melnik (2 hrs drive) – explore the old settlement and visit famous wine cellars to taste the famous local ‘Melnik’ wine, visit Rozhen monastery. Accommodation in a local guest house.
Travel to Assenovgrad (3 hrs drive) – visit the old Roman Assenovska Fortress and Bachkovo monastery. Accommodation in a local hotel.
Travel to the Plovdiv (1 hr drive), the second largest city in the country, sightseeing in the town, visiting the old part of town and the Roman theatre and museums. Accommodation in a local hotel.
Travel to Shipka (2 hrs) and visit the Memorial church and Shipka pass, where stands an imposing monument and chapel in honour of those who died in the 1887 liberation war (1 hr drive). Drive back to Plovdiv for the night. Accommodation in the same hotel as the previous day.
Early start, breakfast at the hotel, then a 1 ½ hour drive to Sofia, check in at a central hotel. Visit to Boyana Crypt, explore the busy streets and cultural sites of Sofia. Lunch at a local restaurant. Free time in Sofia, suggestions for visits to museums, cultural sites, etc. Celebratory dinner at a local restaurant.
Breakfast at the hotel. Minibus drive to the airport and fly out with EasyJet – departure at 11.30am, Sofia, Terminal 1, landing at Gatwick airport at 1.30pm.
Part one of a remarkable journey through an impressive mixture of history, religion and unique art.
Bulgaria has a rich and turbulent history where Christianity played a pivotal role in preserving the national identity and language over the ages. Many churches and monasteries were built over this time and at present, many are still standing and even, still functional.
We propose to take you on a journey through Bulgarian history…
Over seven days your group will be taken on a tour of the most prominent and breathtakingly beautiful Bulgarian monasteries surrounded by the glorious peaks of the Rila Mountains, visit famous wine cellars, explore both the quaint old town of Plovdiv and its Roman ruins as well as the city of Sofia. Making this a dream trip for any history and culture lovers.
It is not possible to cover the whole of the country in such a short period, so this trip is the first leg, covering the south of the country, while the optional second leg (to be announced soon) will focus on the north. The Balkan mountain range cuts through the centre of Bulgaria from west to east making this a natural division in order to save long travel over high passes.
DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION Gatwick Airport / Gatwick Airport
DEPARTURE TIME Please arrive at least 2 hours before the flight.