The silent world of the monasteries
Experience the atmosphere of Bulgarian monasteries!
This tour is not just a round tour of some of the most interesting Bulgarian monasteries (There are 160 monasteries in Bulgaria). It is also a journey through Bulgaria's history, since all of the featured religious buildings are monuments of everything that has happened in Bulgaria over the last 1100 years. Along with the rich history and the touch of Bulgarian spiritual culture you will submerge in the green hug of the mountains and admire Bulgaria’s outstanding nature. It seems that time has stopped here and life is quiet and peaceful.
♦ Zemen Monastery - with its valuable frescoes from the Middle Ages
♦ Rila Monastery - the treasury of the Bulgarian culture
♦ Rozhen Monastery - The “Nativity of Virgin Mary” Monastery is one of the few monasteries that has been preserved since it was built in the Middle Ages. The town of Melnik.
♦ Bachkovo Monastery - the second largest monastery in Bulgaria
♦ Etura Open-air Ethnographic Museum - Master craftsmen, fashion, beautiful gold, silver, copper, leather and wooden articles
♦ Arbanasi Village is famous for its unique houses, several monasteries and old churches.
♦ Ivanovo Monastery - The Ivanovo Monastery owes its unequalled cultural and historical value predominantly to the beautiful and well preserved wall paintings dating from the 13th and 14th century in five of the rock churches.
♦ Troyan Monastery - The Monastery where you can admire the workmanship of the famous icon painter Zahari Zograf.
♦ Shipka Monastery - built in the traditional style of the 17th century Russian cathedrals the Monastery stands as a living memorial of the Russian and Bulgarian warriors, who died in the Russian -Turkish Liberation War.
Day 1 Arrival at Sofia airport and transfer
Overnight in Sofia 4* hotel
Day 2. City of Sofia - Zemen Monastery - Rila Monastery – Melnik
Today you will start with a visit of the picturesque Zemen Monastery near the town of Radomir. The Monastery was founded in the 11th century. The church dates from the same time and is part of our heritage in iconography. After that, you will continue to the biggest Monastery in Bulgaria - the Rila Monastery. The monastery was founded by the hermit St. John of Rila in the 10th century. (Ivan Rilski is one of the greatest Bulgarian saints.) The Rila Monastery is one of the most significant achievements in architecture, iconography and wood carving from the period of Bulgarian Revival. After the visit you will be taken to the southern border of Bulgaria to the smallest, but the most picturesque town - Melnik. It is famous for its local wine.
Wine tasting in one of the folk-style restaurants will be a great experience for Your senses.
Overnight in Melnik 3* hotel
Day 3. Rozhen Monastery – Bansko
After breakfast you will be driven to the Rozhen Monastery. The “Nativity of Virgin Mary” Monastery is one of the few monasteries that has been preserved ever since it was built in the Middle Ages. A marvelous view is revealed from here over the magnificent peaks of Pirin and Belasitsa mountains and the unique Melnik limestone pyramids. You'll enjoy this wonderful view wandering down the path to the town of Melnik. Your trip will continue to the northern slopes of the Pirin mountain, to the ski resort Bansko. Enjoy our national cuisine and wine in a cozy tavern.
Overnight in Bansko - 4* hotel
Day 4. Bansko - Pazardzhik - Plovdiv
Before you reach the town of Plovdiv, one of the ancient towns in Bulgaria, you have a break in Pazardzhik where you can see a masterpiece of the Debar wood carving art school. After an hour or so after departure you will enter the town of Plovdiv and start your sightseeing tour. The town existed as a settlement about 8 000 years ago. It was a big trading centre in the Middle Ages. In the historic quarter of the city you will visit beautifully decorated houses, ancient fortress walls, the Roman forum and stadium, magnificent churches. The sightseeing tour includes visit of the Roman theatre and Hindlian`s house, St. Constantine and Helena Church. Spare time.
In the evening - wine tasting - the best wines of this wine region.
Overnight in 4* hotel
Day 5. Bachkovo Monastery - Shipka - Etura – Kmetovtsi
In the morning you head to the Northern Rhodope Mountains, where the Georgian brothers Bakuriani founded their monastery in the 11th century. In the main church you will see one of the miraculous icons of Virgin Mary - Eleousa.
After that you will continue to Shipka village where you will visit the richly decorated Shipka Monastery and church. Then you will be taken through the Balkan mountain range. The next stop is the open-air ethnographic museum of Etura. Its 18th - 19th century water driven machinery, crafts and lifestyle come alive in front of the eyes of the visitors. The picturesque Sokolski Monastery situated very close to the ethnographic complex Overnight in a cozy village hidden in the slopes of the Balkan - Kmetovtsi
Day 6. Kmetovtsi - Arbanasi - Ivanovo – Veliko Tarnovo
This day will be full of exquisite sites: The village of Arbanasi with its four monasteries and a lot of churches in the area, The Ivanovo rock Monastery with its frescoes dating from the 14th century and the fortress of the Bulgarian tsars of the Second Bulgarian Empire in Veliko Tarnovo.
Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo / Arbanassi 4* hotel
Day 7. Veliko Tarnovo - Troyan monastery – Sofia
The Troyan Monastery “Assumption of Virgin Mary” is the third largest monastery in Bulgaria. It is situated in the Balkan Mountain, 10 km away from the town of Troyan on the banks of Cherni Osam River. The legend has it that the monastery was founded by a hermit monk in the beginning of the Ottoman domination. He came to the mountain to be closer to God and built a small chapel. Many important persons from the Revival period received their education here. Further you will be taken to our capital on a sightseeing tour including all the architectural monuments in the center. Further drive to our capital and a sight seeing tour including all the architectural monuments..
Dinner in a folk - style restaurant and a folklore show.
Overnight in 4* hotel
Day 8. Departure
After breakfast transfer to Sofia Airport for departure.
PRICE: 890 EU
By group order - price on appointment
Included in the price:
► all transport according itinerary
►group transfers from/to Sofia airport
► English speaking guide and guide
► accommodation in hotels 4*/3*- all overnights are based on double (single) rooms with private WC/shower
► breakfast (7 days)
► all entrance fees
► wine tasting in Melnik and Plovdiv
► dinner in Bansko and in Sofia - with folk show
► insurance for the territory of Bulgaria
► meals other than breakfast and mentioned above
► flight tickets
► alcoholic drinks and other personal expenses
► Private transfers from/to Burgas Airport can be arranged for 100 EUR per vehicle (max 4 persons) and 120 EUR (Varna Airport)
Good to know:
► Please note that the program on Day 1 and Day 8 is subject to change in connection with flight times (for example it is possible to have your sightseeing tour in Sofia on Day 8, instead on Day 1, if you have purchased tickets with late arrival / late departure times).
Recommended travel period of the year: March - October
Flight tickets : by request