Discover Bulgaria

Upcoming Tour Date:

  • 14 June–21 June 2020 – Just added
8 days
from £1,549 pp
Tour code: AGT1147

Tour Features:

    Book Now

    Upcoming Tour Date:

    • 14 June–21 June 2020 – Just added
    8 days
    from £1,549 pp
    Tour code: AGT1147

    Tour Features:

      Booking Enquiries

      Quick Tour Facts:


      Tour Code AGT1147
      Max Group Size 26
      Single Supplement £200
      Start/End Point Sofia / Sofia
      Tour Manager TBC

      Tour Map:


      Extras and Add-ons:


      Would you prefer to fly from your local airport or spend a few days at the end of your tour on the beach? We are happy to help you arrange any additional requirements you may have from airport parking and hotels to pre and post tour hotel stays. Whilst the majority of our tours use group flights from London airports it is often possible to offer regional departures or connections – give us a call on 01425 480600 and let us help make your trip as comfortable as possible.

      Tour Image Library:


      Current Weather:


      Explore cosmopolitan cities, breath-taking monasteries, and a traditional way of life in some beautiful alpine scenery. This land of Roman and Thracian remains is full of mysteries yearning to be discovered.

      Explore one of the oldest inhabited regions of Europe. Wonderfully mysterious with epic mountain ranges, almost unfathomable cave systems and some fantastically cosmopolitan cities. Bulgaria has a deeply religious past, boasting no fewer than 120 monasteries, with the UNESCO example at Rila being the most architecturally striking. There are also stunning cathedrals and contrasting relics of the bygone Soviet Era. A land conquered by Thracians, Greeks, Romans and Ottomans, there is a plethora of historical treats to discover, none more so than the stunning 2,000 year-old Roman theatre at Plovdiv.

      The culture and heritage of the people of the Rhodope region will feature heavily in this tour. From wine tasting at Bulgaria’s smallest city, Melnik (reputed to be Winston Churchill’s favourite wine), to private concerts with a local choir or the bagpipe masters of Shiroka Laka, this fantastic voyage across the untamed and highest mountain ranges of the Balkan Peninsula will introduce you to a traditional way of life and stunning panoramas that will stay with you for a lifetime. Now really is the time to discover the delights of the Rhodope Mountains nestled in the quietest corner of Bulgaria.

      Words from Your Tour Coordinator…

      “For me Bulgaria as a country has always retained a sense of mystery. It is in an area of Europe that I know pretty well. However, until recent years, its charm has eluded me. After hearing some great accounts of traversing huge mountain ranges, with breath-taking gorges and some very traditional ways of life harking back to centuries previous, I decided to discover this for myself. 2019 was our first group tour to the Rhodope region of this ancient country and our group were presented with such a contrast of themes. Ancient Roman remains just under the surface of modern developing commercial hubs, deeply religious feeling in these beautiful and revered monasteries in juxtaposition to the ‘godless’ soviet era, where the party was everything. We finished the tour with a performance of Verdi’s Rigolleto in the ancient Roman theatre of Plovdiv and what a finale that was! (Although we cannot always promise this kind of conclusion to a tour). In summary, I was deeply moved by the hospitality of the people and by the sights that I saw in Bulgaria. I believe our guests will have a similar experience in 2020.”

      Alexander Oliver

      Highlights

      • Take in the serenity of the surroundings of Rila Monastery
      • Wine tasting in Melnik, reputed to be Winston Churchill’s favourite wine
      • Enjoy stunning landscapes and an introduction to traditional lifestyles in the Rhodope Mountains
      • Enter a recently discovered subterranean Thracian temple
      • Visit the wonder that is Plovdiv’s Roman theatre

      What’s Included

      • Return British Airways flights from London Heathrow to Sofia
      • Seven nights’ in good standard accommodation
      • Daily breakfast, six lunches and five evening meals
      • All excursions, entrance fees and tips
      • All overseas transport and English-speaking guides
      • Services of a Prestige Holidays Tour Manager

      Itinerary

      Day 1 - Arrival (D)

      Arrival. Explore the numerous attractions of one of Europe’s most historic cities. A plethora of churches are ready for a discerning eye to appreciate some truly unique architecture, including the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. The day is finished with the treasures of Sofia’s Archaeological Museum and a welcome dinner.

      Overnight: Sofia

      Day 2 - Rila Monastery / Sandanski (B, L, D)

      Visit a national icon for Bulgarians: the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rila Monastery. Founded in the middle of the 10th century by St. Ivan of Rila, the monastery played a key role in the preservation of Bulgarian culture and language throughout the centuries. Continue to the foot of the Pirin Mountains and only 20km from the Greek border to Sandanski.

      Overnight: Sandanski

      Day 3 - Melnik / Bansko (B, L)

      Journey to Melnik. Surrounded by sandstone formations and with a population of approximately 300 people, Melnik retains its historic ‘city’ status, making it Bulgaria’s smallest. However, it is most famous for the production of wine, reputed to be Winston Churchill’s favourite. Here, we visit the nearby Rozhen Monastery, followed by a wine tasting. Proceed to Bansko. The old quarter of this cobblestone town is a maze of charming stone-and-timber houses.

      Overnight: Bansko

      Day 4 - Dobarsko (B, L, D)

      In the morning, visit a conservation park for rescued bears, the largest sanctuary of its type in Europe. From here, jump on board the narrow-gauge train from Belitza to Bansko, enjoying a scenic journey through mountainous terrain with richly green and deep forests. For lunch, we are treated to a performance by a renowned local choir and their rendition of traditional folklore songs. The day is completed with a visit to the village of Dobarsko, famous for its 17th century church and noted for the abundance of original frescoes and icons, some of which are interpreted as portraying Jesus in a rocket!

      Overnight: Bansko

      Day 5 - Leshten / Kovachevitsa / Rhodope Mountains (B, L, D)

      Today’s journey passes through several fascinating architectural reserves: the villages of Leshten and Kovachevitsa. Exploring these streets gives one a taste of traditional life in Bulgaria, often with a hearth or furnace still burning inside these houses as the main source of heating! Continue along the picturesque route over the Rhodope Mountains before reaching one of its most famous landmarks: the Yagodinska Cave. About 10km long with many labyrinths and abysses inside, it is part of the Buynovsko Gorge and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful caves in Bulgaria.

      Overnight: Devin

      Day 6 - Rhodope Mountains / Plovdiv (B, L)

      Continue your exploration of the mysterious Rhodope Mountains with a visit to Devil’s Throat Cave, alleged to be where Orpheus descended into the Underworld in search of his beloved Eurydice. It boasts the second largest cave hall in Bulgaria, large enough to accommodate an entire two-storey building in its depths. After a stop at Shiroka Laka (famous for its bagpipes), visit the magnificent Bachkovo Monastery. It is the second largest in Bulgaria and one of the oldest Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Europe. From here, transfer to the famous city of Plovdiv.

      Overnight: Plovdiv

      Day 7 - Plovdiv (B, L, D)

      Plovdiv is Bulgaria’s second largest city and has been inhabited since the 6th millennium BC, making it one of the oldest cities in Europe. Enjoy a comprehensive tour of the old town and ruins ranging from Roman, Byzantium and Ottoman periods, the most note-worthy visit being to the Roman theatre. In the afternoon we depart the city to Starosel for a wine tasting before venturing into a subterranean Thracian temple. Return for a farewell dinner.

      Overnight: Plovdiv

      Day 8 - Departure (B)

      Transfer to the airport for departure.

      Prestige Holidays’ booking conditions apply. Price is based on twin/double occupancy. Single rooms are on request at a supplement of £200 — subject to availability. Itinerary may be subject to slight alterations due to operational restrictions. Hotels are subject to change and a hotel of similar standard in the overnight locations may be provided. Flight times are provisional and subject to change due to airline schedules.

      Call us today on 01425 480 600