Bulgaria: Suggested Itinerary
A Country of Superb Variations
Day 1: Arrive in the capital, Sofia. Take it easy and get a feel for the historic capital city and walk around the beautiful streets. Grab some local cuisine of course and have a hazy night in a local bar.
Day 2: Depart to Bansko - the most modern and visited ski resort in Bulgaria. You can get a good sightseeing tour here. It’s worth seeing for its wonderful monuments, old churches and unique architecture of the houses. Carry onto Sandanski. Visit the botanic garden near the residence of ex-communist leaders and check into local accommodation. Visit the picturesque spots of Melnik and Rozhen. Enjoy the marvellous architecture at the foothills of sandstone pyramids. Perched on a high hill is the Rozhen monastery, a piece of art that should definitely not be missed.
Day 3: Start by heading to the Rila monastery - the biggest and the most imposing of all Bulgarian monasteries. The place is invaluable, its treasure is included in UNESCO's list of World Heritage. It houses fine works of National Revival painters, builders, woodcarvers and icon painters. Leave Sandanski for Borovets - host of two of the World Ski Championships. There’s plenty of places to rest here for the night too.
Day 4: After breakfast, leave for Velingrad - the biggest Bulgarian spa resort. On the way you'll pass by the picturesque small towns Dospat, Devin, Trigrad - visit the 3 unique caves in the region. The Trigrad gorge will evoke feelings that will make you shiver, recalling the stone hell that you have just gone through. The Miracle - how the turbulent river waters disappear into the Devil's mouth in the underground caves and tunnels and comes again of the surface 500 m down below. Go on a sightseeing tour of Smolyan and find another place to rest your sleepy head.
Day 5: Head out bright and early to Plovdiv. Visit the Batchkovo monastery, the second biggest Bulgarian monastery, known for its original architecture, rich collection of ancient icons, jewelery and paintings. You can see some of the first paintings of the celebrated national Revival artist Zahari Zograph in this monastery. Move onto Plovdiv and get a sightseeing tour in the old part of the city - ancient City. Featuring lovely art galleries, old churches and beautiful houses, as well as Roman ruins. Plovdiv is the country second most important industrial, cultural and administrative centre, located along the Maritza river. The town is the host of the well-known International Plovdiv Fair. Stay the night in Plovdiv ready for the next Bulgarian adventure.
Day 6: Have breakfast and then departe to Kazanlak - the town of ancient Thracian Tombs and called The Valley of the roses. Short sightseeing of the town and the Thracian Tombs (also listed in UNESCO heritage). Visit to the open air ethnographical heritage park, Etara - 18th and 19th folk arts and crafts. Visit the Sokolovo Monastery - 19th century - the first inscriptions with the names of artists, woodcarvers and builders started appearing on the walls of monastery churches. Arrive in Kmetovtsy and find accommodation in a local hotel.
Day 7: Moving onwards to Veliko Tarnovo. Visit the Dryanovo Monastery. Get another sightseeing tour or go it alone in Veliko Tarnovo - the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. Head to the tiny village of Arbanassi - unique old Bulgarian houses with heavy gates and secret hiding places, spaciously and richly decorated inside. The oldest from the five Arbanassi's churches is the "Birth of Christ", decorated with Biblical scenes by unknown artists. Stay the night in Veliko Tarnovo.
Day 8: Next stop is Shoumen. Go sightseeing in the ancient capital Veliki Preslav and other places of interest. Head to Varna for more sightseeing tours, visit the Dolphinarium and Aladja rocky monastery, the beach resorts of Albena and the Golden sands. Stay in Varna for the night.
Day 9: Nearly back where you started in Sofia, leave for Bourgas. Visit the biggest beach resort of Sunny Beach. Return to Sofia and get a sightseeing tour of Karlovo, Sopot and Koprivshtitsa before finally returning to the capital in the evening and another place to rest for the final night.
Day 10: After breakfast, there’s just enough time for sightseeing in Sofia, including the impressive Alexander Nevski Cathedral, with its precious icon collection. If you’ve time, see the church of St. Sophia, the National Museum of History and Art Gallery, before heading to the airport and then home after your epic journey.