4 day/3 night tour of Sofia, Plovdiv, Rila monastery, an excellent introduction to the well-known sites of Bulgaria.
Highlights include visits to 2 World Cultural Heritage Sites in one day - Rila Monastery and Boyana Church /13 c AD/.
Itinerary - BULGARIA FOR BEGINNERS
4-days, 3-nights tour
Day 1: SOFIA – Boyana church – Rila monastery – SOFIA
2 highlights in just one day: Boyana church and Rila monastery UNESCO sites
In the morning meet your local guide and enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour of Sofia, a city with 7000-year long history. Drive to Boyana and visit Boyana church (13 c A.D.) UNESCO site. Proceed to Rila monastery, located some 120 km to the south of Sofia in the heart of the Rila Mountain. Founded in the 10th century, it has been the biggest spiritual and cultural centre in Bulgaria for hundreds of years. On a number of occasions it was destroyed and burnt down, only to rise again like a phoenix from the ashes. The visitor’s first sight of Rila monastery huge towering walls gives the impression of a fortress. However, a step through the archway produces a wonderful surprise. Visiting the Monastery is a must. The Rila monastery is the largest in the Balkans and included in the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage. Tour of the monastery includes a visit to the Monastery Church, which is of particular artistic value, for it was adorned by the foremost 19-century masters of the Samokov, Bansko and Debar schools of painting and woodcarving. Drive back to Sofia.
B, Overnight in Sofia.
Day 2: SOFIA - Koprivshtica - PLOVDIV
After breakfast drive to the museum town of Koprivshtica, a town where the past seems to come alive. Situated at an altitude of some 3,000 feet above sea level amid lovely meadows and pine forests, the town has long had a magnetic appeal for tourists. Tour of the town (mainly on foot) includes visit to the beautiful old Bulgarian-style houses of Lyutov, Debeljanov, and Kableshkov, which will fascinate you not only with their original architecture but also with their interior 19-century decoration and furnishing. Every single house here is part and parcel of Bulgaria’s history. It was here that the first shot of the April Uprising against Ottoman rule rang out in 1876. Although drenched in blood, the uprising resounded in all of Europe. It is a miracle that Koprivshtica itself was spared destruction and survives in its original appearance. Home-hosted lunch – you will taste some of the local cuisine specialties. Proceed to Plovdiv.
B,L, Overnight in Plovdiv
Day 3: PLOVDIV - Bachkovo monastery - PLOVDIV
Bulgaria’s second ranking town, Plovdiv, is a worthy rival to Sofia. Its location astride the river Maritsa, and its six hills, which are prominent features on the Thracian plane, indicates the strategic significance of the city. It is one of the oldest and most colourful towns in Bulgaria. No one can tell exactly when the foundation stone was laid here, although it must have been over 5000 years ago. Old Plovdiv on Trimontium hill is the centre of Bulgarian national revival architecture at its height. You will enjoy a tour including a visit to the Old Town, the 2000yrs old Roman Theatre; the Byzantine and medieval fortifications, the 15th century mosque. Walk along the narrow cobbled streets and admire the silence and tranquility of this historic town. In the afternoon drive to Bachkovo Monastery – tour of the monastery, founded in the 11th century. Bachkovo Monastery is valuable primarily for its ossuary and its church, in which 11th to 14th century frescoes are preserved. Late afternoon drive back to Plovdiv. Dinner in the best local restaurant in the Old city.
B,D, Overnight in Plovdiv.
Day 4: PLOVDIV- SOFIA
Enjoy a free morning wandering around the Old City. Your guide and driver will see you off, drop-off transfer to Sofia airport, where the tour ends.