Depart from South Africa to Istanbul
Arrival in Sofia.
Transfer to the hotel. Check in.
City tour – Enjoy the beauty, culture and history of the Bulgarian capital. Highlights: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral with the most valuable collection of Bulgarian icons; the Parliament building and Parliament Square; the National Archaeological Museum; the National Theater; the Russian Church; St. Sofia Church (6th c); St. George Rotunda (4th c); the National Palace of Culture.
Free time for lunch.
Dinner and overnight in Sofia.
Departure to the Rila Monastery from the 10 century, UNESCO World Heritage site, the largest and the most impressive Bulgarian monastery. Tour of the monastery complex, church and museum with its lavish collection of precious old manuscripts, icons, jewellery, masterpieces of woodcarving, ethnographic exhibition of fabrics and carpets.
Departure to Bansko – the most famous and newest modern ski resort in the Europe, also very nice for summer holidays. A walking tour of the town center of the town with 120 UNESCO cultural monuments, museum-houses and the permanent ethnographic and Bansko School of icon painting exhibitions. A very interesting sight is the Holy Trinity Church with its 30m high bell tower and clock, splendid murals and woodcarvings. Optional: lunch in traditional restaurant. The region is famous for its cuisine and colourful folklore and offers various entertainment opportunities.
Dinner and overnight in Bansko.
Departure to Melnik. A tour to the town of Melnik. Melnik is the smallest town of Bulgaria, famous for its world-class wines, forteress-like houses and the pyramids of limestone and sand magnificently overlooking the town. An option for wine tasting at a tavern. Lunch. Visit the Rozhen monastery – one of the largest and the oldest one in Bulgaria. It is unique in its nature –it is situated at the foot of Pirin Mountain, surrounded by picturesque limestone cliffs and thick forests.
Departure to Sandanski – famous clima- and air balneology resort. Check in.
Dinner and overnight in Sandanski.
Departure to Plovdiv during the amazing mountain Rodhopes, where you can see the villages of the Bulgarian muslim minority – the pomaks. Arrival in Plovdiv.
Tour of Plovdiv – the city, known as the Eumolpia already in 342 BC, when it was conquered by Philip II of Macedonia / father of Alexander the Great / rename that is the city in his honor Philippoulis . The Romans changed the name again in Trimontium / city of the three hills / and made it the capital of Thrace.
Walking tour of the archaeological site with ancient Roman theater, the Roman Stadium with more than 30 000 seats and the excavations of the ancient Forum. The visit ends on the hill in the Old Town with its beautiful houses from the late Renaissance period in Bulgaria.
After that we proceed to the discovery of Bachkovo Monastery, the second largest Bulgarian monastery – which was founded in the eleventh century by the brothers Bakurian, is located in the Rhodope Mountains. Charnel houses the images of the brothers and Bakurian Bulgarian king Ivan Alexander, the protector of the monastery in the fourteenth century.
(Optional hotel inspection).
Return to Plovdiv.
Dinner and overnight in Plovdiv.
Departure to the town of Kazanlak – the world famous Valley of Roses – a beautiful region famous for its annual rose festival and rose-picking. A tour of the Valley and the Thracian tombs and monuments. Lunch.
After that departure and visit to Etara – an open-air museum for traditional crafts.
Departure to Veliko Tarnovo. Check in to the hotel. Dinner.
Dinner and overnight in Veliko Tarnovo.
Tour of Veliko Tarnovo – the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, considered one of the most beautiful cities in the country, including a walk on Samovodska Charshiya – traditional arts and crafts street and photo stop at Tsarevets hill – impressive medieval fortification sight.
Departure to the museum town of Arbanassi to visit a genuine gallery of art in its Church of Nativity.
Departure to Sofia. Check in.
Farewell dinner with folklore program. Overnight.
Transfer to the airport for flight
Arrive in South Africa and say farewell to fellow passengers.