UK & IRELAND
- UK Pre & Post Cruise Options
- London City Stay
- Edinburgh City Stay
- Belfast City Stay
- Dublin City Stay
- Other Cities
- London and Heart of England
- Highlights of Scotland
- Highlights of Ireland
- England Wales and Scotland
- England's South West
- Essential England
- English Heritage
- In the Footsteps of the Royals
- Castles of Scotland
- Whisky and The Flavour of Scotland
- A Pilgrimage to Britain and Ireland
- Celtic and Roman Heritage
- Harry Potter's Enchanting England
- Music Legends
- Bond Style
- Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen
- London for Singles
WESTERN & SOUTHERN EUROPE
- Simply Italy
- Swiss Rail Tours - Glacier Express
- London & Paris
- Amsterdam City Stay
- European Pilgrimage Tour
- Explore France: Paris & Nice
- European Pre Cruise Options
- Portugal & Spain
- Italy - Rome, Florence & Venice
- London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris
- Barcelona City Stay
- Paris City Stay
- Highlights of Europe
- Southern European Highlights
CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE
- Charms of Croatia and Slovenia
- Croatia Island Hopping Cruise
- Balkans Adventure
- Highlights of Bulgaria
- Budapest City Stay
- Prague, Warsaw & Baltic States
- Prague City Stay
- Vienna City Stay
- Christmas Markets in Central & Eastern Europe
- Austria, Slovenia, Croatia & Hungary
- From Warsaw to Hamburg
- Europe's Imperial Capitals
- Lapland Explorer
- Greenland - A Place Like No Other On Earth
- Norway - All the Way North!
- Scandinavian Capitals
- Prague, Warsaw & Baltic States
- Grand Tour of Iceland
- Incredible Iceland
- Norway’s Spectacular Fjords and Glaciers
PRE & POST CRUISE
HIGHLIGHTS OF BULGARIA
Bulgaria is a Balkan nation with diverse terrain encompassing The Black Sea coastline, rivers, and a mountainous interior. A cultural melting pot with Greek, Slavic, Ottoman and Persian influences, it has a rich heritage of traditional dance, music, costumes and crafts. Bulgaria rewards exploration: with its vibrant modern cities, long sandy beaches, remote villages and wild, wooded mountain ranges, our 8 day action packed itinerary allows you to discover the enchanting delights of this extraordinarily beautiful region of the Balkans.
Arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria’s diverse capital city and uncover its 3,000 year history on a sightseeing tour including the Church of Sveta Nedelya and the Bulevard Vitosha - the city’s shopping district and a real highlight, the magnificent Aleksandar Nevski Cathedral. Sofia is also home to natural springs where locals collect their daily supply of drinking water and the city is still excavating its Roman ruins.
The Rila Monastery is Bulgaria’s largest. Set in a wonderful location deep in the Rila Mountains, this beautifully maintained fortress like settlement was founded in 927 AD by a hermit monk and houses a museum dedicated to the monk’s craftsmanship as well as incredible frescoes and artefacts.
Later enjoy dinner in one of the cities local restaurants.
Overnight in Sofia
Leaving Sofia we head towards Veliko Tarnovo, stopping at neighbouring Arbanasi village where traditional houses showcase the country’s national revival architecture and the Nativity Church. Concealed as a house to evade the Ottoman occupiers it has an interior covered from floor to ceiling in frescoes depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
Dine in a local house this evening and enjoy homemade Bulgarian dishes.
Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo
The dramatic medieval fortifications of Veliko Tarnovo are revealed on a tour this morning with views over the Yantra River and a stop in the in the old town where souvenir hunting amongst its cobbled streets and antique houses is a pleasure. In the valley of the Rusenski Lom River is the UNESCO-listed Ivanovo, where churches, chapels and monasteries carved in the solid rock have been inhabited by monks since the 12th century.
En route to Varna stop at the UNESCO-listed Madara Horseman, a medieval rock relief carved into a plateau depicting a warrior on horseback, the origins of which are a source of debate.
Reaching the coast at Varna we will see the oldest gold treasure in the world at the archaeological museum as well as exploring Bulgaria’s largest coastal city on a walking tour before arriving in the ancient city of Nessebar on Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast.
Nessebar is a beautiful resort with well-kept beaches and its main attraction is the old town, dating back to the 6th Century BC making it one of the oldest settlements in Europe. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site offering an enthralling archaeological museum and a host of medieval churches to explore. Later enjoy your resort and perhaps take a swim in the Black Sea.
Head to Kasanlak, the site of an UNESCO-listed Thracian tomb which dates back to the 4th century BC and includes murals depicting the Hellenistic period. Bulgaria is the world’s number one producer of rose oil and we visit a distillery to learn the process of extracting this ‘liquid gold’ which is exported around the globe. Reach historic Plovdiv where a delicious dinner and folklore show can be enjoyed.
A sightseeing tour of Plovdiv, the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Europe, includes its Roman amphitheatre which overlooks the city, the Ethnographic Museum and the compact historic centre where an Ottoman Mosque, St Marina church and Roman ruins. Bulgaria’s second city is also a great location for a spot of shopping amongst an array of fashionable shops.
Continue back to Sofia for a private guided retro tram car ride around the city to round off your visit in style before transferring to the airport for your return flight.