Bulgaria | Thracians & Churches

Rila monastery, an exuberant painted church in the Rila Mountains and home to masterpieces of iconography
Rila monastery, an exuberant painted church in the Rila Mountains and home to masterpieces of iconography
The Rila Mountains
The Rila Mountains
Boyana Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Boyana Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Fountain in the town of Hisarya
Fountain in the town of Hisarya
Roman theatre, Plovdiv
Roman theatre, Plovdiv
Roman theatre of Phillippopolis
Roman theatre of Phillippopolis
Varna Monastery
Varna Monastery
Traditional houses in Plovdiv
Traditional houses in Plovdiv
Half-human, half-plant caryatids at Sveshtari Thracian tomb
Half-human, half-plant caryatids at Sveshtari Thracian tomb
Elaborate silver and gold sheep-headed rhyton (drinking vessel), 4th century BC
Elaborate silver and gold sheep-headed rhyton (drinking vessel), 4th century BC
Quadriga of horses from the painted ceiling of the Tomb at Kazanluk
Quadriga of horses from the painted ceiling of the Tomb at Kazanluk

Following a golden age for Bulgarian archaeology, Bulgaria is now one of the culturally richest countries in Europe. Hidden in the hills and forests are some of the oldest Neolithic  settlements, Thracian tombs, and exuberantly painted Medieval churches.

At the edge of Europe, Bulgaria is located at the apex of once great civilisations. This sought-after land was invaded from all sides, Philip of Macedon and Roman Emperor Trajan came up from the west and founded cities here. The east sent armies of Byzantine traders and Ottoman raiders, each leaving their marks. Dr Katya Melamed introduces the many ages of Bulgaria.

  • Visit no fewer than six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Rila Monastery, Kazanlak, the Thracian Tomb at Sveshtari, Boyana Church and Nessebar
  • Explore the Tsarevets Fortress
  • Tour the village of Hisarya, famed for its hot spring

Themes

  • Romans
  • Prehistory
  • Medieval
  • Historic Churches
  • Cultural Excursion
  • Ancient Greek

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • Low Single Supplement
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

Upon arrival in Sofia, we transfer to Plovdiv. We begin our tour with a visit to Tell Yunatsite, also known as ‘The Flat Mound’, an important site of the 5th millennium BC. Set against the mountains, the site bears evidence to more than 6,000 years of existence.
Hotel: Ramada Plovdid Trimontium
Meals: Dinner included

Day 2

Today we explore the sites of Plovdiv with its famous Roman theater and forum. We then visit the Trakart Cultural Center which boasts 150 sq.m of in situ Roman mosaics as well as an interesting exhibit on Roman glass.
Hotel: Ramada Plovdid Trimontium
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

We drive north to the village of Hisarya, where we will explore the Roman remains. We then have a picnic lunch on the site of the Kazanlak Mound before travelling to the ‘Valley of the Thracian Kings’. Here, we will explore some of the funeral mounds, including a replica of the Kazanlak Tomb.
Hotel: Ramada Plovdid Trimontium
Meals: All meals included

Day 4

The Thracian tomb of Aleksandrovo with its fine mosaics, is first on our list to visit today. Followed by Stara Zagora, where we will explore the Neolithic Dwellings Museum, as well as the Roman site of Ulpia Augusta Traiana.
Hotel: Park Hotel Stara Zagora
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

We start at the huge settlement mound of Karanovo. Later, we drive to Nessebar on the Black Sea coast. Founded by the Thracians, the town became a thriving Greek trading colony and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its three millennia of history.
Hotel: Modus Hotel, Varna
Meals: All meals included

Day 6

We spend the morning at the superb Archaeological Museum in Varna, housing intricately worked gold found at nearby burial sites. After lunch we have time to explore this coastal city including its Roman bath complex.
Hotel: Modus Hotel, Varna
Meals: All meals included

Day 7

Today we visit the majestic Madara Horseman rock relief and the multi-colored Sveshtari Thracian Tomb, with its unique Thracian architecture and decor.
Hotel: Park Hotel Arbanasi
Meals: All meals included

Day 8

We start our day in Veliko Tarnovo, capital of the medieval Bulgarian tsars. Here we explore the Bulgarian Orthodox Church of Saints Peter and Paul as well as the Tsarevets Hill Fortress. Later, we travel to the ancient site of Nicopolis ad Istrum, once a thriving Roman colony.
Hotel: Park Hotel Arbanasi
Meals: All meals included

Day 9

This morning we head to Arbanasi. Here we visit the Folk House and the Nativity Church, which is covered in stunning frescoes and features a panoply of saints. Next we journey to Etar and explore the Open Air Ethnographic Museum. It has been open since 1964 and features Bulgarian revival houses.
Hotel: Central Park Hotel, Sofia
Meals: All meals included

Day 10

Today we spend a full day in Sofia where we will visit the National Museum of History and the UNESCO listed Boyana Church. After lunch, we head out on a walking tour of the city where we take in the key sites before dinner including St George’s Basilica and the Church of Santa Sofia.
Hotel: Central Park Hotel, Sofia
Meals: All meals included

Day 11

We head into the beautiful foothills of the Rila mountains, to visit the iconic Rila Monastery, founded in the 10th century AD by the followers of St. Ivan of Rila.
Hotel: Central Park Hotel, Sofia
Meals: All meals included

Day 12

After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our individual flights home or onward travel.
Meals: Breakfast included

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - Most meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels

Travel Information

Joining the Tour

For full information about how to join the tour, please click here.

Passport & Visa Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

Enquire now

Have a question or just want to find out more?

Book now

To book your tour without flights from the US, please call our team on 888 331 3476

2019 Tour Details

Sat 5th October - Wed 16th October

Available

Guaranteed Departure

$3,899

without flights

sgl supp: $385

BUL19A

Led By: Dr Katya Melamed

Guide Lecturer

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