1. BULGARIA TOUR
    September 14 – 27, 2022
    Deposit deadline: May 1, 2022

14 Day All Inclusive
First Class Tour

Tour Host

from USA

Marijka Helbig

Bulgaria is a Balkan nation with diverse terrain encompassing the Black Sea coastline, a mountainous interior and rivers, including the Danube. A cultural melting pot with Greek, Slavic, Ottoman and Persian influences.  It has a rich heritage of traditional dance, music, costumes and crafts. At the foot of Vitosha mountain lies the capital city, Sofia, dating back to 5th c.BC

PLOVDIV (3) SOZOPOL (3)  VARNA(1) VELIKO TARNOVO (2)  SOFIA (4)
plus; Batchkovo,  Kazanliuk,  Nessebar, , Arbanassi, Troyan, Rila
Cultural programs:  Plovdiv, Varna, Sofia and Folklore Festival in Lovech

Tour cost:                   $2980 Land rate per person double occupancy
Single supplement:   $500
Gratuities:                  $160
Arriving:                     Sofia
Departing:                  Sofia

FLIGHTS: We will assist you in obtaining your international flights from any USA or Canadian gateway city.   Land only rates do not include international flights from USA.

INTER-CITY SIGHTSEEING TRANSPORTATION: From arrival at Sofia airport through entire itinerary by    deluxe AC coach.  Round trip airport/ hotel transfers will be provided for all.

HOTELS:

In Sofia: Hotel Crystal Palace 4* https://www.crystalpalace-sofia.com/  

In Plovdiv: Grand Hotel Plovdiv 4* https://grandhotelplovdiv.bg/en/  

In Veliko Tarnovo: Hotel Yantra 4* https://yantrabg.com/en 

In Sozopol: Hotel Viva Mare-Santa Marina 4* https://www.santamarina.bg/en 

ін Varna: Hotel Modus 4*https://www.modushotel.com/ 

SIGHTSEEING: As per itinerary including all entrance fees.  No extra charges. 

ESCORT:  Fully escorted from USA throughout the entire itinerary by Scope tour director.  English speaking local guides throughout itinerary, specializing in Bulgarian history and art.

MEALS: As indicated on itinerary.  12 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 9 dinners, 1 Welcome Dinner, 1 dinner in winery with wine tasting.1 Farewell dinner with private concert

CULTURAL PROGRAMS/CONCERTS: Entrance fees included

TOUR DOCUMENTS: USA and Canadian citizens DO NOT require visas for Bulgaria.

COVID: Vaccination required with a hard copy of QR code for airport check-in and entry to Bulgaria.  Masks mandatory in airport and on airplanes.

Day 1

Sep 14, 2022

 

 

Please be at your gateway city of departure from USA or Canada at least 3 hrs  prior to departure time. You must have your original vaccination certificate and a hard copy of your QR code.  Check your baggage to Sofia.

Day 2

Sep 15, 2022

Arrival at Sofia airport and transfer to Plovdiv  (95 mi)

Upon arrival in Sofia, you will meet your guide at the airport for the group bus transfer to your hotel in Plovdiv.  It’s approximately  1.5 hr ride from Sofia to Plovdiv.  Enjoy your first impressions of the  city and surrounding area.

Welcome dinner and cocktail.   (D)

Day 3

Sep 16, 2022

Plovdiv

After breakfast, we explore on foot the sites of Plovdiv, founded by Philip of Macedon. With its innumerable art galleries, winding cobbled streets and bohemian cafes, we can surely call Plovdiv the Paris of the Balkans. It is Bulgaria’s second largest city, smaller and less hectic than Sofia.
In Plovdiv, we will visit the Forum of Philippopolis, the Roman Odeon and the Late Roman mosaics in the recently opened for visitors Christian Basilica.
Free time.
17.30h (5:30) Departure to the Villa Yustina winery. Visit and have dinner accompanied by a wine tasting. (B, D)

Day 4 

Sep 17, 2022

Plovdiv & Batchkovo Monastery

Excursion to the Batchkovo Monastery. About 30km south of Plovdiv stands the magnificent Batchkovo Monastery, founded in 1083. Much of the complex dates back to the 17th century, with the Church of Sveta Bogoroditsa (1604) as its colourful centrepiece. The church is decorated with 1850’s frescoes by renowned artist Zahari Zograf and houses a much-cherished icon of the Virgin Mary. Even more beautiful murals you will see in the former refectory.

Return to Plovdiv and free time. Dinner.
Performance – concert or opera at the open air stage of the Ancient Theater – depending on the program . (B, D)

Day 5

Sep 18, 2022

Plovdiv – Kazanlak — Sozopol (200 mi)

Departure to the ‘Valley of the Thracian Kings. On the way, stop at a rose oil ddistillery. We then visit Kazanlak (World Heritage Site), with its eponymous tomb (a replica can only be seen), decorated with beautiful 4th century BC frescoes. Also see other remarkable tombs of Ostrusha, Golyama Kosmatka. Tour the archaeological museum in town.

Lunch in Kazanlak. Departure to Sozopol. Dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 6

Sep 19, 2022

Sozopol 

After breakfast, tour of the old town of Sozopol.
Sozopol is the oldest settlement on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, founded and colonized by the Greeks 6BC. Ancient Sozopol, a charming, cobbled old town crammed onto a narrow peninsula, is one of the coast’s real highlights. With two superb beaches and good transportation links, it has long been a popular beach resort.

Sozopol is divided into two parts: the old town, where all the relics and ancient buildings are located, and the new area, situated further up the hill. Here we find our hotel, overlooking a lovely beach. Lately, the area has increased in popularity and has been dubbed the Bulgarian St. Tropez.
Beach day. Dinner. (B, D)

Day 7

Sep 20, 2022

Sozopol – Nessebar – Sozopol (20 mi)

Departure for Nessebar. On the way, stop in a recently restored old fishersmen village; short walk and boat ride on one of the canals.
Arrival in Nessebar for lunch.

The ancient town of Nessebar, which has been declared a reserve, is located on a small rocky peninsula. It has retained many ancient monuments from the Thracian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods. The two sections (old and new) are full of life with music and entertainment. Sightseeing of old Nessebar by foot, including some of the ancient and medieval churches and the archaeological museum.
Free time and return to the hotel. Dinner.
(B, L, D)

Day 8

Sep 21, 2022

Sozopol – Varna (100 mi)

Departure to Varna.
Sightseeing of the Sea capital of Bulgaria. It’s a cosmopolitan place and a nice one to scroll through: Baroque, turn-of-the-century and contemporary architecture pleasantly blended with shady promenades and a handsome seaside garden.
We visit the Cathedral and the Roman Thermae.
Check into the hotel and free time for lunch.
Visit the Archaeological museum, where the oldest gold of the world and a lot of interesting founds from the Thracian civilization on the Black sea could be seen.
Dinner in the hotel.

Depending on the cultural calendar of the city, we can enjoy a perfomrance.
(B, D)

Day 9

Sep 22, 2022

Varna – Veliko Tarnovo (150 mi)

Departure to Veliko Tarnovo. Visit the UNESCO The Madara Rider, representing the figure of a knight triumphing over a lion, is carved into a 100-m-high cliff near the village of Madara in north-east Bulgaria. Madara was the principal sacred place of the First Bulgarian Empire before Bulgaria’s conversion to Christianity in the 9th century. The inscriptions beside the sculpture tell of events that occurred between AD 705 and 801.

On the way stop in a winery for visiting and tasting and lunch.
Arrival in Veliko Tarnovo and check in the hotel.
Dinner in the hotel.
(B, L, D)

Day 10

Sep 23, 2022

Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanassi

City tour of Veliko Tarnovo – one of the moste ancient cities in Bulgaria. It has a history of more than five millennia. The ancient part of Veliko Tarnovo, the king’s palace from the time when it was a capital of the country at the time of the second Bulgarian kingdom ( 1187-1393).
Departure to Arbanassi – a famous Bulgarian museum town. Austere houses that resemble minor fortresses on the outside, with high walls and heavy gates,iron grids and secret hiding places.
Lunch in a local family.
Visit the oldest of the Arbanassi’s five churches is The Birth Christ (1637-1649) is a genuine art gallery with over 3500 stunningly realistic figures and Biblical scenes, painted by unknown artists throughout the ages.
Return to Veliko Tarnovo.
Dinner.
(B, L, D)

Lunch with a local family.
Visit the oldest church in Arbanassi, The Church of the Nativity (1637-1649). It houses well over 3500 stunningly realistic figures and Biblical scenes, painted by unknown artists throughout the ages.
Return to Veliko Tarnovo.
Dinner.
(B, L, D)

Day 11

Sep 24, 2022

Veliko Tarnovo –Lovech – Sofia (30 mi + 100 mi)

Departure to Lovech and walk around Varosha, the old quarters of Lovech and pass through the Covered Bridge.
Lunch
Enjoy the Folk festival
Late afternoon arrival in Sofia. Dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 12

Sep 25, 2022

Sofia

Sofia, Bulgaria’s largest city and Europe’s most accessible capital city. First settled by the Thracian tribes in 8th c. BC, than Macedonians in 4BC, the city, as it is known today, was founded by the Romans, who conquered this region in 29AD. The Ottoman Empire held this city for 500 years and left its biggest imprint on the city’s architecture and culture.

There was no national unity until the Soviets “liberated” Sofia in 1944. While rebuilding the heavily damaged city from WWII, the Soviets literally smothered it in Socialist architecture. In 1989, Bulgaria witnessed the fall of the communist government. Serious problems still exist, but EU membership in 2007 brought a new sense of stability to the city.

Most of Sofia’s sights are located in the city center. You will not have to do much walking to see them all.
Sofia highlights include: Sveta Nedlia Cathedral, Alexander Nevsky golden-domed Cathedral, St. Sofia church and museum, one of the oldest churches in Europe that is still active, 4th c. Church of George, the Royal Palace, the Mineral Baths and the Banya Bashi Mosque – a valuable example of Islamic architecture.
Free time for lunch.

In the afternoon we will visit the National History museum and the UNESCO designated Boyana church.
Dinner in a cozy restaurant.

Performance in the Opera of Sofia – depending on the program. Oer
Concert of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestera – depending on the program
(B, D)

Day 13

Sep 26, 2022

Veliko Tarnovo –Lovech – Sofia (30 mi + 100 mi)

Departure for the Rila Monastery.
Bulgaria’s largest and most renowned monastery emerges abruptly out of a forest valley in the Rila Mountains. This is the most impressive monastery compound in the country, whose architectural and artistic magnificence has earned it a due place in the list of the world cultural and natural heritage. 

Founded during the 10th century, the monastery underwent different stages of construction. Its founder is believed to have been Ivan Rislki [John of Rila], the revered Bulgarian hermit and healer, a patron saint of the Bulgarian people. Together with his disciples and followers, he established a community of monks, the core of the Rila Monastery. Rebuilt, deserted, reduced to ashes by Turks and built anew, the monastery has been witness to and symbol of the rich Bulgarian history. It was proclaimed a national museum in 1961 by the communist government and made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
Lunch near the monastery and return to Sofia.
Free time.
Privae concert in the Crypt of the Alexander Newski Cathedral of the Cosmic voices followed by a Farewell dinner.
(B,L,D)

Day 14

Sep 27, 2022

Veliko Tarnovo –Lovech – Sofia (30 mi + 100 mi)

Transfer to the aairport (30 minutes from hotel).