Plovdiv Revival – tour of the Old Town of Plovdiv
(2 h. city tour)

Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is a contemporary of Troy and Mycenae, and older than Rome, Carthage or Constantinople. Archaeologists have discovered fine pottery and other objects of everyday life from as early as the Neolithic Age, showing that in the end of the 7th millennium B.C. there already was an established settlement known as Eumolpius, succeeded by Philipopolis, Trimontium, Pulpudeva, Paldin and at last Plovdiv. Under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, Plovdiv was a focal point for the Bulgarian national movement in the Eastern Rumelia province of the Empire. Evidence of this time is the romantic Old Town with its splendid Revival houses, narrow streets, museums and art galleries.

Plovdiv today is a major cultural centre. The city has more than 200 archaeological sites 30 of which are of national importance. Already at the end of the 19th c. in Plovdiv is created the second largest in the country State Art gallery after the national one in the capital. Today the fund of the State Art Gallery Plovdiv counts over 6000 original art works, exhibited in 4 buildings: The Constant Exhibition, “Zlatyu Bojadzhiev” House-museum, the icon Collection at Saborna Str., and the Constant Exhibition of Zanko Lavrenov on the main street.
Price: Upon request

Bachkovo Monastery (half day trip)

The Bachkovo Monastery is important monument of Christian architecture and one of the largest and oldest Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Europe. It is located on the right bank of the Chepelare River, and is directly subordinate to the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The monastery is known and appreciated for the unique combination of Byzantine, Georgian and Bulgarian culture, united by the common faith. The monastery was founded by Prince Gregorios Pakourianos, prominent Georgian statesman, military commander in Byzantine service, in 1083. During the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire, Bachkovo Monastery was patronized by Tsar Ivan Alexander, which is evidenced by an image of him on the arcs of the ossuary’s narthex. Since the 11th century, a school was housed in the monastery. It is believed that the founder of Tarnovo Literary School and last patriarch of the mediaeval Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Evtimiy, was exiled by the Turks and died in the monastery in the 14th century.

Although the monastery survived the first waves of Turkish invasion in Bulgarian lands, it was later looted and destroyed, but restored near the end of the 15th century. The refectory, whose mural paintings by an anonymous author bear a significant artistic value, was reconstructed in 1601 and the Church of Virgin Mary, still preserved today, was finished in 1604.

  • optional visit to the Assenova Fortress built by the Thracians, it became strategic on the road to the Mediterranean Sea First written sources are from the 11th c. in the decree of the newly built Bachkovo monastery. The fortress was taken over by the Crusaders during the Fourth Crusade. It was enlarged and fortified during the rule of Tsar Ivan Asen the II. In this period the churchHoly Virgin from Petrichhas been built as well.
Price: Upon request
Pamporovo or Shiroka Laka with Bachkovo Monastery (one day trip)

Pamporovo is a popular mountain resort in Smolyan Province, southern Bulgaria, one of the best-known in Southeastern Europe. It is set amongst magnificent pine forests and is primarily visited during the winter for skiing and snowboarding. It is also a popular tourist place in summer. The hub of Pamporovo comprises a number of excellent hotels and bars. It is also one of the southernmost skiing resorts in Europe.

  • visit to the Bachkovo Monastery
  • sightseeing tour of Pamporovo or Shiroka Lyka village
  • free time ( lift ticket to the Snejanka Mount costs Bgl 22 up and down)

Price: Upon request

Pamporovo (Shiroka Lyka) with the Miraculous Bridges (one day trip)

The Wonderful Bridges is a rock formation in the Rhodope Mountains in southern Bulgaria. It is located in the Karst valley of the Erkyupryia River in the Western Rhodopes at 1,450 meters above sea level, at the foot of Persenk peak. The “bridges” were formed by the erosive activity of the once high-water river. It transformed the marble clefts into a deep water cave, the ceiling of which whittled up through time and collapsed, allegedly during an earthquake. Geologists suppose that the water carried the debris away.

  • sightseeing and walking around the bridges
  • lunch in a nearby fish restaurant (option) and free time (lift ticket to the Snejanka Mount costs Bgl 22)
  • sightseeing tour of Pamporovo or Shiroka Lyka village

Price: Upon request

Thracian and Roman relics (One day trip)

Starossel is a village in central Bulgaria, part of Hisarya municipality, Plovdiv Province. It lies at the foot of the Sredna Gora mountain range and the Pyasychnik River crosses it. Starossel is mainly known for its abundance of ancient Thracian sites, with finds dating as far back as the 5-6 millenniums BC. The village was in Antiquity an important and wealthy Thracian city in the 5th century BC, as evidenced by the excavations in the 20th century. Some of the sites include a large temple with a mausoleum in the Chetinyova Mogila tumulus; the Horizont tumulus, where the only known Thracian temple featuring a colonnade (a Doric one) is located, as well as 9 other tumuli in the surrounding area.

  • history of the Tomb in the village of Starossel by a local guide
  • lunch in the village of Starossel (optional)
  • visit to the Roman Fortress in Hissarja
Hisarya is a small resort town in Bulgaria, in Plovdiv Province. Located in the outskirts of the Sredna Gora mountain range, it boasts of a very mild climate and over two dozen different mineral springs, which make it a favorite spa for many Bulgarian and foreign tourists. Because of these springs, the town was founded thousands of years ago. Some pre-historic remains have been found in what is now the town centre. Later, it became a Thracian city, and when Thrace fell to the Romans – a Roman province. It was a famous resort even in those times, which is proved by the fact that emperor Septimius Severus himself visited the city. Many Roman ruins are still visible everywhere – public buildings, a small amphitheatre, the barracks of the Roman garrison, the foundations of a couple of the oldest churches in Bulgaria, as well as the best preserved Roman fortress in Bulgaria. The southern gate is known as “The Camels”, because it had broken in the middle and looked like two camels facing each other.
  • history of the town in front of the Camel’s Gate
  • coffee break in Hissarja Hotel – option: using the swimming pool

Price: Upon request

Gabrovo with Etara (One day trip)

Gabrovo is a town in central northern Bulgaria, the administrative centre of Gabrovo Province. It is situated at the foot of the central Balkan Mountains, in the valley of the Yantra River, and is known as an international capital of humor and satire, as well as noted for its Bulgarian National Revival architecture. Gabrovo is also known as the longest town in Bulgaria, stretching over 25 km along the Yantra. Near Gabrovo is located the geographic center of BulgariaUzana. The first Bulgarian secular school, the Aprilov Gymnasium, was founded in Gabrovo in 1835 with the aid of Vasil Aprilov and Nikola  Palauzov. Shortly before and after the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1878, Gabrovo developed as a centre of industry on the basis of its economic traditions. Joint-stock companies emerged, factories were constructed and connections to the large stock exchanges were created, prompting some to label the town “The Bulgarian Manchester“.

The Shipka Memorial is a memorial to those who died for the Liberation of Bulgaria during the Battles of Shipka in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. It is located on Peak Stoletov in Stara Planina, central Bulgaria, and was opened with a ceremony in 1934 and designed by architect Atanas Donkov and sculptor Aleksandar Andreev. The monument is a 31.5-metre (98-foot) high stone tower in the form of a truncated pyramid. A giant bronze lion, 8 m (26 feet) long and 4 m (13 feet) high, stands above the entrance to the tower, and a figure of a woman represents the victory over the Ottoman forces. A marble sarcophagus housing some of the remains of the Russian and Bulgarian casualties is located on the first floor. There are four other floors where one can find replica of Bulgarian military flags and other relics, and the top of the tower reveals a panorama of Shipka Peak and the surrounding area.

  • Pedestrian tour in Gabrovo 
  • Visit to the Ethnographical museum in the open-air Etara

The Etara Architectural-Ethnographic Complex, usually referred to as Etara is an open-air museum 8 km south of Gabrovo in northern Bulgaria that presents the Bulgarian customs, culture and craftsmanship. It spans over an area of 7 has and contains a total of 50 objects, including water installations and houses with craftsmen’s workshops attached.
Further we continue to Sokolski Monastery, which is situated just several kilometers away from Etar. NOTE: Entrance ticket to the Etara and lunch are not included

Price: Upon request

Veliko Tarnovo
through Gabrovo and Etara (1 day trip)

Veliko Tarnovo is a city in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Veliko Tarnovo Province. It is located on the Yantra River and is famous as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, attracting many tourists with its unique architecture. The historical part of town, which was the capital of Bulgaria during the Second Bulgarian Empire, lies on three hills – Tsarevets, Trapezitsa and Sveta Gora (Holy Mountain). Veliko Tarnovo is the place where brothers Asen and Peter declared the end of Byzantine rule in Bulgaria, proclaiming the city a capital. Veliko Tarnovo grew quickly to become the strongest Bulgarian fortification of the Middle Ages and the most important political, economic, cultural and religious centre of the empire. In the 14th century as the Byzantine Empire weakened, V. Tarnovo claimed to be the Third Rome based on its preeminent cultural influence in the Balkans and the Slavic Orthodox world. The city flourished and grew for 200 years until falling to the Ottoman Empire on 17 July 1393 after a three-month siege. On 7 July 1877, Russian general Joseph Vladimirovich Gourko liberated Veliko Tarnovo, ending the 480-year-rule of the Ottoman Empire. In reference to the city’s past, Tsar Ferdinand Saxe-Coburg Gotha chose the St. Forty Martyrs Church in Veliko Tarnovo as the place to declare the complete independence of Bulgaria on October 5, 1908.

  • The Blessed Savoir Church in the town of Shipka
  • Shipka Mount – The Liberation War 1877-78.
  • Pedestrian tour in Gabrovo – optional
  • Visit to the Ethnographical museum in the open air Etara
  • Drjanovo Monastery – optional
  • Sightseeing tour of the Carevets Hill
  • Visit to the Arbanasi village – optional

NOTE: Entrance tickets to Etara, Carevets, Preobrazhenski Monastery and lunches are not included.

Price: Upon request

Wine Tasting Tour – wine cellers of your choice (half day trip)
The tour includes:
  • Transport to the wine seller
  • English speaking guide
  • Winetasting of 3, 5, 7 or 8 kinds of red and white wines (depending of your choice)
  • Free time
  • Optional lunch/dinner

Wine cellar TODOROFF – Brestovitsa village (14 km from Plovdiv)

Incl. transfer, sightseeing tour of the cellar and wine tasting of 3 to 5 different white and red wines.

Wine cellar VILLA VINIFERA – Brestovitsa village (14 km from Plovdiv)

Incl. transfer, sightseeing tour of the cellar and wine tasting of 5 to 8 different wines. NO LUNCH/DINNER PROVIDED.

Wine cellar STAROSEL – Starosel village (54 km from Plovdiv)

Incl. transfer, sightseeing tour of the cellar and wine tasting of 3 to 7 different white and red wines.

Price: Upon request

RILA MONASTERY (One day trip)

The Monastery of Saint John of Rila, better known as the Rila Monastery (Bulgarian: Рилски манастир, Rilski manastir) is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. It is situated in the northwestern Rila Mountains, 117 km south of the capital Sofia in the deep valley of the Rilska River at an elevation of 1,147 m above sea level

It is traditionally thought that the monastery was founded by the hermit St. John of Rila (Ivan Rilski), whose name it bears, during the rule of Tsar Peter I (927-968). The hermit actually lived in a cave not far from the monastery’s location, while the complex was built by his students, who came to the mountains to receive their education.

On 25 May 2002, Pope John Paul II, the Slavic Pope visited Rila monastery during his pilgrimage to Bulgaria. He was greeted by the Monastery’s igumen, Bishop Ioan, who had been an observer at the Second Vatican Council.

  • Visit to the Sapareva banya mineral springs – optional
  • Visit to the base camp above Rila monastery (5 km. above) with a view to the high rila peaks

Price: upon request

PERPERIKON – the ancient sacred town of Thracians (one day trip)

The ancient Thracian city of Perperikon is located in the Eastern Rhodopes, 15 km northeast of the present-day town of Kardzhali, Bulgaria, on a 470 m high rocky hill, which is thought to have been a sacred place. It is thought that the famous sanctuary and oracular shrine dedicated to Dionysus of the Bessi was situated there. Human activity in the area dates back to 5000 B.C. The first traces of civilization on the hill date from the Bronze Age, while the ceramics found on the place date from the Early Iron Age, as well as the impressive round altar, almost 2 m in diameter, hewn out of the rocks.  At the time of the Roman Empire, a giant multi-story palace was erected according to archeological evidence, and an imposing with its size fortress was built around the hill, with walls as thick as 2.8 m. Temples and quarters of residential buildings were also constructed in the fortress.

Price: Upon request

HORSERIDING TRIP in The Rodopi Mountain (half day trip)

The starting  point of the ride is at the end of the Brestnik village, 7 kilometers from Plovdiv in the outskirts of the Rhodope Mountain. Green lush meadows and small deciduous  forests alternate already from the beginning. The way leads to some of the chapels surrounding the small monastery of St. St. Kozma and Damian. Further on is the monastery with its famous water springs used both by Christians and Muslims as a remedy for mental diseases. The terrain is flat to dynamic in a hilly area. During the ride you can enjoy gorgeous panoramas over the Thracian valley and the Balkans Mountain. The monastery you are visiting is one of the oldest in the region. Its foundation is dated back to the Second Bulgarian Kingdom by the end of 12th century.

During the trip you are accompanied by a guide who  takes care both of you and the horses.

All the equipment is included and provided except the cloths for the ride.

Price: Upon request