In response to the many inquiries the BMNECC has received regarding country-wide tours of Bulgaria, we are offering a special package for our members, associates and friends. We have carefully developed this program to showcase the diverse culture, history and beauty of the various regions of Bulgaria. We anticipate a late summer/early fall 2009 program, and will post detailed schedules and prices once we determine the level of interest in this tour. Below is a sample itinerary of the 7-night excursion. If you are interested, please contact Pat French at 412-831-5101 or by email.
A Taste of Bulgaria
A 7-night cultural tour traveling from Sofia to the Black Sea.
Day 1. Arrival in Sofia. Meet at the airport and transfer to our 4-star boutique hotel. At 7:00 pm, we will meet in the hotel lobby for a welcome glass of wine. At 7:30 pm, we will walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner.
Day 2. Full Day in Sofia. After breakfast we will start our tour with a visit to the Boyana Chuch, painted in 1259 and included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List. Afterwards, we will drive to the National History Museum to view the Thracian Golden treasures. At noon, we will drive to the Dragalevski Monastery with paintings dating from the 15th century. A traditional Bulgarian lunch at the Vodentitsata restaurant follows. At 2:30 pm, we will travel back to Sofia to view the main sites. We'll visit St. Alexander Nevski Square to visit the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevski, the Basilica of St. Sofia (6th century), and the Icon Gallery in the Crypt. At 4:30 pm, there will be an optional visit to the Archaeological museum and to the Rotunda of St. George (4th century, built with paintings dating back to 10th, 12th, and 14th centuries). At 7:30 pm, we will have dinner at a traditional restaurant, Pod Lipite. Overnite in Sofia.
Day 3. Rila Monastery - Plovdiv. After breakfast, depart for Rila monastery with a stop in Dupnitsa or Kocherinovo for coffee or tea. We start the tour of the monastery, where we visit the newly renovated museum, rooms, old kitchen, church and chapels. At 1:30 pm we will have lunch in a restaurant near the monastery. At 3:00 pm, we depart for the town of Plovdiv, stopping in the town of Pazardjik to see beautiful wood carved iconostasis in the Church of the Virgin Mary. Arrival in Plovdiv will be around 7:30 pm, with dinner in our hotel, the Hotel Hebros in Old Town Plovdiv.
Day 4. After breakfast, our guide walks with us through Old Plovdiv, including a visit to the Roman Theater, Art Studio of Anastas, the Gallery of Zlatyo Boyadjiev, the Ethnographic Museum, the Church of Saints Constantine and Helen, the house museum of Hendliyan. At 1:00 pm we will depart for Assenovgrad for a private lunch in the house of Efrosina and Vasil. Afterwards, we visit the monastery of Bachkovo, its refectory and ossuary. At 5:00 pm we drive to the village of Brestovitsa to have a wine tasting at Todoroff Cellars. Return to Plovdiv for dinner at the Old Town Residence. This is a restaurant furnished in classic design by a Bulgarian who graduated from St. Petersburg in interior design, reflecting copies of Hermitage decorations. You will experience beautiful ambience, good cuisine and service, with serenading piano and violin musicians.
Day 5. After breakfast, depart for Kazanluk, about a 1 hour drive, to visit the "Valley of the Thracian Kings" recent archeological discoveries of Thracian tombs and museum with gold artifacts from the excavations, some dating from the 4th century B.C. A private Orthodox choir concert at the Church of the Holy Assumption will precede lunch at Restaurant Orient in Kazanluk. Around 2:30 pm, we will depart for Varna on the Black Sea, with dinner at our hotel, the State Residence of Euxinograd.
Day 6. Morning free at the beach. Afternoon drive to Balchik to visit the palace of the Romanian Queen Marie, surrounded by the beautiful gardens with more than 600 varieties of trees, shrubs and cacti. Visit to Cape Kaliakra's ancient ruins and splendid sea views from the cliffs.
Dinner with fresh fish and mussels at a mussel farm near Cape Kaliakra. After dinner, we will drive back to our hotel in Varna.
Day 7. Time to enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches and sea. There will be an optional visit to the Historical Museum in Varna, famous for its gold artifacts from Varna Necropolis, dating back to the 5th century B.C. Our farewell dinner that evening will be in Varna.
Day 8. Depart Varna for Sofia and your flight home or for optional extensions you may select.