Embark on a captivating journey through the charm and history of Romania and Bulgaria with Universal Travels. Explore the medieval wonders of Transylvania, admire the stunning landscapes of the Carpathian Mountains, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Bucharest. Continue your adventure to Bulgaria, where ancient history meets modern elegance. Discover the rich heritage of Sofia, roam through picturesque Rila Monastery, and relax on the Black Sea coast. Let Universal Travels guide you through these enchanting destinations, ensuring a seamless blend of exploration, relaxation, and cultural immersion on your Romania-Bulgaria tour.
Arrival at airport Sofia at 14:40 with flight QR 227 SA 25 JUN DOHSOF 0950 1440. Transfer to hotel Crystal Palace 4* or similar. Walking tour of Sofia – the capital of Bulgaria, which combines the ancient and the modern city in one. Sofia –Panoramic tour on foot, during which you will see the main sights – Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the Parliament, Banya Bashi Mosque, The Synagogue, the National Theatre, the Kings’ Palace. Overnight in Sofia Crystal Palace 4* or similar.
Breakfast at the hotel. Today we will make tour of Rila Monastery, which is the biggest monastery. In Bulgaria and the second largest on the Balkans, it is one of the best preserved UNESCO heritage sites in the Orthodox world. Optional dinner at a Folklore restaurant in Sofia. Overnight in Sofia at hotel Crystal Palace 4* or similar.
Rila Monastery (UNESCO) was founded in the 10th century by St John of Rila, a hermit canonized by the Orthodox Church. His ascetic dwelling and tomb became a holy site and were transformed into a monastic complex which played an important role in the spiritual and social life of medieval Bulgaria. Destroyed by fire at the beginning of the 19th century, the complex was rebuilt between 1834 and 1862. A characteristic example of the Bulgarian Renaissance (18th–19th centuries), the monument symbolizes the awareness of a Slavic cultural identity during the centuries of Ottoman occupation
Breakfast at the hotel. Tour of Plovdiv – known for its Old Town and the ancient theater. Optional dinner at the restaurant of the hotel. Overnight in Plovdiv at hotel Ramada 4* or similar. Plovdiv – the town of seven hills, is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Here you willsee remains of a Thracian fortress (5th century BC) and well preserved remains from the Roman times to our days. The Old Town is a marvelous site, with its picturesque churches, the mosque and many houses with architecture, specific atmosphere, and the spirit of Bulgarian Revival period. Your guide will show you the fabulous remains of the Ancient Roman Empire – the Roman Stadium, the Roman Forum, and the Amphitheater.
Breakfast at the hotel. We start with a tour to Kazanlak and the
Valley of the Kings. Kazanlak is world famous with its Thracian tomb, a UNESCO heritage and with its Thracian golden treasures (4-5 century B.C.). After lunch we continue our day with transfer Burgas. Optional dinner at the restaurant of the hotel. Overnight in Burgas at hotel Bulgaria 4* or similar.
The Kazanlak Tomb, UNESCO world heritage site is based on its architectural outlook, it belongs to the dome tombs, typical for the Thracian funeral architecture from the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 3rd century BC.
Breakfast at the hotel. Full day tour: Nesebar – the town is part of the UNESCO’s World Treasures Aladzha Monastery, which is a rock monastery known for being located in caves, Balchik, Varna –the capital of the Black sea coast. Optional dinner at the restaurant of the hotel. Overnight in Varna at hotel Golden Tulip 4* or similar.
Nesebar is one of the most ancient towns in Europe, founded 3200 years ago. During Antiquity the town was called Mesembria, in the middle Ages it was known as Mesemvria, and it was later renamed to Nesebar. Numerous archeological finds provide evidence of the centuries-old history of ancient Nesebar. Ever since it was founded, the town has always been surrounded by fortification walls, some remains of which have survived to this day.
Aladzha Monastery is one of the few cave monasteries in Bulgaria, where the different premises and their functions are clearly distinguishable. The monastery premises are carved and arranged on two levels in a limestone rock that is almost 40 m high. There are no reliable historical records as to when the monastery was established, but there is evidence that it already existed in the 10th – 12th centuries. The Palace in Balchik is the former summer residence of the Romanian Queen Maria Alexandrina Victoria de Edinburg (1875 – 1938). It is situated approximately 2 km south-west of Balchik in a beautiful locality between the Balchik rocks and the sea. The Palace is a designated archaeological and constructional monument of culture and a monument of the gardening and landscape art. Just next to the terraces is formed beautiful waterfall, with a height of 25 meters. Another smaller waterfall flours from “Allah’s garden” through thick wall to three-flow fountain into a deep stone pool. The University Botanical Garden in Balchik was established in 1955 by Acad. Prof. Daki Jordanov on the territory of the park of the former summer residence of Queen Marie of Romania. Today the Botanical Garden spreads over an area of 190,000 m² and accommodates collections with over 3500 plant species.
Varna was established in the 6th century BC under the name of Odessos by emigrants from the town of Milet in Asia Minor. For a short time it turned into a polis and one of the most important ports and commercial centers on the Black Sea. Because of its history and its economic and cultural significance, it is often called the Sea Capital of Bulgaria.
Breakfast at the hotel.
Full day tour across the ages through the first Bulgarian capitals:
• Visiting of Pliska – the first capital of Bulgaria,
• Madara Rider, a mystic UNESCO heritage site, who is chiseled in the rock,
• Preslav – the second capital of ancient Bulgaria,
• Arbanasi – beautiful village, which offer fantastic view to Veliko Tarnovo.
• Veliko Tarnovo – the capital of the strongest Bulgarian kings.
Optional dinner at the restaurant of the hotel. Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo at Grand Hotel Yantra 4* or similar.
Pliska, which has incredible excavations and is also the oldest capital of Bulgaria, Madara Rider, UNESCO heritage listed site, which is located near Shumen and dates from the time of the Bulgarian Khans.
Madara Rider, UNESCO heritage listed site, which is located near Shumen and dates from the time of the Bulgarian Khans. The most notable monument at the Madara reserve is the unique stone relief known as the Madara Rider. The relief depicts a horseman in a natural pose with a sword in his hand. At the feet of the horse is a lion, and behind the rider is depicted his hunting dog. One legend has it, that a Roman emperor was hunting on the plateau when he fell off the cliff and died. His relatives memorialized him by engaging a master to carve his image on the cliff.
Preslav was known as a spiritual and literature center, where the development of the Slavic written language and the Golden Age of Bulgaria during the rule of Tsar Simeon I (who reigned in the period 893 – 927) took place.
The village of Arbanasi is located on a high plateau 5 km from the city of Veliko Tarnovo. It is known that the village existed during the time of the Second Bulgarian State (1185 – 1393). At that time the Bolyari (nobles), living in the capital Tarnovo, used it as a summer residence. According to the legend, the Tsar of Tarnovo minted coins here.
Breakfast at the htoel. Tour of Veliko Tarnovo which is the Town of Great Bulgarian Tzars, Etar – the ethnographic museum. Transfer to Sofia. Optional dinner at the restaurant of the hotel. Overnight in Sofia at hotel Crystal Palace 4* or similar. Veliko Tarnovo is one of the oldest towns in the country, as its history dates back to more than five thousand years ago, which is proven by the archaeological excavations made here. The upsurge of Veliko Tarnovo is related to the period of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185 – 1396). In 1185 the town was declared capital of the restored Bulgarian State by the brothers Asen and Petar, which marked the end of the Byzantine dominion that continued for 167 years. After its selection for a capital, the town developed fast, as within the period 12th – 14th century it was the most unconquerable Bulgarian fortress, as well as a cultural and intellectual center of Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula.
The Architectural and Ethnographic Complex Etar is situated on the outskirts of the town of Gabrovo. It is an open air museum. The Complex Etar was established in the year 1964 and was declared an architectural and ethnographic monument of national significance. The museum contains a total of 50 sites – houses with handcraft workshops, water installations and other buildings. The only collection in Bulgaria of technical installations driven by water – filling mills, water mills, grindstones, etc., are situated here. 16 houses can be seen on the handcrafts bazaar (the central commercial street) in the Etar, which are exact copies of buildings, existing in the past in Gabrovo and the region. On the handcrafts street the visitors can observe in real time the work of the craftsmen. Multiple handcrafts are presented – bell-making (manufacturing of wrought bells for animals), pottery-making, sugar-making (manufacturing of sugar articles), furriery, manufacturing of copper vessels, etc.
Breakfast at the hotel. Free time for shopping. Transfer to Airport Sofia at 14:00 pm for the flight QR 228 SA 02 JUL SOFDOH 1710 2145.