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Travel to Bulgaria, Individual tour - Discover the heart of the Balkans: Balkania Tour> 12 days Self- Drive
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Discovery at the heart of the Balkans à partir de 630 €

Circuit: 12 jours / 11 nuits base 2 personnes

Les points forts du voyage

The taste of freedom is:

- You leave when you want

- You visit what you like

- You eat what you like

- You stop whenever you like

- You organize it as you feel it

Your only constraint – to be in the hotel at night. It is a great formula to make your holiday nice and different.

 

After the tour “Walk in the country of the Rose” , we offer you a better discovery- tour of  Bulgaria. The route you will cover is not only the Central Balkan region, but also the South with the Rhodopes and the East with the Black Sea and its sandy beaches. This is a more comprehensive approach and deeper immersion in the cultural mosaic of Bulgaria. You will have the opportunity to see both sides, the traditions and the present. To ease the pace, 2-3 additional days are recommended (excluding the possible extra stop at the Black Sea coast).


The tour allows you to visit  many sites, the most important of which are:


- The Bulgarian capital - Sofia and its sites (the UNESCO listed Boyana Church)

- The Rila Monastery (UNESCO classified)

- Town-museum of Melnik (overnight stay)

- The Rhodopes with  their typical villages and ancestors’ traditions  (the town-museum  of Shiroka Laka and  Kovatchevitsa - overnight stay)

- The Monastery of Batchkovo (night nearby)

- The Old Plovdiv

- The village of Zheravna (overnight stay)

- Discover the southern coast of the Black Sea with the UNESCO listed town of Nessebar (overnight stay in Old Nessebar)

- Discover the North coast of the Black Sea with the city of Varna and Balchik (overnight stay)

- The region of Shoumen (Madara Horseman - UNESCO classified)

- The town of Veliko Tarnovo and its many relics (overnight stay )

- The town of Kazanlak  with its UNESCO classified Thracian Tomb  (The Valley of  the Thracian Kings with its tombs, the Valley of the Rose)

- The town- museum of Koprivshtitsa (overnight stay)


This list is indicative and depends on your interests and time you want to spend on each visit. You may be surprised by the country's wealth and variety of tours, both natural and cultural.


We remind you that we have total control of our products. Therefore, if some details of the tour suit you more than others, we can make changes on both the duration and itinerary.

Our team is at your disposal to answer all your questions relating to this tour and / or  its possible modification (please don’t hesitate to send us  a tailor-made tour request)


 

Votre voyage jour après jour

Day 1 - SOFIA - Discovery of the Capital

You will be greeted at the airport by our car rental partner for the keys of your rented vehicle.

 

Depending on your arrival time, the first day you will discover the capital and the Sofiotes. You will do a panoramic tour or walking downtown  in order to discover the most beautiful historic buildings in the capital..

You will also find the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the incomparable collection of icons in the crypt(dating from the 12th to 19th century), , the Russian Church St. Nicolas, St. George Rotunda, the Basilica of St. Sophia, the Church of St. Petka Paraskeva , the Parliament located in the city centre, the Banya Bashi Mosque, built in 1576.


You will stay  in Sofia in a 3 *** hotel located in the residential suburbs of Sofia, Boyana, opposite the church carrying  the same name. At the foot of Vitosha, the hotel has only 6 rooms but they are nice and spacious.You have the added benefit of internet,free parking and present on site owner available to answer your first questions(in English)


 

Day 2 - SOFIA > RILA > MELNIK - From the capital to the Greek border

Down towards the south, you will have a tremendous encounter  of the Rila  Monastery. This is the  emblematic symbol of the Bulgarian orthodoxy protected by the UNESCO for the quality of its iconostases, its architecture and  history. Nestled in a beautiful mountain scenery this visit will leave you breathless.

You will leave the Rila mountain range and  enter  the Pirin  Nature Reserve, also protected by UNESCO, characterized by its alpine landscapes, where bears and wolves still reside. You will then reach the very south of the country, just next to the Greece-Bulgarian border.

You will  arrive at the small typical wine village of Melnik The natural pyramids that surround it are a unique  natural phenomenon .The strange landscape consists of sandy cliffs, cut by erosion.. The village is famous for its wine production . Do not hesitate to taste these wines, especially the local grape varieties such as Melnik or Mavrud.
 Nearby, the entirely wooden monastery of Rozhen deserves to be seen. The 10m long dining room, the vines overhanging its yard and the faded frescoes will thrill you to bits.
 
You will sleep in a family-run hotel with a good tavern in the historic centre of the town. Ideal opportunity to taste the local specialties.

 
Step 210 km

 

 

Day 3 - MELNIK > KOVATCHEVITSA >SHIROKA LAKA - In the Rhodopes

You will penetrate the Rhodopes massif, characterized by its round highlands and Pomak and Turkish villages identifiable thanks to the white minarets of their mosques.  You will have time to discover all these beauties as the road in the Rhodopes is sinuous, narrow and unique, which requires an average speed between 35 and 40 km/h
Opportunities for rest stops and natural visits are plentiful.
 
We suggest you to visit the small,unspoilt by the”mass-tourism“village of Kovachevitsa . The village will allow you to discover the life in  the 19th century Bulgaria. You will even have the feeling that the time has stopped there. Situated alongside the river Kanina, its existence dates back to the beginning of the 17th century. Bulgarians who fled the Turkish islamization settled there. Even nowadays Kovachevitsa has  preserved the atmosphere of the past thanks to its houses with  beautiful slate roofs and its “fortified” architecture”.
After this stop, you will continue through   the Trigrad Gorge, named after the small town situated nearby. At certain places, the sheer walls overhanging the foaming river form a narrow corridor. "The worry" feeling when facing these immense cliffs will be quickly  replaced by a feeling of pure astonishment in front of the breathtaking beauty of the place.  
This wild terrain abounds in caves and some of them(the Yagodina and the Devil’s Throat) are opened to the public.  

Your next stop is the village of Shiroka Laka (architectural reserve), known not only  in Bulgaria but also abroad with its original architecture, typical of the Rhodope region, its traditions and its rich musical past.

 

It is the centre of a small area of five villages (Stoykite, Gela, Stikal and Solichta) where the Christian population is mixed with the Bulgarian Muslims  due to the islamisation of the Rhodopes region during the Ottoman rule - 17th century).

The natural insecurity of the population during the Ottoman period, the national consciousness  and the economic prosperity  reflected in the architecture of the houses  which are of "the big Rhodopes house“ type. They are two stories high, with bay windows and stone chimneys, thick walls, small battered windows and doors ,wooden stairs and a small cellar with shelter.
There are fountains in the middle of their paved courtyards . All this is created with great taste and in harmony with nature.

Just a few kilometres above is  the village of Gela -the legendary birthplace of the mythical singer Orpheus. To follow the music tradition the National School of Folklore Arts was founded in Shiroka Laka. The town of Gela also hosts the International Bagpipe festival in August.

You will sleep in Shiroka Laka in a 4 **** hotel with magnificent restaurant which offers specialties from the Rhodopes.

Step 140 km

 

Day 4 - SHIROKA LAKA >BACHKOVO - The land of Orpheus

You will finish your journey in the Rhodopes by passing other villages including the ski resort of Pamporovo, the third largest in the country .You will arrive in the village of Bachkovo , best known for its famous monastery which is an important place for the Bulgarian spirituality. Founded in 1083 by the Byzantine commander Georgian Bakuriani, it remained the favourite destination of the Bulgarian tsars.
Asleep” under the Ottoman empire, the Monastery continued to receive support and donations from the christian population. The beautiful church St. Mary in the courtyard was built in 1604 and keeps a few sculptures from the 17th century. The last renovations took place in the years 1830 - 1840 with frescos from Master Zahari Zograf and his disciples.  
Apart from visiting the monastery, you'll be able to do a little hiking in this beautiful and unspoilt natural surroundings.
 
Accommodation will be in a nice little family-run hotel in the countryside, equipped with a tavern, a restaurant with an outdoor terrace and a splendid natural environment.

 
Step 80 km

 

Day 5 - BACHKOVO > PLOVDIV > ZERAVNA - From the Rhodophe to the Central Balkan

On the road to Zheravna  you will pass through the city of Plovdiv, located in the Thracian plain, on the banks of the River Maritsa and on seven hills. This is the second largest urban centre of population, by area and by its place as a cultural centre.  

The Old Plovdiv, called the architectural reserve of the 18th and 19th centuries " is admired by all visitors. The remains of the Thracian civilization mingle with Roman  monuments, while the old Turkish mosques add an oriental flavour to a city where successive  and sometimes antagonists civilizations have managed to combine the best of what they had to offer  to create the original  personality of Plovdiv .
But above all the exceptional group of houses from the era of the national awakening in the "Trimontium" or Old Plovdiv are these  that gives this young and lively city its unique charm.
 
Thereafter, you will return to the Central Balkan to go towards Zheravna. .In the middle of the wilderness you will have the opportunity to discover one of the most beautiful Bulgarian villages. Zheravna is one of the  architectural sites protected by the country.The area is extremely well stocked with game and fish and you will notice this in your dining menu in one of the local taverns.  

You will sleep in one of the finest ,if not the most beautiful guesthouse in the village, built of wood, with its charming landscaped courtyard and  its typical decoration.

 
Step 250 km

 

Day 6 - ZERAVNA > NESSEBAR - Discover the city with forty churches

Founded by the Thracians at the end of the 2nd millennium BC, Nessebar has a rich and eventful history due to its strategic location.
World Heritage Site by Unesco for its outstanding architectural ensemble of Byzantine style, with its famous churches, houses of the Renaissance, its narrow cobblestone streets that give the city a great interest and a special atmosphere.
 Among the churches to see is that of the Christ Pantocrator currently used as an art gallery, the Church of St. Saviour and its famous frescoes or that of St. John The Baptist.

You will sleep in a 3 *** hotel in the  historic centre of the old city .

 

Step 150 km

 

Day 7 - NESSEBAR > VARNA > BALCHIK - The golden beaches of the Black Sea

You will travel along the coastline of the Black Sea, through Sunny Beach, a seaside resort  which apart from entertainment attracts tourists with its magnificent stretch of white sand.
 
Then you will  reach Varna, "The Pearl of the Black Sea “which has a high international reputation. This seaside resort has beautiful beaches and parks, many shops, different restaurants, trendy cafes and it is also a home of many cultural halls. A rich history which make this city full of charm. You can visit the sea garden and its museum, the magnificent cathedral, the unique archaeological museum (you will discover the oldest worked gold in the world), the Roman Baths ...
 
Leaving Varna, and continuing North, you will discover one of the most extraordinary natural phenomena in Bulgaria - The standing stones or also named Stone Forest, strange stone columns whose origin still arouses great controversy .
 
You will return to the northern coast, certainly the finest in the country to reach the town of Balchik, which will enchant you with the tranquillity that reigns there. The town, built on several levels is also a place unspoilt by the mass tourism.
 
Further North, the Kaliakra cape  is now a nature reserve where you can observe many species. This region is full of myths and legends and the view from the cape is awesome.

You will spend the night in a charming 3 *** hotel, with many flowers, overlooking the sea.

 

Step 145 km

 

Day 8 - BALCHIK > SHOUMEN - The origins of the Bulgarian State 

As you go along the north slope of the Central Balkan you will reach the town of Shoumen. The city as the area offers a page of history through its historical remains and the atmosphere that prevails..
Here you can also visit the second largest mosque in the entire Balkan region and the largest in Bulgaria - the mosque Tomboul
The region is very rich historically and you will discover the remains of the glorious past of the Bulgarian Khans.

Indeed, in this part of the country are located the first two historical capitals of Bulgaria (Pliska and Veliki Preslav).
 
You can also admire the Madara Horseman bas-relief carved in stone at 23 m above the ground . It is representing a horseman whose mount is trampling a lion( symbol of Byzantium) with the assistance of a greyhound . It is world heritage of UNESCO. The symbolic power of this sculpture is so big that you can even find it on  the Bulgarian currency.

You sleep in a small family hotel 3 *** in the city centre which has also a restaurant and an excellent location.

 

Step 150 km

 

Day 9 - SHOUMEN > VELIKO TARNOVO - City of the Bulgarians Tsars

You continue along the north slope of the  Central Balkan to reach the town of Veliko Tarnovo. The capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire between the 12th and 14th century was considered the most beautiful city in the Balkans after Constantinople. Destroyed by the Turks in 1393, we can still admire the fortifications. The city tour is impressive because of  its rich history, natural beauty of the site, its houses hanging above the Yantra River, all in a medieval setting. The visit of the citadel - Tsarevets is a must to enjoy this slice of history.  

The village of Arbanassi located 4 kms away will be a delightful visit.The  Classified village- museum, has old beautiful fortress-like stone houses and churches decorated with murals with the highest artistic value. You can visit the house Konstantsilev (transformed into a museum) before seeing the beautiful Church of  the Nativity.
The Monastery of the Transfiguration, located 6 km from Veliko Tarnovo on a peak, is an outstanding example of architecture and icon painting from the period of the Bulgarian national awakening . You will see the  "Judgement Day" and the "life cycle", two compositions of great value .

You will sleep in a small charming 3 *** hotel in Veliko Tarnovo, close to the citadel.

 

Step 140 km


Day 10 - VELIKO TARNOVO > KAZANLAK >KOPRIVSHTITSA - The Valley of the Thracian Kings

Before crossing the Balkan,  you will have the opportunity to make some of the most unforgettable visits.
 
We recommend you the beautiful town of Tryavna . It attracts tourists from Bulgaria and abroad for its rich cultural and historical heritage and for its architecture in the style of the Bulgarian National Revival .
 
You must also pass the nearby village of Bozhentsi. The village is well known for its preserved architecture, its restored houses with tiled roofs and in "national awakening" style nestled in a natural setting. The local cuisine is also famous - taverns with rich menus and friendly staff.
Before crossing the Central Balkan, you will  have the opportunity to make one of the most unforgettable visits-the picturesque open-air museum of Etara. It is an ethnographic village created in 1964 which recounts the lifestyle of the region in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Through  the Shipka Pass to reach the southern slopes of the Balkan,located on the heights of the Shipka village is one of the places you should not miss. The beautiful Russian Orthodox church (Church of the Nativity) was built by the Bulgarians to thank the Russians for having helped them out of the Ottoman yoke.Here you will have a beautiful view of a portion of the Valley of the Thracian Kings and outlined several Thracian mounds including the royal tomb of Seuthes III - The Great Kosmatka.
Descending into the plain,you are now crossing the Valley of the Thracian Kings,where a stop in  the town of Kazanlak-a veritable repository of the Thracian civilization,is a must. Indeed, it is here that was discovered  the first royal tomb of the time-a world heritage of UNESCO.
Its visit is highly recommended  to  discover this little-known people, which were  the most powerful in Europe and the Mediterranean long before the Romans.
Here you can also enjoy visiting the Museum of the Rose, which is a specialty of the country (Bulgaria is the first world producer of rose oil required for the manufacture of perfume). Besides, the valley is also called” Valley of Roses "and you'll discover the different uses of this flower.

Later you will arrive in the the colourful town of Koprivshtitsa, which is part of the Great Revolution of April 1876 for the liberation from Ottoman rule.

Preserved in its authentic appearance, nestled in the mountains, it is a page of Bulgarian history which deserves to be told.


In  Koprivshtitsa you will sleep in a small ,traditional style guest house.The locals are famous with their kindness and hospitality.

 

Step 190 km

 

Day 11 - KOPRIVSHTITSA > SOFIA - A colourful village

In  Koprivshtitsa, you will be able to visit house-museums like those  of Kablechkov, Debelanov, Karavelov, or Benkovski who were  revolutionary writers and are nowadays   considered as heroes.  The houses Lutov and Oslekov ,as well as the church St Nikolai are also a must-see  to give you an idea of the life there more than a century ago .

All here is loaded with history


In the surroundings you can stop in the spa town of Hissaria. Founded by the Romans and destroyed several times over the centuries, it still retains vestiges of the great days of its history as the ramparts of the fortress, an ancient amphitheatre, Roman baths and churches.


Nearby, in the village of Starosel,was discovered the largest Thracian sanctuary.

 Recently opened to the public, it is thought to be the last resting place of a powerful Odrysae king.

 

Back in Sofia take advantage of your last moments in Bulgaria  to finish the visits that you have not had the time to do on the first day or why not do a little bit of  shopping .


After dinner,you will sleep in the same hotel 3*** that on the day of your arrival

 

Step 110 km

 

Day 12 - SOFIA - Departure for UK 

After returning back your vehicle, you will fly home to get back to your normal life after this lovely break in Bulgaria

 

 

 

 

 

Prix par période/ par personne/ en chambre double

1) du 01 April au 30 April 630 €
2) du 01 May au 30 June 720 €
3) du 01 July au 31 August 770 €
4) du 01 September au 30 September 720 €
5) du 01 October au 31 October 630 €

Prix par période/ par personne/ en chambre individuelle

1) du 01 April au 30 April 990 €
2) du 01 May au 30 June 1150 €
3) du 01 July au 31 August 1190 €
4) du 01 September au 30 September 1150 €
5) du 01 October au 31 October 990 €
Le prix comprend Le prix ne comprend pas

- Filing Fees

- The delivery and recovery of the rental car at the airport in Sofia

- Renting a vehicle Economy Class (2 pax), intermediate (3 pax) or higher (4 pax) in unlimited mileage,  insurance and road taxes, assistance 24/7


- Accommodation in guest houses, hotels 3 stars and 4stars (double occupancy)

- The breakfast

- The travel and vouchers with map and / or indications for hotels

- Hotline Balkania Tour 24 / 24


- The return flight ( check prices and book )

- Airport taxes

- The cancellation insurance, repatriation and medical expenses

- Deposit for the rented vehicle

- Fuel

On vous dit tout

Air Flight

You can always check the price of airline tickets and book through the functionality available to you on our website. Click ticket from the home page.

 

Discounts for children

- Children under 2 years - free. The child does not have a seat reserved for the transport and sharing  the room with 2 adults (extra bed)

- Children from 2 to 12 years - 20% discount. The child shares the room with 2 adults (extra bed)

- The number of children sharing room with 2 adults is limited to 2

 

Book early, pay less

- For bookings made at least three months in advance a discount of 5% will apply


Important

- No minimum number of participants. For groups over 5, thank you for contacting us so that we can make you an offer  for your situation.

- If you do not sleep in the accommodation provided, no refund will be considered and your night will be charged to you.

- Upon delivery of the vehicle, a deposit of 100 to 300 € depending on the class of vehicle will be required. It will be returned when the vehicle is returned if no damage has occurred.




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