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Tour Travel in Bulgaria: On the Road of Bulgarian Monasteries - 10 days Self Drive
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On the road of the Bulgarian monasteries à partir de 530 €

Circuit: 10 jours / 9 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 agreat formula to make your holiday enjoyable and different. 
The tour takes you through areas of high concentration of monasteries. Therefore, you can chose which ones to visit. We also offer you unique emotions along your itinerary with 3 nights being planned in monasteries! 
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 Monastery of Glozhene (overnight stay)
- The Troyan Monastery
- The town of Veliko Tarnovo and its many relics (overnight stay  - Arbanassi)
- The Monastery of Sokolovo (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 Old Plovdiv and the Monastery of Batchkovo 
- The Rhodopes with  their typical villages and ancestors’ traditions  (the town-museum  of Shiroka Laka and  Kovatchevitsa - overnight stay)
- Town-museum of Melnik (overnight stay)
- The Rila Monastery (UNESCO classified) - 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 - Discover 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.
Day 2 - Sofia > Monastery of Glozhene - Monastery of History 
You will head east  to arrive in the small village of Glozhene, located at the foot of Mount Lisset.
The surrounding village is impressive, but it is the monastery located on the heights which is its main asset.
Founded by Prince of Kiev Grigory Gloj and  named after him, the monastery of Sveti Georgi Probedonosets has a turbulent and mysterious history . Built in the 13th century, it was later transferred  nearby, where it is currently located. Dedicated to St George, it was partly destroyed by an earthquake in 1913. 
By staying overnight you will have rich in emotions , first hand experience of the monastery.
The area is superb for exploring the charming , exceptionally diverse nature, forests and secular  trees, steep cliffs, , waterfalls, and caves.
Nearby, in the Biosphere Reserve "Tzatitchina" we can find a huge variety of over 600 kinds of plants, some listed in the Red Book of Bulgaria.  You  can follow the very easy tourist trail to the nearby reserves  "Boatine" and "Kosia Stena".  
(100 km)
Day 3 - Monastery of Glozhene > Troyan > Veliko Tarnovo - The City of the Bulgarian Tsars
You will follow the north slope of the  Central Balkan in direction of Veliko Tarnovo.
On your way you can stop in the town of  Troyan  to visit its magnificent monastery .
Built towards the end of the 16th century., it also underwent some political and religious events . It was rebuilt in 1835 and decorated in 1848 by  master Zahari Zograf.  The Troyan Monastery remains a Mecca  of the Bulgarian spirituality.  This is the third most important monastery in the country .
Just next to it  is located an  exposition of the arts and trades of the master craftsmen in  the country.  We advise you to visit it because this is also an opportunity to buy some quality souvenirs or valuable objects.  
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 will be a delightful visit. 
Hiding high on a plateau, 4km northeast of Tarnovo,and overlooking Tsarevets and Trapezitsa to the south,Arbanassi is one of Bulgaria’s most picturesque villages.It has old beautiful fortress-like stone houses and churches decorated with murals from a high artistic value. You can visit one of the finest of Arbanasi’s old houses,the Konstantsaliev house,named after the family who build and owned the house.Following restoration work in 1958, the building houses a museum of the lifestyle of the local population in the nineteenth century.  
The beautiful Church of the Nativity from the 15th century and its incredible iconostasis of 3500 characters painted in the 16th to the 18th century is a recommended visit,as is the Monastery of the Transfiguration. Located 6 km from Veliko Tarnovo on a peak,it  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 extraordinary value .
You will sleep in a small, charming 3 *** hotel in Veliko Tarnovo, close to the citadel
with a magnificent view over the meandering Yantra.
  (170 km)
Day 4 - Veliko Tarnovo > Sokolovo Monastery - Spiritual Encounter
Upon entering the Balkan you pass near the monastery of Drianovo which restful ambience makes the place a worthwhile visit. Destroyed and rebuilt many times it is a fine example of the unbreakable spirit of  believers under the Ottoman occupation.
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.  
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.Specialized in the decorative arts, its main street is very charming and it will allow you to buy  some original souvenirs.
It is possible to do a 2-hour eco-tour from Bozhentsi to Tryavna 
Before you reach the monastery of Sokolovo you will stop in 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. Artisans are at work here , hammering blades, throwing pots etc. They demonstrate traditional skills and everything they make is for sale. It’s difficult not to admire the interior of the old houses, all in national awakening style and the beautiful vicinity. 
We will make the end of the day a little bit special, thanks to the encounter and the visit of the Monastery of Sokolovo, located just 4 km away. 
Built in 1833, in a true corner of paradise, it is richly decorated with frescoes and  it shelters valuable icons . 
The master Kolio Fitcheto also contributed to its beauty by building a fountain, a true masterpiece. The tranquility that prevails and the breathtaking view will help you rise above the material world. 
You will spend the night on site to give emotion to your trip and to make your experience  unusual, despite the  spartan conditions.
(90 km)
Day 5 - Sokolovo Monastery > Plovdiv > Bachkovo - The Valley of the Thracian Kings
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.
Crossing the Staga ridge,which joins the Balkan range to the Sredna Gora,the road enters the small town of Kalofer.Nestled in a lovely valley,and cut through by the river Tundzha, in symbiosis with nature, it is a place of rest and discovery.
This small mountain town  has a  very strong traditions which is certainly inherited by its history and its famous "children" including the legendary poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev.   
Before reaching Bachkovo, you will stop in 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 and historical  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 antagonist 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. 
A walk along the central pedestrian street of Prince Alexander of Battenberg with its neo-baroque facades will take you to the Church Sts. Constantine and Helena with its icons of the master Zahari Zograf, Djoumaya Mosque, the Roman amphitheatre and the Old Plovdiv.
In the afternoon you will head south,across the Thracian plain to reach the foot of the Rhodope massif and the village of Bachkovo 
Heading south, you will cross the Thracian plain to reach the foot of the Rhodope massif and  the village of Bachkovo. 
Bachkovo is best known for its famous monastery which is an important place for the Bulgarian spirituality. Founded in 1083 by the Georgian Pakuriani, Byzantine commander 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. You can also admire the "miraculous" icon of the Virgin ,which legend claims to be an authentic portrait of Mary ,painted by the Apostle Luke. The icon plays a central role in celebrations of the name day of the Assumption of the Virgin(August 15),and a ritual procession  to a chapel in the nearby hills 25 days after the Orthodox Easter.
You will sleep in a family hotel situated along the river opposite the monastery.
(170 km)
Day 6 - Bachkovo > Shiroka Laka > Kovatchevitsa - The Land of Orpheus
Next 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. The Rhodope massif is still a sparsely inhabited environment and the nature reigns here.  Opportunities for rest stops and natural visits are plentiful.
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. 
The route is still mountainous and very spectacular. We suggest you to stay in Kovachevitsa, a small village unspoilt by the tourists. The village will allow you to discover the life of the local people in the 19th century. 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.  
In the vicinity, you can pass  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 “astonishment”  in front of the breathtaking beauty of the place.  
This wild terrain abounds in caves and some of them are opened to the public. Among them are the cave of the Devil‘s Throat, near Trigrad, and the Yagodina cave, which is part of the magnificent Karst complex of the gorge of the river Buynovska.
10 km long ,it is composed of mazes, ditches and several rooms on 5 levels. There are traditional cave formations, but also "pearls" of limestone having been shaped in a millions of years . 
You will sleep in Kovachevitsa in a guest house whose  owners will offer you a dinner in their tavern.  You can ask them for a trip in the forest  in an old Jeep from the Russian era which is a great experience.  Various excursions are possible.
(180 km)
Day 7 - Kovatchevitsa > Melnik - At the Greek border 
Next you will reach the small typical town of Melnik . The natural pyramids that surround it are a unique  natural phenomenon .The strange landscape consists of sandy cliffs, cut by erosion.
The sunset is a moment of high emotional intensity that will add a romantic touch to your stay.
The town is centered around a single main street running  alongside the riverbed from where you can admire the special architectural style of this region. You can visit house- museums, especially the one of Kordopulov; also stop in the friendly taverns and leave yourself to be carried away by this detached atmosphere. 
Melnik is a town with traditions in wine-making. The winery of Damyanitsa will offer you full-bodied red wine which will surprise you by its quality..  
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 can get to the monastery on foot in the morning. It is about 2 hours walk from Melnik.
You will sleep in a family-run hotel with a good tavern in the historic centre of the city-
an ideal opportunity to taste the local specialties.
(85 km)
Day 8 - Melnik > Bansko > Rila - The most visited site in Bulgaria
Before entering the Rila massif to visit the famous Rila Monastery, you can make a little detour through the town of Bansko.
Founded in the 15th century,the small town manages to mix traditional Bulgarian architecture with holiday-resort flair.
The style of Bansko is representative of the rural landscape of  the 18-19 centuries.The unique in their kind fortified houses, are silent witnesses of the independent nature of its former inhabitants. A significant number of these houses have now been converted to restaurants(mehana)where dinner is often a show, mixing live music,culinary delights and ancient customs.
Stroll around the old neighbourhood . Visit the typical for Bansko Veljanov house with its magnificent murals. Also, stop at the church of St. Trinity(a great example of the Bulgarian Renaissance in 1885 )and admire its imposing tower.
After 17 km you will arrive in a quiet and  authentic village.
Dobarsko is a small friendly village, surrounded by nature. It offers superb views of the Pirin mountains. 
Besides the beautiful scenery, the friendliness of its inhabitants, Dobarsko houses one of the 100 Bulgarian heritage monuments: St. Theodore's Church which dates back  to 1614. 
Ecology, nature and authenticity are the words that best describe this village.
For fans you can do walks, especially to the falls Shtrokaloto (about 1 hour)..  
The village is also famous with the so-called “grandmothers of Dobarsko“(Dobarski babi). They perpetuate the songs and customs of the village.One should listen when they sing in the courtyard of the church dressed in colourful traditional clothes.
This stop will give you a refreshing glimpse of these mountain people and their customs.
If you have time, you can visit the Park of the Dancing Bears, or rather ex-dancers located just a few kms away from Dobarsko, in Belitsa. 
There is a strange attraction in Bulgaria, perpetrated by the gypsies,  which consists of making the brown bears dancing. In order to eradicate this practice a foundation largely sponsored by Brigitte Bardot was created.
The road to the park is long and quite difficult,but an emotional encounter with the Bulgarian King of the mountain in an environment as close to its natural habitat as possible will be the reward for your efforts.
On leaving you will head north  in the direction of the capital, where 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 its history.  The monastery is built on the right bank of the river Rilska in the Rila National park. This is the most-visited place in Bulgaria  It occupies an area of 8800 m² ,has  4 sections and 300 cells for monks.  .
The monastery was founded by St. John of Rila in 930, but its structure as we know it dates back to 1335 under the regency of Hrelio whose interior defensive tower still bears his name.
Its arches, columns, woodwork and paintings are of exceptional beauty. The church of the Dormition of the Virgin is regarded as the best decorated in frescoes in Bulgaria. Its carved wooden iconostasis is unique in its kind.
The Monastery Museum introduces us to its long history with objects of great value: icons, holy books, altar crosses  among which  the exceptional Cross of the monk Raphail, sculptured on wood that took him 12 years to finish, glagolitic manuscripts from the 19th century, the Gospels on parchment from the 13th century. 
The monastery is the conservatory of the Bulgarian identity, an emblem of resistance, located in a beautiful setting of forested mountains. Impressive.
To experience completely the-most beautiful monastery in the country you will have the privilege of sleeping on site.
                                                                                                                               (195 km)

Day 9 - Rila > Sofia - Back in the capital 
You will arrive in Sofia, to take advantage of the last moments in Bulgaria and to finish the visits that you have not had the time to do on the first day .  
You will sleep in the same hotel 3*** that on the day of your arrival.

(120 km
Day 10 - 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 June 530 €
2) du 01 July au 31 August 590 €
3) du 01 September au 31 October 530 €

Prix par période/ par personne/ en chambre individuelle

1) du 01 April au 30 June 720 €
2) du 01 July au 31 August 780 €
3) du 01 September au 31 October 720 €
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 24h/24
- Accommodation in guest houses, hotels 3 stars (double occupancy),monasteries
- The breakfast (except for the Monastery of Sokolovo) 
- The travel and vouchers with map and / or indications for hotels
- Hotline Balkania Tour 24h/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 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

- 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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