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The Festival of Roses in Bulgaria: Balkania Tour> Self Drive Tours in Bulgaria - 11 days
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The Festival of Roses 2011 à partir de 990 €

Circuit: 9 jours / 8 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 formula to make your holiday nice and different.

Bulgaria’s nickname-"The land of the rose," comes from the ancient practice of growing and distilling the rose, with the expertise “nowhere equaled”  in the world, making it still the world's largest producer of rose oil.A worldwide-known festival takes place in the Rose Valley at the first weekend of June. This date coincides with the flowering period, just before the harvest, when the rose fields are the most beautiful  That's really the time to visit the region if the rose industry fires your imagination.
We'll take you on an organized tour around this unique event to discover what makes the country proud in a festive spirit of sharing and conviviality.
This 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 town- museum of Koprivshtitsa and its many traditional houses
- The Troyan Monastery
- The city of the Bulgarian Tsars - Veliko Tarnovo and the village of Arbanassi and the Monastery of the Transfiguration
-The village of Bozhentsi ,the town of Tryavna, the ethnographic complex Etara and
The Monastery of Sokolovo(overnight stay)
- The Valley of  the Thracian Kings and the Rose Valley with the town of Kazanlak with its  UNESCO classified Thracian tomb.
- The Festival of Roses
- The town of Plovdiv and its Old Quarter
- The Monastery of Bachkovo
- The town-museum  of Shiroka Laka  and the spa town of Devin
- The Yagodina Cave
- The town of Bansko and the village of Dobarsko
- The UNESCO classified Rila Monastery
- Accommodation in guest houses, family hotels and monasteries
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.For more details, please see below “ Your Trip Day By Day“. You can also download and print the travel sheet on the bottom of this page by clicking Download the detailed program.

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 (send us  a tailor-made tour request)
Balkania Tour‘s advise:
It's a trip built around the Rose Festival and focuses on the traditional side of  the country. That is why in the second part of the trip, the route passes through the Rhodopes,which will allow you a deeper immersion in the cultural mosaic of Bulgaria.
We remind you that this trip is also available in Group version ,nevertheless to enable everyone to enjoy this special event we also decided to offer it to our individual clients.
Attention: The Festival period and more generally The Festival of Roses attracts many people and number of groups. Therefore, visiting some sites,especially in the region of Kazanlak, requires a little bit more time and patience.
Last but not Least, it is a 2 in 1 trip. You will not have been able only to discover the major sites of the country (excluding Black Sea) during the warmer periods of the year, but you will also have the opportunity to attend a cultural event of international importance.

Bon voyage in Bulgaria with the lines that follow.

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.
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 the 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 the Vitosha mountain, 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 > Koprivshtitsa >Troyan - The colourful town

You will leave early in the morning to follow the South Slope of the Central Balkan  to arrive at the small ,colourful town of Koprivshtitsa, which played a major part in 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. Most houses are built of wood, painted  in bright colours and give a unique touch to this place of rest.The house- museums redrawing the glory history of this small town will enrich you.  
The houses of Lutov and Oslekov  are great examples for a typical Koprivshtitsa’s house if you do not have time or do not want to visit them all.
Next,you will cross the Central Balkan by the current pass of Troyan (The Romans had designed this road - Via Traiana linking  Moesia and Thrace to the Aegean Sea- and reach the town bearing the same name.
The foundation of the city dates back to the early 15th century when bulgarians settled in this very inaccessible place to escape from the power of the ottomans. Pottery and woodcarving crafts were among the most developed and allowed the enrichment of the city where talented masters have created beautiful models of the Bulgarian ecclesiastical architecture .For example, The Church of the Assumption in the Monastery of  Troyan  ,once the refuge of Vassil Levski.
You will sleep in a nice3 * hotel in Troyan.


Stage: 200 km

Day 3 - Troyan > Veliko Tarnovo - The city of the Bulgarian Tsars

In the morning you will leave for the town of  Veliko Tarnovo.The capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire between the 12th and the 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. 
Next you will depart for the classified village- museum of Arbanassi.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 with a high artistic value.   
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 Veliko Tarnovo in a beautiful 3 * family run  hotel  with an excellent taverna and a magnificent view of the meandering Yantra.


Stage: 100 km
Day 4 - Veliko Tarnovo > Sokolovo - Traditions and Spirituality
Upon entering the Balkan you will 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 can also  recommend to 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.
You can also visit 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 the 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.
Stage: 80 Kms
Day 5 and 6 - Sokolovo > Kazanlak > Stara Zagora - The Festival of Roses
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.

The Rose Valley
You are at the heart of this valley, also called Valley of the Roses.
A worldwide-known festival-The Festival of Roses- takes place here in  the first weekend of June. This date coincides with the flowering period, just before the harvest, when the rose fields are the most beautiful  That's really the time to visit the region if the rose industry fires your imagination.
Flowers, colours, ethnic dances and festive events are the ingredients of this event, whose highlight is the crowning of the Rose Queen.
The secret of the”nowhere equaled” quality of  the Bulgarian rose comes from years of development and production.The soil and climate are very favourable to the roses which are from the high Damascena family too.
The rose oil is called "the liquid gold" of Bulgaria, because it is a very expensive product used by many brands of perfume, chocolate, liqueur and jam. The rose oil is three times more expensive than gold. One litre of rose oil is extracted from 3,000 kg of rose. All flowers are hand picked and carefully preserved for distillation.
You will sleep in a beautiful 4 * hotel in the town of Stara Zagora.

Stage: 110 km
Day 7 - Kazanlak > Plovdiv - An anciant city
You will continue south towards the ancient 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 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.
We offer accommodation  in a small 3 *** hotel in Old Plovdiv with a quality restaurant and  splendid panoramic view over the city and  nearest architectural  sites.
Stage: 100 km


Day 8 - Plovdiv > Devin - In the Rhodopes

You will head south,across the Thracian plain to reach the foot of the Rhodope massif and the village of Bachkovo-best known for its famous monastery,so dear to the heart of Bulgaria.
 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 last renovations took place in the years 1830 - 1840 with frescos from Master Zahari Zograf and his disciples.
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.  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 are plentiful, especially for natural visits.
You will get to 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 get to the town of Devin, situated 34 km of Shiroka Laka. Devin is surrounded by superb scenery and  is famous for its bottled mineral water and the prestigious spa centres.fed by natural mineral water with temperatures ranging from 16 to 76 ° C.
You will sleep in a nice 3 *  family-run hotel, newly opened and in the city-centre. 


Stage: 120 km

Day 9 - Devin > Bansko > Banya - The Pirin Mountains

The road is still mountainous and very spectacular. 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 pure  “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 highly regarded  Yagodina cave, which is part of the magnificent Karst complex of the gorge of the river Buynovska.
A detour to the small,unspoilt by the”mass-tourism“village of Kovachevitsa is possible. 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”.
To reach your next stop-the small town of Bansko,you will cross a national nature reserve-the Pirin National Park,which covers most of the Pirin mountains in southwestern Bulgaria and is listed as World Heritage by UNESCO.
Bansko is a small town founded in the 15th century,which 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.

Option: Depending on your time and preferences, it is possible to make a detour through the village of Belitsa and specifically  its Park of the Dancing Bears,or rather ex-dancers instead of going down south to Melnik.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.
You will sleep in a small spa hotel just a few kilometres away from Bansko.


Stage: 180 km

Day 10 - Banya > Rila > Sofia - Meeting spiritual Rila

In the morning you will leave towards the capital to visit the largest and most famous monastery in the Balkans, the Rila Monastery.
The monastery  is the  emblematic symbol of the Bulgarian orthodoxy protected by the UNESCO for the quality of its iconostases, its architecture and its history. It 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
Depart for the capital. We recommend you to stop in  the residential suburb of Sofia, Boyana, at the foot of Mount Vitosha, to visit the National Museum of History  and to see its collections which will help you understand the long and turbulent history of Bulgaria. Visit also  the Boyana Church , World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Here you can enjoy  the uniqueness of the best preserved frescoes of medieval art in Eastern Europe.
You will sleep in the same 3 * hotel as on the day of your arrival.


Stage: 200 Kms

Day 11 - Sofia - Back in UK

Depending on your departure time, you will have some time in Sofia.
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 26 May au 03 June 990 €

Prix par période/ par personne/ en chambre individuelle

1) du 26 May au 03 June 1170 €
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 3* and 4* hotels and monastery(1 night), (double occupancy)
-  Breakfast
- 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
- 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 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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