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Self Drive -> Cultural heritage of UNESCO in Bulgaria - 15 days
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The Cultural heritage of UNESCO à partir de 620 €

Circuit: 15 jours / 14 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. 
 
This trip allows you to discover the deep richness of Bulgaria, its roots, its traditions, its way of life .You can come into touch with  the Bulgarian cultural heritage as well as sites protected by UNESCO. 
  
The tour allows you to visit  many sites, the most important of which are: 
- The Bulgarian capital - Sofia and its remains (UNESCO listed Boyana Church) 
- The Monastery of Glozhene 
- The Monastery of Troyan  
- The museum town of Koprivshtitsa 
- The Thracian sanctuary of Starossel 
- The city of Hissaria 
- Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak (UNESCO classified) 
- The Russian church in Shipka 
- The open air museum of Etara (Gabrovo) 
- The Monastery of Sokolovo 
- The town of Tryavna 
- The Historical and architectural reserve- Tsarevets (Veliko Tarnovo) 
-  The museum village of Arbanassi 
- The Monastery of Transfiguration 
- The Rock-Churches of Ivanovo (UNESCO classified) 
- The Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari (UNESCO classified) 
- The Mosque Tomboul (Shoumen) 
- The Madara Rider (UNESCO classified) 
- The archaeological reserves of Pliska and Preslav 
- Historical and Architectural Reserve of Nessebar (UNESCO classified) 
- Village Museum of Zherevna 
- The Old Plovdiv 
- The Monastery of  Bachkovo 
- The village of Shiroka Laka 
- Pirin National Park (UNESCO classified) 
- The park of the dancing bears in Belitsa 
- The town of Bansko, the village of Dobarsko 
- Rila Monastery (UNESCO classified) 

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 (please don’t hesitate to send us  a tailor-made tour request)
  
Balkania Tour‘s advise: 
The tour can be considered an extension of the one - Discovery in the heart of the Balkans - 12 days / 11 nights. A semi-similar route that takes you not only around  the Central Balkan region, but also to the South with the Rhodopes, the East with the Black Sea and the North with the Danube but with a more relaxed pace because of its extended duration. You will not only have the opportunity to visit all UNESCO sites in Bulgaria, but also to discover its various cultural and natural sites. Finally, this trip will leave enough time to the mountain lovers to do various trips and excursions to enjoy the magnificent Bulgarian mountains and its nature as a whole. 


Votre voyage jour après jour

Day 1 – SOFIA – Arriving in 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 can visit the National Museum of History to see its collections and  to help you understand the long history of Bulgaria, which will make the rest of your journey more enjoyable. 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.It consists of three buildings. The eastern part was built in the 10th century A 2-story church was glued to the first in 1259 by Kaloyan Sevastocrator. The ensemble is completed by a third church built in the early 19th century. 
In 809, the city was conquered by the Bulgarians and took the name Sredets. It was soon regarded as one of the most important feudal towns. In 1382, the town was taken by the Ottomans who made it a capital of the province of Rumelia. 
After the liberation of Bulgaria, in 1879 Sofia became the third capital of the Bulgarian Kingdom. Its face changed so quickly that its soon  turned into a modern Western metropolis. Plans drawn up in 1881-1882 were soon followed by a period of construction of brick buildings and tracks at right angles. 
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 > Glozhene - On a rocky peak
You will devote the morning to finalize your last visits in Sofia, after which you will head east  ,while driving along the north slope of the Central Balkan , 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".  
Stage-100 km 
 
Day 3 - Monastery of Glozhene > Koprivshtitsa - a colourful city 
You will follow the north slope of the  Central Balkan to get to your next destination- the Troyan Monastery.
The name of the town of Troyan is linked to the ancient Roman road - Via Traiana -linking  Moesia and Thrace to the Aegean Sea.
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 in the city and the region: for example, The Church of the Assumption in the Monastery of  Troyan  ,once the refuge of Vassil Levski.
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.  
Next you will cross the Troyan Pass to visit the colorful 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.House- museums redrawing the glory history of this small town will enrich you.  
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  Koprivshtitsa you will sleep in a small guest house in traditional style  with only 5 rooms. Locals are famous with their kindness and hospitality.
Stage: 160 km 
 
Day 4 - Koprivshtitsa > Sokolovo Monastery - In the Central Balkan 
On leaving, you will cross the town of  Kalofer, located in the heart of Stara Planina (the Central Balkan range).In symbiosis with nature, it is a place of rest and discovery. The town is famous nationwide for its ecotourism and was rewarded by the European Union for its discovery programs. 
Now you are entering  the Valley of the Thracian kings.
You will stop in the town of Kazanlak ,a veritable repository of the Thracian civilization. Indeed, it is here that was discovered  the first royal tomb of the time. It is 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.
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.
Just 12 km North of Kazanlak,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 in 1902 in memory of the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878),which liberated the Bulgarians from the Ottoman yoke.In 17 marble sarcophagi,the crypt of the church, contains the remains of soldiers killed in combat in 1877.
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.Located near the remains of Seuthopolis, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Odrysses,it was recently open to the public.
A few miles in from the other side of the Shipka pass, you will find the open-air museum of Etara depicting the life of  the 19th century. 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.
Stage: 160 km   
 
Day 5 - Sokolovo > Arbanassi - The region of the Bulgarian Tsars 
Still in the Balkan range, to get to Veliko Tarnovo, you will cross superb towns and villages such as Triavna, recommended for its atmosphere. Specialized in the decorative arts, its main street is very charming and it will allow you to buy  some original souvenirs. You must also stop in the nearby village of Bozhentsi.  Known for its architecture and its gastronomy, this is really an invigorating and likable place.  Otherwise, it is possible to do an eco-tour from Bozhentsi to Tryavna (2 hours of walking the route).
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. 
You can also visit the Church of the Forty Martyrs,which was founded by Tsar Ivan Asen II to commemorate his victory over the Byzantines on Forty Martyrs’ Day in 1230,or the Church of Sveti Dimitar,probably the best-looking of the surviving medieval churches,where during the consecration of the church the bolyari Petar and Asen announced their rebellion against Byzantium,and St Demetrius became the patron saint of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.
The shopping street of the city is a place full of life. 
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 it.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.
 
Stage: 80 Kms   
Day 6 - Arbanassi > Rousse - Little Vienna
Going up north in the direction of Rousse,  you will  reach  the valley of  Roussenski Lom Nature Park. A complex of churches, chapels, monasteries and cells were dug into the rock near the village of Ivanovo in the12th century .These rock-hewn churches are World Heritage Sites by UNESCO and some of the frescoes, dating to the 13th and 14th centuries are considered the most successful medieval ones, found in Bulgaria. In this beautiful nature park is also the Cave Orlov, which combines  both speleological and archaeological interest.
The nearby Monastery of Basarbovo is exceptional for its colourful frescoes.
You will continue in direction of Danube, which forms the border with Romania, to discover the town of Rousse. The city is surprisingly multi-ethnic, it has the blend of ancient traditions and modern European spirit, of Bulgarian and Romanian cultures.  Its fascinating architecture, historical monuments and beautiful buildings  pay tribute to the varied mix of architectural styles: Classical, Baroque, Renaissance, Gothic and Rococo. . Rousse’s large green areas and the Danube itself, has earned the city the nickname "Little Vienna". 
Overnight stay in Rousse, in a nice Neo Baroque 3 *** hotel,  in the city centre.
 Stage: 110 km 
 
Day 7 - Rousse > Isperih > Shoumen > Varna - Protected Historical Sites   
Descending into the South, you can visit part of the country's history. Discovered near Isperih, the Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari, dates back to the 3rd century BC .The Royal Tomb especially, is a Thracian funerary art in all its splendor, that rivals even the finest Egyptian tombs. In 1985 it was included in the world heritage list by UNESCO ,and its visit is a must!
Just 2 miles West of Sveshtari, you can visit Demir Baba Tekke, the shrine of a 16th -century Muslim holy man. It has a simple structure, a seven-sided temple topped by a dome. A Neolitic settlement has been discovered , and the site was subsequently home to a Thracian sanctuary,so the place’s importance as a spiritual centre predates the arrival of Islam in the 14th century.
Your next destination-the town of Shoumen, as the area, offers a page of history through its historical remains and the atmosphere that prevails.. 
Here also you can visit the second largest mosque in the entire Balkan region and the largest in Bulgaria - the mosque Tomboul. 
Its  Koranic library is the most beautiful and furnished  in the country. Its name is due to the bulbous shape of the dome 25 meters high built in Turkish- Baroque style .
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. 
Going east in the Black Sea direction you will reach Varna. "The Pearl of the Black Sea“ has a high international reputation. You can visit its magnificent cathedral, the Naval Museum with its botanical garden, its exceptional archaeological museum where you will discover the oldest worked gold in the world and its Roman baths. A city full of charm
Indeed, beside the beautiful beaches and parks this seaside resort offers many shops, diverse restaurants and trendy cafes. In summer it also becomes the country's cultural centre.
Your accommodation will be in a  classic, elegant and stylish 3 *** hotel. This beautiful century-old building was completely renovated for the official opening in February 2005.
  Stage: 260 km 
 
Day 8 - Varna > Nessebar - Along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast
You will follow the coastline of the country through various villages as Biala Obzor, Cape Emine worth a visit for its beauty. 
You will reach the ancient town of Nessebar on the Black Sea coast. 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.  
Nesebar has the privilege to offer culture, beaches of fine sand and festive mood and the proximity to other sea resorts has undoubtedly made it the most publicized of the Black sea’s attractions. 
Just 4 km away is  Sunny Beach, a busy summer resort, equipped with 160 hotels, casinos, discos, swimming pools and other activities of any kind. 
You can reach it by boat,car or why not catch a little train that runs along the coast,between Nessebar and Sunny Beach. 
Located in the northern peninsula of Nessebar, the luxurious Nessebar Royal Palace is located in the heart of the ancient city of Nessebar about twenty meters from the Black Sea.  The 3* hotel offers all the comforts to make your stay pleasant and enjoyable. The Byzantine ruins around the hotel will add even more charm and depth to your vacation. The location of the hotel, the beautiful beaches and facilities of the resort will absolutely delight you. 
 Stage: 100 km   
 
Day 9 - Nessebar > Zheravna - An authentic village - Rousse  
The next step of the trip will allow you to discover one of the most beautiful Bulgarian villages, picturesque and  typical, just  in the middle of the wilderness. Zheravna is one of the  architectural sites protected by the country. You will appreciate its countryside atmosphere, its house-museums, its warm taverns and the hospitality of the local people.  You will be able to visit the church St Nicolai  and its collection of icons from 16th and 17th century. To discover the traditional style of the region you may visit the house-museum of Yordan Yovkov and also the one of Rusi Tchorbadji that has  a small collection of carpets or the one of Sava Filaretov.  Excursions on foot  in the region are possible to discover its wildlife and its flora.  The area is extremely well stocked with game and fish and you will notice  it in your dining menu in one of the local taverns.  
You will sleep in one of the finest , if not the most beautiful guesthouses in the village, built of wood, with its charming landscaped courtyard and  its typical decoration. The rooms are absolutely splendid and this visit will bring you closer to the mountain spirit that prevails here.
In the region, many villages  could   be visited as those of Ichera, Katunichte, Gradets and Medven or  Kotel, town  specialized in the making of rugs and carpets.  There is a museum of the rugs that we advise you to visit.  

Stage: 120 km 
Day 10 - Zheravna > Plovdiv - An ancient city - Rousse 
Heading west you will reach the town of Sliven. 
The city had many revolutionary and local clan leaders who have strongly contributed to the liberation from Ottoman rule.It was called the “town of the 100 voivods”after the number of their chieftains.
The heyday of the famous haiduti such as Hadzhi Dimitar and Panayot Hitov coincided with the industrialization of Sliven, where Bulgaria’s first textile factory was established in 1834.
The industry grew so rapidly,that Sliven was transformed into one of Bulgaria’s richest and most prestigious cities of its time.
Sliven’s other main attraction is its proximity to the National Park- Blue Rocks,in the Karandila area on the eastern side of the town.In the early morning and late afternoon ,the porphyry massif assumes a smoky blue hue in the translucent light.
Just outside Sliven you have a great opportunity to visit and do some wine tasting in the cellar of Domaine Boyar,one of the largest wine producers in the country.
Next you will take the highway to reach the beautiful 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. 
A walk along the central pedestrian street of Prince Alexander of Battenberg with its neo-baroque facades will take you to the Church of  Sts. Constantine and Helena with its icons of the master Zahari Zograf,the  Djoumaya Mosque, the Roman amphitheatre and the museum houses of Balabanov,Hindlian,Kuyumdzhioglu and Lamartine.
You will be housed in an old mansion converted into a 3 *** hotel, which has retained its unique character and atmosphere. There is a wonderful summer terrace with a magnificent view over the city, a great restaurant and even a small chapel. 
 
Stage: 230 km  
Day 11 - Plovdiv > Shiroka Laka > Devin - Land of Orpheus 
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.
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. 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.
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. 
Late in the day you will get to the spa town of Devin, situated 34 km of Shiroka Laka. Devin is surrounded by superb scenery and  is famous in Bulgaria and throughout the Balkans for its bottled mineral water and the prestigious spa centres. fed by natural mineral water with temperatures ranging from 16 to 76 ° C.The celebration of the city, October 4, is also the feast of mineral water. 
The area around the town 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. 
You will sleep in a nice 3 *  family-run hotel, newly opened and in the city-centre.  

 Stage: 120 km 
Day 12 - Devin > Bansko - In the Pirin 
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.This is the newest and the most dynamic of  the Bulgaria’s winter sports resorts which holds the record for snow in both quantity and duration as you can ski here from December 15 to May 15. At an altitude of 925 m,located in the highest and also the most beautiful part of the Pirin Mountains, Bansko offers a stay in a wintry resort where the local people have managed to preserve the originality of its traditions, of its cuisine and craft industry and there are  many cultural events all year around .Its name comes from the old Bulgarian word "ban", which means"master."
The style of Bansko is representative of the rural landscape of  the 18-19 centuries.Unique in their kind fortified houses, are silent witnesses of the independent nature of its former inhabitants. The timber-framed stone houses which hide behind thick walls with stout double doors and loopholes in the walls used for protection are also “home” to one or more of secret hiding places.
Some of these houses are now 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.
Decorative art - painting, woodcarving, was so well developed here that during the Bulgarian Renaissance the town gave birth to its own style.
A few kms from Bansco, in Belitsa, is the park of dancing bears, or rather ex-dancers. 
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.
You will sleep 5 km away from Bansko, in the small spa town of Banya, in a 3 *** hotel, which has an outdoor pool with hot mineral water and 4 Jacuzzis. 
 
Stage: 140 km 
Day 13 - Bansko > Rila - Spiritual Encounter 
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
You will have the privilege to sleep on site. 
 Stage: 100 km 
 
Day 14 - Rila > Sofia - Back in the capital - RILA> SOFIA - Back in the capital 
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 .
You will sleep in the same hotel 3*** as the day of your arrival to avoid wasting time in this city of over one million inhabitants.
 
Stage: 120 km
Day 15 - Return to 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 620 €
2) du 01 July au 31 August 690 €
3) du 01 September au 31 October 620 €

Prix par période/ par personne/ en chambre individuelle

1) du 01 April au 30 June 950 €
2) du 01 July au 31 August 1050 €
3) du 01 September au 31 October 950 €
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
- Hotline Balkania Tour 24/7
- Accommodation in guest houses, family hotels 2 and 3 stars (double occupancy) and monasteries(3 nights)
-  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 
- Breakfast in the Monasteries of Rila and Sokolovo (no food served)
- 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

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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