Bulgaria Tour Plan

by | November 16, 2020

As a country that starts with B listed on Countryaah.com, Bulgaria is divided into four landscape zones: 1.) the lowlands of the North Bulgarian Plate south of the Danube; 2.) the Balkan Mountains with elevations up to 2,300 m, which spreads from west to east through the center of the country; 3.) the Central Bulgarian Basin, which extends to the Black Sea coast; and finally 4.) in the south the Thracian mountain range – formed from the Rhodope, Rila and Pirin mountains – the highest point of which is Mount Musala at 2,925 m. The country’s tourist backbone is its Black Sea coast with tourist centers such as Varna with the nearby ” Golden Sands” (Slatni pjasazi).

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  • Day 1: Welcome to the capital of Bulgaria: Sofia!
  • Day 2: Sredna Gora Mountains
  • Day 3: In the Bachkovo monastery
  • Day 4: The “Wonderful Bridges”
  • Day 5: Magical Rhodope Villages & the Orpheus Forests
  • Day 6: The rough & majestic beauty of the Trigrad Gorge
  • Day 7: Bansko – Dobriniste – Lake Popovo
  • Day 8: The Rila Mountains and its monastery
  • Day 9: The Seven Rila Lakes: The Eyes of the Mountains
  • Day 10: Maljowitsa Valley
  • Day 11: Goodbye, Bulgaria!

From the town of Chepelare we set off into the hilly landscape of the Rhodope Mountains. According to legend, the legendary singer Orpheus was born here, near the coast of Thrace. We pass through picturesque villages, old women with checked skirts and headscarves sit on benches and smile mischievously at each other. In the afternoon we walk through Shiroka Luka with its typical houses from the 18th and 19th centuries. Here is also the most famous Bulgarian folk instrument school where Rhodopes singing is taught.

On this trip, customers praise the good mix of culture and nature, the “tasty food” – and of course our Bulgaria partner Zwetana: “Our guide was practically competent in all areas,” praised one participant. “She knew a lot to tell about history, art history, the country and the people, and about the current Bulgarian conditions.” Zwetana leads us to the “eyes of the mountains” and the pyramids of Stob: The bizarre sandstones with their stone hats look like mushrooms.

Before we visit the Rila Monastery, we hike to the grave of its founder Ivan Rilski and its miraculous spring. We take time for a picnic on the historic meadow. Then finally we dive into the spacious monastery with the old kitchen, the courtyard with its icon gallery and the monastery church. Women and men stand in the dim light of the sacrificial candles. They kiss the sacred icons, mumbling they reveal their wishes.

Meals: B = breakfast / L = lunch / packed lunch / D = dinner

1st day:

Welcome to the capital of Bulgaria: Sofia!

Our guide will meet us at the airport in Sofia. Then we drive to the Sredna Gora Mountains, to the romantic village of Koprivstitza. We explore the area on a varied walk. Over dinner and a glass of wine, we discuss our days and tours together.

Driving time: approx. 2 hours overnight in Koprivstitza
(- / M / D)

2nd day:

Sredna Gora Mountains

The Sredna Gora Mountains are located in the center of Bulgaria. The highest point is the Bogdan at 1,604 m. In the vicinity of Koprivstitsa we hike through rich deciduous forests and meadows with lush carpets of flowers. During the hike we always have panoramic views of Koprivstitsa, the entire Sredna Gora Mountains and surrounding mountain ranges. We continue to Plovdiv, the second largest Bulgarian city and one of the oldest settlements in the region with a unique location on three hills. Its old town, which repeatedly attracts Bulgarian artists, is worth seeing. We visit one of the most beautiful houses – the house where the ethnographic museum is located today. The church of St. Constantine and Elena and the amphitheater from Roman times are our next destinations.

Driving time: approx. 3 hours.
Hike: approx. 3 hours.
Overnight stay in Plovdiv
(B / L = packed lunch / D)

3rd day:

In the Bachkovo monastery

After breakfast we drive to the Rhodope Mountains to the Bachkovo monastery, where we also have lunch. On a 2–2.5 hour hike through Kluviata, a “sacred area” for all Bulgarians, we hear the legend of the monastery icon working miraculously. For lunch we come back to our starting point near the monastery and will taste typical Bulgarian specialties there. In the afternoon we have the opportunity to further discover the cultural secrets of Plovdiv and stroll through the beautiful center and discover one or the other highlight, such as residential houses from the time of the Bulgarian national revival in the 18th and 19th centuries Church of Saints Constantine and Elena and the well-preserved Roman amphitheater.

Driving time: approx. 1.5 hours.
Hike: approx. 2.5 hours.
Overnight stay in Plovdiv
(B / L / D)

4th day:

The “wonderful bridges”

Today a natural phenomenon of the Rhodope Mountains is on the program: the “wonderful bridges”. These rock arches were created thousands of years ago as a result of an earthquake. After visiting the “Wonderful Bridges” we start our hike to the village of Zabudo. The path leads us through old coniferous and deciduous forests, over meadows with different types of flowers and, if we are lucky, we can also find wild orchids. For lunch we stay in the village of Zaburdo and enjoy our picnic there. Our journey continues to the town of Chepelare. Chepelare is the highest town in Bulgaria – 1,100 m above sea level.

Driving time: approx. 3 hours.
Hike: approx. 2.5 – 3 hours (+/- 300 m)
Overnight stay in Chepelare
(B / L = picnic / D)

5th day:

Magical Rhodope Villages & the Orpheus Forests

After breakfast a hike awaits us in the idyllic hilly landscape of the Rhodope Mountains. We continue by bus to the Perelik mountain hut and from there our hike to the village of Gela begins. The Rhodope Mountains are also known as the “Forests of Orpheus” because, according to legend, the legendary singer was born in this region. In the afternoon we walk through the village of Shiroka Luka with its typical houses from the 18th and 19th centuries. The most famous Bulgarian folk instrument school is located here, where Rhodope singing is also taught.

Driving time: approx. 2.5 hours. Hike: approx. 5–6 hours (+400 m / -300 m)
Overnight stay in the middle of the picturesque Rhodope Mountains near the Yagodina Gorge
(B / L = picnic / D)

6th day:

The rough & majestic beauty of the Trigrad Gorge

Today we drive through typical Bulgarian villages and to the picturesque Trigrad Gorge. We visit the Devil’s Throat Grotto and hike to the village of Yagodina for lunch with locals. Then the bus continues through a beautiful area to Bansko. Bansko is picturesquely situated at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, at an altitude of 1,000 m.

Driving time: approx. 5 hours.
Hike: approx. 2-2.5 hours.
Overnight stay in Bansko
(B / L / D)

7th day:

Bansko – Dobriniste – Lake Popovo

Today we are in the heart of the Pirin National Park. We drive to the Goze-Delcev hut, then the chairlift takes us to the Bezbog hut at an altitude of 2,200 m. Our hike takes us on easily accessible paths to Lake Popovo, the largest body of water in the Pirin Mountains. The setting is fantastic: the lake is framed by rugged peaks.
Alternatively (depending on weather conditions): Hike from the Vihren hut to the Pirin lakes.
In the afternoon we visit the old church of Bansko and the richly decorated Veljanov house or the icon collection. We are invited to dinner with a family in Bansko and enjoy the Bulgarian hospitality.

Driving time: approx. 2 hours.
Hike: approx. 4 hours.
Overnight stay in Bansko
(B / L / D)

8th day:

The Rila Mountains and its monastery

If you want to discover Bulgaria, you have to see the Rila Mountains and the Rila Monastery. On the way from Bansko to the Rila monastery, we make a short detour to the village of Stob with its Stobski Piramidi, which is known for its sand pyramids. Here we undertake a 1-hour hike to experience the pyramid panorama. The pyramids of Stob are a natural phenomenon – a huge stone formation made of bizarre, heavily weathered sandstone pyramids – they are located 2 km east of the village and are similar to the sandstone pyramids of Melnik. The picturesque sandstone pyramids of Stob cover an area of ​​7.4 hectares and were declared a protected natural object of Bulgaria in 1964. Over time, impressive shapes have formed here as a result of the erosion processes,
The journey continues to the monastery. We will visit the largest and most beautiful monastery complex in Bulgaria – Rila. Then we take the time for a self-prepared picnic on the historical meadow – Kirilova Poljana and enjoy the breathtaking panorama. A hike leads us to the grave of the monastery founder Ivan Rilski, where there is also a spring. It is said that the spring water has healing powers and so the place became a place of pilgrimage. In the afternoon we reach the mountain hotel near Kloster.

Driving time: approx. 2 hours. Hike: approx. 2.5 hours (+150 m / -150 m)
Overnight stay in the mountain hotel
(B / L / D)

Day 9:

The Seven Rila Lakes: The Eyes of the Mountains

After breakfast we will be transferred to Panichishte. There we take the new chairlift to the Rilski Ezera hut, from where we go on a 4-hour hike to the seven Rila lakes, the “eyes of the mountains”. The lakes are between 2,100 m and 2,500 m above sea level, their names describe their shape and external features: the tear, the eye, the kidney, the twin, the three-leaf, the fish lake and the lower lake. On the way there are breathtaking views of the Rila National Park and the highest mountain in the Balkans, the Mussala (2,925 m). After this eventful day, we take the chairlift into the valley, where the bus is waiting for us.

Driving time: approx. 2.5 hours.
Hike: approx. 4–5 hours.
Overnight stay in a hotel in Govedartsi
(B / L = picnic / D)

10th day:

Malevitsa Valley

After a short bus ride we arrive in the Maljowiza Valley, where we are greeted by the magnificent panorama of the Rila Mountains and, in summer, by lush green meadows with wild flowers. The view of the Maljowiza summit (2,729 m), the birthplace of Bulgarian mountaineering, is particularly impressive. We have the choice: either to climb this most striking peak of the Rila Mountains, the Maliovitsa, or the hike only into the Molioviza valley. As we climb, our path leads us past impressive glacier valleys and rugged rock ridges. The ascent is a high alpine tour in which we will conquer 1,050 meters in altitude. The upper part is very rocky and the tour is therefore only suitable for experienced mountain hikers! Maliovitsa summit.
We continue to Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, where we will spend the night in a cozy hotel.

Travel time: approx. 3 hours.
Maljowiza summit – hike: approx. 7–8 hours (+/- 1,000 m)
Maljowiza valley – hike: approx. 4–6 hours.
Overnight stay in Sofia
(B / L = packed lunch / A)

11th day:

Goodbye Bulgaria!

After breakfast we will do the sightseeing of Sofia.
Today we say goodbye to this wonderful country, its nature, its people. Soon we will be back in our homeland.

Driving time: approx. 0.5–1 hours
(B / – / -)

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