Monasteries and Mountains
Bulgaria is one of the most charming countries of Eastern Europe and little visited. On this short tour, we uncover its diversity as well as its unique and complex history. It straddles the border between Christian Europe and the old Ottoman Empire and sits easily between traditional and modern worlds. This fascinating juxtaposition makes it surprising that the country isn’t better known.
Rila Monastery is undoubtedly one of the highlights of Bulgaria – a fortified complex with gorgeous frescoes and carvings. After exploring here we continue to the small village of Gorno Draglishte where we find out about Bulgaria’s rural traditions.
After sampling some of the country’s excellent wines at Melnik we head into the Rhodope Mountains and the picturesque village of Leshten with its well-preserved houses in typical Bulgarian style. We then explore the magnificent scenery surrounding Trigrad including its famous gorge and caves.
In Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnovo we encounter the full breadth of Bulgaria’s history, with stunning old towns, fortresses and buildings dating back from Roman times. Plovdiv in particular is an absolute delight to explore with its historic quarter and unique architecture.
We also visit the renowned Thracian Tomb at Kazanlak, a reminder of when Bulgaria was the cradle of powerful civilisations, the precarious fortress at Asenovgrad, and take an easy hike in the Balkan Mountains.
Bulgaria is a secret corner of Europe waiting to be discovered. With great food, welcoming people, and a bewildering wealth of historic monuments, this is a great introduction to a fascinating country.