Bulgaria – Roses Festival and Macedonia

Bulgaria Festival of Roses and North Macedonia May 23 - June 6, 2022

Tour Bulgaria and North Macedonia

May 23 – June 4, 2022 

Festival of Roses

Day 1, May 23, 2022 SOFIA 

Upon arrival meet with the guide. Check into the hotel for your overnight. (D)

Overnight: Marriot Balkan 5* or similar 

Day 2, May 24, 2022 SOFIA – TROYAN – VELIKO TARNOVO (270 km)  

Departure to Troyan. Visit of Troyan Monastery, the third largest monastery in Bulgaria. It is located in the northern part of the country and it was founded no later than the end of the 16th century. The main church of the monastery was reconstructed near the end of Ottoman rule during the Bulgarian National Revival period by a master-builder called Konstantin in 1835. The ornate interior and exterior of the church were painted between 1847 and 1849 by Zahari Zograf, a popular Bulgarian painter of the time, who also painted the central church of the Rila Monastery, the largest monastery in Bulgaria. Many people make a pilgrimage to this monastery on St. George’s Day because of an icon of St. George in the main church. Departure to Veliko Tarnovo. Visit the old town: Tzarevets Architectural and Museum Reserve. This is a medieval stronghold located on a hill with the same name. It served as the Second Bulgarian Empire’s primary fortress and strongest bulwark from 1185 to 1393, housing the royal and the patriarchal palaces, and it is a popular tourist attraction. Visit the market-place Samovodska Charshiya. Accommodation in a hotel. (B,L,D)

 Overnight: Grand Hotel Yantra 4* or similar 

Day 3, May 25, 2022  ARBANASSI – SHUMEN – VARNA (230 km)  

Visit of Arbanassi, a small village that housed the bourgeois families of Veliko Tarnovo. Visit the Kostanzaliev House Museum. A wealthy Turkish merchant from the area built this large building in the XVIII century. Visit the Church of the Nativity. Continue to Shumen, visit the Sheriff Halil Pasha Mosque, or also known as the Tombul mosque, built in 1744. The mosque, along with the complex of buildings around it, is the largest mosque in Bulgaria and the second largest on the Balkan Peninsula after the Sultan Selim mosque in Edirne, Turkey. It is a cultural monument of national importance. Departure for Varna. On the way stop to visit the natural phenomenon Pobitite Kamani which looks like an imposing and fascinating Petrified Forest. Arrival in Varna. Accommodation in the hotel and overnight. (B,L,D)

Planned hotel: Hotel Panorama 4* or similar

Day 4, May 26, 2022 VARNA – NESSEBAR – KAZANLAK (320 km)

Departure to visit Nessebar, a town under the protection of UNESCO as the place with richest historical evidence on the entire Black Sea coast. Here you can see the Church of the Pantocrator, the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Church of the Redeemer one after another. These churches will be visited on the outside. Continue to Kazanlak – the capital of the Rose Valley. Visit the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, protected by UNESCO (note that only the copy of the monument is permitted for visiting). Visit the original Thracian Tomb Goliama Kosmatka – another outstanding example of architecture and funeral art in the Valley of the Kings. Visit the splendid Shipka Memorial Church. Accommodation in the hotel, dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Overnight: Hotel Palas 4* or similar

Day 5, May 27, 2022   KAZANLAK – PLOVDIV – BACHKOVO – KAZANLAK (270 km)  

Departure for Plovdiv – European capital of Culture 2019. Visit the Old Town of Plovdiv. Vibrant and cosmopolitan city, Plovdiv offers the possibility to visit a neighborhood full of ancient buildings, built in the style known as the “Baroque of Plovdiv”. Following the cobblestone streets that run along this hill, you can admire the many houses that for decades have hosted the most important families in the city. Visit the Ethnographic Museum and the Church of Saints Constantine and Elena. Continue to visit the Bachkovo monastery. Built in 1083, this monastery is best known for its original architectural form and for the treasures and collections of books that it guards. The most interesting aspect of the monastic complex is the series of frescoes that completely cover the interior walls of the monastery, the church and the ossuary. Bachkovo Monastery is considered the second most important monastery in Bulgaria. Return to Kazanlak. (B,L,D)

Overnight:  Hotel Palas 4* or similar

Day 6, May 28, 2022, KAZANLAK – KARLOVO – KOPRIVSHTIZA – SOFIA (220 km)  

Rose Festival

Departure for Karlovo, one of the most beautiful towns in the Rose Valley. Participation in the popular festival in the rose fields with the company of traditional Bulgarian dancers and singers. Folklore show at the central square of Karlovo with reserved seats. Rose oil extraction demonstration in the ethnographic complex “Ancient Karlovo” with degustation of typical rose products. Departure for Koprivshtitsa. Visit the centre of this magnificent town that hosts some of the most beautiful historic homes across Bulgaria. Visit one of these memorial houses. Continue to Sofia. Accommodation in the hotel, dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 7, May 29, 2022, SOFIA

Day dedicated to Sofia – the largest city and the capital of Bulgaria, as well as the 15th largest city in the European Union with a population of about 1,300,000 people. Sofia citizens account for 83.5% of the population of Sofia district and for 17.5% of the population of Bulgaria. Sofia is a cosmopolitan city of different nationalities and cultures. They elegantly coexist in the historic downtown, which has become a kind of open-air museum with preserved remains of ancient civilizations. Visit the center: the Rotunda of St. George (III century BC) considered the oldest church in the city, the church of St. Sofia (XII century) and the splendid cathedral named after the Great Russian hero Aleksandar Nevski, built in 1912. Deepening of the knowledge of the pedestrian center with visits to the Synangogue, the Mosque, the market “Zhenski Pazar” (Women’s Market), stroll along the main Vitoshka boulevard to the imposing Palace of Culture. built in the 80s. (B,L)

Dinner in a traditional restaurant with folklore show.

Planned hotel: Marriot Balkan 5* or similar 

Day 8, May 30, 2022, SOFIA – RILA MONASTERY— (North Macedonia) SKOPJE (360 km)

Depart for the magnificent Rila Monastery, the most important monument of the Orthodox faith in the Balkans (UNESCO). Rila holy cloister was founded in the first half of the 10th century. Its history is directly related to St Ivan of Rila, a Bulgarian hermit who settled in the region and devoted his life to fasting and prayers. The monastery was initially situated near the cave where the saint dwelled. After he passed away in 946, St Ivan was buried in the cave in which he found solitude. Throughout the centuries Rila Monastery has always been the spiritual, educational and cultural center of Bulgaria. Depart for the Republic of Macedonia. Arrive in Skopje. Check into the hotel for your overnight. (B,L)

Dinner in a traditional restaurant with folklore show.

Overnight: Unique Resort 5* or similar

Day 9, May 31, 2022, SKOPJE – TETOVO – OHRID  (170 km)

Visit the capital Skopje, the Old Bazaar made of narrow streets. The pedestrian walk is comprised of similar, one floor structures that house shops containing jewels, carpets, clothes, books, etc. See the Mustafa Pasa Mosque (16th century) and the Church of St. Spas. Visit the Cathedral Kliment Ohridski, the Feudal Tower and the memorial dedicated to Mother Teresa.  Departure for visiting the Painted Mosque in Tetovo also known as the Aladzha Mosque. Considered a masterpiece of the Ottoman Art, it was built thanks to the donation of two Muslim ladies – Hurshida and Mensure, whose tomb lies in the garden of the mosque. Arrival in Ohrid, Check into the hotel for your overnight. (B,L,D)

Overnight: Unique Resort 5* or similar

Day 10, June 6, 2022, OHRID

Visit of the old center of Ohrid. It is the most beautiful cities of Macedonia and one of the most fascinating of the Balkan Peninsula. It was declared as a world heritage by UNESCO. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid is known for its pretty white houses, winding streets and the prestige of art treasures. Visit the Cathedral of St. Sophia, built in 1037-1056 with interesting frescoes of the 14th century, the Church of S. Bogorodica Perivlepta of 1259 with Byzantine forms, the Roman theatre, the Samuil fortress, the Church of St. Constantine and Helen from the second half of the 14th century, the Plaosnik, the Church of St. Kaneo (one of the symbols of Ohrid). Boat trip to visit the Monastery St. Naum. (B,L,D)

Overnight: Unique Resort 5* or similar

Day 11, June 6, 2022, OHRID – BITOLA – STOBY – BEROVO (320 km)  

Depart to visit the city Heraclea founded by Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, in the mid-fourth century BC. Among the most interesting relics you can enjoy baths colonnade amphitheater, the remains of two churches, both wonderful and colorful mosaics (V century) depicting geometric shapes, trees, birds, flowers and animals. Short visit to Bitola: conquered by the Turks in 1382, the city has a new name of Monastir. Dozens of mosques built by the Turks during their occupation lasted for more than five centuries. Visit Stobi – located at the confluence of the rivers Crna and Vardar, Stobi is one of Macedonia’s most famous archaeological sites. Stobi was first mentioned in 197 B.C. in an ancient script referring to the victory that Phillip V’s troops achieved against the Dardanians but the oldest-discovered artifacts found on the site date back to the 7th century B.C. During the Roman era, Stobi was a regional trading hub because of its great location in the heart of the Macedonia province. The town had several medieval basilicas, a Roman necropolis, an amphitheater, and several Hellenic graves. Stobi was one of the most important medieval centers in Macedonia until the 6th century. Arrival in Berovo, check into the hotel for your overnight. (B,L,D)

Overnight: Hotel Manastir 4* or similar

Day 12, June 3, 2022, BEROVO –  SOFIA  (160 km)  

Departure for Bulgaria, on the outskirts of Sofia, stop to visit the impressive National Historical Museum which also exhibits the famous gold treasures of the Thracian people. This is Bulgaria’s largest museum. It was founded on 5 May 1973. A new representative exhibition was opened in the building of the Court of Justice on 2 March 1984, to commemorate the 13th centenary of the Bulgarian state. The museum was moved in 2000 to the former primary residence of the dictator and last communist leader Todor Zhivkov at Boyana, and currently contains over 650,000 objects connected to archaeology, fine arts, history and ethnography, although only 10% of them are permanently exhibited. It undertakes professional conservation and restoration of historical monuments, authenticity investigations and expert valuation. Its collections comprise materials dating from prehistoric ages till the present. (B,L,D)

Overnight: Marriot Balkan 5* or similar 

 Day 13, June 4, 2022, SOFIA

Breakfast. Transfer to the airport.

Inquire for prices