• Delve into unspoilt landscapes and groundbreaking archaeology, unaffected by mass tourism
• Step inside the country’s monasteries, treasuries of Bulgarian culture and once the focal point for artistic patronage
• Discover the ancient city of Sofia, home to an abundance of cultural and archaeological assets
lecturer in art history and architecture
Depart Heathrow 0820 on British Airways, arriving Sofia 1325. Transfer to Grand Hotel, central Sofia, for three nights. Afternoon walking tour of Sofia, including neo-Byzantine Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (huge crypt with icon collection).
Morning: walking tour including ancient churches, Banya Bashi Mosque, beautifully restored synagogue (Moorish turrets) and National Archaeological Museum. Afternoon: Boyana Church (superb 13th century frescoes) and National Museum of History. Free evening.
Whole day excursion to small town of Koprivshtitsa (National Revival architecture), and Kremikovtsi Monastery (time permitting).
Zemen Monastery (14th century frescoes), 10th century Rila Monastery (wood-carvings, frescoes, icons), then continue to Sandanski Hotel and Spa for two nights.
Melnik (remarkable wooden houses, medieval churches with valuable icons), followed by medieval Rozhen Monastery (unique wood-carved altars). Free afternoon with option to visit to Sandanski early Christian basilica.
Bansko (Church of the Holy Trinity, icon museum), Kovachevitsa (local architecture) with drive through Rhodope Mountains to Devin for overnight at Spa Hotel Devin.
Shiroka Laka, 11th century Bachkovo Monastery, then continue to Plovdiv for two nights at Ramada Trimontium Hotel.
Plovdiv: old town (National Revival architecture), Ethnographic Museum, St Konstantin and Elena churches, House of Stepan Hindlian, Cumaya Mosque, Roman theatre. Free evening.
Starosel (recently discovered Thracian sanctuaries), Hisar (Roman remains) then continue to Kazanlak (archaeology museum, replica of the 4th century BC Thracian tomb), Thracian tombs of Golyama Kosmatka, Shushmanets and Ostrusha. Overnight at Hotel Palace, Kazanlak.
Across historic Shipka Pass to Shipka (memorial church), then Sokolski Monastery, Etâra (traditional rural architecture) and Preslav (archaeology museum, round church). Continue to Shumen (centre of Muslim minority) for overnight stay at Grand Hotel Shumen.
Morning: Tombul Mosque. Depart Shumen for Pliska site and Basilica, Madara Horseman (medieval rock carving on 300 ft cliff), Sveshtari (3rd century Thracian tomb), then continue to Arbanassi Palace Hotel for three nights.
Environs of Veliko Tarnovo (medieval capital), including 12th century Tsarevets (ruined royal palace and reconstructed church) and churches in Asenova Mahala. Afternoon: Arbanassi.
Ivanovski cave monastery (vast rock-hewn complex with 14th century murals), Ruse (city on the Danube), Cherven (medieval fortress).
Preobrazhenski Monastery (murals, icons), Troyan Monastery (spectacular frescoes) then continue to Sofia for overnight stay at Grand Hotel.
Free morning. Depart Sofia 1400, arriving Heathrow 1530.
23 Sep — 7 Oct 2019
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Wonderful frescoes, icons etc in Bulgarian monasteries, also Thracian tombs. Exceptional Tour Director, so knowledgeable about all aspects of Bulgarian history, art and architecture.
ACE Customer Apr 16
Cost of £2495 includes: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, breakfast, four lunches, twelve dinners with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities.
Not included: travel insurance, single room supplement £295.