Self-drive tour in Northern Bulgaria
How about a trip combining stunning landscapes and incredible history? A tour in Bulgaria is the answer! The best thing about this tour and holiday is that it is entirely tailormade, meaning you can choose what to visit according to your taste and live it at your own pace. We just give you the ingredients and you mix them to your liking.Read more
How about a trip combining stunning landscapes and incredible history? A tour in Bulgaria is the answer! The best thing about this tour and holiday is that it is entirely tailormade, meaning you can choose what to visit according to your taste and live it at your own pace. We just give you the ingredients and you mix them to your liking.
The offers are all attractive: Renaissance towns and ancient monasteries, Thracian tombs, Roman cities and old churches, a medieval capital, idyllic landscapes spread all around the Danube plain and the northern slopes of the Balkans, the mountain of the legends, the rocky coasts of the North Black Sea. What are you waiting for? Depart on your holiday and vacation in Bulgaria!
Transfer from the airport to the hotel. The capital city of Bulgaria, Sofia, has been known since ancient times. Its many names reflect its long and irregular history. A walk through the historic and cultural center of the city will be enough to show you remains dating back to over two thousand years ago, one of the oldest church of Christianity, St. George Church and the Basilica of Saint Sophia, to feel the Reinassance spirit of the 19th century, embodied by buildings such as the National Library, Sofia University, the National Theater, the Academy of Fine Arts, to see the collections of the National Art Gallery and the Archaeological Museum and finally breathe the atmosphere of the square surrounding the largest church of the Balkan area: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
Near Belogradchik is one of the most interesting symbols of Bulgaria: Belogradchik rocks. Huge bizzarre rock formations of red limestone from ancient geological eras and the fortress at the foothills are an important medival monument of the Bulgarian state.
Possible detours for optional visits:
Founded in the 10th century, Chiprovtsi Monastery was an important cultural center over the centuries of Ottoman rule, but also the outbreak of rebellion raised by the Bulgarian monks in the 17th century.
Magura cave is one of the largest Bulgarian caves. But the prehistorical paintings in one of the galleries are even more impressive, with hunting scenes dating back to the first Bronze era, in the second and third millennium BC.
In the center of Vidin lies the ancient -entirely preserved - medieval fortress of Bulgaria: Baba Vida monastery. Built in a strategic position in a bend of the Danube, this fortress dates back to the 10th century.
Belogradchik – Tryavna, Distance: 328 km.
Birthplace of the most important figures of the Bulgarian Renaissance, the wooden houses and stone churches in Tryavna bear the spirit of the most interesting period in the history of the country. The town is famous for its ancient wooden sculptures decorating the walls and ceilings of the Renaissance houses.
The road from Belogradchik to Tryavna passess through Vratsa town, hidden below the frightening white-rock cliffs of the Balkans, one of the favourite places for climbers in Bulgaria.
Troyan Monastery is the third largest monastery in Bulgaria. It was established around 1600, the most important relic in the monastery is the miraculous icon of the Virgin Troerouchitsa ("three-handed"). The villages sorrounding the town of Troyan are famous for their numerous ceramics shops.
Batoshevo Monastery attracts for the picturesque frescoes in the open-air verandah at the stone church.
Gabrovo is famous for the role played as trading center in the mid 19th century, for the supposed greed of its inhabitants and for their sense of humour. The town is home to the annual Festival of Humour and Satire. In the outskirts of Gabrovo is the ethnografic complex and open air museum displaying traditional artisan shops of the past. Opening hours are from 9 am to 6 pm. Monday closed.
High above Gabrovo, on a stone terrace on the slopes of the Balkan mountains, Sokolski Monastery is perched. Highlights of this place are the church excavated in the rock and the octagonal fountain built by Kolyu Ficheto.
Ruse, thanks to its position on the Danube connecting it to Europe, had the fame of being the most European city of Bulgaria in the end of the 19th century. From that period many buildings in different architectural styles are left: Baroque, Neo-classicism, modern and art nouveau all to be admired.
Dryanovo Monastery is located in the deep canyon of Dryanovo river. Below its rocks, during the uprising in April 1876, a group of rebels fought violently againts the Turkish army. Near the monastery is "Bacho Kiro" cave, bearing the name of one of the leaders of the revolt in Turnovo area.
The ancient Roman city of Nicopoli is the natural habitat for interesting animals and plants, but is also home to some of the most important monuments in Bulgaria: the rock churches in Ivanovo with exceptional paintings from the 13th century (protected by Unesco), Cherven Fortress (Red fortress) and the only monastery in the rocks in Bulgaria, Basarbovo. Nearby is Orlova Chuka cave.
Tyulenovo is a small village situated on the Black Sea, rocky and excavated in the coast. Near the small port is a stone arch with a foot in the water where there once used to be some caves accessible from the sea, which were the habitat of seals from which the village derives its name.
Sveshtari Thracian tomb is the place of eternal rest of a local noblesman. What makes it different from the other Thracian tombs on the Bulgarian territory is the rich sculpture decoration of the halls. Protected by Unesco. Near the tomb, located in a picturesque area, is the old Muslim shrine of Demir Baba Tekke.
Situated on the steep slopes of the rocky coast, Balchik offers a splendid view on the sea. The pleasant atmosphere of the city is due to the botanic garden, which, besides hosting a rich cactus collection, was also the summer residence of Duchess Maria.
Kamen Beach is another small village, perched on cliffs above the sea. Here is Yalata archaeological reserve, whose earliest handworks date back to the 5th century BC. The sorrounds are the favourite place for summer vacations for climbing lovers, who often spend the night in the numerous slits of the rocks.
Kaliakra is one of the most momorable places of the North Coast. The cape stretches deep into the sea and is long and narrow. At the end of the 18th century, during the Russian- Turkish war, here the Russian fleet defeated the Turkish fleet in the greatest battle of the Black Sea.
Balchik – Veliko Tarnovo, distance: 269 km.
Veliko Tarnovo was the capital of the second Bulgarian Kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries. The bends of Yantra river separate the picturesque medieval Tsarevets fortress from the ancient houses and churches perched on the opposite side.
But besides being a royal city, Veliko Tarnovo was the most important spiritual center of the time. Evidence of this are the numerous monasteries of the area. Among these the Transfiguration monastery deserves particular attention, its church was decorated by the Renaissance painter Zhari Zograf.
Near Veliko Tarnovo is Arbanassi, representing the typical Bulgarian Renaissance architecture of the 17th and 18th century. There are many churches in the village, the most important is the Church of the Nativity with its precious frescoes from the 17th century.
The largest Bulgarian city on the Black Sea is Varna, famous for its garden on the sea which attracts many visitors, and there is also a dolphinarium. The history museum hosts the treasure of the most ancient gold in the world dating back the 5th century BC. Pobitite Kamani are unique natural formations, creating a forest of natural stone columns.
The third attraction is Madara Knight, protected by Unesco. The figure is located on a high position, dug into the rocks near Madara village at the beginning of the 8th century and representing the Bulgarian Khan Trevel, one of the symbols of Bulgaria.
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