About this holiday
Bulgaria offers perfect walking conditions, with its beautiful scenery and welcoming people. This Eastern European country is also known as the cradle to some of the most ancient civilisations in the world and this tour encompasses the magnificent natural and historical landmarks of Bulgaria, with the secrets of the traditional local culture and cuisine in this fantastic eight day programme, which truly showcases the best of Bulgaria.
Day 1 - UK-Bansko After landing at Sofia airport, meet your Solos Tour Leader and local guide and transfer to the beautiful old town of Bansko. Enjoy a short briefing about your holiday and dinner at a local restaurant tonight.Overnight Bansko (D)
Day 2 - Bansko After breakfast we can enjoy our first day hiking in the beautiful Pirin mountain range. We commence our walk at a mountain hut at 2000m located beneath the imposing Mount Vihren – the highest peak of the range. Our hike will take us past the gorgeous Bunderitsa Lakes, just some of the hundreds of glacial lakes in the area, until we reach the Todorka saddle from where you can marvel at the panoramic views. After our walk, we can enjoy a tour of charming Bansko and learn more about its history, architecture and traditions. Dinner is at a local restaurant. Overnight Bansko (B, L, D)
Day 3 - Bansko Today we will visit Rila – the other mountain range in Bulgaria. We will start with a morning transfer through the lush forests of the "Water mountain" to the "Kirilova" meadow. A fantastically green area, surrounded by rocky summits with vertical faces often referred toas the Bulgarian Yosemite. From here we will start our hike on the legendary Pilgrim's path, through a green valley to the Dry lake - which is like a wild botanical garden. Next we return back to our vehicle and transfer to the Rila monastery, the world famous Rila Monastery founded in the 10th century by St. John of Rila, a hermit, canonized by the Orthodox Church. His ascetic dwelling and tomb became a holy site and were transformed into a monastic complex which played an important role in the spiritual and social life of medieval Bulgaria. Destroyed by fire at the beginning of the 19th century, the complex was rebuilt between 1834 and 1862. A characteristic example of the Bulgarian Renaissance (18th–19th centuries), the monument symbolizes the awareness of a Slavic cultural identity during the centuries of Ottoman occupation. Overnight Bansko (B, L, D)
Day 4 - Bankso We have a well-earned break from walking today and we can enjoy an included visit the charming village of Melnik. Set in a picturesque valley, with good sandy soil and with 350 sunny days per year it’s no wonder that this region is home to the world famous Bulgarian wine cellars! After an included wine tasting we can enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before heading back to our hotel for the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Overnight Bansko (B, L, D)
Day 5 - Bansko-Smolyan After breakfast, we transfer to the village of Dolen, an amazing example of an ancient Bulgarian settlement often referred to as an ‘open air museum’. After a picnic lunch we set off on our hike through lush meadows and forests down to Trigrad, visiting the famous Trigrad gorge and the ‘Devil’s throat’ cave the largest underground waterfall in the Balkan Peninsula. Later, we continue onto the town of Smolyan nestled in the heart of the Rhodope Mountains. Overnight Smolyan (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Smolyan This morning we can enjoy a light hike to the ‘Canyon of the Waterfalls,’ hidden deep in the highest part of the Rhodope Mountains. Later, we visit the village of Shiroka Luka, an amazing perfectly preserved architectural reserve. Overnight Smolyan (B, L, D)
Day 7 - Plovdiv - Sofia Today we can enjoy one of the natural highlights of Bulgaria known as the Wonderful Bridges. These amazing rock formations are shaped by water over millions of years and we can enjoy a short walk to marvel at these amazing bridges. After lunch in a local restaurant we make our way to the Medieval Asen’s Fortress with its beautiful 12th Century church and Bachkovo monastery, the second largest in Bulgaria and home of some of the finest frescoes of Orthodox Christianity. Later we transfer to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, and check into our centrally located hotel. Overnight Sofia (B, L)
Day 8 - Sofia - UK After breakfast, we can enjoy a short walking tour of Sofia city centre where you can see the main sites including Boyana Church and the Alexander Nevski Cathedral. This afternoon, we transfer to the airport before our return flight to the UK (B)
Best of Bulgaria
We stay in comfortable hotels as detailed below (or similar).
Hotel Glazne **** or Hotel Casa Karina **** (Bansko)
Hotel Kiparis Alfa *** (Smolyan)
Hill Hotel **** (Sofia)