Bulgaria to Greece Itinerary

Bulgaria5

Day 1 – Welcome to Bulgaria
Arrival in Sofia
You will be transferred from the airport to your hotel in the city centre. This evening you will enjoy a taste of Balkan’s cuisine.

Accommodation: 3-4* star city hotel
Included meals: Welcome dinner

Day 2 – Panoramic walk in the Balkan Range
Transfer to the Balkan Mountain Range by private bus (approx 1.30 hours). Today we will start our walk in the highlands with amazing views to the main ridge and the lower fields. We will take a rest at the Mountain Chapel which has been built high on the rocks. The bus will wait for us at the small village of Babinci “The grandmothers’ village”.

Option: visit to the local Ethnographic museum Walking time: 4-5 hours (Ascent: 500m/ Descent: 500m)

Night stop: Oreshak village
Accommodation: Family-run Hotel
Included meals: breakfast, picnic-lunch, dinner

Day 3 – Djendem Nature Reserve Walk and pottery workshop
This morning we will reach the mountain hut Pleven, hidden in the footsteps of Mt.Botev (2376m) – the highest peak in the Balkan Range. The views to the Northern Djendem Nature Reserve are stunning! Here we will enjoy a picnic lunch. In the afternoon we will enjoy a 2 to 3 hour pottery workshop in the “Eko Art” craft shop in Drashkova Poliana Village.
Walking time: 4 hours (Ascent: 500m/ Descent: 500m)

Night stop: Oreshak Village
Accommodation: Family-run Hotel
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4 – Balkan Mountain walk and authentic village
The day starts with a visit to Troyan monastery then a transfer of 1 hour to the Beklemeto area located on the ridge of the Balkan Mountain.  We will go west and walk along the main ridge of the mountain.  On the way we will pass through a nature reserve area rich in many endemic species. If we are lucky we may come across the flower “edelweiss”.  Walking back along the same trail to the bus we will transfer to the colourful Ottoman time style village Koprivshtitsa.
Walking time: 3 hours (Ascent: 300m/ Descent: 300m)

Night stop: Koprivshtitsa Village
Accommodation: Authentic Family-run 3* Hotel Gozbarov’s House
Included meals: breakfast, picnic-lunch, dinner

Day 5 – Snow White Cave and Local rug factory
After a 2-hour transfer: visit the Snow-White Cave, which is rich of stalagmites, stalactites and sinter lakes. The excavations reveal secrets from the Iron and the Thracian ages. A steep path takes us about 45mins to the entrance of the cave.

Then we continue with a transfer through the Rhodope Mountains that will take us to Kostandovo village, famous for its rug factory. Here you will experience the daily life of the local people, whose main activity is farm work.

Transfer to Velingrad. Optional: free time this afternoon to relax or take a SPA or massage treatment.
Walking time: 2 hours

Night stop: Velingrad
Accommodation: 4*Spa Hotel
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

 

Day 6 – Narrow-gauge train ride & Cooking workshop
In the morning catch the narrow gauge train for a picturesque mountain ride to Avramovo village in the middle of the Rhodope Mountains. The train is used mainly by the local ethnic groups living in the area and is slow enough to enjoy the mountain scenery and pine forests. We then start our walk from Gorno Draglishte Village, surrounded by the Pirin Massif. Our 2 hour hike takes us to Dobarsko village, famous for its church “St. Theodor Tiron and Theodor Stratilat” – 17th century church with unique frescoes (UNESCO world heritage).  Tonight there will be a cooking workshop with Deshka, the owner of the guest-house and member of the Slow Food Association.
Walking time: 2 hours (Ascent: 100m/ Descent: 400m)

Night stop: Gorno Draglishte village
Accommodation: Family-run guesthouse
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7 – Pirin Mountain Walk & Bansko Old Town
We start the day with a short transfer to Vihren hut (1960m) – starting point for many hikes in Pirin National Park. Today we will do a circuit hike to the glacial lakes in Buderitsa circus.  The area will charm you with its alpine scenery and white marble peaks of the mountain. In the afternoon and early evening: free time to explore Bansko town and dinner in a choice of restaurants before transferring back to Gorno Draglishte Village.

Walking time: 5.00 hours (Ascent: 450m/ Descent: 450m)

Night stop: Gorno Draglishte village
Accommodation: Family-run guesthouse
Included meals: breakfast, picnic-lunch

Day 8 – Rila Monastery & Hot Mineral Waters

Morning transfer to the biggest monastery in Bulgaria – Rila Monastery. This sanctuary was founded in the 10th century by Saint Hermit Ivan Rilski. The monastery is a UNESCO World heritage Site and consists of the Chruch of The Holy Virgin, museum, medievil kitchen and medieveil tower. Afterwards an easy walk to St Ivan’s hermitage cave situated deep in the forest.

This afternoon we drive to Sapareva Banya with free time for SPA and relaxation.
Walking time: 1-2 hours (Ascent:200m, Descent:350m )

Night stop: Separeva Banya
Accommocation: 3* Hotel
Included meals: breakfast, picnic-lunch, dinner

Day 9 – The Rila Lakes and hot mineral waters
Short transfer to the Panichisite chairlift, which brings us to the area of the Seven Rila Lakes. They are one of the symbols of the country. Every year, thousands of people gather around the lakes to honour the sun and to feel the spiritual energy in the area. First we will pass by all of the seven lakes until we reach the high point from where we will have a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the lakes and beyond. We then transfer to Sapareva for free time and spa.
Walking time: 5 hours (Ascent:600m, Descent:600m )

Night stop: Separeva Banya toiwn
Accommocation: 3* Hotel
Included meals: breakfast, picnic-lunch, dinner

Day 10 – Melnik revival village

Transfer to the region of Melnik – the smallest town in Bulgaria, famous for the peculiar sandstone formations and production of wine. We will visit the nearby Rojen Monastery and a short walk to enjoy the view over the valley. In the afternoon we set out for the Greek border.  After crossing the border in late afternoon and then arrive at kerkini Lake.

Border crossing and late afternoon arrival at Kerkini Lake.
Walking time: 1.0 hours (Ascent: 100m / Descent: 100m)

Night stop: Kerkini Lake
Accommodation: 3* Hotel
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11 – Sunrise boat trip on Kerkini Lake and walk in Mount Olympu National Park

In the morning bird watching and boat ride in Lake Kerkini – an artificial reservoir, one of the premier birding sites in Greece, located at the Via Aristotelis migration corridor. Transfer to Litochoro and enjoy an afternoon walk in Mount Olympus National Park.
Walking time: 2 to 3 hours

Night stop: Litochoro Village
Accommodation: Boutique family-run hotel
Included meals: breakfast, picnic-lunch, dinner

Day 12 – Walking though the Meteora Monasteries

Depart for Meteora, well known for its monasteries built atop impressive sandstone rock pillars. (Meteora means “suspended in the air.”) On the way we will stop for a visit to Vergina Museum where we will explore the burial site of the kings of macedonia.  This includes the tomb of Phillip II, father of Alexander The Great. Continue to the town of Kastraki set at the foot of the rock towers of Meteora.

Transfer time: 2 hours

Night stop: Kastraki Village
Accommodation: Boutique family run Hotel
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 13 – Full day exploring Meteora (UNESCO)

Enjoy a full day at Meteora and get introduced to the spectacular World Heritage landscape of the second most important orthodox Centre in the world.  Today you can choose which of the 6 functioning monasteries and entrance fees are at your cost.  There are also various options for short walks among the magnificent rock formations. Dine this evening at your hotel in Kastraki.

Walking time: 3 hours

Night stop: Kastraki Village
Accommodation: 3* Boutique hotel
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 14 – Thessalonki city tour

Transfer to Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece and a major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre.  Thessalonki is home to numerous notable Byzantine monuments. It will include the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessalonki, a UNESCO world heritage site as well as several Roman, Ottoman and Sephardic  Jewish Structures.

Night stop: Thessaloniki
Accommodation: 3-4* Hotel
Included meals: breakfast

Day 15 – Departure Day
You will be departing for your own destinations with memories of an unforgettable experience through the unknown Europe.
Direct transfer to the airport.

Included meals: breakfast

Inclusions

INCLUDED WITH THIS TRIP

  • 14 nights twin share accommodation in Family-run Guesthouses & Hotels
  • All meals as detailed on the itinerary
  • All transfers listed in the itinerary
  • Train ticket for the mountain train in Rhodopi Mountains
  • Chair lift round ticket to the Seven Rila Lakes Hut
  • Guided walks and workshops listed in the itinerary
  • Services of a fully experienced bi-lingual guide

NOT INCLUDED WITH THIS TRIP

  • International Airfare
  • Visa fees – each member of the group must carry a valid passport (valid for at least 6 months beyond the duration of your trip) and have obtained the appropriate visas
  • Tips, personal telephone charges.
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory) – You will need to give the policy number prior to departure
  • Items of a personal nature; postage, drinks and souvenirs
  • Museum Entrance fees
  • Additional optional activities and SPA treatments
  • Medical Advice – Please refer to your GP or local travel clinic for up to date travel health advice for the area(s) you are visiting.

IMPORTANT NOTES
Food & drinks – All food quality is carefully selected following the true local tradition.
Local Guide – The group will be accompanied by a local English speaking guide. Our guides are highly professional, very friendly with an extensive knowledge of the area. They know every hidden corner and will give you the opportunity to experience all the unspoiled places and the real culture of Bulgaria.
Transport – A private bus and driver will be available for the group for its everyday transfers and transportation of luggage.