Bulgaria to Greece Itinerary

Bulgaria5

Day 1
ARRIVAL To 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 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
GOAT’S WALL WALK AND AUTHENTIC VILLAGE
The day starts with a short morning transfer to “Beklemeto” area, located on the ridge of the Balkan Mountains. The path passes through Goat’s Wall Nature Reserve where the rare alpine flowers “Edelweiss” can be seen in summer. Later we will transfer to the colourful Ottoman-times style village: Koprivshtitsa; a town museum, famous for its revival style houses and rich history.
Walking time: 5 hours (Ascent: 700m/ Descent: 700m)

Night stop: Koprivshtitsa Village
Accommodation: Authentic Family-run Guesthouse
Included meals: breakfast, picnic-lunch, dinner

Day 5
KOPRIVSHTITSA VILLAGE AND SNOW-WHITE CAVE
Walk through the cobbled streets of Koprivshtitsa center with painted houses and stone bridges, all with historical importance. We will also visit a few house museums from 18-19th century, presenting the traditional way of life during the Bulgarian Renaissance times.

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.

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
MOUNTAIN TRAIN RIDE & COOKING WORKSHOP
In the morning catch the narrow gauge train for a picturesque mountain ride to Dobrinishte city 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 AND BANSKO 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
SKAKAVITSA WATERFALLS & HOT MINERAL WATERS

Morning transfer to Northern Rila Mountains and walk to Skakavitsa Waterfalls in Rila National Park.

This afternoon we drive to Sapareva Banya with free time for SPA and relaxation.
Walking time: 4 hours (Ascent:450m, Descent:450m )

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

Day 9
THE SEVEN RILA LAKES
The Seven Rila Lakes 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.
Walking time: 5 hours (Ascent:600m, Descent:600m )

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

Day 10
RILA MONASTERY (UNESCO) & MELINIK REVIVAL VILLAGE

Today we will visit the biggest monastery in Bulgaria, the Rila Monastery. The sanctuary was founded in the 10th c. by the saint hermit Ivan Rilski. Nowadays the monastery is UNESCO World Heritage Site and consists of church of the Holy Virgin, monastery museum, medieval kitchen, and medieval tower. Afterwards an easy walk will bring us to St. Ivan Rilski’s hermitage cave, situated in the deep forests of Rila Monastery Nature Reserve.

Transfer to the Greek border but just before crossing it we will make a short stop at Melnik Sandstone Pyramids.

Border crossing and late afternoon arrival at Kerkini Lake.
Walking time: 1.5 hours (Ascent: 150m / Descent: 250m)

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

Day 11
KERKINI LAKE BOAT TRIP & WALK IN MT OLYMPUS 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
WALK THROUGH THE METEORA MONASTERIES

Depart for Meteora, well known for its monasteries built atop impressive sandstone rock pillars. (Meteora means “suspended in the air.”) Continue to the town of Kastraki set at the foot of the rock towers of Meteora. In the afternoon a short hike will lead you past the sight of the ruined Saint George Monastery (built in a cleft of a sheer rock face above Kastraki) and introduce you to the spectacular World Heritage landscape of Meteora.

Walking time: 2 hours

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

Day 13
FULL DAY EXPLORING METEORA (UNESCO)

Enjoy a full day at Meteora. From Kastraki, follow old paths to the dramatically situated Monastery of St. Barbara. Continue to the Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) Monastery, which crowns a massive rock pinnacle. Descend by footpath to the lively bustle of the town of Kalambaka for lunch. In the afternoon continue your exploration of Meteora with visits to the Grand Meteora and Varlaam Monasteries. 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

Transfer to Thessaloniki,on the way we will stop for a visit to Vergina Museum, where we will explore the burial site of the kings of Macedon, including the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great historical place.

In the afternoon sightseeing in Thessaloniki – the second largest city in Greece and major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre. Thessaloniki is home to numerous notable Byzantine monuments. Including the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki, a UNESCO world heritage site, as well as several Roman, Ottoman and Sephardic Jewish structures.

Night stop: Thessaloniki
Accommodation: 3* 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.