• Date

    15 – 22 July

  • Price

    €979

  • Visiting

    Rila Monastery, Kyustendil, Melnik, Uva Nestum, Kovachevitsa, Dobarsko, Gorno Draglishte, Rhodope Railway, Sofia

Programme

Day 1 | Meet at the airport at 6pm for Ryanair flight departing to Sofia at 8.05pm.  On arrival, transfer to accommodation in Sofia.

Day 2 | Breakfast followed by drive to Kyustendil, with a stop at Rila Monastery along the way.   Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was founded in the 10th century by St John of Rila, a hermit canonized by the Orthodox Church.  Together with his disciples and followers, he established a community of monks, the core of Rila Monastery. Rebuilt, deserted, reduced to ashes by Turks and built anew, the monastery has been a witness and symbol of rich Bulgarian history.   Also known as the City of Springs, Kyustendil has an extensive history dating back to 20 centuries ago.  Its mineral water has a unique structure with healing properties based on its mineral composition since ancient times.  The city is also known for being the birthplace of Vladimir Dimtirov “The Master”,  a great Bulgarian painter.   Dinner at the hotel.

Day 3 | Breakfast followed by a sightseeing tour of Kyustendil including visits to the mosque from the 15th century, the uncovered remains of the Roman thermal baths, the church of St. George from the 10th century and the art gallery dedicated to the Bulgarian painter, Vladimir Dimitrov – Maistora.  Kyustendil and its surrounding areas are well known as the orchard of Bulgaria, where mostly cherries, plums and apples are grown.  It is a spa resort of national significance and a regional centre. Enjoy free time in the afternoon in the SPA & Wellness area of the hotel.

Day 4 | Heading south along the Struma River and the Kresna Gorge, we reach the smallest town of Bulgaria – Melnik, known for its bizarre sand pyramids that surround the place and for the cultivation of vines. While the area is good for growing international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah, there are two significant local grape varietals you should aim to try while visiting Melnik.  In the late afternoon we drive over the picturesque Popovi Livadi pass with wonderful views over the southern Pirin Mountains to the Uva Nestum winery and hotel complex.

Day 5 | After a relaxing breakfast, we will visit the winery and biofarm Uva Nestum. Our guide today will be the owner himself. 90% of the products used in the restaurant are produced on his own farm.  Inspired by the ancient magic of wine and the miraculous power of nature, the Uva Nestum Wine & SPA combines the best of high technologies with the region of Nevrocop’s innate hospitality.  The complex offers a feast for the senses and a gracious place to relish a holiday on the cutting edge of wellness and wellbeing. We will finish the tour with a wine tasting. Enjoy free time in the afternoon in the SPA & Wellness area of the hotel.

Day 6 | Breakfast followed by an excursion to the museum village Kovachevitsa. Kovachevitca has kept its authentic spirit and is one of the most famous and beautiful Bulgarian villages in the West Rhodope.  The village of Kovachevitsa is a perfect destination for lovers of country and cultural tourism, a place where they can step back from intense urban lifestyles to explore old traditions and taste genuine local food and beverages while enjoying the tranquillity of the Rhodope mountain.

Lunch at a family home.  Return to the hotel with free time at leisure.

Day 7 | Today we travel northward along the Mesta river to the village Dobarsko. Visit the ancient church of the village, which is a unique sanctuary and a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Amidst the spectacular scenery we will come in contact with the Bulgarian spirit and traditions and take part in the demonstrations of old local customs and songs.  We will have the opportunity to taste delicious homemade meals served with wine or hot rakia and see the craftsmen workshops in the house of Deshka in the village Gorno Draglishte. After a short bus transfer to a small railway station, we will catch the narrow gauge railway, the Rhodope Railway. Due to the characteristics of the route through the mountains, the narrow gauge line is also known as the Alpine railway in the Balkans.   After a short train ride we will continue by bus to Sofia.

Free time for dinner.

Day 8  | Breakfast followed by a Sofia sightseeing tour.  Bulgaria’s pleasingly laid-back capital is a modern, youthful city, with a scattering of onion-domed churches, Ottoman mosques and stubborn Red Army monuments that lend an eclectic, exotic feel.  During our tour, we will visit the highlights of Sofia, including the Alexander Nevsky Golden- Domed Cathedral, St. Sofia church, one of the oldest churches in Europe that is still operating, and the 4th century church of St. George – the earliest and best-preserved building in inner old Serdica. Free time followed by late transfer to the airport for our Ryanair flight back to Malta departing at 11.20pm.

PRICE PER PERSON

Triple€959
Twin€979
Single€1199

Price is subject to availability and a supplement may apply if cost of flight increases

Prices include

  • Ryanair flights – Malta/Sofia/Malta
  • Air taxes, fuel surcharge and service charge
  • Priority boarding including 2 cabin bags
  • Seat
  • 1 checked in luggage of 20 kg.
  •  7 nights accommodation in 4* and 5* hotels on bed and breakfast
  • 2 lunches
  • 2 wine tastings
  • All transfers and excursions as per programme
  • English speaking guide for the whole journey
  • Train ticket
  • Local tour leader

Extras

  • Travel insurance

Travel insurance is not included and needs to be taken out. Covered by the Insolvency Fund. Booking terms and conditions listed at the end of our brochure apply and are taken as being read and consented to. Please read them carefully before booking

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