Romania and Bulgaria: Monasteries, Castles and Legends

The focus of this tour will be the dramatic mountain scenery and exquisite jewel-like villages, farms, churches and monasteries of rural Romania. This simple, agrarian way-of-life is a vestige of the culture that dominated all of Europe but has virtually disappeared elsewhere. Expect to be entertained by wonderful craft traditions, folk music and dance.

The towns are equally impressive; most of the overnight stops are in medieval walled burgs built by Saxon settlers. Romania is noted for its vineyards and interesting cuisine, heavily influenced by Hungarian specialties. Bulgaria is truly a land of outstanding beauty and astonishing heritage linking the East and the West, located on the northeastern portion of the Balkan Peninsula, in southeastern Europe and on the Black Sea.

It has a wealth of attractions including historical monuments, beautiful beaches, gorgeous mountain landscape with intriguing caves, waterfalls, striking rock formations, picturesque lakes and rivers, numerous different species of flora and fauna, ancient cultural and religious monuments, well-preserved medieval monasteries, vineyards and wineries, delicious food, and welcoming and nice people. From settlement on top of settlement Bulgaria is a repository of ancient sites from many civilizations that inhabited the region through millennia.

¿Qué está incluido?

• Experiencing the Traditional Bulgarian wedding with ritual songs and dances!
• Transport by bus or mini-bus in Romania and Bulgaria
• Overnight stays in 3 or 4 star hotels
• English or Italian speaking guide during the whole tour
• Entrance fees for the planned sites
• All expenses of the guide and the driver
• Full-board incl. 1\2 l. mineral water

Duración

12 días

Cubierto de destino

Bulgaria y Rumania

Más adecuado

Todo, Presupuesto, Familias, Grupos, Luna de miel, Niños, Lujo, Personas viajando solas
Day 1: Bucarest
Upon arrival in Bucarest, meet with the guide who will be staying with the group during the tour. Head to visit the National Cotroceni Museum, the oldest royal residence in Bucharest, now used as the residence of the President and a museum. Check into the Golden Tulip hotel or similar for your dinner and overnight. (D in “Peskarus” restaurant whit folklore program)

Day 2: Bucarest - Bacau - Piatra Neamt (350 km)
Begin your day with a tour of the capital, called "The Paris of the East" for its wide boulevards and its buildings in the "Belle Epoque" style. Visit the Triumphal Arch, the Romanian University, the Square of the Revolution, the University Square and the Curtea Domneasca. Explore the Patriarchy (spiritual center of the Rumanian Orthodox Church) and the Palace of Parliament, considered to be the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon in Washington. Departure for Piatra Neamt: is the capital city of Neamţ Country, in the historical region of Moldavia, Еastern Romania. Because of its privileged location in the Eastern Carpathian mountains, it is considered one of the most picturesque cities in Romania. Check into the Central Plaza hotel or similar for your dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 3: Monasteries of Bucovina (300 km)
Daily tour of the Monasteries of Bucovina: deemed masterpieces of Byzantine art, these churches are one-of-a-kind architectural sites in Europe. Far from being merely wall decorations, the murals represent complete cycles of religious murals. The purpose of the frescoes was to make the story of the Bible and the lives of the most important Orthodox saints known to villagers by the use of images. Their outstanding composition, elegant outline and harmonious colors blend perfectly with the surrounding landscape. Visit the Monastery Sucevita, founded in 1581 by Gheorghe Movila, Bishop of Radauti, it was later expanded by his brother, Ieremia, ruling prince of Moldavia, who added massive ramparts and turrets.

An elegant steeple resting on a star-shaped base tops the church. Massive eaves protect the outside frescoes, painted by local artists in 1602-1604. Visit the “Moldovia” Monastery (1532) surrounded by the defense system and the Monastery of “Sucevia” (1582-1584) famous for its fresco “The Ladder of Virtues” and its massive walls. Visit the village of Marginea, where numerous objects of black pottery from the Bronze Age were found. Nowadays these findings are hand reproduced by a local laboratory. Visit the Monastery of “Voronet” from 1488,m considered the jewel of Bukovina for its famous cycle of frescoes, which fully decorates the outside walls of the church. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 4: Piatra Neamt - Brasov (240 km)
Departure to visit Brasov, one of the most charming medieval towns of Romania. It was founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1211 on an ancient Dacian site and settled by the Saxons as one of the seven walled citadels. The location of the city at the intersection of trade routes linking the Ottoman Empire and western Europe, together with certain tax exemptions, allowed Saxon merchants to obtain considerable wealth and exert a strong political influence in the region. Visit the Schei quarter with the church of Sfantul Nicolae, the first Romanian school from the 15th century and the Gothic church of Biserica Neagrã. Check into the Coroana Brasovului hotel or similar for your dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 5: Brasov - Bran - Sinaia - Ruse (300 km)
Explore Dracula’s Castle, built in the 13th century by the Teutonic Knight Dietrich. Narrow winding stairways lead through some 60 timbered rooms, many connected by underground passages. The castle overlooks the picturesque village of Bran, which offers an open-air Ethnographic Museum consisting of old local-style village houses complete with furniture, household objects and costumes. Visit Peles Castle, the summer residence of King Carol I. Nestled in the picturesque town of Sinaia, it is a masterpiece of German Renaissance architecture and considered by many to be one of the most stunning castles in Europe. Commissioned by the king in 1873 and completed in 1883, it served as the summer residence of the royal family until 1947. Arrive to Ruse, meet the guide at the Bulgarian border, and check into the Cosmopolitan Hotel or similar for your overnight. (B,L,D in “Leventa” restaurant with wine tasting)

Day 6: Ruse - Ivanovo - Arbanassi - Veliko Tarnovo (120 km)
Head to visit the rock monastery of Archangel Michael near the village of Ivanovo (UNESCO). The temples display well-preserved wall paintings that feature Bulgarian church art from the 13th and 14th centuries. Continue to the village of Arbanassi to see the well-preserved 17th century Kostantsaliev House that has been converted into a museum. Tour the Birth of Christ Church that is divided into a men’s section (narthex) a woman’s section (the vestibule), and a gallery that encloses both. The narthex was once the original church, and the murals on its walls were executed in 1597. Departure for Veliko Tarnovo and visit Tzarevets Hill, a medieval stronghold that served as the Second Bulgarian Empire's primary fortress and strongest bulwark from 1185 to 1393. Check into the Grand Hotel Yantra or similar for your dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 7: Veliko Tarnovo - Etar - Kazanlak - Plovdiv (210 km)
Departure to Architectural ethnographic complex Etar: it consist 10 objects and its one of the most riches and well kept active technical collection around the European museums on the open air. This is the reason the water wheel to be the emblem to the Etar. The most important specialty to the collection is that all objects are in action as it was it the past. The craftsman trade street offers 16 models to the Balkan architecture, showing the original talant to Revival builders. You will enjoy the traditional Bulgarian wedding: The wedding is an old-time Bulgarian family rite that regulates the relations among the new couple and the other two family related groups. It is characterized by festive atmosphere full of great variety of ritual songs and dances.

The Bulgarian traditional wedding is vital and rich of ritual activities that are meant to ensure happiness, lots of children and property status to the young couple. There are a great number of spectacular-entertaining elements in the content of the wedding ritualism that bring it nearer to the folk drama and turn it into an unforgettable experience for the whole village group. The separate moments of the wedding ritual, characteristic of the Gabrovo region, will be shown. It will be full of plenty of music and dances, attended by the corresponding ritual stage-property and national costumes.

This show will be followed by a participation in training in traditional folk crafts and home occupations as dyeing with natural dyes and studying and direct inclusion in the whole process of the make of wooden musical instruments (splitting of the wood, turning, decoration, playing an instrument). Alternatively, they can be chosen other folk crafts: Pottery, Cow-bell making, Work with braid or Plaiting with maize leaves.

Continue to the Valley of the Roses through the Balkan Mountains. Stop to visit The Monastery of The Nativity located near Shipka. Visit Kazanlak: The surrounding region has been inhabited for thousands of years, with traces of civilization going as far back as 2000 BC. Visit the important Thracian Tomb from the 4th century BC situated near the ancient Thracian capital of Seuthopolis. Consisting of a vaulted brickwork "beehive" tomb, it contains, among other things, painted murals representing a Thracian couple at a ritual funeral feast. The tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Arrival in Plovdiv. Check into the Trimontium Princess hotel or similar in Plovdiv for your dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 8: Plovdiv - Bachkovo - Plovdiv (50 km)
Departure for Bachkovo Monastery founded in 1083 by the Byzantine military commander, Grigorij Bakuriani. It is one of the largest and oldest Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Europe and it is known for the unique combination of Byzantine, Georgian and Bulgarian styles. Return to Plovdiv, a town that was built around seven hills, which is a feature that is a distinct part of the city’s history. The beginning of its history dates back to 4,000 years BC making it one of the oldest cities in Europe. In the 4th century BC it was conquered by Phillip of Macedonia. Visit the old town situated on Nebet Tepe hill to see the Ethnographic Museum, the roman Theater and the Church of SS Kostantino and Elena. See the Roman Stadium and the Mosque situated in the city center. Return to the hotel for your dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 9: Plovdiv - Koprivshtiza - Kremikovtzi - Sofia (230 km)
Departure for Koprivshtiza, one of the centers of the April uprising in 1876 against the Ottoman occupation. Visit the historic city center that features some of the most beautiful old houses in Bulgaria. See the Church of the Virgin (Uspenie Bogirodichino) before departing for Sofia. Stop at the Kremikovtzi Monastery, which was founded in the 14th century during the reign of Tsar Ivan Alexander. It was destroyed in 1332 and rebuilt in 1493. Check into the Sofia Princess hotel or similar for your dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 10: Sofia
Tour of the city that will take you to the Church of St Sofia, the Church of St George and the Aleksandar Nevski Memorial Cathedral. The latter was officially opened in 1912, in honor of the 200,000 Russian warriors that died in the liberation war. Visit the National Museum of History: is one of the largest and richest history museums on the Balkan Peninsula. More than 700,000 cultural monuments are preserved inside it, representing the history of the present Bulgarian lands from the period 8,000 years ago to the present day. Only 10% of all these valuables and monuments are exhibited in the museum halls. Visit Boyana Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The small church is a unique example of the medieval architecture in the Balkans. Of special interest are the frescos on its interior walls, the oldest ones dating back to the 13th century. Return to the hotel for your dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 11: Sofia - Rila Monastery - Sofia (250 km)
Depart for the magnificent Rila Monastery, the most important monument of the Orthodox faith in the Balkans (UNESCO). Rila holy cloister was founded in the first half of the 10th century. Its history is directly related to St Ivan of Rila, a Bulgarian hermit who settled in the region and devoted his life to fasting and prayers. The monastery was initially situated near the cave where the saint dwelled. After he passed away in 946, St Ivan was buried in the cave in which he found solitude. Throughout the centuries Rila Monastery has always been the spiritual, educational and cultural center of Bulgaria. Return to the hotel in Sofia for your dinner and overnight. (B,L,D in “Chevermeto” restaurant with folklore program)

Day 12: Sofia - Departure
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight back home. (B)
1. Booking conditions:
• A non-refundable deposit of 30% per person is required upon booking
• The total price must be paid 30 days before the first day of the tour

2. Cancellations:
• Cancellations made more than 31 days before arrival are not to be charged except for the non-refundable deposit
• Cancellations made less than 30 days before arrival (after 100% payment) are non-refundable
• In case the Company cancels a tour due to not reaching the minimum required travelers 30 days before arrival, the deposit of 30% is to be returned to the traveler.

3. If there is no further payment on a booking less than 30 days before the first day of the trip, we reserve the right to cancel your booking and your deposits will be forfeited, unless the Company director has agreed a delay in your payment.
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