Bulgaria & Romania Tour, 14 days
The southeast of Europe gives a fascinating insight into the history of the European continent and the mix of Eastern elements. We experience the rich past of both countries during this tour. In Bulgaria we stay in Sofia, the charming and cozy Plovdiv, Varna on the Black Sea and the historic Veliko Tarnovo. We visit a number of UNESCO World Heritage monuments such as the Rila Monastery, the Thracian Tombs of Sveshtari and the Ivanovo Cave Monastery. In Romania we stay in Bucharest and the cozy and historic inner cities of Brasov and Sinai. We travel through the beautiful Transylvania where we have the time to make some walks.
Join our international groups with active travelers, of all ages. Most will come from Holland and Belgium, but you will find they have an excellent command of English. Your tour leader addresses the group in Dutch and English. Our skilled land crew have worked with Djoser for many years and make sure things run smoothly.
There is ample time for group exploration. Count on lots of walking. But sometimes, it is great to be able to break off and explore on your own. Your guide can make some great suggestions.
Join us for unforgettable cultural, nature and local experiences!
- Sofia - Rila Monastery - Plovdiv
- Plovdiv - Bachkovo Monastery - Brestovitsa - Plovdiv
- Plovdiv - Buzludja - Veliko Tarnovo
- Veliko Tarnovo - Shumen - Varna
- Varna - Isperih - Roese - Bucharest
- Bucharest - Sinaia - Brasov
- Brasov - Bran - Brasov
- Brasov - Fagaras - Sibiu
- Sibiu - Cozia - Curtea de Arges - Bucharest
Day by day
SECTION UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Sofia, 7000 years of history
Day 1 - Sofia
Day 2 Sofia
We start the journey in historic Sofia, proud capital of Bulgaria and say one of the oldest cities in the European continent. The history of this charming city dates back some 7000 years. We spend a full day here and experience the cozy character of the city where old and new merge effortlessly. The life slogan of the city is therefore "Ever growing, never aging". Sofia is located in a valley at the foot of the Vitosha mountain range and the snowy peaks can still be admired in the spring.
When the weather is nice it is advisable to go upstairs with a lift to enjoy the beautiful view over the city. In the weekends it is very busy with the locals who go into the mountains during the weekends and enjoy the view and nature. In the city we find relics of many cultures and beliefs. Located on the route from East to West, we find here the Bulgarian Orthodox Cathedral Alexander Nevski, the early Christian Saint George Church and the Russian Church called the Church of Sofia. In the National History Museum you get a good and complete picture of the city and who has swept the scepter in Sofia for the past millennia. The Ivan Vazov Theater and the University of Sofia are also worth a visit. After all cultural experiences it is wonderful to simply enjoy the streets on one of the many terraces or parks. All day life takes place on the street and on the market; it is therefore certainly advisable to visit one of the markets.
The Rila Monastery & Charming and Magical Plovdiv
Day 3 Sofia - Rila Monastery - Plovdiv
Day 4 Plovdiv - Bachkovo Monastery - Brestovitsa - Plovdiv
We leave the Bulgarian capital and travel to Plovdiv, the second largest city in the country that is 1,000 years older than Sofia. Before arriving in Plovdiv, we drive through the beautiful Rila Mountains and visit the Rila Monastery. The Rila Mountains are the highest mountain range in Bulgaria and even in the Balkans with a peak of 2925 meters high.
The Rila Monastery dates back to the 10th century and is only one of a large number of monuments on the UNESCO World Heritage List in Bulgaria. The immense structure was founded by a hermit, Ivan Rilski, whose followers built the monastery in his name. The Rila Monastery is today a place of pilgrimage for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The complex is known for its many frescoes; some 1200 images of biblical scenes adorn the walls and ceilings. A special place to visit in a unique location in the mountains.
We make a short stop at the special Stob Pyramids located in the village with the same name. These special rock formations are pointed Pyramids, the highest of which is about 12 meters high. Legends are fully present in everyday Bulgarian life and the legend of these Pyramids tells that they are petrified persons. On their way to a wedding, they saw that the groom's witness kissed the bride because of her dazzling beauty. The wedding guests were so shocked that they stood nailed to the ground as if they had been immobilized. All Pyramids have names such as' De Poppen ',' De Broers', 'De Rotsige Pieken; and 'The chimney of the Nymph'.
rPlovdiv is the second city of Bulgaria and is also called the "City of Seven Hills", as well as Rome and Lisbon. Plovdiv was the economic and political heart of Bulgarian territory in the times of Thrace and the Middle Ages and today we see many of these historical remains in the streets of the old city. The Roman amphitheater on the outskirts of the city, for example, still looks excellent. The same Romans even called Plovdiv the most beautiful city in Thrace. What really makes Plovdiv special is not so tangible or visible: it is the atmosphere and soul of the city that makes everyone fall in love with this city. Thanks to the large student population, it is also a lively city full of cultural activities and many cozy cafés and restaurants.
From Plovdiv it is possible to visit the Bachkovo monastery, dating from the 11th century. Another option is tasting the delicious Bulgarian to wines in the charming village of Brestovitsa located in the surrounding wine region. It is possible to taste authentic varieties of wines made from grapes from this region at a local winery.
Veliko Tarnovo and the Black Sea
Day 5 Plovdiv - Buzludja - Veliko Tarnovo
Day 6 Veliko Tarnovo - Shumen - Varna
Day 7 Varna
On our way to Veliko Tarnovo we drive through the Bulgarian countryside. The simplicity of the houses and the men and women at work in the countryside refer to a forgotten past that is still present and alive here. In the valley of the Thracian kings a multitude of tombs have been found. Here the rich of the Empire are buried. In Kazanlak is the richly decorated and painted tomb of a wealthy nobleman and his wife who dates from the 4th century BC. The original and the perfect copy of the tomb are next to each other in the Tyulbeto park. Only the latter is accessible to the public,
After all age-old history, we would almost forget that Bulgaria was still in the sphere of influence of communist Russia a few decades ago. The Buzludja monument is a living proof of this. This imposing building in the form of a flying saucer was completed in 1981 and used extensively until 1989 by the Communist Party. Conferences and meetings were organized here by and for the party. At the moment it is a ruin, but the location on a mountain with a wide view of the surroundings makes this a special place to visit.
The picturesque Veliko Tarnovo is beautifully situated on 3 hills between the meandering Jantra River. The power center of the former capital was located in the 13th and 14th centuries on the Tsarevets hill surrounded by thick walls. Inside are the remains of an tsars palace and a 12th century church. The other hills are built with mainly 18th and 19th century houses. We drive through the Shumen Fort to the Black Sea. The Fort is located on a plateau and has been used as a defense by Thraciers, Byzantines, Ottomans and Poles over time. Just outside Shumen we make a stop at the famous Rider of Madara. The stone carved image of a horseman who has reared a lion with his spear dating from the 7th century AD. An impressive image that a visit is more than worth it.
Varna is next to a pleasant seaside resort also a historic place where also a good base for the environment. Aladja Monastery complex is a cave monastery where a church, a chapel and houses and dining rooms for the monks have been carved out of the karst mountains. The complex is located in the Golden Sands National Park where you can make beautiful walks through the forest. A special change with the beautiful beaches of Varna.
Royal summer residence and the Castle of Dracula
Day 8 Varna - Isperih - Roese - Bucharest
Day 9 Bucharest - Sinai - Brasov
Day 10 Brasov - Bran - Brasov
We do not leave Bulgaria before we visit two UNESCO World Heritage monuments. We visit one of the most famous Thracian tombs in Sveshtari near Isperih. In the tomb there is a royal couple from the Getae tribe. The interior is truly stunning with 10 female figures carved out of the stone. The Ivanovo Rock Monastery was inhabited by monks about 1000 years ago. The frescoes that are still very visible and colored to this day show how advanced the hermits were. Via Roese we cross the border to neighboring Romania.
Romania and Bulgaria Braasov Djoser The trip from Bucharest to Brasov leads through the beautiful Romanian landscape; where the environment is still flat first, we quickly move into the Carpathians. We stop in the charming and cozy tourist town Sinai, named after the monastery that was built here in the 17th century. Many locals from Bucharest come here on weekends to walk in the area and stroll around the old city center.
In the afternoon we arrive in Brasov with the big market place with its medieval center at the foot of wooded mountains. On the central square stands the beautiful 15th century town hall and the merchant house Hirscher with its elongated facade. It is certainly advisable to visit the gothic "Black Church" in the corner of the square, which got its name after a fire in 1689. On foot or by cable car you can take the Tampa mountain to the city from above to admire. At 30 km from the city lies the castle Bran, one of the most romantic in the country and known mainly as the castle of Dracula. It served as the home of Vlad and of the later royal family. Some fortress villages are also very interesting, such as the 16th century Prejmer,
Stunningly beautiful Transylvania
Day 11 Brasov - Fagaras - Sibiu
Day 12 Sibiu - Cozia - Curtea de Arges - Bucharest
Day 13 Bukarest
Day 14 Bukarest - Amsterdam
We travel to one of the oldest and most charming cities of Transylvania: Sibiu. Before we arrive here it is possible to put a stop in Fagaras. Fagaras is beautifully situated in the Transylvanian mountains. In the colorful center of Sibiu you can get lost in the winding streets and squares. The houses with the colorful shutters have roofs with eyes ... When you climb the tower in the town hall, we see who the real tourists are in Sibiu: not us, but the roofs of the houses themselves. Cozia is known for its beautiful white monastery with the impressive frescoes from the 14th century that have been preserved very well. The location of the monastery is at least as special on the river Olt. The name Cozia means 'walnut' the soil here is therefore extremely suitable for these trees.
Bucharest is for the most part a modern city. The medieval center still has remains of a royal palace, Curtea Veche or Oude Hof. This part is surrounded by extensive neighborhoods from the 19th century, when Bucharest became the capital of the newly-created Romania. Broad leafy boulevards with stately homes make the city look a bit like Paris. In the south you will find the gigantic palace that Ceausescu has built up as housing for party and state organs. Before that, he had an old neighborhood flattened. A large part of the new development has not been completed, after the revolution of 1989 the cranes have been shut down for years. In the north of Bucharest you will find large lakes and parks, including an interesting open-air museum with houses from all parts of the country.
Dates and prices
Conditions "Guaranteed leave"
- Land Program
- Tour guide (Speaks Dutch and English)
- Hotel stays with breakfast
- Excursion to the Rila Monastery
- Excursion to the Stob Pyramides
- Excursion to the Buzludja monument
- Excursion to the impressive Thracian tomb of Sveshtari
- Visit the famous Rider of Madara
- Excursion to the Ivanovo cave monastery
- Excursion to Bran - Dracula Castle
- International flight
- Airport transfers
- Other meals not mentioned
- Entry fees
- Personal Expenses
$440.00 - SINGLE ROOM
$240 . OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES - WEEKLY
$25 . TIP POT
EXTENSION HOTEL NIGHT - SOPHIA
$110.00 - DOUBLE ROOM
$100.00 - SINGLE ROOM
EXTENSION HOTEL NIGHT - BUCHAREST
$130.00 . - DOUBLE ROOM
$120.00 . - SINGLE ROOM
Accommodations & Meals
We spend the night in tourist class hotels, where the rooms are always equipped with their own shower and toilet. A number of hotels have been renovated in recent years. This means that they are fully equipped. Some guesthouses are cozy and characteristic, other hotels are larger but the service is always fine. They are generally within walking distance of the inner cities. Sometimes you take a taxi or travel with locals in a local bus or tram to get to the center.
Sofia Sofia Place hotel
Plovdiv Hotel Alafrangite
Veliko Tarnovo Gurko Hotel
Bucharest Hotel Ambassador
Brasov Hotel Gott
Sibiu Hotel Imparatul Romanilor
On this trip the breakfasts are included in hotel stays, usually in the form of a buffet. Breakfast consists of bread, cheese and sausage and a fried or boiled egg. Sometimes there is fruit juice and yoghurt, at least coffee and tea.
In Bulgarian cuisine many elements from Greek and Turkish cuisines can be recognized; lots of fresh yogurt with cucumber and tomato. Dill is widely used in Russia and here too we can taste many fresh dishes with dill. Many stews are also made from fish and / or meat and vegetables. In Romania we find Austrian influences in addition to the southern European cuisine and the Russian cuisine is clearly recognizable with the different stuffed pasta.
You can make your own choice for lunch and dinner. In the larger towns there is sufficient supply of different restaurants to choose from, in the smaller places the choice is more limited. Sometimes we take a picnic lunch with us to lunch on a beautiful spot in nature. In addition to restaurants with ordinary European dishes, international restaurants have also come. Dairy products and salads are generally available. Tap water is generally good and clean, but does not always taste good. Mineral water is available almost everywhere.
Flights & Transportation
We provide the LAND PROGRAM only, therefore you will need to arrange your own flight.
The majority of participants will be arriving from Amsterdam. You will meet the group and guide at the hotel. The land program will begin after their arrival so be sure to early enough so you will not miss the first meeting or activity.
PROGRAM BEGINS - SOPHIA HOTEL Apprx 2PM
PROGRAM ENDS IN BUCHAREST - Apprx 2PM
The travelers arriving from Amsterdam are scheduled for the following flights (subject to change)
Arrive Sophia 1:10 PM
Depart Bucharest 6:25 PM
Airport transfers are not provided with land program however, if you schedule your flight to depart at the same time or shortly after the European travelers departure, you are welcome to join the group for the bus transfer.
On a Djoser trip, there is room for independent explorations in addition to group activity. One traveler may be happy to visit all of the monasteries and churches rich in Bulgaria and Romania, while the other prefers to see the cozy medieval city centers from a terrace in the sun. In Sofia it is possible to take a nice walk in the Vitosha Mountains and enjoy a beautiful view of the city. At the Bachkovo monastery you can also take a nice walk in the Red Wall Reserve that is full of endemic plant species that can only be found in the Balkans. In most cases you can go out on foot or with local transport yourself or with fellow travelers, with or without help from our tour guide. Admission fees are therefore not included in the fare, so you have all the freedom to draw your own plan.
Some sights that should not be missed, or that are difficult to reach or are 'en route' to our next place are included in the program/ Entry fees are not included but you will find estimated of extra estimated costs in our cost summary.
During this trip through Bulgaria and Romania , the following excursions are included in the itinerary:
City tour Sofia
Excursion to UNESCO heritage: tombs of Sveshtari
Visit the special and unique Ivanovo Rock Monastery
Visit to Bran, location of the famous Dracula Castle
Other optional excursions :
Lift to Vitosha mountain peak for a nice view of the city and walks in the area
Visit to the Red Wall nature reserve at Bachkovo
City excursion in Bucharest
Health Issues & Insurance
Vaccinations against DTP and hepatitis A are recommended for this trip.
It is wise to pay some attention to what you eat. We also advise you to take a small medical kit with ao aspirin and medicines for intestinal disorders. Also take mosquito repellent.
Djoser travelers are active, enthusiastic travelers of all ages. Join an international group with travelers from the Netherlands, Belgium and North America, who will be the minority group on these trips. Most of our trips range from a minimum of eight participants to a maximum of 20 or 22. You will find couple and singles on our trips. Feel free to call us if you wish to know the demographic make-up of a particular trips (number of singles and age range).
Minimum group size: 8
Maximum group size: 22
What to expect when traveling with an international group – Most of our group trips are arranged in cooperation with Djoser, B.V. in the Netherlands. They have been in operation for about 30 years, and we have been in operation in the U.S. for 20 years. Because they cater to the voracious travel appetites of the Dutch, we are able to offer a vast number of programs around the world with hard-to-find itineraries, with numerous departure dates.
You will be traveling with an international group, with most participants from Holland and Belgium. The international make-up of our groups is the attraction for many regular Djoser travelers and adds another cultural element to the trip. Typically, there one to three North Americans per group. You will find that almost all of your fellow travelers have an excellent command of English and most are very willing to socialize.
It takes a day or two for group members to warm up to one another, and for the Dutch to brush off their rusty English skills. That is always easier in a one to one setting, so we suggest extending an invite or two for a coffee or beer. As with every tour group, compatibility has most to do with individual personalities.
You will find the travelers in our grips are typically experienced, hearty traveler, whatever their age. You can count on lots of walking. Participants welcome opportunities for independent explorations in addition to group activities.
The Dutch and Belgian travelers will fly as a group from Amsterdam. You will meet the group and tour leader at the hotel where the program will begin.
Tour Leaders & Support Staff
Our trips are guided by an experienced Dutch guide who speaks Dutch and English. He or she will be responsible for the organizational and technical aspects of the trip coordinating with the driver, hotels, and other vendors along the way. The tour leader has extensive travel experience and expertise as well as a comprehensive training. The guide is a logistics coordinator and not a lecturer. Because of the group make-up, you will hear lots of Dutch, but the guide will make sure that you get the important information at the first meeting and throughout the trip. If you have an qualms about the make-up of the group, please discuss with us.
Our experienced land representatives are situated in the destination country you will visit. We work closely with them and they function as the liaison between our office, the guide, drivers and hotels. They are also available to assist in the event of an emergency.
Photos & video
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