Day trip to Bulgaria

This morning, meet your private guide and cross the River Danube and the Bulgarian border.

Your destination today is Veliko Tarnovo, medieval capital during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. The town is located on three hills surrounding the meandering Yantra River. The kings who once resided here built the impressive Tsarevets Fortress, seat of power for the Bulgarian state until the 15th century, when the country was occupied by the Ottoman Turks.

After your guided visit of the fortress, spend some time in the intriguing shops of Samovodene Street, where artists still pursue living arts and crafts traditions. Watch the masters of their trade demonstrate woodcarving, icon painting, weaving, and metalworking.

During the afternoon, visit the exquisite village of Arbanassi. Centuries ago, the village was accorded trade privileges by the Sultan, and became the home of Bulgaria’s richest merchants. The town’s obvious wealth caused it to be targeted by bandits—hence the fortress-like architecture of the private homes. Visit the extraordinary Konstantsalieva House, the intact home of an 18th-century merchant; then move on to the Nativity Church, built according to the limiting architectural strictures of the Ottoman era: all Christian churches were to be no taller than a man on a horse. The locals employed great creativity: the church was built lower than street level, and no are domes visible from the outside. The Nativity Church also boasts some of the most vivid, best-preserved frescoes in Bulgaria.

In the late afternoon, head back to Bucharest, arriving in the evening.

Tour Length:
10 to 12 hours
Places Visited:
Veliko Tarnovo (Tsarevets fortress and the Samovodene Street) | Arbanassi (the Konstantsalieva House and the Nativity church)
Total Distance Traveled:
390 km / 245 mi