We enjoyed the European style hotels we were booked in. They were quaint and very charming. We particularly enjoyed our visit and meal at the home of …
Arrive in Sinaia, a picturesque mountain resort; nearby, tour the opulent Peles Castle and the famous Sinaia Monastery. Next, continue on to medieval Bran Castle before exploring the Old Town of Brasov via a guided walking tour. Most of the original Saxon architecture is still in magnificent condition; you’ll investigate the vast Black Church, a Gothic monolith of the late 14th century.
Your destination is Veliko Tarnovo, the medieval Bulgarian capital. Tour the impressive Tsarevets Fortress, command center for the Bulgarian state until the 15th century.
Spend time in the intriguing shops of Samovodene Street, where artists still pursue traditional art forms. Watch these masters demonstrate woodcarving, icon painting, weaving, and metalworking.
Visit the exquisite village of Arbanassi, centuries-old 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 and the Nativity Church, featuring some of the most vivid frescoes in Bulgaria.
Travel to the village of Mogosoaia, where Constantin Brancoveanu, King of Wallachia, brought masters of European architecture to create a new architectural style known today as “Brancovenesc.” Mogosoaia Palace stands as a fine example of this style; it resembles a comfortable, elegant house. Enjoy a guided tour of the palace, now a museum housing priceless treasures of the royal family of Wallachia.
Next, continue on to Lake Snagov. Tour the beautiful 16th-century monastery made famous as the final resting place of Vlad the Impaler. Enjoy a guided tour of the church before returning with your guide to your hotel.
Today, you’ll explore three of Romania’s most evocative castles.
First, take in the magnificent Peles Castle, the enchanting 19th-century seat of the Romanian royal family. Continue on to Sinaia Monastery, an impressive complex founded in 1695 by a Romanian prince.
Next, journey to the gorgeous Bran Castle. After your guided tour, you’ll have a bit of free time for souvenir-shopping and tasting the local, traditional delicacies for sale outside the castle.
Complete your day at Rasnov Fortress, built by Teutonic Knights to defend nearby Transylvanian towns; the citadel provided crucial sanctuary for local inhabitants during troubled times.
From Sofia, set out for Veliko Tarnovo, the old capital of Bulgaria. Medieval kings built the nearby Tsarevets Fortress, a high lookout point defending the area.
Enjoy the intriguing shops on Samovodene Street, where you’ll find talented local craftsmen demonstrating traditional art forms.
In the afternoon, visit Arbanassi, former home of Bulgaria’s wealthiest and most prosperous merchants. Visit the remarkable Konstantsalieva House, the home of an 18th-century merchant, and see exactly how he lived with his family centuries ago.
Finally, move on to the Nativity Church, which showcases some of the loveliest, best–preserved frescoes in Bulgaria.
Depart Sofia and enjoy a day trip to Plovdiv, renowned for its thriving arts scene and spectacular Roman ruins. Take a guided walking tour of the breathtaking Roman Theater; a landslide in the 1970s uncovered this ancient architectural marvel. Next on your walking tour is the fantastic Ethnographic Museum, dedicated to traditional Bulgarian art, folklore, and culture.
Visit Asenovgrad Fortress, a strategic landmark in existence since the era of the Thracians. From the top, you’ll enjoy a magnificent view.
End the day at the 1083 Bachkovo Monastery, filled with precious frescoes and works of religious art.
Depart Sofia on a journey to visit two of Bulgaria’s most glorious monasteries.
Tour the UNESCO World Heritage, Orthodox Boyana Church, built over an immense time span stretching from the 10th to the mid-19th centuries. You’ll have the chance to view three separate historical layers of frescoes, all carefully preserved in a climate-controlled setting.
Next, drive into the mountains to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Rila Monastery, the centuries-old cache of Bulgarian artistic, literary, and cultural treasures. The interior frescoes are exceptionally vivid. A visit to the Monastery Museum is also included.
Take a lovely day trip to Koprivshtitsa, a beautiful town famous for its Bulgarian National Revival architecture. Koprivshtitsa also marks the location of the first shot fired in the decisive revolt against the Ottoman Turks in 1876.
Next, explore Plovdiv, a major urban center for arts and culture. View the Roman City, which includes the Roman Theater and the ruins of the enormous 2nd-century Ancient Stadium. Tour the fabulous Ethnographic Museum in Plovdiv. Built in 1847, it was originally a merchant’s private home, and now serves as the venue for six beautifully-curated exhibits addressing specific aspects of Bulgarian traditional culture.