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Travel around Bulgaria with rental car + hotel.

Duration: 8 days, to choose throughout the year.

Why take a fly and drive trip with hiking in Bulgaria?

This "self-guided" trip or what is the same: “fly and drive” , It is especially focused on being able to carry out several trekking routes through some of the most emblematic mountains of the country: Rila, Pirin and Rodopes, visit some of the most impressive natural phenomena in Bulgaria such as the 7 Rila Lakes, the Wonderful Bridges, etc,..
Besides the trip land will allow you to know the interior Bulgaria, both its ancient cities: Sofia and Plovdiv, like its traditional villages with their exotic architecture, its rich gastronomy and a mixture of Slavic cultures, Bulgarian, Ottoman, etc. in perfect harmony.

 

why travel to bulgaria by car

 

In order to make this fly and drive trip with hiking and rural tourism we provide you with a rental vehicle, a pick up upon arrival at the airport, the reservation of the accommodations that we have selected based on our knowledge of the country and a travel guide in .pdf format with advice on what to visit, where to eat, etc. We do not have fixed dates to make the trip because the flights are on behalf of each traveler, choose the one that best suits you and travel whenever you want ...

 

Itinerary:

This is a typical Itinerary, for this specific offer, but if you want other dates or duration, please make us your inquiry through Custom budget request.

This list is informative and its follow-up depends on your interest and the time you want to dedicate to each visit..

Day 1: Sofia airport / Sofia (10 km – 35 min).

Flight city of origin - Sofia. Pick up at Sofia airport of the rental vehicle that we provide you. Transfer to the hotel in Sofia. Depending on the arrival time of the flight, you can take advantage of the day to visit the city or do it on the last day. Accommodation in Sofia city: Hotel 4****.

Day 2: Sofia / Panichishte / Rila (152 km – 2 h 45 min).

panoramica 7 lagos de rila

Overview of the 7 Rila Lakes

 

In the morning you will head towards the Panichishte Mountain Recreation Center to 1.400 m. altitude and about 80 km from Sofia, where you will take the cable car to go up the Rila mountain and visit the 7 Rila Lakes. Keep in mind that this cable car operates from June to September and in the ski season, Outside these dates you can go up on foot but the trekking day is then harder ... 4 hours of hiking to see the 7 lakes and others 3 hours of descent to the chairlift.
The 7 Rila Lakes are a group of 7 glacial lakes. They are to 2.100 meters above sea level the lowest and at 2.500 meters the highest. The lakes are linked together by small streams of crystal clear and very cold water. More info about these lakes here. Then transfer by road to accommodation in Panichishte winter resort, a few kilometers from the 7 rila lakes.

 

Day 3: Rila / Bansko (96 km – 1 h 45 min).

Rila monastery
Arrival at the Rila Monastery, the most famous monastery in Bulgaria and the Balkans, protected by UNESCO for the quality of its iconostases, its architecture and its history.

The Rila Monastery is located on the right bank of the Rilska River in the Rila National and Nature Park. It is the most visited tourist place in Bulgaria. It occupies an area of 8.800 m² separated in 4 sections corresponding to 4 cardinal points that have 300 monks cells. The Monastery was founded by Saint Ivan of Rila in 930, but the current structure dates from the year 1335. The monastery suffered several devastations and destructions during the time of the Ottoman yoke, but could be protected.

Snowy Rila Monastery

Medieval tower and frescoes of the Rila Monastery

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their bows, columns, wooden decorations and paintings are of exceptional beauty. The Church of the Sleeping Virgin is considered to be the church with the best frescoes in Bulgaria. Its carved wooden iconostasis is unique. The monastery museum reveals its long history, for the objects of great value it contains: images, holy books, altar crosses, 19th century manuscripts, copies of gospels on parchments from the 13th century, etc. In the center of the monastery courtyard rises the Tower of Hrelio, a very well preserved medieval defensive tower. The monastery is located in an exceptional setting within a lush forest.

Frescoes from Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

rila monastery from the air

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hiking in Rila.
Continue this fly and drive trip with hiking, dedicating this day to a trekking route in the middle of the Rila mountain, around the Rila Monastery. It will be a unique experience, relaxing and full of emotions enjoying the Rila National Park.
Several routes depart from the monastery, properly marked with different colors for hiking enthusiasts.

Rila Monastery between mountainsAt the end of the day transfer by road to the town of Bansko.

Hotel accommodation 3*** in Bansko.

 

Day 4: Bansko / Pirin / Delchevo (56 km – 1 h 10 min).

Bansko
In addition to its old historic center, Bansko has a winter season that has been imposed in recent years by the state of the snow and its exceptional site (located at the foot of Vihren Peak - 2.914 m). Bansko also marks the entrance to the Pirin National Park, whose lush forests serve as a refuge for bears and wolves. This small city founded in the 15th century has managed to preserve the originality of its popular traditions, its gastronomy and its crafts, that survive thanks to the cultural events that are organized throughout the year.
A 925 m. altitude, located in the highest and most beautiful part of Pirin, Bansko offers unique architecture, appreciating traits of Bulgarian cultural heritage.
Its name comes from the old Bulgarian word "ban", which means "ruler". The Bansko style is representative of the country style of the 18th and 19th centuries. Their fortified houses, unique in its architectural genre, are a testament to the independent character of its former inhabitants. The houses are built with stones and large wooden beams, always with several hiding places, closed to the outside world by solid gates and fortified walls.
Those houses were the privilege of the rich of the time, they all had chimneys (even the hiding places) and some very well decorated facades. We recommend visiting the Velianova house. Many of these houses are currently transformed into restaurants of the time where dinner is a mixture of entertainment, culinary delights and ancient traditions. You can visit the church of the Holy Trinity, a formidable example of the Bulgarian Renaissance of 1885.

Bansko old town

Bansko old town

Traditional tavern in Bansko

Traditional tavern in Bansko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casa Velianova
This house is located near the central square of the old town of Bansko and the Church of the Holy Trinity. The house is an example of the fortified architectural style of the 18th - 19th century. Built in the 18th century, of stones and wood, on two floors with several hiding places that allowed the owners to escape the attacks of the Turks. The house impresses with its decoration, its frescoes and its ceilings decorated in carved wood. The house is declared a national historical monument.

Velyanova_kyshta_Bansko

Pirin National Park
The proximity of Bansko to the Pirin National Park allows some very interesting hiking routes. Pirin National Park acquired that status in 1962, and occupies an immense surface of 40.332 He has. Its objective is the protection of the exceptional beauty of the place and the protection of the balance of the mountain ecosystems, subalpine and forest. Besides all this there are among other things more than 70 lagos, waterfalls, caves, a vast forest of secular pines, including the oldest tree in all of Bulgaria, the Pine "Baykúchevata mura" which is estimated to be older than 1.300 years. On the peaks of Pirin, of which the highest is Vihren reaches 2.914 meters, is the vulnerable plant and flower of the edelweis. The richness of the park and its unique varied landscapes received worldwide recognition for what has been on the UNESCO world natural heritage list since 1983.

Accommodation in Leshten in a Rural House, in double room with private bathroom.

Lago con montaña de Pirin al fondo

Pirin National Park

 

Day 5: Leshten / Kovachevitsa / Yagodina / Devin (120 km – 2 h 30 min).

Day in which we go from the high mountains of Pirin to the rounded hills of the Rhodope Mountains.

Leshten
The village of Leshten is already in the Western Rhodopes, a 15 km from the town of Gotse Deltchev. The village retains the spirit of the Bulgarian Renaissance with its old houses with roof tiles covered with stone tiles. The walk through its streets paved with natural stone will make you enjoy the atmosphere of the past, but it will also make them forget the present for a while.

Leshten11

Kovachevitsa
The small town of Kovachevitsa, it is not normally included in the usual tourist circuits, which is an advantage to keep its authenticity, However, we highly recommend visiting it because in our opinion it is one of the most representative towns in the area., know it and judge for yourself ... This town will allow you to know life as it was in the 19th century, since there they will notice as if time had stopped. It extends along the Kanina River and according to historical sources, exists since the early seventeenth century. Bulgarians fled from Islamization by the Turks settled in this town.
This town, already in the famous region of the Rhodopes mountains (Western or Eastern Rhodopes, more concretely), It is today a town that preserves that atmosphere of the past, thanks to the architecture of the fortified houses with stone tile roofs. The nature of this place and its surroundings is exceptional.

Typical house of Rodope mountains

The Gorges of Buynovo
The Buynovo gorges are the longest in Bulgaria. It is located between the villages of Yagodina and Teshel. This natural phenomenon of extraordinary beauty was formed thanks to the devastating force of the waters of the Buynovska River that eroded the rock for thousands of years. The cliffs that surround the river reach several hundred meters high.
The narrowest part is called the Salto del Lobo. According to local legends, the wolves come through here in winter to attack the cattle that rest in the fences.

Garganta de Yagodina

Buynovo Gorge

 

borino Dyavolski Most

Route of the "Stone Bridges"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karst activity is highly developed in the region. Around the town of Yagodina, there are some 36 caves, among which is the best known, that of Yagodina which is conditioned and open to the public. We recommend walking the route that leads to "the Stone Bridges" where rock formations in the form of a natural bridge are a sight to behold.. Optionally you can also visit the viewpoint of the Eye of the Eagle accessed in “jeep” rental with driver from the town of Yagodina, after a steep rise in 4×4 you reach a platform that allows you to have impressive views, standing on the abyss that overlooks the valley.

 

 

borino Diavolskia bridge I waterfall

Route of "Diavolskia most I vodopada" in Borino

 

Accommodation in Devin in hotel 3***. Devin is known as the spa town for its mineral water resources, see more about Devin and its surroundings here.

 

Day 6: Devin / Shiroka Laka / Bachkovo / Plovdiv (125 km – 2 h 50 min).

Shiroka Laka
From Devin they will reach Shiroka Laka, a town national heritage of architecture, known not only in Bulgaria, but also abroad for its original architecture, typical of the Rhodopes region, for its musical traditions and its glorious past. It is the center of a small area of ​​five towns (Stóykite, Guela, Switch and Solishta) where the Christian population mingles with Bulgarians of Muslim beliefs (due to the Islamization of the Rhodopes during the Ottoman occupation - during the 17th century). Natural peculiarities, insecurity during Ottoman times, the national consciousness of the inhabitants and their economic prosperity are reflected in the architecture of the houses of the town that are of the type "big house of the Rhodopes".
Going a little further down the highway, several kilometers from there, is the town of Guela, regarded as the hometown of Orpheus. That is the reason why in Shiroka Laka there is one of the most famous Academy of Folk Music in Bulgaria and also every August in Guela one of the festivals with the most expectation is celebrated.

Pueblo de Shiroka laka

Pueblo de Shiroka laka


The Shiroka Laka Ethnographic Museum.
The ethnographic museum, located in the Zgurovski konak building, allows to know the architectural style of the towns of the interior of Bulgaria, their customs and folklore. The house was built in 1.853 by local teachers, commissioned by a wealthy local nobleman.
According to legend, the house was never inhabited by its first owner. Unhappy with the owner's disparaging attitude towards the builders, those last cursed the house and its owner, for which the latter ended up selling the house. As the new owner was a civil servant, the house was named Konak (town hall).

Hiking in Zabardo.
After delving into the authentic rural life of inland Bulgaria the day before, our self-guided hiking trip will allow us to go back on a trekking route in the middle of the Rhodopes mountains., in the direction of the town of Zabardo the road has a detour towards the forest, once on foot they will be able to find the natural phenomenon of "the Wonderful Bridges", two huge rock arches in the middle of the forest formed by natural erosion and that impress with their size and whimsical shapes.

 

wonderful bridges wonderful-bridges

Natural phenomenon of "The Wonderful Bridges"

 

Bachkovo monastery
It is the second most important monastery in the country after Rila. It is built in 1.083 by Georgia Bakuriani, a Byzantine commander. The Bulgarians invested a lot to enlarge and beautify it. Guard post during the Ottoman occupation, the monastery continued to receive support and donations from the Christian people. The splendid church of Santa Maria in the inner courtyard was built in 1.604, where unique 17th century sculptures are kept. The last renovations that were carried out were during the 1.830-1.840 with frescoes by the artist Zahari Zograf and his disciples.
They will also be able to see the miraculous image of Santa María, part of a popular cult that goes beyond religion, the refectory and its large marble table, or his collection of ancient Byzantine books, Bulgarians and Georgians. Among them is a Byzantine musical manuscript from the 12th century.

Bachkovo monasterio

Bachkovo Monastery Complex

 

They will follow the itinerary to reach the ancient city of Plovdiv where to stay.

Accommodation in Plovdiv in Hotel 3***.

 

Day 7: Plovdiv / Sofia (146 km – 2 h.).

Plovdiv
It is the second largest and most important city in Bulgaria and the oldest in Europe with 6.000 years of history being inhabited continuously, more than Rome and Athens. The vestiges of the Thracian civilization are interspersed with Roman monuments, while ancient Ottoman mosques add an oriental fragrance to a city, where the civilizations that followed, sometimes quite opposite, they knew how to leave Plovdiv the best of themselves and in this way, turn it into a unique and original city.

plovdiv casa lamartine

House "Lamartine" in Plovdiv

 

Mix of various eras and different architectural and cultural influences, it is above all the exceptional group of houses that gives Plóvdiv its unique charm. The Lamartine house is an example of them. Plovdiv iss also the capital of contemporary art and has been declared a European City of Culture 2019. There is the best preserved Roman amphitheater in the country. It also has a beautiful ancient Roman theater dating from the 2nd century, built under the reign of Trayan. This theater endowed with a capacity for 3.500 squares approximately and with a nice view over Trimoncium (the Roman name of Plovdiv), It is currently dedicated to some shows and concerts throughout the summer and is a must see for lovers of ancient history.

You can take a walk on the main pedestrian street, Alexander Prince Street of Báttenberg, where walking you can see amazing neo-baroque style houses. The Old Town of Plovdiv is an essential place for visitors to the city of Plovdiv. The visit to the Historic Center passes through the stalls of artisans who make their products in their workshops. We suggest a visit to Elena's pottery workshop, housed in a small wooden room, attached to the emblematic church of Saints Constantín and Elena. For Elena it will be a pleasure to receive you and teach you the secrets of her art. There they will find clay objects, handmade and painted jewelry, all objects made by herself.

Plovdiv, ethnographic museum

Plovdiv, ethnographic museum

Plovdiv Old Quarter

Plovdiv Old Quarter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ancient Gate of & quot; Hissar"

Old Gate of "Hissar"

 

 

The “Hisar Kapia” ("Kapi" in Turkish means "door") It is one of the three main gates in the old city wall of Plovdiv. The door that can be seen today, according to different sources, date of the period of the s. XI – XIII. Nevertheless, the first door in this place dates from the s. III a. of C. After the invasion of the Goths during the s. II a. of C. the walls were restored and the original gate was integrated into this wall.

 

The Dzhumayá Mosque is located in the center of Plovdiv, in front of the Roman Forum, in the pedestrian zone of Plovdiv. The mosque was built on the site of the old Plovdiv cathedral "Saint Petka Tarnovska" shortly after the conquest of the city by the Ottoman army. (1363-1364). During the reign of Sultan Murad II (1421 – 1451) The old building was demolished and in its place the building of the mosque that we know today was built, calling it Ulu Dzhumayá mosque which means "the main mosque on Friday". It is one of the oldest Ottoman religious buildings in the Balkans and its inner artistic beauty does not detract from the famous mosques of Istanbul..plovdiv Mosquee_Djoumayaplovdiv Mosquee_Djoumaya_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Roman Stadium of Plovdiv is located in the "Dzhumaya" square. Was constructed, modeled after the Roman stadium at Delphi. In the world only 12 of this type. Has some 200 meters long and so far only the north end and the sector of the fortress wall from the 2nd - 4th century AD are exposed.. Formerly, in it they celebrated sporting events, gladiator fights and animal fights: the famous Pythian games, Alexandrians and Kendrezicios. At its main entrance the remains of a hydraulic clock were discovered. In ancient times, the stadium had a capacity of 30.000 plazas.

At the end of this exciting day through the most interesting city in Bulgaria from a cultural and historical point of view, trasfer of 2 hours by road to Sofia.

Accommodation in Sofia in Hotel 3***.

 

Day 8: Sofia / Sofia airport (10 km – 35 min).

Last day of travel, Depending on the departure time of the flight back to Spain, the city can be made known, We recommend these places in the city in order of tourist interest but you are free to choose where to go, also stroll through its wide parks or go shopping to take advantage of the low prices thanks to the currency exchange ... Sofia surprises for being the European capital that has a mountainous area closer to the city center than any other capital.

La catedral san alexandar nevski.
It is the most visited and emblematic monument in the capital. It was built between 1904 and 1912, in tribute to the Russian soldiers killed for the liberation of the country from the Ottoman occupation. Saint Alexandar Nevsky, It was the Holy Register of Tsar Alexandar - liberator of the country. Its golden domes are visible from anywhere in the city and its bells ring out for a radius of more than 30 km. The church crypt houses an exceptional collection of icons from the 9th to the 19th century. Its exterior as well as its interior is of great beauty and in the nearby street there is usually a market with old objects from the communist period and also painters and artisans of icons put their works on sale, curious to visit.

Sofia Orthodox Cathedral

san nicolas church in sofia

 

Russian St. Nicholas Church.
This splendid church was built at the same time as the Saint Alexandar Nevsky Cathedral. The style of the church is that of 17th century Russian churches with their 5 golden domes. The interior somewhat meager and dark, it is decorated with frescoes and a very nice ceramic image. Its proximity to the Alexandar Nevski Cathedral is the symbol of the strong Bulgarian-Russian bond.

 

The Banya Bashi Mosque.
mezquita bania bachiThe Banya Bashi Mosque (in bulgarian: Bath bashi mosque, Banya bashi dzhamiya; In turkish: Banya Basi Mosque) is a mosque located in the center of Sofia that was built in the year 1576 during the Ottoman occupation of Bulgaria. Its name comes from Banya Bashi which means many baths as it is surrounded by ancient thermal mineral springs. It is believed that its construction was directed by the famous imperial architect Sinán, who was the architect of the Topkapi Palace and other famous mosques in Istanbul. Today it is still a Muslim temple of religious worship and as proof of the religious tolerance that prevails in Bulgaria it is located a few meters from the Hebrew Synagogue, from the Catholic Cathedral and several Orthodox churches.

Sofia thermal baths.
Old bathhouse building in SofiaThe neo-Byzantine style public bath building was built in 1913 in the same place of the ancient Roman baths. With the modernization of private housing, public toilets lost their customers until they were finally closed to the public. However, many people today collect water from their hot springs every day., since water has many medicinal qualities. Since ancient times, Sofia has been famous for its hot and cold mineral springs.. Today the building houses the interesting Museum of the History of Sofia.

 

Depending on the flight departure time, transfer to the airport where the rental vehicle will be delivered, end of your trip and departure back to Spain.

 

Price including taxes:

For 2 Travellers: 592,00 € / person
(with passenger car segment C, type Opel Astra, Ford Focus, Renault Megane, etc.)

For 4 Travellers: 516,00 € / person
(with passenger car segment C family body or with minivan segment C of 6 oh 7 plazas, type Opel Zafira, Dacia Loggy, etc)

For more than 4 travelers or individual travelers, check price please.

 

What includes:

- The delivery and collection of the rental vehicle at Sofia airport by staff of the rental company (English speaking).
- During the entire program: Tourism type rental vehicle 5 plazas, diesel or gasoline engine depending on availability, unlimited mileage, Super C.D.W comprehensive insurance. : Collision Damage Waiver (no liability for collision damage, you only pay a fee of 30 € for the costs of opening the file in case of having to give part of the insurance for damage to the vehicle), third party insurance, theft and fire insurance, does not cover damage to rims or tires, nor the theft or loss of keys, nor the theft of luggage or personal belongings, includes second driver free of charge, road traffic rates (Vignette) and 24/7 roadside assistance.
- Hotel accommodation (in double room, other options are possible, consult please)
- Regime: Bed and breakfast.
- Practical travel guide in electronic format.
- Telephone assistance 7d / 24h for unforeseen events during the trip.
- If you want hotels of a higher category than those mentioned, they can be booked at a supplement, Consult.

What is not included:

- The single room supplement.
- Roundtrip plane tickets.
- Airport taxes.
- Cancellation insurance, repatriation, nor of the sanitary expenses.
- Fuel (the average price of fuel in Bulgaria is one 10% lower than in Spain ). The rental vehicle is delivered with a full tank and must be returned equally full at the end of the trip.
- Child seats and snow chains for the rental vehicle. They can be rented on request in advance, price to consult.
- To collect the rental vehicle, you must give a deposit of between 100 and 300 €, depending on the vehicle segment, which will be reimbursed upon return of the vehicle if it does not suffer any type of damage or serious lack of cleaning.
- Parking fees and payments, some are estimated 15 € in total.
- Visits to places of interest: museums, monasteries, iglesias, etc..(some are estimated 25 € / person).
- Refunds due to the fact that any of the stages or visits reflected in the itinerary could not be carried out.
- Any other concept not reflected as included in the previous section.

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