Wine Tasting and Culinary Tour of
Sofia, Bansko, Velingrad, Dospat, Devin, Plovdiv, Sozopol,
Nessebar, Varna, Veliko Turnovo,
Leshten, and Kovachevitsa
Culture, Wine, Dine, Spa treatments and folk dancing adventure!
When: September and October, 2022
Led by: George Vishegonov
★ Visit 3 UNESCO cultural sites: Rila monastery, Nessebar and ancient Plovdiv.
★ Visit historic Bulgarian capital, cities, and villages
★ Visit museums, crafts, architecture, and history sites
★ Visit boutique wineries and taste exquisite Bulgarian wines
★ Taste traditional cuisine of different regions of Bulgaria
★ Attend folk dancing classes and shows
★ Enjoy a spa treatment at the Mineral Velingrad Spa Center
★ Our price includes round-trip airfare, city tours, transfers, hotels, two meals daily, and our own private bus
Price: Land Only: $3295
I can’t wait to go! Reserve my place with my $200 deposit per person.
See registration form and information below.
DAY 1: Friday: Overnight flight to Sofia, Bulgaria on the airline of your choice.
DAY 2: Saturday: SOFIA – PLOVDIV
Arrival at Sofia International Airport . Meet and greet your tour guide. Brief orientation tour of Sofia on your way to the heart of the city. Welcome-drink among the ruins of the ancient Roman Amphitheater uniquely exposed in the grounds of a modern hotel. Lunch in the boutique restaurant.
Drive to Plovdiv – the second largest town in Bulgaria and cultural capital of Europe for 1999 (recently announced as European cultural capital for 2019). Plovdiv is the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe, older than Rome and Athens, and contemporary to Troy and Mycenae. Existing as a settlement about 8,000 years ago, it became a town 3,000 years ago during the Trojan war. The Romans, Byzantines, Turks and Bulgarians also left us with lasting and indelible marks. Check-in the hotel and about 2 hours for relaxation.
Drive for wine-tasting and dinner in a boutique wine-cellar in the region of Plovdiv. The wine-cellar is specialized in the production of the high-quality red wines of ‘Mavrud’, ‘Merlot’ and ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ grape varieties in limited quantity series. It is only in Bulgaria, that the wine of the ancient Thracians is still produced and drunk – the full-bodied red Mavrud. The Mavrud vine grows only in this region of Bulgaria and nowhere else. Drive back to Plovdiv for overnight at a 4* hotel. /L,D/
DAY 3: Sunday: PLOVDIV- STAROSSEL – PLOVDIV
After breakfast, departure to Bachkovo Monastery, founded in the 11th century and the second largest monastery in Bulgaria. Tour of the monastery, founded in the 1083. The murals, old icons from different periods, the manuscripts and incunabula with artistic facings, as well as the many objects linked with church crafts, turned Bachkovo monastery into one of the richest galleries of old Bulgarian art. Drive further to the Thracian Ritual Temple of Starosel discovered in 2000—largest underground temple in the Balkans. Five meters deep stone waterproof trough that was used to hold more than six tons wines evidencing that wine has been made in these lands since 6thc. BC.
The winery called ‘The Temple of the wine’ is located at the foothills of the temple with capacity of producing of 1,000 tons of grapes annually (‘Merlot’, ‘Cabernet’, ‘Muscat’, ‘Chardonnay’). The technology of production is unique for Bulgaria including a special technique for fermentation and selection of grapes. The close proximity to the Temple gives you the unique opportunity to touch the spirit of the ancient Thracians who left us the gift of the art of wine-making. Wine-tasting in a hall created as replica of one of the chambers with unique acoustics and architecture. Enjoy a musical performance presenting the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice. After lunch in the cellar, drive back to Plovdiv. Free time to explore the town on your own or relaxation. Dinner in an attractive restaurant located next to the Roman remains of ancient Plovdiv. Overnight in a 4* hotel in Plovdiv. /B,L,D/
DAY 4: Monday: PLOVDIV- ETUR – VELIKO TURNOVO
After breakfast, city tour of the Old town in Plovdiv – with its unique charm, narrow cobbled streets that admire the silence and tranquillity of this historic town, elegant old buildings with painted facades /19thc./ and churches, the Roman Theatre /2ndc./, built by Emperor Trajan, the Roman Stadium /2ndc./, built by the Emperor Hadrian – one of the largest and most impressive structures from the time of the Ancient Rome on the Balkans, the Ethnographic exhibition and St. Konstantin and Helena church.
Drive further to Etura open air museum of old arts and crafts /18th-19thc./ – unique in South-Eastern Europe architectural and ethnographic complex. Master-craftsmen fashion beautiful gold, silver, copper, leather and wooden articles right before your eyes from early morning until late in the night.
Drive away to Veliko Turnovo – capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire (12th–14thc). Free time to explore the town on your own. Dinner with wine-tasting of quality wines in a newly restored inn, built in 1858 as Venetian style palace. The production of high quality wines of ‘Merlot’, ‘Cabernet’, ‘Rose’ and ‘Chardonnay’ is under the trade mark of the 150-years old inn. Overnight at a 4* hotel in Veliko Turnovo./B,L,D/
DAY 5: Tuesday: VELIKO TURNOVO – ARBANASSI – VELIKO TURNOVO
After breakfast, sightseeing tour of Veliko Turnovo – the town with the most glorious historical past in Bulgaria, famous with its stone houses perched over the banks of the Yantra River. Visits to the Tzarevets Hill with ruins from the Royal Palace, the Mediaeval Fortress, the Patriarchal Cathedral and the Balduin’s Tower where the Emperor Balduin I of Constantinople died in prison.
Departure to the oldest winery (1934) and the biggest producer of natural sparkling wines on the Balkan Peninsula. The main varieties are Chardonnay, Aligote, Dimiat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot. The wine-tasting with a selection from natural sparkling wines, sparkling herbal wines, desert wines, “Pelin” /wormwood wine/, dry white and red wines. Visit of the small Museum collection presenting the history of the winery and the Roman vine-press (3rdc.).
Drive further to Arbanassi village – architectural reserve with houses and churches dated from 17th–19thc. The Arbanassi type of houses may be characterized as dwellings-fortresses. They inspire awe with their austere appearance – high solid walls, heavy gates, iron grids and secret-hiding places. Tour of the village including visits of Konstanzliev’s house /19thc./ with museum collection and Church of Nativity /17thc./ priceless treasure-trove of Bulgarian National Revival culture.
Drive back to Veliko Turnovo. Walk along the Samovodene market – the place has been brought back to life, as in older times. Skillful master-goldsmiths, potters, wood-carvers, weavers and pastry cooks are busy with their craft. They sell exquisite objects in the small restored workshops. Free time to relax or shopping. Possibility to attend ‘Sound & Light’ Show at Tzarevets Fortress. Dinner and overnight at a 4* hotel in Veliko Turnovo./B,L,D/
DAY 6: Wednesday: VELIKO TURNOVO – PLEVEN – SOFIA
After breakfast, departure to Pleven – a historical town and the first center of the Bulgarian wine industry. The first professional grape growing and wine production school opened doors there in 1890. Bulgaria’s first national wine institute was created in 1902.
Drive to Kaylaka park for a visit of the unique on the Balkans wine museum created in 2008 as a result of years of efforts of Bulgarian and French wine experts. The museum occupies a natural cave and has five galleries and a total area of 650sq.m.
The collection includes over 6,000 bottles of Bulgarian wine from all wine regions of the country, which are available for tasting and purchase. The museum boasts the country’s largest collection of over 7,000 old wines (ranging from 30 to 90 years in age). The museum’s historical hall exhibits items related to vine-growing and wine-making in the Bulgarian lands from ancient Thracian times until today – ancient dishes used in the production of wines, rhytons and glasses. The wine cellar offers wines from all Bulgarian regions stored in 100 wine barrels made of French oak. Wine-tasting in the museum (wine varieties from regions not included in the tour). Lunch in a restaurant nearby. Optional: ‘Sound and Light Show’ Visit to the unique performance of ‘Sound and light’ Show in Veliko Turnovo, reproducing the glorious and tragic history of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The show is held for min 30 participants and if the weather permits (it is not held in the case of a heavy rain or storm). The show is upon request. Individual tourists (or small groups) can join only in case there had been a group request for the specific day.
Drive to Sofia. Free time for shopping or relax. Possibility to attend a private concert of ‘Cosmic Voices’ choir in a small concert hall. Farewell-dinner in a folk restaurant with traditional music. Overnight at a 4* boutique hotel in Sofia /B,L,D/
DAY 7: Thursday: SOFIA
After breakfast, city tour of Sofia – the capital of Bulgaria. One of the oldest cities in Europe, with 8,000 years of history, it was called ‘My Rome’ by the Emperor Constantine the Great. Visits to the Ruins of Serdica – Roman fortress walls /2ndc./, St. George Rotunda /4thc./ – the oldest building in Sofia, St. Sofia Basilica /6thc./ – the oldest active church which gave the city its name, St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral /1912/ – one of the largest Eastern Orthodox Cathedrals in the world, the biggest on the Balkans, the National Theatre, the Presidency and many more historic sites from ancient times alongside the modern sights of cosmopolitan city life. Farewell-drink at the hotel
DAY 8: Friday: Depart for Airport for return flight home.
REGISTRATION FORM: Enclosed is my registration deposit of $200 per person. Single supplement: $695. Additional charges: $185 hotel taxes and service. The price does not include:- tipping for guide, driver. hotels bellboys and other staff, photo and video camera fees in the museum/sites; services not mentioned in itinerary. Program subject to change without notice. Cancellations 90 days prior to departure: Refund 50% of total price. Less than 90 days: No refund. Travel insurance recommended. (Total balance due 12 weeks before tour date.)
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JIM GOLD INTERNATIONAL: TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Air Transportation: International air not included except as noted.
Rates: Tour rates are subject to change in the event of currency fluctuations or increase in costs. Inclusive tour rates are per person in double occupancy. In case of computer or human billing errors, we reserve the right to reinvoice clients with corrected billing.
Reservations: Deposits and Payments: Deposit of $200 per person is required at time of reservation. Balance is due 90 days prior to departure date.
Changes: Prices and program subject to change without notice
Baggage: One baggage per person and a carry on is allowed.
Cancellations: Cancellations 90 days prior to departure: Refund 50% of total price. Less than 90 days: No refund. Additionally, any cancellation fees imposed by the respective hotels, airlines, tour companies and cruise lines will be charged. Travel Insurance is non-refundable as are unused services.
Gratuities: Tipping to guides, drivers, transfer personnel and hotel staff is left to the discretion of the participants and is not included.
Insurance: Tour participants are strongly recommended to purchase insurance for trip cancellation, trip interruption, accident, sickness and/or loss of baggage and personal effects.
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