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SERBIA – BULGARIA – ROMANIA GRAND TOUR – 16 Days Tour
Departure 10 – 25 JULY 2018
DAY 01 – BELGRADE
Arrival to Belgrade – the capital of Serbia. Transfer from the Belgrade Airport to the hotel. Belgrade sightseeing : The Republic Square, National Theater, Saint Sava Orthodox Cathedral, Dedinje residential quarter and Kalemegdan Fortress. Possible visit to the Ethnographic Museum and the Gallery of Frescoes which contains copies of the most famous Medieval frescoes of the Serbian Orthodox Monasteries and the Miroslav Gospel manuscript that is the UNESCO Memory of The World site. Traditional dinner with tamburitza music. Overnight.
DAY 02 – BELGRADE – VIMINACIUM – LEPENSKI VIR – DONJI MILANOVAC
After breakfast drive along the Roman Imperial route via Pozarevac to Viminacium archaeological site and tour of the Roman city and military camp followed by “Roman lunch”.Drive on along the Danube and short stop-over at Golubac Fortress for photo-shooting. Drive on to Lepenski Vir prehistorical archaeological site which is about 10000 years old and sightseeing. Drive to Donji Milanovac, picturesque town on the Danube and accommodation in apartments. Traditional dinner with folklore performance. Overnight.
DAY 03 – DONJI MILANOVAC – FELIX ROMULIANA – TIMACUM MINUS – NIS
After breakfast continuation along the Roman Imperial route to Zajecar and tour of Felix Romuliana archaeological site – UNESCO cultural heritage. Stop over for brake and delicious Krajina wines tasting with brunch. Drive on to Timacum Minus archaeological site and sightseeing of the beautiful stone carved monuments and exhibition of well-preserved examples of Serbian traditional architecture of the 19th century. Drive to Nis and hotel accommodation. Dinner, overnight.
DAY 04 – SOFIA
After breakfast tour of Mediana archaeological site which is the luxurious Imperial Roman residence of the prosperous town of Naissus. Drive to Bulgaria along beautiful Nisava River – Sicevo Gorge. Arrival in Sofia – the capital of Bulgaria and one of the oldest cities in Europe. Hotel accommodation. Walking tour includes one of the most significant historical and archaeological sites: the oldest church in the city – St. George Ratunda dating back to the 4th century – an exquisite early Christian temple, The Roman Ruins of Serdica – ancient Sofia Fortress walls from the 2nd – 3rd century, comprising an ancient administrative and bath remains from the Roman period. Walk along the building of the National Theater – an outstanding Neo-classical construction and the Russian church of St. Nicholas. Visit to the church of St. Sophia /5th – 6th century/, the second oldest church in Sofia and next is the most imposing memorial church on the whole Balkan peninsula – Alexander Nevsky Cathedral /1912/ with its wonderful exterior and interior decoration. Dinner and overnight in 4 stars Sofia Hotel.
DAY 05 – SOFIA – RILA MONASTERY – PLOVDIV
Morning departure to Rila Monastery /10th century/ – the oldest and the most beautiful monastery in Bulgaria, one of the nine UNESCO sites of the country. Visit to the monastery complex – the history museum, the main church of Holy Virgin and the Old Monastery Kitchen. The Rila Monastery is located at an altitude of 1147 m in the heart of the gorgeous Rila mountain /2925 meters/ – the highest one on the Balkans. Lunch at a local restaurant near the monastery with fresh Rila trout fish menu or similar fantastic food. Continue further to Plovdiv – the second biggest city after Sofia, rich in unique cultural and archaeological heritage. On the way short stop in Borovets – a famous winter resort. Coffee break. Arrival in Plovdiv and accommodation at 4 stars hotel. Dinner. Overnight.
DAY 06 – PLOVDIV – BACHKOVO MONASTERY – KAZANLAK
Morning city tour of Plovdiv including walk in the Old Quarter with its beautiful houses from the Revival period presenting unique architecture. Visit the Roman Amphitheater /2nd century/, one of the biggest Roman ruins in Bulgaria, the Ethnographic Museum, a gallery of the Bulgarian crafts and folklore traditions. Also visit to the St. Constantine and Helena church, one the fines examples of Christian art. Lunch at a local restaurant. Depart to the Bachkovo Monastery, rating second one in significance – visit the main church and the monastery refectory. Drive to Kazanlak, the main city in the Valley of Roses. Accommodation at 3 stars hotel in Kazanlak. Dinner. Overnight.
DAY 07 – KAZANLAK – ETURA – VELIKO TARNOVO
Departure through the historical Shipka Pass to Veliko Tarnovo – one of the most picturesque cities in Bulgaria. En route stop and visit the Etura – an open-air ethnographic museum exposing typical Bulgarian craftsmen work shops, local traditions and well preserved national culture. Continue to Veliko Tarnovo. Sightseeing tour including visits to the Medieval fortifications, towers and churches on Tsarevets Hill with the Royal Palace remains. Visit also the Old City with its peculiar craftsmen and souvenir shops. Dinner. Overnight.
DAY 08 – VELIKO TARNOVO – ARBANASSI – ROUSSE
Drive to the nearby Arbanassi – an architectural reserve with marvelous houses from the 18th-19th centuries. Visit the Nativity church – a rich gallery of wall painting dating back to the 16th-17th c. Lunch at a local restaurant. Visit the Saint Nicholas Monastery in Arbanassi. Lunch at a local restaurant. Continue to Rousse. Arrival and accommodation in Rousse, the most important Bulgarian port on the Danube river. Dinner. Overnight.
DAY 09 – ROUSSE – IVANOVO – BUCHAREST
Visit one of the unique monuments in Bulgaria – the Ivanovo Rock-hewn churches – a UNESCO site; chapels and monastic cells hewn into the Roussenski Lom river gorge. Free time for lunch at a local restaurant in Rousse. Departure to Bucharest. Accommodation at 4 stars hotel. Dinner, overnight.
DAY 10 – BUCHAREST – CURTEA DE ARGES – SIBIU /appr. 295 km/
After breakfast, departure to Curtea de Arges, the former capital of Wallachia. Visit the Episcopal Church, built by Prince Neagoe Basarab (1512-1517), where the Romanian Kings are buried. Drive along the picturesque Olt Valley to Sibiu, one of the oldest cities in Transylvania – formerly Hermannstadt – the beautiful gem of Transylvania, the city considered by Forbes “ Europe’s 8th most idyllic place to live”. Guided walking tour of the Sibiu medieval town (the Main Square, the Evangelical Church, and the Liars’ Bridge etc.). Dinner and overnight in Sibiu.
DAY 11 – SIBIU – SIGHISOARA – TARGU MURES – PIATRA FANTANELE /appr. 290 km/
Immediately after breakfast, we will continue our trip towards the medieval town of Sighisoara “the fortified citadel,” also a UNESCO heritage site. En route, visit the fortified Church at Biertan. Once arrived in Sighisoara, you will be able to enjoy its medieval atmosphere, its corners and narrow streets full with antiquaries and souvenirs. Visit the historical center of the city surrounded by towers and walls, among which stands the Clock Tower, the Church on the Hill, the roofed stairways etc. Lunch at the “House of Dracula” restaurant. Continue to Targu Mures, walking tour through the elegant city center, well known for its architecture: the Palace of Culture, the Orthodox Churches, and the Teleki-Bolyai Library. Drive on to Piatra Fantanele, a place that will bring you closer to Bram Stoker’s hero by spending the night at Dracula’s Castle. Dinner and overnight in Piatra Fantanele 3 stars hotel.
DAY 12 – PIATRA FANTANELE – GURA HUMORULUI /appr. 120 km/
Departure to Bucovina – the place of the unique painted monasteries, belonging to the UNESCO World Heritage. Crossing the land of Dracula, wonderfully depicted in Bram Stocker’s novel “Dracula”, we arrive at Campulung Moldovenesc and visit the Wooden Museum. In the afternoon, visit to Moldovita Monastery – a symphony in purple red, a medieval art treasure. We continue with visit to Lucia CONDREA’s workshop, the famous creator of painted eggs, as well as the village of Vatra Moldovitei, with its traditional small houses, old steam train and unspoiled nature. Visit to Voronet Monastery, called “the Sistine Chapel of the East” due to the dominant “blue” of its frescoes and the beauty of the paintings, masterpieces of post-Byzantine time, of which the scene of the “Last Judgement” is known worldwide. Dinner and overnight in Gura Humorului 4 stars hotel.
DAY 13 – GURA HUMORULUI – TARPESTI – SECU – BICAZ LAKE – RED LAKE /appr. 200 km/
After taking a tasty breakfast, we continue driving through the Moldavian villages, with their typical houses. We arrive at the Village of Tarpesti – the home to the delightful Neculai Popa Museum, unique in the world, where colorful masks and folk costumes are displayed. We drive to the monastery Secu (1602), with its unique fortified entrance and classical elements of Moldavian and Wallachia architecture, an example for all Moldavian churches. In the afternoon, drive along the Bicaz Lake and its impressive dam, to admire the scenic view. Continue to Lacu Rosu /the Red Lake/ resort for visit. Overnight to Lacu Rosu 3 stars hotel.
DAY 14 – RED LAKE – PREJMER – BRASOV /approximately 185 km/
Departure to Brasov, driving through the Eastern Carpathians. Stop-over at Prejmer/Harman for visit to the fortified church, also included in the UNESCO World Heritage. Drive on to Bran, lunch in a picturesque local restaurant. Visit the famous medieval castle (the “Dracula’s” Castle) built as a fortress for the citizens of Brasov in 1377, as a defense to the city. Prince Vlad used the Castle as a general headquarters during his incursions in Transylvania. Arrival in Brasov, formerly Kronstadt, founded by the Saxon colonists, as the South gate of Transylvania. Walking tour through the old town center, including the Black Church, the Council Square, the Hitched House, the baroque style buildings from the Austrian-Hungarian times. Traditional dinner with folk show in Cerbul Carpatin restaurant. Overnight in Brasov 4 stars hotel.
DAY 15 – BRASOV – SINAIA – BUCHAREST /approximately 200 km/
Breakfast in the morning, after this we will cross the Carpathians toward Sinaia, one of the most beautiful mountain resorts, also called „The Pearl of the Carpathians”. Visit the fabulous Peles Castle, an exquisite piece of architecture and one of the most spectacular castles in Europe, with its arm and armory collection, unique for its richness and diversity. The Castle served as the summer residence of the Romanian Royal family. Continue our drive to Bucharest. Panoramic tour of Bucharest, the city of contrasts between old and modernity, with large boulevards and magnificent buildings /the Romanian Athenaeum, the Patriarchal Church also/. Visit the House of Parliament, built between 1984 and 1989, the largest building in Europe and the second one in the world, with its unique marble decorations and wooden sculptures made of rare essence. Farewell dinner in a lovely restaurant called Caru cu Bere, keeping immortal the old spirit of Bucharest. Overnight in Bucharest 4 stars hotel.
DAY 16 – BUCHAREST
Breakfast to the hotel, then departure to the airport for the flight back home. End of tour and services.
PRICE : 1680 EUR Minimum 12 participants, 1550 EUR Minimum 20 participants
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT 480 EUR
Included : accommodation at 4 and 3+* hotels for 15 nights / double occupancy/ with breakfast, 1 overnight in apartments with breakfast, welcome-drink, wine-tasting sessions, 6 dinners in a traditional restaurants; professional local guide in English in each country; entrance fees and all local taxes for sites mentioned; all border taxes and international car insurance; transportation by high tourist class AC coach or minibus, 24 hours logistics and support of the Balkans travel network tour operators.
– supplement for lunch: 10 EUR, supplement for dinner: 12 EUR
The price does not include: luggage porterage in hotels; any services not mentioned in the program.
OPTIONAL VISITS (for the Bulgarian part):
1. ‘Sound and Light Show’ (Veliko Turnovo)
Visit to the unique performance of ‘Sound and light’ Show in Veliko Turnovo, reproducing the glorious and tragic history of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. The show is held for groups of min 20-25 participants and if the weather permits (if it is not rainy). Price per person: 15 EUR
2. ‘Tomy show’ cosmetic factory (Kazanluk)
Visit to a private factory for perfumery and cosmetics ‘Tomy show’ – you will have the opportunity to visit its mini-lab to see the demonstration of the cosmetic products line, created by natural Rose water. You can also find and buy variety of products from that line at promotional prices. All of them are made on the basis of Rosa Damascena – the pride of the Valley of Roses. Most of the production is for export – more than 70% go to Germany. Price per person: 15 EUR
3. Ivanovo Rock Monasteries (near Rousse)
Visit to Ivanovo Rock Monasteries /UNESCO site/, the 13th-17th century, a natural museum of Medieval Bulgarian painting. Twenty medieval churches, chapels and monastic cells had been hewn into the craggy gorge of the Roussenski Lom River by the village of Ivanovo, near Rousse. Price per person: 15 EUR
APPLICATION DEADLINE : 120 DAYS PRIOR DEPARTURE