Arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria’s 7,000-year-old capital, and enjoy a traditional dinner.
Day 3: Tour Sofia & travel to Stone & Compass Center
Walk down the “Yellow Brick Road” as you pass through the historic section of Sofia and view sites from the time of Constantine the Great to post-communism and through to the modern day. Walk on a Roman road in the Ancient Complex of Serdica, see iconography of the Eastern Orthodox church at Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, and explore the underground museum of tombs featuring mosaics and frescoes beneath the Saint Sofia Basilica.
Day 4: Etara & Dryanovo Monastery
Step back in time as you enter the gates of Etara, a living museum featuring a traditional craft marketplace. Waterwheels power machinery used for woodcarving, pottery, weaving, and silversmithing, among others. Try traditional apple pastry from the bakery or Turkish coffee brewed over hot sand while you watch the artisans at work and shop for unique handcrafted items.
Dryanovo monastery, founded in the 13th century and rebuilt in the 17th century, was used as a preparation site by revolutionaries for liberation from Ottoman rule. There is a restaurant and traditional craft shopping within the complex. A short walk offers views of a waterfall and the picturesque cliffs of the Dryanovo river gorge, as well as an opportunity to explore the caverns of Bacho Kiro Cave.
Day 5: Arbanasi & Nicopolis ad Istrum
Arbanasi is a quaint village that rose to prominence as a trading center in the 17th century. Visit the 15th century Church of the Nativity of Christ where an experienced guide will explain the unusual murals and icons not typically seen in other churches.
Nicopolis ad Istrum is an active archaeological excavation of a town founded by the Roman Emporer Trajan. The ancient roads lead you through remains of the cannonade, theatre, public baths, and buildings around the agora.
Day 6: Veliko Tarnovo
Explore Veliko Tarnovo, the capital of Second Bulgarian Empire. Climb the steps of the medieval fortress of Tsarevets for panoramic views of this city and the river that winds around it. Inside the reconstructed church atop the fortress you will see unique modern frescoes reflecting the long history of this site.
Day 7: Bedouin Beach Bar
Unwind at the Bedouin Beach Bar, where activities can include swimming in the river pools complete with waterfalls, horseback riding, hiking, and relaxing in one of the many lounge areas including floating beds and hammocks. The restaurant offers refreshing drinks and savory delights to enjoy as you lounge inside or outdoors.
Day 8: Tryavna & Farewell Cultural Dinner
Savor your last full day in the colorful mountain town of Tryavna. See traditional architecture from the town square’s picturesque clock tower to the bridge to the pedestrian walkway. Recharge yourself in one of the outdoor cafés that line the streets and browse the vibrant array of shops.
Return to The Center for a traditional dinner and celebrate with a Bulgarian performance group sharing music, song, and dance.
Day 9: Travel to Sofia & departure
Awaken your senses with one last morning cup of coffee or tea in the barn. Breathe the fresh air and relish the peace and serenity that is STONE & COMPASS. Enjoy views of the countryside as you travel back to Sofia. as you reflect on your experience with your travel companions and imagine when you will return...as you will want to return!