Arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria’s 7,000-year-old capital, and begin your adventure with a stroll down Vitosha Boulevard and a traditional dinner.
Day 3: Tour Sofia
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 shop for unique souvenirs at the antique flea market.
Day 4: Rila Monastery & Winery
See the countryside as you travel to Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with colorful woodcarvings and frescos inside and out. Take a moment to appreciate the striking architecture against the beauty of the highest mountain range in Bulgaria. Enjoy lunch and wine tasting along Bulgaria’s ancient Thracian wine road on the way to Plovdiv.
Day 5: Walking Tour of Plovdiv
Wake to the ancient city of Plovdiv, one ofthe oldest cities in Europe. Boasting over 200 Thracian, Greek, and Roman archaeological sites, this “city of seven hills” has been selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2019. Sample traditional Bulgarian, Turkish, and Armenian fare as you walk the cobblestone streets of Ancient Plovdiv, lined with restored houses from the Bulgarian Revival period.
Day 6: Travel to Stone & Compass Center
Travel through the Thracian Valley of the Kings and over the Balkan Mountains with a stop at the Shipka Church and Shipka Pass Monument celebrating liberation from 500 years of Ottoman rule.
Arrive at Stone & Compass to enjoy 2000 acres in the center of Bulgaria with spectacular views of the surrounding nature. A fully renovated three-story house of a freedom fighter for Bulgarian independence will be your home away from home for the next four days.
Day 7: Etara & Cultural Dinner
Step back in time as you enter the gates of Etara, a living museum featuring a traditional craft marketplace. Wind your way along the river while the 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.
Day 8: Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi
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. Visit a museum of local history, shop for gifts and souvenirs, or enjoy a gelato in this city where old meets new.
Overlooking Veliko Tarnovo, 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 unique and unusual murals and icons not typically seen in other churches.
Day 9: Tryavna
Savor your last full day like a true Bulgarian in this colorful mountain town with charming traditional architecture. Relax in the town square by the picturesque clock tower and meander over 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.
Day 10: Travel to Sofia for 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.
Reflect on your experience as you travel back to Sofia Airport. View the landscape and imagine when you will return . . .as you will want to return!