The day will start by meeting your local guide at your hotel and driving south from Bucharest, towards the Romanian – Bulgarian border.
After crossing the Danube River and the Friendship Bridge, you will be entering Bulgaria, also known as the country of roses. Your destination is Veliko Tarnovo.
On the way there, you will be stopping for an exclusive visit of the Rock Hewn Churches next to the village of Ivanovo. These are Bulgarian Medieval churches, chapels and monastic cells hewn into the craggy gorge of Roussenski Lom River. Inscriptions, portraits of saints and other restored items are from the 13th century. A unique monument of Bulgarian Medieval Art included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The hills, meadows, mountains, caves, forests and several species, have contributed to the occupation of these places by the man from the antiquity to the present day. The first settlement dates back to 4300 years B.C.
A town with very rich history, Veliko Tarnovo was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire and has long tradition in the culture of Bulgaria. The city is rich in museums and historical sites, combined with vivacious night life propelled by the students in one of the largest universities in Bulgaria.
Take a walk on the Artisans Street where you have the chance to pass by workshops owned by Bulgarian families for generations, preserving the old traditions. You will have the chance to see fully functional coppersmith workshop where even to this day, the specialty is formed out of copper plates & cups for Turkish coffee. An icon painter is right next door, a miniaturist is exhibiting his art in the shinny window of a dusty building from the 19th century, while the silversmith is producing jewelry with traditional and contemporary motifs.
Hike up the Tsarevets Hill with the remains of the castle and church of the Bulgarian Kings. They were the ones that established the Bulgarian state after the byzantine domination in the 12th century. Visit the Fortress, the Patriarchal Church, the Royal Palace and the Emperor Balduin’s Tower.
Next we drive to Arbanassi and step back in time while wondering the streets lined with houses & churches dating back as far as the 16th century. Take a peek into the life of rich merchants from the 17th century while visiting the Konstantsalieva House, a typical house from the area, showing the lavish but simple lifestyle of the nobility.
Stop for lunch in one of the many restaurants serving local food and savor the famous Bulgarian cuisine famous worldwide for it’s diversity and unique taste.
Head back to Bucharest and if time allows, also take a brief walk in Ruse, Bulgaria’s first European style city with the first streets with curb stones and pavements, Viennese lanterns and catering establishments. Bulgaria’s first lift was installed here in 1896. The list of monuments is vast here, counting sites like the Main Square, Palace of Justice, Catholic Boarding School, French College, the Pantheon, the Neo-Gothic Church of Saint Paul and over 200 buildings designated monuments of culture.
In the evening arrive back to your accommodation after a day full of great sites and unique experiences.