Roses and Roman Ruins

Bulgaria

Even after 500 years of Ottoman rule and 70 years of Soviet domination, Bulgarian culture is flourishing. Villages clinging to hillsides, wandering herds of livestock, isolated small farms and atmospheric little wineries don’t seem to have changed in hundreds of years.  In the capital, Sofia, modern hotels, hip cafés and high-powered businesses crowd around an ancient Roman archaeological dig.

Why Travel with MIR to Bulgaria
  • Over two decades of Bulgaria travel experience
  • Travel programs such as the Stanford University alumni have chosen MIR to guide them to Bulgaria
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • MIR’s Bulgaria travel expertise recommended by Forbes.com
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
Signature Experiences

We regularly garner applause from our travelers for the inspired opportunities we provide to help them get to know the distinctive art, architecture and accomplishments of the age-old country of Bulgaria.  Below is just a sampling of the Bulgaria experiences MIR has designed to take our clients far from the familiar.

  • Sample the fruit of the vine at a Bulgarian winery
    Sample the fruit of the vine with a wine tasting at a renowned Bulgarian wine cellar in a prime grape-growing region that has produced wine since Roman times....
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    Sample the fruit of the vine at a Bulgarian winery

    Bulgaria

    Plovdiv, Bulgaria

    Sample the fruit of the vine with a wine tasting at a renowned Bulgarian wine cellar in a prime grape-growing region that has produced wine since Roman times.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

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  • Admire Plovdiv’s Roman amphitheater
    Stroll the cobbled streets of Plovdiv’s Old Town and admire its 3,000-seat Roman amphitheater, built by Marcus Aurelius....
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    Admire Plovdiv’s Roman amphitheater

    Bulgaria

    Plovdiv, Bulgaria

    Stroll the cobbled streets of Plovdiv’s Old Town and admire its 3,000-seat Roman amphitheater, built by Marcus Aurelius.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

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  • Appreciate splendid striped Rila Monastery
    Admire UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery, a stronghold of Bulgarian culture since its founding in 927; the vividly colored monastery is...
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    Appreciate splendid striped Rila Monastery

    Bulgaria

    Sofia, Bulgaria

    Appreciate UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery, a stronghold of Bulgarian culture since its founding in 927; the vividly colored monastery is one of the highlights of Bulgaria.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

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  • Stop and smell the roses in Kazanluk
    Spend some time in Kazanluk, the center of Bulgaria’s rose-oil industry, which celebrates a Festival of Roses in June complete with parades and traditional costumes and dances....
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    Stop and smell the roses in Kazanluk

    Bulgaria

    Kazanluk, Bulgaria

    Spend some time in Kazanluk, the center of Bulgaria’s rose-oil industry, which celebrates a Festival of Roses in June complete with parades and traditional costumes and dances.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

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Ways to Travel to Bulgaria with MIR

Bulgaria is a country with nearly as many archaeological monuments as Greece, its southern neighbor, and a higher cool factor. We’ve been making forays into Bulgaria for a long time now, and yet we keep discovering new facets of this southern European gem. We’d love to show them to you.

Take a look at your options, from small group escorted trips, from luxury rail journeys to custom and private travel:

Small Group Tours
Bulgaria & Romania:  Frescoes & Fortresses

Bulgaria & Romania: Frescoes & Fortresses

Through the Valley of the Roses to the Painted Monasteries

Travels to: Bulgaria, Central and East Europe, Romania

16 Days / Departures in May, August 2017

Small Group land tour from $6,195

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Rail Journeys by Private Train
Hellenic Treasures by Private Train: Southbound

Hellenic Treasures by Private Train: Southbound

Budapest to Athens aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express

Travels to: Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Central and East Europe, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia

11 Days / Departures in June 2017

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $9,195

See Trip

Hellenic Treasures by Private Train: Northbound

Hellenic Treasures by Private Train: Northbound

Athens to Budapest aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express

Travels to: Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Central and East Europe, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia

11 Days / Departures in July 2017

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $9,195

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Budapest to Venice by Private Train

Budapest to Venice by Private Train

A Balkan Rail Odyssey Aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express

Travels to: Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Central and East Europe, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia

11 Days / Departures in July, September 2017

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $9,195

See Trip

Venice to Budapest by Private Train

Venice to Budapest by Private Train

A Balkan Rail Odyssey Aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express

Travels to: Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Central and East Europe, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia

11 Days / Departures in July 2017

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $9,195

See Trip

Custom and private travel is our specialty. We’ve been designing unforgettable custom itineraries across the lush Pirin and Rhodope mountains and the sunny Black Sea coast of Bulgaria for over two decades; a majority of our guests travel on custom itineraries.

For ideas, peruse one of our Regional Travel Planners, a roundup of the must-sees from our savvy staff.

Read more about how to design your own trip and also, consider this: You can customize our small group tour Bulgaria & Romania: Frescoes & Fortresses to match your preferred dates of travel.

Design Your Own Custom Trip

Traveling privately on a custom program means flexibility:

  • You set the dates, the focus and the level of accommodations.
  • You are met on arrival and seen off at the end of your trip.
  • Your in-country transportation is pre-arranged hassle-free.
  • Your own expert local guides ensure that you get the most out of your visit.
  • And the best part? You travel at your own pace on an itinerary exclusive to you.

Check out just a handful of our Bulgaria signature experiences below and then get in touch with a MIR Private Journey Specialist to craft an itinerary that suits your travel goals, budget and style.  Or get started planning now.

 

Suggested Itineraries for Private Travel

Whether you’re looking for a compact trip with all the highlights or something a little roomier with some of the extras, MIR’s Private Journeys department can suggest places to see and things to do based on our local knowledge, and design a one-of-a-kind itinerary for you, your family or your group of friends.

Find out more about our custom & private travel expertise or connect with a Private Journey Specialist to get started.


Weather
Our Favorite Places in Bulgaria
Bulgaria

Sofia

Founded over 7,000 years ago, Sofia is home to over 250 historic landmarks and architectural monuments that harmonize with the city’s modern skyline. The remains of Sofia’s protective fortress walls have been incorporated into an underground pedestrian passage where the remnants of the original 2nd century Serdica settlement still lie. Though it has Byzantine ruins and ancient mosques, Sofia’s most exciting architecture was built after Bulgaria’s liberation from the Ottoman Empire in 1878.

Major landmarks include the 4th century St. George Rotunda, the oldest building in Sofia, layered with medieval frescoes, the 6th century St. Sofia Church that inspired the city’s coat of arms and the 19th century Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, whose magnificent icons and frescoes are world famous. The National History Museum houses a great collection of Bulgarian artifacts, jewelry, costumes, and works of art. And just outside of town is the UNESCO-listed Boyana Church with its wonderful frescoes.

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Journeys that travel to Sofia

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Bulgaria

Plovdiv

Plovdiv is the second largest Bulgarian city and the second oldest European one. Founded in the 12th century BC, Plovdiv began its existence on a site protected by three hills. Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius built a 3,000-seat amphitheater here, still in use today. Situated in the center of the East Balkans, on the trade road from Western Europe to Asia, Plovdiv has survived millennia. Despite barbarian attacks, destruction, looting and bloodshed, Plovdiv has always risen from the ashes.

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Journeys that travel to Plovdiv

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Bulgaria

Veliko Tarnovo

Built along the cliffs of the Yarnova River, Veliko Tarnovo has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Age. Thracians and Romans settled here before the 2nd century AD, and the city became the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire just after its founding in 1186. The remains of the Royal Fortress still stand at the top of Tsarevets Hill. The town was conquered and razed by the Turks in 1393, but remained a center of Bulgarian national struggle. The houses of Veliko Tarnovo seem to grow out of each other’s roofs. The Ivanovo Cave Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located just north on the border with Romania.

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Bulgaria

Kazanluk

Kazanluk is the capital of both the “Valley of Roses” and the “Valley of Kings.” The center of Bulgaria’s rose-oil industry, it celebrates a Festival of Roses in June complete with parades and traditional costumes and dances. The special oil-rich rose grown in the valley, affectionately called Kazanlashka Roza, has been raised here for 300 years.

Kazanluk is also credited with being the capital of the Valley of Kings, not only because of the large number of Thracian burial mounds located nearby, but because of the riches found within them. Visit the town’s UNESCO-listed 4th century beehive-shaped Thracian tomb.

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Bulgaria

Varna

Varna is Bulgaria’s largest Black Sea city, and has been an important port since the 4th century B.C. The beaches on Varna Bay attract sun-lovers, just as the early Roman baths and hot springs used to attract the townspeople and travelers in the 2nd century. Varna’s Museum of History displays what is reputedly the oldest gold and copper work in the world, the 6,000-year-old treasures discovered in over 294 Thracian graves only a few miles from the city center.

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Journeys that travel to Varna

Contact a MIR Private Journeys Specialist at privatejourneys@mircorp.com or 800-424-7289 to plan a custom & private trip to Varna.

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When to Travel to Bulgaria

Rose Festival, Karlovo and Kazanluk (June)

Kazanluk's Rose FestivalThe annual Rose Festival takes place in Kazanluk, center of Bulgaria’s rose-oil industry and celebrates the famous local product with parades and traditional costumes and dances. Take some time to sample products made with the petals of this special flower, including rose honey, rose liqueur and more. Enjoy seeing the roses in the field, and learn about the picking and distillation processes.

Annual Music Festivals, Bansko (August)

August is the month for music lovers in Bansko. The Annual Jazz Festival features a spectacular selection of jazz artists: among others the Big Band of the Bulgarian National Radio, Camellia Todorova and Seven Kings. If you prefer more classical music compositions, then The Opera Festival hosts open air performances at the end of the month, which include such spectacles as The Barber of Seville.