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Asen's Fortress

Asen's Fortress: Our most recommended tours and activities

Plovdiv: Bachkovo Monastery, Fortress Asen, & Wonder Bridges

1. Plovdiv: Bachkovo Monastery, Fortress Asen, & Wonder Bridges

Begin the tour at the impressive Asen’s fortress, nearby the charming town of Asenovgrad. Explore the remarkable remains of King Ivan Asen's fortress and discover the nearby ancient 12th-century church painted with authentic pieces of iconography as well as the stone-made inscription carved by King Ivan Asen himself. Continue the tour with a drive to the picturesque Bachkovo monastery, the second largest in Bulgaria and over a thousand years old. Admire the sacred icon of the Virgin Mary dating back to the 14th century that rests inside, as well as the striking frescoed murals of the monastery's walls Conclude the trip with a visit to the "Wonderful Bridges". Situated high in the stunning Rhodope Mountains, 1,450 meters above sea level, admire these unique marble bridges formed by the erosive activity of what was once a high-water river. In summer the longest zip line on the Balkan Peninsula (240 meters) stretching between the 2 bridges is available for the more adventurous travelers.

From Sofia: Full-Day Tour to Plovdiv and Asen's Fortress

2. From Sofia: Full-Day Tour to Plovdiv and Asen's Fortress

After a 2-hour drive, begin this full-day tour in one of Europe's oldest towns, Plovdiv. Walk along cobblestone streets and visit a 19th-century house to learn about the local production of alcoholic drinks and rose oil products. Explore the Roman Theater, Roman Stadium and church before enjoying 2 hours of free time to walk around and have lunch and coffee along the main pedestrian street. After exploring Plovdiv, meet your van and guide to make the 30-minute drive to Asen's Fortress. Admire this beautiful, medieval structure and learn about the history of the place before taking photos from the top. Start your journey back to Sofia with an expected arrival time of approximately 6:00 PM.

From Sofia: Plovdiv, Asen's Fortress and Bachkovo Monastery

3. From Sofia: Plovdiv, Asen's Fortress and Bachkovo Monastery

After you have been picked up from your hotel or accommodation in Sofia, enjoy an hour and a half scenic drive to Plovdiv.  Visit sights of historic importance such as the Roman Theatre and the Roman Stadium. Walk around the Old Town and admire the architecture of the houses, museums and cobbled streets typical of the Revival Period. After a traditional Bulgarian lunch, take a 25-minute drive to Asenova Fortress situated on the top of a cliff in Rodopi Mountain. Admire this medieval building and breathtaking views across the valley.  Visit Bachkovo Monastery, founded in 1083 and see the beautiful mural paintings which are still preserved today. End your tour with a drive back to Sofia where you will be dropped off at your accommodation.

From Plovdiv: Bachkovo Monastery & Asen’s Fortress Tour

4. From Plovdiv: Bachkovo Monastery & Asen’s Fortress Tour

Drive to the dramatic Rhodope Mountains for this half-day tour from Plovdiv, passing the pretty town of Asenovgrad to see the remarkable fortress remains of King Ivan Asen, a wise ruler of the 2nd Bulgarian Kingdom. Visit the 13th-century Church of the Holy Mother of God to admire the historic iconography and ferscoes. Enjoy panoramic views of the mountain scenery, and learn why the fortress gained importance in the Middle Ages, and how it was conquered by the armies of the Third Crusade. Next, head to picturesque Bachkovo Monastery deeper in the mountains. Founded in 1083, and one of the most sacred places in Bulgarian history, the monastery’s main church contains a valuable icon of the Virgin Mary from 11-th century that, according to legend, can work miracles. Admire the exterior of the 12th-century bysantine style Church of the Archangels. Admire the stunning mural on the outside wall of the refectory, representing a bird’s eye view of the monastery and the surrounding buildings. This is the largest panoramic mural of Bulgaria, painted in the middle of the 19-th sentury. The monastery complex tour ends at the Church of Saint Nikola, built between 1834 and 1837. There enjoy the impressive Doomsday frescoe in the narthex of the church.

From Sofia: Plovdiv, Asen's Fortress and Bachkovo Monastery

5. From Sofia: Plovdiv, Asen's Fortress and Bachkovo Monastery

Leave Sofia and enjoy a full-day tour to Plovdiv, Asen's fortress, and Bachkovo Monastery with a licensed guide. See some of the most interesting historic sites in the area, like Nebet Tepe, the Roman theater of Phillippolis, and the Church of the Holy Mother of God on this tour. Leave Sofia and set out for a full-day tour to Plovdiv, Asen's Fortress, and Bachkovo Monastery. Start the day with hotel pickup in Sofia and relax on the 90-minute drive to Plovdiv. Visit the site of Nebet Tepe, an ancient settlement founded around 4000 BC, and see some historical buildings. Travel to the Roman theater of Phillippolis, one of the world's best-preserved ancient theaters. Marvel at the intricate wooden architecture of Hindliyan's house before moving on to the modern Kapana district to explore the shops and wander one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe. Relax on the approximately 30-minute drive from Plovdiv to Asen's Fortress, perched on top of a hill in the beautiful Rhodope Mountains. Learn how the fortress that defended the route from the Aegean Sea to Thrace, and see the ruins of the fort itself and the Church of the Holy Mother of God. Admire some of the fragments of fourteenth-century murals in the church, and see its rectangular tower, believed the be the earliest preserved tower of its kind in the Balkans—Marvel at breathtaking views from the top of the fortress before departing for the next stop. Leave the fortress behind and stop at Bachkovo Monastery, the second-largest monastery in Bulgaria. Explore the main church with one of the oldest iconostasis in Bulgaria and the miraculous Icon of the Virgin Mary, the biggest fresco from the nineteenth century. Wander the Monastery and see the old dining room and original marble table, where monks ate for over three centuries, and gazer at the well-preserved murals in the St. Archangels and St. Nicolas churches. Sit in the courtyard and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and impressive trees. Buy handicrafts, honey, homemade jam, yogurt, herbs, and other gifts on the walk back by the monastery alley before returning back to Sofia on an approximately 2 hour and 20-minute drive.

Plovdiv and Asen's Fortress Private Day Trip

6. Plovdiv and Asen's Fortress Private Day Trip

Plovdiv is one of the oldest settlements in the world, growing across three adjacent hills, and its incredible history dates back to 4,000 B.C. A must-see in Bulgaria, the town has preserved Thracian, Roman and Bulgarian heritage from different epochs. On a 1.5-hour walking tour into the heart of town, you will learn historical facts and legends while exploring its most fascinating sites. You will see the Roman Theater and parts of the Roman Stadium. Walk through the longest pedestrian street in Europe. Explore the magnificent revival old town with its unique colorful houses from the 19th century. See the recently uncovered early Christian mosaics dating back to the 4th century. After exploring Plovdiv, you will head to the mountains and visit the remains of the old medieval Asen's Fortress (named after the famous Bulgarian king Ivan Asen II) and its church from high above the valley. From here you can see amazing panoramic views and take breathtaking photos. At the end of your tour you will be dropped off back at your hotel.

3 Days Best of Plovdiv and the magic of the Rhodope mountain

7. 3 Days Best of Plovdiv and the magic of the Rhodope mountain

Day 1: Explore Plovdiv At 09:00 your guide will pick you up from your address in Sofia and your adventure will start. After an hour and a half drive, you will reach the amazing city of Plovdiv. We will park at the hotel and the expiration will start. The first stage of the tour will be a walking tour of the ancient ruins of Plovdiv. We will visit most of the main highlights – the IV century Bishop Basilica, wealthy merchants' houses from the XIX century, the Roman theatre, the Roman stadium, the 14th-century mosque, which gave the architect fashion in the whole Ottoman Empire, an old pharmacy, and many more. Our guide will share all his knowledge about Plovdiv and Bulgaria with you. The evening you can spend in “The Trap” area, full of small restaurants and bars, serving good craft beers and wines. Day 2: Hike the Eagle's eye and enter the Devil's throat At 08:30 your guide will pick you up from your hotel The driving time will be around 2 hours and a half, filled with stunning views and scenery. You will drive on one of the most beautiful roads in Bulgaria next to Vacha reservoir and Devin. The road will lead you into the mystical and impressive Trigrad Gorge. Our first adventure will be to hike the Eagle's Eye Mount and admire the stunning 360 view. The hike to the top is around an hour and it can be classified as moderate hiking. After the hike, we will continue our drive deeper into the Trigrad Gorge. We will reach the town Trigrad where you will have the chance to enjoy one of the best and most authentic cuisines in Bulgaria - the traditional Rhodope cuisine. After regaining strength with the excellent lunch we will head toward our final adventure - a visit to the Devil's throat cave. It is one of the most mystical, full of legends, and impressive natural sites- The Devil's Throat Cave. After this visit, we will head back to Plovdiv. Day 3: The Marvelous Bridges and the Village of Kosovo At 08:00 your guide will pick you up from your hotel and you will start a beautiful and scenic trip toward the highlight of the day- Marvelous Bridges. The Marvelous Bridges are a set of unique natural bridges formed over millions of years through the process of erosion. After we admire the mighty of Nature we will start our drive deeper into the mountain and our goal is to reach an amazingly beautiful small village where you will taste the culture and the unique cuisine of the Rhodope region. The village is known for its well-preserved historical and cultural heritage, with many of the traditional homes and buildings dating back several hundred years. Visitors to Kosovo can admire the architecture and intricate details of the old homes, which are characterized by their wooden balconies and intricate carvings. After Kosovo, we will start our journey back to Sofia. On the way, we can make a stop and visit the second biggest monastery in Bulgaria- Bachkovo monastery.

Other Sightseeing Options in Asen's Fortress

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What people are saying about Asen's Fortress

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 187 reviews

Georgi (sorry if I’m misspelling) was the best guide I’ve had yet on any GYG affiliated tour. Incredibly knowledgeable (basically an historian) yet very easy going and not overbearing. Tour was well worth the money, although now I’m keen to spend much more time in Plovdiv!

Our guide Ivan was excellent. made us feel comfortable, knew about the history and made the whole trip an enjoyable one. Plovdiv old town was lovely and the fortress was great too. its worth it for a day trip

Evo was a great tour guide. Gave us lots of information about Plovdiv, the fortress and the monastery. We had plenty of time for lunch and to explore Plovdiv on our own … a brilliant day out.

Fabulous. The guide was a fountain of information and we had a great day together.

Great day out, Plovdiv is lovely and our guide Plamin was great, very helpful