8. From Bucharest: Small Group Day Trip to Medieval Bulgaria
Start by meeting your local guide at your hotel, then drive south from Bucharest towards the Romanian and Bulgarian border. After crossing the Danube River and the Friendship Bridge, you will enter Bulgaria. On the way towards Veliko Tarnovo, stop 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.
After this, discover Veliko Tarnovo, which was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire and has a long tradition in the culture of Bulgaria. The city is rich in museums and historical sites, combined with a 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 a fully functional coppersmith workshop to see the production of copper plates and cups used for Turkish coffee. Hike up the Tsarevets Hill with the remains of the castle and church of Bulgarian kings. Visit the Fortress, the Patriarchal Church, the Royal Palace, and Emperor Balduin’s Tower.
Next, journey to Arbanassi and step back in time while wandering the streets lined with houses and 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, showing the lavish but simple lifestyle of the nobility. Next, stop for lunch in one of the many restaurants serving local food and savor the famous Bulgarian cuisine.
Take a brief walk in Ruse, Bulgaria’s first European style city. See the 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, and the Neo-Gothic Church of Saint Paul. Following this, begin the journey back to Bucharest.