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Route for 3 Weeks

Oklahoma
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Route for 3 Weeks

We will arrive Sofia 23 April and spend approximately 3 weeks in Bulgaria before leaving for Romania at Ruse. About 3 weeks later, we will re-enter Bulgaria through Vidin and leave about 10 days later from Sofia on 16 June.

The second 10-day stay in Bulgaria will be devoted to hiking in the Rila and Pirin. We save this for last to avoid as much snow as possible.

The first three-week period, we would like to see the following (not in order):

Sofia

Rila Monastery

Koprivshtitsa

Plovdiv

Veliko Tarnova

Ruse

Arbanisi (hike)

Tryavna

Preobrazhenski Monastery (hike)

Burgas

Nesebar

Belogradchik

Some of this is self-evident, but I can't figure the best sequence, particularly in the middle of the country. We will use public transportation only, and are low-budget.

I would also like guidance as to where we might inject hiking to small villages.

Thank you.

sofia
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1. Re: Route for 3 Weeks

Where do you plan to start your journey from? Sofia?

Oklahoma
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2. Re: Route for 3 Weeks

Start Sofia, end at Ruse

Also, I realized that Belogradchik should not be on that list. We could see it when we return to Sofia three weeks later from Vidin.

Yonkers, New York
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3. Re: Route for 3 Weeks

I would suggest staying in a hotel in the following cities in the following order and then branching out on day trips to the other locations.

Sofia->Plovdiv->Burgas->Veliko Tarnovo->Ruse

From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Koprivishtitsa

From Plovdiv: enjoy the town! haha

From Burgas: Nesebar

From Veliko Tarnovo: Tryavna, Arbanasi, Preobrazhenski Monastery

The highway from Sofia through Plovdiv to Sliven is amazing, around a 4 hour drive at top speed will get you from end to end. The highway between Karnobat and Burgas is also finished. However, there is a gap between the highway from Sliven to Karnobat which is expected to be completed soon but I'm not sure if it'll be ready for your trip. Expect a bumpy bus ride if you take that route! As for trains, they're slower but still efficient enough.

Also, if you're really into hiking, Sliven is DEFINITELY a place you MUST stop at. "Sinite Kamani" or the Blue Rocks are a bit of the Balkan Mountains that rise above Sliven and you can hike up there for amazing views, fantastic flora and fauna, and just genuine peace and serenity. I hiked there myself this summer and it was fantastic. I am a Bulgarian myself and I've been so proud to call myself one since I've climbed up there! Stunning views of Sliven and then the countryside as well as views of the valleys and mountains. There's even a vulture sanctuary up there!

I hope you enjoy your trip to Bulgaria!

Oklahoma
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4. Re: Route for 3 Weeks

Thank you, Kartof. That is very helpful.

Would it be reasonable to arrive Sliven, hike, spend the night in Sliven, then move on, or would we need two nights?

Yonkers, New York
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5. Re: Route for 3 Weeks

I think one night is enough. Let me know if you have any further questions!

Oklahoma
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6. Re: Route for 3 Weeks

Here's what I come up with.

Sofia: 4 nights with day trip to Koptivtitsha

Rila Monastery: 1 night (non-negotiable to one of us)

Plovdiv: 4 nights with day trip to Bachova and hike somewhere south

Burgas: 3 nights with day trip to Nesebar and day trip south

Sliven: 1 night with hike

Veliko Tarnova: 5 nights with day trips to Arbanasi & Preobrazhenski

Tryavna: 1 night (again, non-negotiable)

Ruse: 2 nights with hike

Therefore, other than the travel days to get there and day trips, I have allotted the following full days to the major city bases:

Sofia: 2 days (in part to recover from jet lag)

Plovdiv: 1 day

Veliko Tarnova: 2 days

Is this an appropriate ? We like churches, architecture and just wandering, ethnographic, etc., museums yes, art museums not so much.

Sofia
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for Sofia, Bulgaria
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7. Re: Route for 3 Weeks

Hi!

Your plan sounds fine! Here are a couple of notes:

1. 4 days in Plovdiv is too much. Think about wandering in the Rhodope mountain with overnight in Trigrad, Dospat, Chepelare, Shiroka Luka or somewhere else...

2. In the area of Tryavna there are places which worth a visit (some of them doable also from Veliko Turnovo): Dryanovski Monastery and the cave near it; Etara; Sokolski Monastery; Bozhenci, Shipka monument, etc. or just hiking in Stara Planina;

3. As far as I know the accommodation conditions in Rila Monastery are very basic, so be prepared.

Wish you a great trip in Bulgaria!

sofia
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8. Re: Route for 3 Weeks

The best illiterary is:

Sofia-Plolvdiv-Sliven-Burgas-Veliko Turnovo-Russe.

Rila Monastery is a day trip from Sofia. The monastery is fantastic but It is too much to spend 2 days there.

5 nights in Veliko Turnovo is too much. You need 1 day for the city and 1 day for Arbanassi and Preobrazhenski Monastery.

It will be interesting for you to see Varna - there is Aladja monastery - a historical monastery in the rocks 3 km, Stone forest - a natural phenomenon in the outskirts of Varna.

Oklahoma
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9. Re: Route for 3 Weeks

How long should we allow for a Plovdiv-Bachova-Smoljan-Trigrad-Dospat-Batak-Pazardzik-Plovdiv loop and where along there might we spend the night(s)?

sofia
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10. Re: Route for 3 Weeks

3-4 days. There is a lot of cheap family hotels in Smolyan and Dospat.