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The magic of Central & Eastern Europe!

This 13-day trip offers an exciting Balkan experience for the people interested in getting to know the charming Hungarian capital – Budapest picturesquely stretching on both banks of the river Danube, exploring Count Dracula’s motherland, getting a taste of the Greek way of life and seeing Bulgaria’s ancient and modern faces and beautiful Black sea coast!
The trip starts in the Hungarian Capital – Budapest – am city with imperial past and welcoming modern-day culture which never fails to fascinate its visitors with its amazing architecture, warm thermal spas, friendly people and rich events calendar especially in the summer months.

Travelling through the Romanian region of Transylvania best known as the mysterious land of bloodthirsty vampires and howling wolves, is an amazing experience! Bordered to the east by the spectacular Carpathian Mountains, ‘the land beyond the forest’ still feels undiscovered. So, pack your garlic – we will be cruising through one of Eastern Europe’s most captivating areas! A melange of architecture and chic sidewalk cafes punctuate the towns of Braşov, Sighişoara and Sibiu. Meanwhile many of southern Transylvania’s Saxon villages are dotted with fortified churches that date back half a millennium.
We will also get acquainted with Bulgaria’s ancient and modern faces at the best place for it - Veliko Tarnovo. This ancient Bulgarian town amazes with its picturesque location and medieval atmosphere. Further south, the Bulgarian Black sea coast is alluring with its endless sandy beach stretches and refreshing breezes. Through the famous Valley of the roses, we will reach Plovdiv – a city that has kept its bohemian atmosphere and preserved its cultural exuberance after six centuries of existence.
In Greece, we will get the Mediterranean ways of life at the port of Kavala and drift back in time in the loaded with history Greek capital – Athens. 

Day - by - day Itinerary:

Day 1:  Welcome to Budapest, Hungary!
Welcome to Budapest! Our guide will meet you at the airport upon your arrival and escort you to the hotel. You will get your first impressions from the Hungarian today!
Dinner & overnight in Budapest, Hungary/ (D)

Day 2:  Budapest (sightseeing drive tour & lunch)
Today we will explore the stunning Hungarian capital Budapest. Among the attractions we will see are the famous Gellert and Széchenyi thermal baths, the neo-gothic Parliament House, the cobbled Buda Castle district, the Citadel,  the legendary Chain Bridge, The Old Covered Market, the Hero’s Square lined with interesting  museums, the House of Terrors and much more. After lunch w will have time to relax, unwind and explore the amazing city centre and shopping districts  on our own.
Dinner & overnight in Budapest, Hungary (B, L, D)

Day3: Budapest - Arad (lunch stop) – Timisoara
Today we start our Eastern European Adventure! We say “Goodbye” to Austria and we head south - east towards Romania. Our lunch stop will be in Arad situated in the western part of Romania on the Mures River. Arad traces its history back to the 11th century and today is an important industrial center and transportation hub, as well as home to two universities.
After lunch, we continue our trip to Timisoara, where we will spend the rest of the afternoon and the night.
The charm of Timisoara, often called also "Little Vienna," lies in its distinct architectural character and vibrant cultural life. Over the years it has been influenced by many cultures - Roman, Slavic, Turkish, Austrian, German, and Serb. It was the first city in Europe and second in the world after New York, to use electricity to illuminate its public streets.
We will stroll in the heart of the city and marvel at its main landmarks – the Victory Square (Piata Victoriei) lined with elegant baroque buildings and crowned by the impressive Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedrala Ortodoxa Mitropolitana); the Union Square (Piata Unirii) dating back to the Habsburg-era, so-named for the imposing sight of the Romano-Catholic and Serbian Orthodox Cathedrals facing each other; the Jewish quarter, the pedestrian-only downtown area. Some of the monuments in the heart of the city afford panoramic views, while the many parks in this "city of flowers" provide an idyllic spot to take a break from sightseeing.
Dinner & overnight in Timisoara, Romania (B, L, D)

Day 4:  Timisoara - Sibiu (short walk & lunch) - Brasov
We set off to the heart of Romania - the Transylvanian region.  Our lunch stop will be Sibiu – a town that has a magic all of its own with its bohemian yet stately ambience. In  2007 the city was voted European Capital of Culture. In fact, the country's first hospital, school, library and pharmacy were all established here, so there is a special spirit of enterprise in the air.
We will take a short walk in Sibiu’s Old Town which retains the grandeur of its earlier days when rich and powerful guilds dominated regional trade. Sections of the medieval wall still guard the historic area, where narrow streets pass steep-roofed 17th century buildings with gable overhangs before opening into vast, church-dominated squares. There is always a market or some kind of cultural event taking place here.
After lunch we will travel to Brasov, where we will spend the night.
Dinner & overnight in Brasov, Romania (B, L, D)

Day 5: Brasov (visit of the centre) - Bran Castle (visit & lunch) - Bucharest 
We will spend the morning in Brasov. Fringed by the peaks of the Southern Carpathian Mountains and resplendent with gothic, baroque and renaissance architecture, as well as a wealth of historical attractions, Brasov is one of the most visited towns in Romania. We will stroll down the historical centre of the city and see some of its emblematic landmarks – the Town Hall Square (Piata Sfatului) lined with colorfully painted and ornately trimmed baroque structures; the Black Church (Biserica Neagra), the largest gothic church in Romania. Its name derives from damage caused by the Great Fire of 1689, when flames and smoke blackened its walls; Schei Gate (Poarta Schei), the medieval White & Black Towers and the Blacksmiths' Bastion - home to the Brasov Archives, among which the oldest letter in the Romanian language, written in 1521 by Neacsu, a merchant from the town of Campulung.
At noon, we will take s short trip to visit the mysterious Bran Castle and have lunch in the area. Surrounded by an aura of mystery and legend and perched high atop a 200-foot-high rock, Bran Castle owes its fame to its imposing towers and turrets as well as to the myth created around Bram Stocker's Dracula.  Nowadays it houses the Feudal Art Museum.
In the afternoon we will arrive in the Romanian capital Bucharest and get our first impressions from this colorful city.
Dinner & overnight in Bucharest, Romania (B, L, D)

Day 6: Bucharest (city tour & lunch)
Today we will explore the capital of Romania. Known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards, glorious Belle Époque buildings and a reputation for the high life (which in the 1900s earned its nickname of "Little Paris"), Bucharest, Romania's largest city and capital, is today a bustling metropolis.
Our city tour will take us to some of the city’s most famous sights:  the Patriarchal Church which is part of the patriarchal complex perched on the Dealul Mitropoliei hill (‘the Metropolitan Hill’); the House of Parliament, worldwide known as “The House of Ceausescu” even though the dictator never lived there; the Cotroceni Palace, now official residence of the Romanian president; the Village Museum, where we will have the chance to see representations of houses from all over Romania that were brought and rebuilt here piece by piece.
In the afternoon, you will have some free time to take in the city’s vibe  on your own and get lost in its  with its loud commercial streets and intimate cafes, the crowded beer houses and the cosmopolite restaurants, the monumental buildings and the numerous green parks.
Dinner & overnight in Bucharest, Romania (B, L, D)

Day 7: Bucharest - Arbanassi (lunch & visit) - Veliko Turnovo (city tour)
Welcome to Bulgaria! We will cross the Danube River and head towards the Stara Planina Mountain and the Village of Arbanasi in central North Bulgaria. Back in the day the village used to be an important merchant and cultural centre during the Bulgarian Revival Period and today boasts impressive exquisite frescoes at the UNESCO classified Rozdestvo Christovo Church and beautiful examples of Revival architecture like the Konstanzalieva House. For lunch we will try some traditional local specialties.
The highlight of our afternoon will be the medieval capital of Bulgaria - Veliko Tarnovo and its imposing Tsarevets Fortress. Before dinner we will take some time to unwind, relax and take a stroll down the old market street “Samovodska Charshia” with its authentic workshops and romantic old-time coffee houses.
Dinner & overnight in Veliko Turnovo , Bulgaria (B, L, D)

Day 8: Veliko Turnovo – Varna (lunch &visits) – Sunny Beach
Today we will travel to the Maritime capital of Bulgaria – the city of Varna, situated in a picturesque bay on the North Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Here we will visit the imposing Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, situated in the heart of the city centre and the Archaeological Museum and find out more about the oldest golden objects ever discovered. Between 4600 and 4200 BC, long before Mesopotamia or the Egypt of the pyramids, goldsmithing first began on the shores of the Black Sea, in the land that is today Bulgaria.
In the afternoon, we will travel down south along the Black sea coast and will pass the eastern part of the Balkan mountain and reach the biggest and most famous Bulgarian Black Sea resort – Sunny Beach.
Dinner & overnight in Sunny Beach Resort, Bulgaria (B, L, D)

Day 9: Sunny beach Resort - Nessebar (visit & lunch) – Sunny Beach
Today we will continue to explore the beautiful Black Sea coast and its ancient cultural heritage. We will visit the charming peninsula of the Old Town of Nessebar, existed for more than 9,000 years and today a cultural monument enclosed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Here we will have lunch, visit the St. Stefan church and take in  the romantic atmosphere of the old maritime town with its narrow cobblestone streets, tiny squares, two-storied period houses, handmade - gift shops, taverns and lovely flower gardens! Later this afternoon we will return to Sunny Beach.
Dinner & overnight in Sunny Beach Resort, Bulgaria (B, L, D)

Day 10:  Sunny beach Resort – The Thracian valley (visit & lunch) - Plovdiv (city tour)
Today we will travel west towards the heart of South Bulgaria. Our first stop will be the ancient Thracian Tomb in Kazalnak and learn more about the Thracians fascinating art and culture.  Next we will explore a Rose Distillery in the Thracian Valley. Here we will learn more about the traditional methods of production of the aromatic and exquisite rose “Damscene” essential oil, which is extracted only here and is widely used in the French perfume industry and all around the world.
After lunch, we will head to city of Plovdiv. Its Old Town “Timonium” is among the most magnificent places in Bulgaria and is famous for its spectacular Roman Theatre, the multitude of tiny art galleries, churches and authentic cobbled streets lined with Revival period houses. A true journey through the centuries! We will spare some time to see the Ethnographic museum, the Museum of the ancient mosaics and the Roman Forum.
Dinner & overnight in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (B, L, D)

Day 11: Plovdiv - Bansko (lunch) - via Goze Delchev to BG /GR border - Kavala
Today we travel to the town of Bansko, situated at the foot of the eastern slopes of the Pirin Mountain. Here we will drift back in time and get lost among the beautiful medieval houses tucked behind the high stone walls. We will have lunch and spare some time to peek into the numerous welcoming galleries where the local artists present their works.
Then we will say “Goodbye” to Bulgaria and cross the Bulgarian /Greek border. We will spend the late afternoon and the night in the coastal city of Kavala. We will have free time to stroll down the narrow cobbled streets of ancient Kavala, to marvel at the beautiful scenery of the bay from the ancient Citadel, built ages ago on the highest point of the city and take a cup of aromatic coffee in one of the numerous cafes at the waterfront or in the Old Town.
Dinner & overnight in Kavala, Greece (B, L, D)

Day 12: Kavala - Thessaloniki - flight to Athens
Transfer from the Airport to the hotel in Athens.
Dinner & overnight in Athens , Greece (B, L, D)

Day 13: Trip finishes in Athens – Outbound flight
Today after breakfast, it will be time for us to say “goodbye” with the promise to keep the memories we created together! Transfer to the airport for the outbound flight. (B)

If you like the suggested program, ideas, services and this is really your kind of holiday please send us your request for further details! We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and give you our professional advice. Thank you!

Highlights

  • The Bulgarian capital Sofia - a blend of ancient and modern!
  • The city of the Bulgarian Tsarzs Veliko Tarnovo!
  • The town of Ruse more famous as “the little Wien”!
  • Bucharest - the vibrant capital of Romania, a luminous cultural bridge between East & West!
  • The mysterious Bran Castle more famous as Count Drakula’s home!
  • Sibiu - the cultural gem of Romania!
  • Sunny Beach and the beautiful Bulgarian Black Sea coast!
  • Bansko and the stunning Pirin Mountain!
  • Athens - the heart of the Greek civilization!

Route

Photos


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What Is Included

  • 13 days / 12 overnights
  • Countries visited: Bulgaria & Romania, Hungary
  • Tour starts: Budapest, Hungary
  • Tour finishes: Athens, Greece
  • 12 breakfasts (B), 11 Lunches (L), 11 Dinners (D)
  • 12 nights 4/3+ - star hotel accommodation on a twin-share or double basis
  • Guided sightseeing tours of all visited cities and sights
  • Escorted services of an experienced guide in the requested language for the whole tour
  • Transport: Modern air-conditioned coach
  • Group Size: T/A
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