Bulgaria Escorted Tours & Guided Holidays

Escorted Tours & Guided Holidays to Bulgaria

With a beguiling blend of nature and history, you're guaranteed an unforgettable adventure in Bulgaria. The keen explorer simply cannot resist being helplessly drawn to the freshening sea breeze and miles of turquoise water characteristic of Bulgaria’s coast, and many cities feel the benefits of this refreshing ambience. And speaking of cities, visitors to Bulgaria are sure to be enthralled at the always-remarkable cultural offering from each of the country's major metropolises. If you're a history buff, you'll want to go on Travelsphere's Bulgaria guided tours to experience this nation beyond the books.

With Travelsphere, discovering Bulgaria’s hidden heritage is easier than ever; there's simply no way to top a round-trip of the entire country, taking in all the sights that make it truly unique in the world. Beginning in its bustling capital, Sofia, our Bulgaria package holidays will introduce you to many wonderful sites that tell the story of the country's rich history, from Plovdiv's Roman amphitheatre, dating back to the 2nd century AD, to the incredible UNESCO-listed city of Nessebar. You'll also get to watch artisans at work in the ancient town of Tryavna, learn how Bulgaria's famous rose oil is produced and do so much more. Soul-stirring beyond belief, our Bulgaria escorted tours guarantee a great time for travellers of all interests.

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Please note: We are not currently operating tours to Bulgaria. Why not be inspired to explore other thrilling destinations around the world with Travelsphere.

Read all about it...Bulgaria

  1. Coming up roses

    A rose is more than a thing of beauty – it’s oil extracts are used worldwide by leading parfumiers and are also thought to have healing properties…

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What our customers say

  1. We had a really enjoyable trip to Bulgaria

    "We had a really enjoyable trip to Bulgaria, all the excursions and hotels were very good. Our Tour Director and Tour Guide were excellent and helped to make the holiday extra special. It is the first time that I have ever used Travelsphere but would not hesitate using them again in the future or to recommend them to friends or family" - Sue Williams

  2. We always have a brilliant time

    A group of us met on a Travelsphere tour of Bulgaria a couple of years ago and have kept in touch and met up on several occasions. Last year we put names of Travelsphere holidays into a hat and pulled out an Italian trip which we did. Who knows where will go next...As you can appreciate, we always have a brilliant time" - Gill Zeke

Touring holidays to Bulgaria frequently asked questions

What are the best tours to Bulgaria?

Want a round trip of Bulgaria then our Bulgaria's Hidden Heritage tour is the one for you. This round trip from Bulgaria's bustling capital, Sofia, will introduce you to many wonderful sites which tell the story of the country's rich history. Discover Plovdiv's Roman amphitheatre, then continue to the incredible city of Nessebar. UNESCO-listed and home to many ancient churches, it is a delight to explore. There's time to relax on the beach in Varna, while at Madara you can admire an extraordinary medieval rock relief. Watch artisans at work in an open-air ethnographic museum and journey through a scenic mountain pass to learn how Bulgaria's famous rose oil is produced and discover Kazanlak's Thracian tomb.

What are the highlights of Bulgaria?

Bulgaria is a beautiful country with its share of history and local traditions. There is a variety of things to see and do, but here are some you won’t want to miss.

  • The City of Sofia – the capital of Bulgaria has so much to offer with its stunning architecture, churches and bustling shops. While wandering around, make sure not to miss monuments like the Statue of Sofia, the Palace of Justice, and the Sveta Nedelya Church.
  • The ancient city of Plovdiv – History at its best with its main attraction being the Roman amphitheatre, which is located high above the city on a hill, giving it panoramic views. The amphitheatre once seated around 6,000 spectators, and continues to with its concerts and opera shows.
  • The Ottoman-era houses – The Ottomans were known for their accomplishments in art and this is seen in the design of their stunning houses. The old town of Hilly Plovdiv is a good example of this, with streets lined with handsomely preserved Ottoman-era townhouses. Many houses are open to the public to fully appreciate their beauty – including the Hindliyan House, whose owner installed a rose-water fountain in the main living space. This has been recently reinstated to its former glory and makes the room smell truly delightful.
  • Nessebar – A historians dream. Initially a Thracian settlement, now a Greek colony, but this town holds an assortment of iconic eras to see. The cobbled streets are lined with ruins and Byzantine-era fortifications and baths. Highlights include the ruins of the 5th-century Church of St. Sofia and the 11th-century Church of St. Stephen. Nessebar has also always been an important trading city and it’s nice to see that trading still lives on with street vendors selling the wares. The city celebrates its history and cultural traditions by hosting festivals throughout the year.
  • The Sacred site of Madara - Carved into a cliff near the village of Madara, you will find an enchanting sculpture representing the figure of a knight (with his dog in toe) prevailing over a lion. The inscriptions beside the sculpture tell of events that occurred between AD 705 and 801.
  • The open-air museum of Etar – A substantial museum, covering over 17 acres and 50 sites. Here you’ll experience stunning architecture, impressive water technical equipment, places with social importance and the houses and workshops of craftsmen. You can also experience the lifestyle of the economic past of the Gabrovo region during the Revival period.
  • Shipka Pass - Shipka Pass is a mountainous road with panoramic, breath-taking views. Elevated over 3,000 ft above sea level, on the Stara Planina Mountain, in central Bulgaria. On first sighting it might seem nothing more than just an asphalted road that links Kazanluk to Gabrovo but this is a location that you will regret forgetting your camera! The pass was also the site of four battles between the Russian Empire (aided by Bulgarian helpers known as opalchentsi), and the Ottoman Empire during the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). Today the Shipka Pass lies within the Bulgarka Nature Park and is home to a 98 foot, stone monument commemorating the Bulgarians and Russians who died during the many battles. Along route you will also pass through the valley of Roses; beauty at it best and beneficial too, as most of the rose oil harvested from here is used to make perfumes….. and that brings us on nicely to the next highlight.
  • Visit a rose distillery – Bulgaria is famous for its rose-growing industry which produces close to half of the world's rose oil. Roses are very delicate flowers and it is very difficult to extract the oil correctly, without impacting on the quality and as such their valuable therapeutic properties. Good quality rose oil can set you back at approx. £290.00 for a mere 5ml! You’ll get to see the painstaking process that warrants this costly price tag.
  • Dinner and a show - Horo is a Bulgarian folk dance and is an important part of Bulgarian culture, so much so, that it is taught as part of their school curriculum. It is also performed at weddings, city festivals and basically any celebration, hence why they feel the need to showcase it to tourists. There are many restaurants that will offer the dinner and show option but be warned, if you don’t want to dance, ask for a table away from the dancefloor, as the dancers like to include the audience. If you love to dance then this is your time to shine and here are some tips so you can practice before you go.

In theory it is basically a line dance. The dancers stand in a row or a circle, hold hands and perform synchronised movements with their legs. The dance has a basic pattern consisting of a lift of the right knee on the first beat, followed by three steps in place. This pattern is repeated, alternating which knee is lifted. Each pattern is done in a single measure of 9 beats with a pattern counted 2+2+2+3 or "quick-quick-quick-slow".

To slightly complicate things the leader of the dance may then call out variations to be performed, starting on the first beat of a pattern (i.e when normally the right knee would be lifted). This is done as a fun banter between the leader and the rest of the circle. Following the leader, the entire circle performs the variation, and then resumes the basic dance step. The banter and variations to the steps take up four measures of the music and if the music gets faster so does the banter and the dance. It also means that the leader can choose to call a new variation during the performance of the current variation; if this occurs, the dancers perform the next variation without resuming the basic step.

A sample of the banter variation would be:

  • Leader says "Chukni nane" (let's stamp)
  • Dancers reply: "Chukum, chukum" (stamp, stamp)
  • Leader says: "Hajdi nane" (when shall we do it?)
  • Dancers reply: "Asigadeh" (do it now)

The dancers perform the variation, which using the above example comprises of three fast stamps with the right foot and a pause followed by a basic step lifting the right knee; the pattern is then repeated stamping with the left feet and a basic step lifting the left knee. Good luck practising!

What is the food like in Bulgaria?

Bulgarian food is fresh, hearty and mildly spiced. Although similar to food that you would find in Turkey and Greece, Bulgaria has its own local variant that sets it apart. Known for their quality vegetables and their dairy products, you will find these included in many of the dishes. Their choice of meat is in the main chicken, lamb and pork with some seafood and veal dishes.

Top dishes to try while in Bulgaria are:

Musaka – Mildly spiced minced pork mixed with chopped potatoes and coated in an egg and yogurt topping. Bulgaria’s most popular dish and subject to a joke; that you cannot marry a Bulgarian woman who can’t cook a perfect Musaka

Shkembe Chorba – Strictly for adults due to it’s high spice content. This fiery soup of tripe and chillies is said to cure a hangover.

Kyufte – Meatballs – Typically a mix of pork and beef mince combined together with onions and fresh herbs, fried and then served in a vegetable, lentil and bean based sauce.

Printsesa – Open top, toasted sandwich – Typically contains a mixture of egg and cheese to create a bechamel type topping, with additions of minced meat or salami to taste. A favourite quick bite with the Bulgarians.

Tsatsa – Fish and chips – be careful when ordering this. If you are expecting a British style fish and chips you will be in for a surprise. Tsatsa is actually fried sprats and chips. Think of whitebait and were getting close. Fried sprats are small herring type fish, completely whole (heads on) coated in flour and deep fried.

Kebapche – Grilled minced meat, shaped like a sausage and mildly spiced – very similar to kofta kebabs.

Banitsa – Puff pastry filled with a selection of different items such as feta cheese, spinach and cabbage. Sweet versions are also available containing apple and walnuts.

What is the best time to visit Bulgaria?

Bulgaria has a dry warm climate with long hot summers and short winters. The best time to visit depends on your preference to the heat.

August is typically the hottest month with average temperatures of 29 degrees Celsius. September is a popular month due to the lack of rainfall and flawless sunny days whereas January tends to be the coolest and wettest month of the year.