The main goal of this 4-day program is to have a closer look at the Rhodopes stone villages (and one village in Pirin) – architectural reserves where are preserved beautiful examples of architecture, typical for the age of the Bulgarian Renaissance. These villages are vivacious and authentic, and most of the houses are preserved as they were in the past. In some of them still live lonely people or families. Some of these houses are dilapidated, but many have been sufficiently preserved to allow the visitor to see them in detail. These villages have narrow, small stone streets, fountains, churches and other public buildings, kept in their authentic appearance, that fill the atmosphere with enchantment. This is a natural journey in the past of Bulgaria. We will visit the villages of Dolen, Leshten, Kovachevitsa and Pirin. Additionally, we will stop in the Pomak villages of Gorno Dryanovo and Ribnovo, which though not fitting the subject, will contribute to the overall acquaintance with the area and its traditions. On the way back to Sofia / Varna we will drop in Rupite, Razlog and Yundola where we could buy authentic local products from one of the largest markets of local production in the Rhodopes.
Type: a guided tour or a self-guided tour;
Duration: 3 nights/4 days;
Price: Please send us your enquiry! If you would like us to contact you with a proposal for this tour, please complete the form at the end of the page or use e-mail/phone or other communication channels, providing as much information as possible. We specialise in tailor-made travel to Bulgaria and our travel suggestions are individually designed to suit your personal requirements, so the more detail you can provide us with, the better. One of our specialist Travel Consultants will then contact you in order to provide you with a personalised proposal and quotation;
The guided tour includes: group transportation in tour van/microbus; fuel/road taxes/parking fees; tour guide/driver (English); 3 nights (B&B), based on two people sharing a room; day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary; extensive pre-arrival information and services.
The guided tour does not include: international air fares; airport transfers (can be arranged depending on your arrival and departure time); lunches and dinners; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature; tips of any kind.
Our self- guided tours offer a flexible touring experience that allows you to discover Bulgaria in its diversity at your own pace.
Typically a self-guided tour includes: hotel reservations depending on your preferences; maps and detailed itinerary description + GPS coordinates of the places/hotels; information for places of interest; car rental depending on your preferences and car insurance; extensive pre-arrival information and services.
Typically a self-guided tour does not include: flights to/from Bulgaria; airport transfers (can be arranged depending on your arrival and departure schedule and the place of arrival); fuel, lunches and dinners; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature.
If you would like us to contact you with a proposal for a tailor-made program based on this tour, please complete the form at the end of the page or use e-mail/phone or other communication channels – http://thousandvoyages.net/contacts/, providing as much information as possible. We specialize in tailor-made travel to Bulgaria and our travel suggestions are individually designed to suit your personal requirements, so the more detail you can provide us with, the better. One of our specialist Travel Consultants will then contact you in order to provide you with a personalized proposal and quotation.
Tour dates: all year round;
Tour mileage: ca 1100 km;
Minimum number of travelers: 2
Day 1 Sofia – Dospat – village of Dolen – Gotse Delchev
We leave from Sofia at 8 AM (Vasil Levski Stadium) to the town of Dospat in Rhodopes, where we should arrive around noon.
Hear we will taste the famous Dospat trout, bred in some of the numerous fish farms around dam lake Dospat. Local people say that coming to Dospat without eating trout is like going to Rome without seeing the Pope.
We continue to Dolen, the first in a series of stone villages that are targeted by this program. The village is declared an architectural reserve because of the unique Rhodopes stone houses. Each house has its own specifically shaped chimney, and the streets are made of stone. Many of the houses are dilapidated, others are subject to intensive renovation, but still, here you can feel the spirit of the Bulgarian village of the last century. Church “St. Nichola” is remarkable with the planking of its ceiling, and frescoes are painted on them. Locals say that the church is a miraculous place and prayers of everyone in there are heard.
Day 2 Gotse Delchev – Leshten – Gorno Dryanovo – Kovachevitsa – Ribnovo – Gotse Delchev
After the breakfast we head for the village of Leshten. In the early years of the 20th century Leshten was a busy village with more than 500 inhabitants, most of them non-Muslim. Nowadays there are only a few local permanent inhabitants, but many of the old houses have been restored and renovated as summerhouses or guest-houses. They were built in the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century in the architectural style typical for this region of the country. Most of the houses have very big terraces, inner courtyards and their own taverns.
The church “St Paraskeva” was built in 1837 and a school, run by the local priest has been added to it. Now the church is recognised as an Architectural and Cultural Monument of local importance. The school building has been converted to a pub, offering local cuisine and drinks.
Afterwards, we will set off for Gorno Dryanovo, a picturesque village with a predominantly Muslim population located only about 10 km from Leshten. Even though the village lacks preserved old houses, it is especially interesting because of the lively activity carrying on along almost the entirety of the main street. Unlike villages with a primarily Christian composition, villages with large Muslim populations are full of life as the people there rarely leave them to live in big cities.
At the end of the road is the village of Kovachevitsa. The architecture of the houses in Kovachevica is original and unique. Most of them were built in the second half of the 19th century, but there are also new houses, built in the same style. The village was pronounced “Architectural and Historical Reserve of National Importance” in 1977. Many Bulgarian movies has been filmed there.
Ribnovo is completely Pomak village, one of the few villages in Bulgaria where every year tens of houses are being built. Some of the most interesting weddings in Bulgaria are made in this village. They are made in winter, when everyone comes back home from work abroad.
In the evening we get back to the town of Gotse Delchev, where we will spend the night.
Day 3 Gotse Delchev – village of Pirin – Rupite – Rojen Monastery – Razlog
After breakfast we continue our journey westward, under the southern slopes of Pirin, to get to the authentic village of Pirin.
The village was one of the great centers of medieval ferrous metallurgy in the region. In his village there were 11 furnaces (primitive) and 5 big hammers where about 30 forges for horseshoes, horse-nails, and other agricultural implements had worked. Along the river, clinging one to another, are situated the old sone-adobe houses, all in the shape of cross. The streets are narrow, steep and small, which further contribute to the enchanting atmosphere of the village.
At noon we get in Rupite, for which the famous Bulgarian soothsayer Vanga said that was charged with special energy. Here she spent the last years of her life. In 1994 is built the temple “St. Petka Balgarska” near to the small house where she lived. Nearby are the curative mineral springs and pools, for which many people visit the area. Here we can stay longer to bathe in the mineral pool.
In the evening, we will arrive in Razlog, where we will spend the night.
Day 4 Razlog – Sofia/Varna
After breakfast in the town, we go to the Yakorouda, Yundola and Velingrad. We will stop briefly in these towns for rest, coffee or stroll. In the center of Yundola we will stop at the market where we can buy local dairy products, honey and other products made in the region.
In the afternoon, we travel back to Sofia
Main subject of this program
In Rhodopes villages are preserved beautiful examples of architecture, typical for the age of the Bulgarian Renaissance. Villages included in this program are architectural reserves. Each Rhodopes house has its unique face, its typical features and, in the same time, has a similar architecture to the neighbouring one.
External walls of Rhodopes houses on all the floors are made of stone, except the southern side of the last floor. A typical feature of the Rhodopes house is the empty space on the ground floor. Animals, firewood and agricultural tools have been kept there. In the larger Rhodopes houses a part of this room has been separated for construction of cattle-shed or cellar.
Ceilings are adorned by a stuck geometrical decoration and often are coloured. The houses are covered with stone slabs. Rhodopes chimneys are very original – they are grouped in two, interconnected by a stone slab
The stone slabs are a natural material that cannot be compared to any modern high-tech options for roof and are designed specifically for this purpose.