Join us in a unique tour of Bulgaria’s brutal, bizarre & otherworldly monuments. In our guide's own words : "On this action-packed 7-day tour we will cover more than 1,600km, crossing two mountain ranges and travelling all the way to the Black Sea coast – as we visit some of the most fantastic architectural wonders built during Bulgaria’s socialist period."
2018 DEPARTURES : 7th May
- Travel Provider Information
- Book with a 50% deposit. Cancellation deadline is 30 days prior to the tour date and a 10% charge will apply. After that, a 50% charge will apply. All charges apply to the total value of the tour.
- Travel Provider Terms and Conditions
- Please familiarize with the Travel Provider's booking terms and conditions by clicking on "Download all information in a PDF document" on this page
- Veliko Tarnovo
- Stara Zagora
- Khadzhi Dimitur
2018 DEPARTURES : 7th May
DAY 1 / MONDAY
We’ll meet in the Bulgarian capital on Monday, and take a walk through the city centre. There’ll be stops at various historical sites – Roman ruins, Ottoman baths, cathedrals – as well as a whole host of socialist-era monuments. We’ll see the Monument to the Soviet Army, the heavily decayed Monument to 1,300 Years of Bulgaria, we’ll take a look inside the National Palace of Culture and admire the socialist-classical plaza known as the Largo.
Later, we’ll have a banquet dinner at Sofia’s first (and only) communism-themed restaurant.
DAY 2 / TUESDAY
After breakfast we’ll meet our driver, then visit the sculpture garden at the Museum of Socialist Art. From there we drive to the Banner of Peace to ring the ornamental bells gifted by former allies such as the USSR and North Korea.
In the afternoon we’ll leave Sofia behind, heading east into the foothills of the Balkans. We’ll see the Monument to Georgi Benkovski at Koprivshtitsa, and then ascend the mountain – to find the Arc of Liberty, a massive monument situated at an altitude of 1,520m in the Beklemeto Pass. We’ll spend the night nearby, in the historic town of Troyan
DAY 3 / WEDNESDAY
Perched precariously on the side of a steep river valley, Bulgaria’s ancient capital is easily one of the most beautiful cities anywhere in the Balkans.
We’ll stop at a couple of interesting roadside monuments on the way from Troyan, and then spend the rest of the day in Veliko Turnovo. Here we can explore the Old Quarter, visit the fortress and see the striking Monument to the Asen Dynasty. There will be some free time in the afternoon, and then we’ll meet up again in the evening to sample some traditional local cuisine.
SLEEP: Veliko Turnovo
DAY 4 / THURSDAY
In the morning we’ll drive to Shumen, and visit the Monument to the Founders of the Bulgarian State. Prepare to be blown away by the sheer size and intensity of this unique, cubist memorial complex, which sits on a mountain plateau overlooking the city.
From there we drive to Varna, Bulgaria’s ‘Summer Capital’ on the Black Sea coast – where we’ll visit the wonderfully weird Monument to the Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship. After that we’ll check into our hotel, then head to the beach for cocktails followed by dinner at a Turkish restaurant.
DAY 5 / FRIDAY
Breakfast comes with a sea view – a buffet served on the fourteenth floor of our hotel. After that we’ll have some free time. You could explore the city, its Roman baths, visit the museum and see the oldest gold jewellery in the world… or, simply unwind on the beach.
Later on we’ll hit the road, following the coast south to get to Burgas. We’ll visit a MiG graveyard, then take a walk through the sleepy, cobbled streets: from the Monument to the Soviet Army in the city centre, down to the waterfront, and the socialist-era Pantheon in the Sea Gardens.
DAY 6 / SATURDAY
Saturday is our busiest day, so we’ll get an early start – and head first to the Monument to the Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship, on its lonely hilltop near the city of Yambol. After that we’ll visit the Memorial Complex to the Defenders of Stara Zagora, which commemorates the Russian and Bulgarian soldiers who fought here during one of the bloodiest battles of the 1877-78 Russo-Turkish War.
Nearby, we’ll stop for lunch at a traditional mehana decorated in old propaganda posters… before heading up the mountain for the main attraction.
For many people, Buzludzha will be the highlight of the tour. The House-Monument of the Bulgarian Communist Party sits at the top of the mountain, abandoned since the 1990s and now one of the world’s most famous modern ruins. At a height of 1,432m, the views are just incredible… but the monument’s interior is more impressive still. We’ll spend the whole afternoon exploring, before heading back to the bus and driving south to Plovdiv.
Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities in Europe – with a history dating back 5,000 years or more. We’ll find our hotel, have dinner, then enjoy an evening stroll through the colourful streets and Roman ruins of the lively Old Town area.
DAY 7 / SUNDAY
Our final day will be spent touring historic sites around the Rhodope Mountains – stopping first to visit the Fraternal Barrow monument on our way out of Plovdiv.
At Perushtitsa we’ll see the Monument to the Three Generations, a beautiful stone crypt overlooking the plains. After that we visit Batak – the site of a terrible massacre in 1876. We’ll walk up to the monument overlooking the town, as well as visiting the church that contains the preserved bones of massacre victims. Finally, we head back to Sofia: for one last group dinner and farewell drinks.
Sleep : Sofia
Transport : During the course of the week we’ll be driving all over the country and stopping off in a total of 15 different towns and cities. Comfort is a priority – so we’ll have our own private bus for the journey, a modern, air-conditioned vehicle with a professional driver.
Hotels : All 7 nights of accommodation, Monday to Sunday, are included in the price. Some nights we’ll get to enjoy traditional, rustic settings, while other hotels are architectural attractions in their own right – including one hotel designed by the architect responsible for the Buzludzha monument.
Food : The price of the tour includes a daily breakfast, either at the hotel or on the road – as well as a proper meal every evening. Over the week we’ll try a range of different local specialities, with vegetarian and vegan options available on request.
The Tour : All entry fees related to the tour are included in the cost. In addition to a dedicated driver there’ll be two guides on hand throughout: myself and a Bulgarian colleague, who between us will be able to regale you with historical anecdotes, answer your questions, provide translations and generally show you a good time.