Join us for a memorable experience in the land, preferred by generations of Bulgarian rulers for its healing mineral water and climate. Feel the spirit of charming and unique churches, which are part of the UNESCO heritage. Blend in the mysticism of the home and sanctuary of Vanga - one of the prominent oracles in Eastern Europe. Admire the beauty of Bulgarian mountains and the Pirin National Park. Meet progressive people with successful business in Bulgaria. Enjoy the local food, wine and traditions. Be part of the Spiritual Journey!
The Southwestern region is the most densely populated part of Bulgaria and produces approximately half of national GDP. Due to its significant economic potential, it is highly attractive for business and concentrates most of the foreign investments in Bulgaria. In addition, the region is rich in natural resources, cultural and historical sites of great national importance. Looking deep into the stunning view of the snowcapped peaks of the Rila and Pirin ranges, flowing into the forested flanks of the Rhodope mountains, we will slowly start to reveal a picture of hidden treasures - spiritual sanctuaries, disguised in the shadows of these mountains.
Travelling from Sofia, our first stop is Sandanski. The town is well known for the abundance of thermal water springs and its soft climate (Sandanski has the warmest temperatures in Bulgaria), which make it a popular destination for relax and recreation. Our lunch will take place in Villa Sintica, a typical example of a well-organized family business combining a hotel part and a charming cellar, which offers an amazing variety of regional wines. Our program continues with the mystic area Rupite, remarkable for its healing mineral springs, and the place where the prominent Bulgarian prophet Vanga lived. The spot was believed to be an energy center and source of Vanga’s powers.
Our next stop is Samouil’s fortress where one of the cruelest defeats over the First Bulgarian Empire took place.
In the late afternoon, our group will check-in at Hotel Medite, which provides great conditions for relaxation after the intense day, including an infinity pool with breathtaking view of the protected Pirin National Park.
The next day we will visit Rozhen Monastery, the biggest Christian temple in the Pirin Mountain, nestled in the Melnik Earth Pyramids. It is one of the few medieval Bulgarian monasteries, well preserved until today. Our lunchbreak is in Melnik and there will be extra time to explore the smallest city in Bulgaria with its unique architecture and some of the oldest buildings in the Balkans. Fulfilled with incredible impressions we are heading to the mountainous villages of Leshten and Kovatchevitsa, great examples of well-organized rural tourism with a lot of renovated guesthouses and lovely views around.
On the third day of our journey, we are going to Bansko - an international center for winter and summer tourism and a regular host of international winter sports competitions. There we will take a walking tour throughout Bansko's historical district. Absorb the culture while reliving the lifestyle of the 18th century. While exploring the hidden corners of the Old Town, you will delve into the history, legends, and unique architecture of its fortified houses. For lunch, our group will enjoy a unique, folksy atmosphere in the guest house of Baba Deshka, huddled in a small village next to the city, where three generations of women host their visitors. Hereafter, we are going to visit the stone church in Dobarsko which has gained global fame with its frescoes dated 400 years ago. Among them, there are two dismaying frescoes of Jesus Christ depicted in a halo which some people perceive as a spaceship.
In the late afternoon we’ll check-in at Hotel Kempinski Bansko with free time to relax after a day, full of great experiences and positive emotions.
On the last day of our trip, we will visit the Rila Monastery, one of the most famous Bulgarian symbols founded in the 10th century by St. Ivan Rilski. It is the most influential spiritual center in the country and the second biggest monastery on the Balkan Peninsula, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1983. With this amazing visit and after a quick lunch, we are heading to Sofia for the end of our exploring journey of the Southwestern Region.
Please note that the programme is subject to changes.
Sunday, 5 June
Arrival at Sofia Airport. Check-in to Millennium Hotel.
19:30 Informal dinner
Monday, 6 June
09:30 Trip Sofia - Sandanski (165km)
12:00 Visit and lunch at Villa Sintica and family business presentation - Tinchevi family
14:00 Baba Vanga Rupite
15:30 Samouil’s fortress
17:30 Check-in Hotel Medite
Tuesday, 7 June
10:30 Trip to the Rozhen Monastery
11:00 The Rozhen Monastery
12:30 Melnik + Lunch
15:00 Trip to Leshten
17:00 Walking around Leshten
18:45 Check-in Hotel Leshten
Wednesday, 8 June
10:00 Trip to Kovachevitsa
11:00 Tour of Bansko Old Town
13:00 Lunch at “Baba Deshka” - presentation and story of the family business
16:00 The Dobarsko Church
17:30 Check-in Kempinski Grand Arena Bansko
Thursday, 9 June
09:00 Trip to the Rila Monastery
11:00 The Rila Monastery
13:00 Travel to Sofia
• Arrival airport: Sofia Airport
• Recommended arrival date in the city: Sunday 5 June, afternoon
• Accommodation: shared rooms
• Dress code: wear comfortable casual clothes and shoes. Do not forget to bring a light jacket, because of the season and air-conditioning.
• Number of participants per learning journey is limited - first come first served! Approx 30 people per Learning Journey
• For any questions, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hosts: Balkan Holidays Partners Ltd.