Join Atlas Obscura for a unique and memorable introduction to one of Europe’s oldest countries: Bulgaria. Across nine days and eight nights we’ll dive into Europe’s most southeasterly corner, as we explore ancient civilizations and marvel at otherworldly relics of a communist utopia that never came to be. Immerse yourself in the rich and often tragic history of a country that stands on the frontier between Europe and the Middle East—a country that has seen the rise and fall of three historic Bulgarian Kingdoms. We’ll be accompanied throughout by two local experts, who between them have experience of running many such trips, combined with a deep knowledge and passion for the subject matter. And when we’re not learning about Bulgaria’s complex history—or admiring the underrated architectural masterpieces constructed during its communist period—our small group of intrepid explorers will be taking in jaw-dropping natural landscapes, wandering the streets and markets of picturesque old towns, and feasting on hearty local cuisine.
The listed price of the trip is per person based on double occupancy.
You’re in good company. Solo travelers typically make up about half of our small groups. With curiosity at the center of our experiences, there’s a natural camaraderie that develops over the course of a trip. We have two options for you:
Shared Room (subject to the latest Covid-19 guidelines): You'll be matched with another solo traveler of the same gender.
Private Room: Have your own room, subject to availability, for a supplemental cost of $440. After booking your trip, please request a private room when you fill out your traveler information form and we’ll send a separate invoice for the cost.
This trip will not be particularly physically demanding. Some walking will be required, and often over uneven ground, but rarely for more than a short distance at a time. Be prepared for between three to five miles of moderate walking over the course of a day. The longest walks will be in Sofia, on the first day, as we intend to explore much of the capital on foot. Be sure to bring proper walking boots or other outdoor footwear, and be aware that this tour also involves a good amount of driving time, so dress for comfort.
For flights in and out of Sofia Airport (SOF), we suggest you arrive anytime by 4 p.m. on Day 1 and depart anytime on Day 9.
The itinerary crafted for this trip will bypass the country’s more famous tourist attractions. Instead, we’ll be investing our time, curiosity, and dollars into regions and communities that typically don’t enjoy so much love from foreigners. Bulgaria’s socialist-era architecture and memorials will be a particular focus for us, and the photos and conversations we share after the trip will help to raise the profile of these heritage sites worldwide. Within Bulgaria itself, the fact that foreign groups are seen visiting such places helps to encourage the cultural re-evaluation needed to save many of these sites from ruin. Case in point, one of the largest sites we visit, the Buzludzha Memorial House, has recently been awarded a preservation planning grant by the Getty Foundation in LA—a result of the monument’s growing international recognition.
Our Bulgaria trip can cater well to most dietary requirements. It helps that Bulgarian cuisine already has a major focus on good, fresh produce: expect to find a wide variety of different salads on offer, as well as stuffed or baked vegetable dishes, breaded cheese, soups, egg dishes, and so on. For vegans, the choices look a little more limited. (Bulgarians do love their dairy products, and often cook with a lot of butter and cheese.) Realistically, for some lunches, vegan guests might be limited to basics such as french fries, bread, fruit, and salad… especially as we travel through more rural areas. But when we sit down for evening meals, we make a point of picking restaurants that offer exciting and varied vegan options whenever we can. We’re happy to count a lot of very satisfied vegans amongst our past guests!