Travel around Bulgaria by rental car or with an English-speaking driver. How about a complete 10-day tour of a European country in which you can taste the best vegan dishes and visit a real bear rescue centre and an animal sanctuary.
PHOTO: Balkan Mountains | Bulgaria | Image by Jim Black from Pixabay | Vegan Bulgaria
The trip begins in Sofia, the capital of the country, a city with a young spirit. Next, you will visit the Rila Monastery and the Pirin National Park, both declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The route continues to Plovdiv, one of the oldest cities in Europe. You will also have time to relax on the Black Sea coast and visit the old town of Nesebar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and tour the Valley of Roses and the picturesque villages of the Balkan Mountains. Towards the end of your trip you will arrive in Veliko Tarnovo, the medieval capital of Bulgaria, one of the most beautiful cities in the country, where you can visit the magnificent restored fortress of Тsarevets.
PHOTO: Vegan Bulgaria | Image courtesy of Tarannta
Highlights of trip to Bulgaria
- Travel on your own by rental car to tour the country at your own pace or with an English-speaking driver.
- Routes with great landscape and cultural variety.
- 24-hour assistance in Spanish by our reception office.
- Recommendations for vegan restaurants and sanctuaries (possibility to book on request).
- 2 vegan dinners in the Balkan Mountains.
- 1 vegan gastronomic workshop.
- Two days on the Black Sea coast.
- Visit the old town of Nesebar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Visit to the Rila Monastery, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
- Visit the Pirin National Park, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
ITINERARY OF THE VEGAN TRIP TO BULGARIA
(B) BREAKFAST (L) LUNCH (D) DINNER
DAY 01: ARRIVAL IN SOFIA
Arrival at Sofia airport and transfer to the hotel.
DAY 02: SOFIA – RILA MONASTERY – PIRIN NATIONAL PARK (B)
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, we recommend you visit Sofia to discover the secrets of the city: those details that give it a touch of joy and colour among traces of the Roman era, the Bulgarian Renaissance, the Ottoman era... without forgetting communism. And in the background, the Vitosha mountains.
You will be able to visit the most emblematic places, among which the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral stands out, one of the most identifying buildings in the city and also the main religious centre of the capital. The great cathedral was built at the beginning of the 20th century, as a thank you to Russia and in honour of those who died in the liberation of Bulgaria from the Turks. The domes of Sofia's masterpiece protect the largest collection of religious art in Bulgaria.
The Sveti Georgi Church-Rotunda is also worth a visit. It is the oldest and best preserved architectural monument from Roman times: a small, very cozy circular church, which was intended to be the personal church of Constantine the Great; the Synagogue, the largest Sephardic synagogue in Europe, a melting pot of architectural styles, and the Central Market of Sofia, right in the centre and with an impressive modernist façade.
We encourage you to eat at one of the vegan restaurants in the city that we will recommend (reservation on request).
Bulgarian cuisine is heavily influenced by Greek and Turkish gastronomy, as well as typical Balkan traditions. The main ingredients are fresh fruits and vegetables, but also dairy products and meats.
Among the typical Bulgarian dishes we find some vegan ones such as bob chorbá (a black bean soup -sometimes white-, which usually also includes tomato, mint, onion and paprika) and gyuvech (potato stew, tomato, aubergine, onion and baked carrot). Tarator is a very typical cold cucumber and yogurt soup: some local variations replace the yogurt with water and vinegar or tahini, making it suitable for vegans.
More information about Bulgarian and vegan food at http://www.viajesveganos.com
After eating, you can take the rental car or meet your English-speaking driver-assistant and head towards the Rila Monastery, a World Heritage Site by Unesco since 1983. You can visit this monastery complex, famous for housing the most one of the masterpieces of the Bulgarian Renaissance, which has more than 1,000 years of uninterrupted spiritual activity. It is the country's most celebrated spiritual treasure.
Then, you will continue to the Pirin National Park, a beautiful natural environment with 176 lakes and aromatic pine forests and granite peaks, where we can learn interesting stories about the place. The gastronomy, together with the local folklore, are two of the stars of the area.
Pirin National Park is recognized worldwide: it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983 and in 2015 it was included in the ranking of the prestigious British newspaper The Guardian as one of the 10 most beautiful national parks in Europe.
DAY 03: PIRIN NATIONAL PARK: DANCING BEARS RESERVE – PLOVDIV (B)
Breakfast at the accommodation. In the morning you can visit the old town of Bansko, full of mansions from the times of the National Renaissance (19th century) and interesting museums. You will be able to see some of the stone and wooden houses and the village church, going through ancient streets that keep thousands of stories and secrets... Just below these streets there is an underground network of tunnels that lead to the mountains: it was the system that the population used to escape in the time of Turkish rule.
Next, we recommend you visit a bear rescue center recommended by the Foundation for Advice and Action in defense of animals (FAADA). Most of the bears that live in the centre today were former “dancing bears” from Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania.
The breeding of “dancing bears” has a long tradition in Bulgaria. The torturous training of bears was already banned in 1998, but a decade later, many bears were still living in chains. In 2007 this practice ended once and for all thanks to pressure from animal organizations.
More information on the subject at www.viajesveganos.com
You will cross Muslim villages and see typical markets along the way.
In the afternoon, you will arrive in Plovdiv, the European Capital of Culture in 2019. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe (it is believed to have been founded in the year 6,000 BC) and one of the most emblematic in the country (it was already one of the capitals of Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, King of Macedon). Its romantic old town with star streets and showy mansions from the 19th century makes travellers fall in love. Today, the city offers good art galleries, antique shops, very pleasant terraces... It also has a magnificent Roman theatre, built during the reign of Emperor Trajan, built in the 2nd century AD, and the first mosque erected in Bulgaria, the Dzhumaya Mosque.
DAY 04: PLOVDIV (B)
Breakfast at the accommodation. Today you will be able to explore Plovdiv with urban walks, savouring and discovering. We can organize a visit to an artisan chocolate factory and a vegan lunch in the area.
The main producers of natural cosmetics in Bulgaria are located in Plovdiv. Another of the stars of the area is the wine.
DAY 05: PLOVDIV – BLACK SEA (B)
Breakfast at the hotel. Today you will head towards the Black Sea coast. You will stay in the south of Burgas, a lively and well-kept city. You will have two days at the beach to enjoy the sea and relax.
DAY 06: BLACK SEA (B)
Breakfast at the hotel. We recommend visiting the old town of Nesebar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a rock outcropping connected to the mainland by an artificial isthmus. It is famous for its many medieval churches, although most are in ruins. Free time to enjoy the sea.
DAY 07: BLACK SEA – BALKANS MOUNTAINS (B,D)
Breakfast at the accommodation. Departure to the Balkan Mountains, crossing the famous Valley of the Roses and the Thracian Kings. We recommend you stop in the rose fields and try the typical rose jam and rose liqueur. Next, you can visit the Russian Church of Shipka.
In the afternoon, you can cross the Balkan Mountains to stay in a picturesque village near Gabrovo. You will have time to learn about local crafts in the Etara craft complex, an open-air museum, whose purpose is to show the architecture and way of life of Gabrovo and its region in the second half of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century.
Vegan dinner and accommodation.
DAY 08: BALKANS MOUNTAINS (B,D)
Breakfast at the hotel. Today you will be able to get to know local crafts, authentic Balkan villages, take walks through the forest and bathe in the crystal clear waters of the river. You can also enjoy a vegan gastronomic workshop.
Vegan dinner and accommodation.
DAY 09: BALKANS MOUNTAINS – VELIKO TARNOVO (B)
Breakfast at the accommodation. We recommend spending the morning visiting an animal sanctuary, getting to know its inhabitants and the family that runs it.
Then, heading to the Medieval Capital of Bulgaria: Veliko Tarnovo. It is one of the most picturesque and beautiful cities in the country. It is a city of Soviet monuments, cobbled streets and old craft shops. It is the cradle of the second largest university in the country and has a vibrant nightlife.
You will also have time to visit the magnificent restored Тsarevets fortress - the citadel of the Second Bulgarian Empire - and the Church of the Nativity in Arbanasi where one of the most popular motifs of Bulgarian iconography is preserved: the wheel of life and some 3,500 images. of the old and the new testament.
DAY 10: VELIKO TARNOVO – RETURN FLIGHT
Breakfast at the hotel. At the indicated time, transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the city of origin. End of purchased services.
PHOTO: Sample vegan meal in Bulgaria | Vegan Bulgaria
The Vegan Trip to Bulgaria includes:
- Accommodation with breakfast in hotels.
- Transfer from the airport to the hotel in Sofia.
- Rental car or English-speaking driver-assistant from day 2 to day 10.
- Assistance at destination by our incoming office in Spanish.
- Dossier with cultural and practical information for every day.
- 2 vegan dinners in the Balkan Mountains.
- 1 vegan gastronomic workshop.
- Recommendations for vegan restaurants and sanctuaries (possibility to book on request)
The Vegan Trip to Bulgaria does not include:
- Meals not indicated in the itinerary.
- Personal expenses.
- Gasoline and parking (approximately 200 euros)
- Optional assistance and cancellation insurance.
Sustainable points of the trip to Bulgaria
- As the United Nations Commission found, in recent years Bulgaria has made remarkable progress in environmental protection, significantly reducing waste generation.
- Meat production contributes to climate change, air pollution, land, soil and water degradation, and the loss of biodiversity, according to the FAO in its report The Long Shadow of Livestock. The same organization states that greenhouse gas emissions associated with livestock production chains account for 14.5% of all emissions of human origin. Our trip is on a vegan diet.
- Our destination office has signed "Tarannà values and commitments", a document that is committed to ethics, defense of human rights, promotion of positive impacts on society and the environment.
Carbon footprint of your trip:
- With this trip you are adding one MORE tree to the Tarannà Traveling Forest.
- We inform you that the average carbon footprint of your trip is: 0.65 tons of CO 2 .
- This average calculation has been made through the data published by the World Bank and CarbonFootprint.com calculator.
- For its realization, an average of transport and terrestrial services of the trip has been valued. Your tree will grow in the "The Truth of Trees" project located in the Iruelas Valley (Ávila).