Jewish tours to Bulgaria

Bulgaria is an unspoiled pearl in the Balkan mountains of Eastern Europe. Blessed with a lush countryside, mineral springs, and the world’s most exquisite roses (used in the best perfumes), it is also a major site for the Jewish traveler for a unique and wonderful reason. Anti-Semitism never had roots in Bulgaria and Jews have always been an integral part of its society. During the Second World War, the Bulgarian people, led by Orthodox Church leaders Kiril and Stefan, stood in the way of the Nazi machine. Ultimately, not a single Bulgarian Jew was deported to Nazi death camps. This, as well as the charm and beauty of this country and its people, makes Jewish Tours to Bulgaria true treasures.

Tour Information
Jewish tours to Bulgaria.
Sofia-Sandanski-Plovdiv-Veliko Tarnovo-Sofia.
Duration: 11 days.
, 3nights.
Sandanski, 2 nights.
Plovdiv, 2 nights.
Veliko Tarnovo, 2 nights.
Pre/Post Tours:
We can accommodate pre or post tour arrangements in conjunction with this departure.
Passport and Visa:
No visa is required for this tour. Always make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after the tour ends.


Day 01 Sunday Departure from the USA

Departure on your trans-atlantic flight to Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia.

Day 02 Monday Arrival in Sofia

Arrival to Sofia Airport, where you will be greeted by your guide and transferred to your hotel. Sofia, centrally located in the majestic Balkans, is one of the most ancient cities in all of Europe. Three mountain passes lead to Sofia, key roads since antiquity which connect the Adriatic Sea, Central Europe with the Black Sea and the Aegeanl. Its history can be traced back to almost 7,000 year-old prehistoric settlements, and the existing town walls go back to 7th century BCE, when Thracians established their city next to mineral springs which still function. Later, Sofia, which means “wisdom” in Greek, was ruled by Philip of Macedonia and Alexander, as well as Alexander the Great. Over the centuries, it has also come under Roman, Byazantine Christian, and Ottoman rules, which gives it a rich, multicultural texture. As for Jewish life, there has been a synagogue in this city since the year 967 CE. Dinner. Hotel.

Day 03 Tuesday Sofia

This morning, a Jewish tour in Sofia including a visit to the impressive Sephardic Synagogue, third largest in Europe. Designed by Austrian architect,, it resembles the Vienna synagogue destroyed by the Nazis. Perhaps the most beautiful architectural structure in Sofia, the synagogue has been kept in immaculate condition in by joint Bulgarian and Israeli government funding. View its unique collection of artifacts, which tell the amazing story of the saving of the entire Jewish population in Bulgaria, amounting to 50,000 people, during World War II. In the afternoon, you will also visit the National Art Gallery, housed in the former Royal Palace. Later, view the unforgettable film, “Beyond Hitler’s Grasp: The Heroic Rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews,” based on the book by Michael Bar-Zohar. Dinner. Hotel.

Day 04 Wednesday Sofia – Sandanski

This morning, depart on a scenic mountain drive towards the lovely spa town of Sandanski. En route, visit the Rila Monastery, the most impressive of traditional Bulgarian monasteries, and now a national museum with a well-preserved 14th century tower. The monastery itself is considered to have been built by his scholars, who came to the place to be taught by him. This renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the gorgeous natural scenery of the Rila Mountains, and considered one of the highest achievements of Bulgarian architecture. Lunch at a mountainside restaurant. Continue to Sandanski, arriving at your Spa-Hotel in the late afternoon with time to relax at the therapeutic hot pools. Dinner. Hotel.

Day 05 Thursday Sandanski- Melnik- Sandanski

In the late morning depart for Melnik. Melnik is more than a village; it is a picturesque jewel, famous for its fascinating national revival houses, fantastic rock formations and fine red wines. (One of these wines was reportedly a favorite of Winston Churchill’s.) Enjoy wine-tasting and Lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, return to Sandanski, which enjoys a wealth of resources for natural spa treatments, including hot mineral springs. (It was also the birthplace and home of Spartacus, the Roman slave who launched an uprising in 73 BCE – and a major motion picture.) Enjoy the thermal pool, a therapeutic massage, or simply relaxing amidst Sandaski’s beautiful scenery. Hotel.

Day 06 Friday Sandanski – Plovdiv

Today, depart Sandanski and travel to the historically rich town of Plovdiv. En route, visit the lovely, mountainous town of Samokov, known for its Sarafska House, home of the Arie, a wealthy and prominent Jewish family. The founder of the family, born in Vienna, settled in Samokov in 1793, leading to a great increase in the Jewish population; the house is situated near the synagogue in the Jewish Quarter. Next, stop at scenic Borovets, a famous ski resort in the Rila Mountains. Lunch en route. In the afternoon, arrive in Plovdiv and check-in to your hotel. Friday night dinner with members of the Jewish community. Hotel.

Day 07 Saturday Plovdiv

Breakfast at the hotel. The picturesque, ancient city of Plovdiv has a Thracian history that dates back thousands of years, traces of which have survived to the present day. Who in fact were the Thracians? Inhabitants of ancient Bulgaria, Greek mythology provides them with a mythical ancestor, named Thrax, son of the war-god Aries, who was said to reside in Thrace. The Thracians appear in the Iliad of Homer as Trojan allies, led by Acamas and Peiros. Another Thracian King, Rhesus, also appears in this great Homeric epic. This morning, visit the Synagogue and see the monument of the grateful Jewish community to the kindhearted and ancient people of Bulgaria. In the afternoon, explore a 2nd century Roman forum and stadium as well as the fabulous Roman amphitheatre built during the time of Emperor Trajan (98-117 CE). It has 28 rows with tiers of marble seats, which can accommodate over 3,500 spectators. You will also explore the historic Old Town, built in the 18th and 19th centuries as a centerpiece of Bulgarian National Revival architecture. Hotel.

Day 08 Sunday Plovdiv – Kazanlak – Veliko Tarnovo

Breakfast at the hotel. Today, depart Plovdiv for a beautiful drive through the famous Valley of Roses and the historic Shipka Pass in the Balkan Mountains. En route, visit Kazanlak, situated amidst the Valley of Roses. Here is the home of the exquisite (and rare) Bulgarian rose oil, also known as “attar of roses,” a world center for rose oil production – and the source of a key note of many of the world’s finest perfumes. You will also visit the Museum of the Rose, describing the many aspects of this inimitable bloom. The Valley of Roses is also known as “the Valley of The Thracian Kings,”as numerous artifacts of the Thracian period have been discovered there. Continue to the breathtaking, 4th century BCE Thracian tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and enjoy a lecture on Thracian history and culture, which is treasured not only in Bulgaria but in Greece and Turkey as well. Lunch is served at a local restaurant. Later, arrive in Veliko Tarnovo and check-in at your hotel. Hotel.

Day 09 Monday Veliko Tarnovo

Breakfast at the hotel.Perched on steep hills overlooking the Yantra River, Veliko Turnovo’s narrow, lantern-lit streets wind past ancient ruins and unique architecture. Veliko Tarnovo was the capital city of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185-1396), and has been at the center of many important literary, artistic, and historic events, including the creation of the first Bulgarian constitution. This morning, visit the fortress at Tsarevets Hill, where the Royal Palace was once located, as well as The Museum of the National Revival, where the first Bulgarian Constitution was adopted in 1879. In the afternoon, visit the charming village-museum of Arbanassi, famous for its traditional architecture, and walk through the narrow, cobblestoned streets of the old Samovodene Market Place. Dinner. Hotel.

Tuesday Veliko Tarnovo – Sofia

Breakfast at the hotel. Today, return to Sofia, stopping at the town of Tryavna, famous for its woodworking and revival-style houses. Upon arrival in Sofia in the early afternoon, check-in at the hotel and enjoy time for browsing the city and/or shopping on your own. In the evening, enjoy a Farewell Dinner. Hotel.

Day 11 Wednesday Sofia – USA

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Sofia Airport for departure to the USA.

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