Taste of Southern Bulgaria (wine, food & history tour)

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Taste of Southern Bulgaria (wine, food & history tour) 2017-11-20T15:36:19+00:00
  • Vineyards on a one day wine tour from Plovdiv
  • Vineyards
  • The Etnographic museum in Plovdiv - an example of National Revival architecture
  • The Roman Amphitheatre in Plovdiv
  • Wine and nature: Vineyards in the Eastern Rhodope and Sakar wine region
  • Wine tasting at Bratanov
  • rozhen monastery
  • Valentines Weekend Offer
  • Vineyards in Melnik wine region
  • Orbelus Winery
  • Rupel Winery
  • Wine and Food
  • glasses of wine Brestovitsa

Enjoy an 8-day group wine tour in the undiscovered wine country of Bulgaria. Taste unique local wines such as Mavrud and Broadleaved Melnik. Discover the long history of wine making on the lands of modern Bulgaria. Uncover the fascinating stories behind the wines. Experience the passion of the Bulgarian winemakers and winery owners. Learn more about the wines, terroir, wine making and history of Bulgaria. Visit three unique and traditional wine regions in Bulgaria: The Thracian Valley, The Valley of Roses & The Struma Valley. The Thracian Valley is Bulgaria’s largest wine region. It is an under-the-radar wine region that was recently selected as Best Wine Travel Destination of 2017 by Wine Enthusiast. Explore Plovdiv and its many layers of history from the Thracian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras. Plovdiv will be European Capital of Culture in 2019. Enjoy the city before the crowds of people discover its magical atmosphere. A micro-region within the larger Thracian Valley is the South Sakar region – an authentic wine area that offers great wines and great food. The Valley of Roses is the smallest wine region with aromatic wines that match the aromatic roses that grow in the fertile valley. The Struma Valley & Melnik Wine Region introduce us to native grape varieties such as Broadleaved Melnik and Melnik 55. The small town of Melnik brings us back to a forgotten time. The entire town is a historical architectural reserve with houses, churches and relics from mainly the 18th century. Sample local Balkan foods. Discover cultural gems such as the Rozhen Monastery and the Old Town of Plovdiv. Experience it all on this wine, food and history wine tour!

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Day 0. Individual Arrivals

For those who want to spend a day exploring Sofia, we can arrange overnights in Sofia and airport transfers. See Practical Information for prices.

Day 1. Arrival to Sofia

Sofia – Plovdiv

Arrival to Sofia Airport. Group transfer to Plovdiv at 14:00. Check-in to your centrally located 3-star hotel. Guided walking tour of Plovdiv and Old Town Plovdiv (2h). Plovdiv is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe and one of the oldest cities in the world. The ancient city is also the cultural heart of Bulgaria. Plovdiv will be European Capital of Culture in 2019. Your first day in Bulgaria ends with a welcome dinner!

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: 3-star Hotel in Plovdiv

Day 2. Wines from The Valley of Roses

Plovdiv – Chateau Copsa – Rumelia – Plovdiv

Breakfast. Visit to Chateau Copsa located in the foothills of the gorgeous Balkan mountains. The chateau is a high-quality wine producer, and we get to try a native wine from the grape ‘Karlovski Misket’. The Misket grape is a native variety that takes its name from the nearby town of Karlovo. An impressive tasting and lunch at the chateau before we continue our day of wine tasting. Visit to Rumelia Wine Cellar in the town of Panagyurishte for a magnificent tasting of 5 wines in the charming tasting room.  This winery is especially famous for its award-winning Mavrud wines. Return to Plovdiv. Free evening to explore the city further at your own pace. Your tour leader will be happy to help with restaurant recommendations and bookings.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: 3-star Hotel in Plovdiv

Day 3. Exploring the Plovdiv Wine Region

Plovdiv – Dragomir – Villa Yustina – Plovdiv

Breakfast. Short transfer to Dragomir Family Estate. Tasting of a selection of wines with the owners/winemakers. Continue to Villa Yustina for a walk through the vineyard park and a spectacular wine-paired lunch in the charming tasting room. Return to Plovdiv. Free evening. Your tour leader will be happy to help with restaurant recommendations and bookings.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Accommodation: 3-star Hotel in Plovdiv

Day 4. Discover The South Sakar Micro-Region

Plovdiv – Chateau Kolarovo – Malkata Zvezda – Bratanov Family Winery – Plovdiv

Breakfast. Departure for Chateau Kolarovo. Tasting of a selection of wines with commentary and explanation from the winemaker. Traditional, village-style lunch. Continue to the nearby Malkata Zvezda for a show around and tasting of 5 wines. Continue to Bratanovi Family Winery. Members of the Bratanov family will welcome you into their little wine production facility to taste their wines. Get to know the Bratanovi family and enjoy an exclusive tasting in the barrel room. Return to Plovdiv. Free evening. Your tour leader will be happy to help with restaurant recommendations and bookings.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: 3-star Hotel in Plovdiv

Day 5. Entering The Struma Valley Wine Region

Plovdiv – Kiossev – Melnik

Breakfast. Check-out. Departure for the Melnik area at 9 am. Show-around, tasting and lunch at the cozy, family-owned Kiossev winery, where members of the Kiossev family will guide us through the history of their winery and wine-making family heritage. Continue to Melnik. Check-in to hotel. Welcome dinner in a restaurant.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Melnik

Day 6. All things Melnik

Melnik – Rupel – Villa Melnik – Melnik

Breakfast. Walk around the town of Melnik and visit to a traditional house from the 18th – 19th century. Departure for Rupel winery. Tour of the facilities followed by a tasting and casual lunch. Continue to the nearby Villa Melnik. The Zikatanovi family give a warm welcome to their family winery. Tour of the modern facilities followed by a tasting of their wines. Return to hotel. Free evening.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Melnik

Day 7. Exploring the Melnik Wine Region

Melnik – Orbelus – Rozhen – Melnik

Breakfast. Departure for Orbelus Winery – a 100% Organic Winery. Tour of production process and tasting of wines in the charming tasting room with the winemaker, accompanied by a selection of Bulgarian cold cuts and cheeses. Continue to the village of Rozhen for lunch. Visit to the picturesque Rozhen monastery. Return to Melnik. Free time. Farewell wine dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Melnik

Day 8. Departure

Melnik – Sofia

Breakfast. Check-out. Transfer to Sofia Centre or Sofia Airport (3-3.5 hours). Option to extend stay in Sofia.

Meals: Breakfast

Included in the price of the tour:

  • All ground transportation mentioned in itinerary
  • Group transfer from/to Sofia Airport on Day 1 & Day 8
  • 4 nights in 3-star hotel in Plovdiv (standard shared double rooms)
  • 3 nights in 3-star hotel in Melnik (standard shared double rooms)
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Tours and tastings at 11 wineries
  • Guided walking tour of Plovdiv and Old Plovdiv
  • Visits to the Rozhen Monastery & Traditional Merchant House in Melnik
  • Tour leader from Bulgaria Wine Tours
  • Tour operator insurance from Groupama Insurance in case of non-provision of services

Not included in the tour price:

  • Flight tickets
  • Private transfers
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned in the tour description
  • Alcoholic beverages not mentioned in the tour description
  • Travel and medical insurance (please, consult your insurance provider)
  • Visa fees, if applicable
  • Extras and incidentals
  • Single room supplement
  • Tips

Price of the tour: 

  • €1080 per person (*)(**)
  • Single Supplement: €60

* The BGN/EUR exchange rate is fixed at  1 EUR = 1.95583 BGN (http://www.bnb.bg/?toLang=_EN)

** Price per person is based on double occupancy e.g. two persons sharing a room. Solo traveler is obliged to pay a single supplement.

Payment:

  • A non-refundable deposit of 30% of the total tour cost is required to be paid within 7 days of the invoice issue date unless otherwise agreed with the Company.
  • The balance of the amount due to the Company must be paid no later than 45 days before departure unless otherwise agreed with the Company.
  • In the event that the Client makes a booking within 45 days of departure of the tour, the full tour price must be paid up-front.

Payment method:

Payments are made in Euros or Bulgarian Leva.

  • Bank Transfer Details:

Bulgaria Wine Tours Ltd.

Bank name: Raiffeisen Bank

Bank address: 1 Knyaginya Mariya Luiza Str., Plovdiv 4000

BIC: RZBBBGSF

IBAN: BG09RZBB91551005461558

  • Online Payment Details:

After making a booking and received a booking order, it is possible to pay for your tour by credit or debit card. For online payment (credit/debit card), please go to http://payment.bulgariawinetours.com/ and follow the steps.

We will provide confirmation once payment is received.

During the Taste of Southern Bulgaria Group Tour, we will visit the following wineries:

Chateau Copsa

Chateau Copsa is situated in the foothills of the Balkan mountain (Stara Planina) nearby the town of Sopot. According to historians, just outside of today’s city of Sopot, there was once a Medieval town called Copsis, hence the name of the winery. The architecture of Chateau Copsa resembles a Medieval castle and is inspired by the preserved ruins of Copsis. The winery has also embraced the traditions of the area to use and experiment with the local variety Karlovski misket that only grows in this region. Tasting intriguing wines, dining at the modern gourmet restaurant and relaxing at the outdoor area make Chateau Copsa an ideal place for a peaceful time away from the city.

Rumelia Wine Cellar

Apart from being famous for their wine, the Thracians were also skillful jewelry makers. The most exquisite Thracian gold treasure consisting of nine vessels for drinking wine was discovered in the Merul area nearby the present town of Panagyurishte. Thus, naturally Merul became one of the brands for Panagyurishte’s newest winery – Rumelia. Established in 2006, Rumelia has gained significant international recognition for its wines and has played a major part in promoting the local variety Mavrud. Rumelia is meticulous about the quality of the wine and offers a wine experience inherited from the Thracians themselves.

Dragomir

It is rare to find a winery in a big city but Dragomir will surprise you in many ways. The winery is located in the southern part of the ancient city of Plovdiv – Bulgaria’s second largest city. Dragomir is more than a wine estate, it is a manifestation of the love for wine and the love for each other. Owned and managed by the oenologists Nataliya and Konstantin, the winery was built in 2006 and not long after it received prestigious international recognition at Vinalies Internationales in Paris in 2010 and 2011. A unique feature of Dragomir is the digestif made from the local variety Mavrud. Dragomir offers elegance and class inside the borders of the city and it is a must-visit for any wine enthusiast who visits Plovdiv and any lovers of the native varieties: Mavrud and Rubin.

Villa Yustina

Villa Yustina is located in the village of Ustina, about 25 km from Plovdiv. The name of the winery, as well as the village, originates from emperor Justinian I who was an emperor of the East Roman empire in the 1st century AD and who commissioned a fort to be built on the hills by the present village. Villa Yustina began its journey in the wine world in 2006 and soon after in 2011 its main oenologist received the price “Oenologist of the year”. Villa Yustina is a proud birthplace of one of the best cuvees of the local varieties Mavrud and Rubin. Villa Yustina will enchant you with warm hospitality, the beautiful vine park and other outdoor recreational possibilities and if you are lucky enough to meet the owner Milko Tsvetkov, you will also make a lifelong wine friend.

Chateau Kolarovo

Chateau Kolarovo was established in 2009 by Stoyan Stoyanov. Originally from Stara Zagora, his family heritage brought him to the area and urged him to produce wine. As the name suggests Chateau Kolarovo is located in the village of Kolarovo in the southern Sakar mountains. The village of Kolarovo has about nine permanent inhabitants; however, there are four wineries in the village. This fact hints towards the fact that the area is highly suitable for viticulture. Chateau Kolarovo does not dazzle with appearance – the building where the winery is at present used to be an old cheese-manufacturing facility. It is quite possible that you might pass by Chateau Kolarovo without realizing that this is the actual winery. However, once you try the wine that is being produced here, it will certainly leave an impression on you and you will be coming back for more.

Malkata Zvezda

Malkata Zvezda [The Little Star] stands at the crossroad of four ancient Roman roads, including the most important one – Via Diagonalis. Hence, the name comes from the star-like shape of the place where these roads meet. Because of this strategic location, this area was a “duty free” area in Roman times where the main commodity sold was wine. Malkata Zvezda exploits the best of their 30+ year old vineyards and produces remarkable red wines. These wines have also become popular in the sacred Mount Athos (Greece), where Malkata Zvezda annually sends shipments of their special brand “Sveta Gora” dedicated to the Bulgarian monastery in Athos. The team at Malkata Zvezda boldly experiments with the local varieties Mavrud and Pamid and its little star is shining ever brighter on the Bulgarian wine horizon.

Bratanov Family Winery

Bratanov is a typical family winery. It was created through the hard work of a father and his sons. The recently deceased Mr. Stoycho Bratanov and his two sons, who co-manage the winery along with other family members, descend from a long line of winemakers. His great grandfather owned vineyards in the very same vineyards, where the current vineyards lie. Situated almost at the point where the Maritsa River divides the Rhodope Mountain from the Sakar Mountain, the winery has boldly entered the Bulgarian wine market. Some of their wines have been awarded medals from prestigious competitions such as Decanter and the Balkan International Wine Competition. Such recognition has not shifted the focus and ambition of Bratanov Family Winery – it still remains very much a family affair and everyone is deeply connected to the winery. Do not be surprised when the Bratanovi Family welcome you to their winery as if they are welcoming you to into their home.

Kiossev Boutique Wine Cellar

A family-run boutique wine cellar situated in the family home in a picturesque village. The wine cellar produces high-quality wines and has a high focus on local grapes such as Broadleaved Melnik, Melnik 55 and Melnik Ruen. The wine cellar is run by a father and his son continuing the family tradition of winemaking. The wines are limited series of only 300 – 3000 bottles per series. The serene village surrounded by mountains, the unique wines and the warm welcome of a wine making family makes this winery an unforgettable one.

Rupel

The small Rupel winery is located in the famous Melnik region that has been producing and trading wine for millennia. Wine making is more than a tradition in this region. It is a way of life. The family winery has vineyards that were re-established around the year 2006. The vineyards are characterized by rich soil characteristics and hot climatic conditions with influence from the Aegean sea giving the entire area a Mediterranean-like environment. They winery has French, Bulgarian and Italian varieties, and produce trendy, high-quality wines. The team behind the winery are passionate about what they do. The winery is also dedicated to welcoming visitors for tastings, and makes you feel very welcome.

Villa Melnik

The Melnik region has been and still is one of the most famous wine regions in Bulgaria. Each year Winston Churchill himself used to purchase 500 litres of the traditional Melnik variety – Shiroka Melnishka loza. With such a history, it is not surprising that one of the newest wineries in the region – Villa Melnik – has quickly gained recognition for its high-quality wine, beautiful winery and warm hospitality. Villa Melnik has even dared to produce wine with its own grown Mavrud variety – traditionally the undisputed master of another wine region in Bulgaria – the Thracian valley. Such boldness and distinct character are typical for Villa Melnik, which makes a visit to the winery indispensable for every wine explorer of the area.

Orbelus

Surrounded by seven mountains in the Melnik region in southwestern Bulgaria lies the organic winery Orbelus. Not only is the wine-making process organic but also the architecture of the winery reduces the input of resources such as lighting, heating and cooling. This provides for a wine experience in full unison with nature. These environmental considerations do not come at the expense of the wine quality; Orbelus has already gained international recognition, including a gold medal from the prestigious Millésime Bio Challenge. Staying true to its Melnik origins, Orbelus emphasizes the local varieties and presents them in a different way to its visitors – the organic way.

Arrival/Departure

  • Group transfer on Day 1 is from Sofia airport to Plovdiv at 14:00. If you arrive in the early morning, you have the option of going into Sofia Centre to explore. If you arrive a day or two before to visit Sofia, we can help with hotel and transfer arrangements.
  • A representative from Bulgaria Wine Tours will meet you in the arrivals hall (terminal 1 & 2) carrying a Bulgaria Wine Tours sign.
  • Group transfer on Day 8 is just after breakfast – 10:00. You may be dropped off at Sofia airport or Sofia centre. Please inform us of your preference when you book.
  • For late arrivals on Day 1 or early departures on Day 8, it is necessary to pre-book a private transfer or plan your arrival at the relevant location. We can assist you with that if you wish so.
  • Transport time between Sofia and Plovdiv is 1.5-2 hours.
  • Transport time between Melnik and Sofia is about 3-3.5 hours.

Visa Requirements

  • In general, EU citizens do not require visas to travel to Bulgaria. Citizens of some other countries also do not need visas to travel to Bulgaria. For visa requirements to enter Bulgaria, please consult the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at: http://www.mfa.bg/en/pages/109/index.html or the respective institutions in your country of residence.

Insurance

  • You are encouraged to purchase travel and medical insurance at your own judgement.

Notes

  • The tour does not require any special medical condition or fitness level. The tour does not involve intensive walking, hiking, or other physical effort apart from the normal efforts for sightseeing.

Additional services or surcharges

  • Please contact us for prices and information on private transfers from Sofia Airport to Plovdiv and/or private transfers from Melnik to Sofia.
  • Extra Nights in Sofia (pre- or post tour) are available upon request:
    • €50 per person/night in a 4-star hotel incl. breakfast (shared standard double-room)
    • €10 per person for an airport meet & greet and transfer to hotel (minimum 2 people required per transfer)*
    • Airport transfer can only be booked in connection with a hotel booking
  • Single supplement: € 60

For any questions, please contact us at: +359 888 487 113 or email: info@bulgariawinetours.com or contact us through the Facebook page – Bulgaria Wine Tours.

Most importantly, we will do anything we can to make the tour a pleasant and memorable experience for you.

Enjoy Exploring! Enjoy Bulgaria!

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Why Choose Us

✓ Because we are the original tour operator in Bulgaria specializing in wine tours.

✓ Because we have visited each and every winery, hotel and place we offer on this tour in order to ensure the highest possible quality of the offered services.

✓ Because we work closely with the wineries and the hotels offered on this tour and we are flexible to accommodate your wishes.

✓ Because we have made academic research on the potential of wine tourism in Bulgaria: https://lup.lub.lu.se/student-papers/search/publication/4091904.

✓ Because we are promoting alternative tourism and helping the development of rural regions in Bulgaria.

✓ Because you will be supporting a young start-up.

✓ Because we will make sure you have fun and enjoy the tour!

Taste of Southern Bulgaria (wine, food & history tour) Map

Taste of Southern Bulgaria Tour Map