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Getting Excited about Bulgaria

I'm getting excited about my upcoming trip to Bulgaria on a RS Tour. I've read about the history, which makes me more excited. Who knew there was more to Bulgaria than Soviet Bloc assassins?

I'd be interested in learning from others what else I should do to get ready for this trip. And also what I should be part of the itinerary (before or after the tour).

Posted by
2788 posts

We took that RS tour to Bulgaria last summer and really enjoyed it. Have you been on any/many RS tours before? We probably had more chances to interact with the locals on that tour than on any of the other 12 RS tours we have taken.
We had an excellent guide who said he was a local and he certainly knew the country and its history. We got a guide book from Lonely Planet on Bulgaria (no RS ones) and found it very helpful for out pre and post tour time. I see that there are only 4 Bulgaria tours scheduled for 2016 - so far. I hope they all fill up so they might add more tours as they have in the past so that more travelers can be exposed to this country that does not see hordes of visitors. We arrived at Sofia several days before the tour started so that we could visit places not included on the tour which are listed in RS literature for that tour. If you arrive at the first hotel before the tour starts, be sure to make it clear to them that you are making your own reservations and are not a member of some group but let them know that you will be joining the RS tour when it begins and hope to keep the same room. Be sure to ask for a room THAT IS NOT OVER THE BALL ROOM where ours was and we listened to a band into the early hours of the morning for two nights. When we asked to be moved to another room, we were told that the travel group that booked our room for us said that we wanted the cheapest room available. NOT TRUE. I did include all of this in my tour evaluation that RS sends out after we got back home. When the tour was about to be over, we returned to the same hotel and made sure that we did not get a room like we had before. We were fortunate enough to go to the RS Reunion in Edmonds, WA, that he holds every year and there was our guide from the tour. He said it was his first trip to the US and he was leaving the Reunion to visit New York City before heading home. I wonder what he thought of that city! PM me if you have any more questions.

Posted by
19203 posts

I spent a couple of weeks in Bulgaria last September, traveling on my own. Of the RS tour destinations, I visited Veliko Trnovo, Plovdiv, Nesebar, and Sofia (just one night). It's a fascinating country, and I especially enjoyed talking to some local folks about current conditions there. English is very widely spoken among the younger set.

I rarely buy souvenirs when I travel, but I was unable to resist the inexpensive pottery and costume jewelry in Bulgaria. The craft-shopping street (guide will direct you) in Veliko Trnovo was my favorite spot for jewelry. Some was set in silver; other pieces were just ceramic, etc. I found interesting production pottery in Veliko Trnovo, Plovdiv, and Nesebar. Plovdiv has quite a lot of art at very low prices.

The historic cities have a lot of cobblestone streets. I was tottering around on an ankle I had sprained badly earlier in my trip, and I was very, very glad I was wearing athletic shoes. Those streets are difficult to walk on even when they aren't wet. If it rains...

Posted by
2525 posts

Like Charlie, we took the RS tour last year. Loved the very fascinating country. You've covered the history element, which is really the only area I'd suggest. Enjoy.

Posted by
672 posts

We took this tour in 2013 and enjoyed it thoroughly. It was unique among RS tours in that it included many forms of contact with locals which we thought was fascinating. Our guide, too, was excellent - really one of the best we've had. Enjoy!