Excursion 1: Plovdiv (Monday 11 November)

Roman Theatre in Plovdiv
Tracing its history back through 8 millennia, our first post-event excursion is a full day trip to Bulgaria’s second largest city, Plovdiv. You’ll have a guided walking tour of the city where you’ll learn about the city’s Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and Bulgarian cultures.

The tour leaves our hotel in Sofia at 09.00 and leaves Plovdiv at 17.00, returning to the hotel in Sofia at 19.00.

Please note: Plovdiv is hilly and has lots of cobbled streets.

Excursion 2: Istanbul (Tuesday 12 November)

Istanbul

Those of you continuing on to Istanbul will stay overnight in a lovely hotel in the Old Town of Plovdiv, enjoying a traditional meal there and breakfast in the morning.

On Tuesday, we head to Istanbul, stopping in Edirne which served as the third capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1369 to 1453. There we will explore the Selimiye Mosque – an Ottoman imperial mosque commissioned by Sultan Selim II, and built by the imperial architect Mimar Sinan between 1568 and 1575.

We will spend two nights in a hotel in Istanbul’s Old Town. You will be free to do whatever you like when we arrive in the city. After breakfast on Wednesday, we will have a guided tour of the city. In the evening, we will have a boat cruise on the Bosphorus that separates Europe from Asia. Our cruise includes dinner and displays of traditional music and dancing.

There are trains back to Sofia on Thursday, but we’d recommend heading home from Istanbul.

Selimiye Mosque in Edirne