Explore Eastern Europe's Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey

Embark on a spectacular journey from Romania, through Bulgaria and into Turkey, discovering the architectural grandeur and quaint cultural enclaves that make this such an intriguing part of the world. Absorb Bucharest’s austere atmosphere on a guided walking tour, compare age-old places of worship in Sofia and be treated to traditional Bulgarian hospitality on an overnight homestay in Gorno Draglishte. Breathe in crisp alpine air on a hike in the Pirin Mountains, meander back in time in the Old Town of Plovdiv and be dazed and amazed by Istanbul. Relatively short in terms of distance travelled, this eight-day trip is a fascinating study in just how much regions can change as you cross national borders.

Bucharest, Romania
Istanbul, Turkey
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12
Carbon offset
114kg pp per trip


  • Delve into a communist past in Bucharest
  • Travel through the scenic Rila Mountains
  • Explore Byzantine ruins in Plovdiv
  • Admire Istanbul's majestic Aya Sofia


Bucharest is home to what is supposedly the largest civilian administrative building in the world – the 12-storey Palace of Parliament. See this municipal monolith up close on a guided city tour that also takes in the expansive Piata Unirii Square.
Walk along tree-lined boulevards in the city of Sofia and see the Aleksander Nevski Memorial Church. At night, why not dive into the happening nightlife.
Journey into the Rila Mountains and explore the most important of Bulgaria’s orthodox monasteries. Join a family as their guests overnight, sample classic Bulgarian cuisine and perhaps get a lesson in traditional weaving.
Unwind in charming mehanes (stone taverns) in Bansko and feast on local dishes like filet elena or kapama. In spare time, perhaps visit the Belitsa Bear Sanctuary.
Travel to Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second-largest city. Become familiarised with the locale on a guided orientation walk that takes in the magnificent Roman Amphitheatre and the hilltop fortress of Nebet Tepe. In free time, why not check out the underground crypt at Bachkovo Monastery or visit some traditional craft workshops.
Cross the border into Turkey and drive the remaining distance to Istanbul. With a population of 14 million inhabitants and nearly 3,000 mosques, no amount of time here is ever enough to come to terms with this mesmerising ancient capital. Our journey ends on the morning of our second day here, so it's well worth staying on for a few extra days if time allows.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


5 breakfasts1 dinner
Bus, Private vehicle, Taxi
Hotel (7 nights)
Included activities
  • Plovdiv - Guided tour


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Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip, please see trip notes for details.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Our Eastern Europe Express trips score an average of 4.87 out of 5 based on 31 reviews in the last year.

Eastern Europe Express , September 2015

Eastern Europe Express , September 2015