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Eastern Europe Express

9 Days | Explore from Eastern Europe's Romania and Bulgaria to Turkey

4.9 out of 5 based on 23 reviews submitted.
Explorer
From
AUD $1,887
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Embark on a spectacular journey from Romania and through Bulgaria to Istanbul, 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, breathe in crisp alpine air on a hike in the Pirin Mountains, and meander back in time in the Old Town of Plovdiv. and bask in the glory of transcontinental Istanbul. Relatively short in terms of distance travelled, this nine-day trip is a fascinating study in just how much regions can change as you cross national borders.

Trip overview

Map of Eastern Europe Express including Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey
Start
Bucharest, Romania
Finish
Istanbul, Turkey
Theme
Explorer
Destinations
Bulgaria, Turkey, Romania
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Style
Original
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 12
Trip code
WMSI
This trip generates 24.93 kg of CO2-e per person per day.
We offset these emissions on your behalf. But we know that is not enough, so we also have a carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • Immerse yourself in the communist past and vibrant present of Bucharest, a city often underrated by travellers
  • Travel through the scenic Rila Mountains in Bulgaria, mingling with monks at the 10th-century Rila Monastery
  • Experience the romantic "time travel" back to the 20-th century by taking a trip on the last operational narrow gauge line in Bulgaria on route from Bansko to Plovdiv.
  • Explore the amphitheatre and Plovdiv's other significant sights on a guided walking tour.
  • Breathe the crisp air on a hike and take in stunning view in the Pirin Mountain.
  • Stand in awe of the exquisite architectual design of Selimiye Mosque and celebrate the end of your journey in the transcontinental Istanbul.

Is this trip right for you?
  • Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.
  • Hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together/apart.
  • As you will have the opportunity to visit several orthodox churches on this trip, please ensure you cover your legs, shoulders and chest and show the appropriate respect. It's a good idea to bring a light scarf to cover your skin as needed.
  • If you have more time to explore the region you can extend your trip by starting your travels in Budapest, taking in the best of Romania before continuing into Bulgaria. Or start in Vienna to see the best of Central Europe before heading to Romania and then Bulgaria. Check out our trips 'Eastern Europe Explorer' (trip code WMSEC) and 'Journey through Central Europe & Romania' (trip code AMSCC). Most departure dates are designed to create these perfect combination trips.
  • On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight between 15kg / 33lb. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are likely to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2023 to 31 December 2023.

View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2024 - 31 December 2024

Map of Eastern Europe Express including Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey

Inclusions

Meals

6 breakfasts

Transport

Train, Public Bus, Private vehicle, Metro, Taxi

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights)

Activities
  • Veliko Tarnovo - Tsarevets Fortress
  • Rila - Monastery Visit
  • Pirin Mountains - Hike
  • Rhodope Narrow-Gauge Railway
  • Plovdiv - Walking Tour with Local Guide
  • Edirne - Selimiye Mosque
Add on activities
  • Bucharest - Palace of Parliament Tour - RON60
  • Bucharest - Village Museum - RON30
  • Bucharest - Bike Tour - EUR25
  • Bucharest - Former Ceauşescu Residence - RON55
  • Bucharest - Romanian Athenaeum - RON10
  • Bucharest - Urban Adventures Bohemian Bucharest - EUR75
  • Veliko Tarnovo - Archeological Museum - BGN6
  • Sofia - National Art Gallery - BGN10
  • Sofia - Aleksander Nevski Church - Free
  • Sofia - National History Museum - BGN12
  • Sofia - The Red Flat - BGN18
  • Sofia - Walking Tour with Local Guide - BGN17
  • Bansko - Spa Visit - BGN40
  • Plovdiv - Bachkovo Monastery - BGN16
  • Plovdiv - Hisarya Hot Springs - BGN50
  • Istanbul - Hagia Sophia - Free
  • Istanbul - Archaeology Museum - TRY340
  • Istanbul - Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - TRY390
  • Istanbul - Galata Tower - TRY650
  • Istanbul - Bosphorus Boat Cruise (Public Boat) - TRY150

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is bookable for this trip, subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. You don't have a lot of time in Bucharest and Istanbul at the start and the end of the trip respectively, so if you're keen to explore these underrated cities in depth, we recommend you arrive a day or two before the start of the trip and/or extend your stay at the end.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Read Essential Trip Information

Reviews

4.9 out of 5 based on 23 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

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Elaine · Traveled October 2023
A great way to discover the stunning scenery and culture of Eastern Europe
Review submitted 01 Nov 2023

Annette · Traveled October 2023
The tour of Bulgaria introduced us to different aspects of the country, its history and its culture. We saw some amazing places. In particular the 5 hour scenic train journey from Bansko was over way too soon with the autumn colours dancing before my eyes. Just marvelous.
Review submitted 31 Oct 2023

james · Traveled October 2023
Review submitted 22 Oct 2023

EDWARD · Traveled September 2023
I had a great time and enjoyed all stops, some more than I expected (Sofia.) Barni was an extremely organized, knowledgeable, and helpful group leader.
Review submitted 11 Oct 2023

Kevin · Traveled September 2023
Intrepid is a great way to explore the world. You get to check out countries with like minded fellow travelers with the logistics taken care of and you do the fun stuff.
Review submitted 11 Oct 2023
Eastern Europe Express
From
AUD $1,887