Through the Valley of the Roses to the Painted Monasteries

Explore the complex history and fascinating culture of Bulgaria and Romania, two East European countries whose rugged terrain and consequent isolation have helped preserve their heritage. Discover the luminous frescoes of the painted monasteries, breathe in the fragrance of the Valley of the Roses, and spend an afternoon visiting with villagers in a tiny Transylvanian town.

Special 2020 DepartureOur August 25-September 9, 2020 departure of this tour will feature special host Patricia Schultz, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, “1,000 Places To See Before You Die.” 

16 Day Trip

Overview Itinerary

Imaginariachile Signature Why end mights on this Tour
  • Sample the fruit of the vine at a Bulgarian winery
    Sample the fruit of the vine with a wine tasting at a renowned Bulgarian wine cellar in a prime grape-growing region that has produced wine since Roman times....
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  • Interview the vampire
    Discover the Romanian origins of the Dracula story in the medieval towns of Sighisoara and Bran, whose castle embodies the Gothic image of a Transylvanian vampire castle....
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  • Admire the vivid frescoes of the painted monasteries
    Appreciate the striking beauty of the painted monasteries of Bucovina, whose 13th to 15th century stone exteriors are frescoed with dramatic biblical scenes....
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  • Toast a brandy-making family
    Enjoy a private brandy tasting at the home of a Romanian family who has been involved with brandy making for more than three centuries....
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Why Travel with Imaginariachile on this Tour
  • Over two decades of Bulgaria and Romania travel experience
  • Travel programs such as the Stanford University alumni and the California Agriculture Leadership Program have chosen Imaginariachile to guide them to Bulgaria or Romania
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-6: Sofia, Plovdiv, Kazanluk, Veliko Tarnovo

Begin the journey in Sofia, Bulgaria, a city with more than 7,000 years of history. Visit the serene Rila Monastery, founded in 927 AD as a retreat for hermits. Pause in the Thracian settlement of Plovdiv, with its ancient Roman and 19th century architecture, before setting off through the beautiful countryside of the Valley of Roses toward Veliko Tarnovo, capital of the 12th century Second Bulgarian Empire. Here, the remains of the Royal Fortress still stand at the top of Tsarevets Hill.


  • Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, with its 4th century St. George Rotunda
  • 10th century striped Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
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Days 7-9: Bucharest, Gura Humorului, Painted monasteries

Crossing the Danube into Romania, tour its capital, Bucharest, and contemplate Ceausescu’s last folly, the 1,100-room Palace of the Parliament. Fly to Suceava and explore the heritage of Bucovina and its UNESCO-listed painted monasteries.


  • Romania's capital, Bucharest, once known as the “Little Paris”
  • Ceausescu’s last folly, the 1,100-room Palace of the Parliament
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Days 10-14: Sighisoara, Transylvania, medieval towns

Explore the birthplace of Vlad Dracul in the citadel of Sighisoara, and visit Bran Castle, which served as Bram Stoker’s model for Dracula’s ancestral home. Drive via dramatic Bicaz Canyon and enjoy a brandy-tasting at the home of a local family. Stroll the Old Town Square in the Saxon town of Sibiu.


  • Bran Castle, whose gothic stone walls, towers and secret passageways embody the popular image of a Transylvanian vampire castle
  • UNESCO-listed fortified Saxon churches of Saschiz and Biertan

Days 15-16: Sinaia, Bucharest

In Sinaia, visit Sinaia Monastery and admire the German-influenced 19th century Peles Castle before heading to Bucharest for a farewell dinner.


  • Sinaia Monastery, one of the oldest in Romania
  • Peles Castle, final resting place of several Romanian monarchs

See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 16 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person
based on double occupancy

  • 5-16 Travelers $7,095
  • Plus Internal Air $155
  • Single Supplement $1,095

2020 Dates

  • June 2-17
  • August 25-September 9 - The August 25-September 9, 2020 departure of this program will be hosted by Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die(R) Please us for the detailed itinerary for 2020
  • $7,095
  • Max 16 Travelers

Special 2020 DepartureOur August 25-September 9, 2020 departure of this tour will feature special host Patricia Schultz, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, “1,000 Places To See Before You Die.” 


Ready to Plan Ahead?

2021 Land Tour Price, Per Personbased on double occupancy

Travelers $7,295
Plus Internal Air $200
Single Supplement $1,125

2021 Dates

June 1-16 – includes stop at Bulgaria’s Rose Festival
August 24-September 8

The land itinerary for 2021 is projected to be generally as depicted for 2020.  
Please Note: 2021 Rose Festival dates have not been announced, but generally coincide with our June dates. Also note Patricia Schultz is not scheduled to host either departure in 2021.

Contact Us To Reserve Your Spot


Group Size

Small Groups – Never More than 16 Travelers. Guaranteed!



What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared accommodations in well-located superior tourist class hotels.
  • 15 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 8 dinners, per the itinerary. Some lunches and dinners are not included so that you may enjoy a chance to dine on your own.
  • Restaurant tips for included meals.
  • Services of an experienced, English-speaking Imaginariachile Tour Manager with local guides at specific sites.
  • Arrival/departure transfers. Imaginariachile will arrange for all travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates in the tour start/end cities.
  • Ground transportation throughout itinerary by private coach or van (size of vehicle depends on group size).
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Special events, excursions and cultural performances per the itinerary.
  • Baggage handling where available.
  • Gratuities to local guides, drivers, porters and other service personnel.

Before Your Tour

  • Personalized pre-departure support from one of our knowledgeable Tour Specialists.
  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list and reading list.
  • Touring with Imaginariachile handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international and internal airfares are not included in the land tour cost).
Download Detailed Itinerary
Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

Imaginariachile's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

More Info

Reading List

Imaginariachile recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Most Imaginariachile programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

More Info

Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

Imaginariachile can arrange for an extended program in Sofia, Bulgaria, before the tour begins or in Bucharest, Romania, at its conclusion. Please us for more information. This tour may also be combined with Belarus, Ukraine & Moldova.

Or, choose from one of our suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

While the accommodations are as comfortable as possible, it is important to keep in mind that parts of Romania and Bulgaria are not up to the standards North American travelers expect. A full list of details about the rigors of this tour can be found in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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