Road Scholar : Home
In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great: Albania, Macedonia, Greece and Bulgaria

Program Number: 18351RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/13/2015 - 5/27/2015; 9/9/2015 - 9/23/2015; 9/30/2015 - 10/14/2015;
Duration: 14 nights
Location: Albania/Macedonia/Greece/Bulgaria
Price starting at: $3,146.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 31; 13 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 10 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Explore the ancestral lands of Alexander the Great. As we make our way along the ancient Via Egnatia, a 2,000-year-old road built by the Romans to link Rome and Byzantium (Constantinople), we study local history and culture focusing on art, architecture and folklore. We discuss current events, meet locals in their homes and talk to university students about their dreams and aspirations.




Highlights

• Explore the 13th-century castle in Kruja, Albani, where attacks by the Ottomans were successfully repelled for 35 years.
• Journey around Lake Ohrid in Macedonia to the monastery of St. Naum, more than 1,000 years old and dedicated to a disciple of ninth-century Byzantine Christian missionaries.
• In Vergina, Greece, step into the Royal Tombs of the kings of Macedon and marvel at the golden crowns and splendid weapons buried for their journey to the underworld.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile a day on unpaved lanes, standing for up to one hour; some stairs without railings.




Date Specific Information

5-13-2015, 9-9-2015, 9-30-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Tirana (Albania), 3 nights; coach to Ohrid (Republic of Macedonia), 3 nights; coach to Edessa (Greece), 1 night; coach to Thessaloniki, 2 nights; coach to Bansko (Bulgaria), 1 night; coach to Sofia, 3 nights; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Tirana (Albania)
3 nights

In the Albanian capital, Tirana, a local expert outlines Albania’s efforts at assimilation into the international community, while U.S. exchange students discuss life in the country. Journey to Kruja to explore the 13th-century castle from which Albania’s national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg, successfully resisted Ottoman invasion for nearly 35 years until his death.



Coach to Ohrid (Macedonia)
3 nights

Continue along the via Egnatia to Ohrid in the Republic of Macedonia, where you explore Tzar Samuil Fortress and its gallery of icons, as well as the first Slavic university. In a meeting with a University Professor discuss the educational system in modern Macedonia. In Bitola, explore the second largest city in Macedonia as well as the ruins of ancient Heraclea Lyncestis founded by Phillip II.



Coach to Edessa (Greece)
1 night
Coach to Thessaloniki
2 nights

Travel to Greece and stay overnight in Edessa, the city rich with water, “the white coal” of the time before the industrial revolution. Discover the Royal Tombs in Vergina - the funerary site of Phillip II, father of Alexander the great. Travel to Pella to see the Archaeological Museum and see the ancient ruins of the birthplace of Alexander the Great. Then continue your journey to Thessaloniki, where you see the White Tower, the Triumphal Arch of Galerius, the remains of the city walls and UNESCO-protected Byzantine monuments.



Coach to Bansko (Bulgaria)
1 night
Coach to Sofia
3 nights
Departure

Enjoy a wine and cheese tasting in Bulgaria’s beautiful winegrowing region. Visit Rila Monastery, an Eastern Orthodox monastery founded in the 10th century, and the medieval Boyana Church, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Discover the lively capital city of Sofia, including religious and government buildings, on expert-led walks.
Visit a leading secondary school to interact with teachers and students and learn about the Bulgarian education system.




Accommodations
Tirana: Five-star hotel in heart of city. Ohrid: Hotel near Lake Ohrid. Edessa: Boutique hotel. Thessaloniki: Five-star hotel in heart of the city. Bansko: New hotel near old quarter. Sofia: Four-star hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Rogner Hotel Tirana
  Tirana, Albania 3 nights
   Royal View Hotel
  Ohrid, Macedonia 3 nights
   Aigai Hotel
  Edessa, Greece 1 night
   Mediterranean Palace Hotel
  Thessaloniki, Greece 2 nights
   Hotel Martin Bansko
  Bansko, Bulgaria 1 night
   Grand Hotel Sofia
  Sofia, Bulgaria 3 nights
 Rogner Hotel Tirana
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: A hotel in the center of economy, politics and hospitality. The location directly on Boulevard Dëshmorët e Kombit and the international standards regarding security and comfort, makes the business hotel Rogner Hotel Tirana the meeting place of the economy, diplomacy, culture and Albanian lifestyle. The seat of Parliament, President's Office, Prime Minister's Office and many important embassies are within walking distance.
  Contact info: Bulevardi Deshmoret e Kombit
Tirana,   Albania
phone: +355 (4) 2235035
web: www.hotel-europapark.com/home-about-us.html
  Room amenities: Self adjustable air-conditioner Soundproof windows 32"-LCD-TV Business desk Free highspeed internet connection Telephone for international calls Safe Wake up call Mini bar
  Facility amenities: Business Corner with internet access Hotel shops Translation and Secretary Service Concierge Dry cleaning & laundry service Room Service Non-smoking rooms Fitness room Massage Putting Green Tennis court Money exchange ATM machine International newspapers Offices for rent from 20 m˛ International Airlines International travel agencies International car rental office Taxi stand Shuttle - Service from/to the airport Underground garage
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Please contact Road Scholar Pre-Nights Available upon Request

 Royal View Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Beautiful views right from the balcony of your room. Features exquisite Italian marble flooring, and fine modern interior with wooden veneer.
  Contact info: 2 Jane Sandanski
Ohrid,  6000 Macedonia
phone: +389 (0) 46 26 30 72
web: www.royalview.com.mk
  Facility amenities: Turkish spa and Finnsh sauna, restaurant, high-speed internet
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Aigai Hotel
Type: Boutique Hotel
  Description: The newly built Aigai Hotel is located a short distance from the center of the city of Edessa on the motorway of the eastern entry from Thessaloniki Naoussa, Veria, facing the Rock of Edessa, the acropolis of ancient Edessa, the Mills, the Kanavourgheio and majestic waterfalls. The Aigai Hotel is surrounded by cherry trees and plane trees, offering visitors a tranquil setting for relaxation.
  Contact info: Near City Centre
Edessa,   Greece
phone: +30 2381029888
web: aigai-hotel.gr/
  Room amenities: TV, air-conditioning, direct telephone, room service, internet, hairdryer, minibar
  Facility amenities: Fireplace in lobby, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, pool bar, spa, sauna, restaurant
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Mediterranean Palace Hotel
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: Situated in the heart of the city opposite the imposing entrance to the old harbour and the recently restored 'Ladadika' area with its bars, restaurants, tavernas and lively night-life, this five star neo-classical hotel offers spectacular view of the Thermaikos Bay.
  Contact info: 3 Salaminos & Karatassou Street
Thessaloniki,  54626 Greece
phone: +30-2310-552554
web: www.mediterranean-palace.gr/index.jsp?extLang=LG
  Room amenities: High Speed Internet Access, Air Conditioning, Telephone, Mini Bar, Hair Dryer, In-Room Safe, Clock Radio & Satellite Television.
  Facility amenities: 24-hour Front Desk, Bar/Lounge, Concierge Services, Conference Rooms, Currency Exchange, Fitness Equipment, Hair Salon, Limo or Town Car Service, Spa/Massage Services, Meeting rooms (small groups), Multilingual Staff, Restaurants, 24-hour Room Service, Safe-deposit Box at Front Desk, Sauna, Laundry Service, Fax Machine & Indoor/Outdoor Swimming Pools.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Martin Bansko
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: In the immediate vicinity of the town centre and the old quarter, in a quiet and noiseless street, is the Martin Hotel - a new and modern hotel offering its guests perfect conditions for recreation and tourism. The hotel is a successor of the long-famous Mir Hotel, but the building has been entirely redesigned and modernized. It is frequented by old clients since the very beginning of organized tourism in Bulgaria, and also by Bulgarian and foreign tourists and businessmen. English and Russian can be heard down the corridors at all times, and there are always guests from neighbouring Greece and other countries too. The hotel staff uses Bulgarian, Russian, English and French to serve its guests.
  Contact info: 28 Neofit Rilski Str.
Bansko,   Bulgaria
phone: +359 749/ 88301
web: hotelmartin.domino.bg
  Room amenities: telephone, TV, Internet, a mini-bar and a safe
  Facility amenities: With its four-star category forthcoming, the hotel offers its guests an amazing choice of services - a restaurant, a lobby bar, a SPA centre (a sauna, a large 10-person jacuzzi, a small swimming pool, massage, a fitness gym)
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Grand Hotel Sofia
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: Grand Hotel Sofia is one of the most prestigious hotels in Sofia. Art-lovers and food connoisseurs alike will appreciate the hotel gallery and its fine-dining Shades of Red restaurant. The Hotel is a stylish residence in a prime location with a welcoming and dedicated staff that will ensure your stay will exceed your expectations. Throughout the years Grand Hotel Sofia has accommodated a remarkable variety of international celebrities and dignitaries. The Hotel is easily accessible from Sofia International Airport (10 km). Grand Hotel Sofia features 105 unique spacious rooms of over 50 sq.m., all elegantly appointed and offering luxury, style and comfort including 20 twin room and rooms with opening windows. At guests' disposal are also 17 oversized suites including 2 Grand suites and 3 Panorama suites with extensive terrace, providing the finest accommodation in Sofia.
  Contact info: 1, Gurko str.
Sofia,  1000 Bulgaria
phone: +359 2 811 0811
web: www.grandhotelsofia.bg/lang-en.htm
  Room amenities: Unique spacious rooms, offering style and comfort In-room climate control Work desk and lamp IDD telephone with voice mail Wide LCD TV screen Satellite and pay TV channels Mini bar and in-room safe Bathroom with separate bathtub and shower cabin Hairdryer, bathrobe, slippers, and umbrella
  Facility amenities: During their stay at Grand Hotel Sofia guests will enjoy wide range of services and facilities. At their disposal are: Business centre Wi-Fi & LAN high-speed Internet Executive lounge Concierge services Airport pick-up Limousine service Rent a car & city tours Valet car parking 24 hrs room service Laundry & Dry cleaning Health centre & beauty parlour Hairstyle studio Boutique In-house florist
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Contact Road Scholar for Rates Post-Nights Available Upon Request


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
At orientation in the late afternoon at the Tirana program hotel.. You will be staying at Rogner Hotel Tirana that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast at the Sofia program hotel. You will be staying at Grand Hotel Sofia the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. All participants must hold a passport valid for 6 months beyond the program end date. U.S. citizens do not require a visa prior to entering Albania, but those traveling without a visa may be charged a fee for an entry stamp at the point of entry, which is valid for a stay of up to 90 days. This fee has recently been waived, but Albanian law allows for collection of an entry tax up to 10 Euros, or the equivalent in any easily convertible currency, including U.S. dollars, and may be reinstated without notice. Visas are not required for Macedonia or Greece.
  Parking availability:
n/a
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Buses and taxis are available from the airport to the hotel upon arrival in Albania, and from the hotel to the airport in Greece.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Tirana
  Nearest airport:  TIR
  Transportation to site: A group transfer will be arranged for participants who booked their flights through Road Scholar and are arriving on the scheduled program arrival day. Independent travelers are welcome to join the group transfer at no additional cost if their flights coincide with the group flights. Independent travelers planning to take the group transfer should inform Road Scholar via your online or paper Personal Information Form. For independent travelers whose flights do not coincide with the group flights, Road Scholar can arrange a private transfer for an additional cost. There are also many forms of public transportation in this area, including taxi stands and the public and reliable Rinas Bus.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Sofia
  Nearest airport:  SOF
  Transportation from site: A group transfer will be arranged for participants who booked their flights through Road Scholar and are departing on the scheduled program departure day. Independent travelers are welcome to join the group transfer at no additional cost if their flights coincide with the group flights. Independent travelers planning to take the group transfer should inform Road Scholar via your online or paper Personal Information Form. For independent travelers whose flights do not coincide with the group flights, Road Scholar can arrange a private transfer for an additional cost.Taxis from the hotel to the airport are also available for about 20 Euro.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departure from the U.S. for Albania
(Wednesday, September 30)
   
 Depart From: International flight to Albania.

Day 2: Arrive in Tirana / Program Orientation
(Thursday, October 1)
   
 Afternoon: Arrive in Tirana and meet your Study Leader for the transfer to the hotel. Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel and take some time to rest before an early evening orientation led by your Study Leader. We will gather in our private meeting room where your Study Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.
 Dinner: Enjoy the welcome dinner at which wine and local specialties will be served.
   
Accommodations: Rogner Hotel Tirana
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Tirana / Albania National History Museum
(Friday, October 2)

Note: Today's activities include walking for up to two hours whilst visiting the museum. There are steps to the first floor as well as the main entrance of the museum.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart by coach for a presentation titled,"Albania: From Closed Country to Open Borders." Led by a local expert, learn about the recent political history of this interesting country. Following the presentation, meet students living in Tirana. Enjoy this opportunity to talk to young Albanians about life in their country.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a panoramic city tour of Tirana on which you will explore the Urae Tabakeve Bridge, the Mosque of Etem Bej, the Clock Tower and the tomb of Sulejman Pasha. A visit to the National History Museum is also included.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant with lively folklore music.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Rogner Hotel Tirana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Discover Kruja
(Saturday, October 3)

Note: Today's activities include walking for up to two hours and 30 minutes whilst visiting the museum. There is a steep approach to the castle, steps to first floor as well as to the main entrance of the castle.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart by coach for Kruja, the hometown of Albania’s national hero, Gjerg Castrioti. Widely known as "Skanderbeg," he is celebrated for his stoic defense of what is now Albania. Visit the 13th century castle which Skanderbeg's army successfully defended from the Ottomans for 35 years.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Enjoy some leisure time to relax or to explore Tirana.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Rogner Hotel Tirana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Durres / Elbasan / Lake Ohrid
(Sunday, October 4)

Note: Today's activities include walking for up to 30 minutes whilst visiting the church and Roman theatre in Durres. There are some steps to the main entrance as well as inside. In addition, walking for up to 15 minutes in Elbasan and in Struga on the shores of Lake Ohrid before arriving at the hotel in Ohrid.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will visit Durres, the most ancient city in Albania. It was once a major naval and military base of the Roman Empire at the most western end of Via Egnatia, linking Rome and Constantinople. Here, we will visit the remains of the Roman Theater that could accommodate 15,000 spectators in its heyday. Afterward, we will depart from Tirana to Ohrid by coach. Following the 2000 year old road, Via Egnatia, we will visit Elbasan, site of the ancient city of Skampa, and take a leisurely stroll around its ramparts. There will be an on-site lecture titled, "Ancient Civilizations from the Adriatic to the Aegean."
 Lunch: At a local restaurant in Elbasan.
 Afternoon: We will cross the border into Macedonia near Qaf Thanne and stop in Struga on the shores of Lake Ohrid before arriving at the hotel in Ohrid. Upon arrival, check in at the hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Royal View Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Ohrid Old Town / Family Hosted Meal / Gallery of Icons / Ohrid University
(Monday, October 5)

Note: Today's activities include predominantly flat and downhill walking and standing for up to three hours whilst visiting the Old Town. There are uneven cobbled surfaces, steps inside the Citadel as well as some steps to the main entrance of the churches and the cathedral.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a presentation led by your local expert about everyday life and cultural history. Afterward, we wiill take a walking tour of Ohrid to see the Old Town where you will visit Tzar Samuil Fortress, the Gallery of Icons, the first Slavic University, the Antique Theatre, and Saint Sofija Cathedral. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of only 28 sites to be listed for both cultural heritage and natural beauty.
 Lunch: Enjoy a snack lunch at a local family's home.
 Afternoon: Walk through the streets of beautiful Ohrid to the nearby Ohrid University where a university lecturer will lead a presentation titled, "Education in Macedonia." Learn about the role and the system of education in Macedonia before returning to the hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Royal View Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Prehistoric Dwelling / The Monastery of St. Naum
(Tuesday, October 6)

Note: Today's activities include walking for up to 45 minutes downhill from the bus to the prehisoric site, some walking and standing for approximately one hour while visiting the Monastery of St. Noam, walking up steps to the main entrance of the monastery, as well as walking for up to ten minutes each way from the coach through the campus of the folklore group on cobbled streets and uneven surfaces.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart by coach for a trip around Lake Ohrid where you will see the prehistoric settlement at Gradishte mentioned by Herodotus in his fifth book of histories. Continue to the monastery dedicated to St. Naum, the disciple of Cyril and Methodius dating back to the year AD 900.
 Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a presentation titled, "Folk Traditions and Heritage" at the premises of a local folklore group. See the traditional dances and costumes and have the chance to interact with the young dancers.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Royal View Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Bitola / Heraclea Lyncestis / Edessa
(Wednesday, October 7)

Note: Morning: Walking for up to 2 hours and standing whilst visiting the museum, steps to first floor and steps to main entrance of the museum, flat walking through the centre of town to the restaurant. Afternoon: Walking and standing for up to 2 hours whilst visiting the archaeological site, uneven terrain, dirt path. Throughout: Riding in coach bus along route between Ohrid and Edessa with time to stop and stretch your legs at historic and interesting sites.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart by coach for Bitola with an en-route presentation titled, "Alexander and Phillip: Father and Son" given by a local expert. Learn about the relationship between Alexander the Great and his father Phillip II. Upon arrival, we will explore Bitola, the second largest city in Macedonia. It was the city of the consuls during the Ottoman time and an important trading center on the Via Egnatia, an ancient Roman road linking Rome with Constantinople.
 Lunch: At a restaurant in Bitola offering traditional local dishes.
 Afternoon: After a short jaunt on the coach, discover the ancient town of Heraclea Lyncestis founded by Phillip II Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. The town was first mentioned in documents dated back to the 4th century B.C. You will view the towns famous mosaics and antique ruins. We will then cross the border into Greece to discover Edessa, "the city rich with water." Water was considered the "white coal" of the time before the industrial revolution - towns relied on it for all energy needs before coal came about. Discover the city through a short sightseeing trip before checking in at the hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Aigai Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Royal Tombs in Vergina / Pella: The Birthplace of Alexander the Great / Thessaloniki
(Thursday, October 8)

Note: Today's activities include walking and standing for up to two hours whilst visiting the royal burial ground. There are some steps and ramp both down and up. In addition, walking and standing for up to two hours whilst visiting the museum and archaeological site in Pella. There are steps to the first floor as well as the main entrance of the museum.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart by coach for Vergina with an en-route presentation titled, "Alexander: The Later Years." In Vergina, you will discover the Royal Tombs, the funerary site of the father of Alexander the Great, Phillip II.
 Lunch: On your own at a self-service restaurant in Vergina.
 Afternoon: We will depart by coach to discover the ancient site of Pella, birthplace of Alexander the Great, and the new archaeological museum. Your local expert will give an en-route presentation titled, "Alexander: The Early Years." Afterward, we will continue the drive to Thessaloniki and check in at the hotel upon arrival.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Mediterranean Palace Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Thessaloniki
(Friday, October 9)

Note: Today's activities include walking and standing for up to 30 minutes whilst visiting the church.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart by coach for a panoramic view of Thessaloniki with an en-route presentation called, "Alexander: The Rise to Power." Upon arrival, we will vew many unmissable sites: the White Tower, the university areas, the Rotunda and the Triumphal Arch of Galerius, the remains of the city walls, UNESCO protected Byzantine monuments, and the churches of St. Demetrius and Sofija.
 Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a leisurely afternoon on your own. We suggest you visit the Achaeological museum. Your guide will show you the entrance to this museum during your morning tour and can help arrange transport there for you this afternoon.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Mediterranean Palace Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 11: Melnik / Bansko
(Saturday, October 10)

Note: Today's activities include riding in a coach bus for about four hours during the transfer from Thessaloniki to Bansko.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart by coach for Melnik with an en-route presentation titled, "Bulgaria Today: From Communist Country to the European Union." Your study leader will provide an expert lecture on his home country, Bulgaria. Feel free to ask questions about his country. Upon arrival, we will take a short walking site visit before lunch.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a presentation titled, "The Wines of Bulgaria." Led by a local wine maker, learn about Bulgarian wines and enjoy some local specialty cheeses. Afterward, we will continue on to the hotel with time to relax before dinner.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Martin Bansko
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Sofia / Rila Monastery.
(Sunday, October 11)

Note: Today's activities include walking for up to two hours whilst visiting the monastery. There is cobbled stone surface and steps to the first floor.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: As we leave Bansko, enjoy a short panoramic tour of the main sites. On the way to Sofia, visit the Rila Monastery and walk through the monastery complex. It remains one of the most impressive monasteries on the continent due to its unique architecture and abundance of frescoes. Admire the 1,200 mural paintings at the Blessed Virgin church and see the Hrelyo Tower, built in 1335, as well as the monastery’s museum collection.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant featuring local specialties.
 Afternoon: Check in at the hotel and enjoy time to relax before dinner.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Sofia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Discovery of Sofia / Boyana Church / National Museum of History
(Monday, October 12)

Note: Today's activities include walking and standing for up to three hours around Sofia. There are steps to enter the crypt at the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and predominantly flat terrain.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart by coach for a field trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site- the Boyana church which is surrounded by trees over a hundred years old. Enter the church and be astounded by the frescoes, thought to be painted in 1259, which form a harmonious whole. Be amazed by the lively characters and murals.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Discover the city of Sofia through a walking tour. Enter the crypt at the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and see culturally significant sites such as the St. Sofia Basilica, the parliament building, the synagogue, the Royal Palace, the National Theatre and St. Georges Rotunda.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Sofia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Bulgarian Education System
(Tuesday, October 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel
 Morning: Enjoy a visit to one of the leading secondary schools and meet with last-year students of about 18-19 years of age. A teacher will deliver a short presentation on the educational system in Bulgaria. Afterward, participants may meet and talk to the students.
 Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Afternoon: Enjoy the afternoon at leisure. We suggest you visit the National Institute of Archaeology and Museum. Your study leader will be able to provide details on how to get there.
 Dinner: Your farewell dinner will be at the hotel. Take this opportunity to exchange contact information with your fellow travellers and enjoy your final night in Bulgaria.
   
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Sofia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 15: Return to U.S.
(Wednesday, October 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Mini bus transfer to the airport for flight departures.
 Afternoon: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys!
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Concise History of Bulgaria


Author: R.J. Crampton


Description: A highly readable, illustrated introduction to Bulgaria's history from medieval empire to Ottoman rule, revival and modernization, to the fall of Communism.



Balkan Ghosts, A Journey through History


Author: Robert D. Kaplan


Description: Kaplan interweaves the history, art and culture of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece with his travels in this portrait of the region.



Balkans South-East Europe Map


Author: Freytag & Berndt


Description: A nicely detailed regional map, showing the route of the Danube from Budapest to the Black Sea, at a scale of 1:2,000,000.



Broken April


Author: Ismail Kadare


Description: In this best-known novel by the contemporary Albanian writer, a bereaved mountaineer and a young anthropologist couple both wrestle with the age-old traditions of the high plateau.



Bury Me Standing


Author: Isabel Fonseca


Description: This marvelous portrait of the Roma, also known as the Gypsies, offers insight into their music, foods, religions and folk traditions, and also examines their influential but complex relationship with Eastern Europe.



Byzantine Art


Author: Robin Cormack


Description: A scholarly introduction and survey of the art of the Byzantine empire in the Oxford History of Art. With 127 illustrations, 82 in full color.



Eyewitness Guide Bulgaria


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: This visually rich guide features outstanding maps, essays and travel information.



Fado


Author: Andrzej Stasiuk


Description: A tribute to the culturally rich landscapes, literature and history of Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Albania by the Polish writer, poet, essayist and literary critic.



Fire From Heaven


Author: Mary Renault


Description: The first installment of Renault's trilogy of historical novels on the life of Alexander the Great, displaying the author's extensive background in ancient history. This volume focuses on Alexander's life up to the age of 20, when he assumed the kingship on his father Phillip's assassination.



In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great


Author: Michael Wood


Description: An illustrated account of Alexander's ten-year conquest of 4th-century cities from Macedonia to Egypt, Persia, Central Asia and India.



Lonely Planet Western Balkans


Author: Lonely Planet


Description: A compact, practical guide to the region from Slovenia and Croatia, to Bosnia & Hercegovina, Serbia & Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania.



People of the Storm God, Travels In Macedonia


Author: Will Myer


Description: A sobering account of a 1994 trip to the politically and culturally complex Republic of Macedonia.



Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430-1950


Author: Mark Mazower


Description: Mazower chronicles the history and culture of Thessaloniki from Byzantium to Ottoman rule, and the terrible devastation of WWI in this inviting book, part history and part travelogue.



The Balkans, A Short History


Author: Mark Mazower


Description: A brief, provocative survey of the complex and often contentious history of the Balkans. With eloquence and insight, Mazower addresses the issues of geography, nationalism and modern nation-building in the region.



The Palgrave Atlas of Byzantine History


Author: John Haldon


Description: Princeton historian Haldon charts the political, social and economic history of the medieval empire in this succint resource with over 100 maps.



The Virtues of War, A Novel of Alexander the Great


Author: Steven Pressfield


Description: A first-person historical novel told from the perspective of Alexander the Great.



The Way of Herodotus, Travels with the Man Who Invented History


Author: Justin Marozzi


Description: A Penguin Classics edition of The Histories in hand, Marozzi journeys from Herodotus' home town of Heliacarnassus, now known as Bodrum, to Baghdad, Babylon, Egypt and Athens, weaving tales of his hero with erudite and entertaining modern travel.





You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.


As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.



Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:


© Road Scholar 2015 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768