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Treasures of Bulgaria: Ancient Ruins, Roses and Revival

Program No. 19207RJ
If you are looking for a place to explore off-the-tourist paths, then join us in Bulgaria, a nation rich with ancient wonders, natural beauty and people eager to show you their land.

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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
Filling Fast!
Apr 18 - Apr 29, 2024
Starting at
Sep 5 - Sep 16, 2024
Starting at
Sep 26 - Oct 7, 2024
Starting at
Oct 10 - Oct 21, 2024
Starting at
DATES & starting prices
Filling Fast!
Apr 18 - Apr 29, 2024
Starting at
Sep 5 - Sep 16, 2024
Starting at
Sep 26 - Oct 7, 2024
Starting at
Oct 10 - Oct 21, 2024
Starting at

At a Glance

Home of the world’s most exquisite roses, Europe’s oldest civilization and seven outstanding UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Bulgaria is a land of superlatives in an unspoiled region of the Balkan Mountains of Eastern Europe. Join us for a special opportunity to experience a land unknown to outsiders and get to know the warm and hospitable people who have remerged onto Europe’s stage after decades of seclusion.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 4 miles/4 hours per day, including periods of standing, on city streets, museums and sites, sometimes with uneven and hilly terrain, cobblestone, traffic and street noise. Get on and off the bus 3-4 times per day. Unavoidable stairs. Elevations up to 3,763 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Learn about recent breathtaking archaeological finds in the Kazanlak region, and Thracian culture at the replica site of the world-famous, fourth-century B.C. Thracian tomb — a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Discover centuries-old traditions of rose oil production at a rose oil distillery in the Valley of the Roses.
  • Take an expert-led field trip in the majestic city of Plovdiv, the oldest city in Europe.

General Notes

Give us a call to combine this learning adventure with select dates of "Treasures of Romania: Enchanting Castles and Painted Monasteries" (#19208) for even more learning in Europe! We’ll even transfer you for free between locations.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Fragility of Goodness, Why Bulgaria's Jews Survived the Holocaust
by Tzvetan Todorov
A reconstruction of what happened in Bulgaria during World War II, detailing how Bulgaria became one of two countries not to turn over its Jewish population.
Bulgaria Map
by Freytag & Berndt
This detailed, single-sided fold-up map shows the country at a scale of 1:400,000. Place names are usefully shown in both Cyrillic and Latin script and the multilingual legend includes English.
The Danube
by Nick Thorpe
Thorpe travels against the current on a year-long journey from the Black Sea to the Black Forest, mixing accounts of his daily morning swims with environmental research, archaeological observations and, especially, tales of the ferrymen and fisherman, shopkeepers, activists and others he meets along the way.
Lords of the Horizons
by Jason Goodwin
Goodwin artfully combines his modern travels with scholarship, history and reflection, capturing the outrageous personalities, events and vagaries of the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire.
Bury Me Standing
by Isabel Fonseca
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.
The Romani Gypsies
by Yaron Matras
Matras delves into the history of the Romani, an ancient and misunderstood European culture that has survived through modern times.
In Search of Dracula
by Raymond McNally
This history of Vlad Tepes (AKA Vlad the Impaler), the Romanian warrior prince and inspiration for Bram Stoker’s infamous blood-drinking count, draws on oral histories and archaeological evidence and also examines Dracula’s many incarnations in film and literature.
Eyewitness Guide Bulgaria
by Eyewitness Guides
This visually rich guide features outstanding maps, essays and travel information.
A Concise History of Bulgaria
by R.J. Crampton
A highly readable, illustrated introduction to Bulgaria's history from medieval empire to Ottoman rule, revival and modernization to the fall of Communism.
Crown of Thorns, The Reign of King Boris III of Bulgaria, 1918-1943
by Stephan Groueff
A biography of the famed Bulgarian monarch, who ruled from the end of World War I to the middle of World War II, when he defied Hitler's wishes for expelling Bulgaria's Jews.
Bai Ganyo, Incredible Tales of a Modern Bulgarian
by Aleko Konstantinov
An award-winning English translation of the 19th-century Bulgarian classic. The interlocking short stories, which are, by turns, humorous, satirical and dark, feature the folk hero Bai Ganyo. A solid literary introduction to Bulgaria. Translated by Aleko Konstantinov, Victor Friedman, Christina Kramer, Grace Fielder and Catherine Rudin.
The Balkans, A Short History
by Mark Mazower
With eloquence and clarity, Mazower addresses issues of geography, nationalism and nation in this indispensable survey.
The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804-2011
by Misha Glenny
Longtime central European correspondent for the BBC based in Vienna, Glenny (The Fall of Yugoslavia) poignantly challenges the role of the Great Powers in this survey, newly revised and updated to cover developments in the region through 2011.
Black Sea
by Neal Ascherson
In this skillful regional portrait, Ascherson weaves his own travels and impressions with a fascinating account of the Black Sea's history. From ancient mythology to modern politics, he admirably never loses sight of the sea itself.
Stork Mountain
by Miroslav Penkov
A stunning debut novel that takes readers high into the Strandja Mountains. A young immigrant returns to Bulgaria to find his grandfather. He traces his grandfather's footsteps to the giant oaks where black storks nest, bringing a hidden past to life.
All Along the Danube: Recipes from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, & Bulgaria
by Marina Polvay
A cookbook full of classic recipes from Central Europe, with some valuable morsels of culture.
The Turkish Gambit
by Andrew Bromfield (Translator), Boris Akunin
Detective Erast Fandorin is caught in Bulgaria in the middle of the brutal Russo-Turkish war in this thriller set in 1877. The third book in the series.
Balkan Ghosts, A Journey through History
by Robert D. Kaplan
Kaplan interweaves history, art and culture with his travels through Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece in this regional portrait.
Blue River, Black Sea
by Andrew Eames
By bicycle, boat and on foot, British adventurer Andrew Eames (The 8:55 to Baghdad) weaves entertaining tales of his travels and the people he meets along the Danube from the Black Forest to Romania and the Ukraine into an insightful contemporary portrait of the region.
Street Without a Name, Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria
by Kapka Kassabova
Born in 1973, Kassabova traces her coming-of-age in Communist Sofia and bittersweet return to a land transformed over the last 30 years in this captivating, candid memoir and travelogue.
The Palgrave Concise Historical Atlas of Eastern Europe
by Dennis Hupchick, Harold Cox
The changing borders and complex history of Eastern Europe as told through 52 maps and accompanying essays, organized chronologically. An excellent reference, the book shows the rise of Poland, changing borders of the Ottoman Empire, Hapsburgs and fate of Yugoslavia in admirable clarity.
The Broken Road, From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos
by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Assembled from Leigh Fermor’s manuscripts by friend and biographer Artemis Cooper, with the travel writer Colin Thubron, this is perhaps the most personal of all Leigh Fermor’s books, catching up with young Paddy in the fall of 1934 and following him through Bulgaria and Romania to the coast of the Black Sea.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.