Begin your full-day adventure with an 8am pick-up from your central Sofia hotel and soak up the scenery as you head inland through the mountains. After around a 2-hour drive, arrive at your first destination – the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, a series of monolithic churches, chapels and monasteries, carved into the cliff-side of the Roussenski Lom River valley. Spend time exploring the UNESCO-protected landmark with your guide; marvel at the remarkably preserved 13th- and 14th-century frescos and murals; and admire views over the surrounding Rusenski Lom Nature Park.
Make a short detour to see the Monastery of Saint Dimitar Basarbowski en-route to Rousse and take a tour of the Bulgarian-orthodox monastery, the only active cave monastery in Bulgaria. Then, arrive in Rousse in time for lunch (own expense) and head to a local restaurant to sample some delicious Bulgarian cuisine.
After lunch, follow your guide on a walking tour of the historic city and learn how it earned the nickname ‘Little Vienna’, as you admire the striking Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture. Discover more about the city’s Ottoman, Roman and Thracian history with a visit to the Rousse Regional Historical Museum, where highlights include the Borovo Treasure; then admire the old steam locomotives on display at the National Transport Museum. Finally, stroll along the Danube riverside, stopping to take in the views across to Romania or pose for photos on the Ruse-Giugiu Friendship Bridge.
After a full day exploring the Danube, journey back to Sofia, where your tour ends with drop-off at your hotel.