Bulgaria holiday by train

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2017: 16 Sep, 14 Oct
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Bulgaria holiday by train

Environment

One of our main responsible policies is the protection of the local environment and the cultural heritage. Running this tour we try to minimise the impact on the visited areas and protect them by using public transport, such as trains and buses. Train rides give you the opportunity to explore much of Bulgaria’s cultural and natural hidden treasures without a car. Short car transfers are available from/to train stations to the local guesthouses/hotels.

Community

Joining this trip you will visit many remote monasteries and traditional villages with very few inhabitants. Part of your money goes to the protection and restoration of some of the St. Sofia Holy Mountain Churches. Other, for accommodations such! We try to keep the money local by using only small guesthouses which have Green Lodge certificates or are family-run businesses. Green Lodge® is a certificate issued for guesthouses and small hotels that correspond to ECEAT sustainable tourism label and Eurogites quality standards. Hosts of these houses are local people who have special attention to local nature and culture. They will be your guide to interesting sites and events in the surroundings and will saturate your experience. Your stay at a Green Lodge will make you feel the charm of the traditional everyday life and guide you through local cuisine. Such place is Deshka’s Guesthouse. Your visit to her house in the mountain village Gorno Draglishte means a lot to the local people, who produce a lot of the goods used in the kitchen.

2 Reviews of Bulgaria holiday by train

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 05 Aug 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Everything was very good. The genuine welcome from every host hotel or guesthouse was excellent. Staying in guesthouses and eating their normal local
food. Highlights were Veliko Tarnovo (especially Hotel Gurko), Plovdiv, and the hosts at Boyana Guest House (Vratsa) & Guest House Deshka (Gorno Draglishte) were great fun.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Because the Bulgarian signs are always in cyrillic, not our normal letters, translate before you travel all of the station destinations form the Latin typeface
to Cyryllic, and make a note of them. You need to know the translation to see on the departure boards at each station & also the station name when you arrive. Sometimes English / Latin letters are used but not always. Quite a lot of older people do not speak English so make sure you have a phrase book, or a
Translator App on mobile phone (this was very useful). Also take the free guided walking tours wherever possible - Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo and Sofia. Smile at the locals and they will appreciate it.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The local people definitely benefited - the small local shops, taxi drivers,- even though we went to many touristy places, much of the time we spent our time
and money with people off the beaten track. Train travel will have definitely helped the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very enjoyable. A mixture of places, people and modes of transport.

Reviewed on 08 Jun 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Both Plovdiv and Rile were interesting and enjoyable and despite communication problems the two homestays were interesting if challenging and the hosts we very friendly and kind.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Keep luggage to a minimum. Bulgarian trains - all rather elderly - are not too easy to board. The latest Rough Guide is a little short on detail compared with earlier editions (5th edition far better and not noticeably out of date).

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?



4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Reasonably well organised overall. All hotels acceptable with one exception. Fair value for money I would say. We were the guinea pigs for this tour and Simeon Dimitrov was appreciative of our comments on our re turn to Sofia. He is a very pleasant young man, and most eager to please. Bulgaria's mountains are spectacular, the people most friendly and all the towns we visited had something of interest. The biggest problem is communication even if one can read Cyrillic. It is a tour I would particularly recommend for the elderly, those wishing to avoid self-drive, and of course train buffs.

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