PHOTO TRIP ACROSS BULGARIA TO STRANDZHA AND FROM THERE TO ISTANBUL ALONG THE BLACK SEA AND THE BOSPHORUS
Posted on September 23, 2013
TRIP DURATION: 9 days
PRICE: € 1199 based upon minimum of 8 paying participants. Small group surcharge of € 100. Single room supplement: €60. Single rooms are subject to availability.
GROUP SIZE: 5–8
This photography trip will begin in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria; we will visit the former capital Veliko Turnovo, after which we will continue along Bulgaria’s northern Black Sea coastline in the region of Shabla, Tyulenovo, Kamen Bryag and Yailata. We will stop in Varna for a short photo session; we will then continue on to Burgas before arriving in the old museum town of Sozopol. This trip will include a tour of the southernmost parts of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, down to the Rezovska River. We will visit and photograph the Turkish side of the Strandzha Mountains along with the Turkish Black Sea coast, including the Kastro and Ormanli beaches; we will travel by boat along the shore; there will be an opportunity to take pictures of the remains of a shipwrecked vessel. Our trip will conclude in Istanbul, one of the most photogenic cities in this part of the world.
WHAT THE PRICE INCLUDES:
Group transportation in tour van/microbus; Accommodations based on two people sharing a room; Nine (9) nights including breakfast; Photographic leader in English; Day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary; Extensive pre-arrival information and services.
WHAT THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
International air fare; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those arriving or leaving out of the tour dates: meals not included in itinerary; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, film or processing, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips of any kind.
DAY 1 Sofia – Veliko Turnovo (about 250 km)
The trip begins at 9AM from the hotel in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria (all participants need to have arrived in Sofia the previous day). We will arrive in Veliko Turnovo at around 11:30 AM. The remainder of the day will be devoted to a photo walk around this magical city. Veliko Turnovo is shaped like an amphitheater and is situated on four hills: Tsarevets, Trapezitsa, Sveta Gora and Devingrad. According to contemporaries, medieval Turnovo was a new Jerusalem, Rome and Constantinople all in one. The meandering Yantra River flows between the city’s hills, creating fantastic opportunities to practice landscape and urban photography simultaneously.
We will see and take pictures of the following old architectural monuments: the Tsarevets Architectural and Historical Reserve; the village of Arbanasi, an architectural reserve; the Holy Forty Martyrs Church; the Demetrius of Thessaloniki Church; Saints Peter and Paul Church; the Saint Ivan Rilski Church; the Samokov market and others. We will spend the night in Veliko Turnovo.
DAY 2 Veliko Turnovo – Shabla (about 280 km)
Early in the morning we will set off for Shabla, a small town on the northern portion of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. We will arrive around 11 AM and check into a hotel in the village of Tyulenovo, one of the most picturesque villages on this stretch of coastline. This village is known for its unique beach, caves and majestic, sheer cliffs shaped in fantastic forms. We will spend the entire day touring the beaches and nearby rocks as we take seaside pictures.
There will be time to photograph the Shabla Lighthouse, the oldest and tallest in Bulgaria, which is also located on the easternmost point in the country. 2 km to the south is the cult village of Kamen Bryag and the Yailata reserve, a large coastal terrace with an area of 300 decares separated from the sea by 50-60 meter-high rock massifs. There are many monuments here dating from various historical epochs ranging from the 6th millennium BCE to the middle of the 11th century, as well as unique species of protected plant and animal life. We will go south, reaching Cape Kaliakra, located beside a small bay and port called Bolata. This is a narrow inlet and gorge etched into the coast all the way to the former military zone. It is also the only reserve in Bulgaria that includes part of the sea. We will spend the night in the hotel in Tyulenovo.
DAY 3 Varna – Sozopol (about 165 km)
After a morning seaside photography session in the vicinity of Tyulenovo, we will go to Varna, the largest Bulgarian city on the Black Sea. We will remain here for several hours to practice urban photography and have lunch. This city is very pretty and has a beautiful pier at the harbor and cathedral in the center, but we will continue south to Burgas (without stopping) and then reach Sozopol late in the afternoon.
There will be an evening photo session. We will spend the night in this old, romantic town.
DAY 4 Sozopol and the Black Sea coast of the Bulgarian side of Strandzha (about 60 km)
On this day we will take pictures early in the morning of the narrow streets, the coastal walkway and the old churches in Sozopol. At noon we will travel south by bus to Ahtopol and Sinemorets, two places that have preserved their original appearance and boast gorgeous beaches and seaside panoramas. We will return to Sozopol, where we will spend a second night.
DAY 5 Bulgarian Strandzha – Turkish Strandzha (about 50 km)
In the morning we will set off for Malko Turnovo, gradually making our way into one of the most magical mountainous regions in Bulgaria, Strandzha. 17 km to the southwest of Tsarevo and surrounded by deep valleys is Bulgari, the only settlement in Strandzha with the status of a folklore village, where we will have our first photo session of the day. We will also spend part of the day visiting and taking pictures in the villages of Kosti, Brodilovo and elsewhere. We will spend the night in the village of Brodilovo.
DAY 6 Turkish Strandzha – Kiyikoy (about 100 km)
Early in the morning we will cross the border into Turkey and enter the Turkish part of Strandzha. We will go past the highest peak in the mountain range, Mahya Dagi (1031 m). There will be time for a short photo session in the nearby Turkish villages of Derekoy, Kapakli, Armagan, Cukurpinar, Baypinar and Kurudere. We will have a short photo session in the small mountain settlement of Demirkoy.
In the afternoon we will arrive in Kiyikoy at the edge of the sea. This small fishing village will provide us with wonderful opportunities to practice seaside landscape photography and to take pictures of the locals, most of whom are fishermen. We will have an evening photo session at the harbor, which is particularly picturesque. We will spend the night at a hotel in Kiyikoy.
DAY 7 The Kastro and Ormanli beaches – Istanbul (about 70 km)
In the morning we will travel by boat to the Kastro beach. We will drift past beautiful, empty beaches scattered with numerous caves and inaccessible cliffs. While floating along we will take pictures of the seascape before us directly from the boat. From the Kastro beach the bus will quickly take us to another, Ormanli, where we will be able to swim and enjoy the beautiful stretch of sand there (around noon). For those interested in a more intense adventure, we will walk along the beach to a shipwrecked vessel and back (a total of about 8 km). This is a fantastic subject for photography, though it will require some physical effort to reach it. In the afternoon the bus will take us to the lighthouse at the entry to the Bosphorus, where we can take pictures of ships entering the strait. Late in the afternoon we will arrive in Istanbul. Then we will check into a hotel. There will be an evening photo session. We will spend the night in Istanbul.
DAY 8 Istanbul
We will spend the entire day taking pictures in Istanbul. Istanbul is perhaps the most photogenic city in this part of the world, offering countless opportunities to practice street photography. On this day we will take pictures in the Sultanahmet district (the historical part of Istanbul), the Grand Bazaar and the university, the Golden Horn, the Galata Bridge, the Beyoglu neighborhood and Taksim Square. We will also go to places that are not visited by tourists, where we can take pictures of authentic city life.
DAY 9 Istanbul
We will spend the entire day practicing urban photography including an early photo session along the Bosphorus. A photo excursion will be organized in collaboration with a local photo club to one or several of the following sites: Balat, the glass factory, Santral Istanbul, the Yahya Efendi cemetery, Miniaturk, Rumeli Kavağı, Emirgan Park and/or Kuzguncuk.
DAY 10 Departure from Istanbul
Participants can return home directly from Istanbul or return to Sofia in the bus that will leave Istanbul early in the morning and in the evening reach the hotel in Sofia from which we began the trip. We can arrange walks around Istanbul for several additional days upon request.
BOOKING AND MORE INFO
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