Bulgaria by Steam

Mighty Bulgarian 2-12-4T No. 46.03
Plovdiv Roman Amphitheatre - © Lyuba Tours
Plovdiv Old Town
Rila Monastery - © Lyuba Tours
Septemvri to Bansko train - © Lyuba Tours
Veliko Tarnovo

Holiday Highlights

  • 4 Private steam charters in the Royal Train historic carriages
  • 3 chartered carriages hauled by steam tank locomotive 46.03
  • Photo opportunities with vehicles running parallel with trains where possible
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Thracian Tomb and Rila Monastery
  • Plovdiv - Europe's oldest inhabited city
  • Guided tours of Sofia and Plovdiv by local English speaking guide
  • 9 days from £3,750pp
Tailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Thursday 11 May to Friday 19 May 2017

Journey through some of Bulgaria’s most scenic areas on the privately chartered Royal Train. Includes visits to cultural and historical sites plus a journey by narrow gauge through the Rhodope Mountains.

Bookings closed 


Day 1 – Arrival

Morning flight from London to Sofia, where we will be met and transferred to the Crystal Palace Hotel. We take an afternoon sightseeing tour of Sofia which includes The Alexander Nevsky Golden-Domed Cathedral and the Banya-Baschi mosque – a valuable monument of Islamic architecture - and the covered market.

Day 2 – Sofia - Kazanlak - Kardzhali

We have a morning departure by bus to Kazanlak where we visit the Thracian Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's unique architecture and incredible mural paintings are the best-preserved masterpieces from the Hellenistic period. We continue to Kardzhali for dinner and a 2-night stay.

Day 3 – To Podkova by Steam

We have an early morning transfer to the station to board our first charter train formed of historic carriages from the Royal Train of King Boris III. The train will be hauled by the steam tank locomotive 46.03 which was recently restored to working order and is the only steam loco with 12 coupled wheels in service in the world. We travel from Kardzhali to Most with photo stops en route in the early morning light. There will be time for lunch before our train returns to Kardzhali and continues to Momchilgrad and Podkova. Return to our hotel by road for dinner.

Day 4 – Steam to Plovdiv

We have another early morning bus transfer to Podkova station to rejoin the Royal Train for the return journey to Kardzhali, where we take advantage of the many photo stops en route. We continue by mainline train to Plovdiv for a 2-night stay.

Day 5 – Europe’s Oldest Inhabited City

Today we have a guided tour of Plovdiv, Europe's oldest inhabited city. With a history dating back as far as 4000BC, its indelible marks are still to be seen today. Visits include the Roman Stadium, the Ancient Theatre and the Ethnographic Museum, which houses over 40,000 exhibits. There will be time to explore at leisure this afternoon before we have dinner in a restaurant in Plovdiv's Old Town.

Day 6 – Narrow Gauge to Bansko

Transfer by bus to Septemvri where we will board our charter train which will be hauled by steam tank locomotive 609.79. The route crosses the Rhodope Mountains, travelling through spectacular scenery over Velingrad and Avramovo to Bansko, with lots of photo stops en route. The train will have diesel support between Velingrad and Avramovo. We transfer to our hotel for a 1-night stay and have dinner in a traditional tavern.

Day 7 – Rila Monastery

Following a morning tour of Bansko we depart by bus for the Rila Monastery. Bulgaria's largest and most renowned monastery, whose architectural and artistic magnificence has earned it the status of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We continue by road to Sofia for a 2-night stay at the Arena di Serdica Hotel.

Day 8 – Steam to Gjueshevo

Today we have our final steam charter, which once again will be formed of historic carriages from the Royal Train of King Boris III and hauled by the steam tank locomotive 46.03. There will be plenty of photo opportunities en route. We return to Sofia by road for a farewell dinner.

Day 9 – Sofia to London

Morning at leisure or optional visit to the Sofia Locomotive Depot before transferring by road to the airport for our afternoon flight back to London.

Tour Route


Selected Hotels

Crystal Palace and Arena di Serdica Hotels, Sofia

Hotel Perperikon, Kardzhali

Grand Hotel, Plovdiv

St. Ivan Rilski Hotel, Bansko

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airline
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on bed and breakfast basis
  • 8 Evening meals
  • All rail journeys as stated
  • All transfers as stated
  • All excursions and admission charges as listed
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £3,750
Single room supplement: £125
Deposit for this holiday: £200
Rates of exchange used are as at 1st August 2016

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


Alternative flash content


Get Adobe Flash player