AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
Bulgaria Photography tour

Bulgaria Photography tour

Bulgaria Photography tour Overview

Our Bulgaria Photography tour is a photography holiday in Bulgaria. Available from 13 Jan 2020 to 19 Jan 2020 this 7 day trip costs from £2,999 and has a maximum group size of 6 persons.

Bulgaria sits in the south-eastern corner of Europe and, despite its small geographical size, boasts a surprising variety of breathtaking natural beauty and a rich and ancient history, shaped by Neolithic settlers, Thracians, Romans, Celts, Proto-Bulgarians, Slavs and Ottomans. Our Bulgaria photography tour in January 2020 will take us from villages near the western border with Serbia all the way to the Black Sea coast in the east, allowing us to experience the country and its people away from the tourist trails and observe and photograph local life at an altogether different and slower pace, something few tourists will ever do. Visiting Bulgaria in January means we can witness and document the “Kukeri”, or Mummers festivals, an ancient tradition intended to scare away evil spirits and bring prosperity, health and a good harvest during the year. We will visit several villages after dusk, where we will capture the raucous atmosphere when celebrations kick off in the evening. Mummers will be wearing handmade costumes of straw, cloth or fur, richly decorated wooden masks, and bells. The noise created by the mummers, as they dance around a bonfire with bells attached to their costumes weighing 100kg, is considerable! In the morning, we will head to the villages of Kosharevo, Banishte and Yardzhilovtsi, each with their unique mummers, who will parade in their costumes and masks in the main square before making their rounds from house to house. After a short ride on Bulgaria’s last narrow-gauge railway we will find out how ‘Rakia’, a type of fruit brandy popular in the Balkans, is made in a village distillery. Bulgarians adopted Christianity as their official religion in 864, earlier than many other European countries. We will visit the Eastern Orthodox Bachkovo Monastery, the second-largest in the country, which was founded in 1083. Only the ossuary survives from that time, but several buildings, including the main church, date back to the early 17thcentury. A highlight will be our visit to Plovdiv, said to be one of the oldest cities in Europe, with evidence of settlements going back to the 6thmillennium BC. The Old Town covers three of the seven hills on which Plovdiv was built, and features architecture ranging from antiquity through the Middle Ages to the Bulgarian revival period. You may spot a house with 144 windows! Spending time after dark in the Old Town, a Unesco Heritage Site, will give us another chance for some low-light photography. More recent history has left its mark too. Weather permitting, we will visit Buzludzha, one of the most spectacular communist monuments sitting atop a 1441m high mountain in the Balkans. After an overnight stay in Bulgaria’s medieval capital Veliko Tarnovo, where we will be treated to a lightshow over the medieval citadel, we meet Ivailo, a local legend who owns more than 85 Trabants, the classic East German car of the 60s, 70s and 80s. You might even have the chance to ride in one! The site is quite surreal, some cars even have trees growing right through them. Last stop will be the fishing villages at the Black Sea cost. Almost abandoned in winter, they will provide plenty of photographic opportunities for us, including remnants of the oil industry, which once flourished in the area. We’ll have lunch prepared by local fishermen. A visit to a traditional village en-route to Bucharest airport, from where we’ll catch our return flight, will complete our journey through Bulgaria’s past and present. Our photography tour will leave you with the sense of having discovered a country, whose beautiful nature, rich history and ancient traditions easily match the better-known tourist destinations. Your tour guide for this tour will be Astrid McGechan. Astrid uses a variety of techniques to capture her response to a scene and recreate it for the viewer through her photographs, such as long exposure, camera movement and deliberate defocusing. She loves exploring new cultures and feels equally compelled to capture the beautiful evening light by a lakeside, the strong graphic lines and reflections of city architecture or the essence of life and countryside of new locations abroad. Astrid has spent a year in Bulgaria and speaks the language, which will allow us to get more involved with the locals. Our ground tour guide will be Yuri, who has extensive experience guiding in Bulgaria and will provide fascinating insights into the history and culture during the tour. This tour is limited to six places to ensure each participant gets ample time with the tutor.
Find out more about the Bulgaria Photography tour