Explore the rich culture, rural life and biodiversity of Bulgaria, one of Europe's least known natural wonderlands. Along traditional shepherds' paths, forest tracks and ancient Roman roads, we pass through a mixture of silent forests, lush meadows, rugged karst terrain and sandstone gorges to explore remote corners of this country. Over 15 days, we learn about Bulgaria's fascinating past, visit medieval monasteries and spend time in quiet towns that preserve the charm and tranquillity of earlier centuries. While the human population has declined in many places, this has allowed for the regeneration of flora and fauna. From Sofia we journey south along the Struma Valley, detouring at the Rila Mountains to visit the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We continue south to the foot of the Pirin Mountains and enjoy the architecture of Melnik, the smallest town in Bulgaria. Making our way into the Rodopi Mountains, we explore the rugged beauty of the Kanina, Buynovo and Trigrad Gorges, with their rare flora, fauna and beautiful caves. The unique hospitality and traditions of the region's Muslim villages is also a highlight. To the north, we enter the Thracian Plain, stopping to enjoy wine tasting en route to vibrant Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second largest city. After enjoying the architectural and cultural treasures of the old town, we visit the Bachkovo Monastery and its frescoes. Nearby the Valley of the Roses is one of the largest producers of rose oil in the world. Based for two nights in the historic town of Koprivshtitsa, we enjoy walks in surrounding Sredna Gora Mountains. We then make our way back to Sofia with time enjoy the capital's main sites with over 2000 years of history including Greek, Roman, Ottoman and Soviet occupation.