ALONG THE MIGHTY SHORES OF THE SOVIET MEDITERRANEAN
Romania – Moldova – Ukraine – Georgia – Turkey – Bulgaria
This tour is offered on a regular monthly basis from March through May and again from September through November. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the learn-more button below: we will match your preferences with the next relevant scheduled group departure. If you are still unsure about your desired departure date, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will provide you a range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with more than 4 friends, you can set your own departure date: we will arrange a bespoke tour just for you for the same price per person advertised below. If you are travelling solo or with less than four companions, we will then organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
DAY 1 - Burgas
From Turkey we’ll head north and enter Bulgaria, a quintessential southern Slavic nation once famously labelled as the sixteenth Soviet republic due to its close cultural, political and linguistic ties with the former USSR.
We’ll drive across the bucolic landscapes of the Strandzha Mountains, admiring and breathing the nature of the namesake national park, and follow the road down to Burgas, a large Black Sea port famous for its holiday resorts and its huge oil refineries (a typical Eastern European combo).
We’ll spend the rest of the day strolling around Burgas, enjoying its industrial decay and joining the locals for a refreshing beer at the city beach.
Dinner and overnight in Burgas.
DAY 2 - Varna
We’ll travel along the Black Sea coast crossing little fishing villages, rusty marinas and kitschy resorts until we’ll eventually arrive in Varna, the third-largest city in Bulgaria.
We’ll spend the day touring Varna, a true architectural paradise by the sea where Ottoman, Neo-Renaissance, Neoclassicism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and - most importantly - socialist shapes blend, more or less harmoniously - together.
Dinner and overnight in Varna.
DAY 3 - Constanța
From Bucharest we’ll move east and reach the classy city of Constanta, the main Romanian town along the melancholic, tacky and slightly depressing Black Sea coast.
Constanta is famous for its splendidly abandoned Art Nouveau casino as well as for its fair share of elegant neoclassical buildings, exotic Ottoman heritage and ancient Roman ruins.
We’ll spend a relaxing day in town touring its many architectonic wonders, sampling delicious seafood and hunting for the decrepit remnants of its communist past.
Lunch, dinner and overnight in Constanta.
DAY 4 - Danube Delta
From Constanta will move north and head for the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage and a labyrinth of water and land, made up of countless lakes, channels, islands at the end of the 2,860 km long river: the Danube Delta is, in fact, the largest European wetland.
The Danube Delta is also home to a rich ethnic mix of Ukrainian, Russian, Lipovan, Bulgarian, Romanian, Turkish, and Gagauz people, inhabiting melancholic hamlets scattered around the biosphere.
We’ll spend the day touring the Delta and indulge in the gastronomic delicacies offered by the river such as herring, grilled sturgeon fish and zander croquettes, tastily washed down with Aligote, Muscat or Merlot.
In the late afternoon we will transfer to the sleepy provincial town of Tulcea, where we’ll spend our last Romanian night.
Dinner and overnight in Tulcea.
DAY 5 - Southern Gagauzia and Budjak Steppes
From Romania we’ll head towards Ukraine making a forced but pleasant detour through Southern Moldova and Gagauzia.
First we’ll cross the Romania-Moldova border at the remote and desolate post of Giurgiulești, Moldova’s only port on the Danube, and then head to the sleepy Gagauz city of Vulcănești, a forgotten provincial outpost of concrete Soviet blocks and exotic cultural heritage: the Gagauzes are, in fact, a heavily Russified obscure Turkic ethnicity, professing Christian Orthodoxy and speaking an endangered language very few people outside the region have ever heard the sound of.
From Vulcănești we’ll then enter Ukraine and specifically the remote and melancholic region of Budjak, a multiethnic flatland of Wes-Anderson-style roadside cafés and crumbling Soviet blocks.
Travelling through the Budjak steppes, we’ll reach the Tuslovsky Lagoons, a group of limans boasting a rich and diverse ecosystem with thriving bird rookeries and ichthyic fauna.
In the evening we’ll drive to the end-of-the-world town of Tatarbunary to spend a night of fish and vodka with the locals.
Dinner and overnight in Tatarbunary.
DAY 6/7 - Odessa
From Tatarbunary, driving across Northern Budjak, we’ll reach the elegant city of Odessa, glory of the Soviet Union.
We’ll spend two full days in this city of elegant Tsarist buildings, heroic Soviet history and legendary stairways.
During our stay in the area we’ll also visit the remote Kinburn Spit, home to the National Park Biloberezhia Sviatoslava, a paradise for birdwatchers, beachgoers and scuba-divers.
Dinners and overnights in Odessa.
DAY 8 - Kherson
Today we’ll board a Soviet-era Black Sea Ferry travelling from Odessa to Batumi, capital of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara.
We’ll spend two days on the ferry, sailing slowly and melancholically across the dark waters of the Soviet Mediterranean.
Dinners and overnights on the ferry.
DAY 9 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
After enjoying a last Adjaran-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
For those flying out: to Batumi International Airport for your flight back home.
For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations: transfer to the local train/bus station.
End of the tour.
4 to 6 participants: 1990 € per person
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 20 euros/night), private transport in the region (minivan and/or jeep), entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, transport to and from the airport of arrival/departure (35 euros/ride), visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.
The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility. It is also possible to make the tour the other way around, starting from Ukraine and finishing in Bulgaria.