Multi-Day Tour | Independent, Locally Hosted, Private

Essential Bulgaria (10 days)

Exeter International

Sofia, Bulgaria To Bucarest, Romania

Valid for Departures Now Through: 31 Dec 2019


Day 1
Sofia, Bulgaria
Grand Hotel Sofia None

Arrival in Sofia. The cost of the flight is not included in your program. You will be met by your private guide and driver for the transfer to your deluxe and centrally located hotel.

You will check in and have the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. If you are interested and not too tired, your guide will be happy to take you on a brief overview walking tour of Sofia’s central areas.

Day 2
Sofia, Bulgaria
Grand Hotel Sofia Breakfast

This morning at 10:00 AM, your guide and driver will meet you in the hotel lobby to take you to the National History Museum, which is located in a former presidential residence in the outskirts of Sofia. Your guide will take you into the museum and through several of its magnificent collections, including the Thracian gold treasures and other artifacts, jewelry dating back to the First Bulgarian kingdom, and exquisite pieces of religious art, which have survived the period of the Ottoman domination.

Later today, your guide and driver will take you back to Sofia’s center to continue your exploration of the Bulgarian capital. He will point out the famous Rotunda Sveti Georgi (St. George), which was built in the 4th Century as a Roman temple. Later, it was consecutively used as both a church and a mosque, and recent restoration works have revealed magnificent medieval frescoes. The rotunda is considered to be the oldest preserved building in Sofia.

If you are interested, you may also visit Sofia’s magnificent Great Synagogue, which was built by an Austrian architect in the Byzantine-Moorish style in 1909 and is the third-largest Sephardic synagogue in Europe, after the ones in Budapest and Amsterdam. It seats 1,200 and the interiors feature ornate decorations, arches, and a huge chandelier hanging from the dome. The synagogue’s grand opening was a lavish occasion attended by Bulgaria political elite and the Tsar himself who cut a ribbon if front of the Ark. The synagogue was damaged and its library destroyed during the bombings in the Second World War. During the Communist regime, the building remained empty and neglected for decades before being fully renovated in the 1990s and rededicated in 1996. A Jewish Museum was established in 1992 on the second floor which exhibits historical and Holocaust artifacts and documents.

Continuing with your tour, you will also see Sofia’s signature gold onion-domed landmark, the Alexander Nevski Memorial Cathedral, built as a tribute to the Russians who liberated Bulgaria from the Turks at the turn of the 19th Century.

The St. Sofia Church stands just across from the Alexander Nevski Church and is in rather modest contrast to the cathedral’s Russian flamboyance. The current building dates as far back as the 6th Century, but excavations have revealed that it stands on the remains of an even older church. The Ottomans who used it as a mosque added minarets to the church in the 16th Century. This graceful monument has inspired the city of Sofia’s coat of arms.

You will return to your hotel where you will enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure.

Day 3
Sandanski, Bulgaria
Sofia, Bulgaria
Park Hotel Pirin Breakfast

This morning, after meeting your guide and driver, you will transfer south to visit the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which is said to be one of the most impressive religious monuments on the continent with its size, unique architecture, unsurpassed abundance of frescoes and its amazing setting in the Rila Nature Park.

En route, in the outskirts of Sofia, you will stop at the small Boyana Church which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its rich collection of medieval murals, some dating back to the mid-13th Century and considered to be among the finest examples of religious art. The east wing of the two-storey church was originally constructed in the late 10th or early 11th Century. Later, the central wing was added in the 13th Century during the period of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. The whole building was finally finished with a further expansion to the west in the middle of the 19th Century.

The church is famous mainly for its frescoes from the 13th Century, which actually form a second layer over the paintings from earlier centuries and represent one of the most complete and well-preserved monuments of Eastern European mediaeval art, including a total of 89 scenes with 240 human images are depicted on the walls of the church.

Later this afternoon, you will reach the majestic Rila Monastery. It is believed that the monastery was founded by the hermit St. John of Rila (Ivan Rilski), whose name it bears, in the 10th Century. The hermit actually lived in a cave not far from the monastery's location, while the complex was built by his students, who came to the mountains to receive their education. Ever since its creation, the Rila Monastery was supported with large donations by the Bulgarian rulers, gradually turning the monastery into a cultural and spiritual center throughout the centuries of the Ottoman dominations.

The monastery museum houses a rich collection of valuable ancient manuscripts, coins, and weapons. After visiting the museum’s historic treasures, you will visit the main church.

After your tour of the Rila Monastery, you will continue south to the town of Sandanski located in the Southwestern corner of Bulgaria. This area has been known for its mineral springs since Roman times and Sandanski is still a famous Bulgarian spa resort. Upon your arrival in Sandanski, you will check in at your elegant and picturesquely-located hotel and enjoy an evening at your leisure.  

Day 4
Sandanski, Bulgaria
Park Hotel Pirin Breakfast

This morning, after again meeting with your guide and driver, you will transfer east to the Southern slopes of the Pirin Mountains to visit the Rozhen Monastery nestled in the hills above a village of the same name.

Originally established in the 13th century by a local ruler, the Rozhen Monastery is one of the few well-preserved Bulgarian medieval monasteries. The monastery church lies a short distance down the hill and was built and decorated with frescoes in the 16th century. The monastery was devastated by fire between 1662 and 1674, destroying the library and severely damaging most buildings. It was restored over the next century with the financial help from around the country.  Today, the best-preserved frescoes are from the beginning of the 18th century.

Your next stop will be at the charming town of Melnik which is tucked away in a valley among sandstone hills.  Once a thriving center of wine making and trade, Melnik is now an architectural reserve and officially the smallest Bulgarian town with a population of less than 300. It has an amazing location amid fascinating sandstone rock formations and is still famous for the locally-produced wine made from the dark-blue grapes grown in the volcanic soil of the surrounding areas.  Your guide will take you around Melnik to show you some of the restored traditional houses from the 18-19th century (a period known as the Bulgarian Renaissance), the ruins of the medieval fortress, and the local history museum. Your guide will also suggest a local restaurant for lunch where you can also taste the red full-bodied Melnik wine. The cost of lunch is not included in your program.

This afternoon, you will continue to Rupite – a small village not far from Melnik. It is believed that this area is in fact the crater of a long-extinct volcano as it is rich with volcanic rocks and thermal springs, but Rupite is probably best known as the place where the famous Bulgarian prophet, natural healer, and clairvoyant Baba (Grandmother) Vanga lived and was buried. The Church of St. Petka was erected on a spot chosen by Baba Vanga before her death and has since then become a place of worship and pilgrimage. The church is rather contemporary in design and its frescoes were painted by a noted modern Bulgarian artist but were generally not approved by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for being too realistic and not conforming to the official religious canons.

Later today, you will return to Sandanski where you may stop at the monument of Spartacus. Believed to have been of the Thracian tribe Medi, which once occupied the territory of present-day Southwestern Bulgaria, Spartacus was a gladiator in the Roman Empire and later led a slave uprising known as the Third Servile War. It is said that Spartacus was born in the area around Sandanski.

Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. You may wish to sample some of the numerous spa treatments at your hotel.  

Day 5
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Sandanski, Bulgaria
Hebros Breakfast

This morning, your guide and river will take you north of Sandanski to the mountain town of Bansko.

Once a sleepy town located right at the foot of the Pirin Mountain, Bansko is gradually being developed into one of Bulgaria’s prime ski resort, but still boasts a charming Old Town featuring a maze of winding cobblestone streets lined with traditional stone and timber houses. In the very center of the Old Town, the stunning 19th-century Holly Trinity Church is surrounded by a 12-foot-tall wall erected in order to hide its true dimensions which exceeded the limit set by the Ottomans. Bansko was also one of three icon-painting schools of Bulgaria and the local Icon Museum has a fascinating collection of works by artists from the Bansko School which flourished in the 19th century. The buildings housing the museum surround a quiet courtyard and are from the 1750s when they were used as a hostel for traveling nuns.

After some time for lunch in Bansko (not included in the cost of your trip) you will continue through the covered with pinewoods slopes of the Rodopi Mountains to reach the town of Batak near a picturesque reservoir with an island. You will stroll with your guide to learn about this small town’s history which is mainly related to the struggles for freedom under the times of Ottoman domination (14th -19th century). As Batak supported the 1876 April Upraising against the Ottomans, the town was punished with exceptional cruelty. Some 5,000 of its inhabitants were brutally slaughtered and this event provoked international outrage which led to pressure being put on the Ottoman Empire to eventually recognize Bulgaria’s independence. You can visit the local history museum and the old church to see some striking displays devoted to the Batak massacre.    

You will continue northeast to Plovdiv - the second largest city in Bulgaria after the capital Sofia. After your arrival in Plovdiv this evening, you will check in at your small and charming hotel located in the historic Old Town. The rest of the evening will be at your leisure. We suggest dining in the hotel’s excellent restaurant which prides itself as being a ‘slow-food’ establishment and has won numerous culinary awards.

Day 6
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Hebros Breakfast

This morning, your guide will take on an overview tour of Plovdiv’s Old Town. The first settlement on this place was founded by the Thracians, and was later conquered by Philip of Macedonia – the father of Alexander the Great, who named it after himself – Philipopolis (the town of Philip). The Romans came here around the turn of the first millennia and further fortified the city, also building streets, towers and aqueducts. You will have a chance to see the famous Roman amphitheater and the Roman Stadium, which were also built in that period (2nd Century AD). The amphitheater could seat at that time 6,000 spectators and was probably the site of bloody gladiator fights. It is still used today for performances and cultural events.

You will stroll along the cobble-stoned streets of the Old Town and admire its beautifully restored Baroque houses. Mostly built in the 19th Century, these houses typically feature overhanging upper floors with jutting eaves, porticos with colonnades, and brightly colored facades. The interiors usually include a salon, one or more drawing rooms, and bedrooms featuring finely carved woodwork, wall decorations, ornamental niches, and mid-19th-Century European furniture.

In the afternoon, you will transfer to the second largest Bulgarian monastery – Bachkovo, which is situated in a narrow river valley in the Rodopi Mountains. Bachkovo is known for its miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary with Jesus, because of which the monastery has been a pilgrimage site for centuries. The frescos in the monastery’s medieval refectory are fabulous examples of 17th Century art.  The dome of the church of St. Nicholas (Sveti Nikola) also contains some well-preserved frescoes.  

Later today, you will return to Plovdiv and your hotel.  The rest of the evening will be at your leisure.

Day 7
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Grand Hotel Yantra Breakfast

Early this morning, after having checked out of your hotel in Plovdiv, your driver and guide will take you north to Kazanlak where you will enjoy the events of the annual Rose Festival.  

Kazanlak is located at the foot of the Balkan Mountains and at the eastern end of the famous Rose Valley which has been a center of rose cultivation and rose oil extraction for centuries. It is believed that the particular type or rose used for rose oil extraction was introduced to this region from Asia Minor in the 18th - 19th century and, thanks to the favorable climate and soil, rose oil production soon became a major industry with plantations stretching for miles and supplying over half of the world’s supply of rose oil. The roses bloom from late May till early June and have to be hand-picked before dawn in order to preserve their oil content.

The week-long Rose Festival is an annual event unique to Bulgaria and held in the first week of June. Its culmination is always on the first Sunday in June its main event is the harvesting ritual in the rose plantations near Kazanlak followed by parades, performances of traditional Bulgarian music and dance (including the ‘horo’ ring dance), and the election of a Rose Queen.

After the Rose Festival, you will have the chance to visit the famous Thracian Tomb located just north of Kazanlak. The Kazanlak Tomb is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates back to the 4th Century BC. Discovered in 1944, it is located near the ancient Seutopolis - the former capital city of the Thracian king Seutes III, and is part of a large Thracian necropolis. The tomb’s interiors include a narrow corridor and a round burial chamber, both decorated with murals representing Thracian burial rituals and culture. These paintings are Bulgaria’s best-preserved artistic masterpieces from the Hellenistic period.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

This afternoon, you will enjoy a private tour of a rose oil distillery near Kazanlak. An engineer from the factory will show you the entire process – how the rose petals are collected, soaked, and heated so that the fragrance can be captured during the steam distillation.  

You will continue your journey through the Shipka Pass, which was the scene of an epic battle during the Russo-Turkish War in 1877, when some 7,000 Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers died while successfully fending off the attacks of some 27,000 Turkish troops trying to cross the mountain range and enforce the Ottoman army in the northern part of the country.  Today, 900 steps lead to the mountain top, dominated by the impressive Freedom Monument, dedicated to the fallen soldiers and offering magnificent vistas.

This evening, you will arrive in Veliko Tarnovo – the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.  You will check in at your hotel and enjoy an evening at your leisure.

Day 8
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Grand Hotel Yantra Breakfast

Today, you will start with a morning tour of the medieval capital of Veliko Tarnovo, including a visit to the Tsarevets Royal Hill, where Bulgaria’s tsars and other distinguished gentry had their royal residences and mansions. You may also visit the Baldwin Tower, where Baldwin of Flanders – one of the leaders of the Fourth Crusade and conqueror of Constantinople, was imprisoned and found his death in the 13th Century. You can climb the stairs up to the main church for splendid views over the city, and also see the Execution rock, from where traitors and enemies of the royal family were once pushed into the abyss of the Yantra river canyon.

The Old Town of Veliko Tarnovo boasts some beautiful examples of 19th Century architecture and a cobbled street with some charming craft shops. The Sarafkina House is a local museum on the pleasant Gurko Street, which is worth visiting.

If you are interested, your guide will point out some of Tarnovo’s numerous medieval churches, mostly situated between the Tsarevets and the Trapezitsa Hills where once the nobles and courtiers used to live, there are two which are not to be missed. The recently renovated Church of the Forty Martyrs has frescoes dating back to the 9th Century. The St. Dimitar Church, which you will be able to see only from the outside, is actually the town’s oldest church, and it is where the Bulgarian nobles Assen and Peter proclaimed the revolt against the Byzantine rule, which led to the formation of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom in the 12th Century.

This afternoon, you will transfer to the picturesque village and architectural reserve of Arbanassi, where some 90 churches, homes, and monasteries are protected as cultural monuments. Originally founded in the 15th Century, the village prospered from trade after the Turkish Sultan gave it as a present to one of his son-in-laws, thus exempting it from taxation. Walking along Arbanassi’s cobble stoned streets; you will visit the oldest remaining church in the village – the Church of Nativity. Its interiors are completely covered with distinctive 16th and 17th Century frescoes, featuring over 3,500 figures in some 2,000 scenes.

You will return to Veliko Tarnovo and enjoy an evening at your leisure.

Day 9
Bucarest, Romania
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Athenee Palace Hilton Breakfast

Early this morning, after meeting your guide and driver, you will transfer from Veliko Tarnovo to Russe – Bulgaria’s main river port located on the Danube River.

If you are interested, your guide and driver will take you to the Ivanovo Rock Monastery - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On this site, several caves were used for religious purposes in as early as the 13th Century. Later, a monastery was built under the sponsorship of the Bulgarian tsars and was linked to the royal court, thus becoming a regional center of the arts, culture, and religion. The monastery is beautifully decorated with 14th Century murals, depicting portraits of saints and religious scenes.  

Later today, your Bulgarian driver and guide will transfer you along the massive steel bridge, the longest in Europe, which crosses the Danube and the Romanian- Bulgarian border, to the town of Giurgiu – a major river port and the main gateway to Romania from Bulgaria.

Continue onto Bucharest, Romania.

Day 10
Bucarest, Romania
None Breakfast

This morning, you will be privately transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Tour Features


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A sample itinerary for FIT touring in Bulgaria.

About Us

For 25 years, Exeter International has established itself as the leading deluxe specialist operator to Central and Eastern Europe, Russia & Central Asia. We use our intimate regional knowledge and expertise to create unique, often limited access travel experiences. Our multi-national, multi-lingual specialists craft authentic insider experiences, created with imagination. When you book with Exeter International you can expect the top guides in each city pre-reserved weeks in advance, matched to your preferences. Our specialists have also been recognized by the Conde Nast and Travel & Leisure top agent list since their inception.

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The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Reviews and Recommendations for Exeter International


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Highly recomended

By: KandeeB

Reviewed on: 06 Jun 2013

Exeter International was staffed with first class personnel from the drivers to the EXTRAORDINARY guides through out the trip. The vehicles used to transport us were luxurious. The hotels were commensurate with the level of quality expected by the cost and located in the most advantageous sites. Totally organized and stress free experience.
Travel Advisor:  Brigitte Feinberg
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Great high-end travel company

By: Not provided

Reviewed on: 23 Aug 2013

Does superb job for demanding high-end travel Customized travel with excellent guides and programs. You pay but you get what you pay for.
Travel Advisor:  Leah Bergner
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Highly recommend

By: Jean

Reviewed on: 01 Oct 2013

Exeter was very well organised with very good guides and drivers. Our requests were responded to with professional speed. Some of our hotels could have been better. But we understand that they were the best available. We would have no hesitation using this agency again and recommending them to others.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Yale
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Pampered Travel

By: KandeeB

Reviewed on: 07 Nov 2013

Exeter provides luxury travel with all the hassles and worries removed. The quality of their drivers and guides is first rate. From the minute you arrive until your final departure you are in excellent hands. The itinerary is well thought out and provides many special visitations not offered to other tourists. I have heartily recommended Exeter to several people without any reservation.
Travel Advisor:  Brigitte Feinberg


By: Jean

Reviewed on: 13 Jun 2014

We have used Exeter on a prior trip and were equally happy with them this time. We did have a Russian Visa situation which could have been serious, but was resolved quickly.The guide spoke very good English and was knowledgable in history and art along with the local architecture. The driver was also very safe in a chaotic traffic system.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Yale

highly recommend

By: BB

Reviewed on: 22 Jun 2014

Travel Advisor:  Rochelle Lieberman

Highly recommended

By: Mkt123

Reviewed on: 11 Jul 2014

We were connected with local English speaking guides and drivers that gave us an inside view of each country we traveled to. The experience was priceless.
Travel Advisor:  Martha Rhodes

Oustanding Guides

By: J & W

Reviewed on: 15 Oct 2014

All of the services provided by Exeter were truly outstanding. The hotel accommodations were excellent. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and well organized. The drivers were prompt and courteous. The suggestions for restaurants and additional things to do and see were very good. The printed booklet of helpful hints and language support was a nice bit of support for travelers who are visiting countries for the first time.
Travel Advisor:  Sara Krutsinger

Across the Russian Far East

By: Judee 544

Reviewed on: 30 Aug 2015

Everything was perfectly planned and resulted in a wonderfully exciting trip with all of our interests and needs taken into account. going on such an adventurous and challenging trip, so far away when one is no longer young could have been quite difficult, but instead was nothing but a fabulous experience. Wonderful guides and wonderful experiences on the Trans-Siberian Express and the cities of the Russian Far East, and a lovely hotel at the end in Moscow.
Travel Advisor:  Vivian Rubenstein

Excellent Russian Trip

By: Roger

Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2016

Exeter provided all of our guides and support for a 9 day family trip to Russia - very well informed, personable guides and smooth transportation. We were a bit hesitant to go to Russia but highly recommend - the trip of a lifetime !
Travel Advisor:  Tony Huffman
Not Recommended


By: TheGrapevine

Reviewed on: 14 Feb 2017

Take out trip insurance - not going to bash - but you get the idea.....
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1st Class

By: Carlos Gavidia

Reviewed on: 08 Mar 2017

From the beginning to the end this organization really surprised me! From getting our travel visas for Moscow to every detail of the tour pick up transfers and tours through the city were perfectly executed
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Yale



Reviewed on: 14 May 2017

Exeter was excellent with tour logistics and great guide. Seamless trip.
Travel Advisor:  Britt Gerber

Great planning and service

By: WWII And Cold War History

Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2017

Exeter planned an excellent two week trip for me and my three teenagers. We went to Poland, Germany and Amsterdam. We focused on WWII and Cold War history. The plan was thoughtful and well paced. When I had questions Exeter staff responded promptly. A very good experience.
Travel Advisor:  Josh Friedman

St. Petersburg Tour

By: B Snead

Reviewed on: 18 Jul 2017

Our driver and guide could not have been better. Polite and accommodating for the three days we were in St. Petersburg. We saw a lot of attractions, got some behind the scenes tours and were able to access some sights prior to the general public. I would use Exeter again without hesitation!
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth


By: Hodges

Reviewed on: 17 Jul 2017

Exceeded all expectation. Super cost effective to compared to Oceania.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth

Germany & Russia

By: Oz

Reviewed on: 19 Jul 2017

I strongley reccomend Exeter for shore excursions. Their staff and vehicles were first class, and the value was tremendous. We never felt uncomfortable or worried about being back to the ship on time. True professionals.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth

Great tour

By: mt

Reviewed on: 25 Aug 2017

Knowledgable, efficient and friendly tour operators!

Baltic Cruise

By: Roger

Reviewed on: 17 Sep 2017

Fantastic tour service. Their guides and drivers were outstanding. Guides all had an excellent knowledge of the city and the history. We are very pleased that Ralph recommended Exeter. When comparing notes with others that had used the tours supplied by the ship, we learned that we had seen and accomplished much more than they had. Our guides were able to make special arrangements that others could not. Will always use Exeter when it is available
Travel Advisor:  Ralph Iantosca

Great tour

By: Ann

Reviewed on: 26 Sep 2017

Everything was wonderful. Very nice guide and well informed about the places we visited.

Exeter International

By: Goodwitch

Reviewed on: 02 Oct 2017

All guides were great and expedited airport service was fantastic
Travel Advisor:  Joanne Smith

St Petersburg

By: Swan

Reviewed on: 06 Nov 2017

Absolutely fabulous
Travel Advisor:  Sherrie Coffey

Custom Guided Tour

By: JJ

Reviewed on: 18 Dec 2017

The tour guides and drivers were outstanding plus. They were very personable, always early, and their local knowledge was excellent. All of them were eager to please and all adapted to the changing crowd situation caused by weather, national holiday, or political meeting.
Travel Advisor:  Eleanor Hardy

Well run independent travel to Russia

By: Susan and Murray Morrison

Reviewed on: 18 Jun 2018

From getting visas for us to planning a private visit to Russia for us, Exeter International was top notch. No detail was overlooked. The guides that Exeter provided were outstanding, spoke fluent English, had a good grasp of Russian history and were willing to accommodate our every interest. The guides were truly experts about their cities: museums, palaces, and surroundings. In addition, the guides were friendly and helpful. Exeter ran a well organized, well thought-out tour of Russia for the two of us.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Yale

Family time and fun

By: Jane

Reviewed on: 27 Jul 2018

My experience with Exeter was positive. The drivers were on time and very courteous. There was water in the cars for us. They had information to offer as we drove to destinations. They were accommodating to our schedules and were very helpful if we had questions. We missed walking around the interior of a famous church due to the day the tour was scheduled. There were services going on and we could not enter. Another tour was partly taken up by a long walking tour to get to a castle. I would have rather spent time inside the castle. We had to exit with the guide and missed a lot of interesting things. Too bad we were not allowed to stay inside on our own to see more.
Travel Advisor:  Stephanie Miller Murphy

less common places tour

By: ssunsfanatic

Reviewed on: 26 Jul 2018

good tour to less visited places in Bergen. We had been to the more common tourist sites.
Travel Advisor:  Leah Bergner

Central Europe

By: Tour of Central Europe and QM2 to NYC

Reviewed on: 26 Jul 2018

Vienna, Prague, Krakow, Berlin, Hamburg. Wonderful hotels, wonderful guides, wonderful restaurants. Not one single mistake or hiccup. Exeter does an outstanding job.
Travel Advisor:  Brigitte Feinberg

St. Petersburg

By: SandStar

Reviewed on: 06 Aug 2018

We had a wonderful trip. Hotel was excellent. They were able to accommodate our special requests and schedule. We highly recommend the local guide, Anya, who was extremely knowledgeable about local and Russian history.
Travel Advisor:  Linda Zelisko

Exeter tour guides

By: smcknight

Reviewed on: 06 Aug 2018

We had basically positive experiences both days we toured with Exeter guides. The first day there was a little too much emphasis placed on taking us to "gift shops" and expecting us to buy tourist trinkets. The heat and the crowds may have been easier to bare if we had gone to the Hermitage in the early morning instead of wasting 45-50 minutes in a trinket shop. The second guide was very professional and led us seamlessly through Catherine's palace and the palaces on the canal in St. Petersburg.
Travel Advisor:  Joanne Meyer

Every detail was perfect!

By: Beth

Reviewed on: 31 Aug 2018

Exeter was a joy to work with. Our drivers and tour guides were helpful, friendly, and very knowledgeable. I traveled with my 13-year-old daughter, and our tours were uniquely tailored to interest her. I had heard horror stories about obtaining Russian visas. Not for us! Exeter took care of everything, and quickly. I loved the custom packet that they sent me in advance of the trip. It listed our itinerary in detail, helpful phone numbers, restaurant recommendations, and travel tips that were specific for our destinations. I would enthusiastically recommend Exeter for travel planning.
Travel Advisor:  Andre Koester

St. Petersburg tour

By: Rocky Mountain Flier

Reviewed on: 31 Aug 2018

Becky recommended Exeter International for my party of four. We all agreed after two full days of touring with our guide and driver that we would not have wanted to see St. Petersburg any other way. Our guide was excellent and very informed and we liked the driver too. We were able to avoid the long lines and were admitted to areas of the palaces that other visitors would never have the opportunity to see. We invited her to join us for lunch on both days whereby we learned even more about St. Petersburg.
Travel Advisor:  Becky Sullivan

Exeter/Norwegian Tour

By: Lien

Reviewed on: 21 Sep 2018

Exeter (Jody Ricottone) coordinated my recent sole tour of Norway. This involved guides in three cities, hotels in those cities and in two fjordside locations, trains and ferry, rental car and other transfer arrangements. I was very pleased with everything, including that Jody paid close attention to what I wanted and was responsive to my requests. Her recommendations and examples of somewhat similar sole tours really assisted me in my planning. The entire trip went off without a scheduling hitch, and introduced me, as I had wished, to Norwegian sites and experiences I never would have seen or had without Jody's good work.
Travel Advisor:  Wanda Worsley

Russia St. Petersburg

By: Jay Johnson

Reviewed on: 07 Oct 2018

The guide and driver were both wonderful and full of knowledge and professionalism. I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone. They also had great suggestions for lunch venues, during our stay in and about St. Petersburg.
Travel Advisor:  Jay Johnson

Russia Private Tour

By: Susan

Reviewed on: 01 Oct 2018

We engaged Exeter to provide a private tour in St Petersburg, Russia. Exeter was outstanding!! We had a guide, Anya Smirnova, and driver for 3 days and it was a fabulous experience. Anya spoke perfect English and was able to relate the sites we saw to Russian history and culture in a fascinating manner. We asked her many, many questions that she readily answered. Her knowledge was extensive. We had special entry to the exhibits, bypassing the long normal entry lines. We had the flexibility to see what was of interest to us, and the ability to visit sites that the ship tours did not include. For lunch we stopped at wonderful restaurants that served authentic Russian food at reasonable prices, which was far better food than on the ship. The day at Peterhof Palace, with the extravagant fountains and grotto, was especially memorable. Our experience with Exeter was outstanding and I would highly recommend them for future private tours.

Great Tour Group

By: Tommy

Reviewed on: 07 Oct 2018

We had a four day touring experience with Exeter in Prague and both my wife and myself could not be happier. Peter, our driver met us for the transfer from our ship to Prague right on time and throughout our tour. He was extremely professional and made sure we were where we needed to be and was always pleasant. We felt very comfortable while being driven. Lucie, our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable in all areas that we visited and made sure we got to see everything we were supposed to see and more. She worked things out while we were with her to ensure things went like clockwork and we were not disappointed. I can't say enough how using Exexter made our time in Prague a wonderful experience and I would not hesistate using them again.
Travel Advisor:  Ourisman Travel


By: Sharon

Reviewed on: 25 Oct 2018

The quality of the tours and the guides was great. Some of the guides were exceptional. The tours were informative and we enjoyed them very much.
Travel Advisor:  Joanne Smith

russian guides

By: Toni

Reviewed on: 29 Oct 2018

Exeter was all you could ask for. We were always met on time and the guides were terrific.
Travel Advisor:  Jamo Ladd