Bulgaria Kukeri Festivals, Winter Rituals And Traditions

The months January and February (and even March) are packed with Kukeri Festivals, winter rituals, variety of masquerade games, name days (or saint’s days), celebrations and other folklore traditions. Here are some of the most famous and visited ones, which could be included in your cultural tour in Bulgaria in the winter 2021: Surva International Festival of Masquerade Games in Pernik (the largest and most famous festival Masquerade Games Festival in Bulgaria); The Kukeri Parades and Festivals in Blagoevgrad and Simitli; The Kukeri Masquerade Games in the villages around Pernik; Jordanovden (Jordan’s Day); The feast day of Epiphany celebrated on 6 th January in Kalofer; Todorovden (Theodore’s Day); Petlyovden (Rooster Day); Trifon Zarezan (Wine Day) etc. Attending the games and festivals can be combined with visiting interesting places, mostly in south-west Bulgaria, where these festivals take place.


Duration: a long week-end (3 nights/4 days); week-long (7 nights/8 days) or any other duration; 

Events to be attended: it depends on how many festivals you would like to attend;

Period of travel: January, February, March. These festivals are “movable”, so the dates are different each year. Please contact is for updated information.

Tour mileage: depending on how many festivals would you like to attend;

Price: take a look at the 3 options we offer below;

Depending on which and how many festivals you are interested to attend, we will design a preliminary program and then a Final Trip Plan. Attending the games and festivals can be combined with visiting interesting places, mostly in south-west Bulgaria.

You can visit the church “St. Teodor Tiron and St. Teodor Stratilat” in the village of Dobarsko, built in 1614. The church attracts the attention with its exceptionally valuable wall-paintings and icons, which distinguish by great mastery and by the use of untraditional motifs. The unusual approaches, used by the icon painters, are the reason that some people see an image of Jesus Christ in a space ship in some of the painted walls.

In the early years of the 20th century Leshten was a busy village with more than 500 inhabitants, most of them non-Muslim. Nowadays there are only a few local permanent inhabitants, but many of the old houses have been restored and renovated as summerhouses or guest-houses. They were built in the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century in the architectural style typical for this region of the country. Most of the houses have very big terraces, inner courtyards and their own taverns.

The church “St Paraskeva” was built in 1837 and a school, run by the local priest has been added to it. Nowadays the church is recognised as an Architectural and Cultural Monument of local importance. The school building has been converted to a pub, offering local cuisine and drinks.

You can also stop shortly in Gorno Dryanovo, a picturesque village with a predominantly Muslim population located only about 10 km from Leshten. Even though the  village lacks preserved old houses, it is especially interesting because of the lively activity carrying on along almost the entirety of the main street. Unlike villages with a primarily Christian composition, villages with large Muslim populations are full of life as the people there rarely leave them to live in big cities.

At the end of the road is the village of Kovachevitsa. The architecture of the houses in Kovachevica is original and unique. Most of them were built in the second half of the 19th century, but there are also new houses, built in the same style. Many Bulgarian movies has been filmed there.

In the past the village of Pirin was one of the great centres of medieval ferrous metallurgy in the region. There were 11 furnaces (primitive) and 5 big hammers, where about 30 forges for horseshoes, horse-nails, and other agricultural implements were manufactured. Along the river, clinging one to another, are situated the old sone-adobe houses, all in the shape of cross. The streets are narrow, steep and small, which further contribute to the enchanting atmosphere of the village.

The next stop would be the stone village of Dolen, declared an architectural reserve because of the unique Rhodope stone houses. Each house has its own specifically shaped chimney, and the streets are made of stone. Many of the houses are dilapidated, others are subject to intensive renovation, but still, here you can feel the spirit of the Bulgarian village of the last century. Church “St. Nichola” is remarkable with the planking of its ceiling, and frescoes are painted on them. Locals say that the church is a miraculous place and prayers of everyone in there are heard. Around the village you can see numerous quarries, providing the main material for the building of houses in the area.

Attending the winter festivals could be combined with all our west and central Rhodope Mountain itineraries and programs: http://guidetobulgaria.com/rhodope-mountains/ 


The preparation of a guided tour program/offer is free of charge. You’ll get a package price from us up front, which will include the services of a professionally qualified tour guide; accommodation; pick up and drop off from your hotel/accommodation; transportation by A/C vehicle, fuel and parking expenses; transfers from/to airport and all other additional services you might need.

You will get from us a Final Trip Plan of this tour in both web and pdf formats. Please have a look at sample web version with photos, maps and video here. Please download a sample version of a Final Trip Plan in pdf format here. 

You can use the Final Trip Plan to do the needed bookings and reservations by yourself.

The Final Trip Plan of the trip will contain: a web version of the tour; a pdf version of the tour (see the sample above), а short description (Resume); Basic information about the trip (duration, places to be visited, tour mileage, the period of travel;  а trip budget with detailed expenses table (downloadable pdf file); а Google map with the itinerary and bookmarks for places, hotels and restaurants; а link to a Google Earth interactive map with features like “Street view”, 3D etc; A link to a Google KML file, which can be uploaded to a cell phone and used during the trip; а detailed program day by day with activities and places to be visited, recommendations for accommodation and nice restaurants with links for bookings and reservations;

Additionally to the Final Trip Plan we make all the bookings and reservations on your behalf. We do this through our licensed travel agency “Thousand Voyages” Ltd.

Transportation and logistics: We coordinate, book and manage all the transportation elements of your trip – planes, trains, rent-a-cars, busses… everything to and from your destination, and between various places during your trip. 

Accommodations: We coordinate, book and manage all of your selected accommodations. We recommend the best options at every destination on your trip, including hotels, airbnbs, bed and breakfasts, that fit your tastes, budget and have availability during your travel dates. You will find the names of the properties in Final Trip Plan, with links to the websites or booking forms. Sometimes the chosen by us accommodation is not on booking.com or any other platform, especially those in the remote areas. In this case we provide the name of the owner and a telephone number. 

24/7 emergency support with a dedicated travel consultant: 4/7 Support throughout your journey (SMS, Email, Skype).

Secure Payments upon delivery of services: We offer two options: 1) PayPal – You will receive a PayPal invoice with the total amount to be paid. You can pay using your credit card or PayPal account; 2) A Revolut Business Account (in Euro) (UK) for a bank transfer.
Money Back Guarantee: In the unlikely event that you are not fully satisfied with our services, we offer a 100% money back return policy.
Discounts: We offer 20% discount voucher for next service;


We would be glad to help you organise this trip. Please use one of the options above. Please also have a look at all the services we offer here in Bulgaria. For your stay in Bulgaria or to organise the trip by yourself, you may wish to use the travel services we recommend and work with, and which you can book by yourself using the links beneath. Of course, you always can contact us at any time, and we will do our best to help.


Hotels/hostels/Airbnb Rentals


A collection of nice hotels in Sofia

Hostels and budget accomodation

Hostels, Bed &Breakfast, and other budget options in Sofia

Аirbnb Rentals

Nice properties for rent via airbnb in the center of Sofia
Masquerade participants marching by on the street, wearing Kukeri costumes during the traditional Kukeri Festival in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

We can organize all types of day trips, long weekends, and longer tours in Bulgaria. Please have a look at our core service – Custom Travel Planning Trips in Bulgaria at our hope page – http://guidetobulgaria.com


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Transfers in Bulgaria
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