Bulgaria with private guide

By Jean Frazier
This item appears on page 30 of the February 2016 issue.
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Jean with Patrick Peneff on the Eagle Eye Platform, St. Iliya Peak, Bulgaria. Photo by John Frazier

My husband, John, and I generally are independent travelers, renting a car at our destination, but we felt a bit intimidated by the Cyrillic we knew we’d encounter on signs in Bulgaria. I had read outstanding reviews of the private guide Patrick Peneff (www.guide-bg.com) over the past few years in ITN, so we decided to make our April 1-15, 2015, trip to Bulgaria a guided tour with Patrick.

Patrick answered all of my emails promptly, and we booked the trip on Dec. 6, 2014. Including a 10% discount for early booking, a total of 2,975 (about $3,200 at the time) covered Patrick’s services as our guide and driver, petrol, 14 nights’ lodging, breakfasts, a wine tasting, and pickup and drop-off at the Sofia airport. Entrance fees, lunches and dinners were not included, but these costs were quite reasonable.

From the “Tours” section of his website, I came up with a “wish list” of places to see and things to do. Patrick molded this into a customized itinerary, yet once we got on the road and he got to know us, he presented other options. Some turned out to be among our favorite experiences of the trip — Devil’s Bridge, Eagle Rocks, the Eagle Eye Platform on St. Iliya Peak and the narrow-gauge railway. 

As arranged by Patrick, in the larger cities we stayed at lovely boutique hotels. We also stayed in guest houses in smaller villages with breathtaking scenery and enjoyed the personal aspect these places provided. Patrick is well known and well respected, which led to our getting upgraded rooms, the best tables at meals and other treats. His food recommendations were spot-on, too. We had some of the best food we’ve ever eaten.

He is an excellent, safe driver, he speaks perfect, idiomatic English, and his friendly, good-humored nature made him a pleasure to be with. Within 10 minutes of meeting him, we felt like he was a longtime friend. 

We were so impressed with Bulgaria — the awesome archaeological treasures, the beautiful churches and monasteries, gorgeous scenery, friendly people and delicious food. We highly recommend this incredible country as a destination, especially if Patrick is your guide.

JEAN FRAZIER

Scarborough, ME

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.
Jean with Patrick Peneff on the Eagle Eye Platform, St. Iliya Peak, Bulgaria. Photo by John Frazier

My husband, John, and I generally are independent travelers, renting a car at our destination, but we felt a bit intimidated by the Cyrillic we knew we’d encounter on signs in Bulgaria. I had read outstanding reviews of the private guide Patrick Peneff (www.guide-bg.com) over the past few years in ITN, so we decided to make our April 1-15, 2015, trip to Bulgaria a guided tour with Patrick.

Patrick answered all of my emails promptly, and we booked the trip on Dec. 6, 2014. Including a 10% discount for early booking, a total of 2,975 (about $3,200 at the time) covered Patrick’s services as our guide and driver, petrol, 14 nights’ lodging, breakfasts, a wine tasting, and pickup and drop-off at the Sofia airport. Entrance fees, lunches and dinners were not included, but these costs were quite reasonable.

From the “Tours” section of his website, I came up with a “wish list” of places to see and things to do. Patrick molded this into a customized itinerary, yet once we got on the road and he got to know us, he presented other options. Some turned out to be among our favorite experiences of the trip — Devil’s Bridge, Eagle Rocks, the Eagle Eye Platform on St. Iliya Peak and the narrow-gauge railway. 

As arranged by Patrick, in the larger cities we stayed at lovely boutique hotels. We also stayed in guest houses in smaller villages with breathtaking scenery and enjoyed the personal aspect these places provided. Patrick is well known and well respected, which led to our getting upgraded rooms, the best tables at meals and other treats. His food recommendations were spot-on, too. We had some of the best food we’ve ever eaten.

He is an excellent, safe driver, he speaks perfect, idiomatic English, and his friendly, good-humored nature made him a pleasure to be with. Within 10 minutes of meeting him, we felt like he was a longtime friend. 

We were so impressed with Bulgaria — the awesome archaeological treasures, the beautiful churches and monasteries, gorgeous scenery, friendly people and delicious food. We highly recommend this incredible country as a destination, especially if Patrick is your guide.

JEAN FRAZIER

Scarborough, ME