An illustrated guide to urban exploration in the Russian capital.
Obscura Day / May 2015
I was fortunate enough to be a part of the tour to Perperikon in the late spring of 2015. My experience of it was the highlight of my trip to Bulgaria, and certainly ranks among the most awe-inspiring and fulfilling places I have visited. To begin – he greeted our small band with free breakfast sandwiches, and made our comfort a top priority along the way. His advice on local food and restaurants was excellent.
Darmon is the kind of person who does these tours because he loves them. You cannot help but enjoy the honest enthusiasm he takes in discovering lost or forgotten monuments to human experience.
You simply cannot do a trip to places like this at a better price, and Darmon is someone I would be happy to travel to the ends of the earth and back with. I look forward to another adventure as soon as time allows!
– Hans K.
Arkitektour / September 2015
I had a great time with Darmon on the Bulgaria tour. We saw incredible things which you simply wouldn’t find on the usual Lonely Planet style tour. And all the time Darmon was there to tell us the story behind what we were looking at. To this day the UFO monument at Buzludzha stands with the most incredible things I have seen and visiting it with Darmon meant we got the full impact.
Overall it was a great week with a great bunch of people. I saw and learnt so much about Bulgaria and its history, and I will remember it fondly as I continue my travels.
– Aram B.
Bulgaria is a country still grappling with the post-Cold War world and its role within it. This tour is the perfect way to understand Bulgaria’s relationship with its past – through its communist-era monuments, modernist architecture and abandoned buildings.
Darmon’s knowledge and passion for the country, its architecture and monuments, is incredibly extensive – it completely enhanced and gave great context to every place we visited.
Even if you are someone who would not normally consider tours, this is ideal for you due to its laid-back and flexible nature. You get into parts of Bulgaria you would never normally visit, or reach on public transport, or see in any guidebook. It’s an absorbing and fascinating week.
– Phil R.
Arkitektour / October 2015
Since we’ve been married, we’ve travelled to dozens of countries all over the world and gone on countless tours, ranging from tolerable to fascinating. Darmon’s Bulgarian tour was unquestionably the most memorable and the most entertaining of all of them and I can quite confidently say that no other person on Earth can give the tours he does.
The combination of breadth and depth of information, knowledge of hidden places, genuine warmth, and affordable prices is hard to beat. 100% recommended!
As someone who prefers independent travel, the idea of taking tours has never appealed to me. The idea of being packed into a crowded bus and shepherded from one place to the next is the exact opposite of what I’m seeking from in my travel experiences. I also had no intentions of returning to Bulgaria prior to this tour, as my last solo visit hadn’t proven particularly memorable.
But as an avid reader of Darmon’s blog, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to travel with him. Darmon has put together a fantastic tour through a country many people haven’t even considered exploring. There are a huge number of incredible sites and monuments on this tour, many of which would be very difficult to find and explore solo. His extensive knowledge of the history behind many of these forgotten sites made for a fascinating and informative trip. On the practical side, the bus was comfortable, accommodation complimented the themes of the tour, and we visited some great restaurants. Special mention needs to be made of Mihail, who did a great job of ensuring everything ran smoothly and making sure everyone’s needs were met, while also sharing his personal history of living and growing up in Bulgaria.
Darmon is an excellent guide, and this tour has become one of the highlights of my travelling experiences. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
– David J.
Darmon’s Bulgarian Monument tour was without a doubt a highlight of my travelling life. Normally I would travel independently but on this occasion I felt, given the somewhat niche area on offer, that it would save time, sweat and a lot of missed sites, to go with someone who knew what they were talking about. And I was really, really not wrong.
Darmon and Mihail have set up an incredible tour. There’s such a huge amount of knowledge, time and love gone into the planning and it’s clear in every aspect. Pre-tour contact and itineraries were very clear and thorough – which for a forgetful, disorganised person like me is very useful! Transport is comfy, safe and covers a lot of ground in a short time.
The pacing of the tour is also excellent. Although a lot gets done it’s never too much, and there’s plenty of time booked in to do your own thing, rest or whatever you like. Darmon and Mihail, although organised are also pretty laid back and happy to make changes so you can follow your own nose.
The hotels we stayed in were always interesting and comfortable. Food ranged from good to exceptional and like the hotels, was varied enough that you get a good idea of the different sorts of cuisine in Bulgaria. (I should also add that I’m an awkward vegan, so was extremely grateful for the care taken to make sure I was well fed and happy.)
Then we get onto what for me is the most important thing, the sites we visited. Darmon’s genuine love for the country and its past is absolutely clear. He is passionate and knowledgeable in exactly the way you want a tour guide to be, he knows the history of each of the monuments (and thousands of others beside), the people behind them and what each mean to the citizens of Bulgaria. I never asked him a question he couldn’t answer and I learnt many amazing stories. I honestly could not imagine a better tour leader! This is all added to by the presence of Mihail who, as a Bulgarian can give insights that a non Bulgarian can’t.
I saw buildings and monuments that I never thought I would be able to visit… and stood in places that were more moving than I thought possible. It’s a fantastic experience, you should go.
– Matty M.