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3
moderate

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 4 nights simple family hotels
  • 3 nights guesthouse
Meals
  • 5 Dinners
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days£585GBP

Overview

Trip Code: BOG

Trip highlights


  • Exploring the Central Balkan National Park: a third of the park’s territory comprises nine reserves, four of which - Boatin, Tsarichina, Steneto and Dzhendema - are part of the world Biosphere Reserves Network under the UNESCO “Man and Biosphere” Program
  • Visiting Glozhene Monastery, built in the 13th century by the Ukrainian prince Glozh and housing an icon said to be 1000 years old
  • Staying in the beautiful mountain resort of Ribaritsa village
  • Exploring Saeva Dupka cave: its corridors offer some of the most beautiful cave formations in Bulgaria

The Balkan Mountains offer keen walkers a series of trails through a diverse landscape that is dotted with tiny villages that brim with traditional hospitality. It's a land where time stands still, evidenced by the old water mills that are still in operation and the use of centuries old methods to produce local specialties such as rakia (brandy), wild berry jams and Balkan brine cheese. Surrounding the villages are immense beech forests, alpine meadows carpeted with flowers, high ridges with endless views and lush river valleys. During this week long self guided walk there is ample opportunity to experience these highlights while on foot, while at night you'll soak up the warm welcome in specially chosen hotels and guesthouses.

Countries:

Bulgaria

Starting Point:

Sofia

Finishing Point:

Sofia


Itinerary

On arrival at Sofia Airport you will be transferred to your guesthouse in the city centre. The remainder of the day is free to explore Bulgaria's capital.

Meals:  Nil

This morning you are transferred to Saeva Dupka (1.5 hours), considered one of the most beautiful caves in Bulgaria. Visit the caves before a further transfer takes you to the village of Glozhene. From here a short trek through beech woods leads you to Glozhene Monastery, with its 1000-year-old icon of St George. From the monastery you will follow the path climbing Mt Lisets which offers stunning views over the Teteven Valley and the Central Balkan range. Continue along some narrow paths and a dirt road to Goliam Izvor. Overnight in Goliam Izvor village. Walking: approx 13.5km/8.4mi, ascent: 400m/1312ft; descent: 350m/1148ft

Meals:  B,D

Today you will start walking directly from your guest house in the village centre, pass through plum tree orchards and pine forests. After a gentle ascent to Mt Orlyak you will follow a dirt road to the small village of Brusen, where a transfer will take you to the village of Lopian for your overnight stay. If you prefer to walk, this is an additional 2 hours. In the afternoon, optional visit by car to Etropole Monastery and a nearby waterfall (supplement applies). Walking: 7.4km/4.6mi, ascent: 600m/1969ft; descent: 350m/1148ft

Meals:  B,D

Today's trek is a wonderful introduction to the region's picturesque landscapes of vast meadows dotted with lots of old apple tree gardens and grazing sheep. The path will take you up hill and then along a ridge, before descending to Cherni Vit village, renowned for its great dancers and traditional singers. Walking: 11.4km/7mi, ascent: 450m/1476ft; descent: 300m/984ft

Meals:  B,D

This morning, after a short transfer to Kordela hut, you embark on arguably the most adventurous part of the trip. The track passes through century-old beech forests in the Boatin Reserve (at 825m/2707ft), reaching a high point at 1080m/3543ft after an hour of gentle ascent. From there, the path descends the other side of the hill, reaching a forestry road that leads to the region of Kostina, where the Bulgarian revolutionary and national hero, Georgi Benkovski, was killed by the Ottomans. This is a good spot for lunch. From this point you walk 3km/1.9mi along a peaceful asphalt road amongst gardens, meadows, villas and houses, to the village of Ribaritsa, where you stay overnight (at 545m/1788ft). Walking: 11km/6.8mi, ascent: 250m/820ft; descent: 530m/1739ft

Meals:  B,D

Today you walk a circuit route, along the Debeli Dial ridge surrounding Ribaritsa and climb to its peak (1150m/3773ft) for fine views of the Central Balkan Mountains. The path descends along the Osenovia Rat ridge towards the Vasiliov Hut. On the way back to your hotel, you can observe the local way of life and enjoy the atmosphere of a typical Balkan mountain village. Walking: 9.5km/5.9mi, ascentl: 400m/1312ft; descent: 400m/1312ft

Meals:  B,D

After a morning transfer to Teteven your walking commences. The path goes upwards through broad leafed forests and vast meadows to the rocks of Cherven Peak, where you will be welcomed with a superb panoramic view over the town of Teteven and the valley of Beli Vit River. From there you take the eco-path leading to Babintsi village and further down to Teteven. Overnight in Teteven. Walking: 15km/9.3mi, ascent: 700m/2296ft; descent: 700m/2296ft

Meals:  B

After breakfast, transfer to Sofia airport (1.5 hrs drive) where the trip concludes.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts, 5 dinners - Continental breakfasts are served and will often consist of breads, spreads, yoghurt, cheese, tea, coffee & juices. Dinner is generally 3 courses consisting of a mixture of local and international dishes.
  • 4 nights in simple family hotels with ensuite facilities (days 1, 5, 6, 7), 3 nights guesthouse with shared facilities (days 2, 3, 4)
  • Luggage transfers and transfers where specified during the walk
  • Map and detailed road book per room booked
  • Private transfers to/from Sofia airport
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to and from Sofia
  • Lunch (allow €5-6 for lunch box or €6-12 for 3 course lunch], drinks, dinner on day 1 and day 7
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Tour guide – this is a self guided trip
  • Tips
  • Travel insurance - mandatory

Suitability

moderate

3

The walking is moderate (3) grade with daily walks of around 3-5 hours, with a maximum ascent and descent of 810 metres/2657 feet. There are some stages during the walk with where you will encounter steep uphills, descents, and many sections of the trail which require care. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. It is considered suitable for experienced walkers only. Early in the season (April, May or June) you may encounter snow on the passes which may be quite deep and alter the grading of the trip to challenging. At any time during summer, weather conditions may be variable and you should be prepared for all conditions including snow, ice, strong sun and extreme winds.


Departure dates

Daily from 1 May to 31 Oct

Notes

DN1
This trip is not suitable for solo travellers. Please contact our team for alternative tour suggestions.

Total Priceper person from

£585GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Optional visit by car to Etropole Monastery and waterfall (Day 3 - 1-3 pas)GBP£21
  • Single SupplementGBP£100
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

Self-Guided Specialists

We have have been operating active self guided holidays for over 45 years. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.