|DURATION: 8 days
PRICE: € 880
|DIFFICULTY: 2 (of 4)
BEST PERIOD: June-September
TOUR TYPE: Guided
A well balanced, but somewhat intense programme with half-day (or shorter) easy to moderate walks, offering more opportunities to visit also culture sites. The stress is on the Rhodope (Rodopi) Mountains (famed birthplace of mythical musician Orpheus), Mount Pirin (Bulgaria’s most beautiful mountain, named after the pagan Slav god Perun), Mount Rila (housing more than 200 glacial lakes and the highest peak on the Balkans – Musala, 2925m) and Mount Vitosha (Bulgaria’s most popular mountain destination due to its close proximity to the capital city of Sofia). We visit some of Bulgaria’s remotest and least-known parts, many of them until recently out of bounds for foreigners, and taste traditional local cuisine and hospitality. Famous sites of cultural importance are also included: Koprivshtitsa (museum-town, housing well-preserved architecture from the Revival Period), Plovdiv (the second biggest town in Bulgaria), Bachkovo Monastery, Rila Monastery (the most famous UNESCO attraction in the country), Shiroka Laka (architectural reserve) etc. An exceptional kaleidoscope of beautiful caves, deep gorges, alpine meadows, glacier lakes, monasteries, and museum villages with authentic old-time architecture.
The hiking programme is moderately difficult and designed for people who would not be comfortable on very long and tiring treks, who would yet like to savour the best the landscape and local culture have to offer. Steep but short stages also occur along the trails.
You walk every day with just a daypack. The rest/unnecessary luggage either remains inside the transfer vehicle, or in your accommodation.
Day 1: Sofia – Koprivshtitsa
We meet you at Sofia Airport and transfer you to Koprivshtitsa at the foot of Sredna Gora Mountains. Koprivshtitsa is a museum town unique with its cobblestone alleys, houses painted in bright colors with expansive verandahs and picturesque eaves. Note that a group transfer is arranged to the overnight destination. In case you arrive early in Sofia we will meet you and offer you an option to explore the city on your own. Starting from Sofia will not be later than 15:30, so when planning your flights make sure to land by 14:30 at latest.
Day 2: Koprivshtitsa – Plovdiv – Bachkovo Monastery – Kossovo
During the Ottoman rule, Koprivshtitsa withstood many attacks, it was burned down to ashes several times, its inhabitants were frequently robbed and driven away. Many Bulgarians who laid down their lives for the liberation of their motherland had been born here and today we will visit some of their museum-houses to learn more about the local history. Later we continue towards the second biggest Bulgarian town – Plovdiv. Within 2-3 hours of walking along the city we will discover history and culture behind a 7000-year old settlement, written by the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and Bulgarian civilizations. You can enjoy sightseeing in the Old Town with its museums, historical monuments, revival period houses, lined with souvenir shops cobbled streets or get impressed by the rich Ethnographical Museum and the ancient Roman Theater. In the afternoon we continue further to Bachkovo Monastery, which is also the second biggest monastery in the country. Our day ends in the village of Kossovo, famous for its old stone houses (we stay overnight in one of them, fully restored and cozy).
Day 3: Kossovo – Shiroka Laka – Lyaskovo – Devin (2hrs; 3-4km; +50m/-50m)
After delicious breakfast at the terrace of your house, overlooking the whole village, we transfer further deep to the heart of the Rhodopes. Our next stop is Shiroka Laka village – architectural reserve, presenting some of the best examples of the local mountain houses. After a short walk along the cobblestone streets, we will continue further to the SPA resort Devin. An adventurous eco-path, weaving on wooden bridges over Devinska River, awaits us here as we make our way along the wild valley, crowned with steep rocks where Balkan Chamois (wild goats) may be seen resting. The afternoon is left for relaxation when you can try some of the local SPAs. In the evening we head for a short transfer to Lyaskovo village – rustic and fairly typical mountain village, where we have a traditional dinner with a local family. Transfer back to Devin for overnight.
Day 4: Devin – Yagodina Cave – Trigrad Gorge – Trigrad (3,30hrs; 10km; +560m/-350m)
A short transfer takes us to the entrance of the Yagodinska Peshtera Cave, where we will have the opportunity of enjoying its unique formations. From here, the hiking route takes us through the pretty village of Yagodina and over the hills above it with their smallholdings, on to a thick fir forest that takes us to the edge of the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge. We stay overnight in the village of Trigrad.
Day 5: Trigrad – Bansko – Banderishki Lakes – Bansko (3,30-4hrs; 8km; +480m/-480m)
Time to leave the Rhodopes and head for Pirin Mountains. Meandering roads bring us to Bansko at the foot of Pirin National Park. We drop our luggage in the accommodation and transfer up to the trailhead at Vihren Hut, where you set off on a hiking trek through the pretty Cirque of the Banderishki Lakes. Loop walk among the lakes in the Cirque will take us to some of them, where we can have a rest on their shores and enjoy the serenity of the rocky outcrops around us. Dinner will be organized in a traditional tavern (“mehana”), where we can try some of the local delicacies and home-made spirits.
Day 6: Bansko – Mount Polezhan – Bansko (5hrs; 7km; +770m/-770m)
Today, we visit one of the Pirin’s greenest parts near the Bezbog Hut. An open cable car and a picturesque ramble take us to the largest and deepest of all lakes in Pirin – Popovo Lake (30m deep). Later in the afternoon, you can have free time to explore on your own the cobbled streets of Bansko or maybe try some of the local thermal SPAs around Dobrinishte and Bansko.
Day 7: Bansko – Rila Monastery – The Seven Rila Lakes – Sofia (3,30-4,30hrs; 6-9km; +400-500m/-400-500m)
Quite busy yet another stunning day expects us as we head towards Rila Mountains. First, we transfer to the impressive Rila Monastery – UNESCO heritage listed site and one of the most famous tourist attractions in Bulgaria. This is also the largest and most significant Bulgarian Orthodox Church establishment. Next, we continue to another renowned place – the Cirque of The Seven Rila Lakes, which we reach by chairlift. These glacier lakes are set between 2100 and 2500m above sea level, with names fitting their shapes, like Babreka (the Kidney), Okoto (the Eye), and Salzata (the Teardrop). We base for the evening and enjoy our last dinner in the capital – Sofia.
Day 8: Sofia (+ Vitosha Mountains: 4,30hrs; 14km; +555m/-980m)
A couple of options for the last day:
1) Those of you who have an early flight will be transferred to Sofia Airport.
2) If your flight departs in the evening you can opt for a hiking trek in Vitosha Mountains and get transferred to the airport later in the afternoon (this trek and all related transfers are included in the package price). “Sofia and Vitosha are inseparable like Naples and Vesuvius”. The description belongs to the Austrian scientist Hohshteter, who visited Bulgaria in 19th century and reflects the connection between the million city and the oldest nature park in the country. Our day begins with a walking trek across the Mount Vitosha, including crossing the Torfeno Branishte Nature Reserve and climbing the local summit of Cherni Vrah. Transfer to Sofia Airport in the afternoon.
Hiking time: hiking time only is mentioned on each day (not including stops for pictures, picnics, breaks etc.); these are based on an average hiker’s speed of 4-5km/hr on flat terrain, additional 30min for each 300m elevation gain, and a backpack weighing not more than 10-15% of your body weight. Still this varies a lot on the terrain and hiking experience of each client.
SCHEDULED DEPARTURE DATES FOR 2023: 17/6, 02/9
Limited time offer:
Price: 880 € per person in twin/dbl room
Single room supplement: 120 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Rent of hiking poles: 20 €/person
Price includes: transfers to and from Sofia Airport (on first/last tour date only) and all other transfers included in the itinerary; accommodation and catering according to the itinerary; English-speaking mountain guide; cable car tickets, and all local taxes.
Price does not include: caves and museums entry fees (appr. 20-25 Euros/pers.); extra food and drink; mountain maps; travel/medical insurance; SPA procedures.
Accommodation: three-star hotels and family guesthouses; en-suite facilities; breakfast and supper included.
Best period: mid-June – September
> PRIVATE GROUPS can be accommodated on any other date during the season; 6 or more should book as a group to take advantage of the above price
SUBMIT A REVIEW ABOUT THIS TOUR
nice 8 days in Bulgaria
The trip was fantastic. Great scenery, hiking, and well-organized transportation logistics. I love the fact that the group was small and that the tour guide was friendly, knowledgeable and well-trained to deal with mix of persons from different nationalities, abilities and also interests. The meals were mostly traditional and made with fresh and local ingredients. What we really loved: The Old town in Plovdiv, both caves – the one with extraordinary shape and the spooky one, the lake Popovo in Pirin mountains. What we did not like: N/A HA HA – IT WAS PERFECT FROM THE START TILL THE END!
Fantastic week of hiking!
This trip is a nice balance between cultural strolls and beautiful mountain walks. After each hike, there is enough time to rest and the suppers were always very tasty. If you are keen on photography, this trip will be a paradise for you! I really loved the hike to Banderishki Lakes and Pirin mountains at all were spectacular! One of the days we even spotted wild goats on the distant hills. My favorite place we stayed at was in the village of Kosovo. It is unbelievable how unspoiled is nature around and how quiet is everything!
Many thanks, it was a pleasure for me!
Great sense of achievement at the end of each hiking day. During the cultural trips, you learned more than you expected and your head is turning on every side to admire the architecture and the beautiful city parks. Brilliant scenery and we were lucky with the weather too. Very well organized trip, with an extremely competent mountain guide both in guidance of mixed group and the historical points of the program.
Here I want to say THANK YOU BLAGODARJA one more time to the staff in Traventuria for several significant reasons:
I took my own trekking poles and on day 3 of the one broke. I really need trekking poles as I have problems with my right knee. Luckily, Traventuria has a winter ski-rental shop in Bansko and they gave me a new pair of trekking poles without even asking for money!
I got my flight back home canceled in the very last minute and the new one was way too early in the morning. I booked it less than 24 hrs in advance and even though they managed to organize a private transfer for me in the very last minute.
Last but not least I think I was a pain whit all of my questions before booking the trip, so I am impressed by their patience and professionalism in client satisfaction! 10/10! Well done, buddies!
You won't regret it!
We have booked this trip almost at the last minute and we are very glad that there were room for us! We are happy with the service of Traventuia, very polite and informative people! The guide was full of interesting stories and very competent about the mountain conditions and tried to respect everyone’s abilities and pace! It is very important to collaborate with a mixed group such as ours. We were totally of 8 persons from different parts of the world but thanks to the welcoming environment and our guide, we became friends from the first day!! If you are traveling solo it won’t be a problem as everyone is doing their best to make you feel comfortable and like home! The highlight for us was the cave Yagodina, it is a rare experience to be inside! There is much of everything for everyone – cultural sites of big importance such as the UNESCO Monastery, the Old Town in Plovdiv and also the unique ambiance in Koprisvstsa. Enough treks – from very easy to moderate. Nature is divine! There not enough words to describe what we saw, what we felt hiking through dense forests and around glacier lakes. Bulgaria also offers rich opportunities for gastronomy tourism and we are very very impressed by the meals in several places – Lyaskovo village and one tavern in a village near Bansco. We loved every minute of our trip!
Dont miss Bulgaria with Traventuria tours
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I recently completed a 2 week custom trip with Traventuria and I can’t rate this company highly enough. I took a group of friends and we wanted to see the highlights, while hiking our way through the country. First of all, the hiking was fantastic and rivaled our past trips through Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia and Germany but most of all, the services of Traventuria is what made our experience so outstanding. Our guide was stellar and catered to our needs while subtly changing things as we went to make sure we continuously had the best experience as he got to know us. Our accommodations were varied and always comfortable. The trip was so well organized and since there were 21 of us, that was not easy. The company worked so well with me as I worked with them on the planning of the trip and they were flexible when our plans changed slightly. I can’t recommend them high enough. I am the organizer of this group that travels several times a year internationally and my experience with Traventuria has been one of the best to date. I sincerely don’t think you can go wrong with trusting Traventuria with your vacation/travel plans.
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