Across the Central Balkan

Mountains Bulgaria: (IT-BGRT05)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/bulgaria_balkan_national_park.aspx

Introduction
Mountains Bulgaria
Escape civilization and discover the heart of the Balkan mountain.

On this ride, you will get to ride through one of the most beautiful part of Bulgaria: the Central Balkan National Park. This National Park is one of the largest and most valuable protected areas in Europe. Covering an area of 72,021.07 ha, it is home to many wild animals and over 1,900 different plants (over 130 species of which are listed in the Bulgarian Red Data Book and the World Red List of Threatened Species). 

On the first and last riding days are spent in the valleys, allowing for nice canters. Then, you will go deeper into the National Park, where you can enjoy the shade of the century-old beech trees, the wilderness, and the breath-taking sights of the mountain.
Your riding companion will be a well-trained horse, always willing to work and comfortable to ride. 

Accomodation


Accommodations

This is a progressive ride so nights will be spent in different locations.

Description
You will sleep in a mixture of high-quality hotels / guest houses with 2 nights spent camping in the wilderness.
Laundry is not available while on the trip.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Hotel in Sevlievo
Night 2: Camping near Kastel
Night 3: Guesthouse in Valevtsi
Night 4: Camping or Mazalat hut
Night 5: Hotel in Uzana region
Night 6: Guesthouse or Hotel near Gabrovo
Night 7: Hotel in Sevlievo

Hotel in Sevlievo
This small family hotel offers simple accommodation on the outskirts of Sevlievo. The air-conditioned rooms come with a phone, a TV, free Wi-Fi access and a private bathroom with hairdryer. The hotel has an indoor seasonal swimming pool where guests can relax. There is also a sauna that guests can access for an extra fee.

Camping
Tents and mattresses are provided but guests need to bring their own sleeping bags (can also be rented locally for 20 euros each). We camp in the wilderness so you there are no toilets and guests usually go for a swim in the river to freshen up. We also try to take a portable shower with us when possible.

Guesthouse in Valevtsi
The house boasts beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and offers comfortable rooms with private facilities and free Wi-Fi access. Guests can choose to relax on the terrace to enjoy the sun or by the fireplace, in the common room. There are also many amenities to keep you busy such as a swimming pool, a volleyball court, a table tennis table, a TV with DVDs and much more.

Mazalat hut
This beautiful two-storey mountain hut can accommodate up to 34 people in various shared bedrooms (for 3, 5 or 8 people). Each bedroom has washbasins and bathrooms are shared (located outside of bedrooms). The building is supplied with water and electricity and heated with solid fuel stoves.

Hotel in Uzana region
This accommodation consists of two simply furnished apartments, each with 2 rooms. The rooms all come equipped with a TV and private bathrooms. The property also has a nice garden with a hot tub.

Guesthouse near Gabrovo
This lovely guesthouse is located just outside the city and offers 8 spacious bedrooms equipped with all the necessary amenities: private bathroom, TV, mini fridge, Wi-Fi access and temperature control. The property also benefits from a beautiful garden with an outdoor pool and great views of the surrounding mountains.

Hotel near Gabrovo
This small city hotel offers simple and modern accommodation with free internet access. Each room features a TV and an ensuite bathroom. There is also a small patio where guest can relax.


Room Occupancy
Single supplement is mandatory is we are unable to find another rider to share.



Meals
All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 8. 

The hotels and houses provide the breakfasts and dinners and they offer traditional local dishes. They offer ecologically clean food, international, and traditional Bulgarian cuisine.
The midday meals are in the open-air during the passages and they consist of warm food, beer, cold and warm up drinks. 

Wine and beer are included with meals, but no hard liquor.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to dietary restrictions given prior notice.

This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding


Pace

Varying from walk on the steeper slopes to a faster pace on the open spaces, which are great for long canters. Usually we do about 45% walking, 30% trotting and 25% cantering. This proportion could be changed according to the requirements and the abilities of the riders. The program includes 6 riding days with 3-6 hours per day in the saddle.

Horses
We have Shagya and purebred Arabs, East-Bulgarian breeds, and cross-bred horses with Akhal-Teke blood - all well trained and calm. The height of the horses is from 150 to 165 cm.

Riding Terrain
The riding terrain alternates between lush meadows, high cliffs and dense forests. You should be a strong, confident rider, capable of all paces and fit enough for long canters through rough areas. Wide-open spaces and gently undulating land provide the opportunity for long gallops. (Please note that during rainy weather the ground may be too slippery for long, fast riding).

Guides
We always have 2 guides per group: one to lead and the other to support the group with a jeep and all of the luggage. The riding guides are experienced and professional and know all the horses and routes well. They have a sound knowledge and awareness of safety, of looking after horses and guests out on a ride. The guides speak English, German or French fluently.

Non-Riders
All the accompanying non-riders will have the possibility to participate in all the non-riding activities of this program.

Itinerary


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival
Pick up from Sofia Airport and transfer to Sevlievo, located 190 km northeast from the capital, Sofia.
Accommodation in Helios Hotel with a sauna and swimming pool. In the evening, initial Instructions by the guides and dinner.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Helios Hotel in Sevlievo

Day 2 (Sunday): Ride to Kastel
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the stables. We tack up the horses and listen to the final instructions from our guides. Then, we get in the saddle and ride at the feet of the Balkan mountans. We stop for our picnic in a some open fields. 
We will eventually arrive in the pretty village of Kastel, where we will camp next to the Rositsa River.
Riding: About 28 km (5 hours)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight Camping in Kastel


Day 3 (Monday): Kastel to Valevtsi
After breakfast, we get in the saddle for another beautiful ride. Today, we ride through the fore mountains and start discovering the Bulgarian wilderness. At some point, we will get the opportunity to swim in the crystal clear water of the Rositsa River (lunch stop). In the afternoon, we go on a short ride through a forest. In the evening, we will arrive at our beautiful guesthouse, located in Valevtsi. After enjoying dinner at the guesthouse, we can go to a local bar to relax.
Riding: About 15 km (3.5 hours)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Guesthouse in Valevtsi


Day 4 (Tuesday): Valevtsi to Mazalat Hut
This morning, we ride uphill toward the heart of the Central Balkan National Park. Our path takes us through deep forest with 100-year-old beech trees. We continue to follow the Rositsa river, which gives us the opportunity to cool off with a swim in natural pools. We take a break in a wooden shelter, in the forest.
By the end of the day, we arrive at Mazalat Hut (1520 m), located right below the famous natural reserve ”Peeshti Skali” (“Singing rocks”). From the hut, we get a 360-degree view of the nature surrounding us, and if the weather is clear, we can see sights located up to 60 km away.
Tonight, you can choose to sleep in the hut (shared bedrooms for 3, 5 or 8 people) or outside in tents. A common shower is available at the hut.
We enjoy dinner at the hut with delicious homemade food.
At night, you can enjoy the night sky’s endless stars.
Riding: About 25 km (5 hours)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Mazalat Hut  or camping


Day 5 (Wednesday): ”Peeshti Skali” Hike & Panoramic Ride
We start the day with a guided hike through the ”Peeshti Skali” natural reserve. We will be back at the hut for our midday break. This afternoon, we will ride on the Balkan's crest, enjoying amazing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
At the end of the day, we will reach our cozy hotel located in the famous "Uzana" region, known as the geographic centre of Bulgaria. 
Riding: About 15 km (3 hours)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel Uzana


Day 6 (Thursday): Back to the Valley
Today's ride starts with a smooth downhill path going through a forest. Once in the valley, we will have some opportunities to canter in beautiful meadows. Our picnic break will be at Mechkovtsi village. Today's goal is Gabrovo city, known as Bulgaria's capital of humour.  
Riding: About 30 km (6 hours)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at G
uesthouse near Gabrovo

Day 7 (Friday): Visit of Ethnographic complex Etara & Back to the Stables
After breakfast, we go visit the Ethnographic complex Etara, by car. The complex presents a village from the 19th century with the main crafts, developed at that time. The old machines are working with the power of the running water and the present craftsmen produce traditional pots, garments, food, music instruments, tools and souvenirs on them.
After the visit, we ride back to the stables. On the way, we stop for our picnic next to an Armenite village located at the foot of the “Vitata Stena” rocky chain.
Riding: About 26 km (4.5 hours)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at
Helios Hotel in Sevlievo

Day 8 (Saturday): Departure
Breakfast at the guesthouse, then transfer to Sofia.  
Meals included: Breakfast

Non-riding activities: Bow-shooting, visit to the Ethnographic complex Etara near Gabrovo city and guided hiking tour to the Peeshti Skali Nature Reserve.


Rates and Dates for Across the Central Balkan

Rates include:

Accommodations, All your meals and beverages, 6 riding days with English speaking guide, Support vehicle with mobile phone connection & Transfer from/to Sofia airport included at set time
Guides can speak English, German or French

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20218 day trip, AP 6 riding days€1060$1265
    • Single supplement€140$170
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.19

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2021 Transfer from Sofia airport included at set time 0 $0
2021 Private transfer from Sofia, pp 95 $115

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2021 07/31 - 08/07 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 6 riding day... 2 /8 Reserve
A 2021 08/14 - 08/21 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 6 riding day... 2 /8 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Private transfers from/to Sofia, Hard alcoholic beverages, Sleeping bag (can also be rented locally for 20 euros each). Personal travel insurance (mandatory) & Gratuities

Note:

Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Across the Central Balkan (IT-BGRT05):

In case you cannot attend your original booking dates due to restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic, we offer you to postpone your trip to a later date.

In Bulgaria it is mandatory to wear masks only in closed spaces, like shops, pharmacies and hospitals. 
We ride in very wild and remote areas. The hotels and guesthouses are located in small villages and we can have dinner outdoors.
It is good for the guests to have their own mask and maybe a small disinfectant.


For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

Other Info
Meeting: Sofia airport
Airport: Sofia airport
Transfer: Included from Sofia airport

Climate:
                                        Veliko Tarnovo area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

41

45

54

63

73

80

84

85

76

65

53

44

Average Low Temperature (°F)

25

27

34

43

51

58

61

60

53

44

35

27

Average High Temperature (°C)

5

7

12

17

23

27

29

29

24

18

11

6

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-4

-3

1

6

10

14

16

16

12

7

2

-3

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Marked by 4 distinct seasons, Bulgaria enjoys a generally favorable climate. Although located at the same latitude as southern New England, Bulgaria's climate is noticeably more temperate.

Summer
Summers are typically hot and dry, but rarely oppressive, with moderate relative humidity. Always lit by the sun Bulgaria has between 2200 and 2500 hours of sunlight per year. Along the Black Sea Coast the climate is maritime, the Mediterranean Sea cooling summer temperatures compared to the interior of the country.

Winter
Winters are cold but not bitterly so. In the south and Black Sea coastal regions, Mediterranean influences temper the harsher continental climate of the interior. The country's half-dozen mountain groups also play a significant part in determining regional variances. 

What To Bring:  
This list is only a guideline for you

 

Hidden Trails Travel Documents and Trip Voucher (contains important local tour contact info.)
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR
Riding pants or Jodhpurs
Riding boots (short) + Minichaps
Riding helmet  (mandatory)
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strip) for sun protection
Lightweight Rain coat

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Jacket or sweater for cool evenings
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Jeans
Shorts
Underwear and socks
Pyjamas
Bag for dirty clothes
Trekking boots/ comfortable shoes
Swimsuit
 
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for an emergency)
Sewing kit
Torch/ Flashlight
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and extra film or batteries
Belt pack
Address book and pen (for postcards!)
Sun glasses with strap
Sun protection lotion and lip balm