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: Guesthouse near Sevlievo
Night 2: Camping near Kastel
Night 3: Guesthouse in Valevtsi
Night 4: Camping or Mazalat hut
Night 5: Sinkevitsa complex near Gabrovo
Night 6: Guesthouse near Novakovtsi
Night 7: Guesthouse near Sevlievo

Guesthouse near Sevlievo
This charming guesthouse is located in a small village near Sevlievo. It has 10 guestrooms with air conditioning, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, free Wi-Fi and a private bathroom with free toiletries and a hairdryer.

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.

Sinkevitsa complex near Gabrovo
This lovely property has 22 bedrooms. It is a modern complex (opened in the summer of 2009) located near a lake (suitable for year-round fishing) just outside the city. The spacious bedrooms are equipped with all the necessary amenities: private bathroom, TV, mini fridge, Wi-Fi access and temperature control.
There is a big outdoor pool, and it is also possible to swim in the lake.

Guesthouse near Novakovtsi
This small guesthouse offers 4 comfortable double rooms, each with private bathroom and satellite TV. Guests are welcome to walk around the garden or go for a swim at the pool.


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 guesthouses provide breakfast and dinner, offering delicious traditional dishes made with fruits and vegetables from local farms.
The midday meals are in the open-air and consist of warm homemade 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 4-5 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. This trail is available to both intermediate and more experienced riders, as the terrain in the mountain is not suitable for very long canters.

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. 
You are accommodated in a guesthouse with beautiful views over the Balkan Mountains  In the evening, initial Instructions by the guides and dinner.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Guesthouse near Sevlievo

Day 2 (Sunday): Ride to Kastel
Breakfast at the guesthouse and transfer to the stables. We tack up the horses and listen to the final instructions from our guides. Today, we will ride in the valley with great views over the Balkan mountains. We stop in an open field for our lunch break. 
In the afternoon, we make our way to Kastel, where we will camp close to the Rositsa river. 
Riding: About 28 km (5 hours)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Kastel


Day 3 (Monday): Kastel to Valevtsi
This morning, we ride closer to the mountains, entering the wild lands of Central Bulgaria. We stop for lunch by the Rositsa River, where you will have the opportunity to swim in crystal clear water. We will rest here during the hottest hours of the day. In the afternoon, we ride through wild forests and finally arrive in Valevtsi.
After a nice dinner at the guesthouse, we can go to the Bedouin summer bar.
Riding: About 15 km (3.5 hours)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Guesthouse in Valevtsi


Day 4 (Tuesday): Valevtsi to Mazalat Hut
Today's ride goes uphill towards the heart of the Central Balkan National Park. Our trail leads us through an old beech forest along the Rositsa River. There will be opportunities to swim in natural pools. We enjoy our picnic at a wooden shelter in the forest.
After lunch, we get back in the saddle and ride to Mazalat Hut (1520 m), located close to the famous natural reserve ”Peeshti Skali” (“Singing rocks”). From the hut, a 360-degree panoramic view awaits us. We will go for a guided hiking tour to the ”Peeshti Skali” Nature Reserve.
This evening, you can choose to sleep in the hut in common bedrooms for 3, 5 or 8 people, or outside in tents. A common shower is available at the hut.
After dinner, you can enjoy the night sky’s with endless stars.
Riding: About 25 km (5 hours)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Mazalat Hut


Day 5 (Wednesday): Mazalat Hut to Gabrovo
After breakfast, we ride on the Balkan’s crest, enjoying the amazing views on both sides of the mountain. We will stop for lunch at the “Partizanska Pesen” hut.
This afternoon, smooth downhill ride through the forest, then canter through beautiful meadows on our way to Gabrovo city – the Bulgarian “Capital of humour and satire”. We are accommodated in the complex “Sinkevitsa” located on the shore of a lake.
Riding: About 30 km (6 hours)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Sinkevitsa complex near Gabrovo


Day 6 (Thursday): Gabrovo to Novakovtsi & Etara Visit
We start the day riding beside the rocky chain “Vitata Stena " (702 m), giving us opportunities for nice canters and great view of the Balkan mountains on one side and the beautiful rocks on another. We will picnic under the rocks. Later, we ride towards Novakovtsi where we will spend the night in a quiet guest house.
After the ride, visit by car of the open-air Ethnographic museum “Etara”. The complex represents a 19th century village with the main crafts developed at that time. The old machines work with the power of running water. The current craftsmen produce traditional pots, garments, food, musical instruments, tools and souvenirs on them. There you could buy handmade presents for your friends!
Riding: About 20 km (3.5 hours)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Guesthouse near Novakovtsi


Day 7 (Friday): Ride Back to Stables
For our last riding day, we head back to the stables, with a lot of nice canters. We stop for picnic next to Bogatovo village.
We overnight once more in the quiet village Kormiansko.
Farewell dinner at the guest house.
Riding: About 26 km (4.5 hours)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at
Guesthouse near 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
    20228 day trip, AP 6 riding days€1120$1345
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2022 Transfer from Sofia airport included at set time 0 $0
2022 Private transfer from Sofia, pp 120 $145
2022 Single supplement 140 $170
2022 Sleeping bag rental
- to be paid locally
20 $25
2022 Small group supplement (2-3 pax only), pp 415 $500
2022 Wine tasting, pp 25 $30

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2022 07/30 - 08/06 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 6 riding day... 4 /8 Reserve
A 2022 08/13 - 08/20 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 6 riding day... 4 /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):

We are trying to be as flexible as possible, so we offer clients the opportunity to rebook for another date not later than 15 days before the trail start date.

Only thing we can ask guests for the moment is to have masks and disinfectants for their own use (of course the disinfectants are provided everywhere).
We will make sure before every trail that our team is healthy. Riding holidays are still very safe, because we ride in a very wild areas, we don't meet many people and we have a social distance of 1 horse.


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