Rhodope Mountains Ride

Mountains Bulgaria: (IT-BGRT10)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/bulgaria_rhodope_mountains_ride.aspx

Introduction
Mountains Bulgaria
The Rhodopes, occupying the southern part of Bulgaria and part of Greece,  are the homeland of the mythological singer Orpheus. This ride spends 6 days of riding in this enchanting mountain – the land of high peaks and deep river gorges, unique rock formations, lush meadows and dense forests. The western part of the Rhodopes where our ride takes place, offers a variety of terrains in which one can experience of all types of riding and paces. We visit remote villages, stay with local people enjoying their hospitality, local food and excellent wines. We spend also some time in Plovdiv - Europe's oldest inhabited city and 2019 European Capital of Culture.

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a progressive ride, so nights will be spent in different locations. You will be staying in 6 different locations total.

Description
You will stay overnight at local guesthouses and small family-run hotels in rooms with private facilities (except for maybe one night in Varhovrah – depends on accommodation).
WIFI will be available at all locations.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Hotel in Sofia 
Night 2: Guesthouse in Lyaskovo
Night 3: Hotel in Borino
Night 4: Guesthouse in Trigrad
Night 5 & 6: Guesthouse in Gela
Night 7: Hotel in Plovdiv

Hotel in Sofia
You will be warmly welcomed in this small family hotel. There is a beautiful garden with many flowers, where guests can relax. The hotel has 15 rooms, all equipped with TV, telephone and bathroom with toilet, shower or bath. Internet is also available at this property.

Guesthouse in Lyaskovo
This lovely guesthouse provides simple accommodations in private bedrooms that are fitted with a private bathroom and Wi-Fi access. It is possible to do laundry here for a small fee.

Hotel in Borino
This family-owned hotel offers 7 comfortable bedrooms, each equipped with a TV, internet access, heating and ensuite facilities. The hotel has a small patio where guests can relax while enjoying the view over the valley.

Guesthouse in Trigrad
This guesthouse benefits from a great location with lovely views of the village and surrounding mountains. Each of the 6 bedroom comes with free Wi-Fi access, a private bathroom and a TV.

Guesthouse in Gela
This charming guesthouse was built in 1927 and was recently renovated to provide all the modern comforts, while preserving its original charm. The decor and furniture feature mostly natural materials to keep a strong connection with the environment. The rooms all come with a TV, private bathroom and free internet access. There is also a small garden where you can enjoy the breathtaking view.

Hotel in Plovdiv
The hotel is located close to the old town and offers modern accommodation with air conditioning, flat-screen TV, ensuite bathroom and free Wi-Fi connection.

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


Meals
All breakfasts are included from Day 2 to Day 8. Also included are 6 lunch packs from Day 2 to Day 7 and 4 dinners from Day 3 to Day 6.
The food is locally grown and home-style.

Alcoholic beverages are not included in the rates.

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

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding


Riding Level
The ride is suitable for confident intermediate riders. There will also be occasions where you need to dismount and lead your horse for short periods of time (20 – 30 min) – this can be both uphill as well as downhill so you will need to be reasonably fit.

Pace
This trip includes 6 days of riding in enchanting mountains, deep river gorges, lush meadows and dense forests. The trail offers a variety of terrains in which one can experience of all types of paces. We ride between 4 and 6 hours every day.

Horses 
Most of the horses are crossbreeds between the local East-Bulgarian and Karakachan with a mid-height of 150 cm. They are well known as thoughtful and tough, and are thus extremely well-adapted to the mountainous region of the Stara planina (Balkan).
They we are well behaved and are used to each other so you will not experience any trouble with them walking, trotting or cantering in a group together.
Though our horses are suitable for riding, saddling etc. they are still working horses and they are taken care of just like the typical free grazing horses in the region. This might be quite different from what a rider with an experience abroad must have seen, but please, keep in mind that this is how the local people have raised their horses for centuries. As a company that has always tried to help the small local communities in Bulgaria by bringing tourists to them, we would like to ask you to respect and understand these traditions and practices.

Itinerary


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1 (Saturday): Arrive Sofia
Transfer to our hotel in Sofia for overnight.
Meals included: None
Overnight at Hotel in Sofia


Day 2 (Sunday): Ride around Lyaskovo
Transfer to our riding base in Lyaskovo at the foot of the Rodopi mountains (2.5 hours drive from Sofia), where we meet the horses. Today we make a loop-like ride to get acquainted with the horses. The night is spent with a local family in their guesthouse, enjoying local specialities and bagpipe music.
Riding: 3 hours
Meals included: B/L/D
Overnight at Guesthouse in Lyaskovo

Day 3 (Monday): Lyaskovo to Borino
We start riding South-West, toward the SPA town of Devin, where we stop for lunch. In the afternoon, we continue our ride in the direction of the small village of Borino, where we spend the night in a local family's guesthouse.
Riding: 6-7 hours
Meals included: B/L/D
Overnight at Guesthouse in Borino

Day 4 (Tuesday): Borino to Trigrad
We continue our ride, passing through the heart of Mursalista National Park, on our way to Trigard. The trail offers stunning views over the Trigard Gorge, a canyon made of vertical marble rocks. After lunch, we visit Devil's Throat Cave, a spectacular sight! 
Riding: 6 hours
Meals included: B/L/D
Overnight at Hotel in Trigrad

Day 5 (Wednesday): Trigrad to Gela
Today, we start early. Our day's trail will take us to the ancient Chairski Lakes, surrounded by meadows full with orchids in summer. Passing through the picturesque village of Mougla we end the ride above the village of Gela.
Riding: 6 hours
Meals included: B/L/D

Overnight at Guesthouse in Gela

Day 6 (Thursday): Gela
The village of Gela is located at approximately 1500 m above sea level, at the foot of the most impressive peaks of the Rhodope Mountains - Grand Perelik (2191 m), Orpheus (2188 m) and Tourlata (1825 m). Scattered among 7 different hamlets, the village of Gela seems to have changed little over the last few hundred years. A legend associated with the history of the area says that it is the birthplace of Orpheus who came to search for Eurydice in the nearby Devil's Throat cave. Every summer the village hosts a National Bagpipe Festival.
The terrain is perfect for long trots and canters and we ride to the nearby villages Solishta and Stikul.
Free afternoon to relax or take a short tour to the famous village Shiroka Luka, visiting the local museum and school for folk music.
Riding: 3-4 hours
Meals included: B/L/D
Overnight at Guesthouse in Gela

Day 7 (Friday): Gela to Lyaskovo 
Following the ridges of Mursalitsa we reach the quarters of Devin, then continue to Lyaskovo, where the ride ends. We say good bye to our horses and drive back to Plovdiv (1.5 hours) where we spend the night at a hotel in the old town. 
Riding: 6 hours
Meals included: B/L/-
Overnight at Hotel in Plovdiv

Day 8 (Saturday): Departure
Transfer to Sofia airport for departure (1.5 hours drive).
Meals included: B/-/-


*B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner


Rates and Dates for Rhodope Mountains Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations, All breakfasts and lunches + 4 dinners (from Day 3 to Day 6), 6 riding days, Luggage transport, Airport group transfers & Taxes
Helmets and saddle bags are provided upon request.

Packages and Options




* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2020 Transfer from/to Sofia airport is included 0 $0
2020 Bachkovo visit, per car
- to be paid locally
60 $70
2020 Wine tasting of 3 wines in Todoroff wine residence, pp
- to be paid locally
20 $25
2020 Private transfers to/from Sofia Airport to city centre or Plovdiv Airport to city centre, one-way, per vehicle
This is a "Group Rate"
15 $20
2020 Single supplement 100 $115

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

3 dinners, Alcoholic drinks, Gratuities, Private airport transfer

Other Info
Meeting: Sofia
Airport: Sofia International Airport (SOF)
Transfer: Sofia International Airport (SOF)

Climate:
                                                    Plovdiv area

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

41

47

56

65

75

83

87

87

79

67

53

44

Average Low Temperature (°F)

27

30

36

43

52

59

63

62

55

46

37

29

Average High Temperature (°C)

5

8

13

19

24

28

31

30

26

19

12

7

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-3

-1

2

6

11

15

17

17

13

8

3

-1

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Temperatures expected during the time we operate our trips are mild to warm. Rainfalls can happen, but they are usually short. However, heavy showers are possible and can be more prolonged during spring and late autumn.

Spring (March to May)
During this season, it is warm but can be rainy.

Summer (June to August)
These months  are usually pleasant and can get quite hot. August can also be a month of high rainfall.

Autumn (September to November)
This time of the year is mostly dry with mild temperatures.

Winter (December to February)
Winter is chilly with temperatures around the freezing point, and snow is common.

The most pleasant months to visit are May, June and September. At that time, it is usually warm enough to enjoy the outdoors and most tourists are gone.

What To Bring:
Here is the rough list with things we think you should take with you when coming for an equestrian holiday in Bulgaria.

Recommended items
  • Hard-toed boots with a heel
  • Long jeans
  • Gloves for hand protection
  • Riding helmet (available to borrow, but please ask ahead of time)
  • Spurs (only when necessary!)
  • Fleece headband
  • Lightweight windproof riding jacket
  • Light casual shoes for walking and/or for travelling
  • Loose, casual trousers
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Raincoat (must have)
  • A set of T-shirts, sweatshirts and long sleeved shirts, preferably not cotton
  • Warm shirt, possibly fleece and/or pullover
  • Fleece windstopper jacket
  • Windproof, waterproof outer shell garment (breathable if possible!)
  • Hat or cap for sun protection
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Sunscreen lotion and lip balm
  • Repellent (for mosquitoes, flies and ticks)
Optional items
  • Personal basic first aid kit to include essential items
  • Torch (head mounted preferable)
  • Large handkerchief/bandana for neck
  • Binocular
  • AltimeterCompass
  • Photo camera
We provide helmets for the riders.  We do not provide chaps. The cell phone coverage in most of the territory of Bulgaria is covered well with a mobile connection. However these tours are done in mountainous areas where the signal can be weak or occasionally completely lacking from time to time. In such a situation normally you just need to change your location a bit in order to find available network. Electricity:  220 V