Teteven Balkan Village Trek

Mountains Bulgaria: (IT-BGRT10M)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/bulgaria_teteven_balkan_village.aspx

Mountains Bulgaria
Many and varied are the mountains in Bulgaria, but Teteven Balkan combines the best of them all - picturesque valleys with sparkling rivers and ancient forests with hidden meadows, high ridges and tops, crowned with rocky peaks revealing spectacular views, and villages scattered at the foothills, where life is lived with an old rhythm. This part of Stara Planina is loved by tourists both for the preserved nature and for the pleasure of touching the authentic life of the local people: tasting home-made rakiya with home-made appetizers is an integral part of the experience.

The tour is diverse and combines horseback riding with seeing cultural sights and immersing in the atmosphere of this beautiful Bulgarian area. The trek runs in the relatively low part of Stara Planina - between 400 and 1100 m above sea level. You will ride along dirt roads and trails. The terrain is rugged and rocky in places, with an option to trot and canter. We spend  between 4 and 6 hours in the saddle every day, and the duration of each ride  in most of the days can be changed according to the abilities and will of the riders. Luggage is transported by car and the saddling is western or English.

Apart from the overnight at a hotel in Teteven, all other nights we will stay at guest houses where the food is cooked by the hosts or in small rural restaurants. Thus, the contact with local culture is closer and the impressions - more vivid and immediate.

Tour Highlights:
-Stara Planina is the longest Bulgarian mountain, stretching from Bulgaria's western border all the way to the Black Sea, dividing the country into two. Its old name is “the Balkans” from where the name of the Balkan Peninsula originates. Great part of Bulgaria's history is related to it. Fighters against the Ottoman rule hid in its forests. The Bulgarian spirit revived in its towns in the XVIII and XIX centuries.
-Central Balkan National Park covers the high central part of Stara Planina. On an area of 70 000 hectares ancient forests and many animals, including representatives of endangered species, find tranquility from the aggressive human impact. The best preserved beech forest on the Balkan Peninsula is in the Boatin Reserve. The average age of the trees is 130 years. The reserve is protected under the UNESCO “Man and Biosphere” Program.
-The Glozhene Monastery St. George was founded in XIII century. It is situated on an extremely scenic place, perched on high cliffs from where a spectacular view is revealed. Vasil Levski - the Apostle of Freedom - found refuge in it in Turkish times.
-Etropole Monastery was founded in the XII century. It declined after the conquer by the Turks but at the end of XVI century it was restored and became one of the most important spiritual centers in the Bulgarian lands. The surrounding area of the monastery offers pleasant pastoral scenery and in immediate proximity to the monastery the Varovitets waterfall is located. (optional)
-Saeva Dupka cave is one of the most beautiful Bulgarian caves. It is 205 meters long and over 1 million year old. Its five halls and numerous galleries are full of bizarre cave formations. It is illuminated and urbanized.
-Troyan Monastery is the third largest monastery in Bulgaria. It was founded around the year 1600. The relic of the monastery is the miraculous icon of the Three-Handed Virgin Mary. The villages around Troyan are famous for their numerous pottery workshops. (optional)
-Mineral springs in Chiflik and Shipkovo. The water in the pools is with different temperatures and an hour or two in them are a wonderful and refreshing relaxation, especially after physical strain, such as horseback riding. (optional)


This is a progressive ride, so nights are spent in different locations. You will be staying at 5 different locations total.

Accommodations are in guesthouses, mountain huts, and small hotels. Some nights will have shared bathrooms.

Accommodation Itinerary
Night 1: Sofia / Hotel Zdravets, private facilities- B/-/-/
Night 2: Golyam Izvor / Guesthouse Lyubka, shared facilities- B/-/D
Night 3: Golyam Izvor / Guesthouse Lyubka, shared facilities- B/L/D
Night 4: Lopian / Starata Furna guest house, private facilities-B/L/D
Night 5: Cherni Vit / Hotel Cherni Vit, private facilities B/L/D/
Night 6: Teteven / Hotel Olimp or similar, private facilities B/L/-/
Night 7: Sofia / Hotel Zdravets, private facilities- B/L/-/

B= Breakfast   L= Lunch  D= Dinner

**accommodations subject to changes based on availability**

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is mandatory is we cannot find another rider to share.

Breakfast is included on all days. Also included are 5 lunches (from day 3 to day 7) and 4 dinners (day 2 - 5 ).

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

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Riding Level
The ride, offering long days in the saddle, 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.

Riding Terrain & Pace
You will ride along dirt roads and trails. The terrain is rugged and rocky in places with, at times, opportunities to trot and canter. We spend between 4 and 6 hours in the saddle every day.

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.


Sample Itinerary- subject to changes

Day 1. Arrive Sofia
Transfer to our hotel for overnight. Private transfer is included.
Meals included: -/-/-

Day 2. Golyam Izvor
After breakfast we drive to the village of Golyam Izvor in Teteven Balkan, about 1.5 hours drive, where we meet our horses. Our first ride is in the vicinity of Golyam Izvor.
Meals included: B/L/D
Duration of the ride: 3-4 hours riding.

Day 3. Golyam Izvor - Glozene Monastery-Golyam Izvor
The road passes through meadows and mixed forest. We will ascend the heights above the village where we will see the first beautiful view of the central ridge of Stara Planina and the town of Teteven surrounded by rocky peaks. Then, we will descend through an ancient beech forest at the end of which Glozhene Monastery is located. Perched on a high rock, it reveals an even more spacious view of the Danube plain.
Meals included: B/L/D
Duration of the ride: 5 hours

Day 4. Golyam Izvor – Brusen - Lopian
The route starts with a dirt road along one of the ridges in the region, passing through Brusen village. Then we head off Southwest to the village of Lopian where we have late lunch and stay for overnight.  An optional tour to Etropole Monastery and the waterfall near it (30 min drive)
Meals included: B/L/D
Duration of ride: 5-6 hours

Day 5. Lopian – Cherni Vit
The trail again passes through mixed forests, but this time - uphill. We will then ride along unwooded ridge, after that we will descend to the village of Cherni Vit. In the afternoon we will have a trip by car to Saeva Dupka cave which is known for its beautiful formations. Overnight in a guest house in Cherni Vit.
Meals included: B/L/D
Duration of ride: 4-5 hours

Day 6. Cherni Vit – Teteven
The ride on this day starts from Cherni Vit leading us close to the  the Boatin Reserve which is part of the Central Balkan National Park which protects the nature in the central part of Stara Planina. Afternoon will be spend for sightseeing Teteven. Hotel in Teteven.
Optional trip  by car to Troyan Monastery (80 km) and Chiflik Spa.
Meals included: B/L/-
Duration of ride: 4-5 hours

Day 7. Teteven – Golyam Izvor. Back to Sofia.
In the morning a transfer to Cherni Vit village where we have left the horses the previous day. On that last day of ride we will climb once more one of the many ridges from where we will have a last look of the scenery we have admired in the past week. Transfer back to Sofia for overnight at a hotel.
Meals included: B/L/-
Duration of ride: 5-6 hours

Day 8. Departure.
Meals included: B/-/-

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

Rates and Dates for Teteven Balkan Village Trek

Rates include:

Accommodations (3 hotel nights with private facilities; 4 nights in guesthouses with 2 rooms sharing one toilet/bathroom), all breakfasts, 5 lunches (day 3-7), 4 dinners (day 2 -5), English speaking guide and local guide, saddled horses, luggage transport, transfer to/from Sofia airport, entrance fees to sites if any

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    20198 day trip, MAP€670$805
    • Single supplement€80$95
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:

2019 Transfer from/to Sofia airport is included

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 08/24 - 08/31 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /6 Expired
A 2019 09/07 - 09/14 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /6 Expired
A 2019 09/14 - 09/21 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /6 Expired
A 2019 09/28 - 10/05 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /6 Expired
A 2019 10/12 - 10/19 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /6 Expired

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Flight tickets, drinks and meals not mentioned in the program (lunch Day, and dinner Day 1, 6, & 7), tips, personal expenses, insurance, optional trip to Chiflik/Troyan Monastery (allow 40 EUR for the whole vehicle) and to Etropole Monastery (20 EUR for the vehicle)

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

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Source: NOAA

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