Teteven Balkan Village Trek

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

Introduction
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)

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a progressive ride, so nights are spent in different locations.

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

Accommodation Itinerary for the 8-day trip - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1. Hotel in Sofia
Night 2 & 3. Guesthouse in Golyam Izvor
Night 4. Guesthouse in Lopyan
Night 5. Hotel in Cherni Vit
Night 6. Hotel in Teteven
Night 7. Hotel in Sofia

Accommodation Itinerary for the 4-day trip - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1 & 2. Guesthouse in Golyam Izvor
Night 3. Guesthouse in Lopyan

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 Golyam Izvor
The guesthouse has recently been renovated. It provides a cozy atmosphere and is located on the banks of the Oselna River. It can house up to 8 people in 5 different rooms (3 double and 2 single). Bathrooms are shared and there is no internet.

Guesthouse in Lopyan
This charming guesthouse is located in a beautiful building made out of wood and cement. The owners want to preserve the local traditions while respecting the surrounding environment. Each private room features Wi-Fi access, a TV and a private bathroom.

Hotel in Cherni Vit
This accommodation is located in a small village surrounded by nature. It welcomes guests with a warm atmosphere and provides simple rooms with private bathrooms. There is no Wi-Fi here.

Hotel in Teteven
This hotel offers various sporting facilities (soccer field, tennis court, wrestling hall and more) as well as an outdoor swimming pool. The rooms are simply decorated and all feature air conditioning, a TV, free Wi-Fi access and a private bathroom. It is possible to do laundry here for a small fee.

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


Meals
For the 8-day trip, breakfast is included on all days, as well as 5 lunches (from day 3 to day 7) and 4 dinners (day 2 to 5 ).
For the 4-day trip, all meals are included.
The food is locally grown and you home-style.

Alcoholic beverages are not included in the rates but guests can purchase some at local restaurants.

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, 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.

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.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary: 8-day program - subject to changes

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


Day 2. Golyam Izvor Ride
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.
Duration of the ride: 3-4 hours riding.

Meals included: B/L/D
Overnight at Guesthouse in Golyam Izvor

Day 3. Ride to Glozene Monastery
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.
Duration of the ride: 5 hours
Meals included: B/L/D
Overnight at Guesthouse in Golyam Izvor

Day 4. Golyam Izvor to 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)
Duration of ride: 5-6 hours

Meals included: B/L/D
Overnight at Guesthouse in Lopian

Day 5. Lopian to 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.
Duration of ride: 4-5 hours
Meals included: B/L/D
Overnight at Hotel in Cherni Vit

Day 6. Cherni Vit to 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.
Optional trip by car to Troyan Monastery (80 km) and Chiflik Spa.
Duration of ride: 4-5 hours
Meals included: B/L/-
Overnight at Hotel in Teteven

Day 7. Teteven to Golyam Izvor. Back to Sofia.
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.
Duration of ride: 5-6 hours
Meals included: B/L/-
Overnight at Hotel in Sofia

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

---

Sample Itinerary: 4-day program - subject to changes

Day 1: Arrive in Golyam Izvor
Pick up from Sofia and transfer (1.5 hour drive) to our riding base Krivina in the village of Golyam Izvor, where we meet our horses. Our first ride is in the vicinity of Golyam Izvor.
Duration of ride: 3-4 hours
Meals included: -/-/D
Overnight at Guesthouse in Golyam Izvor

Day 2: Ride to Glozene Monastery
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.
Duration of ride: 4-5 hours

Meals included: B/L/D
Overnight at Guesthouse in Golyam Izvor

Day 3: Golyam Izvor to 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). 
Duration of ride: 5-6 hours

Meals included: B/L/D
Overnight at Guesthouse in Lopian

Day 4: Lopian to Cherni Vit
The trail again passes through mixed forests, but this time uphill. We will then ride along an un-wooded ridge, after that we will descend to the village of Cherni Vit. In the afternoon, we visit Saeva Dupka cave which is known for its beautiful formations and then head back to Sofia.
Duration of ride: 5-6 hours

Meals included: B/L/D

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


Rates and Dates for Teteven Balkan Village Trek

Rates include:


8-day trip: Accommodations, all breakfasts, 5 lunches (day 3-7), 4 dinners (day 2 -5), Luggage transport, Airport group transfers, 6 riding days & Entrance fees to sites if any.
4-day trip: Accommodations, all meals, Luggage transport, Airport group transfers, 4 riding days & Entrance fees to sites if any.
Helmets and saddle bags are provided upon request.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20208 day trip, MAP€670$760
    • Single supplement€0$0
      Single supplement€0$0
      Single supplement€100$115
      Single supplement€100$115
  • B
    2020Shorter trip (low season)€330$375
  • C
    2020Shorter trip (high season)€350$400
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.13

* 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 Private transfers to/from Sofia Airport to city centre or Plovdiv Airport to city centre, one-way, per vehicle 15 $20

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 04/18 - 04/25 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /8 Expired
A 2020 05/09 - 05/16 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /8 Expired
B 2020 05/10 - 05/13 4d / 3n Shorter trip (low season) 2 /8 Expired
A 2020 05/30 - 06/06 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /8 Reserve
B 2020 05/31 - 06/03 4d / 3n Shorter trip (low season) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2020 06/20 - 06/27 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /8 Reserve
B 2020 06/21 - 06/24 4d / 3n Shorter trip (low season) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2020 07/11 - 07/18 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /8 Sold Out
C 2020 07/12 - 07/15 4d / 3n Shorter trip (high season) 2 /8 Sold Out
A 2020 07/25 - 08/01 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /8 Reserve
C 2020 07/26 - 07/29 4d / 3n Shorter trip (high season) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2020 08/08 - 08/15 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /8 Reserve
C 2020 08/09 - 08/12 4d / 3n Shorter trip (high season) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2020 08/22 - 08/29 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /8 Reserve
C 2020 08/23 - 08/26 4d / 3n Shorter trip (high season) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2020 09/05 - 09/12 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /8 Reserve
B 2020 09/06 - 09/09 4d / 3n Shorter trip (low season) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2020 09/12 - 09/19 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /8 Reserve
B 2020 09/13 - 09/16 4d / 3n Shorter trip (low season) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2020 09/26 - 10/03 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /8 Reserve
B 2020 09/27 - 09/30 4d / 3n Shorter trip (low season) 2 /8 Reserve
A 2020 10/10 - 10/17 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /8 Reserve
B 2020 10/11 - 10/14 4d / 3n Shorter trip (low season) 2 /8 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:


8-day trip: Alcoholic drinks, 3 dinners (day 1, 6 and 7), Gratuities, Insurance (mandatory), Private transfers & Optional trip to Chiflik/Troyan Monastery (allow 40 EUR for the whole vehicle) and to Etropole Monastery (20 EUR for the vehicle)
4-day trip: Alcoholic drinks, Gratuities, Insurance (mandatory) & Private transfers

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

Climate:
                                                    Sofia area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

38

43

52

61

70

77

82

82

74

63

50

40

Average Low Temperature (°F)

23

26

32

40

48

54

58

57

51

42

33

26

Average High Temperature (°C)

3

6

11

16

21

25

28

28

23

17

10

5

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-5

-3

0

5

9

12

14

14

10

6

1

-3

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

5

5

6

8

9

8

5

4

4

5

5

6

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