High Balkan Trail Ride

Mountains Bulgaria: (IT-BGRT11)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/bulgaria_high_balkan_trail.aspx

Introduction
Mountains Bulgaria
This adventurous trail ride follows part of the famous E-3 hiking Kom-Emine route. The trail features wild mountain landscapes and steep hillsides reaching Balkan highest grasslands, home to wild horses in the summer. If we are lucky enough, we may get to spot a few! You will find yourself captivated by the stunning high mountain views with landscapes stretching as far as your eyes can see. Bulgaria is a stunning country still untraveled and kept well-preserved from the hoards of tourists- you will feel the peace of wilderness around you and the simple happy culture the Bulgarians possess. The ride, offering long days in the saddle, is suitable for confident and experienced riders. There will also be occasions where you need to dismount and lead your horse for short periods (20 – 30 min) – this can be both uphill as well as downhill so you will need to be reasonably fit. We offer a mixture of accommodation types from hotels to guesthouses with locals to mountain huts to allow our fellow riders to experience all aspects of the trip and get to know our country. Part of the enjoyment of this ride is spending time with the local people the last two days on the trail. This will certainly be a trip you will never forget!

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. Two nights involve shared bathrooms.

Day 1. Sofia / Hotel Zdravets, private facilities- -/-/-/
Day 2  Golyam Izvor / Guesthouse Lyubka, shared facilities- B/-/D
Day 3. Lopian / Starata Furna guest house, private facilities-B/L/D
Day 4. Paskal Hut, shared facilities  -B/LP/D
Day 5. Momina Polyana Hut, shared facilities  B/LP/D
Day 6. Teteven / hotel, private facilities B/L/-/
Day 7. Sofia / hotel, private facilities- B/-/-/ 

B= Breakfast   L= Lunch   LP= Picnic Lunch  D= Dinner

**accommodations subject to changes based on availability**

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


Meals
Breakfast is included on all days. Also included are 4 lunches (from day 3 to day 6) and 4 dinners (day 2 - 5 ). Alcoholic beverages are not included in the rates. The food is locally grown and you home-style.

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.

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- subject to changes


Day 1: Arrive Sofia
Arrival and transfer from Sofia airport to the hotel for overnight.
Meals included: -/-/-/

Day 2. Golyam Izvor - Glozene Monastery - Golyam Izvor
Transfer from Sofia to Golyam Izvor village in the Teteven Balkan (one hour drive).
Here we get acquainted with our horses. We start riding heading North through meadows and mixed beech and oak forest. We will ascend Mt Lissets 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 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. After visiting the church and the little museum we start riding back to Golyam Izvor following another trail. Overnight in a guest house.
Meals included: B/L/D
Riding: 4-5 hours


Day 3: Golyam Izvor - Chertigrad - Yamna
Our ride today goes South-West following in the beginning shortly an asphalt road. Then continues along a dirt road with possibilities for some trot and canter. We pass the small deserted village of Slatina before starting climbing among ferns and pasture land. After 3.5 hours in the saddle we reach Chertigrad where we stop for lunch. Chertigrad is an ancient fortress built by the Thracians in 4-3-rd century BC. There is not much left from the fortress but the place offers stunning views over the Balkan range. We arrive in the village of Yamna after another 1.5 hours ride South-West. We leave the horses in Yamna village and have a short transfer to Lopian village. Dinner and overnight in a guest house.
Meals included: B/L/D
Riding:5-6 hours


Day 4: Yamna - Paskal Hut
Today we are heading to the crest of Central Balkan to join for the next two days one of the longest European mountain trails Kom-Emine. Stay at Paskal hut for overnight. 
Meals included: B/L/D
Riding: 6-7 hours


Day 5: Paskal Hut - Momina Polyana Hut
The next two days we will spend riding through the Central Balkan National Park thus providing superb view towards the Thracian Plain to the South and the Balkan Mountains to the North. Good possibilities for canter crossing the grass highland. We follow the way marking of E-3 at an altitude of 1500-1900 m. Overnight in Momina Polyana Hut (1640 m.).
Meals included: B/L/D
Riding: 5-6 hours


Day 6: Momina Polyana - Cherni Vit - Teteven
We leave the high mountain trail E-3 descending through thick beech and oak forests and pasture land along the Cherni Vit river. On some steeper descents we have to dismount and lead the horses. Our ride will end in the village of Cherni Vit (800 m) early in the afternoon where our vehicle is waiting and after a short drive we reach the cozy town of Teteven where we stay overnight. We can enjoy the rest of the day by the hotel pool or exploring the town. 
Meals included: B/L/-
Riding: 6 hours


Day 7: Teteven - Cherni Vit - Golyam Izvor. Back to Sofia
In the morning a transfer back to Cherni Vit, 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. We say good-bye to our horses and guides in the village of Golyam Izvor. Transfer back to Sofia (1 hour) for overnight. B/L/-
Meals included: B/L/-
Riding: 5 hours


Day 8: Departure
Transfer to Sofia airport and departure.
Meals included: B/-/-

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


Rates and Dates for High Balkan Trail Ride

Rates include:

2 nights in guest houses (2 rooms sharing WC/bathroom), 3 nights at hotels in double rooms with en-suite facilities, 2 nights in mountain huts (shared facilities), 7 breakfasts, 4 lunches/lunch packs (days 3-6) and 4 dinners (days 2-5), English speaking guide and local guide, saddled horses, pack horse and transfer from/to Sofia airport

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20198 day trip, MAP€620$745
    • Single supplement (5 nights)€70$85
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:



 Description
2019 Transfer from/to Sofia airport is included

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 08/17 - 08/24 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /6 Expired
A 2019 08/31 - 09/07 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 2 /6 Expired
A 2019 09/21 - 09/28 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 on Day 2, dinner on Day 1, 6, & 7), tips, personal expenses, insurance, entrance fees and personal expenses

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