On the Balkan Trail we ride over the Balkan Range – through the Central Balkan National Park and the lower mountains of Sredna Gora and in between we ride through the famous Valley of Roses – not only a name but a spectaculous scenerary of roses and the most fantastick scent of roses.
This ride is following the old roman paths connecting north Bulgaria with the south – we have not invented the path but we have taken up the idea of crossing the mountains on a horseback from ancient time. We ride though the park from the north to the south and back – making a loop with extreme ascents and descents
It’s a tour with lot of untouched nature, village life and old culture from a horseback. High ascents and descents over the Balkan Mountains and mountains of Sredna Gora – and in between the Valley of Roses with long stretches for great riding experience
• A ride over two mountains, bringing new challenges, new terrains, and new experiences every day
• The Central Balkan National Park - the land of untouched wildlife and wilderness, characterized by deep caves, steep slopes and canyons, high waterfalls, and clear fresh water streams.
• The Valley of Roses – this place has been producing the priceless attar of roses for centuries, which has been the means of livelihood of the native people for centuries.
• Visits to Apriltsi and Kalofer – ancient Bulgarian towns with typical architecture and impressive history.
Day 1. Sofia
Arrive Sofia and private transfer to our hotel in the city center for overnight. -/-/-
Day 2. Sofia - Apriltsi
After breakfast, drive to Apriltsi (3 hours) where we meet “your” horse and friend for the week. After the first meeting you will make a leisure ride out of the town of Apriltsi in order to gain an intimate knowledge of your horse and its habits. Overnight in a guest house, rooms with private facilities. B/L/D. 3 hours riding
Day 3. Apriltsi - Tabite
We start riding in the fields of the base, continue through small villages and at a creek we know a good place for the lunch. During hot days it is possible to jump into the pool or the cooling mountain creek. After lunch the first mountain experience of the trail is waiting and you ride uphill in roughly 3 hours and enter the Central Balkan National Park. Overnight in Tabite Lodge. B/L/D. 5 hours riding
Day 4. Tabite - Kalofer Monastery
The trail continues through the National park, one of the most valuable and largest protected areas in Europe, over the Balkan Mountains and with splendid views to the highest peak in the Balkan Range; Mt. Botev (2395 m) and from this high the Mariza plains open up in the horizons. After 6-7 hours ride the day ends at a small monastery, still functioning and with a nice monastery garden and a small church. After the ride we recommend a short walk to Byala reka; an eco-path in the canyon with plenty of bridges over the flossy river). Dinner and overnight in the monastery B/L/D. 6-7 hours riding
Day 5. Kalofer Monastery - Svezen Hut
In the morning we have time to explore the monastery and the life on the fields. Here we meet sheep and shepherds and busy farmers in the field. After lunch the trail is passing through the Valley of Roses, blooming from mid May to mid June, followed by a beautiful old forest. After nearly 5 hours we are exactly on the top of the Sredna Gora Mountains, where we will overnight in the chalet Svezhen (1050m). From the top you have a splendid view to the Rila and Rhodopi mountains. B/L/D. 6-7 hours riding
Day 6. Svezen Hut - Triglav Hut
After early breakfast we head back to the North, riding through small villages in the Rose Valley. We stop for lunch in a private house and then start ascending the mountain. We pass one of the checkpoints of the national park and the scenic waterfall Babsko (54m) until we reach the mountain hut Triglav for overnight. B/L/D. 8 hours riding
Day 7. Triglav Hut - Apriltsi - Sofia
We continue over the mountains with great views to the peaks Zelenikovets, Kurtbashitsa, Kolata and the sharp pyramid of the peak Maragidik (1889m). We start the descent riding through the centuries-old beech forest and at Ostershka River we have our last lunch before we start riding through the villages and back to the stables, where it all started. B/L/-. 5-6 hours riding.
Transfer back to Sofia for overnight.
Day 8. Departure
Private transfer to airport for departure. B/-/-
Practical information: Our horses are in good condition and trained to ride in the mountains. Most of the horses are of the Eastbulgarian breed and crossings with Arabians and local horses : The East Bulgarian breed is well known as tough, thoughtful and wise, and in harmony with the famous strength and power of the Arabian it gives a combination that fully satisfies the riders and the challenges in the nature. The average size is 160-165 cm. The saddles are Western (Australian or American). Small saddlebags are available.
Links to additional information:
- 2 nights centrally located 3*** hotels in Sofia
- 3 nights in lodges/huts in rooms with private facilities
- one night in monastery and one night in mountain hut (day 6) in rooms with shared facilities
- all meals acc. itinerary
- saddled horses and English speaking riding guide
- airport transfes and all transport
- luggage transport.
- alcohol drinks and other personal expenses