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. 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. Part of the enjoyment of this ride is spending time with the local people the last two days on the trail.
Day 1: Arrive Sofia
Arrival and transfer from Sofia airport to the hotel for overnight.
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.
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. Dinner and overnight in a guest house.
Day 4: Yamna - Svishtiplaz Hut
Today we are heading to the crest of Central Balkan to join fo the next two days one of the longest European mountain trails Kom-Emine. To reach Svishtiplaz Hut there are two different trails passing through old beech forests.
Riding: 5 hours
Day 5: Svishtiplaz-Momina Polyana Hut
The nex 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 waymarking of E-3 at an altitude of 1500-1900 m. Overnight in Momina Polyana Hut (1640 m.).
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 cosy town of Teteven where we stay overnight. We can enjoy the rest of the day by the hotel pool or exploring the town.
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.
Riding: 5 hours
Day 8: Departure.
Price includes: ►2 nights in guest houses (2 rooms sharing WC/bathroom), 3 nights at hotels (days 1, 6 and 7) 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 ►transfer from/to Sofia airport
Not included: ► flight tickets ►drinks and meals not mentioned in the program ►tips ►personal expenses ►insurance ►entrance fees ► personal expenses
Price of extra services: Single room supplement (5 nights) at hotels/guest houses: EUR 70 .
Good to know:►Horses: Most of the horses are crossbreeds between the local East-Bulgarian and Karakachan with a mid-height of 1,50 cm, they are well known as thoughtful and tough, and are thus extremely well-adapted to the mountainous region of the Stara planina (Balkan). The maximum weight limit of the riders is 100 kg. ►Saddles: Western and English. Riding helmet is not mandatory. ►possible extensions fex. Black Sea: You can combine your horseriding holiday with an extra week at the Black Sea coast in Sozopol, Nessebar, Lozenets etc. Extra days of activities like kayaking, tandem paragliding, cycling, walking etc. – read more on www.penguintravel.com