This tour gives the opportunity to the interested people to see some of the rarest European butterflies.
Day 1: Arrival in Sofia and accommodation for one night at hotel , close to Sofia. The hotel offers an exceptionally beautiful view of the neighboring mountains. Includes: (D).
Day 2: Transfer to the next main stop of our program. Accommodation at a hotel for two nights. During the trip we will make observations along a river, running through a number of lower mountains. More interesting species likely to be seen: Apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne), Chequered Blue (Scolitantides orion) Plebejus sephirus, Ripart's Anomalous Blue (Polyommatus ripartii), Lesser Purple Emperor (Apatura ilia), Poplar Admiral (Limenitis populi), Russian Heath (Coenonympha leander), Yellow-banded Skipper (Pyrgus sidae). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: A spectacular ascent in a chair lift to about 2500 m is ahead of us. We reach the area about 2000m sea level, with a beautiful view of near and distant peaks, valleys and huge rocks. Mountain valleys, lower ridges and coniferous forests are spread out as far as the eye can see. In some 40 min. travel the forests end and the dwarf-pine zone starts and above it - the mountain sub alpine zone begins. A 3 km walk to the local lodge and its surroundings offers still more spectacular panoramas of the mountain and the neighboring peaks. Species likely to be seen: Balkan Copper (Lycaena candens), False Eros Blue (Polyommatus eroides), Balkan fritillary (Boloria graeca balcanica), Balkan Cynthia's Fritillary (Euphydryas cynthia leonhardi), Balkan Heath (Coenonympha rhodopensis), Balkan Wood Tiger (Parasemia plantaginis interrupta). Early in the afternoon we go back to our hotel by chair lift. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Transfer to the next main stop for the trip. Making some observations at an altitude of approximately 2000 m. The local monastery is located deep in a mountain valley, surrounded by high peaks. Magnificent deciduous forests dominated by Beach trees, further up replaced by conifers, with scattered clearings covered by forest undergrowth, among which we usually find some of the most interesting species like Apollo (Parnassius apollo), Balkan Clouded Yellow (Colias caucasica balcanica), Lycaena candens leonhardi, Blue Argus (Ultraaricia anteros), False Eros Blue (Polyommatus eroides), Bulgarian Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia bulgarica), Great Sooty Satyr (Satyrus ferula), Large Ringlet (Erebia euryale), Hepialus humuli. Accommodation at local hotel for 3 night. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Walk and observations in the area close to the hotel. In the afternoon observations in the area of an extinct volcano, a rocky and very dry place. The local flora and fauna are classified as xerophilous. The area abounds in hot mineral springs. More interesting species likely to be seen are: Powdered Brimstone (Gonepteryx farinosa), Freyer's Purple Emperor (Apatura metis), Tree Grayling (Hipparchia statilinus), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupina), Russian Heath (Coenonympha leander), Oriental Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus orientalis), Inky Skipper (Erynnis marloyi), Mediterranean Skipper (Gegenes nostrodamus), Hungarian Glider (Neptis rivularis), Cardinal (Argynnis pandora), Nettle Tree Butterfly (Libythea celtis), Lattice Brown (Pararge roxelana), Eastern Rock Grayling (Hipparchia syriaca), Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: A trip to the Nature Reserve, close to our hotel. The area is of particular beauty with its deep valleys, rocky sides and cliffs. The climate, the flora and fauna are different from what we have seen so far. Everywhere one feels the influence of the Mediterranean and particularly on the specific xerophilous flora and fauna of the region. More interesting species: Iolas Blue (Iolana iolas), Pseudophilotes vicrama schiffermuelleri, Southern White Admiral (Limenitis reducta schiffermulleri), Melitaea punica, Nettle Tree Butterfly (Libythea celtis), Frivaldsky's White-banded Grayling (Pseudochazara anthelea amalthea), Sandy Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus cinarae), Hemaris croatica. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Transfer to the neighboring mountain, with a stop at beautiful gorge. Accommodation for 2 nights at hotel, situated at 1500 m above sea level and surrounded by old and beautiful coniferous forests. The hotel is with a breathtaking view of the pine-clad mountains. This is a sight from the Mountains we hope you will remember for life. The first thing that hits you when you climb down from the couch are the huge cliffs towering above, and the deep rocky valley, where the meandering river can hardly be seen. Strange trees of a local subspecies of Black Pine (Pinus nigra) grow right out of the rocks without any soil for their roots. All the time while we are there we cannot help but stand in awe before the nature's grandeur. Unfortunately, this is only a poor and sketchy description of this extraordinary place with its caverns and the rumble of its waterfalls. One can hardly imagine the gorge beauty if one does not see it with one's own eyes. The place is at 1200 m above sea level. It is approximately an hour drive from our hotel . The deciduous forest is gradually replaced by coniferous at an altitude of approximately 1000 m. More interesting species likely to be seen in the area: Apollo (Parnassius apollo), Balkan Copper (Lycaena candens), Blue Argus (Ultraaricia anteros), Higgins's Anomalous Blue (Polyommatus nephohiptamenos), Dils' Grayling (Pseudochazara orestes), Balkan Marbled White (Melanargia larissa), Balkan Heath (Coenonympha rhodopensis). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: We return once more to the gorge, but this time we continue upwards to about 1800 m of altitude and reach the high mountain area, above the tree line with mountain meadows and pastures and a few freshwater lakes. An extraordinary view of the valley and surrounding peaks unfolds before our eyes. Species likely to be seen there: Apollo (Parnassius apollo), Mountain Small White (Pieris ergane), Lycaena candens leonhardi, Lycaena virgaureae balcanicola, White Admiral (Limenitis camila), Hungarian Glider (Neptis rivularis), Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia), Chestnut Heath (Coenonympha glycerion). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Transfer to the next main stop of our program follows. The landscape is radically different from the previous one. It is an extremely rocky and arid region with huge cliffs, scrub, small copses and sparse vegetation. Accommodation at local hotel for 3 nights. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Observations in the area , where the landscape is very unusual and at places resembles the moon surface. The high water river cuts across the area. We are in the real crater of an extinct volcano - everything around is covered with basalt. Thickets of shrubs grow here and there with sparse grass vegetation covering the ground. Vultures and Black Storks soar high above our heads. The view is so gorgeous that you will remember it for life. More interesting species likely to be seen there: Eastern Wood White (Leptidea duponcheli), Southern Small White (Pieris mannii), Kreuper's Small White (Pieris kreuperi), Small Bath White (Pontia chloridice), Lesser Fiery Copper (Lycaena thersamon), Little Tiger Blue (Tarucus balkanicus), Freyer's Grayling (Hipparchia fatua).
Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Observations in the area, along the local river valley. The area differs slightly from the one we were the previous day - there is more greenery and small deciduous woods where the oak trees dominate. And yet the huge basalt cliffs are still around us. More interesting species likely to be seen: Eastern Pale Clouded Yellow (Colias erat), Blue Argus (Ultraaricia anteros), Southern White Admiral (Limenitis reducta schiffermulleri), Cardinal (Argynnis pandora), Twin-spot Fritillary (Brenthis hecate), Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma), Melitaea punica, Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Glanville Fritillary (Melitaea cinxia), Lattice Brown (Pararge roxelana), Eastern Rock Grayling (Hipparchia syriaca), Tree Grayling (Hipparchia statilinus), Freyer's Grayling (Hipparchia fatua), Balkan Marbled White (Melanargia larissa)
Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Transfer to Sofia. On the way we will stop at historical site - a fortress, more than 800 years old. More interesting species expected to be seen: Eastern Wood White (Leptidea duponcheli), Anomalous Blue (Polyommatus admetus), Poplar Admiral (Limenitis populi), Twin-spot Fritillary (Brenthis hecate), Freyer's Grayling (Hipparchia fatua), Eastern Rock Grayling (Hipparchia syriaca), Syntomis kruegeri marjana. Arrival at Sofia and departure. Includes: (B).
All the prices are in US dollars. Every tourist can pay in any currency he declares to do so.
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