This tour gives the opportunity to the interested people to see some of the rarest European butterflies.
Day 1: Transfer from Sofia to Rila mountain. A beautiful primeval pine forest surrounds our hotel. On the way there we’ll make a few stops and try to spot some interesting species like Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia), Marbled Fritillary (Brenthis daphne), Poplar Admiral (Limenitis populi), Lesser Purple Emperor (Apatura ilia), Hungarian Glider (Neptis rivularis), Russian Heath (Coenonympha leander), Large Skipper (Ochlodes venatus), Yellow-banded Skipper (Pyrgus sidae). Accommodation at local hotel for 2 nights. Includes: (D).
Day 2: A spectacular ascent by a chair lift to about 2500 m. There is a spectacular view of the near and distant peaks, valleys and huge rocks and pinnacles. Mountain valleys, lower ridges and coniferous forests spread out as far as the eye can see. After some 40 min. travel the forest ends and the Dwarf Pine (Pinus mugo) zone begins. Above it is the mountain grassland zone. The 3 km hike to the local lodge and its surroundings offers more spectacular views of the mountain and the neighboring peaks. Species likely to be seen there: Balkan Fritillary (Boloria graeca balcanica), Bulgarian-Rila’s Shepherd’s Fritillary (Boloria palens rilaensis), Balkan Cynthia’s Fritillary (Euphydrias cynthia leonhardi), Nicholl’s Ringlet (Erebia rhodopensis), Varga’s Dewy Ringlet (Erebia pandrose ambicolorata), Bulgarian Ringlet (Erebia orientalis), False Eros Blue (Polyomatus eroides), Balkan Heath (Coenonympha rhodopensis), Dusky Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus cacaliae), Balkan Wood Tiger (Parasemia plantaginis interruptra). Includes:(B), (L), (D).
Day 3: A short transfer to the next main stop follows. Species to look out for: Swallowtail (Papillio machaon), Poplar Admiral (Limenitis populi), Bulgarian Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia bulgarica), Marbled Fritillary (Brenthis daphne), Blue Argus (Ultraaricia anteros), Large Ringlet (Erebia euriale), Arran Brown (Erebia ligea), Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne), Boloria dia, Yellow-banded Skipper (Pyrgus sidae), Large Skipper (Ochlodes venatus). Accommodation at local hotel for 2 nights.
Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Today we'll make some observation higher up in the mountain, in an area of pine forests with many forest glades and clearings and mountain meadows. First we'll travel some distance by the van then a pleasant walk follows. Species to look out for: Apollo (Parnassius apollo), Balkan Clouded Yellow (Colias caucasica balcanica), Erebia ligea herculeana, Woodland Ringlet (Erebia medusa), Erebia oeme vetulonia, Lycaena candens leonhardi, Lycaena virgaureae balcanicola, Geranium Argus (Eumedonia eumedon). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Transfer to Pirin mountain N.P. On the way there we’ll stop for a short observation. The region is a rather arid, rocky and quite warm in the summer, stretching along the local river. Species likely to be seen there: Kreuper’s Small White (Pieris krueperi), Eastern Wood White (Leptidea duponcheli), Lattice Brown (Pararge roxelana), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hiponephele lupina), Yellow-banded Skipper (Pyrgus sidae), Sandy Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus cinarae). Night at a local hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Transfer to Rodopi mountain. While on the way we'll stop to visit a mountain peak where we may see the following interesting species: Apollo (Parnassius apollo), Mountain Small White (Pieris ergane), Southern Small White (Pieris mannii), Lycaena candens leonhardi, Aricia alous, Balkan Gavarnie Blue (Agriades dardanus kudernai), Freyer’s Grayling (Hipparchia fatua), Hermit (Chazara briseis), Great Sooty Satyr (Satyrus ferula), Balkan Ottoman Brassy Ringlet (Erebia ottomana balcanica), Polyommatus nephohiptamenos, Phalakron Blue (Polyommatus andronicus). Accommodation at the local hotel for one night. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Transfer to the next main stop of our program. During the transfer we’ll visit a very dry area. Usually at this time of the year the temperatures are too high, reaching at times 350 C. But it is exactly the weather we need to see such rarities as the Eastern Wood White (Leptidea duponcheli), Eastern Greenish-black Tip (Euchloe penia), Mountain Small White (Pieris ergane), Meleager’s Blue (Meleageria daphnis), Chalkhill Blue (Lysandra coridon), Heodes alciphron meliabeus, Marbled Fritillary (Brenthis daphne), Dils’ Grayling (Pseudochazara orestes), Anomalous Blue (Polyommatus admetus), Osiris Blue (Cupido osiris). Night at local hotel.
Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: After an early breakfast we head for a magnificent gorge. This area is part of the Rodopi Mountains but it is something quite different from the rounded hills covered with coniferous forests around our hotel. What impresses deeply the visitor 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 where there is hardly 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. This exceptionally beautiful area is 1200 m above sea level. Species likely to be seen there: Apollo (Parnassius apollo), Mountain Small White (Pieris ergane), Southern Small White (Pieris mannii), Ripart’s Anomalous Blue (Polyommatus ripartii), Polyommatus aroaniensis, Hungarian Glider (Neptis rivularis), Black Ringlet (Erebia melas), Great Sooty Satyr (Satyrus ferula), Plebecula esheri, Balkan Ottoman Brassy Ringlet (Erebia ottomana balcanica). After lunch we travel again to the next region and hotel. You will notice with amazement how kilometer after kilometer the mountain changes, mixed forests replace the coniferous ones and they in turn are replaced by pure deciduous stands. You will notice how the trees become smaller and stunted. Then come the shrubs followed by bare rocky hills and finally the huge basalt cliffs. Accommodation at local hotel for 3 nights. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: After breakfast we drive along a narrow mountain road . All around us rocky hills alternate with huge cliffs and shrubs. We reach a crater of an extinct volcano and everything here is covered with basalt rocks and stones. Towering basalt cliffs descend towards the bottom of the crater from a height of over 200 m. Species to spot are Small Bath White (Pontia chloridice), Blue Argus (Ultraaricia anteros), Balkan Marbled White (Melanargia larissa), Eastern Rock Grayling (Hipparchia syriaca), Great Banded Grayling (Kanetisa circe), Cardinal (Argynnis pandora), Southern White Admiral (Lymenitis reducta schiffermulleri), Zygaena ephialtes. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: We will continue to make observations in the vicinity of our hotel. but today we will move along the local river. Species likely to be seen there: Small Bath White (Pontia chloridice), Sothern Small White (Pieris mannii), Purple Hairstreak (Quercusia quercus), Twin-spot Fritillary (Brenthis hecate), Delattin’s Grayling (Hipparchia delattini), Grayling (Hipparchia semele), Tree Grayling (Neohipparchia statilinus), Freyer’s Grayling (Neohipparchia fatua), Hermit (Chazara briseis), Little Tiger Blue (Tarucus balcanicus), Oriental Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus orientalis). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Transfer to Sofia and departure. Includes: (B).
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