A possibility to see many rare European and endemic Bulgarian plants. Bulgaria is the country with the biggest biodiversity in Europe. Many endemic and rare plants can be found on Bulgarian territory. Together with all the other interesting and rare plants and animals Bulgarian wildlife is one of the most interesting in Europe.
Day 1: Arrival at Sofia airport and transfer to our hotel. Accommodation for 4 nights. Only a few capitals in the world are less than an hour by car or chair-lift to the top of a mountain where one finds himself amidst wilderness where Bears, Wolves, Wild Cats, Red Deer and other rare and interesting species of birds and plants can be seen. The hotel offers an exceptionally beautiful view of the neighboring mountains. It is located at 1 800 m above sea level and is surrounded by splendid pine forests. Includes: (D)
Day 2: After the breakfast a walk to the interesting Nature Reserve, follows. The Reserve is above the tree-line, in the tundra-like zone at an altitude of about 2000 m a.s.l. It is a very easy and pleasant walk. Many rare and endemic plants grow out there. After about 30 minutes walk we reach the Reserve where such interesting plants occur like Lilium jankae, Aquilegia aurea, Narcissus-flowered Anemone (Anemone narcissiflora), Lesser twayblade (Listera cordata), Globe Fower (Trollius europaeus).
Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Today we visit another very interesting reserve. Here in an area probably less than 50 ha, over 300 plant species occur, among them many European rarities and Bulgarian or Balkan endemics like Tulipa urumoffii, Achillea ageratifolia, Edrajanthus serbicus, Garland Flower (Daphne cneorum), Colchicum biebersteinii, Astragalus angustifolius, Snowdrop windflower (Anemone sylvestris), Fritillaria orientalis. Limestone rocks dominate the landscape. The soil is poor, the soil layer is rather thin and at places it disappears altogether and one can see the limestone bedrock underneath. Stunted oak trees and shrubs are growing sparsely at places. The reserve proper is located on the top of the mountain and only grassy plant species grow there. We will climb up from about 1000 m to 1500 m to the Reserve at the hilltop. There is a beautiful view towards the neighboring mountains. In the late afternoon we return to our hotel for the night. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: A visit to the Rozen Mountain. This is also a low mountain. Limestone cliffs and poor stony soil stunted woods of Oriental Hornbeam (Carpinus orientalis) reach up to an altitude of 1000 m a. s. l. from where we start our ascent to about 1500 m a. s. l. A beautiful view of the Rozen Gorge and the meandering the river lies before our eyes. We move through open spaces and meadows rich in some very rare and precious plant species like the various local species of Milk Vetches - Astragalus willmottianus, Astragalus ponticus, the Montpelier Milk-Vetch (Astragalus monspessulanus), Astragalus angustifolius, Fritillaria orientalis, Cut-leaved Dame's Violet (Hesperis laciniata), Fibigia clypeata, Tulipa urumoffii, Aubrieta intermedia, Morina persica. Night at our hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Transfer to a very interesting reserve. We travel southward, along a river again, where we’ll see Mediterranean plant species, Balkan endemic plants, etc. It is very likely to see the following interesting plant species there: Phyllirea latifolia, Grecian Juniper (Juniperus excelsa), Turpentine Tree (Pistacia terrebinthus), Wild Jasmine (Jasminus fruticans), Sumach (Rhus coriaria), Fritillaria graeca, Scorpion Senna (Coronilla emerus), Oriental Plane (Platanus orientalis), Centaurea immanuelis loewii, Kermes or Holy Oak (Quercus coccifera). Accommodation at small hotel at the nearest small town. Includes: (B) (L) (D)
Day 6: Transfer to a high mountain meadow. The altitude here is 1300 m a. s. l. and the forests are mostly coniferous. Beautiful views to neighboring hills and valleys. The area is rich in clean mountain freshwater springs good for drinking. More interesting plant species likely to be seen: Draba athoa, Sideritis scardica, Centaurea parilica, Saxifraga ferdinandi coburgi, Viola perinensis, Petcovia orphanidea, Minuartia stojanovii, Geranium macrostylum, Centaurea ahtarovii, Asyneuma kellererii, Festucopsis sancta, Trachelium rumelianum, Saxifraga stribrnyi. Late afternoon transfer to our new hotel, and accommodation. The hotel is at 1500 m above sea level and is surrounded by old and beautiful coniferous forests. There is a breathtaking view of the pine forests-clad mountains from the hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Today we visit a nice gorge. The landscape is something quite different from the one you've seen around our hotel. The first thing that impresses the visitor are the huge cliffs towering above and the deep rocky valley, where one can hardly see the meandering river. Strange trees of a local species of Black Pine (Pinus nigra) grow right out of the rocks without any soil for their roots. Time and again we are enraptured by nature’s grandeur. Unfortunately, this is only a poor and sketchy description of this extraordinary place with its caverns and the distant rumble of its waterfalls. One can hardly imagine the gorge beauty if one does not see it with one's own eyes. This exceptional wilderness area is at 1200 m above sea level. It is approximately an hour drive from the hotel at Pamporovo. The list of interesting plants likely to be seen this day includes Minuartia rhodopea, Haberlea rhodopensis, Morina persica, Petkovia orphanidea, Viola rhodopensis, Malcolmia serbica, Scabiosa rhodopensis. Late afternoon we return at our hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Transfer to Sofia where our tour is over after the lunch. A departure follows. Includes: (B).
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