A possibility to see some of the rarest European orchids.Bulgaria is the country with the biggest biodiversity in Europe. Beautiful nature many rare orchids 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: Landing and transfer to our hotel The hotel offers an exceptionally beautiful view of the neighbouring mountain sides and Sofia city. It is at 1800 m a. s. l. and is surrounded by splendid pine forests. Possible species occurring there: a subspecies of the Early Spider Orchid (Ophrys mammosa) and a subspecies of the Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys scolopax ssp cornuta). Includes: (D).
Day 2: Transfer to the next hotel and accommodation for 3 nights.. This hotel is on the outskirts of a town, perched on a hill overlooking the lowland. Beautiful scenery to be seen from the hotel with the countryside dotted with hills and cut by small valleys. Orchids for observing while walking along the road: Heart-flowered Orchid (Dactylorhiza cordigera), Dactilorhiza saccifera, Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata), Elder-flowered Orchid (Dactylorhiza sambucina). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: After an early breakfast we jump onto the van and in an hour or so drive, we stop at a mountain chalet, at an altitude of 1300 m a. s. l. We will spend all day long in this area. This part of the Mountains is low, with rocks and stones covered slopes. Limestone rocks and cliffs dominate the landscape. The soil is poor, the soil layer is rather thin and altogether missing here and there so one can see the bedrock underneath. Close to the hut there is a deep rocky valley. Cliffs higher than 200 m descend steeply towards the gorge bottom. Likely species to see there are a subspecies of the Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys cornuta), a subspecies of the Heart-flowered Orchid (Dactylorhiza cordigera), Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea), Twayblade (Listera ovata), Lesser Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera bifolia). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: After the breakfast we climb again to the chalet, but today we will have a different program. We’ll walk about 90 minutes to the next mountain chalet and from there will climb down to an ancient monastery (the hike lasts for about 2,5 hours). Possible species to see: a subspecies of the Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys cornuta), Epipactis latifolia, Platanthera chlorantha, Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis), Lady Orchid (Orchis purpurea), Orchis ustulata, Green-winged Orchid (Orchis morio), Toothed Orchid (Orchis tridentata), Jersey Orchid (Orchis mascula), Bird's-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), Limodore (Limodorum abortivum), Broad Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine), Marsh Helleborine (Epipactis palustris), Creeping Lady's Tresses (Goodiera repens), Twayblade (Listera ovata). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Transfer to our next hotel, situated at 1500 m above sea level and is surrounded by old and beautiful coniferous forests. There is a breathtaking view of the pine clad mountains from the hotel. On our way along the road we’ll stop at nice Nature rock formation. Possible species to see there: Coral-root Orchid (Corrhalorhiza trifida), Elder-flowered Orchid (Dactylorhyza sambucina), Dactylorhiza maculata, Marsh Orchid (Dactilorhiza incarnata). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Today we’ll visit a nice gorge and it’s vicinity. The first thing that impresses the visitor are the huge cliffs towering above and the deep rocky valley, where one can hardly see far down the meandering river. Strange trees of the local subspecies of Black Pine (Pinus nigra) grow right out of the bare rocks. Time and again the nature’s grandeur leaves us breathless. This is but a poor, sketchy description of this extraordinary place of wild nature with its caves and the distant rumble of the waterfalls below. One can hardly get a real impression of the gorge if does not see it with one's own eyes. Possible species to see: Red helleborine (Cephalanthera rubra), Dactylorhiza maculata, Broad Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine), Orchis ustulata, Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Transfer to Sofia and departure. Includes: (B).
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