Day 1: Our tour begins early in the morning by transfer from Sofia to Etara. We go for a short walk (4 km) to Sokolski manastir for seeing it and we return at the hotel. In the afternoon we head south till we reach the open air museum of Etara. We will spend a night at Etara hotel built in the traditional Bulgarian style with a national cuisine and drinks. At the open air museum people who are interested can see our old Bulgarian crafts and buy typical Bulgarian souvenirs. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 2: After breakfast in the early morning we cross Stara planina (The Balkan) by car and stop for a short time on the peak Shipka where tourists will get to know the history of this holy place for Bulgaria and of our liberation from Turkish slavery. Tourists will engrave in their harts the beautiful view from the peak to North and South Bulgaria. We reach the town of Kasanlak after about 30 min. We visit later the tomb of Thrace dated 3000 years before Jesus Christ which is under the protection of UNESCO as record of the world cultural heritage. We do short transfer /46 km/ to the country Panitzite and that is the end of the motor tour. Here we begin ascent to chalet Ray which according to standard would take 4 hours.
Ascent begins by entering the National Park of Central Balkan on which territory there are 9 reserves, 4 of them enlisted in the World system of Biosphere reserves. We go on a blazed path and after 2 hours of walk we enter an old beech forest in the reserve Djendema; all around there are deep precipices and canyons with torrents and waterfalls running down headlong. If we have a chance we could see there Chamois on high peaks, the flying rulers of the highest mountains - the Golden eagles and why not the brown giant of the Balkan too - the bear. We begin ascent from 800 m of altitude and we go up to 1560 m where the chalet is. Bedrooms are with 2, 3 or 4 beds with bathroom and toilet for general use for tourists. We dinner here close to nature with beautiful landscape around and pass the night in the chalet. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: March from chalet Ray (1560 m) to chalet Vassil Levski (1450m). The march takes 5 hours. In chalet Vassil Levski bathroom and toilet are for general use too. March is practically on level road with light slopes. Going on we visit the highest waterfall in Bulgaria (125m). Route passes through places rich in rare and endemic plants. It's everywhere possible to see representatives of the fauna as wild goats, bears, golden eagles. There are beautiful views to surrounding peaks; we are simply in the middle of the Balkan with its wild virgin nature. Dinner and spending the night at Vasil Levski chalet. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: March from chalet Vassil Levski (1450 m) to chalet Nezabravka (1600 m). Chalet Nezabravka has also bedrooms with 2,3 or 4 beds and bathroom and toilet for general use. As displacement shows, march is on level road with little ascents and descents and takes about 5 hours, entering a venerable beech forest and going up to the alpine part of the mountain. Beautiful landscape again and view to peaks and valleys. Dinner and spending the night at Nezabravka chalet. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: March from chalet Nezabravka (1600 m) passing by chalet Dermenka (1570m) to the pass Beklemeto. The march continues about 5 hours, on level road, passing through venerable spruce forest, open country and venerable beech forests. We pass through some of most picturesque parts of Stara planina with unforgettable scenic views to the four cardinal points of the world. From the pass Beklemeto where a car waits for us we continue traveling to another exceptionally beautiful mountain namely National Park of Pirin. We lodge in the luxury hotel of DZI (1000m of altitude) where bedrooms are double with bathroom and toilet to each. The hotel affords superb view to the rock peaks of Pirin. Dinner and spending the night at DZI the hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Next day begins by transport to chalet Vihren (1950m) and march to chalet Banderitza (1810m). This march is maybe the most tiring and takes about 6 hours. The pathway to peak Vihren (2914 m) is abrupt, winding about rocks, mountain pinnacles and pine-scrub. The peak (we hope weather let us climb it) affords unbelievable view to surrounding mountains. If weather is not good to do it or if we do consider it's too heavy climb it, we pass at the foot of the mountain and descend to the country Kazanite (2445 m) close to chalet Banderitza.
Here we have the possibility to take a rest and to see one improbable creation of the nature - black fir over 1300 years old. Most tenacious pedestrians can go downhill to the hotel for about an hour and half; the others get into the car and return to hotel DZI. Dinner and spending the night at the hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: March from chalet Vihren (1950m) to chalet Demianitza (1895m). Bedrooms in are with 4 or 5 beds and bathroom and toilet are for general use. March continues 5 hours. The pathway meanders through forests and open countries with beautiful alpine lakes, the ascent to peak Malka Todorka (2580m) being the most abrupt, whereupon the pathway descends. Dinner and spending the night at Demianitza chalet. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: March from chalet Demianitza (1895 m) to the base Vaptzarov (1250 m). The march takes 5 hours and begins by picturesque descent on pathway along the runway of river Demianitza. We pass along two beautiful waterfalls announced being natural sights and along the historical remains of Gradishteto. During all the march venerable forests and beautiful meadows succeed each other. Our car waits for us in the base Vaptzarov and we return to hotel DZI for dinner and spending the night. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: After early breakfast we do transfer to Sofia for departure, making a short stay in the world-famous Rila cloister. We arrive in Sofia in the early afternoon where our tour terminates. Includes: (B), (L).
- Class of hardship for the hiking tours:
* 1 - Turns: 5-6 km walking per day on level road
* 2 - Easy hikes: 2-3 hours walking per day on level road and hilly countryside
* 3 - Hikes: 2-4 hours walking per day in rough and mountain countryside, with 100-300m displacement
* 4 - Hikes: 3-5 hours walking per day in the mountains and 300-600m displacement
* 5 - Hard hikes: 5-8 hours per day in mountains and 600-1200m displacement.
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