We spend between 3 and 6 hours in the saddle every day, and the duration of each ride in most of the days can be changed according to the abilities and will of the riders. Luggage is transported by car and the saddling is western and cavalry.
Apart from the overnight at a hotel in Teteven, all other nights we will stay at guest houses where the food is cooked by the hosts or in small rural restaurants. Thus, the contact with local culture is closer and the impressions - more vivid and immediate.
The tour can be held throughout the year, as the recommended period is from April to November.
Stara Planina is the longest Bulgarian mountain, stretching from Bulgaria's western border all the way to the Black Sea, dividing the country into two. Its old name is “the Balkans” from where the name of the Balkan Peninsula originates. Great part of Bulgaria's history is related to it. Fighters against the Ottoman rule hid in its forests. The Bulgarian spirit revived in its towns in the XVIII and XIX centuries.
Central Balkan National Park covers the high central part of Stara Planina. On an area of 70 000 hectares ancient forests and many animals, including representatives of endangered species, find tranquility from the aggressive human impact. The best preserved beech forest on the Balkan Peninsula is in the Boatin Reserve. The average age of the trees is 130 years. The reserve is protected under the UNESCO “Man and Biosphere” Program.
The Glozhene Monastery „St. George“ was founded in XIII century. It is situated on an extremely scenic place, perched on high cliffs from where a spectacular view is revealed. Vasil Levski - the Apostle of Freedom - found refuge in it in Turkish times.
Etropole Monastery was founded in the XII century. It declined after the conquer by the Turks but at the end of XVI century it was restored and became one of the most important spiritual centers in the Bulgarian lands. The surrounding area of the monastery offers pleasant pastoral scenery and in immediate proximity to the monastery the Varovitets waterfall is located.
Saeva Dupka cave is one of the most beautiful Bulgarian caves. It is 205 meters long and over 1 million year old. Its five halls and numerous galleries are full of bizarre cave formations. It is illuminated and urbanized.
Troyan Monastery is the third largest monastery in Bulgaria. It was founded around the year 1600. The relic of the monastery is the miraculous icon of the Three-Handed Virgin Mary. The villages around Troyan are famous for their numerous pottery workshops. (optional)
Mineral springs in Chiflik and Shipkovo. The water in the pools is with different temperatures and an hour or two in them are a wonderful and refreshing relaxation, especially after physical strain, such as horseback riding. (optional)
Day 1. Arrival in Sofia. Overnight.
Day 2. Golyam Izvor - Glozene Monastery
Transfer from Sofia to Golyam Izvor village in the Teteven Balkan. Meeting the horses. The first day riding will start in the afternoon. The road passes through meadows and mixed forest. We will ascend the heights above the village where we will see the first beautiful view of the central ridge of Stara Planina and the town of Teteven surrounded by rocky peaks. Then, we will descend through an ancient beech forest at the end of which Glozhene Monastery is located. Perched on a high rock, it reveals an even more spacious view of the Danube plain. The overnight will be at Glozhene Monastery.
Duration of the ride: 2-3 hours
Day 3. Glozhene Monastery – Golyam Izvor
The ride on that day will take us back to Golyam izvor village using different roads. Free time in the afternoon. An overnight at Golyam Izvor.
Duration of the ride: 4 hours
Day 4. Golyam Izvor – Brusen
The route starts with a dirt road along one of the ridges in the region, then it will end in Brusen village with a descent through a forest. Lunch and dinner will be in the guest house where we will stay for the night, and the afternoon is dedicated to a trip by car to Etropole Monastery and the waterfall near it. We may take a short walk in the town of Etropole.
Duration of ride: 4-5 hours
Day 5. Brusen – Cherni Vit
The trail again passes through mixed forests, but this time - uphill. We will then ride along unwooded ridge, after that we will descend to the village of Cherni Vit. In the afternoon we will have a trip by car to Saeva Dupka cave which is known for its beautiful formations. Overnight in Cherni Vit.
Duration of ride: 4 hours
Day 6. Cherni Vit – Teteven
The ride on this day starts from Cherni Vit leading us close to the the Boatin Reserve which is part of the Central Balkan National Park which protects the nature in the central part of Stara Planina. Afternoon will be spend for sightseeing Teteven.
Optional trip by car to Troyan Monastery (80 km). A center for traditional Bulgarian crafts is close to the monastery. On the way back we may stop at Chiflik Spa to enjoy its mineral water (optional).
Duration of ride: 4-5 hours
Day 7. Teteven – Golyam Izvor. Back to Sofia.
In the morning a transfer to Cherni Vit village where we have left the horses the previous day. On that last day of ride we will climb once more one of the many ridges from where we will have a last look of the scenery we have admired in the past week. Transfer back to Sofia for overnight.
Duration of ride: 5-6 hours
Day 8. Departure.
departure dates: 10/5; 24/5; 7/6; 21/6; 5/7; 19/7; 2/8; 16/8; 30/8; 13/9; 27/9; 11/10; 25/10
The price includes: ►7 nights (3 at a hotel with en suit bathrooms and toilet; 3 in guest houses; 1 in a monastery) with breakfast ►6 lunches (day 2 - 7) and 4 dinners (day 2 - 5 ) ► English speaking guide and local guide ►saddled horses ►luggage transport ►transfer to/from Sofia airport ► entrance fees to sites, if any.
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