You will have the opportunity of visiting natural and cultural sites such as the Yagodinska Peshtera Cave (considered one of Bulgaria’s most beautiful), the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge with its 300m/1000ft sheer walls, the Shiroka Laka architectural reserve, Bulgaria’s second-largest monastery at Bachkovo, the Old Town of Plovdiv (an architectural and historical reserve) and many others.
The tour includes all transfers, including those from and to Sofia Airport. Hiking treks are of medium and high difficulty. Paths are well marked, with clients receiving maps and detailed descriptions of the route in English.
Day 1: We meet you at Sofia Airport and transfer you to the village of Lyaskovo: a fascinating place combining the beauty of the mountain and the warmth of Rhodope hospitality.
Day 2: A short transfer takes you to the entrance of the Yagodinska Peshtera Cave, where you will have the opportunity of enjoying its unique formations. From here, the route takes you through the pretty village of Yagodina and over the hills above it with their smallholdings, on to a thick fir forest that takes you to the edge of the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge. That is where the Dyavolsko Garlo (The Devil’s Throat) Cave is located, with its highest underground waterfall in the Balkans. The next two overnight stays are at the village of Trigrad. (walking: 10km/6miles, climbing 650m/2100ft and descending 100m/330ft.)
Day 3: Today, a particularly pleasant circular route awaits you to the village of Vodni Pad hard by the Greek border which until recently cut across the village. Only a handful of people remain in the old stone houses. A colourful diversity of woods, meadows, smallholdings, crests, and rivers accompanies you on your way back to Trigrad. (walking: 20km/13miles, climbing 700m/2300ft and descending 350m/1200ft.)
Day 4: Today’s hiking trek reveals to you another part of the Rhodopes near Trigrad. The distant end of the trek is the village of Zhrebevo whence you return to Trigrad along a different route. The tiny village charms with the hospitality of its people, its virgin nature, and its traditional occupations of farming, livestock rearing, and timber felling. (walking: 22km/14miles, climbing and descending 800m/2600ft.)
Day 5: Time to leave the Rhodopes for the Rila. Today is intended to relax you, with many stops at heritage sights, beginning with a walk along the cobbled streets past the stone houses of Shiroka Laka. We then stop at the Bachkovo Monastery with its miracle-working icon of Virgin Marry, while the afternoon is spent in the Old Town of Plovdiv. You reach the village of Govedartsi in the early evening. It will be your base for the next four overnight stays in the Rila.
Day 6: A path winding through ancient thick spruce forests takes you beyond the upper edge of the forest to the magical Cirque of the Seven Rila Lakes. In the alpine zone at between 2100 and 2500m/6900 and 8200ft above sea level, this group of glacier lakes charms you with the magnificent views that open from the edge of the highest one. (walking: 16km/10miles, climbing and descending 750 to 1000m/2500 to 3300ft.)
Day 7: Following the Malyovishka River valley, you again rise above rocky peaks to reach the secretive Cirque sheltering the Strashno Ezero (The Scary) Lake. Fitter trekkers may opt to climb the Malyovitsa summit which offers incredible panoramas over surrounding crests and outcrops. (walking: 12km/7miles, climbing and descending 900m/3000ft.)
Day 8: Today, you will attempt to climb the Balkans’ highest summit of Musala (2925m/9596ft). A brief cable car climb and a three hour trek take you past a number of Cirques, glacier lakes and mountain shelters on your way up. The views from the Musala over surrounding summits and crests are definitely something that will stay with you forever. (walking: 13km/8miles, climbing and descending 750m/2500ft.)
Day 9: Transfer from Govedartsi to Sofia Airport.
A detailed route book and map will be provided upon arrival.
Notes: you may book additional nights in Sofia before or after the tour, offering you the opportunity of touring the capital or making day trips with us to Koprivshtitsa, Veliko Tarnovo, or other centers.
Extension to Rila Monastery: 90 € per person (in a group of 2 persons or more sharing a double room; single room supplement: 25 €) (included: pick-up from Govedartsi on Day 9, transfer to Rila Monastery, a guided tour in the monastery (in English), entry to the museum in the monastery, transfer to Sofia, overnight B&B in 3-star centrally located hotel on BB, transfer to Sofia Airport on Day 10; not included: lunch and dinner on Day 9).
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Europe Bulgaria Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Walking Tours
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