Bulgaria – Rodopi Mountains

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07 Nights / 08 Days

Starting and ending in Sofia, the Bulgaria: Rodopi Mountains tour is a guided wildlife trip that takes 8 days. You will travel through Trigrad Gorge, Devil’s Throat Cave, Yagodina and 3 other destinations in Bulgaria. Bulgaria: Rodopi Mountains is a small tour which includes accommodation in hotels, transport, meals and others.

Day 01: Start Sofia Airport; transfer to Yagodina.
Start at Sofia airport (Terminal 2), where we will be met by the representative and transferred to the remote village of Yagodina, our base for the next 6 nights.

Day 02: Yagodina
Walk from Zmeitsa along route of ancient Roman road through meadows, forests and fields to the Buinovo Gorge.

Setting off on foot from the village of Zmeitsa, we follow the line of an ancient Roman road through meadows, forests and fields where there are opportunities to observe the local people engaged in their traditional agricultural lifestyle. Finally, having descended a broad grassy ridge spur, that offers stunning views towards the village of Yagodina, we drop steeply into the Buinovo Gorge where our minibus will be waiting.

Day 03: Yagodina
Walk along the Chairska Gorge; cross the Trigrad Plateau and visit the Devil’s Throat Cave.
We start today’s extremely varied walk by first hiking down the gorge of the Chairska River, and then climbing through ancient forests to emerge at an extensive area of glorious flower-filled meadows. Having crossed these, and then an interesting section of karst plateau, we eventually drop down into the Trigrad Gorge to visit the ‘Devil’s Throat’ cave, an enormous chasm with a thundering waterfall. According to legend, this was the cave by which Orpheus emerged from the Underworld after his tragically failed attempt to reclaim his wife Eurydice. The crags around the cave entrance are also very interesting for naturalists, being home to several local endemic plants as well as the wallcreeper, a rare and elusive bird that flutters around the rocks like a butterfly y on strikingly crimson wings.

Day 04: Yagodina
Walk around Mt Durdaga through a variety of habitats with rich flora and fauna.

A full day’s circular walk starting and finishing in Yagodina. Our route makes a tour of Mt. Durdaga, a high wooded peak that rises directly above the village. During the course of our walk, we pass through a large variety of habitats with an extremely rich flora and fauna. During the first half of the day, as well as wandering through ancient forests that are home to bear, boar and deer, we will also cross several flower covered pastures that are normally enlivened by a spectacular assortment of butterflies. Later in the afternoon, we return to Yagodina along the line of a former Roman road that runs high above the Trigrad Gorge, which not only offers outstanding views, but is also one of the most renowned botanic trails in the country.

Day 05: Yagodina
Traversing the highest peaks of the Rodopi along the Perelik Ridge $ Mt. Golyam Snezhnik.

After breakfast we set off in our bus for a 90 minutes’ drive east into the highest part of the Rodopi Mountains. Having reached the end of the driveable road, we begin a wonderful hike along the main ridge of the Rodopi Mountains. First we skirt just below the military base on the summit of the Rodopi’s highest peak Mt. Golyam Perelik (2191m), before ascending Mt. Golyam Snezhnik (2188m), just two metres lower! Having enjoyed the expansive views from the rolling open pastures, we then start to drop down into the forest, eventually making our way down to the tiny, picturesquely situated village of Gela, which according to legend was the birthplace of Orpheus. Here we will be met by our bus for the drive back to Yagodina. Occasionally, during May, late-lying snow makes it impossible to traverse the flank of Mt. Golyam Perelik, so instead we will attempt a direct ascent of Mt. Golyam Snezhnik from the village of Gela, climbing as high as the snowline.

Day 06: Yagodina 
Sveti Ilia ridge walk with panoramic views over Yagodina and most of the Rodopi.

The focus of today’s walk is the imposing Sveti Iliya (Saint Elijah) ridge that rises up directly north of Yagodina. Our route starts directly from the hotel, making its way through the meadows at the foot of the ridge. After this gentle start, we then begin a steep, direct 350 metre ascent of Mt. Sveti Iliya (1508 m), zig-zagging up the stony sun-baked southern flank to reach the breathtaking viewing platform known as the ‘Eagle’s Eye’. Given stable weather, we then make a complete traverse of the ridge to its eastern end, first descending a jeep track to a saddle in the centre of the ridge, before another steep and stony ascent to Mt. Vartkite (1470 m). The ridge boasts its own unique flora and fauna, offering a chance to observe a variety of interesting butterflies and birds. However, the panorama would itself be reward enough for completing what is a fairly strenuous walk over rough and stony terrain, with views stretching out across much of the Western Rodopi, offering a chance to point out and identify the places one has walked during previous days of this holiday. Finally, we conclude our circular walk by descending back to our hotel.

Day 07: Buinovo Gorge and Devinska Reka. Transfer to Sofia.
Setting off on foot from the hotel, we pick up yet another section of former Roman road, now a beautiful forest trail that is famed for the great variety of orchids. Suddenly the path emerges at a shelter, perched high on a rocky viewpoint from which one can gaze down into the Buinovo Gorge below. From here, the trail steadily descends to meet the river and road beside a wonderfully preserved Roman bridge. On reaching the bottom of the gorge, we will then spend about an hour exploring the Yagodina Cave. This is one of the most beautiful in the country, and world renowned for its variety of cave formations including stalagmites, stalactites, draperies, flowstones, dendrites and cave pearls. The cave system also harbours a unique prehistoric dwelling and subject to permission from the archaeologists, we will hopefully have the chance to enter this and learn more about the surprisingly sophisticated way-of-life of the people who inhabited it more than 6000 years ago.

Having finished our visit to the cave, we then set off on the long but highly picturesque transfer to the Bulgarian capital Sofia, where we will spend our final night.

Day 08: Depart Sofia.
Final departure transfer to airport for flight back to home.

City Night (s) Hotel / Camp
Yagodina 06 Hotel Yagodina
Sofia 01 Grand Hotel Sofia

– Meeting and assistance by our representative.
– Welcome with fresh flower garlands.
– 07 Nights accommodation
– Daily Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners.
– 06 days centre-based walking
– Local English-speaking guide
– All transfers, sightseeing, excursions as per the program by private vehicle.
– Entrance Fee
– Transport, Parking, Gasoline & Toll ways.
– All present government taxes.

– International Airfare.
– Tips, gratuities, Portage, laundry, telephone calls, table drinks, camera/ video camera charges, or any other expenses of a personal nature.
– Visa fees, personal insurance.
– Any item not specified under cost includes.

– Accommodation in good hotels.
– Check-in / out time is 12 noon at most of the hotels.
– Extension to other places is also possible with a minimal extra cost.
– Additional nights are available at each place with minimal supplement.
– A visa is required and must be obtained prior to your departure from your Country.
– If quoted hotel is not available, we will provide one of a similar category and standard.
– Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability.
– In case the government changes presently applicable taxes, increase in airlines prices, fuel surcharge our rates will need to be adjusted accordingly.
– Sometimes, there is no relevance between the distance and time of travelling, as it depends upon the condition of the roads and congestion of the traffic.
– While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of local strikes etc that are beyond our control all schedule and itineraries are subject to last moment changes.
– Clients must be fully insured, as the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage to client’s property, medical emergencies or any other loss suffered by them whilst on tour.
– In Case of issuing Domestic or International air tickets, SGV is not responsible for any refund if the flight is delayed or cancelled, as it is the responsibility of airline.

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