Welcome to Sherif Travel

Balkan Mountain Hiking Tour

Per Person  70,000
10Days 9Nights
  • Attractive Packages

Description

Balkan Mountain Hiking Tour

A 10 days/9 nights hiking package in some of the longest (550 km) and highest (summit Botev – 2376 m ASL) mountain ranges in Bulgaria. Stara Planina (meaning ‘Old Mountain’) or the Balkan Mountains are actually relatively young, having been formed at the same time as the Alps and the Himalayas. These mountains give their name to the Balkan Peninsula, and cover 1/10 of Bulgaria’s territory, dividing the country into North and South Bulgaria.

This trek will take you to the Central Balkan National Park, called “The Spring of Life”. It was awarded the prestigious PAN Parks title for outstanding nature representing the best of Europe’s wilderness. You will make your way through ancient coniferous and beech forests, high mountain pastures, deep gorges with steep cliffs, narrow ridges with rugged peaks, as well as rolling gentle hills and meadows.

What’s included

  • Accommodation at selected category hotels
  • All sightseeing as indicated on the program
  • Meals as indicated on the program
  • Mountain guide during the tour
  • Guided tour in Sofia with English speaking guide
  • All transportation with parking and toll fees
  • All local taxes and service charges
  • Tipping to the hotels and restaurants

What’s Not Included

  • Personal expenses
  • Beverages
  • Tipping to the guide and the driver
  • Visas
  • International Flights
  • GST

Hotels (3 Star Hotel)

Sofia:

  • Hotel Lion
  • Hotel Budapesta

Daily Trip Plan

Day 1: Sofia – Teteven

Welcome to Bulgaria! On landing at Sofia, you will be met by our staff and we will transfer you to your hotel Teteven (1.5 hours drive) – a picturesque mountain town nestled along the deep valley on the banks of Beli Vit River, amongst the impressive peaks – Treskavets, Ostrich, Cherven, Petrahilia. En route, depending on arrival time, visit Glozhene monastery, built in the 13th century – a secret refuge for the famous revolutionary Vasil Levski; it is perched on a rocky outcrop amongst beech forests. Accommodation and free time for exploring the beautiful town enjoying the clean fresh air. Delicious dinner and overnight.

Day 2: Teteven – Bogoe Pass – Eho Hut

In the morning a short transfer brings you to Bogoe Pass (15 min). The bus will leave you at an altitude of 1,276 m ASL, and you will start hiking up on a side spur through beech forests and open meadows with lovely views around, until in about 2.5 hours you will reach the main ridge of the mountain and the Kozya Stena reserve. Great views open to the heart of Tsaritchina Biosphere Reserve, overlooking its labyrinth network of forested valleys. Another 1-1.5 hrs will take you to Eho hut (1,675 m ASL) – perched on the very edge between Kavladan Peak and the rugged Youmrouka Peak. The Eho hut is situated on the borderline of Tsaritchina reserve, renowned for its high sub-alpine pastures and coniferous woods with rich flora – over 600 species being recorded here including some rare Bulgarian endemics. In the late afternoon you may climb the rugged and panoramic Youmrouka Peak (1,819 m ASL) to enjoy the sunset. Dinner. Overnight.

Walking time: 4-5 hours
Difficulty grade: B – Moderate
Total ascent: 500 metres
Total descent: 100 metres

Day 3: Eho Hut – Chiflika Village

For the first half of the day you will walk along the main ridge of the mountain on the borderline of Kozya Stena Reserve. This trail offers great views towards the deeply cut valley of Damla Dere (‘valley of mist’). Following the crest, the track now starts threading its way amongst a succession of beautiful limestone outcrops at the southern edge of the reserve. This jagged section is known as Trionite (‘The Saws’). You may encounter the symbolic flower of tourism – the edelweiss which has a large population here and some rare animals as the wild goat and the golden eagle. In about an hour and a half you will reach the Kozya Stena Hut (1,560 m ASL) and further east you will reach the saddle Vetroviti Plreslap from where you will go down to emerge in the broad century-old beech forests of the reserve for a short while. The path starts steeply descending with a lot of zigzags to take you down to your hotel in Chiflika Village – well-known spa & resort. Relax your muscles in the hot mineral pools of your hotel enjoying the fresh mountainous air. Dinner. Overnight.

Walking time: 4-5 hours
Difficulty grade: B – Moderate
Total ascent: 200 metres
Total descent: 1,110 metres

Day 4: Chiflika Village – Dermenkaya Hut

This day is rather long and demanding in its first half. From your hotel in Chiflika village you will start hiking uphill through the open back of the side-spur of Tumin Dyal. You will climb steeply reaching Vetroviti Preslap saddle and climb gently over the shoulder of Boba Peak (1,707 m ASL). For the rest of the day you will continue walking on the main ridge passing by the Kozya Stena Peak which forms a stunning 100-meter vertical wall. This beautiful walk overlooks the vast Tracian Valley to the south and the broad sea of mountain ridges and woods. Reaching the Troyan Pass you will continue eastwards along the main ridge of the mountain which is broad in this section with gently domed summits. You will cross extensive high mountain pastures to reach the final destination for the day – the lovely Dermenkaya hut (1,520 m ASL). Dinner. Overnight.

Day 5: Dermenkaya Hut – Cherni Osam Village

This day offers a truly wild feel as you will trek on a rarely visited trail into the wild Steneto Biosphere Reserve with stunning views towards the deeply cut valleys of Cherni Vit and Kumanitsa rivers, which had formed a dramatic gorge flanked by cave-studded cliffs and precipices. The day begins with a steep descent throughout ancient beech forest – some of the trees are 200 years of age. This barely-touched region of Karst Limestone is a remote and undisturbed paradise for large carnivores and many secretive woodland birds. The reserve is one of the most important refuges for Brown bear. It is also the haunt for other elusive mammals such as wolf, wild boar, otter and red deer. You may track down the Balkan endemic Harberlea Rhodopensis which grows profusely on damp rock walls in the very depths of the gorge. Finally you will reach the Smesite area and the border of The Central Balkan National Park where the bus will wait for you to transfer you to the village of Oreshaka (10 min). Dinner. Overnight in Oreshaka.

Walking time: 6 – 7 hours
Difficulty grade: C – Difficult
Total ascent: 135 m
Total descent: 1,100 m

Day 6: Apriltsi Village – Pleven Hut

A short transfer in the morning will take you to visit the Troyan Monastery – a remarkable monument of culture of national significance and the nearby Oreshaka Exhibition Hall hosting Bulgarian culture like different crafts, costumes and ways of life through the centuries. Around noon you will be transferred to the starting point of today’s trek. This is a short stage with a very pleasant path climbing steadily, yet not too steeply through beech forests to Pleven Hut (1,384 m ASL). Once you have arrived at the hut you will spend the rest of the day enjoying the magnificent views towards the dramatic Northern Wall of the Northern Dzhendem (meaning ‘hell’) Reserve – more than 400 metre-high vertical cliffs pierced by avalanche gullies. It is these cliffs that give the reserve its name. They form an imposing 10 kilometre-long curtain along the northern flank of Stara Planina with the rounded grassy dome of Mount Botev rising high in the clouds. In the afternoon you will have a chance to visit the Vodni Dupki caves famous for their big population of bats – 17 different types. It is not permitted to go into the caves; but it is from where the Vasilkovitsa River starts. They stand an hour away from the hut

Walking time: 2-3 hours
Difficulty grade: B – Moderate
Total ascent: 760 m
Total descent: 60 m

Day 7: Pleven Hut – Rai Hut

Today you will climb to the top of the mountain – Botev Peak (2,376 m ASL). The path starts going uphill for about an hour and a half until you reach the borderline of the Northern Dhzendem (Hell) Reserve. As you skirt the boundaries of the reserve you will enjoy the amazing views of the inaccessible crags haunted by many rare species. The final climb before reaching the top goes through the gentle dome giving you chance to pick some blueberries on your way. The view form the highest point of the mountain is panoramic to south and north Bulgaria, the fertile valleys and numerous mountains. After a short break you will start descending the domed summit until you come across the crags of The Southern Dzendem (Hell) Reserve, offering the best viewpoint towards the ‘Hell’ (Dzendema Reserve) and the first opportunity to spot the ‘Heaven’ hut looking like a match-box dropped in the grass. You will continue down to reach the hut through the so called Tarzanska pateka (Tarzan’s path) which winds its way down the Heaven Rocksit with numerous serpentines going around the steep rocky terrain. The surrounds of Ray (Heaven) Hut (1,430 m ASL) are truly amazing with the Rayski Skali (‘heaven rocks’) above – an imposing wall of granite crags, down which thunders the highest waterfall in Bulgaria – Rayskoto Praskalo (125 m high). Dinner. Overnight.

Walking time: 6-7 hours
Difficulty grade: C – Difficult
Total ascent: 1,000 m
Total descent: 950 m

Day 8: Rai Hut – Kalofer

This is a rather short day which begins for the first half-an-hour with a steep descent through the ancient beech woods of Rogacheva Gora. You will hike through Dzhendema Reserve with lovely views overlooking the deeply cut valley of the Bazovitsa River. Upon reaching the borderline of the Central Balkan National Park in two and a half hours, you will have the opportunity to make a circular loop along the Byala River eco-trail with specially constructed ladders and bridges that helps you to explore the inaccessible part of the valley. The loop takes about 1.5-2 hours. In another half an hour you will reach the outskirts of Kalofer where the minibus will wait to transfer you to the small, tranquil town situated at 600 m ASL. It is situated in the foothills of Stara Planina on the banks of the Tundzha River. It is the home town of the great revolutionary and poet Hristo Botev, after whom the highest peak of the range – Botev (2376 m ASL) is named. In the town, well preserved houses with architecture from the Bulgarian Revival Period in 18th century, few churches and monasteries and some museums can be seen. The town offers a touch of Bulgarian culture that dates back centuries. Dinner. Overnight.

Walking time: 2-3 hours (Excluding ‘The White Rive Eco Trail’)
Difficulty grade: B – Moderate
Total ascent: 100 m
Total descent: 1,050 m

Day 9: Kalofer – Sofia

After breakfast departure to Sofia (about 2 hours). Check-in to the hotel. Walking tour to the city centre (about 3 hours). You will see St. Sophia church dating back to 5th-6th century – a monument of Bulgarian medieval civilization that gave the current name of the town. Visit the largest cathedral Alexander Nevski with its gilded dome, the rotunda St. George 3th-4th century and the city fortress and you will feel the atmosphere of the city, whose history dates back over 5000 years. Free time to explore the city. Overnight.

Day 10: Sofia – Departure

After breakfast check out from hotel (before 12:00), transfer to the airport depending on your flight timing. End of tour and services – return home with unforgettable memories of Bulgaria and the Balkan Mountains!