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Balkan Trail

Have you ever been on a ride along ancient trails over impressive mountains, through waste mountain passes, along romping streams and roar waterfall? And further in the wonderful mountain scenery crossing the pasture to small hidden and forgotten villages? If not why don’t you join us on this exciting holiday, where every day brings new challenges, new terrains, new riding experiences and impressions on Bulgarian nature and culture… This is an adventurous ride for riders wishing to try everything. This is possible because here we combine trekking from place to place with our riding bases in the mountains.
The tour is following the ancient trails that for hundreds of years have connected the North of Bulgaria with its Southern parts across the Balkan Mountain, which lies as a backbone along the territory of Bulgaria. Starting from the charming town of Apriltsi, scattered among the rolling hills of the Fore-Balkan parts of the mountain, the route climbs up towards Mt. Botev (2376 m a.s.l.), descends on the southern side of the mountains reaching the Valley of Roses and Sredna Gora Mountains before going back along a different track. The daily rides range between 6 and 8 hrs.

Day by day program

Day 1. Welcome meeting at Sofia Airport and transportation to Apriltsi in the Balkan Mountains. Accommodation in a cosy and new Guest House in the centre of the village in double rooms with shower/toilet. During dinner you will be informed about how to pack.
Day 2. In the morning you will meet your horse for the first time and will be able to fall into your horse’s ways during the introduction ride in the vicinity of Apriltsi. We start riding in the fields of the base, continue through small villages and at a creek we know a good spot for the lunch picnic. After lunch the trek continues up in the mountains for appr. 3 hrs until we reach the first chalet.
Day 3. The ride continues through the ridges of the Central Balkan National Park and the foots of Mount Botev. From the highest parts of the mountains you will be rewarded with remarkable sceneries towards the vast lowlands of the Thracian Plain. After 6-7 hours ride we will end up in a small monastery where you and your horse will find rest for the night.
Day 4. In the morning you will have some time to explore the monastery and the life on the fields. After lunch we continue through the Valley of Roses and after some 5 hours we reach the Sredna Gora Mountains where we spend the night in the chalet Svezhen.
Day 5. A whole day, meant to devote your attention to riding in the terrains around the riding base. Play, fun and games with the horses combined with needed relax at the banks of a small lake nearby – a really exciting experience. In the lush meadows you will have all possibilities to break into trot or gallop or to be a pathfinder together with the riding guide in the remote surroundings.
Day 6. After breakfast we are facing north through remote villages. In one of them we have lunch in a beautiful private garden and the traditional summer meal is homemade. After lunch we start ascending the mountain passing one of the checkpoints of the national park until we reach a mountain complex for the overnight. Once the complex was an attractive resort, now it is most of all a surreal adventure to enter into a scene from another era.
Day 7. We continue over the mountains having our last lunch on the top before we start riding down to Apriltsi where it all started.
Day 8. Breakfast and free time for a last snapshot. Transfer to Sofia Airport for departure.

Departure dates for 2019 (limited group size): Please contact us for details! No. of riders: 8 riders

Accommodation:

2 nights in Apriltsi based on accommodation in Family Hotel, double occupancy with shower/toilet. 1 night in mountain lodge in 2-bedded rooms with shower/toilet. 1 night in a monastery based on double occupancy (2 rooms sharing shower/toilet). 2 nights in mountains chalet in 2 or 3 bedded room with shower/toilet. Full board: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. (Lunch is organized as picnic, lunch package or ordinary lunch). Riding guide 6 days and interpreter (English speaking). Horse & equipment. Luggage transport. Transfer from/to Sofia airport at set time.

Recommended items:
riding helmet, riding boots, riding pants and chaps, gloves (spurs are not needed), natural insect repellent, warm clothes, rain gear, spare clothes, sunscreen lotion, wet wipes, water bottle, passport, insurance, towel (for the overnights in the mountains); we recommend that you bring more than 15kg and that you use a duffel bag (as your luggage will be loaded in and out of the cars many times and it is important that you don’t bring more than you actually need); put your clothes in plastic bags;

Notes:
Transfer from/to Sofia Airport is organised as one transport for all arriving and departing guests. We recommend arrival not later than 18:00 and departure not earlier than 12:00. The transport is planned after latest arrival / first departure in the group; If a guest is having a stay in Sofia before/after the riding holiday the meeting/farewell point is still in the airport; All guests must be in a possession of an insurance covering your riding holiday in Bulgaria; There are more than 25 horses in the riding base – all of them in good condition and trained to ride in the mountains; Most of the horses are of the East Bulgarian breed and crossings with Arabians and local horses; The East Bulgarian breed is well known as tough, thoughtful and wise, and in harmony with the famous strength and power of the Arabian it gives a combination that fully satisfies the riders and the challenges in the nature; The average size is 160-165 cm. The saddles are Western (Australian or American). There are small saddlebags.

Price: Please contact us for details!

Single occupancy when available per night: 15 Euro per person per night (in hotels only)

The price includes: transfer from/to Sofia airport, accommodation in private house /mountain chalets/ monastery in 2-4 bedded rooms, shower/toilet on the floor, 7 nights with full board, English-speaking riding guide, luggage transfers, fully equipped ”own horse”.

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