Signature adventure

Rhodope Mountains

Wild Rhodope Mountains

Cost

£ 1,895

Nights

8

Fitness level

Moderate

Group size

Min 6, max 9

Location

Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria

Cost

£ 1,895

Fitness level

Moderate

Nights

8

Group size

Min 6, max 9

Location

Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria

Nature and culture of the Western and Eastern Rhodope Mountains

  • Bear and wildlife watching.
  • Birding in the Western and Eastern Rhodope Mountains.
  • Exceptional vulture encounters and wide range of raptor species.
  • Community, rewilding, folklore and winery experiences.
  • Historic Plovdiv and Sofia.
Day 1 Arrival and transfer to Hotel Niky in Sofia

You’ll be met at Sofia Airport and transferred to our hotel in downtown Sofia. The rest of the day is free to explore the many museums, and cultural and historical sites of Sofia.

Day 2 Western Rhodope Mountains and bear hide

After breakfast, we will depart for the small town of Devin, famous for its healing mineral waters located in the Western Rhodope Mountains. The forests surrounding Devin are also known for the density of brown bears and at sunset we’ll transfer from Devin to our bear hide and settle in, hoping that the bears and other wildlife will visit. After some hours in the hide, we will return to our hotel in Devin for a well-earned sleep.

Day 3 Birding and Bear Watching

Today we’ll focus on birding before once again visiting the bear hide during the evening and night. The Western Rhodope Mountains have exceptionally high biodiversity with 141 nesting species of birds, 68 of which are on the Bulgarian Red List. We hope to see Corn Crake, Saker Falcon, Lesser Kestrel, Black Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Hazel Hen, Western Capacaille, Grey-headed woodpecker, Peregrine Falcon and Golden eagle. At sunset, we will drive to the bear hide and sit silently hoping that bears and other wildlife visit the hide. We return very late to our hotel in Devin.

Day 4 Kastrakli Nature Reserve
After breakfast, we take a short transfer to the village of Borino which is the gateway to Kastrakli Nature Reserve. Kastrakli was designated a reserve in 1968 to protect one of the few remaining stands of old-growth Black pine. Huge beech, hornbeam trees and endemic plants such as rare orchids are also found in the rugged, steep-sided valleys of the reserve. There are more than 330 species of plants in the reserve, many used in traditional healing for medicinal use. In the afternoon we will visit the Trigrad Gorge and the Devil’s Throat Cave. We’ll overnight at the family-run Hotel ‘Arkan Han’ in Trigrad village.

Day 5 Birding in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains

Today we have a long overland transfer through varied landscapes as we make our way from Trigrad to Mazharovo in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains. We’ll stop for birding at the Studen Kladenets Dam, arriving at our hotel ‘The Old Nest’ in the afternoon. Once we’ve had time to relax, we’ll visit the Nature Information and Conservation Center in Madjarovo to learn more about how the local community work with conservation and especially about the region’s conservation of vultures and raptors. The evening is free to relax after enjoying a traditional dinner at ‘The Old Nest’.

Day 6 Birding around Madjarovo and the Arda River 

Today our focus will be on birding while exploring the best birding around Madjarovo and the narrow valley of the Arda River with its 174 bird species; 40 of which are included in the Bulgarian Red List, and 78 that have conservation significance on a European level. Birding in the region has been important for the local inhabitants along with a range of nature-based tourism opportunities that are focused on conservation and rewilding. The area is globally significant as a representative site of the Mediterranean biome. Madjarovo is one of the two colonies of the griffon vulture in Bulgaria and is among the most important sites in Bulgaria for the protection and conservation of birds of prey, in particular the globally threatened Egyptian vulture. We also hope to see Black stork, Long-legged Buzzards, Golden and Short-toed Eagles and Peregrine Falcons. After a long day of birding and trail walking, we return to The Old Nest for dinner and a colourful performance of regional folklore.

Day 7 Winery Zagreus and Plovdiv

This morning we’ll help our host prepare a traditional Bulgarian breakfast called Banitza before departing for Plovdiv. On our way to Plovdiv we’ll stop at Winery Zagreus to sample some of Bulgaria’s most famous wines. We arrive into Plovdiv in the late afternoon and will enjoy a walk through the streets of one of Europe’s oldest cities with Roman architecture dating back to the 2nd Century.

Day 8 Plovdiv to Sofia

We’ll depart early so that we arrive in Sofia with enough time to enjoy a short sightseeing tour of this fascinating and ancient capital city with its many churches and Roman ruins. For those interested in archaeology there the National Museum which houses a magnificent collection of Thracian artefacts dating back to the 4th Century BC. The evening is free to explore and dine by yourself or with newly made friends.

Day 9 Transfer to Sofia Airport

It’s time to depart Bulgaria unless you’ve decided to extend your stay in Sofia for a day or two. Trip service end with a transfer to Sofia Airport.


Dates

April 21-29, 2023

May 12-20, 2023


 What’s included

  • 8-nights’ accommodation in a DBL or Twin room.
  • 8 breakfasts and 5 dinners.
  • Transport and guided excursions as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Private transfer Sofia Airport to group hotel Day 1.
  • Group transfer group hotel to Sofia Airport Day 9.
  • Local taxes.

 

 Not included 

  • Gratuities.
  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Lunches throughout.
  • Dinners on Day 1, 7,8 & 9.
  • Personal trip and medical insurance.


 Accommodations

2 nights at Hotel Niky (or similar) in Sofia.

2 nights Hotel Kris in Devin.

1 night at Hotel Arkan Han in Trigrad.

2 nights at The Old Nest Guesthouse in Madzharovo.

1 night Hotel Ego (or similar) in Plovdiv.


 Special Dietary Requirements

Vegan, vegetarian, Gluten-free and other allergy free meal options are available on request. Please inform us of your dietary requirements in advance of travel.

What to bring

  • Rain proof jacket and trousers.
  • Long sleeved tops and trousers.
  • Shorts and layered clothing for day walks.
  • Fleece or warm sweater and hat for cooler evenings.
  • Hiking boots, or hiking shoes.
  • Thermal underwear for nights in the Bear Hide.
  • Extra underwear and socks.
  • Head lamp with extra batteries.
  • Swimming trunks/suit and towel.
  • Electricity adaptor (Europlug type c and F 230 volts).
  • Personal water bottle and any favourite snacks and personal medication.

Enquire about available trips

8 + 9 =

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