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Bulgaria - Rodophe Mountains

Now you have the chance to explore the unspoiled Rhodope Mountains, one of Europe’s last wildernesses. Deciduous forests still climb the steep mountainsides, which gives rise to the local name ‘the green mountains’. The forests contain wolves and bears and more than 300 different bird species have been sighted.

Your host, Bogdan, is a vet and passionately interested in his horses (of course) and the unspoiled nature and culture of the area. His riding center is perfectly situated in beautiful natural surroundings with a wide range of cultural and historical attractions within riding distance.

The highpoints include ‘Chudnite Mostova’ (beautiful cliff formations), the Shiroki Livadi nature reserve, the Lilkovsko Plateau, the Tamrazh Reserve and the charming villages of Gela and Shiroka Laka. The Rhodope Mountains provide fantastic views and mile after mile of beautiful bridle paths that have been used since the beginning of time. With its unspoiled nature and magical villages, the Rhodope Mountains have managed to keep the Bulgarian spirit alive for centuries.

The focus is on nature experinces but when the terrain allows you are trotting and cantering.This trip would suit those of you that like the wilderness, riding forward-going, responsive and brave horses and are interested in food and culture.

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Rodophe Mountain - Panorama Trail

Preliminary day-by-day program

Day 1:  Saturday - Arrival - You will be met at Sofia airport (16:00 latest) and transferred to Plovdiv city which is considered the cultural capital of Bulgaria. This afternoon you will explore Plovdiv, finding traces of civilisation much older even than the Romans. The historic centre is more than 8000 years old and here you will visit the Ethnographic Museum and the ancient theatre, one of the best-preserved still in existence, as well as Roman Forum and the King Simeon Garden.
Dinner and overnight in the biggest Show jumping stable in south Bulgaria-Frigopan

Day 2. Sunday - Sredni Livadi Protected  Area- After breakfast you will be transferred to the starting point of the trail  aprox, 50 min,which is located at 1700m above sea level in a picturesque area called Byala Cherkva,famous with the highest monastery on the Balkan peninsula called St Peter and Pavel dating back from 1200. Todays destination is the highest village in Bulgaria called Lilkovo, standing at 1500m.
The ride is full of panoramic sceneries today ,we will cross a protected area dating back from 1900 called Sredni Livadi.Lunch from the saddle bags in a chappel St Atanas.
Dinner and overnight in a family hotel
Riding: 5 hours

Day 3. Monday - Lilkovo - Hvoyna - Today our journey will takes us to the famous  panoramic valley - Ropkata, considered one of the most beautiful areas in the Middle Rhoodopes. The valley is longer than 60km, connecting Greece with Thracians planes making it the highest one in Bulgaria.Tonight we stay in another small village ,right in the heart of the valley called Hvoyna.
Dinner and overnight in a family hotel
Riding: 5 hours

Day 4 Tuesday -Hvoyna - Orehovo -  Afer  a traditional Rhodopean breakfast with local Yoghurt ,you will be taken for a guided tour of an  Emblematic place for southern Bulgaria,namely  Bachkovo monastery-the oldest and second biggest  Orthodox monastery. After this historical throwback of more than 1000year we will,head for a village called Orehovo.From here starts the longest eco-trail in Bulgaria, ending near the Aegean sea (Greece).  This make Orehovo one of the best starting destinations for tours in the Rhodopes.Today and tomorrow we are following this panoramic path towards Greece famous with the breathtaking views.
Overnight family hotel
Riding: 4 hours

Day 5Orehovo - Zabyrdo - After another hearty breakfast you will saddle up and make for the village of Zabyrdo, a small mountain village standing at 1400m above sea level which is famous for its production of traditional Rhodope cheese. Except the beautiful panoramas along the way, if we are lucky enough we will see the wild horses running freely in the area. The highlight of the trail today is the Wonderfull bridges rock phenomenon which is part of Bulgaria 1000 best sightseeings. This is a rock formation dating tousand of years, the story of the bridges is very interesting to tell, dont forget to ask Bogdan about it.
Overnight family hotel
Riding: 5 hours

Day 6. Zabyrdo - Orehovo - Today  we are heading back to Orehovo will ride back towards the village , covering the same stunning route as yesterday but in reverse.
Riding: 5 hour

Day 7. Orehov- Byala Cherkva - This is the last riding day and will take you back to the starting point of this trail. You will have ridden over 150km by horseback, passing by one of the oldest Thracian fortress called "Shtut grad" which dates back to 5th century BC. The two hills of the forests, the Sun Hill and the Moon Hill held great power for the Thracian tribe called "Best".  They were known through the Roman empire as the most fearless Thracians. Lunch today is in a restaurant beside the fortress. 
 Dinner and overnight in the biggest Show jumping stable in south Bulgaria-Frigopan
Riding: 5 hours

Day 8. After breakfast it is time to say farewell and to head to Sofia airport for your departure (approximately 3 hours in the car).

Accommodation and Food

Accommodation during the trail is simple but clean and comfortable, primarily in small hotels or guesthouses. Single rooms are available. Most nights the rooms are en-suite, one night of the trail, you will stay in a fascinating revival-age guesthouse and must share toilet/bathroom facilities on this one night (as the house is old and they are not permitted or desirous to change the layout). A few of the accommodations have a WiFi connection. On some of the hotels there are pool or sauna.

All meals are included during the trail programmes and you can expect hearty local fare and the chance to try several traditional dishes. Meat and cheese are prevalent and bread is served with every meal, but vegetarians and other dietary requirements can be catered for with prior notice. Dinners are three courses and always start with the traditional salad of cucumber, tomatoes, onions, cheese and sometimes olives. Lunches are generally a picnic eaten from your saddlebag, including a sandwich, fruit, biscuit/cereal bar and water. A few times during the week you will eat at a bar in a small village. 
Beer and wine are commonly available and delicious. A beer cost around 2 EUR and a glass of wine around 3-5 EUR. Coffee, tea and juice are served with your breakfasts.

Horses

The horses here are forward-going, responsive and brave. A range including Trakehner, Shagya Arabian and Eastern Bulgarian breeds, between 155-165 cm at the withers. English style tack, primarily Wintec saddles and horses in snaffle bridles.
Your luggage goes with the support vehicle.

 

Travel Information

Ability description: Trail Ride level 2-3 >>

Included in the price: 7 nights, 6 days riding, full board incl. water, juice, coffee/tea,  set-time transfers from/to Sofia or Plovdiv airport

Not included: Flights, alcoholic drinks. 

Travel: Book flight/rental car >> 
Fly into Sofia or Plovdiv.

Transfer: Book in advance with HorseXplore.
From Sofia och Plovdiv airport to equestrian center.
Price: Included at set times.
Time: You should ideally arrive into Sofia no later than 16:00, in order to allow time for sightseeing in Plovdiv. On departure day your flight should not leave Sofia before 12:00. If you are coming into Plovdiv instead then please contact us for timings.

Single room: It is possible to book a single room (price for single supplement available under Dates & Prices). If there is no one to share a room with, a single supplement will be added.

Currency: Bulgarian Lev (BGN).
Credit card: The riding centre do not accept credit cards. In some places it is possible to pay by credit card but it is best to change to BGN at the airport.
Tipping: Not required but appreciated. 

Wifi: Yes in some accomodations. 

Group size: Minimum 2 riders, maximum 9. 
Age limit: Going on trails kids must be minimum 11 year old, accompanied by an adult.

Weight limit: 90kg

Climate

Dates and prices

DateDaysName of tripPrice from
17/06/20238Bulgaria, Rodophe Mountains - Panorama Trail RideEUR 1,350Book on request
01/07/20238Bulgaria, Rodophe Mountains - Panorama Trail RideEUR 1,350Book on request
15/07/20238Bulgaria, Rodophe Mountains - Panorama Trail RideEUR 1,350Book on request
29/07/20238Bulgaria, Rodophe Mountains - Panorama Trail RideEUR 1,350Book on request
12/08/20238Bulgaria, Rodophe Mountains - Panorama Trail RideEUR 1,350Book on request

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