Bulgaria - The Singing Rocks
In the eastern part of the Balkan Mountains National Park is a nature reserve of more than 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) with wide variety of wildlife. For centuries, this area has been known by the name given to the amazing rock formations that almost ‘sing’ in the wind. This is home to a number of unusual animals such as the mountain goat, the brown bear and eagles. There are also red deer, wild boar, wild cats and many different species of bird. The air is clean and as clear as the many mountain springs you will ride past – and the view from the highest peaks of the long mountain chain are fantastic. Before the week is over, you will get to see the peaks of Mount Botev (2,376 meters; 7.795 ft), Maragidik, Mazalat and many others. You will see how this mountain chain divides Bulgaria into north and south. You can read more about the National Park and the Nature Reserve at www.centralbalkannationalpark.org and www.staraplanina.org. The hilly terrain and the relatively flat mountain plateaus with open fields are made for great riding experiences. The riding varies greatly in both terrain and tempo. The ride starts and ends in Apriltsi, but along the way you will stay in small, unique homes and in real mountains cabins.
This experience with nature will remain long in your memory.
Groups can be between 1 and 8 riders. If there are only 1-2 riders booked, your baggage will be carried by packhorses rather than by car.
(The program is subject to change due to local circumstances beyond our control)
Arrival and transfer from the airport in Apriltsi. You will be welcomed with a nice dinner.
You will get acquainted with your horses and then take a ride in the countryside around Apriltsi. You will ride about 10 kilometers (6 miles) and picnic by a small river. After a break of 1-1½ hours, you will ride back to Apriltsi. The terrain varies and provides the opportunity for a varied riding tempo. Overnight in Apriltsi.
The riding starts after breakfast and you will ride to the northeast. The ride starts on gravel roads that will take you past old houses and abandoned farms. You continue through the wide expanses with views of the Balkan Mountains. You will eat the picnic you have brought with you next to a clear spring. After 6 hours in the saddle, you will arrive at your lodgings for the night which have a beautiful garden and fantastic panoramic views.
You continue southwards through forests, fields and past three mountain springs. Picnic. The terrain lets you ride at different paces. You will ride over the top of Osenkikovet (1,044 meters; 3,425 ft) and arrive in the afternoon at Todorcheta where you will stay overnight. Today’s ride is about 28 kilometers (18 miles), about 6½ hours.
After breakfast, you continue your ride up through the old forest. After about 18 kilometers (11 miles) and four hours you reach the mountain cabin ‘Partisanska pesen’. After lunch, you can enjoy the surroundings on your own – rest or take a short ride through the fields that surround the cabin.
You will ride in the National Park and through its forest for 1 ½ hours before you arrive at the cabin ‘Masalat’ where you will eat lunch. From here, you ride into The Singing Rocks Reserve. If the wind is blowing, you will experience how the fascinating rock formations ‘sing’ in the wind. In the Reserve, there are two short sections where you lead the horses and give your legs a stretch.
This is the longest day with about 7 hours riding and you will travel approx. 25 kilometers (16 miles) before you arrive at the former dairy which is at an altitude of 1,450 meters. (4,757 ft).
You will stay overnight in rooms with 2-3 beds with shower/toilet. Dinner will be eaten in front of an open fire and you can watch the sunset behind the Maragidik (1,869 meters; 6,131 ft) and Botev Mountains.
After breakfast, you will continue to ride north and complete the circle you have ridden during the week. You will descend, leaving the National Park and arrive in Apriltsi. This last day’s riding is approx. 18 kilometers (11 miles) and takes about 5 hours. Back in Apriltsi you will say good-bye to the horses and the mountains. You will spend the night in the hotel where you stayed on the two first nights.
Breakfast and departure. You will be driven to the airport for your trip home.