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 trail starts in the morning and you ride in north-east direction through remote villages with traditional architecture from the Bulgarian Revival. You ride through thick beech forests with good stretches for trotting and cantering and after about 6 hours in the saddles and riding along the Balkan ridge over beautiful meadows you reach the small village Troentsi right under the foothill of the mysterious mountain Mara Gidik. You stay in an old style and comfortable guest house. The panorama view from the village to the great national park is astonishing.
From Troentsi you start trotting through wood, farm land and creeks. You pass through or near the picturesque mountain villages Stokite, Kupen and Emiliovo – a peaceful settlement with an amazing view to the Balkan ridge. In the afternoon you ride in trot and gallop through an area with many red and roe deer, chamois, and brown bear. The days ride is about 6-7 hours before you reach the mountain chalet “Partizanska Pesen” (1000m).
After breakfast you ascent through old wood and well up on the pastures on the top you enjoy the fantastic views over north and south Bulgaria at the same time! The pastures give you the possibility to trot and gallop. At a nice little stream in 1450 m you have a rest and after 2-3 more hours on the horse back you reach the mountain chalet “Mazalat” (1620m)for lunch. After lunch you cross the mountains and ride directly deep into the “Central Balkan National Park” to the reserve “The singing rocks” – and if the wind is blowing you’ll hear the rocks sing. Through the reserve there are two small distances of 10-20 meter where you have to stay off and lead the horse. Today you’ll ride about 7-8 hours.
You wake up in the comfortable lodge Tabite with an amazing view to the mountains. Todays ride is on the top of the mountains and lunch in cowboy style will be well prepared in a mountain chalet Triglav. You have a rest and it is possible to go for a walk on an eco-path for a splendid view to the Valley of Roses on the south side of the Balkan Mountains. On the way back you pass a water fall. Dinner and overnight in the lodge Tabite and why not enjoy a Bulgarian sundowner while the sun is going down behind the mountain peaks Maragidik (1889m) and Botev (2376m).
After breakfast you ride in the northern direction and the circle ride is closed. You ride down the mountains, leave the national park and right down to the villages. The ride of the day is about 5 hours. You will overnight in the same house as the first 2 nights.
Breakfast and departure. You will be driven to the airport for your trip home.