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Bulgaria: Rodopi Mountains

from $1,549.00

Spectacular trekking in Bulgaria’s mountain landscape

  • Reviews 16 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    6 - 16
All about the Bulgaria: Rodopi Mountains.

The Rodopi Mountains are a hauntingly beautiful and mysterious region which, according to legend were the home of Orpheus. Today they offer a refuge for many exceptionally rare plants, as well as brown bears, wolves, wild cats and a prolific number of butterflies and birds.This holiday provides the opportunity to discover the amazingly rich cultural and natural heritage of these remote mountains as we walk through a variety of landscapes including ancient coniferous forests and rugged limestone gorges, we also visit two impressive caves, and engage with the local people who maintain their traditional rural existence, working the fields by hand and tending their livestock on the surrounding meadows and pastures.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners included
* 6 nights in a traditional rural settlement in Yagodina Village, 1 night in a comfortable hotel in Sofia. All rooms en suite

* Airport transfers (at designated times)

Group normally 6 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16 yrs.

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

 

Highlights

  • Stunning mountain landscapes with deep gorges, spectacular caves, ancient forests and flowering meadows
  • Unique flora rich in orchids and endemic species
  • Outstanding fauna, including brown bear, wallcreeper and an exceptional variety of rare butterflies
  • Unique opportunities to experience daily life in a traditional Bulgarian village
  • Delicious home-produced local cuisine
  • 6 nights in a traditional rural settlement in Yagodina Village, 1 night in a comfortable hotel in Sofia. All rooms en suite
  • 6 days centre-based walking
  • Group normally 6 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 2188m, average 1350m
  • Travel by minibus
  1. Day 1 Start Sofia Airport; transfer to Yagodina.

    Start at Sofia airport (Terminal 2), where we will be met by the leader and transferred to the remote village of Yagodina, our base for the next 6 nights.  *Yagodina Family Hotel or similar*

  2. Day 2 Walk from Zmeitsa along route of ancient Roman road through meadows, forests and fields to the Buinovo Gorge.

    Setting off on foot from the village of Zmeitsa, we follow the line of an ancient Roman road through meadows, forests and fields where there are opportunities to observe the local people engaged in their traditional agricultural lifestyle. Finally, having descended a broad grassy ridge spur, that offers stunning views towards the village of Yagodina, we drop steeply into the Buinovo Gorge where our minibus will be waiting.*Yagodina Family Hotel or similar*

  3. Day 3 Walk along the Chairska Gorge; cross the Trigrad Plateau and visit the Devil's Throat Cave.

    We start today’s extremely varied walk by first hiking down the gorge of the Chairska River, and then climbing through ancient forests to emerge at an extensive area of glorious flower-filled meadows. Having crossed these, and then an interesting section of karst plateau, we eventually drop down into the Trigrad Gorge to visit the ’Devil’s Throat’ cave, an enormous chasm with a thundering waterfall. According to legend, this was the cave by which Orpheus emerged from the Underworld after his tragically failed attempt to reclaim his wife Eurydice. The crags around the cave entrance are also very interesting for naturalists, being home to several local endemic plants as well as the wallcreeper, a rare and elusive bird that flutters around the rocks like a butterfly on strikingly crimson wings.*Yagodina Family Hotel or similar*

  4. Day 4 Walk around Mt Durdaga through a variety of habitats with rich flora and fauna.

    A full day’s circular walk starting and finishing in Yagodina. Our route makes a tour of Mt. Durdaga, a high wooded peak that rises directly above the village. During the course of our walk, we pass through a large variety of habitats with an extremely rich flora and fauna. During the first half of the day, as well as wandering through ancient forests that are home to bear, boar and deer, we will also cross several flower covered pastures that are normally enlivened by a spectacular assortment of butterflies. Later in the afternoon, we return to Yagodina along the line of a former Roman road that runs high above the Trigrad Gorge, which not only offers outstanding views, but is also one of the most renowned botanic trails in the country.*Yagodina Family Hotel or similar*

  5. Day 5 Traversing the highest peaks of the Rodopi along the Perelik Ridge and Mt. Golyam Snezhnik.

    After breakfast we set off in our bus for a 90 minutes’ drive east into the highest part of the Rodopi Mountains. Having reached the end of the driveable road, we begin a wonderful hike along the main ridge of the Rodopi Mountains. First we skirt just below the military base on the summit of the Rodopi’s highest peak Mt. Golyam Perelik (2191m), before ascending Mt. Golyam Snezhnik (2188m), just two metres lower! Having enjoyed the expansive views from the rolling open pastures, we then start to drop down into the forest, eventually making our way down to the tiny, picturesquely situated village of Gela, which according to legend was the birthplace of Orpheus. Here we will be met by our bus for the drive back to Yagodina. Occasionally, during May, late-lying snow makes it impossible to traverse the flank of Mt. Golyam Perelik, so instead we will attempt a direct ascent of Mt. Golyam Snezhnik from the village of Gela, climbing as high as the snowline.*Yagodina Family Hotel or similar*

  6. Day 6 Sveti Ilia ridge walk with panoramic views over Yagodina and most of the Rodopi.

    The focus of today’s walk is the imposing Sveti Iliya (Saint Elijah) ridge that rises up directly north of Yagodina. Our route starts directly from the hotel, climbing steadily upwards to reach the broad open ridge and then on towards the breath-taking viewing platform at its western end. Although rough and stony, the ridge boasts its own unique flora and fauna, as well the opportunity to observe a variety of interesting birds. However, the panoramic views would in themselves be reward enough for climbing the ridge, for they not only stretch out over the village of Yagodina itself, but much of the Western Rodopi, offering an ideal chance to point out and identify the places one has walked during previous days of this holiday. Given stable weather, we can then make a complete traverse of the ridge to its eastern end, before descending through beautiful meadows into the Trigrad Gorge where our bus will be waiting to drive us back to Yagodina.*Yagodina Family Hotel or similar*

  7. Day 7 Buinovo Gorge and Devinska Reka. Transfer to Sofia.

    Setting off on foot from the hotel, we pick up yet another section of former Roman road, now a beautiful forest trail that is famed for the great variety of orchids. Suddenly the path emerges at a shelter, perched high on a rocky viewpoint from which one can gaze down into the Buinovo Gorge below. From here, the trail steadily descends to meet the river and road beside a wonderfully preserved Roman bridge. On reaching the bottom of the gorge, we will then spend about an hour exploring the Yagodina Cave. This is one of the most beautiful in the country, and world renowned for its variety of cave formations including stalagmites, stalactites, draperies, flowstones, dendrites and cave pearls. The cave system also harbours a unique prehistoric dwelling and subject to permission from the archaeologists, we will hopefully have the chance to enter this and learn more about the surprisingly sophisticated way-of-life of the people who inhabited it more than 6000 years ago.Having finished our visit to the cave, we then set off on the long but highly picturesque transfer to the Bulgarian capital Sofia, where we will spend our final night.*Hill Hotel or similar*

  8. Day 8 End Sofia.

    Our tour ends after breakfast**

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Where you stay

Yagodina Family Hotel

Our base for six nights will be the village of Yagodina, a traditional rural settlement famed for its self-sufficiency and the hospitality of its inhabitants. The village lies isolated and tucked away in the Trigrad Karst region, one of the most remote parts of the Rodopi Mountains. Here we stay in the ‘Yagodina’ Family Hotel, a small village hotel offering comfortable twin and single rooms with en-suite facilities and Wifi. The hotel is owned and run by a local family and most of the food (including milk, cheese, butter, jam, honey etc.) is either home produced or locally sourced. Our final night will be at Hotel ‘Hill’, a conveniently located 4-star hotel in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

Eating and Drinking

Typical Meals

Breakfast: Will usually include tea or coffee, bread, jam, honey and cheese, supplemented in Yagodina by fresh home-made yoghurt and traditional local specialities such as thick pancakes known as ‘katmi’ and a rice-based dish called ‘rodopski klin’.

Lunch: Picnic lunches will be eaten in the mountains and typically comprise of bread, cheese, salami, salad, biscuits and fruit.

Dinner:  will be taken in our hotel restaurant, and will normally include three courses comprising salad or vegetarian soup, followed by a main course, and a dessert of fruit, ice cream or cake/pudding. The cuisine reflects a mixture of Bulgarian, Greek, Turkish and Slavonic influences. We sample many traditional local specialities including ‘smilyanski fasul’, a delicious bean soup, and ‘patatnik’, a local delicacy made with grated potatoes, onions, and cheese, then seasoned with mint and other herbs. Jugs of tap water will be provided on the table with the evening meal. Bottled mineral water, soft drinks and alcohol are not included but can be purchased. There are several local wines that you may wish to try, including an excellent red ‘Mavrud’ from vineyards on the northern slopes of the Rodopi.

Vegetarians and Vegans: Bulgaria is famed for its fresh vegetables and fruit, so vegetarians are usually well catered for. However, it is extremely difficult for vegans, as dairy produce and eggs form the staple part of the diet in this region, and occur in the vast majority of meals.

On this trip there will be walks between 4-5 hours, along traditional mountain trails, forest tracks, and ancient Roman roads. Our varied programme of daily walks will take us through a mixture of silent forests and lush flower-filled meadows, as well as over some rocky karst terrain.

Although the pace of walking will be relatively relaxed and leisurely, allowing time to enjoy the landscape and nature of the region through which we pass, and giving ample opportunities to stop and observe the flora and fauna, to take photographs, and to talk to the local people, the holiday does involve moderately strenuous walking in mountainous terrain. Trails are rarely flat, and often rough and stony. To get the full enjoyment out of this holiday, you should be prepared for some steep daily ascents as we climb over ridges, and in particular confident and comfortable descending steep paths over stones and tree roots as we drop into deep valleys and gorges.

Note: Breakaway also offers a challenging 8-day walking holiday in the Bulgarian National Parks, High Peaks of Bulgaria. On some dates it is possible to combine the two trips to make a fantastic 15-day itinerary. Ask a member of our sales team for details.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

RODOPI MOUNTAINS

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wlaking through clouds of butterflies. Coming out of the trees to see huge meadows full of hundreds of different flowers including many orchids. Finding a ladybird spider (very rare). Walking out on the platform on Mt. Elijah.....and many, many more.As well as experiencing Bulgaria food and drink and joining in the traditional dancing on the last night.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Neli is a beautiful, knowledgeable leader and is so kind and helpful when the going gets tough.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We walked on average 15km a day which is not that far at UK temperatures. When the temperatures get into the mid 30c the time given need to be longer - we needed to add an extra hour on the times stated.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is our second experience with Exodus and we are looking ofrward to more!

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

BULGARIA: RODOPI MOUNTAINS

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the walks were equally enjoyable and in September the locals are out in the fields picking plants to make herbal tea, harvesting their potatoes, felling trees and collecting logs for the winter. A rural way of life that is no longer seen in more developed areas. Simply being out and about in the fresh air every day was the highlight for me.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Very knowledgeable and enthustiastic about maintaining the traditional culture of Bulgaria.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It starts to get colder at night in September, so it is worth taking a warm layer for use first thing in the morning, although it soon warms up as the sun gets higher in the sky. As others have said, a pair of flip flops for use in the shower room is a sensible addition.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Relax, go with the flow and enjoy a draft beer in the hotel garden at the end of your days walking; what could be better.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Bulgaria : Rodopi Mountains

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day gave something new. The meadows were especially beautiful.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Nelly Radkova was an excellent leader. She was full of enthusiasm and fun. Being Bulgarian her local knowledge was excellent and she was obviously well liked by the local people. She spoke excellent English and was very kind and caring and eager to please at all times. She had a great love for the local environment and its conservation. She made the holiday very enjoyable.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take flip flops for the wet room, and a hair drier if needed. Don't forget your camera and binoculars. The weather can be changeable so waterproofs and an umbrella are advised.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We travelled out 2 days prior to the group and spent the time looking round the very interesting old city of Sofia before meeting the group. If you have time then consider doing the same as it is worthwhile. We stayed in the Hill hotel, which is the one used by Exodus and found it very good and within 15 - 20 minutes walk of the town centre.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Rodopi Mtns

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day in the mountains was great
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    svetoslava was a very cheerful and a caring leader. she ought to have got us to introduce us to each other on first night and to our very good bus driver. Also to have got us to exchange e.mails before we left. We left at different times so was a little difficult.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just to order a brochure!
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Rodopi mtns

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day in mountains
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Good, but could have got us to introduce ourselves, and to our very good bus driver, and arranged an exchange of e.mails as we all left at different flights.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just to order your brochure!

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Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
May 15, 2021
Available
$1,549.00
N/A
May 29, 2021
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$1,549.00
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June 12, 2021
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$1,549.00
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July 3, 2021
Available
$1,549.00
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July 17, 2021
Available
$1,649.00
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August 7, 2021
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$1,649.00
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September 4, 2021
Available
$1,649.00
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