Walking in Bulgaria: Epic Landscapes of Ancient Thrace

Walking in Bulgaria: Epic Landscapes of Ancient Thrace

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11 Days |
From
$1869
$1780

Walking in Bulgaria: Epic Landscapes of Ancient Thrace

11 Days Starting in SOFIA and ending in SOFIA

Visiting:

Sofia

,

Veliko Tarnovo

,

Plovdiv

,

Rhodope Mountains

,

Leshten

,

Bansko

,

Pirin Mountains

Tour operator:

Wild Frontiers

Physical rating:

High, Moderate / High

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Please contact Wild Frontiers with any specific dietary requirements

Trip Styles:

Activities:

Tour code:

BUL

Group size:

4 - 12

Age range:

1-99

Tour operated in:

English

Interests:

Recommended For:

Private Available:

Request A Private Tour

From:
$1869

$1780 (USD)

tourhub discount: $89

Tour Overview

Wild and beautiful, the high mountains and vast forests of Bulgaria provide the breath-taking setting for this cultural walking tour through one of eastern Europe’s most beguiling destinations.Infused with a history that can trace its ancestry back to the Ancient Thracians, Bulgaria’s untamed landscapes hark back to a time of rich discovery and adventure. Beginning in the capital we will get a chance to discover some of Sofia's highlights before beginning the journey to the spectacular scenery of the Central Balkan Mountains. We’ll ultimately explore four distinct mountain regions and traverse a land filled with glacial lakes and tangled forests, where wolves and ears still hunt amongst the dark interiors. We’ll visit Thracian tombs, medieval fortresses and charming hilltop towns, where we’ll enjoy the traditions and hospitality of the locals. Hikes amongst the Rhodope Mountains and the Melnik Pyramids in the winelands of southwestern Bulgaria are interspersed with cultural visits before moving on to Bansko and the marble slopes of the Pirin Mountains.Finally after taking in the stunning UNESCO setting of Rila Monastery and enjoying the panoramas of the Seven Lakes in the Rila Mountains we’ll head back to the capital to enjoy some time at your own leisure where you might like to venture to the outskirts of Sofia and visit Boyana Church before beginning the journey home.

Highlights

  • Walk in the Central Balkans, Rhodope, Pirin and Rila mountains in search of lakes and caves

  • Wander the charming cobbled streets of Sofia, Plovdiv and Bansko

  • Sample Bulgarian food in a ‘mekhana’, traditional tavern, in the Old Town of Bankso

  • Admire the frescoes at the monasteries of Rojan, Rila, Bachkovo and Troyan

  • Explore the Roman theatre of Plovdiv and the Thracian tombs of Kazanlak

  • Take a break from hiking to enjoy wine tasting in the wine region of Melnik

Itinerary

Expand All
icon DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN SOFIA
Location:

  Sofia


Accommodation:

  Hotel Sveta Sofia or similar


The tour begins in Sofia, Bulgaria's laid-back capital city. This compact city has the ability to make you want to lose yourself amongst the numerous pavement cafes, whilst allowing you access to the main sights on foot! Built on ancient foundations the city is home to an abundance of museums, galleries, Ottoman mosques and churches. Several of the monuments in the city reflect on Bulgaria's long and close relationship with Russia, whilst others unveil the ancient Roman connection with ruins dating back nearly 2000 years.

icon DAY 2: SOFIA - CENTRAL BALKANS MOUNTAINS
Location:

  Sofia


Accommodation:

  Tihiyat Kut Hotel or similar


Meals Included:

  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Following breakfast this morning we'll enjoy a short tour of the Bulgarian capital, taking in a number of its historic as well as modern highlights. Exploring the city on foot we'll take in the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the parliament building, the Banya Bashi Mosque, the National Theatre and finally the King's Palace before breaking for lunch. After lunch we’ll drive for about 2.5 hrs to our next night’s stop – a family run hotel with outstanding views of the Central Balkan Mountain range. En route we’ll pay a short visit to the idyllically located Troyan Monastery, a masterpiece of Bulgarian workmanship and a repository of the revered icon of the Three-handed Virgin Mary,

icon DAY 3: CENTRAL BALKANS MOUNTAINS - VELIKO TURNOVO
Location:

  Veliko Tarnovo


Accommodation:

  Hotel Izvora or similar


Meals Included:

  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


A short transfer into the Central Balkans National Park this morning heralds the start of an initially steep hike along one of the most beautiful trails in the region, where we’ll meander through centuries-old beech forests to Pleven Hut (1,500m) which offers stunning views of the main ridge. Heading towards the higher meadows under the ridge we’ll then visit the Vodnite dupki cave before our gentler descent back to our vehicle. After lunch, we’ll then drive for about 90minutes to Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria’s unforgettable medieval capital with its striking fortress and unique setting on the Yantra River. Approx. 4hrs walking (425m ascent, 425m descent. Total distance 10kms, highest point 1614m)

icon DAY 4: VELIKO TURNOVO - KAZANLAK - PLOVDIV
Location:

  Plovdiv


Accommodation:

  Alafrangite Hotel or similar


Meals Included:

  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Transferring on to the city of Kazanlak this morning, we will visit a 4th Century B.C. UNESCO World Heritage Site Thracian tomb, famed for its remarkable frescoes. Then we’ll head to Plovdiv, one of the oldest cities in Europe and one where the Romans left behind a number of archaeological sites. Here we'll take the opportunity to wander around the picturesque churches and traditional architecture of the Old Town. Plovdiv’s cobbled streets are little-known outside of the country but hold some of the finest buildings ever constructed in the Balkans; they are sure to charm.

icon DAY 5: PLOVDIV - RHODOPE MOUNTAINS - TRIGARD
Location:

  Rhodope Mountains


Accommodation:

  Arkan Han Hotel or similar


Meals Included:

  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Heading south today we’ll first marvel at the medieval majesty of Asen’s Fortress and the site of the second largest monastery in Bulgaria (Bachkovo) before continuing on to the Rhodope mountains where we’ll take a beautiful alpine walk to the Smolyan Lakes near Pamporovo. After lunch we’ll head west through the Rhodope Mountains to our night stop near the impressive Trigard Gorge. Approx. 2-3hrs walking (180m ascent, 290m descent. Total distance 7km, highest point 1771m)

icon DAY 6: TRIGARD - RHODOPE MOUNTAINS - YAGODINA - LESHTEN
Location:

  Leshten


Accommodation:

  Leshten Hotel or similar


Meals Included:

  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Our first visit this morning will be to the legendary Devil’s Throat Cave, from where Orpheus is said to have descended to Hades in search of his love, Eurydice. From here we’ll hike through lush meadows and forests up to Yagodina, one of the most acclaimed cave complexes in the region. Later we’ll continue through the labyrinthine Rhodope Mountains to Leshten where we’ll discover a little authentic Bulgarian charm, amongst narrow cobblestone streets filled with beautifully preserved houses dating back to the Bulgarian Revival Period. Approx. 3.5hrs walking (470m ascent, 270m descent. Total distance 7kms, highest point 1422m)

icon DAY 7: LESHTEN - MELNIK – BANSKO
Location:

  Bansko


Accommodation:

  Casa Karina Hotel or similar


Meals Included:

  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


The picturesque town of Melnik is considered to be Bulgaria’s wine capital and it is to here that we will hike from the renowned Rojen Monastery this morning. The route takes us through the spectacular scenery of the Melnik Pyramids, before arriving at Melnik later to enjoy lunch in a traditional restaurant an a wine tasting session in an old cellar cut into the hillside. This afternoon’s drive then takes us to Bansko in the heart of the breath-taking Pirin Mountain range where we’ll take an evening stroll through the Old Town before having dinner in one of the characterful mekhanas (traditional taverns). Approx. 1.5hrs walking (No ascent, 314m descent. Total distance 4kms, highest point 525m)

icon DAY 8: PIRIN MOUNTAINS
Location:

  Pirin Mountains


Accommodation:

  Casa Karina Hotel or similar


Meals Included:

  Breakfast, Lunch


After a short transfer this morning, we will take chairlift up into the heights of the Pirin Mountains. Here we plan to trek up to the summit of Mt Polejan (2,851m), one of the highest peaks of the entire range. If the weather gods are kind we will be afforded fantastic views of hundreds of ridges and glacial lakes, including Popovo lake – the largest in Pirin. Tonight you will be free to explore Bansko at your leisure. Approx. 5-6hrs walking (611 ascent, 611m descent. Total distance 13kms, highest point 2851m)

icon DAY 9: BANSKO - PIRIN MOUNTAINS - RILA MONASTERY
Location:

  Bansko


Accommodation:

  Gorski Kut Hotel or similar


Meals Included:

  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


A short transfer to Vihren Hut after breakfast deposits us at the start of today’s walk in another area of the Pirin Mountains. From here we will explore the beautiful Bunderishki cirque for stunning views of the famed lakes and the entire mountain. One by one, on the way up and down, in front of us will appear the Eye, the Frog lake, the Green lake, the Spoon, the Long lake and the Fish lake. This afternoon then sees us driving north to pay a visit to the famed Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will overnight nearby. Approx. 3-4hrs walking (362m ascent, 362m descent. Total distance 12kms, highest point 2335m)

icon DAY 10: RILA MONASTERY - RILA MOUNTAINS - SOFIA
Location:

  Sofia


Accommodation:

  Hotel Sveta Sofia or similar


Meals Included:

  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Today begins with a drive to Panichiste and then a short transfer by chair lift up to the higher slopes of the Rila Mountains, from where we begin our hike. Our route then takes us along a trail that passes nearby to each of the Seven Lakes in turn, through what is without doubt one of the most stunning alpine areas in Bulgaria. After a picnic lunch we’ll then descend and return to Sofia for our final night. Approx. 4hrs walking (490m ascent, 490m descent. Total distance 8kms, highest point 2,328m)

icon DAY 11: TOUR ENDS IN SOFIA
Location:

  Sofia


Meals Included:

  Breakfast


Today you will have the morning at leisure to explore some more of Sofia. Those on the suggested group flight (see the GETTING THERE section below) will then be transferred to the airport for their flight home. For anyone else, rooms will be available until midday.

What's Included

  • MEALS

    10 x Breakfasts, 9 x Lunches, 8 x Dinners

  • TRANSPORT

    On this tour we will use a minibus when not on foot.

  • GROUP SIZE

    Maximum: 12

  • CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

    Contributions to carbon offset & tree planting projects for all bookings

  • ACCOMMODATION

    All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

  • EXPERT TEAM

    The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

  • ENTRANCE FEES

    All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

  • FITNESS RATING

    Moderate / High

What's Not Included

  • We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatoryTips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documentsInternational .Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK.Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com  For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Bulgaria. Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements. Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Key Aspects to Consider

This is the perfect tour for those who enjoy fresh air, mountain hikes, great food and mixing with welcoming locals at every turn. While all the walks can be opted out of (and luggage will be transported throughout by minibus) they form a key part of the trip and you should be fit enough to enjoy several days of moderate to strenuous walking (4-6hrs/day on average).

Check out our Q&As

Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

Yes

What is the maximum group size?

12

Are airport transfers included in this tour?

We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights

What policies are in place for Covid-19?

We have a complete Covid-19 hub here: https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/en_GB/covid-hub

Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

Over 70% of passengers on our group tours are solo adventurers. Unlike many tour operators, we don’t believe in charging solo travellers a premium, so if you are happy to share a room with a fellow traveller of the same sex, you will pay exactly the same as a couple..Occasionally you may even end up with your own room. You can travel as a single traveller on any of our holidays, from our escorte

    Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes

    How long has the tour company been trading?

    Since 2002

    Do I need to be double-vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel with you?

    In most cases, yes. Not only are many destinations making double-vaccination a requirement of entry to the country and/or access to restaurants, museums etc., but additionally on all our group tours for the foreseeable future, for everyone’s peace of mind, we are asking that all clients be double vaccinated.

Reviews

Catherine Wilkinson

My first Wild Frontiers trip blew my expectations away - I'm not sure I'll be able to cope travelling with other companies now!

My first Wild Frontiers trip blew my expectations away - I'm not sure I'll be able to cope travelling with other companies now!


icon

Catherine Wilkinson

Travel, Your Way

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    Personalise your trip

    Make changes to the itinerary, accommodation, or transport method

  • covid-icon

    Increased safety during COVID

    Spend the majority of time amongst your group to reduce exposure to others

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    Travel more exclusively

    Your tour guide can focus all their attention on your group

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Dates & Availability

Instant Booking Available

Wednesday

Jun 28, 2023

Saturday

Jul 08, 2023
  • tourhub discount: $89 (USD)

$1869
$1780 (USD)
$1869
$1780 (USD)

tourhub discount: $89

Instant Booking Available

Wednesday

Sep 13, 2023

Saturday

Sep 23, 2023
  • tourhub discount: $89 (USD)

$1869
$1780 (USD)
$1869
$1780 (USD)

tourhub discount: $89

Instant Booking Available

Wednesday

Jun 26, 2024

Saturday

Jul 06, 2024
  • tourhub discount: $93 (USD)

$1963
$1870 (USD)
$1963
$1870 (USD)

tourhub discount: $93

Instant Booking Available

Wednesday

Sep 11, 2024

Saturday

Sep 21, 2024
  • tourhub discount: $93 (USD)

$1963
$1870 (USD)
$1963
$1870 (USD)

tourhub discount: $93

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Wild Frontiers allows you to make 2 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 90 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Wild Frontiers requires a minimum deposit of 200 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of wild frontiers charges.

    Up to 71 days before tour starts: 100% of deposit.

    At 51 days before tour starts: 50% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: 100% of booking price.

  • Wild Frontiers' COVID Promise

    You will have the right to transfer without any transfer fee, from any of our trips at ANY time if your trip is not Covid Viable (see below).*
    We will not ask you to pay your final balance if your trip is not yet Covid Viable.
    If your trip is not Covid Viable, by 30 days prior to departure at the latest, we will cancel your holiday and you can either transfer your funds to another departure or have a refund.**


    We will only consider a trip Covid Viable*** if pre-departure it meets all of the following criteria:

    There is no national lockdown or ban on foreign travel for the period when your trip is due to depart.
    Destinations on the tour must not be on the UK’s Red List. ****
    No destinations visited on the tour have in place any significant COVID-19 restrictions for travellers.
    Tourist visas (if required) are available.
    There is reliable airline access to/from the start/end of the trip.
    Following an assessment by both Wild Frontiers and our local partners we are confident that your trip is able to run in both a safe and enjoyable manner.*****




    ** If you were originally booked to travel before 30 April 2020 and transferred to a later date, or if you have a tailor-made booking, there may be some irrecoverable costs which we cannot refund. Please speak to us and we will be able to advise you if this is the case for your booking.
    ***Since our HQ is in London, Covid Viable status for our Group Tours will be assessed on UK-based travellers. However we are fully aware that many of our clients live in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. As such, when we deem a trip to now be Covid Viable, everyone booked will have a chance to review their own personal situation before deciding whether or not to remain booked on the trip. Anyone wishing to, will have the option to transfer without fees to another trip at this time. For tailor made bookings, we may also able to consider additional countries’ travel advice when deciding if a trip is Viable. Please discuss this with us at the time of booking.
    **** This relates to bookings from UK clients only. We may operate trips to destinations which the British FCDO advise against travel for Covid reasons. If this is the case, anyone wishing to will have the option to cancel with a refund or transfer to another trip. In some cases we may choose to offer a tour to a Red destination but these will be at both clients’ and Wild Frontiers’ discretion and will be subject to alternative conditions to be discussed on an ad hoc basis.
    *****If a destination, that we have deemed to be Covid Viable, subsequently fails any aspect of the criteria for two consecutive weeks, you will have the right under our Covid Promise to transfer without any fees.

Walking in Bulgaria: Epic Landscapes of Ancient Thrace

11 Days Starting in SOFIA and ending in SOFIA

Visiting:

Sofia

,

Veliko Tarnovo

,

Plovdiv

,

Rhodope Mountains

,

Leshten

,

Bansko

,

Pirin Mountains

Tour operator:

Wild Frontiers

Physical rating:

High, Moderate / High

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Please contact Wild Frontiers with any specific dietary requirements

Trip Styles:

Activities:

Tour code:

BUL

Group size:

4 - 12

Age range:

1-99

Tour operated in:

English

Interests:

Recommended For:

Private Available:

Request A Private Tour

From:
$1869

$1780 (USD)

tourhub discount: $89

Why book with tourhub?

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A 'MUST' whilst you're there?

"Visit the Sutro Baths."

A 'MUST' whilst you're there?

"Visit the Japanese Gardens at Golden Gate Park! "

Must pack items for San Francisco

"Pack layers, an umbrella, comfortable walking shoes, a reusable water bottle, sunscreen & a hat or sun hat."

About Our

  • Influencer
  • Countries Visited:

    4 Countries

  • Favourite Destination:

    London

  • Dream Destination:

    Paris, France

  • About them:
  • "Live once Travel Well", is my main motto for life. I love to travel, go on outdoor adventures & family travels/adventures. When I'm not traveling, I'm busy planning my next adventure ☺️

Charleston

United States

What do you love most about Charleston?

"One of the best-kept, charming & quaint historic towns in the USA. "

Benefits of a tour guide for Charleston

"Known as the holy city, there are so many historic churches to explore & a tour guide can provide all sorts of insights & information about the history of Charleston."

@thishomeschoolerslife's Top Tips

"Walk off the beaten path & put down the map, Charleston is a picturesque city with hundreds of quiet little lanes just waiting to be explored."

@thishomeschoolerslife's Top Tips

"Plan to wear comfortable shoes that have grip & can handle cobblestone streets!"

@thishomeschoolerslife's Top Tips

"Head to Callie's Hot Little Biscuit and grab a sample of the delicious fresh-baked biscuits!"

What do you love most about Charleston?

"A plethora of amazing restaurants provide ample opportunities to sample local favourites, such as unicorn grits, fried green tomatoes or fried okra."

A 'MUST' whilst you're there?

"There are 5 historic plantations in the area to tour. "

About Our

  • Influencer
  • Countries Visited:

    4 Countries

  • Favourite Destination:

    London

  • Dream Destination:

    Paris, France

  • About them:
  • "Live once Travel Well", is my main motto for life. I love to travel, go on outdoor adventures & family travels/adventures. When I'm not traveling, I'm busy planning my next adventure ☺️

Savannah

United States

What do you love most about Savannah?

"Explore the historic Wormsloe Plantation: drive the gorgeous tree-lined drive, walk nature trails and observe ruins."

What do you love most about Savannah?

"There are over 20 squares, which function like a park located all around the city. They're perfect for resting weary feet & people watching."

@thishomeschoolerslife's Top Tips

"Head to Forsyth fountain and enjoy the shade while you stroll under the tree-lined path."

@thishomeschoolerslife's Top Tips

"Sample amazing local cuisine at Collins Quarter near Forsyth Park."

Must pack items for Savannah

"Sunscreen, sun hat, bug spray, reusable water bottle & comfortable walking shoes."

A 'MUST' whilst you're there?

"Explore the historic Riverfront area, browse the shops & sample a free praline or grab some gelato at Savannah's Candy Kitchen."

Favourite time of year to visit Savannah

"Spring is wonderful because the weather is perfect, warm but not humid."

About Our

  • Influencer
  • Countries Visited:

    4 Countries

  • Favourite Destination:

    London

  • Dream Destination:

    Paris, France

  • About them:
  • "Live once Travel Well", is my main motto for life. I love to travel, go on outdoor adventures & family travels/adventures. When I'm not traveling, I'm busy planning my next adventure ☺️

Valldemossa

Spain

Favourite time of year to visit Valldemossa

"The best time to visit this place is from October - April, whilwhene there are much fewer people and the temperature is so mild. During the summer it can be extremely crowded and hot!"

What do you love most about Valldemossa?

"The little streets with the green plants are so cute and the views are just perfect from every corner!"

A 'MUST' whilst you're there?

"▫️Try the coco de patata ▪️Wander around the pretty streets ▫️Visit the Chopin museum ▪️Visit the Carthusian Monastery ▫️Relax at Jardin Rei Joan Carles garden "

@biankadventures's Top Tips

"You can combine this beautiful village with a visit to Deià, Soller and Fornatlux!"

Must pack items for Valldemossa

"Bring comfortable shoes as you will walk a lot. Also bring water, during the summer bring sunscreen and a hat to avoid the heat! "

About Our

  • Traveller
  • Countries Visited:

    27 Countries

  • Favourite Destination:

    New York

  • Dream Destination:

    Peru

  • About them:
  • I am a huge travel addict who has a regular 9-5 job and outside of this try to explore the world, search for unique places and hidden gems! I hope my tips and photos can be an inspiration for you!