“Walk the valleys, gorges, forests and mountain foothills of southern Bulgaria with ridge walks, in particular, providing perfect panoramas. ”
Sofia | Buinovo Gorge | Kastrakli Nature Reserve | Zmeitsa | Chairska Gorge | Trigrad Plateau | Devil's Throat Cave | Mount Durdaga | Sveti Ilia ridge walk | ancient tracks and Roman roads | Devinska Reka |
Description of Rodopi Mountains walking holiday in Bulgaria
This week-long walking in Bulgaria holiday provides the perfect introduction to the Rhodopes mountain range, situated on the border with Greece. The setting for this walking tour offers a unique insight into the natural beauty of the area as well as a glimpse into the mythological origins of Orpheus the fabled musician and poet from Homer's Odyssey.
Legends aside, hiking in Bulgaria will take you into the habitat of an inordinate amount of animals with wolves, wild cats and even bears all known to inhabit the higher slopes of the Rhodopes. Smaller creatures can also be found throughout the mountain foothills with birds and butterflies making the most of old growth coniferous forests, agricultural meadows and some extremely rare types of plant.
Over the course of eight days you'll be introduced to a rich array of cultural and natural heritage with a wonderful variety of landscapes providing ideal conditions for walking holidays in Bulgaria amongst limestone gorges featuring a couple of enticing hidden caves.
Life in the Rhodopes is like stepping back in time and walkers will find plenty of chances to interact with local people who still tend to livestock and agricultural fields using traditional farming methods surrounded by some sublime meadow and pastoral settings.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Rodopi Mountains walking holiday in Bulgaria
Activity: Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a walking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints although this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants, and to purchase traditional crafts. We also leave behind a positive impact by paying entrance fees to certain areas and sites which contribute to their upkeep e.g. the ‘Devil’s Throat’ cave at Trigrad Gorge, where Orpheus is claimed to have emerged from the Underworld after failing to reclaim his wife.
Water: Water is a really important issue with walking trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular bottle.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Accommodation and Meals: You will spend most nights in Yagodina village, which is a traditional rural settlement, known for its self-sufficiency, hospitality and agricultural lifestyle. The hotel is family run and produces some of its own food. By using this smaller, yet characterful accommodation, we are improving the employment and income opportunities in this remote community. They endeavour to supply cleints with fresh, locally grown produce and regional specialities, such as Yagodina yoghurt, thick pancakes called ‘katmi’, bean soup- ‘smilyanski fasul’ and ‘patanik’, which is a delicacy made from grated potatoes, onion, cheese and mint.
Local Craft & Culture: This trip really aims to celebrate and share the rural, agricultural lifestyle of the people in the Rodopi Mountains, which in other places has been overtaken by modern life. There are plenty of products in Yagodina which have been made by the villagers that are totally unique to this area, such as food, wine and handicrafts. We aim to support these traditional processes of manufacturing with our commerce. During the trip we also arrange for the local folk dance group to perform for our clients and teach them traditional songs and dances. Again, we pay the folk group a fair wage and they often receive tips from this as well, so we are really making a positive impact on local people.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.