Snowshoeing holiday in Bulgaria, Rila mountain

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2017: 24 Feb, 11 Mar
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Holiday type
Small group holidays
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?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
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.
Mythbuster
“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?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Snowshoeing holiday in Bulgaria, Rila mountain

Environment

We always try to include accommodation in guesthouses and small family-run hotels, so that the accommodation part of the tours goes to local people and supports the sustainable development. This is very important in areas where skiing has become the main industry – it’s hard to convince local people that they can earn money not only from gondolas and ski runs. Bringing there clients who principally do not use the ski facilities shows to the locals in practice that responsible skiing is possible and encourages them to open new guesthouses and provide new services like snowshoes, guiding, cooking classes… The food consumed in the tour is produced by the hosts or bought locally. It is very often pure “bio”. If there were any well enough trained local guides, we would include also them in our tours.

Community

Rila and Pirin are both nature conservation zones: Rila National Park is in the PAN parks network and Pirin National Park is included in the UNESCO world heritage list, so it is essential to develop sustainable tourism in these areas. We believe it is very important that the money paid for this tour goes to the local business, supporting and developing it in a sustainable way.

Moreover, the tour is aiming at minimum transportation costs and bad emissions – there are short transfers almost every day and 3 longer ones from 1,5 h to 3 hours. Last, but not least, the tour accommodation consists only of family-run hotels from the “green lodge” network, which means that the hosts think about environment while running their hotels and are fully committed. To support these very hosts is a part of our philosophy.

Reviews of Snowshoeing holiday in Bulgaria, Rila mountain

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 03 Feb 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The variety of terrain walking through the Seven Rila Lakes; forests, mountains, frozen lakes, granite, ice and snow, and the warm welcome from everyone I
met along the way.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The extremes of weather were surprising! light layers essential, as is a water system that wont freeze.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. We stayed at a family run independent guesthouse, spent our days alongside local guides, and anything not included in the price (ie. lunch, drinks etc) were locally made (and delicious).

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic. It was strenuous at times, but everything was so well planned and organised that I had nothing to think about other than where to put my feet,
which left me so so relaxed.

Reviewed on 03 Feb 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


To be able to see & enjoy the country in the snow which would not have been possible without snow shoes.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be aware of the ages of other participants. If they are 20 - 30 years younger, there may be issues on fitness.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It certainly benefited local businesses such as the lodgings we stayed in & the local huts. Because it was a local business, it was still able to run with small numbers of people. This wouldn't have been possible with UK companies.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The pace was hard for me & we needed a few minutes to become familiar with the use of snow shoes.

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