Bulgaria self guided walking holiday
Also self guided walking includes our unique walking booklet and local walking map.
Description of Bulgaria self guided walking holiday
Spend a week exploring the mountains of Bulgaria on foot on this self guided walking holiday. This trip focuses on the beautiful Rodopi mountains in the south of the country, on the border with northern Greece. Here, a landscape of rocky slopes and deep gorges, tiered fields and thick forests of pine trees opens up before you. Youíll pass pretty little villages in the valleys, too, where Bulgarian life at its best takes place, untroubled by the influence of western society.
You will stay in friendly accommodation in different villages, exploring the historical gems around each and enjoying walks out through coniferous woods, past lakes and along old mule trails. Bags are transferred between each accommodation, so you can walk carrying just a day pack.
We grade the walks on this holiday as moderate to challenging, with each between 9 miles/14.5km and 13 miles/21km. On some days, you ascend as much as 800m, and the walks take you through some of the Rodopi mountainsí most beautiful parts, including the Trigrad Gorge, the Devilís Throat Cave and the Miraculous Bridges. The trails give breathtaking views over rocky cliffs, Alpine meadows and tiny traditional villages.
Bulgaria is one of the EUís newest additions, but its history is long and rich. Over the centuries, itís been inhabited by Tracians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Bulgarians, Slavs and Turks at some time or other, all leaving their mark in the form of buildings, language, food and culture. In the Rodopi region, the traditions of Bulgariaís Slavs are strongest and most of the Muslim population lives here.
1 Reviews of Bulgaria self guided walking holiday
Reviewed on 29 May 2017 by Ruth Bradshaw
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Seeing all the beautiful wildflowers. May was a wonderful time of year to be there. Also the very warm welcome we received from local people in the smaller villages.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
You need to be aware that the trekking company in Bulgaria promotes the opportunity for solo travellers to save costs by travelling with a couple who've already booked. As you are mainly staying in very small places if someone else books the same dates you are likely to end up spending every evening of the holiday with them as well as some time during the day. This happened to us (without any prior notification) and meant that the holiday was a very different experience from the one we had been expecting. You also need to be aware that a lot of the walking is along tracks rather than footpaths and some days you spend a fair bit of time in the forest so you don't always get much in the way of views but there is plenty of wildlife and other interesting sights to enjoy.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
We were mostly staying in small hotels and guesthouses so it did feel like the holiday benefited local people but I think some of accommodation providers could do more to reduce their environmental impacts. There were a few things that it would be very easy to improve e.g. avoiding the use of bottled water.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
It was a good holiday but we would have enjoyed it more if we had been able to spend more time together as a couple. The nature of the accommodation and the type of walking means that booking solo travellers on to the same dates as couples will inevitably mean the three people having to spend a lot of time together. While the solo traveller can save money as a result, there is no advantage for the couple involved and more consideration should be given to the impact it will have on their holiday experience. The walking was good but compared to other self guided walking tours we have done with other companies we felt less effort had been put into ensuring that the most interesting routes were being followed.
PlanetWe advise all of our clients to stay to the marked paths. This is to maintain the environment as they pass so that it remains pristine for walkers using the pathways in the future. It is also important in order to keep some distance from the local wildlife which can include bears and wolves in the woods. We also advise that they take all of their rubbish with them until the end of the day and recycle or dispose of it as is appropriate.
The holiday includes a tour of the Yagodina Cave, with a human history dating back 8,000 years. The cave is the longest known in the Rodopi Mountains and by touring the cave it ensures that many more people in the future are able to enjoy it.
As much as is possible on this trek we have tried to ensure that the walking is done from hotel to hotel, meaning that there is no need to be transported from or to a hotel each day and reduces the need for transportation journeys and their effect on the environment. When the luggage needs to be transferred we use the hotels or local companies to ensure that the driving required is kept to a minimum.
PeopleAll of the hotels we use in Bulgaria are small and family run enabling these establishments to continue into the future. They are the establishments which are most in need of the tourism income and their ability to continue their success is important to the Rodopi Mountains area. We also arrange for our clients to eat either at the hotels or at small local restaurants, again keeping the income in the small towns and villages where they stay overnight. We also use either the hotel, local companies or local taxi companies for the luggage and people transfers necessary for this trek. This also keeps the environmental impact to a minimum.
For the time that our clients have in Plovdiv we have included a brief half day walking tour of the city. This enables our clients to get the most of their time in the city and experience local activities and traditions as well as the history of the city and country.