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Why Book With Us?

  • 6 Years Experience
  • 5 Star Rated on TripAdvisor
  • English & German Tour Guides
  • Support local businesses & communities

7 Days of Adventure & Culture in the Bulgarian Southwest

  • 7 days/6 nights
  • min 2 - max 6
  • Southwest Bulgaria
  • English and German
  • Moderate to Strenuous
  • Hiking & Caving

If you feel a little adventurous but couldn’t be further away from being an adrenalin junkie, EXCEDO’sAdventure & Culture in the Bulgarian Southwest is exactly the trip for you. It offers the right mix of not too strenuous but still challenging, not too relaxed but still pleasantly easy-going.

Experience the lush forests of the Rhodope Mountains, get hypnotized by Rila Mountain’s deep blue eyes, discover the hospitality and traditions of rural Bulgaria, explore the ancient beliefs of the Thracian civilization, descent into the Devil’s throat and cleanse your soul in a 1000-year-old monastery. All this and more awaits on this 7-days long exploration of modern Bulgaria and how it was shaped by the turbulent history of the Balkans.

When

April – November

Time and location

We pick you up at a time and location of your choosing

Difficulty

Moderate to strenuous difficulty – several steep hikes. Route scale varies from T1-T3 with some demanding mountain hiking & easy climbing sections. You may find detailed info on EXCEDO’s Hiking Difficulty Scale here.

Includes

  • 5 nights in family hotels/guesthouses (2 or 3 stars - Bulgarian classification); 1 night in SPA hotel (4 stars - Bulgarian classification)
  • Mountain Guide
  • Mountains insurance
  • All transfers between destinations
  • 6 breakfasts; 1 lunch + 3 lunch packs; 2 dinners

Excludes

  • Meals that are not explicitly mentioned as included
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities to the guide/driver and tips
  • Personal expenses
  • Maps

Highlights

  • Caving
  • Glacial lakes
  • Pleasant forest hikes
  • Thermal springs and wellness
  • Guided tours of cultural sites
  • Staying with locals
Photos
Itinerary

Day 1:Welcome to Bulgaria

Upon arrival in Sofia you will be greeted by our tour/mountain guide.

Our destination is the small village of Ovchartsi, at the northern slopes of the Rila Mountain (1.5 h drive). Close by lies the Ovcharchenski Waterfall, which is today’s highlight. The relatively short and pleasant 1-hour hike will be our warm-up for tomorrow.

We will spend the night in the nearby town of Sapareva Banya, a popular wellness destination, where you will find Bulgaria’s hottest thermal springs.

Walking time: 1 hour; +/- 100 m; T1 difficulty

Accommodations and wellness in Sapareva Banya.

Day 2:Rila’s Deep Blue Eyes

After breakfast, it is time for our first real hike. We devote the day to the Rila Mountain and its waters. We will drive to the mountain hut Pionerska (0.5 h), where we take the cable car to start our hike around the world renowned 7 Rila Lakes (the highest being at 2535 m above sea level). Our route takes us past the shores of 6 out of the 7 glacial lakes, in what is believed to be one of the most scenic places in Bulgaria.

Walking time: 5-6 hours; +/- 400 m; T2 difficulty

Accommodations and wellness in Sapareva Banya.

Day 3:Rural Bulgaria

We leave Sapareva Banya in the morning and head south to the village of Dobarsko (2 h drive). We will visit the local church, which gained global fame thanks to two frescoes depicting Jesus Christ in something that looks like a spaceship. A short, pleasant hike above the village, offering a splendid view of the Pirin Mountain range should make us hungry enough for lunch at some locals.

On a scenic road through the Rhodope Mountains, we head to the village of Kovachevitsa (2 h drive) – a living architectural monument.

Walking time: 2 hours; +150/-350 m; T1 difficulty

Accommodations in the village of Kovachevitsa

Day 4:Rhodope Mysteries

After breakfast, we leave our hosts in Kovachevitsa and head to the town of Devin (2.5 h drive). Along the way we will stop to explore the beautiful nature park Gradishte and the millennial sanctuary on its territory. There we will learn more about the mysterious civilization of the Thracians and their religious practices, known as the Orphic Mysteries.

In the afternoon we will get a taste of the Rhodope Mountains and explore their lush vegetation along the eco-trail Struilitsa at the edge of Devin.

Walking time: 4-5 hours total; +/-300 m; Т2 difficulty

Accommodations and wellness in Devin

Day 5:Daring the Heights

About 45 min away from Devin is the beautiful and a little scary Devil’s Path, which we shall dare today. This rather short but a bit extreme eco-trail will acquaint us with the beautiful Chata Dere and Buynovo gorges. It is certainly not for the faint-hearted.

The afternoon is reserved for an off-road trip to the Eagle Eye observation platform. Located on top of the St. Ilia peak at 1560 m above sea level and with a 670-meter chasm underneath your feet, it offers a splendid view towards the Rhodopes, Pirin and Rila mountains.

Walking time: 4 hours; +/-800 m; T3 difficulty

Accommodations in the village of Yagodina

Day 6:Cave Hunting

Today is reserved for another extreme adventure. We shall visit the Haramiiska cave. In order to get there, we need a local cave specialist, some climbing gear and strong nerves as the only way to reach the entrance of the cave is through a short via ferrata. The most nerve-wrecking part is yet to come – once the cave entrance is reached, we plunge 45-meteres into the dark.

Shortly after exiting Haramiiska cave, we reach our next stop – the Devil’s Throat, a well-known cave and popular attraction in Bulgaria.

Our hiking trail back to the village of Yagodina will take us through the beautiful forests of the Rhodope Mountains, full of herbs and flowers during Spring and Summer.

Walking time: 2 hours; +150/-350 m; T1 difficulty

Accommodations in the village of Yagodina

Day 7:Saying Farewell

On our last day, we head back to Sofia. The drive is quite long, so we will make two stops along the way. First, we explore Bulgaria’s second largest monastery, the Bachkovo Monastery, followed by a visit of Asen’s Fortress – one of the best preserved medieval archaeological complexes in the country.

Departure from Sofia Airport or optional activities.

Map
1 Review
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Tsveta Honneger

Couple Traveller

Me and my husband did a tailor made 1 week tour with Exedo covering the area of West Rhodope with a private guide only for us.. we literally LOVED IT! We had a great mix of beautiful hikes with unique sightseeing across Rhodopes. The program was designed according our preferences and taste. In my opinion money price value for the service we received is beyond excellent! I can definitely highly recommend!
Thank you to the team of Excedo making our vacation in Bulgaria so great !

22nd June 2018