- In the itinerary we state which meals are included each day: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners are included in this trip. Typical Meals Breakfast: Will usually include tea or coffee, bread, jam, honey and cheese, supplemented in Yagodina by fresh home-made yoghurt and traditional local specialities such as thick pancakes known as 'katmi' and a rice-based dish called 'rodopski klin'. Lunch: Picnic lunches will be eaten in the mountains and typically comprise of bread, cheese, salami, salad, biscuits and fruit. Dinner: Will be taken in our hotel restaurants, and will normally include four courses comprising a salad, soup and a main course, followed by a dessert of fruit, ice cream, or cake/pudding. The cuisine reflects a mixture of Bulgarian, Greek, Turkish and Slavonic influences. We sample many traditional local specialities including 'smilyanski fasul', a delicious bean soup and 'patatnik', a local delicacy made with grated potatoes, onions, and cheese, then seasoned with mint and other herbs. Jugs of tap water will be provided on the table with the evening meal. Bottled mineral water, soft drinks and alcohol are not included but can be purchased. There are several local wines that you may wish to try, including an excellent red 'Mavrud' from vineyards on the northern slopes of the Rodopi. Vegetarians and Vegans: Bulgaria is famed for its fresh vegetables and fruit, so vegetarians are usually well catered for. However, it is extremely difficult for vegans, as dairy produce and eggs form the staple part of the diet in this region, and occur in the vast majority of meals.
- Accom: hotel/lodge
- Culture & Discovery
- Walking & Trekking
- Guided Group
Start Sofia; transfer to Yagodina.
Start at Sofia airport (Terminal 2), where we will be met by the leader and transferred to the remote village of Yagodina, our base for the next 6 nights.
Walk along flank of the Buinovo Gorge, then continue through the Kastrakli Nature Reserve.
Setting off on foot from the hotel, we walk out of the village and pick up a spectacular trail that runs high along the flank of the Buinovo Gorge beneath the rugged rock outcrops of Mt. Sveti Iliya. Meeting our bus, we then have a short drive downstream, before commencing the second part of our walk, a hike through the heart of the 'Kastrakli' Nature Reserve. The reserve has a rich flora and fauna, and is world renowned for the large variety of butterflies and moths. Finally on emerging at the village of Borino, we are picked up by our bus and return to Yagodina. Walking Time: 4 hours; Distance 12km. Total Ascent: +450m; Total Descent: -300m
Walk from Zmeitsa along route of ancient Roman road through meadows, forests and fields to the Buinovo Gorge.
Setting off on foot from the village of Zmeitsa, we follow the line of an ancient Roman road through meadows, forests and fields where there are opportunities to observe the local people engaged in their traditional agricultural lifestyle. Finally, having descended a broad grassy ridge spur, that offers stunning views towards the village of Yagodina, we drop steeply into the Buinovo Gorge where our minibus will be waiting. Walking Time: 4 hours; Distance 13km. Total Ascent: +300m; Total Descent: -600m.
Walk along the Chairska Gorge; cross the Trigrad Plateau and visit the Devil's Throat Cave.
We start today's extremely varied walk by first hiking down the gorge of the Chairska River, and then climbing through ancient forests to emerge at an extensive area of glorious flower-filled meadows. Having crossed these, and then an interesting section of karst plateau, we eventually drop down into the Trigrad Gorge to visit the 'Devil's Throat' cave, an enormous chasm with a thundering waterfall. According to legend, this was the cave by which Orpheus emerged from the Underworld after his tragically failed attempt to reclaim his wife Eurydice. The crags around the cave entrance are also very interesting for naturalists, being home to several local endemic plants as well as the Wallcreeper, a rare and elusive bird that flutters around the rocks like a butterfly on strikingly crimson wings. Walking Time: 4 hours; Distance 15km Total Ascent: +500m; Total Descent: -300m.
Walk around Mt Durdaga through a variety of habitats with rich flora and fauna.
A full day's circular walk starting and finishing in Yagodina. Our route makes a tour of Mt. Durdaga, a high wooded peak that rises directly above the village. During the course of our walk, we pass through a large variety of habitats with an extremely rich flora and fauna. During the first half of the day, as well as wandering through ancient forests that are home to bear, boar and deer, we will also cross several flower covered pastures that are normally enlivened by a spectacular assortment of butterflies. Later in the afternoon, we return to Yagodina along the line of a former Roman road that runs high above the Trigrad Gorge, and which not only offers outstanding views, but which is also one of the most renowned botanic trails in the country. Walking Time: 5 hours; Distance 16km. Total Ascent: +500m; Total Descent: -500m.
Sveti Ilia ridge walk with panoramic views over Yagodina and most of the Rodopi.
The focus of today's walk is the imposing Sveti Iliya (Saint Elijah) ridge that rises up directly north of Yagodina. Our route starts directly from the hotel, climbing steadily upwards to reach the broad open ridgeback. Although rough and stony, the ridge boasts its own unique flora and fauna, as well the opportunity to observe a range of interesting raptors, with Golden, Booted and Short- toed Eagles all having been recorded on previous departures, as well as Common, Longlegged and Honey Buzzard, and an assortment of falcons such as Peregrine, Hobby and Kestrel. However, the panoramic views would in themselves be reward enough for climbing the ridge, for they not only stretch out over the village of Yagodina itself, but indeed much of the Western Rodopi, offering an ideal chance to point out and identify the places one has walked during previous days of this holiday. Having descended to our bus, we then drive to the Yagodina Cave. We will spend about an hour inside the cave, one of the most beautiful in the country, and world renowned for its variety of cave formations including stalagmites, stalactites, draperies, flowstones, dendrites and cave pearls. The cave system also harbours a unique prehistoric dwelling and we will have the chance to see this and learn more about the surprisingly sophisticated way-of-life of the people who inhabited it more than 6000 years ago. Walking Time: 3½ hours; Distance 12km. Total Ascent: +400m; Total Descent: -500m.
Follow ancient trackway via forests and over rock outcrops into the Buinovo Gorge to visit Yagodina Cave; transfer to Sofia.
Setting off on foot from the hotel, we pick up yet another section of former Roman road, now a beautiful forest trail that is famed for the great variety of orchids that can be found growing alongside it. Suddenly the path emerges at a shelter, perched high on a rocky viewpoint from which one can gaze down into the Buinovo Gorge below. From here, the trail steadily descends to meet the river and road beside a wonderfully preserved Roman bridge. Having rejoined our bus, we then have a short drive to the nearby town of Devin where we will spend a couple of hours walking along a beautiful trail in the valley of the Devinska Reka. The region is rich in wildlife, particularly butterflies, and many rare and interesting species can be seen along the path. After a picnic lunch beside the river, we set off on the long but highly picturesque transfer to the Bulgarian capital Sofia, where we will spend our final night. Walking Time: 3 hour; Distance 13km. Total Ascent: +150m; Total Descent: -350m.