Balkan Mountains riding holiday in Bulgaria - Far and Ride
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Balkan Mountains, Bulgaria





Reviews



It was a fantastic experience. We were riding through the beautiful places in the Balkan Mountains on very hard working and brave horses. It was challenging and sometimes difficult but thanks to our guides always safe. Fantastic guide always polite and helpful. I was impressed with his knowledge of horses and the history of Bulgaria. He translated everything into French and English.

Dorota S.
The holiday was very good, beautiful scenery, mountains, forests & lakes. The accommodation was very basic but the food was excellent throughout the holiday both in quantity and quality. Alex was a terrific guide polite, knowledgeable and good fun.

Alastair M.
700 photos in six days describes the Wow! factor and hospitality that turns into personal friendships, the welcome. I will try not to be too over effusive in my praise.

Geoff B.
Excellent family programme - it was unusual in that it was completely different from anything we have done before. It was brilliant - we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves riding through the forest and meadows, having lunch in a local person's house, camping and fishing. Excellent charming and knowledgeable guides and host. Definitely will return. 10/10

Andrews
Very well organised from airport to mountain hut. Knowledgeable guide and sure-footed horses. Riding through the snow on a mountain top was the most exhilarating thing we have ever done. My favourite memory was galloping through the snow in between the mountains.

Andrea
The trail was perfect from the beginning to the end. Beautiful mountains, amazing views, fantastic horses, well schooled, forward going and sure-footed in difficult terrain. Very good, knowledgeable guides, simple, but nice accommodation, excellent food all week. I had a wonderful holiday and I hope I'll be able to come back next year.

Helena J.
The trip to Balkan was fantastic. The guide for the trail was wonderful, very knowedgeable and spoke perfect english. The accommodation and food was excellent. The horses were the best part of the hoilday though. Myself and my partner have both said we will definitely go again next year.

Emma B.
I had a great week. Miro was my guide and he was lovely - knows the area like the back of his hand and really knows about the wildlife and nature. My horse for the week was also lovely, didn't bat an eyelid at anything! Food was great and plentiful, I had to keep telling them they were bringing me too much!

Karen H.
Throughly enjoyable week - beautiful scenery, great riding, good company. The trail took us to mountain huts and guest houses in the hills and the monastery was a delightful stopover. My favourite memory was riding through meadows of wildflowers and gazing down the mountains on a rural landscape seemingly unchanged in centuries.

Malcolm W.
Perfect! Just as described. Fantastic ride in amazing scenery with wonderful hosts and a very knowledgeable and entertaining guide. Great food and hospitality wherever we went! Stayed in some of the most beautiful places imaginable! Horse was great - very willing and reliable and coped well with the difficult terrain.

Emily B.
It took me to 'another place', both in my head, visually and with the riding.

Augusta G.
Wonderful riding on a well cared for horse, in beautiful mountain ranges and comfortable Western saddles. The terrain was varied with mountains and open fields, and the guide was excellent, as was the comfortable guest house and food.

Pat B.
Lots of time in beautiful. stunning and unspoilt countryside with excellent hospitality and characterful accommodation. The tack was in good condition and very comfortable. (Favourite Memory?) Walking through fog and seeing semi wild horses appear!

Helen S.
Fabulous! Exceeded all my expectations. A beautiful country, happy and healthy horses, a challenging and varied trail with great guides and company. I feel I got a real taste of Bulgaria - its landscape, culture and way of life. (Favourite memory?) Too many to choose from! The company - we had a great group and lovely guides. The mountain huts, long canters on the last 2 days, the food, my horse, the weather (kept things interesting!), the scenery, the wildflowers, our hosts. There are no bad memories, only great ones!

Ellie M.
Fabulous. The guides were great; the accommodation super, the space we rode through stunning and the horses were very happy with a good gallop. First Class! Paulo & Veronica were great. My inability to speak Bulgarian didn't hamper the communication with Paulo at all - we either "got it" or Veronica (whose English is first class) translated.

Donna F. (Balkan Base)
Fabulous Trip. Wonderful people, horses and nature. (Were you happy with the horses and equipment?) Very much. Good that they had rain ponchos for guests to use too.

Michael F. (Panorama Trail)
Had the most amazing week riding in the beautiful mountains of Bulgaria. My guide, Alex, was fantastic. His knowledge of the area was second to none and we had exciting rides every day. He looked after me extremely well. The horses were beautiful and well trained and well looked after. Tanya at the guest house was a lovely lady and cooked very tasty meals, so much so I gained 3lbs in a week! Thank you for organising this trip, it really was the best holiday ever.

Jane T.
Beautiful scenery, lovely horses, amazing experience. The owners were v. friendly and accommodating. Beds quite hard but nothing uncomfortable. Food incredible, everything really fresh and tasty. My horse was lovely. All very well looked after and well loved. Western saddles very comfy and in good nick. Alex (guide) was awesome. He was fun and interesting but made sure everyone was happy and safe. (Favourite memory?) Galloping my Arab horse very fast!

Rachel A. (Balkan Mountain Trail)
Absolutely perfect holiday! Well organised from the start, friendly and experienced guides, stunning mountain scenery, forward going but well mannered and lovely horses. The mountain huts were basic as we were warned, the guesthouses were lovely and comfortable, the food in all was fantastic. Very happy with my horse, he was very well looked after and a pleasure to ride. Equipment and tack good quality and in good condition. Veronika and Pavlin (guides) were both a pleasure to ride and spend time with. (Favourite memory?) Too many to choose from but probably riding through such beautiful unspoilt country on a very sure-footed horse.

Corina (Singing Rocks)
An authentic mountain adventure with amazing scenery, views and culture. Loved every minute. Accommodation mixed in quality (but no complaints). Hosts were fantastic. Food was brilliant and plentiful! Fabulous horses. Loved the way that although well schooled their characters and nature were always present. The track was in great condition. Alex (the guide) was very competent, professional and friendly. He was very safe, knew his horses as well as the trails. The driver was friendly and ever helpful and went out of his way to help us in challenging situations. (Favourite memory?) The views and the brilliant horses with loads of individual character but well schooled and suited to the terrain.

Marian & Sian (Sept 2018)
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Native east Bulgarian crosses, Hanoverian and Arab.

Nature of horses:

Well trained, calm, responsive and sure footed

Height of horses:

13.2 hh -16.2 hh

Weight limit:

90 kg - however, experienced heavier riders may be accommodated by prior arrangement.

Tack type:

Western - quality tack that has been mostly imported from the US

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

Situated on the northern side of the Balkan Mountain Range in Bulgaria, on the outskirts of the mountain village of Apriltsi, lies this fantastic riding centre which offers two beautiful trail rides and based programmes. Here in the heart of Bulgaria the riding is sensational - far away from traffic, work and everyday life, you can ride right into the mountains to find the freshest air and the cleanest rivers. Nature is everything here and the wildlife adds to the sense of adventure with the smell of the roses and Lavendula, the taste of the cool, white wine made from the local grapes, the real yoghurt and the sun-ripened tomatoes. The stables are surrounded by beautiful fields, a little creek and a mountain lake with green and blooming meadows all around. There is also a little Western bar where guests can enjoy a drink and watch the grazing horses. The views of Mt Botev, standing at 2395m, add to the feeling of the riding centre and the Central Balkan National Park lies just next door. A brown bear is the symbol of the park and you will often see their tracks during your rides.

Riding here is based on the fantastic scenery and famous hospitality that Bulgaria has to offer and if you want to get back to nature, with the help of natural horsepower, then this is the right choice for you. Encounters with the charming local people add an element of culture to the trips and help to make the setting even more ideal for a horseback adventure. The centre uses local East Bulgarian horses or these crossed with Arabians. The local horses are known as being tough, thoughtful and wise and when crossed with the famous strength and stamina of the Arab, it makes for a satisfying companion. The horses are healthy, taken good care of and are accustomed to the mountainous terrain. They are always given days off to ensure that they are in good shape for the rides and riding is in Western tack which is comfortable for the lengthy trail rides and supportive for the challenging mountain riding.

The mountain riding and adventures in the wilderness will show you why horse riding in Bulgaria is something special and with a sure-footed horse and a trusty guide, you are sure to enjoy the experience.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

For the based programme, you will stay in a guesthouse together with the other riders in double rooms. All guest rooms have their own private bathrooms and a balcony or terrace. The guesthouse has a lovely large garden which guests are welcome to use, together with a barbecue, as well as a communal dining room which is available for use when meals are not being served.

Guesthouse accommodation in Bulgaria is comparable to a B&B in England and, of course, you have some privacy during the stay. Full board meals are included with the programmes and these meals will be taken in the house or outside in the garden. During the daily rides, a picnic will be organised for lunch or you will bring a packed lunch in your saddlebags.

On the trail rides, accommodation varies depending on the ride you choose. Some may offer limited shower facilities due to the remote nature of the trail and some, like the mountain huts, are really very basic. Expect to be staying in a mixture of hotels, guesthouses, chalets and mountain huts during your trail ride.

During the riding programmes, all meals are included. Other soft drinks, wine, beer and alcoholic drinks are not included but are available to buy at each overnight stop (payments in cash). The water in this area of the mountains and predominantly clean and safe to drink.

Breakfast will typically be comprised of cold cuts of meats, cheeses and fresh bread, as well as homemade yoghurt, french toast, cake, seasonal fruit and cereal. Herbal or fruit infusions, such as mountain tea, and coffee are readily available with breakfast, or you may wish to try some locally made Banitsa instead.

Lunch will generally be taken at a local restaurant, at private homes on the route or will be a picnic carried with you in your saddlebags. Dinner will be served at your host accommodation each night and will consist of plenty of local and traditional dishes typical of this area of the Balkan Mountains. These meals will usually be hearty and include salad, hot or cold soup to start, a main of meat or fish (or vegetarian alternative)served with seasonal vegetables and side of bread, boiled grains or polenta, as well as a sweet to finish.

Bulgarian cuisine includes a fair amount of dairy due to the regions wonderful pastoral heritage. Special dietary requirements may be accommodated with prior arrangement.

 

Activities

For those taking part in the trail programmes, you will find that there is not a lot of free time or possibilities to take part in other activities. However, those who are staying at the base for the stationary programme, a variety of optional activities and tours are offered at an additional cost (payable locally).

These activities might include a visit to the local town of Troyan, about 25 km away, to see the monastery and to enjoy some shopping. Troyan is a pleasant, metropolitan town with a variety of shops and cafés to explore. Or, slightly further away (50km), you will find the city of Gabrovo and the famous ethnographical museum Etara showing the history of medieval Bulgaria.

Additional costs for these trips will be dependent on distance travelled and number of participants.

 

Further Details

Languages: English, French

Health requirements: No special requirements

Age limit: None within reason

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, meals, set time transfers from and to Sofia airport and riding as per itinerary.

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, other drinks, extra tours or activities, tips and personal expenses.

 

Travel Information

The base is situated approximately 180 km from Sofia (approximately three hours by car). One transfer is arranged for arrival and one transfer for departure. You will be met in the airport by a transfer guide with a sign "Riding Base Balkan" We recommend arrival at the airport not later than 17.00 and a departure flight after 12.00. The time of departure between the airport and the mountains is arranged around the arrival time of the last guest and the departure of the guest with the earliest flight time. If a guest is staying in Sofia before or after the riding holiday, then the meeting point is still in the airport not In the city. Meeting times will be announced 8-10 days prior to guest's arrival when all the flight times have been confirmed. If your flight arrives after 17.00 then an extra charge will be implemented of 150 euros per car as per the individual transfers.

Individual transfer or transfers at times not corresponding with the above are available at an additional fee of 150 EUR per car (up to three persons), one way. An individual transfer has to be confirmed in advance and the additional fee is to be paid on the spot in cash.

Airport: Sofia

Alternative Airport: Plovdiv

 

Programmes


Balkan Mountain Trail



This is our partner's classic trail ride, following a route over two mountains in the Balkan range. The ride features unspoilt landscapes, a chance to experience the real life of villages and the opportunity to witness the local culture from horseback. During the trail you ride through the Balkan National Park and the lower mountains of Sredna Gora, as well as through the famous Valley of Roses. During the rose growing season, this valley is filled with the scent of rose petals and you will find the region carpeted in small white and blush pink blooms. This trail follows ancient paths that have connected the North of Bulgaria with its Southern parts for hundreds of years.

Saturday:

You will be met by a representative from the riding stables in Sofia airport arrivals hall at the set meeting time. This is typically at or before 17:00, but may be earlier if all guest flights arrive before this time. Having safely met your driver, you will transfer, together with your travel companions to the picturesque village of Apriltsi in the Balkan Mountains. Accommodation for this evening will be at a cosy Guesthouse in the centre of the village. Rooms here are generally double, each with its own bathroom and shower. 

You will enjoy a traditional welcome dinner during which you we will be able to discuss the trail with your guides and receive some practical tips from them.

Transfer to Apriltsi is c.180 km, around 3 hours driving.

Sunday:

After your first breakfast complete with famous Bulgarian yogurt, you will be transferred by car to the stables in order to meet the horses. You will be introduced to your horse for the week, which will have been matched to you using information provided prior to your arrival. 

The morning's ride will begin in the fields and low areas of the base and will continue through small villages and agricultural areas. The ride is easy and gives guests a chance to make any changes they need to prior to the ride. You will stop for lunch at a creek  where there is a bar and pool. During summer days it's possible to cool off in the pool or even paddle in the mountain stream which runs along the bottom of the bar property. Following lunch, you will begin to ascend the mountains, riding uphill for roughly 3 hours to enter the Central Balkan National Park. Dinner and overnight will be in a lodge on the top of the mountains.

Rooms will be twin, double or triple with shared bathrooms.

Monday:

The trail today will continue further through the National park which is one of the largest and most valuable protected areas in Europe. Riding over the Balkan Mountains you will have amazing views of the Balkan's highest peak; Mt. Botev (2395 m). Coming over the mountain pass neighbouring Botev, you will be rewarded with views of the Mariza plains opening up on the horizons ahead of you - you may even spot the city of Plovdiv on a clear day! Lunch will be served at a local home on the south side of the mountain slopes. At the end of the day, you will arrive at a small monastery which is still inhabited today by a group of nuns. The sisters maintain a well kept monastery garden and a small church on the site. To relax after the ride a short walk to Byala reka - a well-marked eco-path in the canyon behind the monastery - is recommended. The route includes plenty of wooden bridges and walkways over the river, as well as numerous waterfalls. 

Dinner and overnight will be at the monastery.

Tuesday:

During the morning ride, you will spend some time in this valley, exploring the monastery grounds and life in the villages and fields surrounding. The largest type of farming in this area is sheep, kept for their meat, milk and wool. You will spot plenty of shepherds and busy farmers in these fields, tending to their flocks in a very traditional way. After a break for lunch you will pick up the trail once more and pass into the Valley of Roses and a beautiful old forest. The roses in this region typically bloom between May and June, with the harvest occurring towards the second half of this period. At the end of the riding day, you will find yourselves at the very top of the Sredna Gora Mountains, where we will stay in a chalet in the small village of Svezhen at 1050 m above sea level. 

Dinner and overnight in the chalet, in double or triple rooms with private facilities.

Wednesday:

Today's ride will be a circular route to discover the landscape in the area around the village of Svezhen. The morning ride will see you heading downhill to the village itself. Svezhen is more than 600 years old and is a well-preserved living museum of huge note amongst those with an interest in the historical and architectural reserves of this region. The village comes alive during the summer months, often hosting rural festivities and traditional fairs - you will feel as if you have stepped back in time in every corner of this village. Lunch will be taken at a restaurant in a scenic spot next to the river. In the afternoon, you will head back to the mountain chalet, a route which offers the best opportunities to break into a few canters, or to be an exploratory pathfinder together with your guide around the edge of a small lake.

Dinner and overnight back at the chalet.

Thursday:

After breakfast today you will begin to ride northward again to cross back over the Balkan mountains. You will ride through some pretty and remote villages, stopping in one of these to have lunch in a beautiful private garden. Here, you will enjoy a traditional meal which will be homemade by your host, the lovely baba Miche. 

In the afternoon, you will begin your ascent of the mountains, crossing one of the checkpoints used by the guard of the national park. Following mountain trails, you will pass the impressive Babsko waterfall (at 54 m high) and watch the water thundering over the falls and passing under the ground beneath you. Eventually, you will reach your overnight stop at Triglav mountain refuge. The complex was originally built as a resort for mountaineers and hikers, but now it is truly a relic of another era. 

Dinner and overnight at the refuge.

Friday:

Today will be your final ride up and over the mountains. Expect great views to the other peaks of the Balkans; Zelenikovets, Kurtbashitsa, Kolata, as well as to the sharp pyramid of the Maragidik peak (1889 m). By late morning you will have begun your descent of the northern side of the mountain range and will find yourself riding through centuries-old copper beech forests. You will stop for lunch on the banks of Ostershka River before a gentle afternoon ride back through peaceful villages and eventually return to the stables again. 

Dinner and overnight will be back at the guesthouse in Apriltsi.

Saturday:

After breakfast you will transfer to Sofia Airport for your departure flight.



Accommodation: The Balkan Trail is based on seven nights full board accommodation, five of those being spent in the mountains. Two nights are in a guesthouse in Apriltsi (double or triple rooms) with ensuite bathrooms, four nights in mountain chalets based on two, three or four bedded rooms with shared bathrooms and one night in an old monastery based on double rooms with shared bathrooms.
Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Intermediate and above.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 5 - 7 hours riding per day
Departure dates: 2020:
11-18 April, 18-25 April, 25 April-2 May, 2-9 May, 9-16 May, 16-23 May, 23-30 May, 30 May - 6 June, 13-20 June, 27 June - 4 July, 11-18 July, 25 July - 1 August, 8-15 August, 22-29 August, 5-12 September, 19-26 September, 3-10 October, 10-17 October, 17-24 October.
 
Pricing: 2020:

£933 per person

Price includes 7 nights shared room accommodation, full board meals, riding, pick up/drop off at Sofia airport at set times, local guide and English-speaking translator, as well as luggage transportation between overnight stops.

Single occupancy is £13 per person per night, for those who do not wish to share a room. Please note that single rooms are subject to availability and may not be possible every night on this trail.

Group Discount: There are discounts available for groups who book at the same time.
8 riders £64 discount per person
7 riders £43 discount per person
6 riders £34 discount person person
4-5 riders £21 discount per person


The price does not include: tips, drinks (except water) and other personal expenses, maps, flights or travel insurance.

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.



Singing Rocks Trail



High up in the Central Balkan National Park there is a place with rugged and impassable cliffs. A unique place with distinctive flora and fauna that have turned the place into a nature reserve. The Singing Rocks themselves are a set of unique natural formations that crown the ancient beech forest. When the wind blows in the right direction one can hear the “song” of the rocks and it was this phenomenon that has given the reserve its beautiful name.

You also ride in the national park amongst its rich wildlife and rare plants. The air is just as clear as the cold mountain springs you ride along. And the view towards the highest peaks of the Balkan mountain range is simply breathtaking. The trail offers a variety of landscapes and riding paces. The hilly terrain as well as the small plateau on top of the hills offer fantastic opportunities for an unforgettable ride.

The Central Balkan National Park - the land of untouched wildlife and wilderness! The National park is the first PAN Park in Bulgaria (you can read about the European PAN Parks on www.panparks.org) and is characterised by deep caves, steep slopes and canyons, high waterfalls, and clear fresh water streams. In addition it is a stronghold of Bulgarian nationality and culture. The National park boasts the highest waterfall in Bulgaria, the 125-m high Raiskoto Praskalo. The highest of the Stara Planina peaks – Botev Peak, 2395 m above sea level, is located on the park’s territory.

Saturday:

Arrival at the airport and transportation to the stables in the Balkan mountains (the transfer is around three hours) in the mountain village of Apriltsi which is situated on the northern side of the Balkan Range about 180 km from Sofia. The riding base is placed in one of the small quarters of the village not far from the end of the road. The stables are placed in one of the most beautiful valleys in the Central Balkan and with the most fantastic panorama behind the buildings.

Sunday:

In the morning you will meet 'your' horse and friend for the week. After the first meeting you will take a leisurely ride out of the town of Apriltsi in order to gain an intimate knowledge of the horses and their habits. You ride about 10 km and you have a picnic near one of the rivers. After lunch and a rest you ride back to the stables with opportunities to enjoy some trots and canters on the way. In the afternoon there will be some free time to explore Apriltsi village, perhaps visiting a local coffee shop or small art gallery before dinner. 

Overnight at the guesthouse in Apriltsi.

Monday:

The trail starts in the morning and you will ride in a north-eastern direction through some remote villages, enjoying traditional architecture from the Bulgarian revival period. The route will take you through thick beech forests with opportunities to enjoy some long trots and canters. Lunch is eaten at a beautiful and secluded creek. After approximately 6 hours in the saddle, riding along the Balkan ridge over beautiful meadows, you will reach the small village of Troentsi which lies at the foothills of the mountain Mara Gidik. Here you will be accommodated in a traditional style renovated guesthouse which offers incredible panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. 

Tuesday:

From Troentsi village, your ride today will take you through woodland and across farms, crossing creeks and streams with lots of opportunities for long trots. You will pass very close to the picturesque Balkan mountain villages of Stokite, Kupen and Emiliovo. These are all peaceful and traditional settlements with amazing views to the peaks of the Balkan ridge. In the afternoon, following lunch, you will ride through a preserved area with many chances to spot wildlife such as red and roe deer, chamois, and brown bear. There will also be plenty of spots for some good trots and canters on this route. The days ride is around 6-7 hours, when you will reach the comfortable mountain chalet “Partizanska Pesen” (c. 1000m altitude).

Wednesday:

After breakfast today, you will ascend through ancient woodland and up on to the pastures at the very top of the Balkan range, above the line where trees will grow. From so high up, you will be able to enjoy the fantastic views over both northern and southern Bulgaria at the same time! The open pastures give you the possibility to trot and gallop unhindered. At a pretty little mountain stream c.1450 m altitude, you will have a rest before continuing for a further 2-3 hours on the horseback to reach the mountain chalet “Mazalat” (c. 1620m altitude) for lunch. After lunch you will cross the mountains and ride deep into the “Central Balkan National Park” and onwards to “The singing rocks” reserve. In this picturesque mountainous area, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, you'll hear the rocks singing as the gusts whistle between them. Please note that as you ride through the reserve there will be two small stretches of between 10-20 meters where it will be necessary for you have to dismount and lead your horses. Your ride today will be about 7-8 hours in total.

Overnight at Tabite Lodge high in the mountains.

Thursday:

Wake up in the comfortable lodge and enjoy breakfast with together with the amazing views to the mountains. Today's ride will take you to the very top of the peaks with a cowboy style picnic lunch prepared for you by the team in a mountain chalet at Triglav. Here you will be able to enjoy a well deserved rest or the possibility to go for a walk on a nearby eco-path which offers splendid views to the Valley of Roses on the southern side of the Balkan Mountains. Heading back to Tabite in the afternoon, you will pass a majestic waterfall crashing its way through the rocky landscape. Dinner and overnight will be back at the Tabite lodge tonight. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a Bulgarian sundowner while the sun sets behind the mountain peaks of Maragidik (c. 1889 m) and Botev (c. 2395 m).

Friday:

After breakfast you will head in a northerly direction from the lodge. Your ride will take you back town the northern side of the mountains, leaving behind the national park to arrive back at Apriltsi. Today's ride is shorter at about five hours and finishes back at the base. You will spend the night in the same accommodation as the first two nights where you will receive a farewell dinner.

Saturday:

After breakfast you say goodbye to the horses, guides and other guests. Transfer to the airport for departure.



Accommodation: The trail is based on seven nights and features basic accommodation. Three nights in a guesthouse in Apriltsi based on double or triple occupancy with shower and toilet, one night in a guesthouse in Troentsi, one night in a basic mountain hut and two nights in a mountain chalet based on double occupancy with facilities on the floor,
Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 6
Ability description: Riders should be of intermediate level and above. No prior western riding experience necessary.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 4 - 7/8 hours per day
Departure dates: 2020:
6-13 June, 20-27 June, 4-11 July, 18-25 July, 1-8 August, 15-22 August, 29 August - 5 September, 12-19 September, 26 September - 3 October.
 
Pricing: 2020:

£933 per person

Price includes 7 nights shared room accommodation, full board meals, riding, pick up/drop off at Sofia airport at set times, local guide and English-speaking translator, as well as luggage transportation between overnight stops.

Single occupancy is £13 per person per night, for those who do not wish to share a room. Please note that single rooms are subject to availability and may not be possible every night on this trail.

Group Discount: There are discounts available for groups who book at the same time.
8 riders £64 discount per person
7 riders £43 discount per person
6 riders £34 discount person person
4-5 riders £21 discount per person


The price does not include: tips, drinks (except water) and other personal expenses, maps, flights or travel insurance.

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.



Balkan Base Stay



This is a based stay, riding out each day from the primary stables where all the trail programmes start. It is a beautiful setting for a riding holiday and you are accommodated in the family hotel at Apriltsi. A stay at the Balkan base is for all riders of all abilities, also ideal for groups/school groups and friends. There are plenty of lush hills and natural riding paths in the stunning valleys, up to the mountain peaks. Many of the tracks offer perfect opportunities for galloping. For the experienced rider there are many possibilities for challenging riding in the mountainous terrain.

Ride through mountain rivers, up and down steep mountain paths and across open plains. The terrain offers rides for every type of rider. The riding guides have a great knowledge of the local area and know what to show you. The pace will be adapted to suit the group.

Saturday:

You will be met by a rep from the stables in Sofia airport and will transfer to the village of Apriltsi in the Balkan Mountains. Transfer to Aprilsti is c. 180 km, taking roughly 3 hours. Your accommdoation for the week will be in a cosy new guesthouse located in the centre of the village. Rooming is based on twin/double occupancy (unless otherwise arranged) with a private bathroom for each room. This evening you will enjoy a welcome dinner together with other guests. Depending on the time you arrive in Apriltsi, there may be a chance to meet your riding guide for the week and to talk about the program ahead. 

Sunday:

After breakfast you walk down to the stables to meet the horses. The riding guides will introduce you to your horse and explain how they ride in the mountains there, about the horses and about rules in the mountains. You start your riding in the morning and lunch may be a picnic close to the stables. After lunch you leave the riding base for a horse riding tour around Apriltsi (12 km long), taking about three hours.

Monday:

After breakfast you will meet up with the horses and leave the village on horseback for a ride to the green meadows. Here you ride will be able to ride at walk, trot and canter and for the experienced rider there is a chance to have a good gallop. From the meadows you ride to the river where you will enjoy lunch. After the break you ride for two more hours back to base.

Tuesday:

Today you ride up in the mountains and you’ll pass a wild life area. The ride will take place over 1000 m above sea level and you will have a relaxed lunch in the mountains. In the evening you might ride out to see the wild life in the area of Apriltsi.

Wednesday:

Following breakfast, you will ride over the hill top of Ostrets and Peperi, under the Black Peak (1500m) to a small monastery. Lunch is in the monastery garden. In the afternoon, you will ride back to the base through the field and meadows, along the riverbank.

Thursday:

Today you ride into the National park. The ride will take you through the beautiful countryside to Vidima, a small village. You will continue to the Vidima Waterfall, one of the biggest in Bulgaria (1350 m above sea level). From here you will dismount and walk up a small eco-path while the horses rest. After lunch you ride in the park and will enjoy all the hidden treasures of the nature in that area.

Friday:

Today you will get to choose your route as a group between all the possibilities in the area. If you and the group prefer mountain riding you’ll ride in the mountains. If you would like to ride to one of the small villages, a monastery or other sights you can do that. Whatever is chosen you will enjoy the picturesque landscape. In the evening you enjoy a farewell dinner.

Saturday:

After breakfast you will pack the car, say goodbye to the guides, guests and your equine friends before leaving for the airport.

This is just an example itinerary, this may vary according to new paths that have been found, the ability and requirements of the group.



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: All abilities can be catered for.
Type of ride: Based with daily trails.
Total riding time: Flexible day rides.
Departure dates: Dates available for suit for a minimum of 2 pax, with arrival and departure on consecutive Saturdays.
 
Pricing: 2020:

£754 per person

Price includes 7 nights shared room accommodation, full board meals, riding, pick up/drop off at Sofia airport at set times, local guide and English-speaking translator.

Single occupancy is £13 per person per night, for those who do not wish to share a room. Please note that single rooms are subject to availability.

Group Discount: There are discounts available for groups who book at the same time.
8 riders £64 discount per person
7 riders £43 discount per person
6 riders £34 discount person person
4-5 riders £21 discount per person

The price does not include: tips, drinks (except water) and other personal expenses, maps, flights or travel insurance.

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.