Ask a Question

Check Availability

Rhodope Mountain Trails

Special Offer!

€50 off the Mursalitsa NP Trail!

€50 EUR discount on the Mursalitsa National Park Trail for 3 - 10 July and 31 July - 7 August 2021 departures.

Offer ends July 31, 2021

Overview

This family-run riding centre was founded in 2008 and is one of the most popular riding stables in Bulgaria, accredited to both the Bulgarian Federation of Equestrian Sports and the Bulgarian Equestrian Tourism Association. Now run by the founder's son, Bogdan Syarov (a qualified vet), the stables …

Highlights

  • Riding in one of Europe's most biodiverse regions
  • Passionate guide who is a qualified vet
  • Visiting preserved villages with 3300 years of history
  • French toast with fresh local ricotta and honey
  • Learn about the Rodopi bagpipes!

Essential Facts

  • 2 itineraries available
  • Max 8 riders per group
  • Average of 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 95kg / 210lbs / 15st

Description

This family-run riding centre was founded in 2008 and is one of the most popular riding stables in Bulgaria, accredited to both the Bulgarian Federation of Equestrian Sports and the Bulgarian Equestrian Tourism Association. Now run by the founder's son, Bogdan Syarov (a qualified vet), the stables offers adventurous mountain trails on fit, forward-going horses. The equestrian centre was started so that the Syarovs, a keen show-jumping family, could share their love of horses and their passion for this beautiful region.

Bogdan and his family pride themselves on their horses, all of whom are good-natured, brave and very much loved. Riding here is with English saddles, primarily Wintec, and the quality of tack is excellent. Although this is not a large stables they ensure that spare horses are always available. The Rhodope Mountains ('Rodopis') offer incredible views and miles of peaceful riding routes and have been known since ancient times, mentioned by the legendary poets Homer, Virgil and Ovid. With their clean and unspoiled nature and magical villages, the Rhodopes have kept the value of the Bulgarian spirit throughout the centuries.

The stables is situated in an ideal location with scenic riding country and an abundance of cultural, natural and historical attractions within riding distance. Highlights include 'Chudnite Mostove' ('The Wonderful Bridges'), the protected area of Shiroki Livadi, the Lilkovsko Plateau, Tamrazh Reserve and the charming villages of Gela and Shiroka Laka. Rides start with a tour of the ancient city of Plovdiv, actually one of the world's oldest continually-inhabited cities. The Rhodope Mountains are one of the most biodiverse areas in Europe and are home to a range of fascinating flora and fauna - bears, wolves, wild cats, birds of prey and an incredible number of bat species inhabit the region and there are many interesting plants and flowers to be seen.

Holly from Far and Ride visited this destination in the autumn of 2016 and would be really happy to tell you more about it - please just get in touch!

Horses & Riding

Tack

English style tack, primarily Wintec saddles and horses in snaffle bridles.

Horses

A range including Trakehner, Shagya Arabian and Eastern Bulgarian breeds. The horses are responsive and willing with great fitness, allowing for plenty of trots and canters along the way as well as safe passage over rough mountain terrain.

Riding

There are 2 itineraries:

  • Mursalitsa National Park Trail is a trail ride
  • The Rhodopes - A Secret for Long Life is a trail ride

Ages

12+

Health

General good health recommended.

Weight

95kg / 210lbs / 15st

Food & Accommodation

Food

All meals are included during the trail programmes and you can expect hearty local fare and the chance to try several traditional dishes. Meat and cheese are prevalent and bread is served with every meal, but vegetarians and other dietary requirements can be catered for with prior notice.

Dinners are three courses and always start with the traditional salad of cucumber, tomatoes, onions, cheese and sometimes olives. Lunches are generally a picnic eaten from your saddlebag, including a sandwich, fruit, biscuit/cereal bar and water. A few times during the week you will eat at a bar in a small village.

Beer and wine are commonly available and delicious, but red wine is sometimes served chilled. Coffee, tea and juice are served with your breakfasts.

Accommodation

Accommodation during the trail is simple but clean and comfortable, primarily in small hotels or guesthouses. Single rooms are available.

Most nights the rooms are en-suite but please note that it's common in Bulgaria for the washing facilities to be 'wet room' in style, meaning that the room includes a toilet, sink and shower but the shower does not have a separate cubicle or curtain (there is a drain in the middle of the floor).

A few of the accommodations have a WiFi connection.

Itineraries

Mursalitsa National Park Trail Standard accommodation.

The Rhodopes - A Secret for Long Life Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

The programme is not really designed for non-riders but they could be accommodated and taken in the support vehicle to each accommodation. There are some good sight-seeing opportunities during the rides so please contact us if you have non-riders in your party.

Travel

Guests can fly into Sofia or Plovdiv. The tour starts in Plovdiv but most guests fly to Sofia as there are a lot of flights into and out of the capital city.

Transfers are included from the two airports at set times. You should ideally arrive into Sofia no later than 16:00, in order to allow time for sightseeing in Plovdiv. On departure day your flight should not leave Sofia before 12:00.

If you are coming into Plovdiv instead then please contact us for timings.

Testimonials

Amanda S, Feb. 13, 2020

Amazing landscapes, amazing horses, wonderful guide!


Simon, Nov. 6, 2019

Very well organised. Bogdan ensured we had horses suited to our abilities. Good Scenery, good company. A variety of different types of accommodation.


Jayne B., Jan. 25, 2019

We were looked after amazingly well by Bogdan and Luba. Took them a while to understand there MUST be beer and wine! The trail was beautiful and we got a real taste of Bulgaria. My favourite day was the last day - very scenic but also had plenty of canters. Some of the accommodation was better than expected, some more basic, but we were looked after incredibly well and the food was delicious. The first and last hotel was a spa hotel which was fabulous for last day massages.


Ilena C., Oct. 20, 2018

It was excellent, Amazing scenery, extremely capable horses - a great experience. Favourite memory was going "off piste" during a trail which led to some extreme downhill riding/walking. It was lovely to be in the spa hotel on the first and last night - all accommodation and food was very good


Glenys R., Oct. 5, 2018

It was everything I could have wished for, Bogdan and Luba were a joy and the horses were great. The scenery is stunning and we were very lucky with the weather. The accommodation was very good and it all went smoothly, but far too quickly!


Lea K., July 19, 2017

The whole experience was amazing. Very warm welcome from Bogdan and Lyubomira from the moment I arrived until the end. The hospitality, the way they planned the whole trip - all superb. An experienced guide made me feel safe and I've learned so much about the local history, improved my seat and had my very first gallop up in the Rhodope mountains. How cool is that?


Regina B., July 19, 2017

Joyful! Gave me opportunity to see the beautiful country, its traditions and admirable people who work very hard for it. Gave me joy and reason to reflect.


Maria L., June 27, 2017

The holiday was fantastic! The area was beautiful and all of the accommodation was very comfortable. The horses were lovely and the guide looked after us all brilliantly. The area was peaceful and offered exciting riding opportunities. Bogdan was the perfect guide - he looked after us all (riders and horses) immaculately. His English was perfect and the had brilliant knowledge about the area and the horses, including the history of the area and the breeds. I was very happy with my horse (I rode Pegasus). We were a fantastic match and he made the ride very pleasurable but still interesting.


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrival and transfer from Sofia airport to Plovdiv, a city which is considered to be the cultural capital of Bulgaria and is more than 8000 years old. Plovdiv features the remains of a civilisation older than Rome itself and is a contemporary of ancient Troy. You will take a tour of the old town of Plovdiv, including a visit to the Ethnographic Museum and the antique theatre, one of the best-preserved in the world. 

Accommodation tonight is at a 4* hotel in Plovdiv (no pool).

Day 2

Riding: 4 hours

After breakfast you will be transferred to the stables, the starting point of the trail, in the 'Sredne Livadi' protected area. The drive is approximately 40 minutes. You will be paired with a suitable horse and can help to tack them up or leave this to Bogdan. Today's ride will take you to the village of Orehovo which is around 500 years old. From here starts the longest eco-trail in Bulgaria, ending near the Aegean sea (Greece).  This make Orehovo one of the best starting destinations for tours in the Rhodopes.

You will come across stunning views of the protected area called "Sredni Livadi". The ride will also take you through the old Roman road and an ancient chapel from the 18th century, called Saint Atanas. Lunch today is in a restaurant overlooking the 'Wonderful Bridges' rock phenomenon. 

Overnight in a 3* family hotel.

Day 3

Riding: 6 hours

After another hearty breakfast you will saddle up and make for the village of Zabyrdo, a small mountain village standing at 1400m above sea level which is famous for its production of traditional Rhodope cheese. Lunch today is a picnic. During the day you will ride upon the most famous meadows of the Rhode region - 'llinden' meadows, where the biggest bagpipe festival of the Balkans takes place each year. After riding and arrival at your next accommodation, the horses will be settled and then you will head by car to see the nearby rock formations known as the 'Wonderful Bridges'. These are one of the top 100 tourist destinations in Bulgaria and are a magnificent site - be sure to ask Bogdan for the tale of their origins! You will see an unique panoramic view and scenes stretching across the border into Greece. 

Overnight tonight in a family-run guesthouse.

Day 4

Riding: 6 hours

Today you will ride towards one of the so-called "Rhodope Pearls", an architectural and folklore reserve! The village of Shiroka Laka is truly symbolic of Bulgarian culture with cobblestone streets and intriguing bazaars, making for an unforgettable tourist experience. Reaching the village on horseback is like an adventure from the 19th century. 

Some of the most interesting places in the village are the ethnographic museum which is laid out like the house of a wealthy Rhodope family from the end of the 19th century. The Church of the Assumption was built in 1834 and took just 38 days to construct, thanks to the help of all the village's inhabitants. 

Overnight tonight in a family guesthouse.

Day 5

Riding: 6 hours

The journey continues on into the heart of "Mursalitsa" national park, an experience not to be forgotten. In the morning you will visit Devil's Throat Cave, a spectacular sight and a popular attraction. You will ride towards the village of Trigrad where you will see the Trigrad Gorge, a canyon made of vertical marble rocks. Today you will pass between some of the most beautiful natural lakes in the Rhodopes - the Chairi Lakes were formed by the sliding of glaciers during the Ice Age. You will also pass by the "Drunken Forest" where the trees grow as strange angles and in all directions. Lunch today is in a small bikers' bar within an old village, a great experience. 

Overnight tonight in an authentic traditional family owned hotel

Day 6

Riding: 6 hours

After today's breakfast you will ride back towards the village of Gela, covering the same stunning route as yesterday but in reverse. There is some time to explore the Chairi Lakes on foot, perhaps daring to step out across the old walkways for a peek into the clear waters. You will stop for lunch at the same bar as yesterday. 

Overnight in same family-run guesthouse in Gela.

Day 7

Riding: 4 hours

This is the last riding day but the adventure is not over! You will explore some more unforgettable scenery of the ancient Rhodopes. You will ride upon the famous "panoramic road" to Mount Snezhanka, around 21km distance (roughly 3 and a half hours). This path will take you to almost 2000m above sea level, to the foot of the Snezhanka Tower which overlooks winter ski slopes. You will take lunch in the tower restaurant and can enjoy the views from the tower top - 360 degrees revealing the beauty of all the Rhodopes and even parts of the Aegean Sea. 

After lunch you can either go straight in the car to your accommodation or you can help Bogdan to take the horses to a nearby stables, a short ride down the slopes. 

Accommodation tonight back in 5* hotel with spa and olympic size swimming pool.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast it is time to say farewell and to head to Sofia airport for your departure (approximately 3 hours in the car). On the way back there may be some time to visit the Bachkovo Monastery, actually the second biggest monastery in Bulgaria. 

NB. For most nights of the trail the horses are tethered on fields nearby to your hotel - they are accustomed to this and it allows them to graze and to have some freedom of movement.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Riders should be confident intermediate and above, happy to ride at walk, trot and canter in open country and for long distances. Some of the terrain is rough (and they sometimes trot over difficult ground) with trots and canters sometimes being fairly long. With this in mind, we only recommend the trail for riders who are quite fit.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

June 5, 2021 - June 12, 2021

July 3, 2021 - July 10, 2021

July 31, 2021 - Aug. 7, 2021

Aug. 14, 2021 - Aug. 21, 2021

Aug. 28, 2021 - Sept. 4, 2021

Sept. 11, 2021 - Sept. 18, 2021

June 4, 2022 - June 11, 2022

July 2, 2022 - July 9, 2022

July 30, 2022 - Aug. 6, 2022

Aug. 13, 2022 - Aug. 20, 2022

Aug. 27, 2022 - Sept. 3, 2022

Pricing

2021/2022
Sharing
£1065 $1480 €1250
Included 7 nights shared accommodation, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, drinks with meals, 6 days of riding and sightseeing, set-time transfers from/to Sofia or Plovdiv airport
Not included Flights, travel insurance, drinks outside of meals, tips and personal expenses

Extras

2021/2022 - Single Supplement £85 $119 €100
Paid to Far and Ride
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.

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrival and transfer from Sofia airport to Plovdiv, considered to the cultural capital of Bulgaria. The city has a diverse history and features many remains of a civilisation much older than that of the Romans - a city more than 8000 years old and a contemporary of ancient Troy. In the afternoon you will visit the old town of Plovdiv, including the Ethnographic Museum and the Antique theatre, which is one of the best preserved in the world.

Accommodation at a 4* hotel in Plovdiv (no pool).

Day 2

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Following breakfast, you will be transferred to the starting point of the trail named "Sredni Livadi" which is a protected area (approximately 40 minutes).  Today your destination is an Emblematic Village where two of the most famous Revival age movies were shot, namely "The Goat Horn" and parts of the Bulgarian Uprisings". The Rhodopean Village Kosowo is an architectural reserve with more than sixty monuments, five of which are of national importance. These are the church "Uspenie Bogorodichno" (Assumption of Virgin Mary) from 1851,  Hadzhiyskata - house architectural monument from 1853.  Very interesting also are the old school (1889), the chapels "St Nedelya" and "St. Peter", the mill, the forge as well as most of the old houses in the village.

You will cross the "Sredni livadi" the protected area and will enjoy a picnic lunch with barbecue and wine. 

Tonight you will sleep in the famous Hadzhiyska house which is a listed building of architectural interest.

Day 3

Riding: 5 hours

After another traditional Rhodopean breakfast, the journey continues in the footsteps of Captain Petko Voyvoda (a famous historical figure) towards Hvovyna Village (altitude of 750m). The riding today will take you by a number of chapels with panoramic scenes while crossing one of the most beautiful valleys of the Central Rhodopes, namely "Hvoynenska". You will have a picnic lunch near one of the chapels with the chance to sit by the fire and have some wine. 

You will also be take to the second largest and oldest Ortodoxal Monastery in Bulgaria called "Bachkovo Monastery".

You will spend the night in a family owned and operated hotel.

Day 4

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

Todays trails will take you to the Village of Orehovo, which is around 500 years old. From here starts the longest eco-trail in Bulgaria ending near the Aegean Sea (Greece). This makes Orehovo, one of the best starting points for tours in the Rhodopes.

You will come across some stunning views of the area "Sredni Livadi" which is protected. The ride will take you past an old Roman road and ancient 18th century chapel called Saint Atanas where you will have a simple packed lunch carried in your saddlebag. You will also visit the "Skakaloto" waterfall and the "Kosten kamyk" cave.

You will stay tonight in a family run hotel.

Day 5

Riding: 6 hours

After yet another traditional breakfast, you will head for the village of Zabyrdo. This is a small mountain village standing 1400m above sea level.  It is famous for making the traditional Rhodope cheese. It is also one of the oldest villages in the area, around 800 years old.  You will also visit the rock phenomena "Wonderful Bridges" by horse back. This is one of the five most visited destinations in the Rhodopes. Lunch is eaten in a restaurant overlooking the 'Wonderful Bridges'. 

Tonight you will sleep in a family run guesthouse.

Day 6

Riding: 6 hours

Today you head back towards Orehovo village but following another route. You will climb the second highest peak in the Rhodes (Mount Big Persek 2100m).  This area will reveal a unique panoramic scenery, stretching across half of the Rhodope mountain. You will have carried your packed lunch in the saddlebag and will eat in an old shelter beside the best-preserved Roman road of the Rhodopes. 

Tonight you sleep back in the same guest-house you slept in before in this region.

Day 7

Riding: 5 hours

This is the last riding day and will take you back to the starting point of this trail of a lifetime. You will have ridden over 150km by horseback, passing by one of the oldest Thracian fortress called "Shtut grad" which dates back to 5th century BC. The two hills of the forests, the Sun Hill and the Moon Hill held great power for the Thracian tribe called "Best".  They were known through the Roman empire as the most fearless Thracians. Lunch today is in a restaurant beside the fortress. 

Overnight back in 5* hotel with spa facilities and olympic size swimming pool.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast it is time to say a sad farewell and be transferred back to Sofia airport for your departure. Approximately 3 hours in the car.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Riders should be happy to ride at walk, trot and canter in open country and for several hours a day. This trail is an easier option than the Mursalitsa National Park Trail also on offer.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

June 19, 2021 - June 26, 2021

July 17, 2021 - July 24, 2021

June 18, 2022 - June 25, 2022

July 16, 2022 - July 23, 2022

Pricing

2021/2022
Sharing
£1020 $1420 €1200
Included 7 nights of shared twin/double room accommodation, all meals from dinner on arrival to breakfast on departure day, drinks with meals, 6 days of riding and sightseeing as described, set-time transfers from/to Sofia or Plovdiv airport.
Not included Flights, personal travel insurance, tips and personal expenses.

Extras

2021/2022 - Single Supplement £85 $119 €100
Paid to Far and Ride
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.