The Land of the Thracians riding holiday in Bulgaria - Far and Ride
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The Land of the Thracians, Bulgaria




Programme


• Sredna Gora Trail

 

Horses



Type of horses:

A range including Eastern Bulgarian breeds, Trakehner and Shagya Arabian.

Nature of horses:

The horses here are forward-going, responsive and brave.

Height of horses:

14.2 - 16hh (approx)

Weight limit:

95kg / 210lbs / 15st.

Tack type:

English style tack, primarily Wintec saddles and snaffle bridles.

 

Travel Advice



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

Ride Description

This beautiful new ride is the dream trail designed by our partner Bogdan Syarov, organiser of our trails in the Rhodope Mountains. The Thracian Valley is an ideal location for riding with smooth, picturesque terrain of rose and lavender fields which allow for a faster pace. The trail combines plenty of canters and amazing scenery with ancient Thracian and Roman ruins, delicious wines and spa opportunities thanks to the healing mineral springs. Accommodations are comfortable throughout and you will often have access to a swimming pool, sauna or spa at your hotels.

Throughout this ride you will explore many of the region's wonders such as visiting the biggest mound-temple in the Balkan peninsula, dating back to the VI-IV century BC. The itinerary includes visits to the fascinating towns of Plovdiv, Hissar and Koprivshtitsa, riding in the Sredna Gora mountains and a look at the Thracian Cult Complex which dates back to the 4th century BC. A wine-tasting is also included - the Thracian Lowlands are one of the most highly recommended wine regions at present, with Wine Enthusiast magazine describing the region as a place where "archaeological wonders combine with modern wines in a travel fantasyland."

Your host and guide, Bogdan, is a qualified vet who has successfully been running popular trail rides in the Rhodopes. He is excited to add the 'Land of the Thracians' to his programme, allowing a different perspective on Bulgaria and its charms.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodation during the trail is simple but clean and comfortable, primarily in hotels where rooms have en-suite bathrooms. Single rooms are available.

A few of the accommodations have a WiFi connection.

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 generally 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 or a restaurant.

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

 

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.

 

Further Details

Languages: English and Bulgarian.

Health requirements: General good health recommended.

Age limit: 12+

Tuition: No.

Included: Airport transfers (Sofia or Plovdiv), accommodation, meals and riding.

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, drinks, tips or extras not mentioned.

 

Travel Information

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 14:00, 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.

Airport: Sofia

Alternative Airport: Plovdiv

 

Programme


Sredna Gora Trail



A trail through the Thracian Valley combining excellent riding with historical and cultural sightseeing, beautiful views, quality wines, fresh produce and spa opportunities. The terrain on this trail is easy-going so there are plenty of chances to canter as you explore the region. Accommodations are comfortable throughout. 

Itinerary:

Day 1 (Saturday) - Arrival: 

You will be met at Sofia airport at 14:00 and transferred approximately 125km (1.5 hours) by minibus to Belashtitsa, a village located just a few kilometres from Plovdiv which is considered the cultural capital of Bulgaria. This afternoon you will explore Plovdiv, finding traces of civilisation much older even than the Romans. The historic centre is more than 8000 years old and here you will visit the Ethnographic Museum and the ancient theatre, one of the best-preserved still in existence. Dinner and overnight in a very comfortable hotel with pool and spa. 

Day 2 (Sunday) - Tsaratsovo to Hisar:

After breakfast you will be transferred to Tsaratsovo village (approximately 30 minutes) from where you will start your journey. The horses will have been transported here already from their home in the Rhodopes. The starting point of the trail is actually one of the biggest and most famous horse sport facilities in Bulgaria. 

Once you are matched with a suitable horse you will begin your ride towards Hisarya, the most famous spa centre in the country with 22 healing mineral springs. Aside from being a famous health resort, Hisarya is also notable for its history as it is full of archaeological findings dating back to Thracian times and even the Roman Empire. You can walk between Roman baths, aqueducts, bastions and fortified walls. 

Today's ride is around five and a half hours with smooth fields allowing for good canters. Lunch will be a BBQ picnic beside a river served with wine. 

Overnight tonight is at a spa hotel with mineral water pool, a sauna, massage centre and jacuzzi. 

Day 3 (Monday) - Hisar to Starosel: 

Today's terrain is a combination of flat and hilly and the trail passes by fields and vineyards, meadows and oak forests. You make your way towards a wine cellar to enjoy a wine-tasting and some superb cuisine, as well as having the chance to indulge yourself in some spa treatments. 

Along the way you will visit the a spectacular Thracian complex with a temple mausoleum, the largest of its kind in south-east Europe. Situated in Starosel, this was only recently found and is still being excavated but allows you to learn more about the mysterious Thracian people, their amazing cultural heritage and their historic significance. 

Today's ride time is around four hours and lunch is a picnic from the saddlebags, eaten beside beautiful meadows. Dinner and overnight is in Starosel at a winery and spa hotel. 

Day 4 (Tuesday) - Starosel to Koprivshtitsa: 

Today's five hour ride takes you to the historic town of Koprivshtitsa which dates back to the Renaissance period. It is located in a picturesque valley alongside the Topolnitsa River, in the heart of Sashtinska Sredna Gora. You will eat lunch in a restaurant on your way to the village. On arrival to Koprivshtitsa the authentic atmosphere of its cobblestone streets will take you back in time and you'll have a guided tour. 

Tonight you'll sleep in a park hotel about 3km outside of the village. 

Day 5 (Wednesday) - Koprivshtitsa to Strelcha: 

After breakfast you will ride along the ridge of the mountain with magnificent views of the famed 'Valley of the Roses'. At the foot of the mountain there is the resort of Strelcha waiting for you - your spa hotel again offers massages and mineral water treatments. Riding time today is approximately five and a half hours and lunch is eaten at a restaurant. 

Overnight at a spa hotel. 

Day 6 (Thursday) - Strelcha to Belovtitsa Village:

Today you will ride for around five hours, visiting the Thracian ritual temples around the city which date from between 4th - 6th centuries BC. Lunch will be on the shores of Lake Belovitsa before continuing your ride in the afternoon. Tonight's hotel has a large spa and swimming pool so you can have a well-deserved rest. 

Day 7 (Friday) - Belovtitsa Village to Tsaratsovo: 

On this last day of riding you will cover the smooth terrain of vineyards and rose fields on your way back to the riding centre. Your route includes crossing a beautiful river and passing by a rose oil factory - you will experience the scent of the famous Bulgarian rose for the last time on this trip. Lunch today is from your saddlebags. 

The ride today lasts around four and a half hours. Tonight you will sleep in a 4* spa hotel with pool. 

Day 8 (Saturday) - Departure:

After breakfast there will be a transfer to Sofia for your trip home. The journey takes around 90 minutes (120km) by minibus. 

NB. The itinerary may be modified for reasons of safety, weather or unforeseen circumstances. 



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Riders should be confident intermediate and above, happy to ride at walk, trot and canter in open country and for long distances. With this in mind, we only recommend the trail for riders who are quite fit.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 6 days of riding with hours varying from 4 to 5.5 hours each riding day (approximately).
Departure dates: 2019: 20 - 27 April, 18 - 25 May, 5 - 12 October, 19 - 26 October.
 
Pricing: 2019:

£1574 per person
Single room: £146 per week

Price includes set-time group airport transfers, 7 nights of accommodation (shared), meals and riding.

*EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT* - book your place on this ride by 31st December 2018 and receive a £405 per person discount!