Watherfalls, caves and medieval cities of the Balkan Mountains (8 days)
The Balkans are the longest chain in the peninsula- over 600 km. Dividing Bulgaria into two distinct halves, the Balkans amaze us with their spectacular natural sights- the river canyons, the rocks, the forests and the high picks (the highest is 2376 m).
The trail takes you to the North side of the Balkans in its central fore-mountains- the land of ancient historical, architectural and extraordinary natural landmarks. The main goal of this carefully designed holiday is to show you the best preserved castles, tours, monasteries and fortresses from the Middle Ages together with the old houses and traditional crafts of Arbanasi village, and finally to leave you breathless before the unique waterfalls and caves of the Devetaki plateau. This fantastic experience will be enhanced by delicious traditional dishes, organic fruits and vegetables, and fine Bulgarian wines. The terrain is varied, but mainly smooth and pleasant for horseback riding. All your senses will delight in the amazing natural scenery and riding.
Day 1: Pick up from Sofia Airport and transfer to Sevlievo, 190 km northeast from the capital. You meet the horses and match you to a suitable companion. You then join the guide for dinner at a cozy family hotel with a sauna and Swimming pool, which is located near the stables. Overnight.
Day 2: Breakfast in the hotel. Visit by car to the Ethnographic complex of Etara near Gabrovo. It is a 19th century village showcasing the main crafts developed at the time. Next you arrive at the stable and saddle up the horses and receive initial instructions from your guide. You ride out towards Skalsko Village and Dryanovo Monastery, Southeast of Sevlievo. On the way you will ride through hills and beautiful forests with small creeks and lakes, crossing the Yantra River and a small rocky canyon. Lunch in the beautiful meadow under the Skalsko Rocks. Night in Dryanovo Monastery or nearby hotel. About 5 hours riding.
Day 3: Breakfast in the hotel. Visit of the Monastery and the cave “Bacho Kiro” above it. Ride from Dryanovo Monastery northward to the village of Ledenik. An interesting tower has been preserved which was built during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185-1396). Its first floor is a museum showing regional culture and traditions from the past. Hotel in traditional style offers dinner and rooms for the night. About 5 hours riding.
Day 4: Breakfast in hotel . By car we will go to Veliko Turnovo - the ancient capital of Bulgaria since the time of the second Bulgarian Kingdom. The ancient Bulgarian capital Veliko Tarnovo. The well-fortified hill has been the home of the Bulgarian tsar (king) and the aristocracy for two centuries. The castle and Orthodox churches that have survived from the Middle Ages represent an impressive history: The year 1185 began with omens. The winter happened to be so mild that the fruit trees all over Europe blossomed even in January. The Bulgarians connected this "God's Omen" with the hope of restoring their state, which had been subdued by the Romans 167 years ago. Lunch at hotel then off to the village of Emen. You will ride along the Yantra River and pass many beautiful fields and forests until you reach the country style hotel "Imenieto" equipped with a swimming pool. Dinner and overnight at hotel. About 4 hours of riding.
Day 5: Breakfast at the hotel. Ride in a northwest direction to the village of Krushuna. You ride through more beautiful forest and meadows towards Devetaki Plateau with its extraordinary caves, waterfalls and lakes. Picnic lunch near the village of Dimcha. Overnight in the Krushuna guesthouse under the caves. About 6 1/2 hours riding.
Day 6: Breakfast in the guesthouse. The horses rest for most of the day and we venture off to sight-see. Visit by car to the remarkable Devetaki Cave, placed 15 km from Krushuna. Lunch at the guesthouse. Walking up to the amazing Kroushuna’s Waterfalls coming from the caves with the springs. You can swim in the small lakes under the waterfalls. Just before the Sunset - ride for 1 and a half hours to the village of Kurpachevo on a beautiful path above the waterfalls. Dinner and night at the guest house.
Day 7: Breakfast in the guesthouse. We ride from Krushuna village to the vertical cave "Garvanitsa" on the plateau and then to the lake of Kramolin where we can swim ourselves or ride the horses in for a swim! Lunch at the lake side. Next we ride to the larger lake, formed by the Rositsa River. From here both horse and rider are transported back to the stables and then the riders spend dinner and the night at a nearby hotel. About 5 1/2 hours riding.
Day 8: Breakfast and depart to Sofia Airport.
Program: riding tour
Catering: full board
Rooms: double/ single room
Bring own Horse: -
Capacity min/max: 4/8
Your expert: Denise Neufeld
Shagya Arabs, East-Bulgarian breed, Anglo-Arabs and other warm blood horses - all well broken and calm. The height of the horses is from 150 to 165 cm.
Saddle & tack: Trekking-, Endurancesaddles with saddlebags.
Riding level & experience: Experienced in outriding and in all gaits. Riders have to clean and saddle their horses. Riding time around 4-6 hours. Minimum age: 12 years old