Arrive at Sofia airport by 14.00 hours and transfer (approximately 2 hours) to a village close to the city of Plovdiv, considered to be the cultural capital of Bulgaria and the European Capital of Culture for 2019. This place has a history of a civilisation much older than that of the Romans - a city more than 8000 years old. We 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. Tonight you will stay at a 3* family hotel with a swimming pool.
Day 2 (hours riding: 5)
This morning you will have a 40 min transfer to the starting point of the mountain trail which is a protected area. You will be matched with one of our trusted horses who know these routes well. We will stop on the trail for a picnic lunch and your riding destination is the Rhodopean village of Kosowo. This is an architectural reserve with more than sixty monuments.
Tonight you will sleep in the famous Hadzhiyska house which is a listed building of architectural interest.
Day 3 (hours riding: 6)
After a 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 views, while crossing one of the most beautiful valleys of the Central Rhodopes, namely Hvoynenska . You will enjoy your picnic lunch near one of the chapels. We will visit the second largest and oldest orthodoxal monastery in Bulgaria called Bachkovo Monastery. Tonight you will stay in a family run hotel.
Day 4 (hours riding: 6)
Todays trail 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. During this ride we 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 lunch. You will also visit the Skakaloto waterfall and the Kosten Kamyk cave. You will stay the night in a family run hotel.
Day 5 (hours riding: 6)
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. Today you have a picnic lunch. Tonight you will sleep in a family run guesthouse.
Day 6 (hours riding: 6)
After our hearty breakfast we head back to the village of Orehovo by a new route. The ascent of Mount Grand Persek 2100m, the second highest summit of Rhodopes, leaves us panoramic mountain views throughout our ride. Another picnic lunch from our saddlebags at an old shelter on the best preserved Roman road in Bulgaria.
Day 7 (hours riding: 5)
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 is a picnic.
Sadly is is time to say farewell to your horse and companion for the last week.
After breakfast it is time to be transferred back to Sofia airport for your departure, flights should be booked to leave no earlier than midday.
6 days riding and 7 night accommodation plus all meals £855
Single room supplement £15 per night
If none of the dates suit you, have a look at our other Bulgarian trail rides: Mursalitsa National Park Trail and Spa & Ride the Thracian Valley
We use an excellent selection of horse breeds: Trakehner, Shagya Arabian, english Thoroughbred and East Bulgarian horses. Horses are 15hh to 17hh and have been selected for all abilities of rider. Our horses are friendly, good tempered, not afraid of vehicles and are comfortable in populated areas. We use professional English type of tack and can provide full riding equipment - protectors, helmets and boots. We always recommend that if you have your own fitted hat you should bring it.
For most nights of the trail the horses are tethered on fields nearby to your accommodation - they are used to this and it allows them to graze and to have some freedom of movement.
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.
95kg / 210lbs / 15st
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Food & Accommodation
Accommodation during the trail is simple but clean and comfortable, primarily in small hotels or guesthouses. Single rooms are available at a supplement of £95 for the trail.
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.
All meals are included during the trail 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.
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.
If you fancy a trail ride closer to home we have UK trail rides in the Brecon Beacons and a Castle Trail Ride in Scotland.
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