Bulgaria: Rodopi Mountains

Bulgaria: Rodopi Mountains
Bulgaria: Rodopi Mountains
Bulgaria: Rodopi Mountains
Bulgaria: Rodopi Mountains
Bulgaria: Rodopi Mountains
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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
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  • Exodus

Spectacular trekking in Bulgaria's mountain landscape

The Rodopi Mountains are a hauntingly beautiful and mysterious region which, according to legend were the home of Orpheus. Today they offer a refuge for many exceptionally rare plants, as well as brown bears, wolves, wild cats and a prolific number of butterflies and birds. This holiday provides the opportunity to discover the amazingly rich cultural and natural heritage of these remote mountains as we walk through a variety of landscapes including ancient coniferous forests and rugged limestone gorges, we also visit two impressive caves, and engage with the local people who maintain their traditional rural existence, working the fields by hand and tending their livestock on the surrounding meadows and pastures.

Highlights
* Stunning mountain landscapes with deep gorges, spectacular caves, ancient forests and flowering meadows * Unique flora rich in orchids and endemic species * Outstanding fauna, including brown bear, wallcreeper and an exceptional variety of rare butterflies * Unique opportunities to experience daily life in a traditional Bulgarian village * Delicious home-produced local cuisine
Food

*Typical Meals* *Breakfast:* Will usually include tea or coffee, bread, jam, honey and cheese, supplemented in Yagodina by fresh home-made yoghurt and traditional local specialities such as thick pancakes known as 'katmi' and a rice-based dish called 'rodopski klin'. *Lunch:* Picnic lunches will be eaten in the mountains and typically comprise of bread, cheese, salami, salad, biscuits and fruit. *Dinner:  *will be taken in our hotel restaurant, and will normally include three courses comprising salad or vegetarian soup, followed by a main course, and a dessert of fruit, ice cream or cake/pudding. The cuisine reflects a mixture of Bulgarian, Greek, Turkish and Slavonic influences. We sample many traditional local specialities including 'smilyanski fasul', a delicious bean soup, and 'patatnik', a local delicacy made with grated potatoes, onions, and cheese, then seasoned with mint and other herbs. Jugs of tap water will be provided on the table with the evening meal. Bottled mineral water, soft drinks and alcohol are not included but can be purchased. There are several local wines that you may wish to try, including an excellent red 'Mavrud' from vineyards on the northern slopes of the Rodopi. *Vegetarians and Vegans:* Bulgaria is famed for its fresh vegetables and fruit, so vegetarians are usually well catered for. However, it is extremely difficult for vegans, as dairy produce and eggs form the staple part of the diet in this region, and occur in the vast majority of meals. Please note, special gluten-free products are not available, so those clients with wheat/gluten intolerance should, if needed, bring with them something to replace the local bread and pastries that make up the breakfasts and picnic lunches.

Destinations
  • Europe
  • Bulgaria
  • Rodopi Mountains
  • Sofia
Tour Types
  • Mountains
  • Walking & Trekking
  • Trekking
  • Adventure
  • Wildlife
  • Walking
  • Active
  • Cultural
  • Centre-based
  • Singles
Day 1

Fly to Sofia airport (Terminal 2), where we will be met by the leader and transferred to the remote village of Yagodina, our base for the next 6 nights. *Yagodina Family Hotel or similar*



Day 2

Setting off on foot from the village of Zmeitsa, we follow the line of an ancient Roman road through meadows, forests and fields where there are opportunities to observe the local people engaged in their traditional agricultural lifestyle. Finally, having descended a broad grassy ridge spur, that offers stunning views towards the village of Yagodina, we drop steeply into the Buinovo Gorge where our minibus will be waiting. *Yagodina Family Hotel or similar*



Day 3

We start today's extremely varied walk by first hiking down the gorge of the Chairska River, and then climbing through ancient forests to emerge at an extensive area of glorious flower-filled meadows. Having crossed these, and then an interesting section of karst plateau, we eventually drop down into the Trigrad Gorge to visit the 'Devil's Throat' cave, an enormous chasm with a thundering waterfall. According to legend, this was the cave by which Orpheus emerged from the Underworld after his tragically failed attempt to reclaim his wife Eurydice. The crags around the cave entrance are also very interesting for naturalists, being home to several local endemic plants as well as the wallcreeper, a rare and elusive bird that flutters around the rocks like a butterfly on strikingly crimson wings. *Yagodina Family Hotel or similar*



Day 4

A full day's circular walk starting and finishing in Yagodina. Our route makes a tour of Mt. Durdaga, a high wooded peak that rises directly above the village. During the course of our walk, we pass through a large variety of habitats with an extremely rich flora and fauna. During the first half of the day, as well as wandering through ancient forests that are home to bear, boar and deer, we will also cross several flower covered pastures that are normally enlivened by a spectacular assortment of butterflies. Later in the afternoon, we return to Yagodina along the line of a former Roman road that runs high above the Trigrad Gorge, which not only offers outstanding views, but is also one of the most renowned botanic trails in the country. *Yagodina Family Hotel or similar*



Day 5

After breakfast we set off in our bus for a 90 minutes’ drive east into the highest part of the Rodopi Mountains. Having reached the end of the driveable road, we begin a wonderful hike along the main ridge of the Rodopi Mountains. First we skirt just below the military base on the summit of the Rodopi’s highest peak Mt. Golyam Perelik (2191m), before ascending Mt. Golyam Snezhnik (2188m), just two metres lower! Having enjoyed the expansive views from the rolling open pastures, we then start to drop down into the forest, eventually making our way down to the tiny, picturesquely situated village of Gela, which according to legend was the birthplace of Orpheus. Here we will be met by our bus for the drive back to Yagodina. Occasionally, during May, late-lying snow makes it impossible to traverse the flank of Mt. Golyam Perelik, so instead we will attempt a direct ascent of Mt. Golyam Snezhnik from the village of Gela, climbing as high as the snowline. *Yagodina Family Hotel or similar*



Day 6

The focus of today's walk is the imposing Sveti Iliya (Saint Elijah) ridge that rises up directly north of Yagodina. Our route starts directly from the hotel, climbing steadily upwards to reach the broad open ridge and then on towards the breath-taking viewing platform at its western end. Although rough and stony, the ridge boasts its own unique flora and fauna, as well the opportunity to observe a variety of interesting birds. However, the panoramic views would in themselves be reward enough for climbing the ridge, for they not only stretch out over the village of Yagodina itself, but much of the Western Rodopi, offering an ideal chance to point out and identify the places one has walked during previous days of this holiday. Given stable weather, we can then make a complete traverse of the ridge to its eastern end, before descending through beautiful meadows into the Trigrad Gorge where our bus will be waiting to drive us back to Yagodina. *Yagodina Family Hotel or similar*



Day 7

Setting off on foot from the hotel, we pick up yet another section of former Roman road, now a beautiful forest trail that is famed for the great variety of orchids. Suddenly the path emerges at a shelter, perched high on a rocky viewpoint from which one can gaze down into the Buinovo Gorge below. From here, the trail steadily descends to meet the river and road beside a wonderfully preserved Roman bridge. On reaching the bottom of the gorge, we will then spend about an hour exploring the Yagodina Cave. This is one of the most beautiful in the country, and world renowned for its variety of cave formations including stalagmites, stalactites, draperies, flowstones, dendrites and cave pearls. The cave system also harbours a unique prehistoric dwelling and subject to permission from the archaeologists, we will hopefully have the chance to enter this and learn more about the surprisingly sophisticated way-of-life of the people who inhabited it more than 6000 years ago. Having finished our visit to the cave, we then set off on the long but highly picturesque transfer to the Bulgarian capital Sofia, where we will spend our final night. *Hill Hotel or similar*



Day 8

Fly to London. **



* All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners included * All accomodation * Transfer for group flights


Walking in wonderful Rodopi mountains

A memorable walking holiday. The walks were through forests, gorges and beautiful wildflower meadows. Lovely views! A very pastoral feel to the whole holiday - and very relaxing. Yagodina is a small friendly village in a peaceful location. The hotel was clean and comfortable. Food was good - lots of local produce was used.

Rating: 5




A great walking holiday in unspoilt Bulgaria

This was an excellent trip in a relatively unspoilt and bucolic part of the world. The Rodopi mountains in southern Bulgaria, near the Greek border, make for relatively gentle but sublime walking. We ambled along easy trails through deep gorges, natural forest and woodland, and, best of all, high alpine meadows, with carpets of wild flowers. The hotel in Yagodina was excellent - clean, with plenty of hot water after a day out. The food, even as a vegetarian, was varied, using a lot of local produce, and generally excellent. At the hotel, local beers were cheap, about £1.25 a bottle, though the wines were less so - think UK supermarket prices. It even had fairly good wifi!

Rating: 5




As the Nike Ad says "Just Do It"

Having travelled extensively but not to Bulgaria previously I was very interested to see what I would think of the country and I wasn't disappointed. I flew direct from Ireland on Thursday and spent two days in Sofia before I joined a group of 15 others on the Saturday. I am not surprised that our trip was full/sold out. We spent a great week enjoying all aspects of rural Bulgaria. The walks averaged out at ten miles a day based in Hotel Yagodina that is ideally situated and very well run. The weather was perfect, despite many forecasts that predicted otherwise.

Rating: 5




A fantastic walking holiday in remote and beautiful mountains

We had five strenuous but not exhausting days walking through really beautiful gorges, meadows and mountains and came back to a welcoming and comfortable simple hotel each evening. Our guide was exemplary in her local knowledge of flora and fauna so there was much to learn as well as to enjoy. Highly recommended if you want to be out all day amidst a fascinating landscape.

Rating: 5




A wonderfully authentic Bulgarian experience; interesting walks, comfortable accommodation and a lovely group

This trip provides a great introduction to a very special, unspoilt part of Europe which maintains traditional practices in agriculture and food production. Yagodina is a real find and I hope its uniqueness can be retained; the local people were friendly and the Yagodina Family Hotel offers a genuinely homely atmosphere, including comfortable accommodation and plenty of interesting and well presented food. Maria, the proprietor, runs an impressive operation and is always available to ensure that guests' needs are met. The walks were well chosen and the week's itinerary gave an excellent overview of the Rodopi mountains, including insights into the history, culture, flora and fauna of the area.

Rating: 5




If you go down in the woods today....

A superb holiday in beautiful countryside, staying in an excellent local hotel with walks that make the most of what the region has to offer.

Rating: 5




Beautiful walks in a remote part of Bulgaria

It was a very enjoyable trip in a remote part of the country. I didn't hear about Rodopi mountains before so didn't know what to expect. The scenery is absolutely stunning - mountains, forests, gorges, caves - all so untouched and beautiful! I enjoyed all the walks and we never saw any other walkers - it was amazing to have it all just to ourselves. We also had a chance to see how local people live. It was a nice, relaxing week and the group bonded pretty quickly!

Rating: 5




Rodopi Mountains

This trip was delightfully different from other European trips that we have enjoyed. The local people were warm and friendly and appeared content to work in the fields or sit with the cows in a high pasture all day. The difference between our fast paced life style and their post communist lives was marked. The scenery was beautiful, very 'vertical', with rare pre-ice age flowers. Even the long drive from and too Sofia was interesting and our driver surely the most competent in Bulgaria.

Rating: 5




Rodopi Mountains

Excellent trip walking in the mountains and meadows of the Rodopi mountains. Lovely family run hotel with exellent food - very welcoming. We had a very peaceful and relaxing time in Yagodina and the walks were lovely - especially the time spent in the beautiful wildflower meadows.

Rating: 5




A wonderful get away in the mountains

A good week's walking in a rural location hosted in a great locally run hotel. This week was everything that I expected based on the detailed trip notes, the walks and the hotel were as described and ticked all the boxes for me. I spent a couple of additional days in Sofia which was a good balance.

Rating: 5



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04-Sep-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
04-Sep-2021 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal

Touring with Exodus

With over 45 years’ experience of taking people on amazing adventure holidays, Exodus can help you reach some of the most incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across more than 90 countries around the world. All staff at Exodus have a passion for travel and adventure, and some team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus. But that’s not all. This reputable company is a Which? recommended escorted tour provider and has won many prestigious awards, including Best Activity and Sports Holiday Company at the 2018 British Travel Awards.

Exodus is all about adventure and helping others to achieve their travel dreams by offering a fantastic range of guided group holidays, self-guided trips, tailor-made getaways and escorted tours. So, if you’re looking to discover different countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts or even jungles, the expert team at Exodus can help you plan an unforgettable solo, group or family adventure.

Each tour and adventure has been created to give you maximum value for money, often including authentic activities, as well as flights, accommodation and a tour guide. And as the team has developed one of the very best and most exciting collections of guided-group tours and self-guided holidays, you’re guaranteed the adventure holiday of a lifetime, no matter which one you pick. Trips include everything from family adventure holidays and walking and cycling tours to mixed-activity tours and seasonal getaways. You can also ask Exodus to plan a tailored itinerary from scratch or tweak an existing one, which means you can book a bespoke holiday that is designed just for you.

Need some inspiration? You can enjoy varied walks in the stunning Spanish mountains, experience the magic of Italy in Tuscany or explore the rich Sri Lankan history and culture by bike. Try a host of different activities in glorious Turkish surroundings, ski through the magnificent Norwegian wilderness or embark on a journey through India’s tropical south. Visit Iceland and East Greenland, see the spectacular marine wildlife in the Maldives or cruise along the mighty Amazon River in Peru – the options are endless!

When it comes to travelling together as a family with Exodus, all family holidays are specifically designed to offer a mix of education and exploration, with plenty of downtime. Each adventure and tour has been created with one of three age ranges in mind, but children outside of the 5-8, 9-12 and 13-16 age bracket are welcome to travel too. Plus, the price for children up to the age of 16 is 25% lower than the adult cost for Exodus guided holidays to help make your trip more affordable. From canoeing and cycling in the Dordogne to safari tours in Africa and dolphin watching in Costa Rica, Exodus offer family adventures all over the world.

Something that makes this adventure holiday and escorted tour operator unique is the loyalty scheme, the Exodus Collective. When you book your second trip, you’ll join the Collective and be given access to exclusive discounts, sales previews and special travel benefits. The more you travel with Exodus the more you’ll be entitled to, and your membership also grants you special access to exclusive travel content.

At Exodus, they make sure that everyone travels respectfully and courteously in a small group to minimise their impact and to ensure each holiday is a beneficial experience for all those involved. Where possible, they believe in putting money directly into the communities they visit by eating locally produced food and using locally owned and run accommodation. They also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as possible to make it simple for you to experience a memorable holiday, your way.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Exodus

7 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Group Size:6 - 16
Suitable For: 16 to 99
Difficulty:Moderate
Meals:7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners.
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