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These riding itineraries have been designed to give plenty of opportunity to visit the historical sites and explore the diverse natural landscapes of Bulgaria including the lowlands plains, forested foothills and plateaux, river valley basins and mountains.
The Balkan Mountains run for over 600 km and divide Bulgaria into two distinct halves. Lush meadows lie below high cliffs and alternate with dense old forests. There are many interesting features – rock formations, caves, ancient trees and breathtaking high waterfalls.
During the rides you have the opportunity to visit monasteries and to ride through villages where head-scarved old ladies and their curious grandchildren still stare at the arrival of outsiders.
There are five different trails; please see the detailed itinerary for each trail. Private groups (of six or more) may request a tailor-made trail.
Set off from the riding base and head to the north side of the Balkans, moving on each night and doing a loop returning to base at the end of the week. This itinerary is designed to show you castles, towers, monasteries and fortresses from the Middle Ages together with the old houses and traditional crafts. On the trail you visit Krushuna’s waterfalls on the Devetaki plateau, one of the most attractive landmarks of Bulgaria. You should be a strong, confident rider and fit to enjoy the 180 km riding over the week. There will be some long canters on wide open spaces. Accommodation is in hotels and guesthouses.
A trail on the southern side of the Balkans. You transfer from Sofia directly to the start of the ride (to where the horses will have been trucked from their stables). The ride moves on each night. The riding distance is around 145 km over the week. With three days riding in the valleys and three days in the mountains there are fewer opportunities for long fast canters than the Devetaki Plateau Ride but you should still be a confident rider. Accommodation is in hotels and guesthouses where there may be the possibility of enjoying a spa and mineral pools.
A circular trail, which starts and finishes at the horse farm near Sevlievo, and takes you to the north side of the Balkans. The trail is similar to the Devetaki Plateau Ride but with shorter distances and less riding hours and so is ideal for the hot summer months or for guests not wanting so many hours in the saddle. This itinerary introduces you to Bulgaria and its many facetted history, with castles, towers, monasteries and fortresses from the Middle Ages, together with the old houses and traditional crafts. You should be confident at walk, trot and canter. There are a total of around 110 km riding over the week. Subject to the wishes and capabilities of the group, there will be some long canters on wide open spaces. Accommodation is in hotels and guesthouses.
A circular trail, which has six nights in hotels/guesthouses and one night in a mountain hut which has made up beds in shared rooms. The terrain is varied. On the first and last day you ride in the foothills which allows for good canters. The rest of the time is deep inside the Central Balkan National Park where you can enjoy the shade of huge beech trees and the breath-taking sights of the mountains. The trail is scheduled for July and August – Bulgaria’s hottest months, but in the mountains you can escape the heat of the plains. The trail is suitable for confident intermediate to advanced riders as the terrain in the mountains is not suitable for very long canters. You will have around 140 km riding over the week.
This is a riding expedition for strong, confident riders who want a challenge. Over the seven days you will ride around 240 km. The riding journey visits Veliko Tarnovo, the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185-1396), continues to the capitals of the First Bulgarian Kingdom, Pliska and The Great Preslav (681-1018), and finishes at a famous monument of the 8th century ‘The Horseman of Madara’. There are four nights (at the beginning and end) in hotels and four nights in tents. As with the Balkan National Park Trail, the camping nights are basic and participatory; tents are provided. Everyone will help set up and dismantle camp and help with camp chores.
You should be a strong, confident rider capable of all paces and fit enough for long, fast canters over rough terrain. The land is great for riding because there are almost no fences or gates. Wide open spaces and gently undulating terrain provide the opportunity for long canters. (Please note that if there has been recent rain then the ground may be too slippy for long, fast canters).
The riding style is more Western than English. You will rise to the trot but for even fast canters you should maintain a sitting, upright, position in the saddle. The horses are sensitive in the mouth and on the nose (if you are riding bitless) and you should be careful to maintain a loose rein and not pull backwards.
If you aren't sure that you are fit or experienced enough or prefer fewer hours in the saddle, then you should choose the Wild Land of Bulgaria, the Balkan National Park Trail or The Kingdom of Thracians.
The horses are Shagya Arabs, pure Arabians and cross breeds of Shagya, Akhal Teke and East Bulgarian horses. All are well trained for trail riding and range in height from 15hh to 16hh.
The saddles used are good quality Western and English style/Endurance saddles made by Ortho-Flex and Podium. Normally with a sheepskin cover, these saddles will keep you comfortable for many hours.
Some of the horses are ridden in bitless bridles.
Hard hats are mandatory.
During the rides you stay in good quality hotels or guesthouses. Rooms are mostly twin with an en suite toilet and shower. There are swimming pools and opportunities for spa treatments at most of the guesthouses/hotels. Please note that during the autumn months of September and October the outdoor pools are likely to be closed.
On the Old Bulgarian Capitals trails there are some camping nights. These nights are basic camping without shower or loo facilities but you will camp near to a water supply. The camping nights are participatory, and everyone is expected to help set up and dismantle camp and help with camp chores.
Breakfast and dinner are provided at your accommodation and lunch is brought to you during the day by the support vehicle.
Because of its relatively warm climate there are excellent growing conditions for a variety of vegetables and salad is a significant part of every meal. Meat dishes are grilled, oven baked, steamed or in the form of stew. Pork and chicken are the most common meat and fish is also widely eaten, although not always available.
In addition to the following set dates, private groups (of six or more) may request a tailor-made trail.
There is currently no scheduled date for the Old Bulgarian Capitals. If you have a group of 6 or more please contact us if you are interested in this itinerary.
|Holiday||Experience LevelExp Lvl||Arrive - DepartArr - Dep||Price||Itinerary||Availability|
|Kingdom of Thracians||8 Apr 2023 - 15 Apr 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,897.29||Book|
|Kingdom of Thracians||22 Apr 2023 - 29 Apr 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,897.29||Book|
|The Devetaki Plateau||6 May 2023 - 13 May 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,784.36||Book|
|Kingdom of Thracians||20 May 2023 - 27 May 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,897.29||Full|
|Kingdom of Thracians||3 Jun 2023 - 10 Jun 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,897.29||Full|
|The Devetaki Plateau||17 Jun 2023 - 24 Jun 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,784.36||Book|
|The Devetaki Plateau||1 Jul 2023 - 8 Jul 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,784.36||Book|
|The Wild Land of Bulgaria||15 Jul 2023 - 22 Jul 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,637.54||Book|
|The Devetaki Plateau||29 Jul 2023 - 5 Aug 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,784.36||Full|
|Balkan National Park||12 Aug 2023 - 19 Aug 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,569.78||Book|
|The Devetaki Plateau||26 Aug 2023 - 2 Sep 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,784.36||Book|
|Kingdom of Thracians||9 Sep 2023 - 16 Sep 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,897.29||Book|
|Kingdom of Thracians||23 Sep 2023 - 30 Sep 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,897.29||Book|
|Kingdom of Thracians||7 Oct 2023 - 14 Oct 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,897.29||Full|
|The Devetaki Plateau||21 Oct 2023 - 28 Oct 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$1,784.36||Book|
INCLUDES Accommodation; riding; all meals; wine & beer with dinner; entry fees as per itinerary; return transfers from Sofia (at set times).
SMALL GROUP SUPPLEMENT All trails need a minimum of four guests to confirm at the price noted above. Until there are four people a ride will confirm on payment of a small group supplement as follows:
|Ride||Small Group Supplement (if two or three people)|
|Balkan National Park or Wild Land of Bulgaria||$395.27 per person|
|The Devetaki Plateau or Kingdom of Thracians||$451.74 per person|
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT Is payable if in a single room. If you are prepared to share and we find you a sharer the supplement will be refunded to you. Please note that single rooms are subject to availability.
|Balkan National Park (NB: single rooms not possible on one night in mountain hut)||$225.87|
|The Devetaki Plateau||$203.28|
|Kingdom of Thracians||$203.28|
|The Wild Land of Bulgaria||$169.40|
|Old Bulgarian Capitals||on request|
PAYABLE LOCALLY Bar bills; spirits; tips; spa treatments; wine tasting €20.
NEAREST AIRPORT Sofia.
TRANSFERS Included from Sofia at set times. Private transfers at non-standard times cost €180 each way (per car for up to 3 people) - payable locally.
Return transfers from Sofia are included at set times.
Flights should arrive between 12:00 noon and 16:00. If your flight arrives around lunchtime then someone will meet you and take you for lunch in Sofia before returning to the airport to meet later arriving people.
Your return flight should depart after 11:00.
If your flight times do not fit with the standard times then it is possible to have a private transfer at extra cost.
Bulgaria is in Southeast Europe in the northeast part of the Balkan Peninsula. It borders to the north with Romania, to the east with the Black Sea, to the south with Turkey and Greece, and to the west with Macedonia and Serbia. The Balkan mountains run for over 600 km and divide Bulgaria into two distinct halves.
Bulgaria enjoys a temperate climate with hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters, often with heavy snow.
Spring (particularly April to mid-June) is an excellent time to visit. Summer (mid-June to early September) is good for riding but some people may find it too hot and the insects are at their worst in July and August. September and October are a lovely time to visit Bulgaria; the autumn trees are glorious and fruit and vegetables are plentiful.
Excellent riding country - not one gate in the whole week. Plenty of lovely fast canters on sensible but willing horses. Not possible I think. Loved every minute.
Carole, CumbriaOverall rating: 5/5
Do a little homework so that you can appreciate the history of the country and the peoples who have passed through over the centuries.
In The Saddle says
Such a joy to ride lovely forward going horses through this wide open countryside without any fences or gates.