Trail To The Singing Rocks Reserve

An equestrian adventure in the heart of the Balkan Mountains and the Central Balkan National Park, where lies the impressive reserve called The Singing Rocks. This is an exceptional rock phenomenon, which derives its name from the typical sound, resembling whistling, when the wind blows between the crags, that crown the ancient Beech forest. The reserve is homeland to many endangered species like Golden Eagle, Brown Bear, Ural Owl, White-backed Woodpecker etc. The riding to the reserve is very varying as to the terrain and pace. The hilly paths and the open treeless meadows on the top of the mountains are just created for big riding experiences. The trail in the Balkan Mountains is going through a protected area. The air is as clean as the creek we ride through – over – along. And the sceneries of the surrounding high peaks and massifs in the area are just breathtaking. After a few days you will get familiar with the peaks Mt. Botev (2376m), Maragidik, Mazalat etc. Riding on-top of the ridges you will experience the differences in the northern and southern sides of the Balkan range – two faces of one glorious mountain, which is also the longest one in Bulgaria.

Itinerary

Day 1. Welcome meeting at Sofia Airport. Transfer to the riding base at the foot of the Balkan Mountains (appr. 2,30hrs)
Day 2. In the morning you will meet your horse for the first time and will be able to fall into your horse’s ways during the introduction ride around the charming small town of Apriltsi. Around noon we will make a short stop for a picnic near one of the rivers. Eventually we ride back to the riding base along different route, trying our horses following different paces.
Day 3. After breakfast we start the trail heading North-East through remote tiny villages and small rivers, where we will also stop for lunch. After some 6hrs in the saddles we will end up in Batoshevo Monastery for overnight. Founded in the 13th century and destroyed several times afterwards by the Turks, the monastery nowadays has managed to preserve the architecture typical for the National Revival Period as well as a number of impressive icons and iconostasis.
Day 4. Starting from the monastery we continue on through dense woods, farmland and nimble creeks until we reach the charming mountain villages of Stokite and Kupen. From here we start riding up. The ride today will be appr. 28km, taking some 6,30hrs. Today we will cross the altitude of 1000m a.s.l. and continue up to our lodge for the night.
Day 5. The mountains still await us. After some 3hrs after breakfast we will reach “Partisanska Pesen” hut, where we can have lunch. The afternoon will be spent on the top of the mountains in the Central Balkan National Park. In a couple of hours more we will get to “Mazalat” hut, where we will stay for the night.
Day 6. The trail takes us further into the national park as we ride towards The Singing Rocks reserve. If the wind is blowing we may be lucky to hear the rocks sing. In the reserve itself there are two short stages where you will have to get off and lead the horse for some 20-30m. The ride today will be roughly 25km and we will need about 7 hrs to complete it. Overnight stay will be arranged in formed dairy, situated at about 1450m a.s.l., where we will be able to watch the sun going down behind the peaks Botev and Maragidik as we have dinner by the fire.
Day 7. After breakfast we will ride backwards in the northern direction, closing the ride circle. We ride down the mountains, leave the national park and eventually arrive in Apriltsi and the riding base nearby, which we already know from our first two nights in the area. Farewell dinner in the evening.
Day 8. Transfer to Sofia Airport for departure.

Dates, Prices & Remarks

Departure dates for 2017 (limited group size):
3/6, 17/6, 15/7, 22/7, 29/7, 12/8, 26/8, 23/9, 7/10, 14/10

Notes:
Transfer from/to Sofia Airport is organised as one transport for all arriving and departing guests. We recommend arrival not later than 18:00 and departure not earlier than 12:00. The transport is planned after latest arrival / first departure in the group; All guests must be in a possession of an insurance covering your riding holiday in Bulgaria; There are more than 25 horses in the riding base – all of them in good condition and trained to ride in the mountains; Most of the horses are of the East Bulgarian breed and crossings with Arabians and local horses; The East Bulgarian breed is well known as tough, thoughtful and wise, and in harmony with the famous strength and power of the Arabian it gives a combination that fully satisfies the riders and the challenges in the nature; The average size is 160-165 cm. The saddles are Western (Australian or American). There are small saddlebags.

Recommended items:
riding helmet, riding boots, riding pants and chaps, gloves (spurs are not needed), natural insect repellent, warm clothes, rain gear, spare clothes, sunscreen lotion, wet wipes, water bottle, passport, insurance, towel (for the overnights in the mountains); we recommend that you bring more than 15kg and that you use a duffel bag (as your luggage will be loaded in and out of the cars many times and it is important that you don’t bring more than you actually need); put your clothes in plastic bags;

EXTENSIONS
Yes, summer holidays at the Black Sea
Do not miss a unique chance to prolong your stay in Bulgaria with one week more at anincredibly low price! We can offer a great variety of accommodations - from home stays (no meals) to 2, 3 and 4-star hotels (BB or HB) in the most famous summer resorts along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, namely Sunny Beach, Sozopol, Nessebar, Golden Sands etc. Please contact us for more details.

Accommodation:
The trail is based on 7 nights. 3 nights with private accommodation in Apriltsi (2-3 bedded en-suite rooms), 1 night in a monastery and 3 nights in a mountain hut (2-5 per room; shared bathroom). The trail is with full board. Mineral water is included at all meals, but other drinks are to be paid on spot in leva. Accommodation in 2 or 3 bedded rooms. Single room on request only (against additional fee).You have access to a bathroom every day but not in the room every day.

Price: € 940 per person

Single room supplement: 15 Euro per person per night (in hotels only)

The price includes: transfer from/to Sofia or Plovdiv airport, accommodation as mentioned above, 7 nights with full board, fully equipped ”own horse”, English-speaking riding guide during the trail and luggage transport.