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Hiking in the Balkan Mountains

  • Arrival/Departure by plane
  • Hiking & bus tour
  • 15 days
  • Perfect for small or middle sized groups

Hiking in the Balkan and the Carpathian mountains is a different way of visiting Romania and Bulgaria. The wild beauty of the mountains, together with a cultural program, makes this trip worth taking.

 


Day 1: Arrival in Romania (2h driving time)
Arrival in Bucharest where we meet the English speaking guide at the airport. Transfer to Sinaia or Bușteni. Our trip begins in the Prahova Valley. Dinner and a short introduction into the theme of our trip. Overnight accommodation in a nice guest house in the Prahova Valley.


Day 2: The Bucegi Plateau – the Babele and Sphinx rock formations (walking time – 2h)

Today, we hike up to 2300 m. First, we climb with the cable car up to the Bucegi Plateau where we visit the famous Babele (the Old Ladies) and Sphinx rock formations, two natural wonders. Here, the powerful wind and rain have carved the profile of a male head with an enigmatic smile over millions of years. In order to enjoy the most beautiful views over the Prahova Valley, we go to the Ialomicioara peak. Afterwards, we visit Peștera Monastery – this will take about 2 hours. Dinner and overnight stay at the monastery.


Day 3: Bucegi Mountains (walking time – 5h)

Breakfast at the monastery. Today, we get familiar with the Bucegi Mountains, the highest mountains in the Southern Carpathians group. Our destination is Bran, where we find the so-called Dracula’s Castle. Dinner and overnight stay in a guest house close to the castle.


Day 4: Dracula’s Castle and Brașov (2h drive)

Today, we take a one-day trip to Brașov. First, we visit Dracula’s Castle in Bran. The museum is located on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. This castle is known as the homestead of Vlad Țepeș (Vlad the Impaler) and is the most visited attraction in Romania. The writer Bram Stoker brought the fame of the Dracula myth in our country at the beginning of the 20th century. Afterwards, we drive to Brașov. We visit the most important cultural sightseeing spots like the Black Church, the Weavers’ Bastion, the White Tower and the Black Tower, the First Romanian School, and the Town Hall Square. Free afternoon in the beautiful city of the Carpathian Arch. Drive back to the guest house.


Day 5: The Villages in the Carpathian Arch (walking time – 4h)

Today, we get the chance to see the simple and natural life of the peasants who live in the villages in the Carpathian Arch. During our journey we visit the scattered villages of Peștera and Măgura. In this area, time seems to have stopped 100 years ago. The people live in total harmony with nature. We’re invited for lunch at one of the local families. On our way back we can explore some caves  inhabited by bats. Overnight stay at the guest house.


Day 6 and day 7: The Natural Reservation Piatra Craiului (walking time – 5h)

After breakfast, we head towards the Piatra Craiului Natural Reservation. On our way, we pass through the spectacular Zărnești Gorge. In the reservation we can see kingfishers and rare plants – the living marks of the Ice Age. Another important feature of this reservation is the fact that it has the largest number of brown bears in Romania. ‘The Large Carnivores Project’ – a study about bears, wolves and lynxes in the Carpathians – still takes place here (this project was sponsored by the EU until a few of years ago). Next, we head towards the hidden Curmătura cabin (1470 m). On our way, we can also visit a sheep farm where the secrets of the cheese making process will be revealed. Cheese tasting on the farm. Overnight stay in a rustic guest house.

Optional: In the evening, bear watching in the reservation from a tall stand.


Day 8: Transfer to Bucharest (3h drive)

After breakfast, we drive to Bucharest with a small bus. We travel to Bulgaria by train (Bucharest – Ruse). After a short break in Ruse, we travel again by train to Plovdiv.


Day 9: Pamporovo – Shiroka Laka (walking time – 6h)

We visit the beautiful city of Plovdiv and we see the Roman theatre and the houses in the Old Town. Next, we take the bus and go to the Bachkovo Monastery. After visiting the second largest monastery in Bulgaria, we drive to the Pamporovo health resort (1450 m). We hike on the mountain ridge towards the ‘Metscho grobe’ region (1500 m). Afterwards, we descend towards the museum-village of Shiroka Laka (1100 m). Overnight stay in a hotel.

Day 10: Shiroka Laka – Mugla (walking time – 7-8h)

Visit of the church and the museum in a spectacular village with old architecture. We take a walk from Shiroka laka to Hütte Lednizata (1720 m). Afterwards, we head towards Sattel Odabaschijza (1850 m) and descend to the Mugla village (1400 m). Overnight stay in private houses.


Day 11: Mugla – Trigrad (walking time – 8h)

We take a walk through Tshamla village (1650 m) all the way to Trigrad village (1250 m). We visit the ‘Devil’s Throat’ cave. Overnight stay in private houses.


Day 12: Trigrad – Teshel (walking time – 7h)

We hike up to the Steneto Reserve (1693 m) and descend to the Jagodinska cave (1000 m). After visiting the cave, we head towards the Orpheus hotel (700 m), where we spend the night.
Day 13: Teshel – Devin (walking time – 8h)
We walk from Teschel to the Orpheus cabin (1190 m) all the way to Devin (700 m). On our way, we visit the natural reservation of Kastrakli. Overnight stay in a hotel.


Day 14: Devin – Sofia

We take the bus to Sofia. We visit the Bulgarian capital – the Alexander-Nevski Cathedral and the St. Georgi Church (4th century). We return to Bucharest by train (direct route).


Day 15: Sofia – Bucharest

Arrival in Bucharest. We visit the Romanian Capital with all the sightseeing objectives of the so-called ‘Little Paris’: the Parliament Palace, the Romanian Athenaeum, Revolution Square, the royal palace, the former headquarters of the communist party, Lipscani Street etc. Transfer to the train station, airport or bus station and trip home.

 


Included services:

– All 14 overnight stays with breakfast;

– All entry fees;

– Transport with bus/train according to the program;

– English speaking tour guide;