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The nature and culture heritage of the Balkan and Carpathian Mountain

14 days / 13 nights
Bulgaria - Transylvania - Walachia - Guided walking
Guided

price from 1505 €

The Central Balkan National Park is one of the largest and most valuable of the protected areas in Europe, covered with primeval beech forests not found anywhere else. Piatra Craiului and Bucegi are some of the most popular and appreciated Romanian mountains. Come here to discover the unbelievable diversity of flora and fauna of the Balkans, the great pastures and the spectacular landscapes at the feet of the Carpathian Mountains. The best place for walking holidays! You will also visit medieval fortresses and scattered, traditional villages. Add the visit of two eastern capitals, Sofia and Bucharest, that will charm you with their mix of cultures and you have the recipe of an unforgettable trip.

Your day by day program

1
Arrival and visit of Sofia

Arrival in Sofia. Overnight at Sofia Place Hl or similar small 3*. The Bulgarian capital has a rich heritage dated back from Roman times to present (churches, mosques, a synagogue). Not to forget the Boyana church (1259, a UNESCO heritage site) next to the national Museum of history, the icon collection of the Crypt of the Alexander Nevski cathedral and the special atmosphere of the architecture from the totalitarian period. There is a lot to see: pedestrian streets, museums, art galleries, music halls, nice parks, cycling alee, shopping centers, excellent restaurants and nightlife. It is a world destination for contemporary and classic and jazz music and art performances.
Dinner not included

2
Iskar river gorges and the scenic Lakatnik

The day starts with a walking discovery of the Bulgarian capital (no museums included!). Later we head by transfer to the town of Vratza passing through the Iskar river gorges. Picnic and hike in the area of the scenic Lakatnik (among the most famous spots for climbing in Bulgaria). We climb up a promontory with an exceptional view over the gorges, where a monument of the totalitarian era still exists. The trail takes us across a karst region. Accommodation for 2 overnights in guesthouses at Pavoltche village. Most of double rooms are with private facilities.
3 hrs, +/-550m, transfer 2:40 hrs, B.L.D

3
Hiking in the Vratchanski Balkan Nature Park

We start the day with a nice walk from the village to the ridges of the Vratchanski Balkan Nature Park. The park is part of the Balkan chain and you will have the chance to enjoy magnificent views. In the afternoon visit of the Museum of History in Vratza (displaying some artifacts of great international value – 2 mommies dated back to the Neolithic time, Rogozhen gold & silver treasure etc). Same accommodation.
5.5-6 hrs, +400/-750m, limited transfer, B.L.D

4
Crossing the central Balkan mountain ridge

A morning transfer to Beklemeto pass on the central Balkan mountain ridge. Hike to Kozia stena hut in the Central Balkan National Park. Lunch at the hut. We will choose either to descend the same way back or towards the Northern side of the mountain. Arrive in the village ot Chiflik. Option: we can enjoy the public thermal swimming pool. We stay at guesthouse/family-run hotel in Oreshaka / Beli Ossam / Apriltsi (2 nights).
5.5-6 hrs, -400m (following the return path until -1000m), B.L.D

5
The Northern Djendem Nature Reserve

Short morning transfer. We enjoy a nice walk in the heart of the Balkan Mountain range. Hike through Pleven hut (1400 m) in the Northern Djendem Nature Reserve. In the afternoon visit of Oreshaka village, where you will see the largest exhibition of arts and crafts in Bulgaria (a major opportunity to buy some art and souvenirs at excellent value). The program continues with a visit of Troyan monastery (17th century) – among the best examples of the Bulgarian Orthodox wood carving and iconographic tradition. Same accommodation.
4-5 hrs, +/-600m, B.L.D

6
Visit Veliko Tarnovo

After four days in the mountain we will dedicate this day to both sightseeing and gentle walking to explore some of the most fascinating sites in the area of the capital of the 2nd Bulgarian Empire, Veliko Tarnovo (1185-1396). Transfer to the Transfiguration monastery - 18th (1.5 hrs) with a fabulous depicting of the Wheel of life. From there we walk to Veliko Tarnovo. Visit of the city, which is famous for its history, architectural heritage and artistic ambiance. (Accommodation in 3 * hotel in the city centre.)
3 hrs, +/-300 m, B.L.D

7
Crossing the Danube to Bucharest

After an early bus transfer, we will visit Novae, the capital of Visigoth Emperer Theodoric the Big
where we will enjoy a small buffet and wine degustation of Danube hillside. We will cross the
border on the Danube by a local followed by a two hours transfer to Bucharest (Romania).
Afternoon to discover Bucharest, “the Little Paris" as it used to be called between the two world
wars. This eclectic city will surprise you with a mix of 18th and 19th century buildings, "socialist
blocks", and modern buildings. On our way to the hotel we will see from the bus the gigantic
“House of the People ", second administrative biggest building in the world after the Pentagon.
Accommodation in 3 * hotel.
Bus transfer: 3h, ferry, B.L, Dinner not included

8
The medieval heritage of Saxons villages

One short walking tour before we leave Bucharest behind in the morning to discover the rural Romanian life. We take lunch in Vulcan village, in the courtyard of a fortified church. This is a unique occasion of talking about medieval heritage of Saxons villages in Romania. After it, we make a short walk which takes us to the marvelous village of Magura. Lucia, our host will receive us in her beautiful eco-guesthouse situated at the foot of Piatra Craiului Mountains. We check-in here for two nights.
Bus transfer: 3.5 hrs, walk 2-3 hrs, +350m, B.L.D

9
Canyons and gorges in the National Parc of Piatra Craiului

Our first trekking in the National Parc of Piatra Craiului will present us the impressive Zarnesti gorges, canyons with rock walls reaching 200m height. Following the shadowed trails and crystal-clear water springs we reach the mountain-hut of Curmatura. The owner Reta will welcome us with a tasty lunch and a delicious homemade apple-pie.
From there it is possible for the ones more adventurous to go up in the main ridge about a half an hour extra-loop for a view over the other side of the massif.
5.5 hrs, +/-750 m, B.L.D

10
Forests and scattered villages

We roam the meadows, walk to meet the shepherds and their beautiful flocks, traversing forests and scattered villages. We reach the foot of the main ridge and we enter a big traditional sheepfold to see the shepherds’ way of life during the summer. We taste the amazing Romanian “shepherd bulz”, a famous mixture of “burduf” cheese and charcoal baked polenta. From here we continue our hiking to the village of Ciocanu, the most remote village from this region.
5 hrs, +500 / -700 m, B.L.D

11
The life of shepherds and farmers

Trekking in the heart of worthy landscapes detached from the fairytales are in the program. We walk across scattered houses and observe the life of shepherds. All this area has a deep history and tradition in making the cheese, which is still today well preserved. A tasting break is a must for those who are fond of good food, because we pass through Fundatica, a small mountain village with very old houses and famous for its smoked cheese. We enter to visit one of the oldest houses in this village and we will be impressed by the people who lives in it, their collection of old objects, and their warm smiles. Overnight at Daniela, which will welcome us in her guesthouse at the foot of Bucegi massif, and where we can also see the farm with about a dozens of animals. We will eat this evening “sarmale”, the traditional Romanian dish made only with products from their own farm. And, we can be sure that all our meals here are made with their bio products.
4 hrs, +350 / -450 m, B.L.D

12
Trekking to 2000m in the Bucegi Natural Park

This new day of trekking takes us close to thin air of 2000m height, near Bucegi massif main ridge. This is the opportunity to admire the exceptional landscapes over the Mountains in which we walked the previous days – Piatra Craiului. Together with the surrounding hills and valleys the jewel limestone ridge creates a breathtaking panorama for us to enjoy.
6 hrs, + / -750 m, B.L.D

13
Dracula's Castle and the old city of Brasov

After the breakfast we have the transfer to Brasov. A short stop in a good spot to take pictures of Bran castle, also known as Dracula castle. We move on to Rasnov that was built in the 13th century in order to protect Transylvania from the Turkish attacks. It is built on the top of a hill and offers an impressive overall view on the surroundings. We arrive around lunch time at Brasov, one of the seven towns founded in Transylvania by the Saxons in the XII century. Brasov was built by the Teutonic order in 1211 with a multitude of powerful fortifications which had to be able to stop or diminish the effect of the Mongol invasion. We will stay in a very central location on one of the pedestrian streets, in a plain and humble yet very charming 2-star hotel.
Bus transfer: 1.5 hrs, B, Lunch & dinner not included

14
Back to Bucharest for the end of the trip

After the breakfast, transfer to the airport & Bucharest. If nobody has a flight before 2pm we can stop at Sinaia to visit Peles Castle, the former residence of the Royal family. It bears the holy name of Mount Sinai, given by Mihail Cantacuzino in the 17th century to the monastery Sinaia located here. Arrival at the airport at 11:00 or in the center of Bucharest (any hotel) at 12:00.
Bus transfer: 2.5 hrs, B

Departure board

Departure Return Price Guaranteed departure
13 May 2018 26 May 2018 1505 € 5 more persons required Book
10 June 2018 23 June 2018 1505 € 5 more persons required Book
15 July 2018 28 July 2018 1505 € 5 more persons required Book
12 August 2018 25 August 2018 1505 € 5 more persons required Book

Technical information

Fact sheet
Starting point
  • Sofia
End
  • Bucharest train station. - optional transfer from/to the airport
Accommodation
  • Accommodation, base in double room:
    Bulgaria:
    - D1: Sofia, 3* hotel in the center
    - D2&3: Pavoltche village, guesthouses, exceptionally shared bathroom
    - D4&5: Oreshaka / Beli Ossam / Apriltsi village, guesthouse/family-run hotel
    - D6: Veliko Tarnovo, 3* hotel in the center
    Romania:
    - D7: Bucharest, hotel 3* in the center
    - D8&9: Magura village, guesthouse, private bathroom
    - D10: Ciocanu village, guesthouse, shared bathroom
    - D11,&12: Moieciu de Sus village, guesthouse, private bathroom
    - D13: Brasov, 2* hotel in the center
Number of people
  • 5 to 14 people.
Options
  • SINGLE supplement: : 185€
  • Еxtra night in Sofia (pre-tour), single room: : 70€
  • Еxtra night in Sofia (pre-tour), double room: : 90€
  • Еxtra night in Bucharest (post-tour), single room: : 60€
  • Еxtra night in Bucharest (post-tour), double room: : 70€
  • Transfer Bucharest center – airport (if extra-night in Bucharest), maximum 4 people: : 30€
  • Transfer Bucharest center – airport (if extra-night in Bucharest), maximum 7 people: : 40€
Included
  • English-speaking guide, one Bulgarian guide until day 7, one Romanian starting with Day 7.
  • All transfers, by private buses, trains, ferry or horse-cart.
  • Meals: 13 breakfasts, 11 lunches/picnics and 10 dinners.
Not included
  • Entrances to museums, personal expenses, tips, drinks.
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