There is a mountain in Bulgaria like no other – the Rhodopes! An ancient mountain, surrounded by ancient legends. Dark forests and bright meadows, deep gorges and spacious views, stone villages scattered on its slopes and cattle grazing on its pastures.
We experience the northern part of the Rhodope Mountains on a horseback, all rides starting from the village of Galabovo, just 20 minutes drive from Plovdiv.
We stay in the Old city of Plovdiv, enjoying its unique atmosphere - churches, art galleries, the Roman amphitheatre, museums, cafes and restaurants.
Our horses are comparatively smaller 14.1hh to 15.5hh, locally bred Karakachan along with Arab crosses. They are strong, agile and used to hard work. Their stamina and agility are outstanding and they are tough and extremely sure footed over rocky, even snow covered mountains.
The horses are ridden in snaffle bits.
Western and English saddles are available. We provide saddle bags.
Day 1. Arrive Sofia.
Airport transfer and hotel overnight. -/-/-
Day 2. Sofia - Purvenets (10 km from Plovdiv) – Red Church - Plovdiv
At 9am: transfer to our riding base in Purvenets at the foot of the Rhodope mountains (2 hours drive from Sofia), where we meet the horses. Today we make a loop-like ride, with the option to pass along the Red Church - a late Roman basilica which dates back to the 5th-6ht century AD. While riding, we will pass through meadows and forests until we reach the village of Brestovitsa. This village has a historical background by being one of the havens of a Bulgarian national hero, called Vasil Levski, who was an activist of the liberation movement of Bulgaria during the Ottoman rule.
After a short break, we ride back to the village of Purvenets. The road lies across beautiful arable land with vineyards and fruit trees. According to the season, we will have the opportunity to enjoy the ripe fruits in the area and meet the local people, who work for their livelihood in the field. After the ride we drive back to Plovdiv, where we can enjoy the old quarters of the town. Optional wine tasting in the Todoroff wine residence, Brestovitsa village. B/-/-
Riding: 3 hours, optional extension of the route by 1h30 mins passing by the Red Church
Day 3. Purvenets - Leshtensko - Bryanovshtitsa Hut
After breakfast in the beautiful city of Plovdiv, we head south-west riding towards Brynovshtitsa hut, which is located in a place with a historical past during the Ottoman rule. We start climbing, with an option for trotting and cantering. An hour's riding later we reach the Leshtensko area, where we will enjoying the beautiful views on both sides of the trail. We will do 20 minutes to rest and water the horses in the beautiful canyon in the area. Then we head out through the forest to climb a small trail to the endpoint – Bryanovshtitsa hut. The ride lasts between 3 and 4 hours, with the option of extending one or two hours to the St. George area, which reveals a beautiful view over Plovdiv and the surrounding small towns and villages. Overnight in Bryanovshtitsa hunting lodge, rooms with shared faciliies. B/L/D
Riding: 3 to 5 hours
Day 4. Bryanovshtitsa Hut - Dedevo Village
Today the trail goes to the east, following some dirt roads. The ride starts with a descent to the river Vorlitsa. At some spots of the route it may be necessary to walk alongside the horses for about 5/10 minutes. After crossing the river, we will walk along a dirt road, suitable for cantering and trotting until we reache the asphalt road. In the hot summer days we can enjoy a picnic at the river side and cool down in its waters. After that we will pass about 3km on an asphalt road to the village of Boykovo - a small village with about 40 inhabitants. There we will take a short break and then we ride along a mild dirt road to the village of Dedevo, where we can conveniently ride in gallop. Overnight in Dedevo, a small mountain village, standing at 1050 m above sea level. The night we will spend in a bungalow, two rooms sharing WC/shower. B/L/D
Riding: 3 to 5 hours
5. Dedevo - Zdravets Hut - Purvenets - Sofia
This is the last riding day and it will take us back to the starting point of this trail. Starting from the village of Dedevo, we ride along the crest of Chernatitsa (Black Mountain) Ridge. After a pleasant ascent to the village of Byala Cherkva - about 2 hours of riding/galloping at 1600m altitude, the ride goes smoothly down to Zdravets hut, again with a few stretches where we can ride in trot or gallop. At Zdravets hut we will stop for a short break and water for the horses. We set off again with a descent to the village of Purvenets on a small path, which reveals some pleasant panoramic views to the valley of Plovdiv and the region. We say farewell to our horses and head back to Sofia. End of tour. B/L-
Riding: 5 - 6 hours