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                                                 Transbalkan trek

Guaranteed departure dates for 2009: 20/6, 11/7, 01/8, 15/8, 29/8, 12/9                                           Ref. number: 48224-26
(Other dates also possible within the best period if the requirement for min group size is fulfilled)             Last edited by: EL, 09/09/08

                                                                                              We now have about 2,5 hrs more to go
Introduction:                                and an excellent base to explore the             before we reach the village of Chiflik
The Central Balkan National Park is          National Park Central Balkan.                    (600 m, or 1,968 ft). Then we transfer to
one of the most popular hiking               Chiflik is a village located at the upper        our hotel in Beklemeto (about 30min).
destinations in Bulgaria. The name of        stream of the Beli Osam River.                   Uphill walk: 250 m, or 820 ft; downhill
Stara Planina mountains (“Balkan”)           Troyan Monastery “Assumption of Virgin           walk: 950 m, or 3,116 ft; walking time:
comes from the ancient history of our        Mary”, being the 3-th largest in Bulgaria, is    about 5-6 hours
land. It is not surprising that the whole    built in the style of the Bulgarian              /breakfast, dinner/
peninsula is named after the                 Renaissance.
mountains. Despite the severe                Beklemeto Pass (1320 m a.s.l.) is a              Day 3. After breakfast we head off from
climate, the inaccessible gorges and         mountain resort very popular for summer          Beklemeto to the Dermenka hut (1,504
the awesome valleys it has given             and winter mountain marches in the high          m, or 4,934 ft). This route features a
shelter to people since ancient times,       part of the mountains.                           strenuous but rewarding descent along
during the Thracian and Roman days,          Plovdiv (160 m a.s.l.) ranks as the second       the Cherni Osam River, where the
up to the present.                           Bulgarian city in population and size. The       Steneto Reserve (included in the
Our trip offers a combined trek              old town of Plovdiv is one of the oldest         UNESCO World Network of Biosphere
through two of the most exciting             European towns contemporary to Troy              reserves on account of its virgin nature)
natural reserves in the Balkan               and Mikena.                                      awaits us. Then it's on to the village of
Mountains: Kozyata Stena (The                                                                 Cherni Osam itself. Steneto is also a
Chamois’ Rocks; famous for its               Itinerary:                                       recognised bird zone. The number of
flowering Edelweiss during summer)                                                            birds registered here is higher than in
and Northern Dzhendem. We climb              Day 1. Arrival at Sofia Airport and transfer     any other reserve in the Central Balkan
Mount Botev – the highest peak in the        to Beklemeto Pass in the Balkan                  region. From Cherni Osam we take the
Balkan Mountains (2,376 m, or 7,795          Mountains where we stay overnight                transfer to Troyan Monastery, where we
ft) and enjoy the imposing view of the       (2,30hrs drive).                                 will take a short stroll along the
Sredna Gora, Pirin and Rodopi                /dinner/                                         monastery walls. Later in the afternoon
Mountains and the fertile Thracian                                                            we leave for Apriltsi (the transfer takes
Valley. Sharp pinnacles, deep                Day 2. In the morning we start off from          about 30min), where we will stay
canyons, century-old Beech woods,            Beklemeto (1,320 m, or 4,330 ft) heading         overnight.
waterfalls, unique rock formations and       towards the peak sections of the                 Uphill walk: 450 m (1,476 ft); downhill
vast alpine meadows hide                     mountains leading to the Troyan Pass             walk: 650 m (2,132 ft); walking time:
extraordinary diverse wildlife. The tour     (1,525 m, or 5,003 ft), before continuing        around 7-8 hours
ends in the town of Plovdiv, where a         westwards. From here the path follows the        /breakfast, dinner/
relaxed walk along the paved streets         summit of the Balkan ridge, passing along
of the old quarters will bring us a          the southern slopes of Kozyata Stena             Day 4. Pack and leave your luggage at
couple of centuries back in time.            Reserve. The northern slopes of Kozyata          the reception – it will be picked up on
                                             Stena (1,562 m, or 5,124 ft) house an            day 7 and transferred to Plovdiv. In the
Special highlights:                          impressive population of Edelweiss, which        morning we will embark for a short
Balkan Mountains (highest peak:              flower during the summer. This trek takes        transfer to the new local eco-path,
Mount Botev 2376 m a.s.l.) are the           around three hours from Beklemeto. At the        ascending towards the Pleven hut
longest (550 km) and the biggest of all      foot of Baba Peak (1707 m or 5,599 ft) we        (1,390 m, or 4,560 ft) where we will stay
mountains in Bulgaria.                       turn northwards. En route we pass a rocky        overnight. The trek takes about 1 hr. By
Cherni Osam is a village, perched on         gully famous for its avalanches in winter.       the hut we may have time to visit
both banks of the Cherni Osam River                                                           Vodnite Dupki Cave (The water holes),

Penguin Travel DMC-Bulgaria                                                                                                               1
Address: 9 Orfej Str., 1421 Sofia, BULGARIA; Phone: +35924001050; E-mail:
where Brown Bears are seen from                Bulgaria, but on the entire Balkan             Optional. See “General” for more
time to time. The magnificent views            Peninsula. We spend the night in the Rai       information.
towards Mount Botev are preferred by           hut (1,560 m, or 5,118 ft).
some tourists as a part of a more              Uphill walk: 600 m (1,968 ft); downhill        Group size: Min. 4 persons
relaxed afternoon before the ascent to         walk: 450 m (1,476 ft); walking time: about
the peak during the next day.                  4-5 hrs                                        The price includes: accommodation
Uphill walk: 600 m (1,968 ft); downhill        /breakfast, lunchpack, dinner/                 and boarding as mentioned above;
walk: 100 m (328 ft); walking time: 1-4                                                       transfer to/from Sofia Airport; English-
hours (depending on the extensions in          Day 7. The route begins with a steep           speaking guide; luggage and private
the afternoon)                                 descent along the stream of Biala Reka         transfers as mentioned above; VAT and
/breakfast, dinner/                            River to a monastery above the town of         all local taxes.
                                               Kalofer. From there we take the transfer to
Day 5. Today we will head towards              Plovdiv (taking about 1,5 hrs), where the      The price does not include: map
the Balkan Mountains’ giant - Mount            rest of the afternoon can be spent on a        (could be requested in advance when
Botev (2,376 m, or 7,795 ft). Some 30          self-guided sightseeing trip or shopping       booking the tour), tips, alcohol drinks,
min after Pleven hut the path goes             along the paved streets of the old quarter     meals outside the program, entrance
along the edge of the Northern                 of Plovdiv.                                    fees, cigarettes and other personal
Dzhendem Reserve. Here you will                Uphill walk: 20 m; downhill walk: 800 m        expenses.
have the opportunity to enjoy for an           (2,624 ft); walking time: 4 hrs
hour the inaccessible pinnacles of             /breakfast, lunchpack, dinner/                 Joining instructions:
probably the most picturesque part of
the mountains. In case of clear skies          Day 8. After breakfast you will have           Low-cost flights to Bulgaria: please
we may see the ridges of Pirin and             transfer to Sofia Airport for departure        check: Wizz Air -; Sky
Rodopi mountains. Some 3 hrs from              (transfer time: 2 h)                           Europe -;
Pleven hut we reach the Botev refuge,          /breakfast/                                    Easy Jet -;
where we can leave our luggage                                                                Germanwings -
before the ascent. Then we continue            Accommodation:                       ; My Air -
to the top, where we get in 1 hr more          We stay in 3-star hotels (days 1, 2 & 3); Penguin Travel –
before going back to the refuge.               and guesthouse (day 7) with private  ; Norwegian
During the development of what are             facilities and in mountain huts (days 4, 5 &   Air Shuttle -
now the Balkan Mountains, the granite          6) with shared facilities on HB (breakfast &
basis of the peak was broken up by             dinner included). Lunchpacks are included      Joining the tour: in recent days there
river erosion. As a result, the terrifying     for the mountain treks during the days 5, 6    are loads of opportunities to book a
rock faces of the Northern Dzhendem            & 7.                                           cheap flight to Bourgas or Varna airports
and the Heavenly rocks to the south                                                           instead of landing at Sofia Airport. We
were shaped. As the weather on the             Luggage transportation:                        can arrange for you a bus or train ticket
top is famous for its inconstancy we           Unnecessary luggage will be transferred        to Sofia or Plovdiv, where most of the
will not spend much time there. Three          as follows:                                    tours start. Here are some approximate
hours more and we end up in Vasil              Day 3: from Beklemeto Pass to Apriltsi         prices for transfers:
Levski hut (1450 m a.s.l. or 4, 756 ft),       Day 7: from Apriltsi to Plovdiv                By bus: Bourgas or Varna to Sofia –
where we stay overnight. En-route we                                                          appr. 15 Euro/person one way (appr. 5-
pass through Stara Reka Reserve,               Difficulty grade: B (days 2& 4) / C (days      7 hrs drive)
protected many rear species of plants,         3, 5, 6 & 7)                                   By train: Bourgas or Varna to Sofia –
inhabiting the meadows by the spring                                                          appr. 10 Euro/person one way (sleeping
of several rivers that start from this         Best period: June – September                  compartments +10 Euro). For train
area.                                                                                         schedules please check:
Uphill walk: 1100 m (3,608 ft);                Weather:                              (appr. 7-8 hrs
downhill walk: 1040 m (3,411 ft);              Temperatures expected for this period are      drive)
walking time: 6-7 hours                        between +10 and +30 C. Temperatures            By plane: Bourgas or Varna to Sofia –
/breakfast, lunchpack, dinner/                 above 2000 m a.s.l. may drop to -5oC after     appr. 100 Euro/person one way (for
                                               the end of August. Rainfalls or short but      schedules and prices please check:
Day 6. Walking through the mixed               heavy showers are possible, being a bit (appr. 1 hr flight)
forest by the Vasil Levski hut we reach        prolonged during spring and late autumn.       Private transfers: Bourgas airport –
in an hour a flat place where many                                                            Sofia (appr. 4 hrs drive): 150 Euro/car
mountains paths cross each other.              Equipment and clothing:                        (1-3 pax); 190 Euro/bus (4-7 pax);
From this point signposted track leads         Necessary items: daypack for days 2 & 3        Varna airport – Sofia (appr. 6 hrs drive):
to Rai hut - our last stop for today.          (35 l) and rucksack (60 l) for the rest days   170 Euro/car (1-3 pax); 210 Euro/bus
Along the trail we pass through                in the mountains; 3-season walking             (4-7 pax)
several springs, lying at the foots of         waterproof boots with suitable ankle           Transfers from Bourgas or Varna airport
the vertical cliffs, surrounding Mount         support; waterproof outer shell garment        to the railways/bus stations in these
Botev from the south. Here we can              (breathable if possible!); sunglasses with     cities – 25 Euro per car one way (1-3
enjoy the Southern Dzhendem                    UV protection; sunscreen lotion.               pax), 45 Euro per bus one way (4-7 pax)
Reserve. Highlights of the area are            For the full list with recommended items
also the Heavenly Rocks and the                see “General”.
Heavens Waterfall ("Raiskoto
pruskalo"). At a height of 124.5 m (408        Vaccination:
ft), it is not just the highest waterfall in

Penguin Travel DMC-Bulgaria                                                                                                              2
Address: 9 Orfej Str., 1421 Sofia, BULGARIA; Phone: +35924001050; E-mail:
GENERAL                                                 - Sozopol, Nessebar - small towns (founded                          Currently the whole territory of Bulgaria is
==============================                          by the ancient Greeks) with picturesque old                         covered with a mobile connection.
TOUR TYPES & GRADES                                     quarters and a specific atmosphere.                                 However the trekking & cycling tours are
We provide different varieties of tours as              - Lozenets -a peaceful small village with a                         done in mountainous areas where the
regards to their types and difficulty grades!           beautiful beach. Only 4-5 km from the forests                       signal could be weak or even lacking from
Whether you will choose individual and group            of the Strandzha Mountains where you can                            time to time. In such a situation you just
tours with a guide or combined tours with a             go walking, biking or riding horses.                                need to change your location a bit in order
guide for some part of the trip depends on you.         ===========================                                         to find available network.
We emphasize on using local experienced                 Equipment and clothing:                                             ============================
guides with knowledge of the local language,            You should always remember that you must                            Electricity
culture, history, art, etc. The tours are               try to keep the weight of your hiking                               In Bulgaria two-pin sockets are normal.
conducted in the English language. Guides in            equipment down to a minimum. Your packed                            Voltage is 220 watts. If you come from the
other languages are available upon request.             daypack should weigh no more than 10-15                             U.S. or UK you need to purchase an
Tour types                                              kilograms.                                                          adapter, which is available only in
Our tours are divided in different tour types,          Recommended items: waterproof rucksack                              Bulgarian cities and biggest winter and
regardless of being guided or not or if someone         (60 l) & daypack (35 l); walking waterproof                         sea resorts.
travels alone or in a group. We have prepared           boots with suitable ankle support; light casual                     ============================
your vacation so that you can concentrate on            shoes/sandals for walking and/or for                                Brief about Bulgaria
new impressions and experiences, awaiting               travelling; gaiters; loose, casual trousers for                     Territory - 110 912 sq. km.
you all the time. Here is a description of the          trekking; waterproof trousers; fleece                               Population - 7 538 000 (2003) (83,9 %
various tours:                                          windstopper jacket; windproof, waterproof                           ethnic Bulgarians; 9,4% Turks; 4,7%
GT: Group tours                                         outer shell garment (breathable if possible!);                      Roma; rest – smaller minorities Russians,
There is a guide accompanying you throughout            hat for sun protection; sunglasses with UV                          Armenians, Vlachs, Jews, Karakachans
the whole trip, meeting you at the airport upon         protection; sunscreen lotion and lip balm;                          etc.)
arrival and leaving you at the airport again for        water bottle; torch (headlamp); mobile phone;                       Relligion – 82,6% Orthodox, 12,2% Islam,
departure. We use well-trained and                      underwear (not cotton); mosquito repellent;                         0,7% Protestant, 0,5% Catholics, 4,1%
experienced local people with good knowledge            trekking sticks.                                                    Others.
of English. The group size is normally 6-12             ===========================                                         Capital city - Sofia (1 377 531 people in
people, if not specially mentioned.                     Vaccination:                                                        2006)
-----------------------------------------------------   Tick-borne encephalitis, Marselle fever and                         Bigest towns - Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas,
Difficulty grades                                       Crimea haemorhagic fever is recommended                             Rouse, Stara Zagora, Veliko Tarnovo,
To prepare yourself for the best of your                by some medical sources if travelling in                            Pleven
vacation we recommend that you start planning           certain areas of Eastern Europe, at specific                        Mountains - 37 (biggest - Balkan
it in an advance. Good physical condition is            times of the year. Check latest requirements                        Mountain: length - ~ 550 km.; width ~ 30-
required. In order to achieve it we advise you          with your travel clinic or doctor prior to                          60 km.); (highest - Rila Mountain - peak
to start walking, jogging or cycling everyday.          departure.                                                          Musala - 2 925 m.a.s.l.)
Swimming a couple of times a week is also               ===========================                                         Boundaries - North - Romania; East -
highly recommended. You do not need much                Money and personal expenses                                         Black Sea (coastline 378 km.); West -
to get yourself in shape. And don't forget that         You will need some extra money to cover                             Serbia, Macedonia; South - Greece,
the most important tip for an unforgettable             meals, drinks and extra trips not included in                       Turkey;
active holiday is to choose a trip which                the tour price. Additional money for souvenirs                      Distribution of the lands - 0 - 400 m.a.s.l. -
corresponds to your physical condition!                 and personal things could also be spent. That                       59,8 %; 400 - 1000 m.a.s.l. - 27,6 %;
B: Moderate                                             is why it is always necessary to have                               1000 - 2000 m.a.s.l. - 11,9 %; over 2000
Most of you, who are used to walking during a           Bulgarian money in cash.                                            m.a.s.l. - 0,7 %
long weekend, will be in condition to cope with         The payments in Bulgaria are usually made in                        Protected areas - 3 national parks, 10
a tour of this level. You should be in good             "LEV" (BGN), which is the official currency.                        nature parks, 55 reserves, 35 managed
health condition and not too bad physical               The exchange rate with EU and USD is quite                          reserves, over 350 protected areas and
condition. We have successive days of longer            changing sometimes, but approximately it is:                        500 natural monuments
and more difficult walking and days of lighter          BGN:EU - 2:1; BGN:USD - 1,6-1. Credit                               ==============================
walking. Some parts of the day routes are done          Cards could be used primarily in some                               Weather
at a higher altitude. The paths are in good             supermarkets and restaurants in the biggest                         Mean year temperature - + 10,5 °C (Abs.
condition. We walk for 5-7h a day. You are free         cities as well as in the petrol stations. Usually                   Min. - -38,3 °C ; Abs. Max. - + 45,2 °C)
to skip some walks and have a rest.                     it is marked on their front doors if Credit                         Mean rainfall per year - 416 - 650 mm. in
C: Difficult                                            Cards are accepted. ATMs ("bankomates")                             the lowlands; 650 - 1193 mm. in the
These tours include trekking which is a little          are more frequent (again in the biggest towns                       highlands
harder, normally on a challenging terrain. We           only!). Traveler's cheques take quite a lot of                      Rainy days per month – May – 7; June –
take it for granted that you are in good                time to handle and not each bank deals with                         8; July – 6; August – 3; September – 6;
condition and fit. You should be physically             them (in many cases it takes even few days                          (number may be higher in the mountains)
prepared at home to get the maximum of the              since their deposition in the bank!) - thus they                    Mean daily/night temperatures (up to
tour. Most of the trekking is done at a greater         are not recommended!                                                1000 m a.s.l.) - May + 22/12 °C; June +
height (max 3000 m). As on other tours you are          Here are some examples of comparative                               26/16 °C; July + 28/17 °C; August + 26/15
free to skip some treks and have a rest.                costs in Bulgaria (NB: prices in mid-range                          °C; September + 23/13 °C;
==============================                          restaurants!):
Extensions: Yes, Black Sea                              - Coffee – 0,3 Euro                                                      Altitudinal distribution of annual
This is a unique proposal, which gives you the          - Tea – 0,3 Euro                                                              temperatures in Bulgaria
opportunity to stay in Bulgaria for one week            - Beer (0,5 l) – 0,5-1 Euro
                                                                                                                                       Weather Bulgaria
more at the incredibly low price! We can offer a        - Soft drink (0,5 l) - 0,4-0,5 Euro
great variety of means of accommodation -               - Bottle of water (0,5 l) - 0,3-0,4         25

from home stays (no meals) to 2, 3 and 4-star           Euro                                        20

hotels (BB or HB) on the Southern Bulgarian             - Bottle of mark red wine (0,75 l) -
Black Sea Coast:                                        5-10 Euro
                                                                                                   Temperature ( C )

                                                                                                                                                                    500 m a.s.l.

                                                                                                                                                                    1000 m a.s.l.
- Sunny Beach - a big modern resort with                - Three-course lunch - 4-10 Euro            10
                                                                                                                                                                    2000 m a.s.l.
hundreds of hotels, cafes, pubs, casinos,               - Lunch pack - 2-3 Euro                      5
water-sports facilities etc.                            ==========================
                                                        Cell phone coverage                          0
                                                                                                       April                  June            August      October

Penguin Travel DMC-Bulgaria                                                                                                                                                         3
Address: 9 Orfej Str., 1421 Sofia, BULGARIA; Phone: +35924001050; E-mail:

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