Riding in the kingdom of Orpheus

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Western Rhodopes mountain - The mythical Rhodopes mountain will let you be absorbed in the enchanting world of Orpheus...

The mythical Rhodopes mountain will let you be absorbed in the enchanting world of Orpheus, where you will discover the harsh and majestic beauty of nature. You will go back in time to the Bulgarian roots, you will be stunned by the impressive towering. Thracian sacred places, in this adventure you will be accompanied by our ancestors' sacred animals – horses. In authentic villages nestling churches and mosques you will feel the
spirit of Bulgarian tradition, customs and culture. You will become part of this cosmopolitan world trying to reveal the secrets of the mystical Rhodopes mountain.

Itinerary highlights:

  • Visit natural phenomena
  • Accommodation in authentic houses
  • Contact with local people
  • A wide range of scenery
  • Becoming familiar with Bulgarian tradition and spirit

About the horses:
They are an excellent and extremely suitable for the riding terrain selection of Shagya Arabian and Eastern Bulgarian breed. They are friendly and well trained. Height between 1,50 and 1,60 metres. The saddles are cavalry and Western type, the weight limit for the horse riders is 100kg.

Itinerary description day by day:
Route: the village of Trigrad, the town of Dospat, the Thracian sacred place Kozy Kamak, the village of Sarnitsa, the village of Borino, the village of Yagodina, the village of Trigrad.

Day 1: Sofia - Trigrad Hotel 2**
Arrival in the village of Trigrad. On the way to the village you will ride through the famous Trigrad gorge long 7km and 250m of cliffs. Accommodation in a family hotel located in the highest part of the village of Trigrad. Meet your guides and the horses.

Day 2: Trigrad – Dospat Ride 5-6 hours Hotel 2**
After breakfast you mount your horse and head to Videnitsa peak (1652m), where you will look around a Thracian sacred place dating from 2500 B.C. and an ancient Roman stronghold. Up on the peak you will enjoy the stunning views of Pirin mountain, Slavyanka mountain and the Greek mountain Bozdak. After a lunch break you will ride on to the town of Dospat where you will be accommodated in a cosy hotel.
Height difference: +/-500m.

Day 3: Dospat – Dikchan Natural Reserve Ride 4-5 hours Hunting hut
Today's ride starts with some beautiful views which will open up in front of you as you cross the wall of the dam and enter the ancient pine woods. Leisure time and lunch in a wooden summer-house. In the afternoon you will ride on to Dikchan Natural Reserve where you can expect to meet some wild animals. After this day full of emotions you will relax at the fireplace in the Dikchan hunting hut.
Height difference: +300/-600m.

Day 4: Dikchan Natural Reserve - Dolen Ride 4 hours Renascence house
Today you will ride through the small village of Pletena and stop at the village of Dolen, which is an architectural reserve and most of the houses are more than 150 years old. There you will be absorbed in the authentic atmosphere of the Rhodopes mountain, you will experience the rich folklore and ethnographic heritage of the Bulgarian people.

Day 5: Dolen – Sarnitsa Ride 5-6 hours Villas
After breakfast ride through the virgin forests of Tamnata Reka nature reserve. After lunch break in a wooden summer-house in the Rancha area you will gallop across the Konski Dol nature reserve.You will sleep on the picturesque coast of the dam. Dinner will be freshly caught fish.
Height difference: +500/-300m

Day 6: Sarnitsa – Borino Ride 6 hours Family hotel
After breakfast – ride on the Dospad Dam coast. A mountain road winding high into the mountains will take you to the dam with highest altitude – the Shiroka Polyana Dam. After lunch break you will enjoy riding through the picturesque Derezly nature reserve near the village of Borino. With some luck you could see wild animals while you ride though the reserve (deer and doe, boars, mouflon, wood grouse). Dinner and leisure time.
Height difference: +/-500m

Day 7: Borino – Trigrad Ride 5-6 hours Hotel 2**
After breakfast – ride across the Bujnovskoto Gorge to the Yagodinska Cave. There is an eneolith dwelling by the natural entrance of the cave which has become a museum. Lunch and rest in the restaurant near the cool Bujnovska river. After that you will enjoy galloping over the boundless Yagodinsky meadows above the Trigrad Gorge near the village of Trigrad. Farewell dinner in the hotel tavern.
Height difference: +/-500m

Day 8: Trigrad – Sofia
After breakfast – say goodbye to the guides and the horses. Departure from Trigrad. If your departure flight is after 17.00 on the way to Sofia you will visit the Bachkovo Monastery „Uspenye Bogorodychno“ - the second biggest monastery in Bulgaria. It is rising like an impressive Medieval caste in the picturesque valley of the Chaya River surrounded by high rocky and wooded mountains. There is an optional visit of the city of Plovdiv and the old part of the city.

Riding level:
Required experience – it is necessary that the rider feels comfortable on the horse at the three basic paces and to have good control in rough terrain. Horses are good-tempered and suited for the mountain landscape, they are brave and easily get over natural obstacles on the way (rivers, small gullies, fallen trees). They are not afraid of cars and ride with ease on busy roads and urban areas. Rider's involvement – Riders are expected to groom and tack up their own horse each day in preparation for rides, untack during the breaks and at the end of the day. This will, of course, happen with guides supervision and help.
Riding days – 6 days
Riding hours a day – 5-6 hours
Paces: every day each of the three types depending on the terrain – trot (35% of the ride). Gallop (15% of the ride), and walk (50% of the ride).
Itinerary characteristics
Terrain – rough mountain terrain with climbs and descents. There are level sections as well, with smooth road for a faster pace. Getting over natural obstacles, rivers, gullies, dips and
fallen trees.
Climate – temperate continental, cool nights at higher regions, warm summer days. There is possibility of frequent and occasional rains in the spring-summer period.
Accommodation – two-star hotels, family hotels, hunting hut, tents
Distance from urban areas – during the ride the furthest point is 10-15km away from urban areas. There are scattered small mountain villages and hamlets and more rarely bigger
towns.
Cross-cultural awareness - The regions that we pass have mixed population with Christian
and Islamic religion, living peacefully with each other. Let us show respect and tolerance for different cultures ways of life and traditions.

Price includes:
Guides
1 English/French speaking professional guide for groups up to 5 riders
2 English/French speaking professional guides for groups over 5 riders
Transport:

  • Transfer in Bulgaria (from Sofia airport to the starting point of the tour and back)
  • Minivan for 5 people, support vehicle with a radio connection

Accommodation:

  • 4 nights in double rooms in two-star family hotels, 3 in tents

Food:
Full board from day 1 dinner to day 8 breakfast (lunch during the ride is a picnic –vegetables, warm soup, barbeque, fruit or in a restaurant);
Equipment:

  • Group first-aid kit
  • Horse saddlebags

Places you visit:

  • Thracian sacred place and ancient Roman stronghold ruins on Videnitsa peak
  • 18th century church with unique architecture and icons in the village of Dolen
  • A walk in the architectural reserve - the village of Dolen
  • The Bachkovo monastery – a real masterpiece of architecture and icon-painting

Optional places to visit:

  • Yagodinska cave
  • A museum of an eneolith dwelling
  • Devil's Throat (Dyavolsko Garlo) cave

Price doesn't include:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Day1 and Day8 lunch
  • Airplane tickets and taxes
  • Entry ticket for museums and other ethnographic
  • Historical or natural places of interest
  • Tips

2011 prices

  • 6-8 riders 892 €
  • 4-5 riders 955 €
  • 3 riders 1 044 €
from May until November