Higer Peaks of the Balkans. Trekking in the mountains of the Gods
Greece & Bulgaria - From Rila and Pirin Mountain to Mount Olympus and the Meteors
A journey into the past and present of the two Balkan countries.
Duration: 14 days
Best time: June through October
Accommodation: Hotels, Mountain huts
Day 1Arrival in Sofia
A commercial airliner takes us to the airport in Sofia - the capital of Bulgaria. From here we will start our journey full of adventure, culture and rich in beautiful landscapes and wild nature.
After visiting the Bulgarian capital we transfer by minibus to the town of Samokov, located at the foot of the highest mountain in Bulgaria and the Balkans - Mussala Peak - 2925m.
A small hotel is hosting us for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 2Mussala - the highest peak of the Balkans
Hours: 5 - 6, Difficulty level: Easy
A short transfer to the town of Borovettz - 1300m and we set off for the climb to Mussala Peak - 2925m (the highest peak of the Balkans). To facilitate the long climb we will take advantage of a cable car that will take us one thousand feet above the village up to the Jastrebetz hut - 2300m where we'll have only approx. 600m. difference in height to reach the top. Around noon we will be on the highest peak of the Balkan Peninsula.
After a short break we descend to Jastrebetz hut and then use again the service of the cable car to get to Borovets.
During the day the guide will tell you a little history of Bulgaria.
Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Hours: 6 - 7, Difficulty level: Medium
Today we enter into one of the most beautiful valleys of the mountain - the Valley of Maliovitza. From an altitude of 1700m we take the path that leads us to the 2775m high peak of the same name.
Once on top of Maliovitza, we remain in suspense from the beautiful panorama that opens around us.
In the distance you can see the chain of Pirin Mountain - our next destination.
We descend from the opposite side and in the evening we arrive at the Rila Monastery.
Here awaits us our van that will take us to a small hotel located just a few kilometers from the monastery where we stop for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 4Rila Monastery
Today we take it easy. We will be visiting the Rila Monastery (the largest and the most important monastery in Bulgaria).
We enter the courtyard to visit the church and are enchanted by the beautiful frescoes depicting religious Bible scenes painted during the Bulgarian Revival.
Around noon we transfer to the town of Bansko (the stronghold of the Renaissance) and we settle in for the night at a cozy inn.
A little time for a shower and we go out to visit the picturesque town of Bansko, which, with its old neighborhood and its church makes us feel the atmosphere of an unforgettable life of national uprisings and culture of passed centuries.
Dinner will be in a typical tavern: "Bariakova Mehana", where we will taste the dishes and tasty local cuisine. The evening will be enlivened by live music and traditional songs.
Day 5The highest peak of Pirin Mountain - Vihren
Hours: 8 - 9, Difficulty level: Difficult
Early in the morning our van will take us approx. 30km. into the "Valley of Stapalata."
We start from the hut towards the famous travers of the "Little Horse", passing on the central ridge of Mount Pirin, with rocks made of marble.
Overcoming the Little Horse, we reach the highest peak of the mountain - "Vihren - 2914m" (named by the ancient Thracians "The castle of the God Perun ").
A steep descent brings us to the Vihren hut, where we find our van that will take us back to our hotel in Bansko.
Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 6Banderitza valley, Tevno Ezero mountain hut
Hours: 6 - 7, Difficulty level: Medium
Breakfast at 07.30.
During our transfer from Bansko to the Vihren hut we take a short break to visit the "Baikusheva Mura" - a tree of the family of the "Balkan Pines" (Pinos Levkodermus) of more than 1300 years of age, and Under protection of UNESCO.
From the Vihren hut we begin the climb through the valley of Banderitza to reach the small hut "Tevno Ezero" (2500m).
From Ref. Vihren begin the climb in the valley of Banderitza to reach the small rifugetto "Tevno Esero"-2500m.
The trek is quite long, but very impressive. Once on the central ridge of the mountain we overcome slight ascents and descents through the many peaks that rise above 2500m.
The scenery is lovely. In the valleys shaped by the withdrawal from large glaciers have formed many montain lakes, which with their blue-green color appear as if there were stones of turquoise scattered into the emerald green of the vegetation.
Accommodation, dinner and overnight stay.
Day 7Descent and arrival at Rojen Monastery
Hours: 8 - 9, Difficulty level: Medium
Today we descend. From the small hut we only have to climb for less than an hour up the "Kralevdvor" pass.
As we descend from the pass, we abandon the rocky peaks, lakes, alpine meadows, and enter the forest belt, arriving in the afternoon at the village of Rojen (if it is a right day we might get rewareded for our effort and collect lots of mushrooms). We visit the Monastery of Rojen (the oldest monastery on the territory of Bulgaria, built in the twelfth century AD).
Descending below the tree belt we reach the town of Melnik (ancient city, a crossroads for goods in the past, famous for its architecture, history and delicious local wines).
Accommodation in a small family-owned hotel. Our evening meal will be accompanied by a great wine made by the owner and his very good grape brandy.
Day 8Melnik and transfer to Greece
Breakfast at 08.00.
A short visit to the town of Melnik and a wine cellar converted into a museum.
At about 11 o'clock we leave Bulgaria and continue our journe by minibus towards Greece (if for some Greece is only beautiful because of the sea, the time has come to change the opinion - the innerlands of the Balkan country are just as beautiful and full of nature).
Our minibus takes us further south to the coast of the Aegean Sea and, to end the day in style, we go swimming in the sea near Litohoro (a village at the foot of Mount Olympus).
In the late afternoon we return to the hotel and since we are at the sea coast, we have seafood for dinner.
Day 9Olympus, mountain hut Spillos Agapitos
Hours: 3, Difficulty level: Easy
From Litohoro our van will help us get just before the Prionià hut - 1100m.
We are facing an ascent of approx. 3 hours to get to the Spillos Agapitos hut - 2100m.
After dinner we have a good night's sleep in the cozy hut below the peak of Mitikas (the castle of the God Zeus).
Day 10Olympus - Skala, Skolio and Mitikas
Hours: 6 - 7, Difficulty level: Medium
Today we take a dive into the Greek mythology, hoping to find God Zeus in a good mood and get a wonderful view from the top of Mitikas - 2917m toward the sea and the peninsula of Halkidiki (the seat of the Patriarch of Kostantinopoli).
For added security during the last meters of ascent we will tie ourselves with a rope.
Down from the top we first go uphill and after a while turn left to cross under the peaks of Mitikas and Stefani and reach the Kakalos hut, so our visit to the mountain will be complete.
We stop at the hut for dinner and overnight, hoping to catch a beautiful sunset on the peaks of Olympus.
Day 11Kalambaka, Meteora Monasteries
Hours: 4 - 5, Difficulty level: Easy
From the hut we walk for 3-4 hours to reach the paved road and continue our journey with the van to the small town of Kalambaka, situated beneath the cliffs of Meteora.
The cosiness of a nice small family-owned hotel, the excellent grilled meat and good wine, will make us forget the fatigue accumulated in the days of trekking in the mountains.
Day 12Meteora Monasteries
We spend the whole day sightseeing of the famous monasteries of Meteora.
After taking enough pictures, we get back to the hotel to enjoy a well deserved rest.
We depart for Thessaloniki and in the afternoon we settle into a hotel for dinner and overnight.
-For our customers whose return flight is not from Thessaloniki, we can arrange a transfer and overnight stay in Sofia.
Please request a quote for your transfer service Thessaloniki - Sofia. Hotel in Sofia with half board is included in the cost of the program.
Transfer to the airport of Thessaloniki (or of Sofia) and return home.