Snowshoe Tour of Bulgaria
Snowshoe Tour of Bulgaria
Snowshoe Tour of Bulgaria
Snowshoe Tour of Bulgaria
Snowshoe Tour of Bulgaria
Snowshoe Tour of Bulgaria
Snowshoe Tour of Bulgaria

Snowshoe Tour of Bulgaria


Snowshoeing in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a land of wild winter mountains offering some extraordinary opportunities for snowshoeing. With a reliable snowfall it is fast becoming a well recognised destination for winter activities. Bulgaria dates back to the 7th century making it one of the oldest states in Europe, and offering you, the visitor, a true cultural experience. During this week of snowshoeing we will hike in various national parks in the Rila, and Pirin mountains, mountain ranges which on average have 2 to 3 metres (6 to 9ft) of snow in winter - perfect! In addition, this trip features excellent hotels carefully chosen to show you Bulgaria in 'comfort'.

Highlights

  • Wild, remote and stunning mountain scenery 
  • Great accommodation with excellent 3* and 4* hotels
  • The Pirin Mountains, UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Snowshoe to the glacial lakes of Bunderista
  • Snowshoe the famous ridge line of Vitosha, with views to Sofia
  • Professional Bulgarian 'International Mountain Leader'
  • Enjoy a guided tour of the capital city, Sofia

The mountain ranges of Pirin and Rila provide excellent snowshoes routes and on this trip we will visit both areas. Both National Parks are home to a rich flora and fauna, including brown bears, jackals, wolves, wild boars, deer, and chamois. 

We will combine snowshoeing through pine forests, plateau, summits, and ridges, with the chance to experience the ancient culture of this beautiful country. With a professional local qualified guide you will have the chance to get 'under the skin' of Bulgaria learning about its turbulent past, and how its people see its future.


I enjoyed the Bulgarian experience thanks to the enthusiasm of Stoyan who freely shared his passion & extensive knowledge of a remarkable country. It is a beautiful country and I appreciated seeing the different scenery in different mountains, the various accommodation along the way and I enjoyed being driven through the countryside (excellent driver by the way, good fun and very courteous). I was sorry to miss high-level hikes into the Pirin Mountains (due to sore feet!) but I was better by day 6, the highest point I reached - then, I could enjoy being out in some serious weather conditions. The steep descent through indigenous Beechwood forest was beautiful and the mountain hut where we enjoyed delicious, rustic, heart-warming soup was a treat.

Was very surprised by the landscape and also that the hotels were better than I expected. It really was a very interesting trip in terms of the culture and also being able to learn so much about Bulgaria from Stoyan our local guide. Highly recommend it. 

Itinerary

  • accommodation
  • airport
  • meet in
  • pass
  • peaks
  • transfer
  • Today you will arrive at Sofia, the historic capital of Bulgaria, where you will spend your first overnight. Your flight should arrive no later than 1400hrs to allow time for a guided tour of the historic city of Sofia. Built on the Iskar river the city has many mineral springs and baths, combined with a city centre of impressive architecture. Your guide will meet you at the airport, transfer you to your hotel, and then take you on a tour of the city. 

    We will provide a time for the group pick up once we have everyones flight arrival times. You can, of course, arrive later and we can organise a private pick up at the airport, but this will not be included in your fee. 

  • This morning we begin with a short journey to the mountain of Vitosha. Vitosha is the symbol of Sofia and a favorite place for local people for hiking, mountain biking and running in the summer months, and skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Our vehicle will take us high up the mountain to around 1700 metres (5559ft) where we will start our snowshoe hike along an easy trail which offers fabulous views to the Valley of Sofia, the Balkan mountains to the north, and the Rila mountains to the south. Today we will enjoy lunch at a mountain hut whose name translates as 'Maidens Rock'. The hut is half way down our gentle descent and is famed for it's nettle soup which goes down well with the local Bulgarian white cheese. Leaving the hut we continue our way down the mountain passing the beautiful frozen waterfall of Boyana which attracts local ice climbers. Once we reach Boyana we have a transfer to the tiny ski resort of Panichishte  in the Rila mountains which is famous as the gateway of the 'Seven Lakes' area. It may be well known to Bulgarians, but you are unlikely to encounter other nationalities in Panichishte. 

    Ascent: 410m (1340ft) Descent: 1200m (3924ft) Duration: 6h00

    Driving Distance: Boyana to Panichishte 79km (49 miles) Duration: 1h30

  • This area is one of the most popular in Bulgaria on account of its beautiful scenery and wild nature. Today our goal is the famous beauty spot known as the ''Seven Rila Lakes'. We start with an easy ascent through pine forest before taking a side valley, called Skakavitsa, where we are aiming for the Skakavitsa mountain hut, the oldest hut in Bulgaria, where we can enjoy a morning coffee. If conditions allow we will take a detour to the waterfall, or at least to the view point for photos. We will then climb further through the forest heading for the lakes reaching above the tree line and a feature known as the Dry Ridge, this offers fantastic views to the Skakavitsa valley and the Seven Lakes. All in all today is a wonderful circular hike. On the descent if your legs feel tired you can opt to take a chairlift down to the valley. The chair lift costs approximately 9 Euros, but please note this is not included in your trip fee as the intention is to descend through the pine forest. 

    Ascent: 744m (2432ft) Descent: 608m (1988ft) Duration: 6h00

  • After a leisurely breakfast we head back up the mountain to the chairlift and ease into the day with a ride to the top at 2100m ((6867ft). The lift takes us to the 'Rila Lakes' mountain hut, but with our longest day ahead of us we will immediately begin our climb towards Razdela Pass which sits at 2610m (8535ft). We head, first of all, towards Fish Lake then to the old 'Seven Lakes' mountain hut and onwards to the ridge on the eastern side of the cirque known as the 'Green Ridge'. Eventually we will see Razdela Pass ahead of us, this is a famous meeting point with six different trails crossing on this pass. Our goal is to a high point at approximately the same altitude of the pass and not the pass itself which is too difficult to reach in winter. We will spend most of our day above the treeline, and it really is a day of amazing panoramic views. We will be able to see all of the Seven Lakes from our high point, before we begin our gentle descent to the valley and back to a well-earned Bulgarian beer. 

    Ascent: 681m (2226ft) Descent: 953m (3116ft) Duration: 6h30

  • This morning we head to the former Bulgarian Mountaineering School at Malyovitsa where we will begin our snowshoe hike. An easy day today with a morning of snowshoeing, followed by lunch in a traditional tavern, and then a drive to the famous ski area of Bankso. We begin by walking up the valley to Malyovitsa mountain hut which sits in a high and impressive combe surrounded by jagged alpine peaks and cliffs. Our goal is what the local mountaineers call the 'second balcony', this is simply a high terrace surrounded by impressive mountains which sits at 2220m ((7259ft). Today we will be able to see around 20 high mountains, including the summit of Mount Malyovitsa, perhaps Bulgaria's most famous mountain peak sitting at 2729m (8924ft). These Rila mountains are some of the most dramatic, alpine and challenging in Bulgaria and have for centuries acted as a magnet for mountaineers. It was in however not until 1938 that the epic north face of Mount Malyovitsa was conquered. The Malyovitsa mountain hut is testament to climbers past and present with its walls adorned with photos and stories of ascents. Today we will also pass a monomer to Bulgarian climbers and mountaineers who have perished in the mountains across the world. By lunchtime we will have descended to Mala Cherkva village for lunch in a traditional tavern. The restaurant has a great reputation for local food such as Bulgarian bean soup, or Kavarma which is the name given to a stew cooked in a claypot. After lunch we begin our drive to Bankso, but if the group wishes it we can also stop en route at Sapareva Banya. The town is home to the hottest mineral geyser in Europe which erupts every 7 seconds sending a jet of water 7 metres (23ft) high. The thermal baths which cost approximately 4 Euros are modern and clean, and will supply you with a towel if you would like to have a quick dip! 

    Ascent: 492m (1608ft) Descent: 492m (1608ft) Duration: 3h00

    Driving Distance: Malyovitsa to Bankso Panichishte 99km (61 miles) Duration: 2h00

  • In 1983 the Pirin National Park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park contains 176 lakes among 400 square km (250 square miles) of fragrant pine forests and granite peaks. Fang-toothed predators make their home here – bears, wolves and jackals – but exploring on snowshoes we are more likely to spot the park’s abundant birdlife: wall-creepers, peregrine falcons and four types of woodpecker number among 170 species seen here. The Pirin mountains are also home to more than one hundred peaks reaching over 2000m (6560ft). 

    Our snowshoe hike today will begin on the northeastern slopes of the Pirin mountains, at Gotse Delchev hut. An easy ascent with a chairlift ride takes us higher up the mountain, to the Bezbog hut. After our picnic lunch we will make our way to the summit of Bezbog 2645m (8675ft), where we can enjoy the stunning views of the rocky summits of the Pirin range. We then climb to the nearby summit of Polejan which sits at 2851m (9351ft) and is one of the highest points of the Balkan peninsula. Going to the summit will be decided by your guide based on the group stamina, conditions and time available. After taking in the views we will head back to the hut at Gotse Delchev and make our way back to Bansko.

    Ascent: 757m (2475ft) Descent: 757m (2475ft) Duration: 6h00

  • Today we will be doing one of the most well-known snowshoeing treks in Bulgaria, a round trip of the Bunderitsa cirque. We head first of all to the lush pine forests of Bunderitsa valley and the beginning of our trail. Once we have climbed above the trees one we will be greeted with a view of the imposing Mount Vihren, Pirin's marble giant! Mount Vihren which sits at 2914m (9557ft) is the highest point of the Pirin Mountains, third on the Balkans after Mount Musala in the Rila Mountains and Mount Mitikas in Greece. Its looks like a huge marble stone pyramid with its north face a 400m (5248ft) vertical wall.

    Once we have taken in the views of Vihren we will visit the Bunderitsa lakes. They all are named based on their shape and appearance, there is the Eye, the Frog, Long lake, Fish lake, the Spoon and the Green lake. After our lake tour we will return to the Vihren mountain hut and begin our journey back to Bansko where this evening we will have a traditional dinner, arranged for you in one of the legendary Bansko taverns. 

    Ascent: 714m (2334ft) Descent: 714m (2334ft) Duration: 5h30

  • This morning we will drive from Bankso to the airport in Sofia city. The group transfer will leave Bankso at approximately 0800hrs, arriving at the airport at 1030hrs. If you require an early private transfer this can be arranged, but we would ask that you aim to have a flight leaving from 1230hrs onwards. The departure time from Bansko may change to a later time once everyone has submitted their flight details. 

    Extra nights in Sofia can easily be arranged if you would like to have more time in the capital. 

It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.

Accommodation

On all our trips we aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, clean, characterful, family run accommodation. Our suggested accommodation, listed below, is subject to availability at the time of booking. We have given details of our favoured venues and those we intend to use. If unavailable we will book alternative accommodation of a similar standard.

Our trip fees are based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own your booking will be based on a twin bedroom sharing with someone of the same gender. 

However, on many of our trips single rooms are available on request for a supplementary fee. We recommend booking as early as possible to secure a single room as these are always limited in number. Please contact us for details. 

The hotels we aim to use on this trip are all 4* except for one night when we are in a 3* establishment. The hotel grading system in Bulgaria does not equate to that used in other European countries such as France, or Switzerland. However, a 4* hotel in Bulgaria is the best available, and will offer a good level of service and comfort, often with a swimming pool and spa area. 

Hotel Sveta Sofia, Sofia

Hotel

In the capital city of Sofia we stay at the 4* Hotel Sveta Sofia, which means Saint Sofia. The hotel is perfectly located on a quiet pedestrianised street in the centre of the city and close to all facilities as well as to the main tourist attractions, sights, shopping centres, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs. The hotel is just 5 minutes walk from Serdika Metro Station. The bedrooms have en suite facilities, and air conditioning. We will spend one night in Sofia before moving on. 

Sofia Market Hall and the famous Women's Market can be reached on foot in just a few minutes, and Sofia Airport is just 9km (5.6 miles) away. Shuttle services to the airport are offered by the Hotel upon request and at a surcharge. 

Hotel Magnolia, Panichishte

Hotel

The 3* Hotel Magnolia is situated in the pine forests that surround the Rila mountains. It is just a short distance from the start of our two snowshoe hikes in this area. It is a modern building, with spa facilities surrounded by garden grounds. The bedrooms are all ensuite, spacious, and most rooms have balconies. You will spend two nights at the Hotel Magnolia. 

St George Hotel, Malyovitsa

Hotel

The 3* St George Hotel at Malyovitsa is a small family owned establishment. There are third-five bedrooms which are all en suite with private facilities. The hotel is situated in pine woods at 1050 m (3433ft) and has substantial gardens. The meals are traditional Bulgarian dishes, with some contemporary European cuisine. Enjoy a drink on the terrace and take in the views. We spend one night at the St George. 

 

 

Panorama Resort Hotel, Bansko

Hotel

The 4* Panorama Resort Hotel in the well-known ski resort of Bankso is a modern building, with spa facilities. The complex which sits at the foot of the Pirin mountains has 60 double rooms, and is surrounded by countryside. There is a jacuzzi, steam bath, and relaxation area for easing those muscles at the end of a day in the winter mountains. We will eat dinner at the hotel on two of the three nights you will stay here, and on the last night we will eat in a traditional tavern in Bansko. 


  • Any holiday taken during the Covid-19 pandemic may be subject to change and with little or no notice of that change. As the past months have proven no-one can predict the situation from one week to the next, however, we will do our very best to gauge the best response to any new developments. New restrictions or guidelines might affect where we eat out, which accommodation we can stay in, and potentially transport arrangements if the numbers in vehicles are restricted. 

    Itineraries may not be exactly as advertised due to new regulations or restrictions, for example, we may not be able to stop and have lunch at a mountain farm as stated in the itinerary, because the farm has had to react to new rules with regard to serving food and drinks. We imagine that there will be many scenarios which might lead to a change or adaptation in the itinerary.

    When booking a trip during the pandemic we ask that you keep an open mind and be willing to adapt and be flexible.

  • Arrival

    On arrival your meeting point is the airport in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. You will meet your guide at the airport at a time that will be confirmed once we have all the arrival times of the members of your group. Your flight should arrive no later than 1400hrs to allow time for a tour of the city of Sofia in the afternoon. If your flight arrives after the group transfer has departed we can organise a pick up for you at a cost of 10 Euros to be paid to the driver. The airport in Sofia is less than 30 minutes from the city centre.

    Departure

    On your departure day you will be transferred from Bansko to Sofia airport. A group transfer to the airport is included in your trip fee. We aim to leave your hotel in Bansko at 0800hrs, to arrive at the airport at 1030hrs. If you need to leave Bankso earlier we can arrange a private transfer to the airport at a charge of 50 Euros per vehicle which allows you to share the cost if necessary with any others departing ahead of the group transfer. 

    Extra nights in Sofia can easily be arranged if you would like to have more time in the capital. 

  • When booking a trip we ask you to acquire insurance to cover you for the following:

    Mountain Rescue Insurance

    It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, mountain rescue, cost of repatriation and personal accident risks. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. The maximum altitude for any trip can be checked on the 'At A Glance' box on each trip page. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip, then please ask us for specific details.

    Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance

    You should also have insurance to cover trip cancellation and curtailment. Please note that your deposit and balance payments are non-refundable, unless it is Tracks and Trails who cancel the trip due to a failure to reach the required minimum numbers. In this case we will offer you a refund or the option of transferring to another trip if one is available. We also advise that you should have insurance which covers baggage loss/equipment damage as Tracks and Trails will not be held responsible for loss/damage to baggage/equipment.

    COVID-19 Insurance

    As well as medical cover, we recommend that you have appropriate travel insurance so that if you fall ill and test positive for COVID-19 prior to (or during) your trip, you will be financially covered for cancelling your trip. You should also consider booking a policy that covers you if you have to cancel or curtail your holiday because you have to self-isolate. If you choose to cancel, cancellation charges will be payable, but if the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges. Please read the clauses below detailing trip cancellation and curtailment.

    Travel Insurance covering COVID-19 is now available from a number of suppliers, Campbell Irvine, Trailfinders and Staysure. Please check their websites for the latest information on what is and isn't covered. It is likely that more companies will offer COVID related cover in the future.

    All of the above insurances are detailed in our Terms and Conditions

    If you are joining a trip in the UK helicopter/mountain rescue insurance is not required as this is a free service.

    For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.

  • When packing for a trip in the mountains it is important to have the appropriate equipment and clothing. This kit list features items we believe are necessary for the weather you might encounter and the accommodation you will be staying in. 

    Generally clothing for snowshoeing should be equivalent to that used for walking in the mountains in winter. For this trip the following are provided free of charge: snowshoes, and avalanche transceiver. We will also provide probes and snow shovels. The carrying of this safety equipment is compulsory and demonstrates ‘best practice’. 

    Your guide will meet you with only enough snowshoe equipment for those who have booked it via their Booking Form. If you are bringing your own snowshoe equipment or elements of it then do let us know.

    Equipment

    • Snowshoes - supplied free of charge 
    • Avalanche Transceiver - supplied free of charge
    • Group Shovels - supplied free of charge 
    • Group Snow Probes - supplied free of charge 
    • Walking poles with 'snow baskets' - supplied free of charge
    • Rucksack – 30-35 litres, with waist and chest strap. Ideally it should have a system that allows you to attach snowshoes if it is necessary to carry them. See image below
    • Rucksack – waterproof liner/cover
    • Walking Boots - warm and waterproof. They should not be ‘low cut’ and must cover your ankles
    • Bags to waterproof items, such as documentation
    • Gaiters - useful on days with deep fresh snow

    Clothing 

    • Waterproof jacket - essential, this must keep you dry during a day of continuous snowfall or at least as dry as any waterproof jacket ever keeps you!
    • Waterproof trousers - in case of heavy snowfall
    • Trousers - windproof and warm 
    • Thermal top - long sleeves
    • Thin fleece - long sleeves
    • Waistcoat - fleece/wind stopper 
    • Gloves x 2 (one thick and one thin)
    • Over-mittens for colder days can be useful
    • Warm hat
    • Sun hat
    • Head/ear band 
    • Duvet jacket (or second warm layer)
    • Scarf or 'Buff' for neck
    • Socks - 2 or 3 pairs

    Comfort

    • Lip salve
    • Sunscreen - essential
    • Sunglasses - essential
    • Goggles - very useful in snowfall
    • Snack bars/chocolate
    • Tissues - we recommend biodegradable bags to dispose of rubbish
    • Anti-bacterial hand wash

    Personal First Aid

    • Personal medication 
    • Blister plasters (e.g. Compeed)
    • Painkillers/anti-inflammatory
    • Glucose tablets/Energy gel
    • 2 x Rehydration sachets - eg Dioralyte
    • Throat lozenges
    • Antiseptic cream/spray

    Documentation 

    • Mountain Rescue/Ski Insurance documents - compulsory
    • Passport
    • Credit card
    • Cash - Bulgarian Lev

    Additional Items

    • Slippers for use at accommodation
    • Clothing for use at accommodation
    • Hair dryer if required 
    • Travel Kettle if required 
    • Swimwear for sauna. This depends on which accommodation has been booked for your trip
    • Camera/ Book/Music
    • Toiletries – soap/shower gel; not all accommodation supplies these
    • Ear plugs - if room sharing
    • Small thermos for hot drinks
    • Head torch - plus spare batteries
    • Padlock - for luggage 

    **Supplementary snacks if you follow a gluten free or coeliac diet**

    Leaders are all first aid trained and carry their own first aid kit

    The image below gives examples of how snowshoes can be attached to your rucksack

  • On many of our trips there will be an element of 'group kit' which will be shared amongst our guests. As mountain people you will be used to team work and working together to the mutual benefit and safety of the group.

    The 'group kit' will be minimal and usually just a case of sharing a few lightweight 'survival shelters'. For example on a week-long trip you may carry a small shelter for just one day before passing it on to the next person. 

    If you are booking a trip in winter there will be a few additional safety items. These will be distributed in such a way that no one is over burdened. 

    Other group items necessary for safety and comfort will be carried by your guide/instructor.

  • For each of our trips a minimum number of guests is required before we can confirm that your trip will go-ahead. The minimum and maximum number of guests on your trip is displayed in the 'At a Glance' box on the righthand side of the trip page. 

    We strongly advise you do not book travel until we have confirmed your trip is 'guaranteed' to run. If you book travel before we have confirmed it is 'guaranteed' we cannot be held responsible for any financial loss if the trip does not go ahead.

  • When booking a holiday as a solo traveller a twin bedded room comprising of two single beds, is booked as standard. This will be with someone of the same gender unless you request to pay extra for your own room. Single rooms are often limited in supply so if you would like to pay a supplement for a single room we urge you to get in touch as soon as possible. This trip has a single supplement of £100 for winter 2021.

  • We go to great lengths to work with first class guides and instructors who are passionate about their work. They are all fully qualified, insured, and hold the correct documentation.

    Please note your guide/instructor has complete discretion to make a daily decision on whether or not to take the advertised route based on the weather and the ability of the members of the group. They have our authority to make any route changes they believe are necessary in the interests of safety and enjoyment. 

    For our hiking trips your guide will be an International Mountain Leader and on our running trips your guide will be an International Mountain Leader who it also an experienced mountain 'trail runner'.

    For our snowshoeing trips your guide will be a fully qualified and experienced International Mountain Leader and for cross country ski trips you will be with a fully qualified professional BASI Nordic Ski Instructor or equivalent. BASI is the British Association of Snowsport Instructors.

  • On this trip you will have access to your luggage each day. As you move from hotel to hotel along your route your luggage will be transported with you in the minibus. 

    We do ask that you keep the weight to a maximum of 15kgs (33lbs), and ONE bag per person. Your luggage needs to travel in the group minibus and therefore there is a limited amount of space for the luggage. 

    Not all of our hotels have elevators, and luggage on wheels is a good idea. You may need to be able to carry your luggage to your bedroom which could involve climbing several flights of stairs. 

  • On your itinerary you will find an indication of the amount of ascent and descent you can expect each day. This offers a guideline to how much effort might be expended each day and allows you to decide, based on previous experience, if your fitness and stamina are correct for the trip. 

    We make every attempt to ensure these statistics are as accurate as possible, but ask you to note that the most modern of technology used to record these details can show considerable variations in terms of ascent, descent, and in particular distance. In other words no two people using GPS devices on the same route will have exactly the same details recorded at the end of the day. 

    The statistics given should be used as a 'general' indication of the effort required. 

  • You do not require any maps on Tracks and Trails trips, but if you would like to have a map then your Bulgarian guide can arrange for you to buy some after you arrive in the country. Please ask them on the first evening and they will make arrangements. 

    You will require 'Domino' maps of the Rila, Pirin and Vitosha mountains. All three are available to buy in Bulgaria. Ask your guide upon arrival if you would like to know where to purchase these maps in Sofia. 

  • In Bulgaria, the climate is continental, with cold winters and warm or hot summers; it is slightly milder along the coast of the Black Sea, and of course colder in the hills and mountains where you will be snowshoeing. The country is exposed to both cold air masses from northern Europe or Russia, and warm air masses from the Mediterranean or North Africa.

    In winter, which last from December to February, it is cold throughout the country. Cold air often stagnates on the plains, with cloudy skies and light snowfalls, but these periods may be interrupted by warm winds from the south, which can raise the temperature to 15°Celsius (59 °F) and more, and more frequently by cold air outbreaks from Russia, which can bring strong winds followed by severe frosts.

    In the town of Smolyan, one of your overnights, the average temperatures ranges are given as a minimum in February of -3°Celsius (26.6°F) and a maximum average of 10°Celsius (50°F). In April you can expect temperatures to range from 4°Celsius (39.2°F) to 18°Celsius (64.4°F). Note that in the mountains where you will actually be on snowshoes the temperatures will be lower. 

  • Although Bulgaria is in the EU it has not adopted the Euro currency. For Bulgaria you will need to purchase LEV on arrival. It is best to do this once you have been collected by your guide and not to do this at the airport where the exchange rate is poor. Your guide will take you to an exchange facility on the way to Plovdiv. All towns, and even small villages will have ATM machines where you can extract LEV.  The currency code for Lev is BGN, and the currency symbol is лв. Current exchange rates.

    It is useful to arrive at your destination with some cash in the local currency, however, on most occasions it is relatively easy to visit a 'cash machine' after arrival and withdraw money on a credit or debit card.

    In Bulgaria the official currency is the 'lev'. You might see prices quoted in Euros in some tourist areas, but elsewhere you’ll find that other currencies aren't widely accepted or if they are that the exchange rate is not favourable. 

  • Food

    On our trips we encourage you to experience local tastes and dishes that reflect the culture of the country and for this reason many of our accommodation options will be family run with a reputation for the traditional food of the region. 

    If you have a 'special' diet because of an allergy or intolerance to a certain food type which will make you ill the accommodation will cater for this as best they can, eg gluten free, nut free, lactose free.

    If you are vegetarian then this is not a problem as the hotels/refuges are used to being asked for vegetarian meals. Our accommodation will try to cater for those with vegan diets but in remote refuges in the mountains this is more difficult. If you would like to discuss the suitability of a trip for a vegan diet please contact us. Gluten-free diets will be possible with regard to the evening meals, but we would advise that you bring along some gluten-free snacks for your breakfasts and lunches.

    If you have a 'special' diet which is NOT because of an allergy or intolerance, and is not 'veggie' then we apologise, but we cannot cater for this. The accommodation on the popular routes will be catering for many people each evening, in some cases up to 70/80 meals per night, 7 days a week, and realistically they cannot produce many different meal options unless the food will result in illness.

    Water

    The countries we visit all have tap water which is drinkable. If for any reason a particular hotel is having a problem with a remote mountain water supply they will normally post a sign over the tap indicating that you must not drink the water. At all times you are welcome to ask your guide/instructor if the water can be drunk. We would ask, for environmental reasons, that you avoid using single-use plastic bottles, and bring a water bottle that can be used repeatedly. 

  • A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required for visits to countries outside the EU, such as Norway. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice.  

  • We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

    Note that if your trip involves staying in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut that electric sockets may be in short supply and for that night you may not be able to charge any items. Although the accommodation will have electricity this will often be supplied by solar panels or a generator and limited to use by the staff. For this reason we advise that carrying a small slimline and lightweight 'battery pack' can be very useful for recharging phones which many of you will also use as your camera. 

  • You might like to consider extending your trip with extra nights at the beginning in the beautiful city of Plovdiv, the European Capital of Culture for 2019, or with extra nights at the end in the capital city of Sofia. Both cities are well worth a visit with a rich and varied culture and heritage. 

    For details of how to get direct to Plovdiv by public transport click here. For information about visiting Sofia click here.

  • We believe you should book this trip with Tracks and Trails if you feel strongly about supporting people who are working hard to create a future in their own country. In the case of Bulgaria this is a country with a turbulent political past.

    We decided to work with our snowshoe guide, Stoyan Milkov and his colleagues because of the dedication and passion they have for their culture and their traditions. Having visited Bulgaria to spend time snowshoeing with Stoyan we were impressed to witness the effort he is putting into promoting Bulgaria as a destination for adventure holidays. As well as developing a market for snowshoeing he is working to increase the amount of hikers, mountain bikers, and trail runners arriving in Bulgaria. 

    Our trip is not the cheapest in Bulgaria because:

    • We choose to use top quality accommodation, all 3* or 4* hotels
    • Provide transport each day to see more of Bulgaria
    • Work with qualified professional guides who are passionate about their work
    • We take safety seriously and provide you with an avalanche transceiver

    The wearing of an avalanche transceiver, a simple beacon which transmits a signal, is compulsory for all our snowshoe trips and is standard practice for winter sports. We choose to supply them in Bulgaria even although other companies choose not to. 

    In summary we believe in paying our local agents/guides a fair price for their services, ensuring that you have a holiday that is 'above standard' for Bulgaria, good value for money, and supporting the local economy. We know that when you spend this week with Stoyan, or one of his excellent colleagues, you will learn more about Bulgaria and the Balkans in seven days than you possibly could travelling on your own. 

  • Before booking consider whether you expect to be in the appropriate physical condition on the date of your  departure to allow you to fully participate in and enjoy your holiday. If you have any doubts because of an illness or injury it would be advisable to check with your doctor.

    For UK residents travelling to an EU country you should obtain and bring with you a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment in certain European countries, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance. Also note that if/when the UK leaves the European Union that the EHIC card may no longer be valid. Please check this before departing. We advise that you always carry your insurance documents with details of the Emergency Medical telephone number for your insurance provider, and your policy number. 

  • We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. In particular we ask that you remove any toilet tissue.

    You can read our full policy here.

  • Working across international boundaries, and with various currencies means that the price of our trips can change overnight. We have, however, undertaken to guarantee that once you have paid your deposit the price of your trip is fixed. In this respect we urge you to book early to ensure that you receive the price advertised on our website. The website price may increase due to currency fluctuations, but we guarantee that the price advertised on the date of your booking will be maintained in your individual case. 


Prices may vary depending on date.

2021

Spaces available Book

What's Included

  • Full board accommodation based on twin rooms 
  • Seven nights in 3* and 4* hotels
  • All meals; breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
  • Tickets for chair lifts included in itinerary
  • Snowshoes, avalanche transceiver, walking poles
  • Group safety equipment, such as snow shovels and probes
  • All transport between resorts
  • Timed group pick up and drop off at Sofia airport
  • Guided city tour of Sofia
  • Professional English-speaking UIMLA guide
  • Tracks and Trails memento; a gift to take home

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Insurance
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Tips and personal expenses
  • Entrance to museums/historical monuments not included in the itinerary
  • Descent by chairlift at end of day 4 to Panichishte is optional

I enjoyed the Bulgarian experience thanks to the enthusiasm of Stoyan who freely shared his passion & extensive knowledge of a remarkable country. It is a beautiful country and I appreciated seeing the different scenery in different mountains, the various accommodation along the way and I enjoyed being driven through the countryside (excellent driver by the way, good fun and very courteous). I was sorry to miss high-level hikes into the Pirin Mountains (due to sore feet!) but I was better by day 6, the highest point I reached - then, I could enjoy being out in some serious weather conditions. The steep descent through indigenous Beechwood forest was beautiful and the mountain hut where we enjoyed delicious, rustic, heart-warming soup was a treat.

Was very surprised by the landscape and also that the hotels were better than I expected. It really was a very interesting trip in terms of the culture and also being able to learn so much about Bulgaria from Stoyan our local guide. Highly recommend it. 

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Grade: Intermediate

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At a Glance

From Price £995
Holiday Type Snowshoeing
Duration 8 Days
Group Size 4-8
Minimum Age 17
Maximum Altitude 2851m (9351ft)
Countries Visited Bulgaria
Meet In Sofia airport, Bulgaria
View all Snowshoeing Holidays

The Pirin Mountains: Snowshoe Bulgaria

TSL Snowshoes: Explained

Why book with T&T?

  • Highly professional guides
  • Personal service guaranteed 
  • Attention to detail throughout
  • Explore off the beaten track
  • Single rooms on request
  • No surcharge guaranteed
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