9-Day Nature Tour

Including South-western Bulgarian mountain ranges and surrounding areas

This exciting nature trip to the most beautiful Bulgarian mountains includes some general birdwatching combined with flower, butterfly and other wildlife identification. This tour is aimed at people with a general interest in wildlife and could be suitable for birdwatchers and their non-birding partners that can find beautiful mixture of activities like archaeology, history, shopping, but also learn some interesting birds. During this trip we also focus on mammals (including Brown Bear), dragonflies, reptiles, as well as other fascinating features. Different species of orchids and many other seasonal alpine flowers also feature, including Narcissus-Flowered Anemone, Globe-flower and several Balkan endemics. Led by Pavel Simeonov, your dedicated specialist in Bulgaria, eventful experiences are guaranteed throughout.


Day 1

Flight to Sofia, on arrival you will be met by our representative and drive 100 km to a lovely and traditional wine-producing village in the south-western corner of the country, nestled in a picturesque gorge. It is located between three majestic Mountains bordering Macedonia and Greece. Stop off en route to explore some outstanding birding locations. Here is the best place in Europe to see several South-Eastern specialities: Woodchat Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Crag Martin, Barred and Orphean Warblers, Sombre Tit, Ortolan, Black-headed and Rock Buntings. Picnic lunch, traditional restaurant dinner and overnight stay at a beautiful local guesthouse.

Day 2 & 3

We will take two days for a leisurely exploration of the countryside and two adjacent Mediterranean-like areas, located in the bosom of an ancient volcanic cone near the border of Greece. The cone is bisected by the river Strouma. We will look for Rock Partridge, Rufous-tailed and Blue Rock Thrushes and other unusual passerines, such as Rock Nuthatch, Black-eared Wheatear and Rock Sparrow. Wildlife includes several Mediterranean butterflies like Little Tiger Blue, Cardinal, as well as some interesting dragonflies, such as Scarse Chaser. Eastern Four-lined Ratsnake, Leopard Snake, Kotschy's Gecko and two species of tortoises are among notable local reptiles, which also feature in the tour. En route, we will visit one of the oldest Bulgarian monasteries. Picnic lunch, traditional restaurant dinner and two-night stay at local Guesthouse.

Day 4

Today, we will travel 100 km to a charming mountain village, located in the heart of Pirin National Park listed in the UNESCO Natural and Cultural Heritage. Along the way, we will see the open landscapes gradually giving way to river valleys. Long-legged Buzzards, Red-backed Shrikes, Spanish Sparrows, Crested Tit, Black-headed and Rock Buntings are among birds we will look for, also keeping an eye out for mammals and reptiles. In the mountain areas we will see different species of orchids and many other seasonal alpine flowers. Comfortable accommodation at a local Guesthouse in the heart of Pirin Mountain.

Day 5

After breakfast we shall explore the highland area and the alpine zone of Pirin National Park. We will also visit locations where Balkan Chamois may be seen. White-backed and Black Woodpeckers, Woodlark, Tree Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Ring Ouzel, Crested, Willow, Marsh, Blue and Coal Tits, Treecreeper, Gold and Firecrest, Bullfinch, Common Crossbill and Nutcracker are some of the forest birds that we will look for. Our path will take us to the alpine meadows and glacial lakes, where highlights such as Water Pipit, Alpine Accentor, Whinchat and Shore Lark are well represented. The majestic Golden Eagle is among notable raptors to be seen here. One of the target species of rare butterflies, the Mountain Fritillary, flies in alpine meadows above the tree line. Further exploration of the Pirin Mountain range offers some outstanding botanical specialities, including Narcissus-Flowered Anemone, Globe-flower and several Balkan endemics such as Saxifraga ferdinandii-coburgii, Aquilegia aurea and Silene chlorantha.
Overnight at our Guesthouse.

Day 6

A journey to an impressive canyon in the Western Rhodopes will present us with major tour highlights, including a Brown Bear watch at twilight. Overnight stay in a cosy guesthouse in a charming mountain village.

Day 7

After breakfast, we will take an hour drive to the very picturesque gorge, the kingdom of the exquisite Wallcreeper and Orpheus flower (Haberlea rodopensis), which is a unique Bulgarian endemic and the only one of its kind worldwide to fall in anabiosis. We will also keep an eye out for mammals, reptiles and amphibians, including Balkan Chamois, European Souslik and European legless Lizard. We are likely to find Crag Martins, Ravens and Peregrine flying above the Devil's Throat Cave, which we can also explore, if you would like to see some interesting species of bats. Walking down to the river, we will look for the Dipper diving into the mountain stream, as well as some interesting butterflies such as Clouded Apollo, Balkan Clouded Yellow and Nicholl's Ringlet. Overnight stay in our guesthouse.

Day 8

We will head back toward Sofia and stop in an exceptional village-museum for a cultural diversion. We will visit the Ethnographic and Architectural Museum. Later, we will stop at an impressive, historic Monastery. In the surrounding area we will be on the lookout for interesting butterflies, including Admirals. We will spend the afternoon exploring Rila Mountain National Park, where we may see several species of woodpeckers, Hazel Grouse, Alpine Chough and Golden Eagle. Later in the evening, we will reach Sofia and spend the night in a hotel high on Vitosha Mountain.

Day 9

Early in the morning, we will explore the alpine zone of Vitosha Nature Park, looking for Nutcracker, Common Crossbill, Coal Tit, Tree Pipit and Horn Lark. Afterwards, we take the short trip to the Sofia Airport for the late afternoon return flight.

*This is entirely optional leaving you completely free to make personally your flight reservations and to pursue your travel arrangements with an airline company or your own travel agent. Please contact us if you would like further clarification: info@branta-tours.com