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8 Day Magic Caves, Waterfalls, and Castles Horse Riding Holiday in the Balkans, Sevlievo

Lovnidolsko shausse, Sevlievo, Gabrovo Province, Bulgaria

Fascinating Horse Riding Holiday in Bulgaria

Discover Bulgaria on horseback! Alfa Riders LTD & Alfa Centaur LTD welcomes you to discover one of the best-kept secrets of Europe, Bulgaria, a beautiful mountainous country that offers you untouched villages, rich spiritual traditions, spectacular granite peaks, deep rivers, green valleys, blue sea, and old-world culture with an impressive history. If you wish to enjoy exciting moments, riding in this splendid different world is perfect for you. You will see the spectacular sceneries of the land in the best possible way, from the horseback.

Key information

  • Rider weight limit: 209 pounds / 95 kilograms
  • Horse height range: 15 to 16 hands
  • Tack type: Western and English tack
  • Horse Breed: Shagya and pure-bred Arabs, East-Bulgarian breed, and cross-bred horses with Akhal-Teke blood horses

Highlights

  • 6-days riding on beautiful trails
  • Approximate daily riding time: 4 to 7 hours
  • Monasteries, caves, and waterfalls excursions
  • A visit to the ancient Veliko Turnovo
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • 7 nights' accommodation
  • Airport transfers

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


6 days with instruction
Group size: 4-10 participants
Airport transfer included: Sofia Airport
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Accommodation

You will stay in high-quality hotels or guest houses, in double rooms with WC and shower. Swimming pools, massages, and sauna are available in all of the hotels.

Note

If a single rider wants to share a room with somebody else, but there is no other suitable person to share, then he / she will have a single accommodation and has to pay its additional tax.

Program

The trail takes you to the north side of the Balkans in its central fore-mountains, the land of ancient historical, architectural, and extraordinary natural landmarks. The main goal of this carefully designed holiday is to show you the best-preserved castles, towers, monasteries, and fortresses from the Middle Ages together with the old houses and traditional crafts and finally to leave you fascinated while staying in front of the unique waterfalls and caves of the Devetaki plateau. The relief is various, but mainly smooth and pleasant for horseback riding and will give you the possibility to ride free of strain and to enjoy with all your senses the amazing sceneries of nature.

Itinerary

Day 1

You will be picked up from Sofia Airport (SOF) and transferred to Sevlievo, placed 190 kilometers northeast from the capital. Arriving at Helios hotel with a sauna and swimming pool, you will then have initial instructions by the guides. Dinner and overnight stay will be in the hotel.

Day 2

After breakfast in the hotel, you will visit the ethnographic complex Etara near the town of Gabrovo by car. The complex presents a village from the 19th century with the main crafts developed at that time. The old machines are working with the power of the running water and the present craftsmen produce traditional pots, garments, food, music instruments, tools, and souvenirs on them.

After the visit, you will go to the stable, saddle the horses, and prepare to start riding with final instructions by the guides. The target is Dryanovo Monastery, placed southeast from Sevlievo. On the way, you will ride through hills and beautiful forests with small creeks and lakes and have a picnic on a beautiful meadow in the middle of the way. You will spend the night in Skalsko first-class hunting lodge near the town of Dryanovo, five kilometers away from the beautiful Dryanovo Monastery area or in VSK Kentavar Boutique Hotel in the town of Dryanovo.

  • Distance: about 23 kilometers (five hours' riding)

Day 3

After breakfast at the hotel, you will visit the monastery and the cave “Bacho Kiro” above it by car. You will start from Dryanovo Monastery northward to the village of Ledenik through beautiful meadows and walk along the small canyon and nice oak forests. An interesting tower has been preserved, that was built during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185 - 1396). After that, there will be a picnic next to the village of Kereka in the middle of the way. Complex "Chiflika" in traditional style is offering dinner and shelter for the night as well as a nice swimming pool.

  • Distance: about 21 kilometers (four hours' riding)

Day 4

The day starts with a breakfast at "Chiflika" hotel followed by a visit to Veliko Turnovo, the capital of Bulgaria in the time of the second Bulgarian Kingdom ( 1185-1396) by car. The highlight of this visit is the ancient Bulgarian capital Veliko Tarnovo, a well-fortified hill that has been the house of the Bulgarian tsar (king) and the aristocracy for two centuries. The castle and Orthodox churches that have survived from the Middle Ages are telling stories of one impressive history: the year 1185 began with omens. The winter happened to be so mild that the fruit trees all over Europe blossomed even in January.

The Bulgarians connected this "God's omen" with the hope of restoring their state which had been subdued by Byzantium 167 years ago. The brothers, Assen and Peter, which owned a miraculous icon, fascinated the people in the church on the day of Saint Dimitar and led them to an armed uprising. Both brothers were kings for totally 12 years and they succeeded to restore Bulgaria almost to the size of its first kingdom (681-1018). Both brothers were killed by traitors.

On April 9, 1205, the army of the Fourth Crusade took the capital of Byzantium, Constantinople, and founded their own Latin Empire led by the count of Flanders, Boduen. Tsar Kaloyan (the younger brother of Assen and Peter) attempted to conclude peace with the knights, but they refused haughtily the offered hand. The eventful clash occurred on April 14, 1205, near to Adrianopolis (present Edirne). The army of count Louis was defeated and the Emperor Boduen was captured and taken to the capital Veliko Tarnovo where later died.

The next target is the village of Emen. You will ride along Yantra River, the fields, and forests till the village. You will have a picnic next to the village of Balvan. After the ride, you will go to the beautiful country style complex "Imenieto” with a swimming pool for dinner and overnight stay.

  • Distance: about 22 kilometers (four hours' riding)

Day 5

After breakfast at the hotel, you will start in the northwest direction to the village of Krushuna, riding through beautiful forests with meadows and fields towards the Devetaki plateau with its extraordinary caves, waterfalls, and lakes. You will have a picnic on the shade near the village of Dimcha. Overnight stay will be at Karpachevo guesthouse “Ongul”.

  • Distance: about 45 kilometers (seven to eight hours' riding)

Day 6

Today will be the rest day for the horses and riders. After breakfast at the guesthouse, you will visit the remarkable Devetaki cave, placed 15 kilometers from Krushuna by car. A part of the movie “The Expendables 2” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Bruce Willis was captured in the cave in November 2011. You will then enjoy lunch at the guesthouse.

After that, you will be walking up to the amazing Kroushuna’s Waterfalls coming from the caves with the springs and visit Stalbitsata cave on a horseback. The ride will be one and a half hours on the beautiful paths of Devetaki plateau above the waterfalls. Krushuna's Waterfall is a unique natural water cascade whose sparkling waterfalls consist of many shoots and small basins. The region is green and wild with a large variety of plant and animal species. This picturesque area is rich of limestone caves with springing streams and rivers. The biggest cave, called Boninska, contains the longest underground lake (800 meters) in Bulgaria. The territory of Krushuna’s Waterfalls is a national park. Dinner and overnight stay will be at the guesthouse.

Day 7

After breakfast at the guesthouse, you will ride from Karpachevo village to the vertical cave ”Garvanitsa” on the plateau, then ride to the lake of Kramolin where you can swim in with and without the horses or row with the canoe. You will then have a picnic at the lake followed by riding forward to the bigger lake formed from Rositsa river where the ride is finished and horses and riders are transported to the stable. Dinner and overnight stay will be at a hotel near the stable.

  • Distance: about 33 kilometers (six hours' riding)

Day 8

After breakfast at the guesthouse, you will leave to Sofia for a departure from Sofia Airport (SOF).

Pace

The pace is varying from walk on the steeper slopes to a fast pace on the open spaces which are great for long canters. Usually, you will be riding 40% walking, 30% trotting, and 30% cantering. This proportion could be changed according to the requirements and the abilities of the riders.

Equipment

Alfa Riders LTD & Alfa Centaur LTD has both Western and English high-quality saddles of Ortho-Flex and Podium.

Horses

Alfa Riders LTD & Alfa Centaur LTD has Shagya and pure-bred Arabs, East-Bulgarian breed, and cross-bred horses with Akhal-Teke blood, all well trained and calm. The height of the horses is from 150 to 165 centimeters or 15 to 16 hands.

The riding guides

The riding guides are experienced and professional and know all the horses and routes well. They have a sound knowledge and awareness of safety and looking after horses and guests out on a ride. The leading guide is able to take sole charge of riders and to encourage you to enjoy riding and plan together with you the riding time and the breaks. There will be two guides of professional riders, one leads the group and the other is following the group with a Jeep and all the luggage.

Notes

  • The routes and the dates could be changed upon request. If a group of minimum of four riders wants to change the date, this could be done if there are no other bookings in this period.
  • Arrival time is between 12:00 and 16:00 or anytime very close to these hours. Those arriving outside the mentioned time should have a special transfer.
  • Departure time is between 11:00 and 15:00 or anytime very close to these hours. Those departing earlier than mentioned time should have a special transfer.
  • Those departing later than the mentioned time will not have to pay for a special transfer, but they will be left at the airport together with the earlier departing riders.

Location

You will ride through the Balkans in Bulgaria, from the riding club ”Alfa”, located near the town of Sevlievo, to the village of Skalsko, Dryanovo monastery, the village of Ledenik, Emen, Kurpachevo, Krushuna's waterfalls and the magic caves, Rositsa Lake, and back to the riding club. The Balkans are the longest chain in the peninsula with over 600 kilometers. Dividing Bulgaria into two distinct halves, the Balkans amaze you with their spectacular natural sights, such as the river canyons, the rocks, the forests, and the high picks (the highest is 2,376 meters).

Food

This holiday includes breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, except hard drinks. The hotels and houses provide breakfasts and dinners and they offer traditional local dishes. The midday meals are in the open-air during the passages and they consist of warm food, beer, cold, and warm up drinks.

Alfa Riders LTD & Alfa Centaur LTD offers ecologically clean food, international and traditional Bulgarian cuisine. All this experience will be supplemented by the fine Bulgarian wines and the delicious traditional dishes, fruits, and vegetables, cultivated without any chemical treatment.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • A visit to Devetaki plateau caves
  • Bow-shooting
  • Cultural tour around the historic landmarks
  • Massages (available every night upon request and against a small additional payment)
  • Rowing with canoe
  • Special party night
  • Swimming in a lake with the horses

What's included

  • 6-day rides through beautiful paths
  • Visits to monasteries, caves, and waterfalls
  • A visit to the ancient Veliko Turnovo
  • Airport transfers from and to Sofia Airport (SOF)
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • 7 nights' accommodation

What's not included

  • Hard drinks

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Sofia Airport (SOF). Transfer from and to this airport on certain schedules is included in the price.

Airport: Sofia Airport Airport transfer included: Sofia Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 16% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Pricing information
  • Private transfer from / to Sofia: 80 EUR net price
  • Small group supplement (2 or 3 in the group): 350 EUR net price
  • Sleeping bag hire: 20 EUR net price
  • Wine tasting with 5 wines and special food for each of them: 20 EUR per person net price
  • Prices can be changed due to the extreme change in the fuel price

 

Tour information

You can, however, pay a small group supplement of 350 EUR if there are less than four riders or you can choose the 8 Days Medieval Tour and Horse Riding Holiday. For more information, please send an inquiry.

Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 4 participants

Saturday May 15, 2021
(8 days / 7 nights)

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