Enthralling Horse Riding Holiday in Macedonia

A riding expedition is a journey on horseback, which may entail a few hardships, but you will witness an unforgettable experience and scenery which otherwise you may not have the opportunity to see. Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galichnik invites you to join this rewarding soul journey with breathtaking scenery of the Bucephalus trails in Macedonia. Bucephalus was the name of the legendary horse of Alexander the Great. You will have the opportunity to ride the paths that Bucephalus was going through with the ancient warriors. Join this holiday and explore Macedonia on a horseback!

Key information

  • Rider Weight Limit: 221 pounds / 100 kilograms
  • Horse Height Range: 15 hands
  • Tack Type: Western tack
  • Horse Breed: Balkan mountain horses, halfbreed Arab horses, and Lepicaners

Meet the instructors

Vasko
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Highlights

  • 6 days' horse riding sessions
  • Approximate daily riding time: 3 to 7 hours
  • 4 wonderful and awesome ranch life workshops
  • Sheep farms and Saint Petka church visits
  • Use of tents and helmet during the ride
  • Authentic breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Complimentary drinks at the ranch
  • 7 nights' accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate

Styles


6 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: Macedonian, English
The maximum participants in the group is 10
Airport transfer included: Skopje Alexander the Great Airport
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Accommodation

The accommodation during the tour includes the three-star Hotel Ambasador in Skopje on the first night as well as Hotel Kalin in Lazaropole, Baba I Dede apartment in Galičnik, and camping out on the mountain on the other nights. Additionally, if you prefer higher quality accommodation than a three-star hotel in Skopje city, please send an inquiry to Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galichnik for an offer.

Program

About the riding expedition

This holiday is for those who enjoy the mountain's treasures. You will be riding uphill along the valleys of Bistra Mountain and Mavrovo Lake and enjoy neverending open views of countless mountain peaks. On this trip, you will get closer to shepherd's life, visit a few sheep farms, experience the traditional way of cheese making, and just enjoy the nature. The holiday will also include lodging in old villages, camps, enjoying the taste of fresh domestic food (sometimes by the fire, sometimes in the restaurant or nature), and sitting on a rock in the middle of a pasture taking pleasure in the splendors of life and nature.

The riding and horses

Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galichnik offers a western style of riding. You will ride Balkan mountain horses which are hardy and surefooted in the steep terrain. Also, you will ride halfbreed Arab horses and Lepicaners. You will ride only with a light backpack or nothing on your backs because the jeep will transport your luggage to the overnight destination. Furthermore, please make sure that you are fit enough for the journey.

This riding tour is suitable for intermediate and advanced riders. However, if in a group of riders there are one or two beginners, Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galichnik will still be accommodating the group and the riding holiday is doable as long as these non-riders are fit enough for the challenge. At the beginning of each tour, Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galichnik will do a safety briefing and for the beginners as they provide a practical training about the western style of horseback riding as well.

Safety

The Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galichnik's team works at a high-level worldwide safety and risks management, licensed by USAID, ATTA (Adventure Travel Trade Association), and MKAIML (Macedonian Association of International Mountain Leaders). They are using a jeep and truck support for a safety backup that is always connected to radio devices to your guides and safety equipment for mountain evacuation.

Workshops

Saddling and bridling horses

Taking good care of your horse is not just a health necessity, but the most essential - a bonding time. A horse is not just a ride - it's a living being. Proper bonding and mutual trust is a safety feature and a recipe for an unforgettable ride.

Goat milking

This workshop will present you with ancient knowledge of milking the goats. You'll learn how to set the animal into a milking post, maintain sanitary requirements, how much milk is allowed to milk from the goat, etc.

Cheese making

You'll learn how to make cheese from fresh milk the way the ancestors did. You will know more about what temperature is the best, what kind of lactose bacteria to add to certain types of cheese, or how do you preserve the cheese for an extended period.

Itinerary and schedule

Day 1

After your arrival at the International Airport Skopje (SKP) or also known as the Alexander the Great Airport, Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galichnik's transport will pick you up and take you to the Hotel Ambasador in Skopje city center which is about 20 minutes' drive. Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galichnik's local guide from Skopje will be at your disposal to take you to some local secret places, show you the city, and take you out for a drink and dinner in the traditional restaurant, Dukat. However, if you arrive after 19:00, you will go directly to the hotel to enjoy your dinner because it will be too late for any other activities.

Day 2

After breakfast in Skopje, your transport will take you up in the mountains at Sherpa Horse Riding Ranch which is around one hour and 45 minutes' drive. Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galichnik's team will greet you with some welcome drinks. You will meet the horses and after the briefing procedures, you will have some fun with exciting ranch workshops (milking goats and traditional cheese preparation) and get ready for the road. The Sherpa truck will carry your luggage to your overnight destination. You will be served lunch at the ranch bar (fresh meat provided directly from the ranch) followed by wine and cheese tasting.

Before you start the ride, you will have safety equipment handout, detail briefing on the safety procedures, and practical explanation of western style horseback riding (non-riders are also welcome). After you choose the horses, you will be ready to go. On this track, you will ride through the forest of Sushica and ride downhill to the villages of Selce and Tresonce with panoramic views of the north side of Mountain Stogovo.

On the way to the village of Lazaropole, you will have a fruit break, then you will pass through the Tresonce Village and experience folklore and the old village architecture. You will be lodging in Lazaropole at Hotel Kalin, a cozy mountain hotel with a traditional architecture. Dinner will be served next to a warm fireplace at the hotel restaurant (fresh wild meat dish from the region).

  • Approximate time on the saddle: 3.5 hours' forest ride

Today's schedule

  • 07.30 Breakfast
  • 09.00 Departure to the ranch of horse club - Bistra Galičnik - Galičnik
  • 10.30 Arrival at the ranch followed by a warm welcome with refreshments
  • 11.30 Milking goats and cheese preparation
  • 13.00 Picnic lunch (fresh meat provided directly from the farm) followed by wine and cheese tasting and delicious local vegan / vegetarian food if specified
  • 14.30 Safety equipment handout, safety and procedures briefing, and practical explanation of western style horseback riding (non-riders are also welcome)
  • 15.30 Departure to the hunting village of Lazaropole on horseback (forest mountain ride)
  • 19.00 Arrival in Lazaropole and accommodation at Hotel Kalin for dinner and an overnight
  • 19.30 Traditional meal (fresh wild meat dish from the region)

Day 3

After a lovely evening, excellent food, wine and good sleep, off you will go again. You will have breakfast followed by saddling and bridling - getting ready for the road. You will off for an adrenaline ride which will take you above the forest of Bistra Mountain with an incredible view of the Korab Massive (2,764 meters / 9,068 feet).

This trip will get you closer to the shepherd’s life. You will be visiting a few sheep farms and tasting traditional white cheese and yogurt. At the sheep farm, you will get close to the shepherd's life far away from the civilization and old traditional farming techniques will be presented as well. You will have an opportunity to taste all of the milk product directly fresh from the farm.

After the long breathtaking experience, you will be lodging in the base camp deep in the mighty mountains far away from the civilization. You will be setting up the sleeping tents, starting a bonfire along with dinner preparation done traditionally, and be getting ready for a party around the fire and some good sleep.

  • Approximately time on the saddle: 6 hours' high-level mountain ride

Today's schedule

  • 07.30 Breakfast
  • 09.00 Starting the preparations which include saddling and bridling the horses
  • 10.00 Departure to the base camp located deep in the Mountain Bistra on a horseback
  • 12.30 Picnic lunch (snacks and fruit)
  • 13.00 Departure on a horseback
  • 15.00 Arriving at the sheep farm (cheese tasting lunch)
  • 16.00 Departure to the base camp on a horseback
  • 18.00 Arrival to the base camp
  • 19.30 Barbecue dinner next to the fire (overnight in tents)

Day 4

You will wake up for a fantastic morning with endless view of high-level mountain peaks. You will be preparing breakfast on your own, enjoying the fresh mountain air, and then you slowly getting ready for the next journey. This adrenaline ride will take you from the high mountain peaks down to Lake Mavrovo. You will be setting up the camp on the lake shore, enjoying at the beach side, and you will also have the opportunity to visit some of the local traditional fish restaurants in the village of Mavrovo. Fresh fish from the lake will be on the menu today. Overnight will be in tents or a local super cozy guest house.

  • Approximate time on the saddle: 4 hours' ride

Today's schedule

  • 08.00 Starting breakfast preparations
  • 09.00 Breakfast and packing
  • 10.00 Departure to Mavrovo Lake on a horseback
  • 13.00 Arrival to Mavrovo Lake and lunch at the traditional restaurant Glamour (specialty: local mushrooms)
  • 14.00 Departure to the lake camp or a guest house on horseback (beach ride)
  • 15.00 Arrival
  • 18.30 Dinner at the local fish restaurant (overnight in tents or a local guest house)

Day 5

In this good morning, waking up next to the lake will give you extraordinary energy to climb high in the hills again. You will get ready after your breakfast. On today’s agenda, you will walk through a very steep uphill for just 45 minutes (if someone is not able to do it, Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galichnik has a backup solution). On this trip, you will also be going to visit some more sheep farms and enjoying different mountain sceneries.

This time, the guides will take you around the highest peak of Medenica and set up the top camp on Karbula Peak (2,100 meters above sea level) located at the west end of Mountain Bistra with an incredible view on Krcin Peak. You will be enjoying the sunset over the endless horizon next to the bonfire where you will be going to prepare dinner. You will enjoy fresh lamb directly from the sheep farms around you in a very traditional way for dinner. Bon appetit, enjoy the overnight in the tents, and good night.

  • Approximate time in the saddle: 7 hours' ride

Today's schedule

  • 08.00 Starting breakfast preparations
  • 09.00 Breakfast and packing
  • 10.00 Departure to sheep farm on a horseback
  • 13.00 Arrival at the sheep farm with a lunch break
  • 14.00 Departure to highest Karbula camp (2,100 meters) on horseback
  • 18.00 Arrival to the base camp
  • 19.30 Have dinner next to the campfire (overnight in tents)

Day 6

This morning, something will be entirely different. You will be waking up in the dark, preparing the horses, and riding to the highest peak of Medenica for the sunrise. You will be waiting for the unbelievable sunrise along with a fruit snack at the top of the world. It is a lucky trip with a sight. You will be going to walk entirely downhill, off the horses, with some riding in between to the Galičnik Village and the Sherpa Ranch.

You will then enjoy a well-deserved breakfast at the ranch bar. After the meal and some relax time spent in the ranch environment, you will have an exclusive forest ride in the afternoon. The guide will lead you through the thick forest visiting the smallest church on the Balkans, Saint Petka, where you can enjoy a light snack. During the ride, you will see the mountain peaks of Krcin, Stogovo, panoramic view of the village of Galičnik, the canyon of river Radika, and many forest springs with pure crystal mountain waters.

Finally, in the evening, you will have a big lunch / dinner party at the ranch. You will be hanging with the rest of the group, enjoying some unique wines, and dancing with the traditional live music group from the region (Majovci). Later, you will coordinate the itinerary to the time of the sunrise.

  • Approximate time in the saddle: 5 hours' ride

Today's schedule

  • 04.00 Starting horse preparation
  • 05.00 Departure to the pick Madenica on a horseback
  • 06.00 Arriver to Medenica for a sunset and fruit break
  • 07.00 Departure to Galičnik and Sherpa Ranch (walking downhill and riding)
  • 09.00 Breakfast at the ranch and free relax time
  • 12.00 Departure to the Saint Petka church with lunch snack
  • 13.00 Departure to the ranch
  • 14.00 Arrival at the ranch
  • 15.00 Gala lunch / dinner party at the ranch followed by traditional life music (overnight in a local guesthouse in Galičnik Village)

Day 7

After a fun evening and a good night sleep, you will be ready for a new day. Breakfast will be at a local restaurant in Galičnik Village. Today, you will start the ride from the ranch and the guides will take you to experience some riding in the high-level mountain valleys with endless open space surroundings. You will be returning to the ranch for dinner where you will have a relaxing evening. Later, it will be time to say goodbye to Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galichnik's horses and the team.

  • Approximate time on the saddle: 4.5 hours ride

Today's schedule

  • 09.00 Breakfast
  • 10.30 Departure to the vast one space mountain valleys on horseback (different destination from the other days)
  • 13.00 Picnic lunch
  • 14.00 Departure to the ranch on a horseback (different destination from the morning ride)
  • 16.00 Arrival at the ranch
  • 17.00 Workshops and activities
  • 19.00 Dinner at the ranch (local guest house)

Day 8

You will have breakfast and be transferred to the airport. According to your flight schedule, you will be transferred from your hotel right on time.

Note: The itinerary can be changed according to the weather conditions, the groups' needs, and the flights' schedules.

Included excursions

  • Guided city tour in Skopje (optional)
  • Visit to Saint Petka church
  • Visits to several sheep farms

Instructors

Vasko Velichkovski
Vasko has been promoting horseback riding tourism for 10 years now. As horses are in his family for two generations, there's a special connection to these amazing creatures. A life enduring passion for the sport and the aversion towards the cities and their noisy environment makes Vasko spend most of his time in the mountains of the Mavrovo National Park, namely the village of Galichnik, place of his family’s origin. His passion turned into a profession the moment he started Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galchnik. He's a professional guide and a horse riding trainer who is also fluent in English.

Location

You will ride through various locations in Macedonia including the forest of Sushica, villages of Selce and Tresonce, Lazaropole Village, Tresonce Village, the forest of Bistra Mountain, Lake Mavrovo, highest peak of Medenica, Karbula Peak, Saint Petka church, and the village of Galičnik where Sherpa Horse Riding Ranch is located. The ranch is one kilometer away from the legendary village of Galičnik, within the National Park of Mavrovo.

Mavrovo National Park

Mavrovo National Park with its landscapes, lakes, and forests, is one of the most beautiful areas in Macedonia. Spreading over an area of about 300 square miles, Mavrovo National Park offers the visitor sublime scenery of great environmental value. Deep canyons, snowy peaks, blue lakes combined with dense forests, and vegetation overflowed with numerous rivers with wild rapids, waterfalls, and crystal clear water adding to the beauty of the mountain landscape inhabited by an abundance of diverse wildlife.

The highest mountain peaks in Macedonia are all found in the National Park of Mavrovo which is located in the western part of the country. The mountains of Shara, Deshad, and Bistra, as well as its peaks, are standing beneath the imposing Mountain Korab (2,764 meters) make this mountain range even more fascinating. Mavrovo's impressive forests and its hilltops host a rich variety of rare species of trees, mountain flowers, wild teas. and herbs that can be easily gathered by hand.

Bistra is one of the most interesting mountains in the Republic of Macedonia. The etymology of this topography comes from the Macedonian word "bistra" which means cleanliness. This referring to the transparency of its waters and pureness of nature on this mountain. Bistra has many peaks higher than 2,000 meters and the highest one is the Medenica Peak which is 2,163 meters above sea level. The summit of Medenica offers a very picturesque view of the region. On its west side, there is an excellent view of mountain Korab and on its northern side, the Mavrovo Lake and Park are revealing the vibrant countryside filled with wild horses, July snow, scattered sheep herds, wildflowers, medical herbs, and a sight worth experiencing.

Galičnik

Galičnik is a mountain village located on the slopes of the Bistra Mountain at 1,300 to 1,600 meters above the sea level, some 10 kilometers from Lake Mavrovo. Along with Lazaropole is one of the two biggest and oldest Mijak villages in the region. Galičnik has well preserved the traditional architecture including an amphitheater in the village square and is famous for its surrounding countryside and its preserved nature.

In the past, the economy of Galičnik relied on livestock especially the sheep trade: producing of cheese, meat, and wool products. People from Galičnik and northwestern Macedonia appreciate the local yellow cheese, kaškaval (kashkaval), that is produced in the region as well as the local salt brine white cheese, "belo sirenje". One should not miss local specialties like the “bakrdan”, yogurt, and lamb.

Food

You will be served seven breakfasts, seven lunches, and seven dinners made with healthy organic produce from Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galichnik's ranch and prepared the traditional way - over the open fire. You will also taste local wines and fresh dairy product right out of the farm. Traditional Macedonian diet is all about the simplicity and high-quality produce in season. Bread is the king, but meat is the crown of the table. No fancy sauces, tricky soufflés, problematic combinations, or strange exotic ingredients.

Meat comes from an animal who has lived its life grazing on rich high altitude herbal pastures, roaming freely in its natural life cycle. Dairy products are produced without chemicals, taste enhancers, using only traditional natural procedures. Local white cheeses are a synonym for this region. "Galichko sirenje" is a brand. Moreover, the local wines, rakija, and vinegar are famous for their extraordinary taste and quality all around the world. Please note that vegetarians are required to specify their food preference, therefore, please send an inquiry to Sherpa Horse Riding Bistra Galichnik for an offer.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

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

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

What's included

  • 6 days' horse riding sessions
  • Goat milking workshop
  • Cheese preparation workshop
  • Saddling and bridling of the horse workshop
  • Collecting goats and horses from pastures to the ranch workshop
  • Visit to Saint Petka church
  • Visits to several sheep farms
  • Guided city tour in Skopje (optional)
  • Full guidance by professional horse riding English-speaking guide
  • Helmet for horse riding
  • Tents
  • Jeep for safety backup and transport (food, tents. and all other luggage)
  • All transfers as described
  • 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 7 dinners
  • Drinks at the ranch (all kinds of beverages, alcoholic, and refreshments)
  • 7 nights' accommodation
  • Entrance fee for Mavrovo National Park

What's not included

  • Air transfer and insurance
  • Back protector for horse riding
  • Drinks at the restaurants (all kinds of beverages, alcoholic, and refreshments)
  • All personal expenses not mentioned under the inclusion

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% 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 --
Availability

This holiday is available all year round from May until November, with arrival on Sunday. Please select an arrival date below.

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