Miyaks are native tribe from the region of Macedonia. Some say they are descendants of the King Samoil, others that their heritage goes far as the King Alexandar the Great. Archeological artifacts mention their existence as far as the Roman times. This holiday is for those who enjoy the mountain’s treasures. Riding uphill along the valleys of Bistra Mountain and Mavrovo lake, you will enjoy never-ending open views of countless mountain peaks.
The Miyaks (Macedonian: Мијаци/Mijaci) are an ethnographic group of Macedonians who live in the Lower Reka (Dolna Reka) region which is also known as Miyachia, along the Radika River, in western Macedonia, numbering 30,000-60,000 people.
The Miyaks practice predominantly animal husbandry, and are known for their ecclesiastical architecture, woodworking, icon painting, and other rich traditions, as well as their characteristic Galichnik dialect of the Macedonian language.
From the ancient myths and legends that have survived in oral tradition, to the distinctive Miyak melodies and customs, preserved in the famous Galichnik Wedding - an annual festival in which a selected couple gets married in the traditional "Galichnik" style wedding, where horsemen play a stunning ritualistic role - Galichnik's love affair with horse riding has deep roots in the region’s history, culture, and popular folklore.
A riding expedition is a journey on horseback, which may entail a few hardships, but you are gaining an unforgettable experience and scenery which otherwise you may not have the opportunity to see.
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 nature. It also includes lodging in old villages, camps, enjoying the taste of fresh domestic food, sometimes by the fire, sometimes in the restaurant or nature, sitting on a rock in the middle of a pasture taking pleasure in the splendors of life and nature. A rewarding soul journey with breathtaking scenery.
The itinerary can be changed according to the weather conditions, the groups’ needs and the flights’ schedules.
Upon arrival at the Skopje Airport, transportation is provided by an operator who will pick you up and take you to a coffee break at the Old Bazaar in Skopje city (20 min drive). You will have an opportunity for a short sightseeing tour at the Old Bazaar and the city center, and a chance to taste the delightful Macedonian cuisine at the traditional restaurant DUKAT in Skopje.
After the lunch, you will be transferred to the SHERPA HORSE RIDING RANCH in the village of Galichnik, situated in the western mountain region of Macedonia (1h 45 min drive). Lodging is at Hotel Neda in the village of Galichnik, and in between, you will meet the horses and the Sherpa team at the ranch, which is 1 kilometre from the hotel. Safety-briefing and operation procedures session will be hosted at Hotel Neda before the dinner. Overnight stay is at Hotel Neda Galichnik.
After breakfast in Hotel Neda, the operator will transport you to the “SHERPA HORSE RIDING RANCH” (around 5 minutes drive). The team will greet you with some welcoming drinks. You will meet the horses again, and after the briefing session and choosing the right horse, you will have some fun during the exciting ranch workshops (milking goats, traditional cheese preparation) and then, get prepared for the ride. The sherpa truck carries your luggage to the lodging destination.
This day, you will have an opportunity to visit most of the old Miyak villages and get closely acquainted with the culture of the Miyaks, as well as a ride through the old forest trails, which were originally used by them for transportation on horses. From the ranch, you will ride to the village of Glaichnik (the biggest and most popular Miyak village), and visit the museum of Gjorgjija Pulevski (a famous Miyak author and revolutionary).
On this track, you will ride through the forest of Sushica (visiting Sushica the oldest Miyak village, now mostly in ruins), and ride downhill to the Miyak villages of Selce and Tresonche, with panoramic views of the north side of Stogovo Mountain.
On the way to the village of Lazaropole, you will have a lunch break and a fruit dessert. You will be passing through the Miyak village of Tresonche, and experience the Miyak folklore and the old Miyak architecture. You will be lodging in Lazaropole (the second largest Miyak village) in the Hotel “KALIN” (a cozy mountain hotel with a traditional design).
Dinner will be served next to a cozy fireplace at the hotel restaurant (fresh wild meat dish from the region).
After the lovely evening, delicious food, smooth wine, and a good night’s sleep, off you go again. Breakfast, saddling, and bridling - getting ready for the road.
An adrenaline ride which will take you to the oldest forest Miyak trail of Bistra Mountain, crossing up to Stogovo Mountain from the Miyak village of Osoj, with an incredible view at the Korab Massive (2,764 metres/9068 ft.). On this day, you will have an opportunity to go to one of the highest peaks on Stogovo massive - Babin Srt (2,241 metres/7352.3 ft.).
Then riding down to the Miyak village of Gari for dinner and an overnight stay in the very cozy guesthouse by the main Gari creek. Fresh fish for dinner will be accompanied by a traditional Miyak music live performance. Moreover, this route will get you closer to the shepherd’s life, visiting a few sheep farms and tasting traditional white cheese and yogurt.
At the sheep farm, you will get acquainted with the shepherd’s life, far away from the civilized world, and you will be shown the old traditional farming techniques as well. You will have an opportunity to taste all of the milk products directly fresh from the farm.
After a lovely dinner spiced with captivating traditional melodies, and a good night’s sleep, you are almost ready for the longest day of this journey. Getting ready for an amazing 44 kilometers ahead of you.
On this day, you are going to cross to the east side of Bistra Mountain, riding across a very old forest Miak trail. This ride will take you above the forest of Bistra Mountain, with an incredible view at the Korab Massive (2,764 meters/9068 ft.). This route will get you closer to the shepherd’s life, visiting a few sheep farms and tasting traditional white cheese and yogurt.
After the long breathtaking experience, you will be lodging in a base camp deep in the mighty mountains far away from the civilized world. Setting up the sleeping tents, starting a campfire along with the dinner preparation, done in a traditional manner, you will be getting ready for a campfire party, followed by some good night’s sleep.
Wake up! You are up to a fantastic morning with an endless view at the high-level mountain peaks. Preparing breakfast on your own, enjoying the fresh mountain air, and getting ready for the next journey.
On this day, you are also going to visit a few more Miyak sheep farms and enjoy different mountain sceneries. This time your guides will take you to the Sandaktash Peak (2011 m / 6597,7 ft.) and bring you down to Mavrovo lake and the village of Mavrovo.
At the end of this day’s trail, you will ride along the lake shore, and this time you will get accommodated in the coziest guesthouse (dormitory accommodation with toilets on every flour) in the region. Dinner will be served at the guesthouse balcony (fresh pork meat cooked in a very traditional way under the sach (a large metal or ceramic lid like a shallow bell with which bread dough or meat to be baked are covered).
Good morning. Waking up at Carevec Guesthouse by the lake will give you extraordinary energy to climb high in the hills again. After breakfast, you are getting ready to set off.
Morning ride with beautiful scenery along the lakeshore. Your guides will bring you deep into the forest above the lake to the very old Miyak village of Kichinica. After the fruit dessert and the lunch break, you will be ascending around the highest peak Medenica, and set up the base camp Govedarnik next to the Karbula Peak (2100 metres above sea level) located at the west end of Bistra Mountain with an incredible view at Krchin Peak.
Enjoying a stunning sunset over the unbroken horizon, you are going to prepare dinner next to the campfire. Fresh lamb directly from the nearby sheep farms, cooked in a very traditional way. Bon appetite. Overnight stay in tents. Good night.
This morning will be something entirely different. Waking up before dawn, preparing the horses, riding to the highest peak of Medenica to watch the sunrise. Enjoying the magnificent sunrise, along with a fruit dessert break at the ‘top of the world’.
There are no words to describe the majesty of this sight at daybreak. Lucky you!
You are going to walk entirely downhill and ride again to the base camp Govedarnik for breakfast. After the breakfast, you are going to ride along the uplands of the scenic Bistra Mountain with the fantastic open landscapes. On this day, finally, you are going back to Sherpa Horse Riding Ranch after 202 kilometers in total for these six days of riding. What a pleasure. Welcome back to the ranch.
After the final lunch with the group and the Sherpa team, you are going to be transferred to Skopje for dinner and an overnight stay. (The program hours can be changed according to the sunrise time)
Breakfast and transfer to the airport (according to your flight you will be transferred right on time from your hotel).
Get the opportunity to visit most of the old Miyak villages and get closely acquainted with the culture of the Miyaks.
At the sheep farm, you will get acquainted with the shepherd’s life far away from the civilized world, and you be shown the old traditional farming techniques as well. You will have an opportunity to taste all of the milk products, including cheese tasting, directly fresh from the farm.
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.
You will ride through various locations in Macedonia including the forest of Sushica, Lazaropole Village, the forest of Bistra Mountain, the highest peak of Medenica, 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 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 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.
Traditional Macedonian diet all about the simplicity and high-quality seasonal produce. Bread is the king, but meat is the crown of the table. Vegetarians can be catered for and are asked to specify their food preference when making a booking.
Meat comes from animals that have lived their life grazing on rich high altitude herbal pastures and roaming freely in their 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. Vegetarians are required to specify their food preference at time of booking.
Skopje "Alexander the Great" Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at Skopje Alexander the Great Airport (SKP). Transfer from and to this airport is included and Sherpa Horse Riding team will pick you up at the airport.
For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookHorseRidingHolidays.com. All major credit cards supported.