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The Pack Includes

 Tourist map of the mountain (per post)
 GPS Track of your trail  (new)
 Detailed Itinerary (up to 7 days)
 Hut Reservations (up to 6 person) 
 Hut Contacts
 E-mail assistance
 Phone assistance
 Time tables of local public transport
 Local taxi companies contacts 

The Pack Does Not Include

 Travel to and from Bulgaria
 Organised luggage transport from hut to hut
 Meals
 Drinks
 Personal expenses
 Tour guide – this is a self guided trip
 Local transfers
 Travel insurance

Our self guided packs offer you maximum flexibility and often a flexible choice of departure dates. A self guided holiday epitomises the philosophy of exploring the mountains your way at your pace. 
On all our self guided excursions we’ll provide you with detailed route descriptions, maps and local information so you can plan your own day everyday. We’ll also make hut reservations for you. All you need to do is enjoy your hiking holiday with the comfort of knowing that you have adequate time to explore and comfortably savour the sights and delights of the mountain region.
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Along the Main Ridge

 

Days 9  Distance 134 km   Ascent 7060 m   Descent 7270 m

This unique nine-day walk traverses the Central Balkan National Park from the West to the East. The trail starts at Ribaritsa Village following the steep slope above the valley of the Zavodna River in the North-Western part of the Park, then continues along the main crest of the Stara Planina Mountains in eastern direction and drops down north to the Town of Gabrovo. The route skirts and crosses seven of the most spectacular Natural Reserves within the boundaries of the Park- wild areas of prime conservation significance containing unique ecosystems-Tsarichina, Kozya Stena, Steneto, Stara Reka, Severen Dzhendem, Dzhendema and Peeshtite Skali. The course of the walk passes by the highest point of Stara Planina Mountains – Botev Peak (2376m). The Park terrain includes large high-mountain meadows, ancient forests, vertical rock faces, precipices, deep canyons, waterfalls, as well as numerous peaks, of which some 20 are situated at altitudes of 2,000 meters and over. The biggest part of the trail is along the E3 European long-distance walking route. 

Day 1: Walk from the Ribaritsa village to the hut Vezhen. The path starts gently along the valley of the river Zavodva. After leaving the course of the river, it continues by climbing up steeply though a beech forest of the Tsarichina Reserve where the average age of the trees is around 150 years to reach the hut Vezhen.
Day 2: Walk from the hut Vezhen to the hut Eho. The day begins by steep ascend to the main ridge. It is one of the most amazing walks in the Central Balkan National Park. It traverses the peak of Vezhen, from which the panoramas in every direction are impressive.
Day 3: Walk from the Eho hut to a hotel in Beklemeto. It is another day along the main ridge trough the intriguing scenery of the Central Balkan National Park. The path involves squeezing through a succession of rugged limestone outcrops that is known among the tourists as «The saws». It zigzags the left and right flanks of ridge, providing views towards the southern and northern parts of Bulgaria. Shortly after that is the hut Kozya Stena. Right away after the hut starts a chain of three rocky peaks. Their inaccessible by people walls are home to many wild animals, among them the mountain chamois that gave the name of the Reserve Kozya Stena (Chamois Wall). It is a wild paradise, home to over 40 protected species, among them the «white stars» of the Mountain-the Edelweiss. The scenery changes from Alpine to high-mountain meadows. Eventually the trail reaches the Troyanski Prohod (1565m). At that point the path crosses the asphalt road Troyan-Karnare that connects the Southern and Northern part of Bulgaria. Next is a steep descending to Beklemeto (1365m) into the north direction. 
Day 4: Walk from the mountain resort Beklemeto to the hut Dobrila. After a short ascent to the main ridge again, the path subsides and continues along it gently, without any substantial ascending and descending trough a mild and grassy terrain. The path is passing by the Shelter Orlovo Gnezdo and the hut Dermenka that could be pleasant spots for short rests. The path is a border of the Steneto Reserve as well.
Day 5: Walk from the hut Dobrila to the shelter Botev. This challenging stage is an open-air, narrow-ridge traverse of the most alpine part of the Mountain. It goes across the rocky and steep slopes of the peaks of Ambaritsa (2166m), Kupena (2169m), Krastets (2035m), Kostenurkata (2035m), Zhaltets (2248m) and Duzchal (2255m). It involves squeezing trough the rocks to follow the hewn into the stone path. On some segments it is supported by metal ropes. As there are some exposed parts of the path, this trail is recommended only in case of perfect weather. Otherwise there is a path that traverses the southern flank of the ridge and is very beautiful itself. It skirts the northern border of the Stara Reka Reserve. In both option you will eventually reach the saddle of the Botev shelter (2050 m). It is located on the western slopes of the peak of Botev and was built in 1936 by the Plovdiv and Karlovo tourists to facilitate the trekking to the peak. Despite the name “shelter”, it is yearly manned and its keepers provide all that is necessary to spend the night.
Day 6: Walk from the shelter Botev to the hut Tazha. After the saddle at which is settled the shelter Botev, the upper part of the main ridge changes its type from alpine into a broad and pasture type where the dome-like peaks are grassy meadows, separated by shallow saddles. The path starts off with a rise to the very peak of Botev with the help of broad serpents cut through the grass along its western flank. The peak of Botev is the highest point of Central Stara Planina – 2376 m. The Stara Planina giant is a high, spacious pasture. Only 500 m down, its northern and southern flanks were cut by the river erosion. As a result of this the terrifying rock faces of the North Dzhendem and the Raiskite Skali rocks (part of the Dzhendema Reserve) to the South were shaped. After admiring the vistas in all directions, you will follow the path to the east and to the hut Tazha. It passes by the tops of several giant peaks. Actually they are wide pasture. At some places, near the edge of this broad ridge, there are platform-like spots with fantastic views to the nearly vertical slopes below the main crest and the whole chaos of overhanging cliffs, rock bridges, deep precipices, and numerous waterfalls.
Day 7: Walk from the hut Tazha to the hut Mazalat. This section of the trail continues to follow the main ridge of the mountain. The first part is a pleasant walk through grassy meadows, while the second part leads trough the Peeshtite Skali Reserve (Singing Rocks). They are a complex of not so high cliffs with sheer vertical southern flanks above the deep valley of the river Gabrovnitsa. On them are perched many rocky outcrops with different shapes that tourists like to compare with animal or human figures. Not only is very beautiful this region itself, but it offers unforgettable views towards the mighty Triglav massive, a sequence of three summits with height over 2000m. Next part that comes is a rocky wreath of several pyramidal peaks just before the beautiful glade in front of the hut Mazalat.
Day 8: Walk from the hut Mazalat to the hut Uzana. The path continues its course to the east. Pastures, big glades and ancient forests take turns along it. In the end, the path reaches the area Uzana that is a broad mountain clearing beneath the Ispolin peak. Except the hut Uzana, there are many hotels and villas that offer more comfort than the hut. Also there is an asphalt road from Gabrovo town, which serves the area.
Day 9: Walk from the hut Uzana to the town of Gabrovo. The last day is for the descend to the plain that lies north of the main ridge. There is a path that crosses several time the asphalt road. It provides far-reaching views towards the valley and the dam Smirnenski, the side forested ridge and the mighty central ridge with the peak of Ispolin.

Self-guided tour*

  • Difficulty: The path is touristic and doesn’t require special equipment. As it involves some of the most exposed and narrow-ridge walks in the Bulgarian mountains, the perfect shape and experience are obligatory. Also excellent head for heights is required.
  • Accommodation: All the huts are cosy and well-maintained. Their hut-keepers offer everything essential during the hike. Please, bear in mind that they are settled on the main ridge of the mountain and during the summer are visited by many tourists. As a result, it is better to book the beds in advance.
  • Transport: 
    • To the starting point: There are mini-buses that go twice a day from the town of Teteven to the village of Ribaritsa. Teteven itself is served by a regular bus line from the capital Sofia. 
    • From the finishing point: The town of Gabrovo is connected by buses with the capital Sofia. Also Gabrovo is a train stop, but there is no direct train to the capital Sofia.
  • Security: The trail is totally secure. All parts of the trail are marked. The area is served by the mountain rescue teams.  
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*Self Guided Tour

A note on our self guided adventures

Self guided walking requires individuals to possess problem solving skills, be adaptable and have a keen eye. It is recommended that you are comfortable map reading, referring to route notes and that you have a good sense of direction (or are willing to work on improving this!).  Sometimes route finding, losing your way, finding it again and asking for help is all part of the adventure. If you’ve never been on a self guided trip, after the first couple of days you will get the hang of it as the vast majority of our first time travellers attest. Using directions and maps can be more difficult for solo travellers as often two heads are better than one when it comes to finding your way. There is a certain level of the unknown that comes with self guided trips, however with a methodical approach potential problems will be averted. Lately the GPS devices came to help the tourist. We prepare and send you a file with your trail so you can upload to your device. Though the GPS satellite data is free and works anywhere in the world, still the devices are expensive and not every one can afford it. More often tourists use their mobile phone with an GPS application. Sometimes in the Mountain you won’t always get a signal or proper speed internet connection. That’s where offline hiking apps come in handy. After uploading the digital trail, you can use it whenever and wherever you need it. The freedom of a self guided trip is something that, once experienced, is sought time and time again.