Balkan - Along The Main Ridge

Days 9  Distance 122 km   Ascent 6860 m   Descent 7030 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. 

What to expect:

Nine-day hut to hut hike along the main ridge of the Balkan Mountains;
To be leaded by experienced guide (if guided option is chosen);
Easy orienting (for the self-guided option);
To spend the nights at warm and cozy huts;
Breakfast and dinner provided by the hut-keepers;

Trip Highlights
  • Real wilderness, well balanced with high-quality tourism facilities;
  • Crossing the highest peak of the Balkan, Botev peak;
  • Impressive views from the peaks along the main ridge;
  • Variety of landscapes: forests, pastures and rock outcrops.
Trek Suitability
For those who want to join, should be:
  • Fit and active traveller as it is a challenging walk. The central part of the trail is over rocky terrain that makes the hike more demanding. Elsewhere is broad and the peaks are high-mountain pastures.
  • Ready to spend 7 nights in mountain huts and one night in a mountain hotel. Each night the accommodation is in a different place so it is important to pack light.
  • Walk 9 days (5-7 hours) up to 18 km each day. The hike in the central part is over a stony ground and will take 9 hours.

Difficulty: It is a demanding hike as the first day you should be ready to overcome 1200 m ascending, the next few days the distances are a bit longer, 17-18 km. The central part is narrow and stony. Happily for those who don’t have head for heights there is an alternative route under the main ridge.

Accommodation: The huts are well-maintained; the hut-keepers offer food and beverages. The huts are frequently visited, so you need to book the beds in advance. Despite the fact that the conditions are basic, the most of the huts offer hot shower.

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. The most part of the trail is along well maintained hiking trails as it is part of the E3. Nevertheless, we recommend using a navigation application on the mobile phone or a real GPS device as from time to time the region can experience foggy conditions. The area is served by the mountain rescue teams..  

Itinerary
Ask for more information here:
Prices per person for 9 days / 8 nights:

349 EUR per person /self guided trail

What is included in the price:

 

OPTION
SELF-GUIDED 
GUIDED TRIP
Accommodation in the huts
Detailed Itinerary
GPS Track of your trail
Time tables of public transport
Taxi companies contacts 
Phone and e-mail assistance
English speaking guide
X
Luggage transfer 
X
X
Meals and drinks
X
X
Travel insurance
X
X
Travel to and from Bulgaria
X
X

 

In Brief
RANGE
Active
TRIP TYPE
Hut to hut tour
STARTS
Ribaritsavillage
ENDS
Gabrovotown
DEPARTS
June - October
GROUP SIZE
Min 1 / Max 20
ACCOMMODATION
Common/private rooms
TOUR GUIDE
Yes/No - guided/self guided
MEALS
Yes, against payment
COUNTRY
Bulgaria
Book here:

The Prices Start From 349 EUR*
* per person in self-guided option.

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Day1one

Start of the trip

Ribaritsa village - Vezhen hut

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.

Day2two

Vezhen hut - Eho hut
Vezhen hut - Eho hut

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.

Day3three
Eho hut - Beklemeto
Eho - Beklemeto

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. 

Day4four
Beklemeto - Dobrila hut
Beklemeto - Dobrila

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.

Day5five
Dobrila hut - Botev shelter
Dobrila - Botev

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.

Day6six
Botev shelter - Tazha hut
Botev - Tazha

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.

Day7seven
Tazha hut - Mazalat hut
Tazha - Mazalat

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.

Day8eight
Mazalat hut - Uzana hut
Mazalat - Uzana

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.

Day9nine

End of the trip
Uzana hut - Gabrovo town

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.

How the “Self-guided trip” option works:

If you prefer to explore the mountain at your own pace, than chose the option “Self-guided trip”. In this case we will provide you a package of materials, including a written hike description together with a customized travel itinerary, GPS tracks of your trail and local information. In order to make your independent hiking tour a success we will do all of the necessary arrangements. That is why the accommodations in the package are prepaid.

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The prices start from 349 EUR*

* per person in self-guided option.

Book your Trip Here

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