Day 6 Burgas – Eastern Rhodopes
After breakfast transfer (150 miles), to the Eastern Rhodope Mountains and spend the next two nights in the small village of Borislavtzi.
Barred and Eastern Bonelli’s Warblers, Grey-headed and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Bee-Eaters, Rollers, Woodchat Shrikes, Golden Oriols, Cirl and Corn Buntings, are among bird species we look for, with a possibility of Eastern Imperial Eagle in the Sakar Mountain. We stop off to explore the coastal section of Strandja National Park, close to the Turkish border. Bird sightings an route include Black Stork, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Goshawk, Montagu’s Harrier and Lesser Spotted Eagle, Short-toed Treecreeper and other small passerines. Dinner and first night at our cosy guesthouse in the village of BORISLAVTZI.
Day 7 Madjarovo – Studen Kladenetz Dam – Dolna Kula
Today we explore the Eastern Rhodopes with their exceptional diversity of raptors including 3 species of vulture, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Peregrine Falcon, Hobby, Long-legged Buzzard, Golden Eagle, Black Kite, Levant Sparrowhawk and Goshawk, and, with a good luck, Saker Falcon and Eastern Imperial Eagle. We will be exploring the impressive volcanic canyons of Studen Kladenetz dam and the Arda River valley, with their cliff-nesting populations of Black Storks. Apart from raptors, the Eastern Rhodopes also offer an amazing diversity of bird life and our thirst for new sights & species will indeed be quenched after the intensive encounters and observations of different small passerines such as: Masked and Woodchat Shrikes, Red-rumped Swallow, Olive-tree, Olivaceous, Barred, Orphean and Sub-alpine Warblers, Alpine and Pallid swifts, Crag-martin, Rock Nuthatch, Isabelline and Black-eared Wheatears, Sombre Tit, Blue and Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes and many others.
Dinner and Second night in Borislavtzi.
Day 8 Eastern Rhodopes – Western Rhodopes (Trigrad – Devin)
After breakfast, we take a four-hour drive to the Trigrad region (a very picturesque gorge) in the Western Rhodope Mountains. En route, we will see the open landscapes gradually changing to riverine valleys. Long-legged Buzzard, Red-backed Shrike, Spanish Sparrow, Balkan Wagtail, Rock and Ortolan Buntings are among birds we look for, also keeping an eye out for mammals and reptiles. In the villages before the mountains we will look for White Storks, Little Owl and Syrian Woodpecker, whilst the mountain rivers hold White-throated Dipper and Grey Wagtail. In the late afternoon we will explore the beautiful Trigrad Gorge, which is one of the best places in Europe to look for the delightful Wallcreeper. Peregrine Falcon, Tawny Owl, Short-toed Eagle, Alpine and Pallid Swifts, Crested and Coal Tits, Crag Martin and Rock Bunting can also be found there.
Dinner and overnight stay at a beautiful local guesthouse in Devin.
Day 9 Devin - Melnik
After breakfast, transfer 100 miles to Melnik - a lovely and traditional wine-producing village in the south-western corner of the country, nestled in a picturesque gorge. It is located between three majestic Mountains bordering Macedonia and Greece. Stop off en route to explore some outstanding birding locations. Woodchat Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Crag Martin, Barred and Orphean Warblers, Sombre Tit, Rock Thrush, Ortolan, Black-headed and Rock Buntings are among local birds we look for. Picnic lunch, traditional restaurant dinner and overnight stay at a beautiful local guesthouse in the vicinity of Melnik.
Day 10 Melnik - Kresna Gorge – Rojen Monastery
From our base by the deeply cut valley of the Strouma River we will make a full day trip for a leisurely exploration of the countryside and two adjacent Mediterranean-like areas, located in the bosom of an ancient volcanic cone near the border of Greece. The cone is bisected by the river Strouma. We will look for Rock Partridge, Rufous-tailed and Blue Rock Thrushes and other unusual passerines, such as Rock Nuthatch, Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Sparrow, Barred, Orphean and Sub-alpine Warblers. Wildlife includes several Mediterranean butterflies like Little Tiger Blue, Cardinal, as well as some interesting dragonflies, such as Scarse Chaser. Eastern Four-lined Ratsnake, Leopard Snake, Kotschy’s Gecko and two species of tortoises are among notable local reptiles, which also feature in the tour. En route, we will visit one of the oldest Bulgarian monasteries. Picnic lunch, traditional restaurant dinner and last night at our local Guesthouse.
Excursion to Greece (an alternative day trip)
* Instead of Kresna Gorge we may offer an alternative day-trip to Lake Kerkini, in Greece. For this we take an extra charge of EUR 50.
Day 11 Melnik – Sofia – Vitosha Nature Park
After breakfast we continue north to achieve our trip in reaching the alpine meadows of Vitosha Nature Park, near Sofia, where highlights such as Nutcracker, Crossbill, Coal Tit, Ring Ouzel and Water Pipit are well represented. En route, we will visit the unique Rila Monastery, the most beautiful in the whole Balkan Peninsula.
Overnight in a charming hotel high on Vitosha Mountain.
Day 12 Vitosha - Sofia Airport
From our final high-level base near Sofia we spend the morning looking for Nutcracker, Ring Ouzel, Firecrest and Goldcrest, Common Crossbill, Treecreeper and Alpine Accentor, before taking your return flight.
Please, contact us for further details