Bulgaria is a land with diverse terrain encompassing Black Sea coastline, a mountainous interior and rivers, including the Danube. A cultural melting pot with Greek, Slavic, Ottoman, and Persian influences, it has a rich heritage of traditional dance, music, costumes, and crafts – so the books say, so it’s about time to go and find out some more.
For this recce we start at Belogrdchick, not far from the border crossing at Vidin. Heading east using trails and back roads to Stambolisky lake, stopping off to see Gods Eye's, a large cave that has two holes in the roof. Nearby there is a nearly deserted village to explore. We then head towards Momin Sbor, on the way stopping at Emin canyon, an excellent place for a picnic lunch. Tonight we’ll stay with our guide and his family, with facilities to check over the vehicles, Nearby is the historic capital of Veliko Turnovo, a large castle, lots of good restaurants and a chance to stock up for the next few days. We then head off road to the mountains, stopping at the historic village of Bozhentsi, typical of old Bulgaria, full of traditional houses and great food for lunch. We then head up into the mountains, wild camping as we go before getting to Shipka. This tower was built to commemorate the defeat of the Ottoman empire, housing a museum; you can see for over 100km in all directions. Next will be Buzludzha, built in the communist era in the grand monumental style and for contrast, Etera, a traditional village, preserving buildings from across the region, also traditional crafts can be bought here, a good place for souvenirs, Onto Elana to see this historic town and stock up on food, there is a golden domed church at Shipka and a Thracian tomb, before ending at Koprinka lake, we use a nice hotel here, a great place for a shower and freshen up. We now head south crossing a large old military training ground that’s now a massive area of wilderness and wild life before reaching Chirpan. Continuing along the peaks towards Sopot, location for the world championship hang gliding competitions, expect some great views and sheer drops. Continuing on tracks through the forests, we swing back north, crossing the peaks via a national park. We finish the day in Apriltsi and a night at a hotel with spectacular views of the mountains we have just crossed. We then head back north and west to Vidin using back roads and trails to end the adventure wild camping on the Danube. Well that’s the plan …... Join us as we explore the wilder edges of Europe.