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Adventure in the Land of Orpheus

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Europe
Bulgaria, Greece,  9 Days From $ 1,885 per person Themes
Eco Adventure
Eco Wildlife & Nature
Eco Cultural
Styles
Couples
Little Greenies
Group Expeditions

Highlights

Welcome to Thrace and the Rhodope Mountain – a region, inhabited in the past by the ancient tribe of the Thracians. Rhodopes is the birthplace of the legendary Thracian hero Orpheus.

His singing and playing were so beautiful that animals and even trees and rocks moved about him. Another deity that the Thracians worshipped was Dionysus, the god of wine and nature. The Thracians believed in life after death and placed the dead kings in tombs together with weapons, jewelry and horses.

Nowadays, the Rhodopes is still a haunting and mysterious place. Although relatively low, they possess their own distinctive beauty, and are an ideal place for a hiking and eco tourism adventure. The Eastern part of the mountain is rarely-visited and was chosen as a pilot area for the Rewilding Europe Program due to its high-quality natural environment. 

This holiday is dedicated to discovering nature, including endemic species and Thracian cultural heritage in South Bulgaria and North Greece. A warm welcome, unspoiled nature, and plenty of activities await you!

Availability

This trip is available throughout the year, but the best time to visit is mid-April to June and September to October.

Activity (Activities)

Local Cuisine
Birding
Local Stay
Kayaking & Rafting
Hiking & Trekking
History & Culture
Wildlife

Green Approach

Eco-Ventional

Certification

Travelife Standard

Why Authentic Ecotourism?

The eco-certified company shares its passion of Bulgaria as well as knowledge of its nature, history and people.

Communities and culture

  • Runs and supports conservation, education projects, charities and initiatives in the communities visited
  • Runs tours to maximise the benefits on the cultural heritage of communities visited and incentivises them to maintain and protect their culture
  • Develops capacity of the host communities to earn a living through tourism by supporting them to be part of a tourism network, understand the industry and get market access

 

Economic Responsibility

  • Keeps money local through (as much as possible) buying locally and staying at family-run guesthouses and hotels.
  • Provides income generation activities through hiring, training and encouraging local people to be involved tourism
  • Encourages guests to buy local crafts and services

 

Environmental Responsibility

  • Provides high quality, environmentally friendly tours through training its guides to meet international guiding standards
  • Raises awareness of our accommodation providers about how they can improve their environmental performance
  • Raises awareness of the local communities about the importance of protecting the natural assets of Bulgaria and the rest of the world

 

Tourism Industry

  • Provides rewarding work experiences to young Bulgarian employees
  • Training: provides 50% contribution towards guide training costs for 2 new guides
  • Encourages positive interaction with local people through pre-trip briefings of our guests and specific training of our guides
  • Improves communication around the responsible aspects of tours

 

Day 1 - Arrival at Sofia Airport (D)

Arrival at Sofia airport. Depending on arrival time, there will be a sightseeing tour in the capital of Bulgaria to see its major cultural monuments - Alexander Nevski Cathedral, Saint Sofia Basilica, the Roman ruins, the mineral springs, the markets, etc.

Transfer and overnight stay at Plovdiv – the second biggest city in Bulgaria and European Culture capital 2019. Excellent food experience and overnight at a mansion from the beginning of 19th century located in the old city of Plovdiv. 

Day 2 - Plovdiv - the ancient Philippopolis (B,D)

After breakfast, there will be a sightseeing walk through Plovdiv where we will explore the Old Town with its numerous cultural monuments from different historical periods. Among them are the Roman Theatre, the Roman stadium, the Ethnographical Museum, the East Gate from the 4th century, mansions from the 19th century and more.

The modern town is dotted with shops and bars – a pedestrian street crosses from one end to the other. Afterwards, we'll transfer to Belintash megalithic sanctuary. This is another impressing Thracian site of the type of megalithic structures. Legends will be enlivened by your guide’s tales at the very scene of ancient Thracian rituals – on the height of the rock.

Walk from there to Mostovo village. Dinner in Madrets village with a family of Bulgarian Moslems who run a fish farm. Further transfer to Gorno pole village. A warm welcome awaits you at the Wild Farm, a hotspot for all bird watchers and the story of the family that manages the farm is just as captivating. 3 overnights at the family-run guesthouse.

Day 3 - Bird watching & kayaking in Madjarovo area (B,D)

Today, we spend time in Madjarovo area, which is a true paradise for nature lovers. A large part of it is declared a nature reserve which provides good living conditions for its inhabitants. You can observe the following bird species: Griffon Vultures, Black Storks, Black and Egyptian Vultures, Long-legged Buzzards, Golden and Short-toed Eagles, Peregrine Falcons.

Bird watching can be combined with kayaking in Arda river and picknick on the banks of the river. In the afternoon, you have the possibility to learn local dances together with your hosts, Blagovesta (Betty) and Nicola. Dinner at the farm with a chance to watch the sunset over Arda River gorge or go on a star-gazing night walk with headlamps.

Day 4 - Perperikon Thracian Sanctuary & Megalithic Culture of Eastern Rodopi (B,D)

Today, we we will walk into the steps of the ancient Thracians in their fortress Perperikon. It is one of the most ancient monumental megalithic structures, entirely carved into the rocks.There we will find traces of all times since its construction in IV c. B.C. to its downfall in XIV c. In the afternoon you can can set off on foot along the banks of the Arda River to the Studen Kladenets nature reserve and dam, which is home to several species of birds and mammals.

Another option is to take part in a different activities at the farm, subject to season (haymaking, planting/harvesting potatoes and keeping the fields and crops tidy). You’ll also have the chance to help prepare homemade yogurt or make local specialities of cows’ cheese. 

Day 5 - Mikri Doxipara & Dadia National Park (B,D)

We'll have a morning transfer to Ivailovgrad and cross the border to Greece. Here, we visit another Thracian site – the burial tomb of Mikri Doxipara. At the beginning of the 2nd century AD, four members of a rich landowning family were cremated and buried there. The five wagons with which the dead had been brought to the site were buried in the same location along with their horses.

Arrival in Dadia National Park - one of the most important protected areas in Greece. The National Park hosts three out of the four Vulture species of Europe (the Black Vulture, the Griffon Vulture and the Egyptian Vulture), while it is home to the only breeding population of Black Vultures in the Balkans. Short hiking in Dadia forest at sunset. Dinner and overnight in an ecotourism hotel.

Day 6 - Bird watching in Dadia and/or Evros Delta National Parks (B,D)

Today, we'll hike to the Gibrena Peak in Dadia Forest or have a boat trip in Evros Delta. On the border with Turkey, the Evros Delta was declared a National park and is is one of the most important wetlands in the whole of Europe. It is a very important site for breeding, passage and wintering waterbirds, raptors and passerines. Transfer to Stavroupolis for 2 overnights at a guesthouse.

Day 7 - Kayaking / Walking along Nestos River Gorge (B,D)

The picturesque Nestos gorge with its steep rocky slopes is another important bird area in Greece, which we will visit. You can also kayak or walk along the gorge for the possibility to see rare birds, enjoy unspoiled nature and have a lot of fun!

On the way back you will see the impressive meanders of Nestos from above and visit the abandoned village Kato Livera, still inhabited by half-wild horses.

Day 8 - Kavala & Phiippi (UNESCO Heritage) (B,D)

Today we visit Kavala - one of the most picturesque cities in Greece. Founded in the late 7th century BC, the city is known as the place, where Apostle Paul landed on his first voyage to Europe.
 
During the Ottoman rule, Kavala was known also as the “Mecca of tobacco”- neoclassical mansions and big tobacco warehouses evoke today the memory of those times. In the afternoon we visit the ruins of Philippi, named after Philip II of Macedon. Today the site is UNESCO World Heritage.
 
When Apostle Paul visited Philippi in 49-50 BC, in his second and third missionary journeys, he founded the first European Christian Church and the settlement went on being the metropolis of Christianism. We see the theatre built in the 4th century BC (probably by Philippe II); the agora, a Roman Cistern where Romans imprisoned Apostle Paul and other monuments. Transfer further to Thessaloniki for a dinner and overnight in Astoria Boutique Hotel in Thessaloniki.

Day 9 - Departure (B)

Free time in Thessaloniki and transfer to the airport for boarding. 

 

Departure City

Sofia

Finishing City

Thessaloniki

Group Size

Minimum of 4 people

Exclusions

  • Lunches according to the itinerary package
  • Drinks
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips
  • Insurance (Medical and Travel)
  • Flights
  • Anything not specifically mentioned in the program

Inclusions

  • Accommodation in guest houses, farm and hotels
  • Breakfasts and Dinners as noted in the package itinerary
  • All transfers according to the program with driver and private vehicle
  • English - speaking licensed guide
  • Entrance fees in Roman Theatre in Plovdiv, Belintash, Perperikon and Philippi
  • Kayaking in Arda river
  • Transfer from Thessaloniki to Sofia on Day 9 is included if the return flight is from Sofia
  • Single Supplement Fee

    The single supplement fee is $325

    Best for:

    Little Greenies

    Other Necessary Information

    Please contact us if your group is larger than 4 people as discounts will apply.

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