Bulgaria self-guided hiking and spa vacation

“Relaxed walking vacation in Bulgaria's Rhodope Mountains. Walk from one hotel to the next where luggage and spa facilities will be ready and waiting.”

Highlights

Plovdiv (European City of Culture 2019) | Devil’s Throat Cave | Yagodina Cave | Shiroka Laka village | the Canyon of Waterfalls | Devin spa resort | hotel to hotel walking itinerary | Mainly 3 or 4-star spa hotels | Average daily distances: 14kms |

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Bulgaria self-guided hiking and spa vacation

Environment

Our aim is to operate in the most ecologically responsible manner possible. And we think this should be the essence of the ‘self-guided’ concept. We choose to offer and present our vacations in a way that offers walkers the opportunity to enjoy everything that this beautiful region offers while leaving the smallest discernible footprint on the environment.

To minimize environmental footprint, we limit the size of our parties to maximum 6 people for this vacation. Our detailed tour information packs include a section on environmental responsibility and detailed instructions related to the ‘leave no trace’ policy, protected animals and plants in the area, etc. We encourage our clients to use the info packs and maps in electronic format and not print them out.

This specific vacation is particularly good for wildlife lovers. In the Rhodopes we work closely with and support the Madjarovo section of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds and the Trigrad Bear Museum.

On this itinerary, we have arranged most walks to be hotel to hotel, so that environmental impact related to car transfers is minimized. Connecting travel (airport transfers) are not included in the trip price, so clients must use public transport (train or bus). We encourage our clients to use public transport where possible and offer private car transfers only where there are no alternatives, or as additionally charged options.

Community

All our accommodation in each destination is hand-picked and regularly tested by us. In remote locations like this where we believe the hiking includes spectacular views and nature we stay in locally (family) owned 3-star hotels or local guesthouses. We encourage our accommodation suppliers to prepare locally sourced fresh food, keeping the income locally rather than channeling it to big chains and providing to them additional streams of revenue apart from the accommodation. We also encourage them to be creative and offer to our clients additional activities (eg homemade wine and honey testing, crafts courses, spices foraging, horse riding, short guided excursions) which are paid locally and entire revenue from them goes to the local supplier.

We try to pay fairly to local suppliers (guesthouse owners, drivers, guides) and at or above market levels even in a poor region like this. In many cases, we do not ask for discounts from local accommodation suppliers but instead, try to motivate them to pay extra attention and better service to our customers. We want to build long-term relationships with them and be trusted partners. Baggage transfers between hotels are typically made by local drivers and not by taxi companies. By using local transport services we support the local economy in the regions where we operate.

2 Reviews of Bulgaria self-guided hiking and spa vacation

5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 13 Aug 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Walking from Yagodina to Trigrad - the path was easy to follow and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. To be so high up in the mountains with nature and eventually descend to overlook Trigrad on the way down was amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Some of the walks are quite treacherous especially if it has been raining. We turned back from finding the highest waterfall at the eco-trail in Devin as the path was unsuitable and very high for navigating with 2 children.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, we loved eating out at the local restaurants and buying gifts and fruit from the local traders. Hotel food was all very good and breakfasts were substantial with a good selection.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Highly recommended, no stress - the majority of the walks are available but not compulsory. We chose to spend one day at the waterpark in Devin and only did half of the eco-trail. The scenery is outstanding and the people are very helpful and friendly and all hotels we used were clean, comfortable and accommodating.

Reviewed on 21 May 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Walking in the mountains through unspoilt meadows where the only sounds were birdcalls and an occasional sheep bell was balm to the soul.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for your hosts to speak no English and to carry your own bags! People are friendly beneath a somewhat dour exterior with a terrific sense of
humour but expectations of service differ.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Hard to say, not sure it's my place to judge.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent.

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