High Jinks in Bulgaria

Action and adventure in the Rhodopi Mountains, Bulgaria







From $1,235 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • A mix of activities for all the family on this holiday in Bulgaria
  • Enjoy hiking, rock climbing, caving, horse riding with the family
  • Family fun in the land of bear, lynx and eagle
  • One night camping at `Magic Lake`, six nights family run hotels

This fantastic Bulgarian family adventure holiday takes place in one of the wildest corners of Europe, home to bear lynx and golden eagle. Named after the mythical Greek Queen, Rhodope, this range of limestone mountains in south-east Bulgaria has a landscape of rock outcrops, extensive forests, deep river gorges and vast caves - all elements of this action-packed adventure! After landing in Sofia, we drive to the village of Trigrad, our base for the week. It's straight into the action, as we set off to try easy rock climbing and 'via ferrata' - full instruction will be given!  We move on with a day's horse riding - fun for beginners or experts and including a pleasant picnic stop en route. A day spent walking through the Chairite Reserve allows us to enjoy the beautiful wooded hills around us, before setting up our wild camp under the stars.  Following a day of relaxation (or other activities for those with boundless energy) we go on our cave exploration firstly to the Yagodinska Cave and then after lunch to the 'Devil's Throat' canyon - a 250 metre-deep gorge, home to more than 150 caves, some of which are inhabited by the long-winged bat. Emerging back into the daylight, we rest up at our hotel, before travelling back to Sofia by way of Plovdiv and the famous 1000 year-old Bachkovo Monastery, famous for the quality of its colourful frescoes. This is a full-on family adventure holiday, but with time for everyone to learn about Bulgaria's interesting history.

Is this holiday for you?

Suitable for children from 6yrs old

This is a superb family adventure in the heart of the Bulgarian Rhodopi Mountains. Few tourists visit this area, most of which remains completely unspoiled. Accommodation is in comfortable and friendly family-run pension-style hotels and there is 1 night camping. During the week, there is a wide range of activity. Safety is our main concern on this kind of holiday and the horse-riding, climbing and caving are taken by qualified instructors. The walks are on good and well-marked trails and they are suitable for children provided they are used to walking in the hills. The overnight campsite has 4X4 vehicle access and all equipment and luggage is transferred to the campsite. All equipment hire is included in the price. This holiday in Bulgaria is suitable for families with a sense of adventure, looking for an active week that is great value for money in wild mountains. Sofia is easily accessed by a growing number of low-cost airlines.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Trigrad. A single transfer from Sofia Airport is provided.
  • Walk to the Trigrad Canyon for a day of rock climbing and Via Ferrata. Return to Trigrad hotel.
  • A day of horse-riding with all levels and abilities catered for. Picnic lunch. Return to Trigrad hotel
  • Start of our mini-trek adventure. Walk through rolling hills and woods to set up campsite.
  • Transfer back to Trigrad. After lunch visit thermal pools near Devin. Return to Trigrad hotel.
  • Morning visit to Yagdinska Caves, after lunch visit 'Devil's Throat' Cave. Return to Trigrad hotel.
  • Transfer back to Sofia. Visit the Bachkovo Monastery, lunch in Plovdiv, arrive Sofia late afternoon.
  • Departure day. A single transfer to Sofia Airport is provided.
Sat 10 Oct - Sat 17 Oct Code FBS /05/15/ Adult$1,235 Child$705 Status Available Call Us
Sat 24 Oct - Sat 31 Oct Code FBS /06/15/ Adult$1,235 Child$705 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sat 28 May - Sat 04 Jun Code FBS /01/16/ Adult$1,235 Child$705 Status Available Book now
Sat 23 Jul - Sat 30 Jul Code FBS /02/16/ Adult$1,235 Child$705 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sat 06 Aug - Sat 13 Aug Code FBS /03/16/ Adult$1,235 Child$705 Status Available Book now
Sat 27 Aug - Sat 03 Sep Code FBS /04/16/ Adult$1,235 Child$705 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sat 08 Oct - Sat 15 Oct Code FBS /05/16/ Adult$1,235 Child$705 Status Available Book now
Sat 22 Oct - Sat 29 Oct Code FBS /06/16/ Adult$1,235 Child$705 Status Available Book now
Sat 27 May - Sat 03 Jun Code FBS /01/17/ Adult$1,235 Child$705 Status Available Book now
The dates above are for the LAND ONLY itinerary, joining in Trigrad. The nearest airport is Sofia. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements & transfers' and 'Flights' sections in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Sofia. These include Easyjet who have flights from London & Manchester, and Wizzair who have flights from London. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • airport
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Trigrad. A single transfer from Sofia Airport is provided.

    A single timed group transfer is provided for the 3hr 30 minute journey from Sofia Airport to the group hotel in the village of Trigrad, in the heart of the Rhodopi Mountains. KE Land Only package services begin with dinner and a briefing from our guide on the week to come.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Walk to the Trigrad Canyon for a day of rock climbing and Via Ferrata. Return to Trigrad hotel.

    After breakfast we have a 30 minute walk to the start of our day’s activities in the Trigrad canyon. We spend the first hour or so (depending on the group size) with our instructor. We will be fitted with our climbing equipment, which includes harnesses and helmets. We will then go through all the safety procedures and the basic techniques of climbing and via ferrata. After we have picked up some confidence we are off on our easy course of climbing and via ferrata. We have a picnic lunch with us so can stop for our bite to eat when we are in need of a rest or feeling hungry. If you have had previous climbing or via ferrata experience then you will have more freedom with the climbing however you will be supervised at all times. The heights and gradients are not lofty or steep so that everyone can enjoy this great day out and get to feel the rock and the associated adrenaline. After expending much energy in a short time, we head back to our hotel in the early afternoon. We have the rest of the afternoon free to enjoy the hotel and the surrounding area.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • A day of horse-riding with all levels and abilities catered for. Picnic lunch. Return to Trigrad hotel

    Our accommodation is situated next to the stables, so we only have to walk around the corner to meet our horse friends for the day and then we are suitably matched up for size and ability. The horse-riding centre has a range of different horses, with the majority of them beginning suitable for beginners. We are also issued with our horse-riding helmets. For those who have never ridden a horse we have a session on the basics and getting the feel of the horse. We then set off through the forest (on forest tracks) to the village of Vodni pad. We then continue into a small pretty valley, before returning to our start point. Along the way we will stop for lunch, possibly barbeque – depending on the weather. We will arrive back in the afternoon having enjoyed a wonderful day seeing the area on horse back. We then transfer back to the hotel in Trigrad.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Start of our mini-trek adventure. Walk through rolling hills and woods to set up campsite.

    Today we head off on our trek and overnight camp. After breakfast and packing our bags we head off on foot from the hotel with our day packs. The walk begins with a gentle uphill to the large plains above the Trigrad valley. After our picnic lunch, we cross the plains with some easy walking on flat terrain before reaching the forest. We then follow the forest tracks and can pretend to be in ‘Lord of the Rings’ as we pass through the Dark Forest. We soon arrive in the nature reserve Chairite Lakes. The scenery here is lush and peaceful in between the rolling hills, lakes and forests with the higher mountains as an idyllic backdrop. We camp near this lake in the protected area, which is sometimes known by the local as the ‘magic lake’ because it is the home of beautiful wood-nymphs who have enchanted the shepherds with their songs and dances. It is unlikely however that the wood-nymphs will have set up camp when we arrive, after our walk! Part of the fun today is to arrive at our campsite and for all of us to help set up camp, collect firewood and making our home for the night. We should arrive at our camp at about 4pm, giving us plenty of time to enjoy the evening and our wild camp. We will help the leader with the preparations for the meal, which we will then cook over our fire. After some food, and maybe some stories around the fire we will be tucked up in our sleeping bags soon after nightfall. Please note we will need a sleeping bag for tonight (however not a thermarest) and baggage will be transferred by vehicle to the campsite.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 hours

  • Transfer back to Trigrad. After lunch visit thermal pools near Devin. Return to Trigrad hotel.

    We wake in the morning to the sound of birds song, and slowly arise from our tents to assist the leader in reviving the fire and cooking our breakfast. After breaking camp we climb into the vehicle and transfer back to Trigrad, approximately 1 hr 30 mins. We arrive back at our hotel in Trigrad for a shower and lunch. In the afternoon we transfer to some thermal pools located in the forest outside the nearby city of Devin. There are two open air pools – one for the adults and one for the kids – supplied by hot springs. There is a small restaurant and snack bar at the pools. After our swim we return to the pretty village of Trigrad.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Morning visit to Yagdinska Caves, after lunch visit 'Devil's Throat' Cave. Return to Trigrad hotel.

    Today we start with a visit to Yagodinska Cave, which is approximately a 30mins drive from Trigrad. This is the longest cave system in the Rhodopi mountains and has magnificent cave formations. As well as the usual stalactites and mites we see draperies, dendrites and cave pearls (very unique). These caves have 22 of the 28 kinds cave formations known in the world! We start on the main trail to the middle of the caves where we don our head torches and take a corridor not visited by the regular tourist. On this special section we walk through a rarely seen gallery and scramble up a small chimney before re-joining the main route. This adventure should take around 2-3 hrs. After our picnic lunch we visit the ‘Devil’s Throat’ cave. The river that runs into the cave never seems to reappear again and hence legend has given the name of the ‘Devils’ Throat’. The cave contains numerous underground waterfalls, among them the second highest underground waterfall in any tourist cave in the world, at 42m high, located in the Roaring Hall. There is also a bat colony, which winters in this cave. After our visit and exploration of this cave and the surrounding natural bridges and gorge we transfer back to Trigrad (15 minutes).

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Transfer back to Sofia. Visit the Bachkovo Monastery, lunch in Plovdiv, arrive Sofia late afternoon.

    After breakfast we say goodbye to our hotel and Trigrad and transfer by vehicle for a visit of the magnificent Bachkovo Monastery, the second largest in Bulgaria after Rila Monastery. It is a distance of around 90km and we should be there in 1 hour 30 mins. It was erected in 1037 by Georgian brothers and is situated in a stunning position by the river. The walls are painted with stunning frescos which have been preserved for centuries. We then travel a little further to Bulgaria’s second largest city – Plovdiv. Plovdiv is an ancient crossroad between East and West and has unique architecture from its 24 century’s of history. We can visit the Amphitheatre of Philip II of Macedonia, the basilicas, churches and mosques, or walk the vibrant streets of this colourful town. With its cobbled streets and bohemian cafes some even say it is the Paris of the Balkans. It might be possible to take a ride on the newly restored Children’s Railway as well. We have lunch in a local restaurant or café and then we proceed onto Sofia, which is approximately 1 hour 30 mins. Here in Sofia we check into our downtown hotel, and may have some time to walk around the city before we have dinner.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. A single transfer to Sofia Airport is provided.

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast with a single timed group transfer to Sofia Airport. If time allows we have a short tour of Sofia.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • An experienced professional English-speaking local guide
  • A single timed group transfer from Sofia Airport to Trigrad on Day 1 and a single timed group transfer from Sofia downtown to Sofia Airport on Day 8
  • Accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • All meals
  • All equipment and all activities as in the itinerary
  • Vehicle support on camping night

  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for local staff
  • Airport transfers (other than the single timed group transfers)
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A single timed group transfer will provided on day 1 of the trip itinerary from Sofia Airport to Trigrad. This transfer will depart Sofia Airport in the mid to late afternoon. On the final day of the trip itinerary a single timed group transfer will be provided from downtown Sofia to Sofia Airport and is timed to arrive at Sofia Airport in the mid morning. If you choose flights that do not coincide with these group transfers, private transfers can be arranged at extra cost. Please contact the KE office for a quote. Clients not on the designated flights should let us know if airport transfers are required. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be sent to you with your booking confirmation.

During this holiday the group will spend 5 nights in family run pensions just outside Trigrad in the mountains, 1 night in Sofia and 1 night camping. Tents of 2 or 3 man are available for our camping night.

Accommodation in the pension and hotel are usually in twin sharing or family rooms, all with en-suite facilities. Children of 11yrs and under will share with parents in a triple for a family of 3 or a double with 2 extra beds for a family of 4. Children over 12 yrs will share with parents in a triple for a family of 3, or have 2 rooms for a family of 4. We will do everything to ensure that you are happy with your rooming allocation.

Additional nights are available at the beginning and end of the holiday. Details of your first night's hotel together with an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

In the evening we will enjoy a three course meal which will predominantly feature dishes of trout, pork, chicken etc. cooked in Bulgarian style. Vegetarian and other special diets can be catered for, although choices are usually limited. All meals are included in the trip price but you may wish to bring or buy additional snacks that your children enjoy. Most lunches will be a simple, but filling picnic. The lunches will usually consist of fresh bread, ham, salami, tomatoes, cheese and fresh fruit. Certain days our lunches are taken in a local restaurant.

All meals are included from Dinner on Day 1 to Breakfast on Day 8.

Approximately £150 (or equivalent in US dollars, Euros etc) per famiily should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of currency rather than travellers cheques, since you will exchange the majority of this on the day of your arrival in Bulgaria. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). There are ATM’s at Sofia Airport, and in Sofia, but not in Trigrad.

The group will be led by a professionally qualified English speaking Bulgarian leader. There will also be a support vehicle and driver for vehicle transfers and transporting our main baggage to our hotels.

We suggest you give a tip to your guide if you are satisfied with their services. This is probably best done as a group pooling something around £10 per family member.

Baggage will be transported between overnight stops (except on Day 6) by the support vehicle. There is no weight restriction other than that imposed by your international carrier but we do ask you to limit your luggage to one piece plus your day pack.

KE Trek Bag / Free Gift

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

A passport with 3 months remaining validity is required. Passport holders from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any EU countries do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the respective consulate in their own country.

Whilst we keep our information up to date, you should be advised that visa requirements can change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in case of recent amendments.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes
  • Socks
  • Trekking trousers /pants
  • Underwear
  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers / pants
  • Baselayer shirts
  • T-shirts and/or casual shirts
  • Loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirt with collar (for sun protection)
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Eyewear – Sunglasses
  • Lightweight thermal or fleece gloves
  • Old clothes (for day in the caves)
  • Daypack c.30 to 40 litres / 1800 –2000 cu in (depending on how much of the kids' stuff you want to carry)
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Water bottles (approx 1 litre / quart per person)
  • Sleeping bag + sleeping bag liner
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Small towel
  • Swimwear
  • Headtorch / headlamp and spare batteries
  • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)
  • Basic First Aid Kit - including antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Immodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, insect repellant and rehydration salts (Dioralite)

The following items are optional:

  • Trainers / sneakers
  • Sandals
  • Shorts
  • Trekking poles
  • Wet wipes
  • Travel clothes
  • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Camera, film / memory cards, batteries
  • Toys / games / books etc.
  • Notes:All specialist equipment required for the activities on this trip are provided, except for personal sleeping bags.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:


Know before you go

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking or activities trip getting some additional exercise. Even very fit youngsters will benefit from some kind of preparation and it can be great fun as you head toward your activity holiday.

From July to September the weather is generally very good. We can expect daytime, valley temperatures of between 18ºC and 28ºC in August, dropping to 12ºC to15ºC overnight. May and October temperatures will be a few degrees cooler. Temperatures will also be cooler at altitude and on our camping night, but usually still pleasant. As with any mountain area there is the risk of some poor weather, with rain and wind. But we should encounter mainly clear and sunny days even in October although it will be cooler at this time of year. This area usually enjoys a very pleasant and stable climate in summer.

The Rough Guide to Bulgaria. Lonely Planet. Bulgaria. The Mountains of Bulgaria. Julian Perry (Limited descriptions of our route).

Western Rhodope Mountains - Domino - 1:100,000

Western Rhodope Mountains on a detailed double-sided map at 1:100,000 from Domino extending from just west of the Pirin National Park to Asenovgrad in the north-east.

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