Bulgaria is blessed with a dramatic and beautiful unspoilt landscape of spectacular rocky gorges, colourful flower-filled meadows and magnificent forested mountains, where Bears and Wolves still roam free. With the help of an experienced local guide from Neophron Tours, many rarities are relatively easy to find in this remote corner of Europe, and this exciting tour offers the possibility to see a remarkable selection of birds including Ferruginous Duck, Golden, Lesser Spotted and Short-toed Eagles, Long-legged Buzzard, Rock Partridge, Hazel Grouse, Calandra Lark, Crested and Sombre Tits, Isabelline Wheatear, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Alpine Chough, Nutcracker, Spanish Sparrow, Hawfinch, Rock and Cirl Buntings, up to six different Owls and all ten European Woodpeckers! According to Fatbirder.com “Bulgaria is also the best place in the world for seeing Wallcreeper”! So, prepare for an outstanding trip list.
Day 1 In just over three hours, a direct morning flight from Luton takes us to Sofia, where we meet our local English-speaking guide and driver, for a short transfer to our first base for two nights in the spectacular Rila Mountains, rising to over 8000 feet above sea level, where the birding begins this afternoon. Dinner and overnight at Krusharskata House Hotel.
Day 2 We have a full day exploring the high forests of the Rila Mountains, on the lookout for birds like Hazel Grouse, Crested Tit, Nutcracker, Three-toed, Black and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Pygmy and possibly Tengmalm’s Owls. Dinner and overnight at Krusharskata House Hotel.
Day 3 We drive east through the beautiful Rila Mountains to our second hotel, birding along the way, for more forest species, as well as Water Pipit in the alpine meadows. Dinner and overnight at the Andela Hotel.
Day 4 We drive south to the Trigrad Gorge, one of the best places to see the elusive Wallcreeper. Dinner and overnight at the Fisherman’s Hut (It’s much better than it sounds).
Day 5 We have a full day in the Trigrad area, looking for Wallcreepers, while other sightings may include Black Redstart, Dipper, Firecrest and Rock Bunting. Dinner and overnight at the Fisherman’s Hut.
Day 6 We drive north into the Central Balkan National Park, looking for birds like Lesser Spotted and Short-toed Eagles, Calandra Lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Wryneck and Syrian, Middle and Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Enica.
Day 7 We have a full day in the Central Balkan National Park, where the main target will be the rare White-backed Woodpecker and hopefully, newly arrived Red-breasted Flycatchers, as well as Little and Tawny Owls, plus Lesser, Middle, Great-spotted, Green and Black Woodpeckers. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Enica.
Day 8 We drive west through the Balkan Mountains, birding along the way, with a chance for Eagle Owl amongst many others. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Mala Planina.
Day 9 We have a full day in the western Balkans on the lookout for Rock Partridge, Golden Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Sombre Tit and Cirl and Rock Buntings. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Mala Planina.
Day 10 For a completely different change of scene, we visit the Dragoman Marshes, home to a wide variety of water birds like Ferruginous Duck, Bittern, Purple and Squacco Herons, Pygmy Cormorant, Black and White Storks and Bearded Tit. From here it is a one hour drive to the airport for an evening flight back to Luton.
Cost £1595 If for any reason the trip needs to be cancelled, all monies paid to New Horizons will be refunded.
What the price includes:
Return flights with Wizz Air, from Luton to Sofia (to be confirmed once schedules are known), all ground transport in Bulgaria, nine nights’ full board en-suite accommodation, all excursions and reserve entry fees, bird checklist and the services of your guides.
All passengers returning to the UK (excluding arrivals from the ROI, Isle of Man and Channel Islands) are required to complete an online Passenger Locator Form before arriving at the UK Border and may also be required to self-isolate for 14 days – please visit www.gov.uk.uk-border-control for information on UK public health requirements and a link to the form.