Hiking

Balkan Summits Adventure

By May 7, 2020 July 24th, 2020 No Comments

Balkan Summits Adventure Snowcat Skiing Freeride in Macedonia – Popova Shapka

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    Hike to the highest peak of the Balkans – Mt. Musala 2925 meters
    Hike the Throne of Gods – Mt. Olympos
    Hike on the highest peak in two countries – Mt. Golem Korab 2764 meters, the border peak
    between Macedonia and Albania
    Visit three countries but hike in five countries, two of our peaks are border peaks (Ljuboten
    – Macedonia and Kosovo, Golem Korab – Macedonia and Albania)
    Enjoy the natural hot springs – SPA in Sapareva Bania in Bulgaria
    Meet the locals and enjoy traditional hospitality in Villa Ljuboten in Macedonia
    Experience magnificent traditional food in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece, eat at farm to table places and organic food
    See the UNESCO protected cultural and natural world heritage of Rila monastery in Bulgaria and Ohrid city and lake in Macedonia
    Visit the plateau of the Muses and experience the view that ancient gods have on Mt. Olympos
    Possibility to arrive at four different airports, and make the most affordable transport
    combination you can get
    Hike the highest peaks of four countries, enjoy the mountain culture, experience the diversity of the Balkans and have a challenging and fulfilling active vacation

    TOUR DESCRIPTION

    Program:
    12 day hiking

    Day 1 (19.09.2016) – Arrival in Bulgaria

    Arrival at Sofia Intl. airport, where You are met by Your tour leader and driver. Transfer to
    village of Govedartsi. Dinner and overnight.

    Accommodation: Guest House Djambazki (http://www.house-djambazki.com) or similar

    Meals included: Welcome dinner
    Day 2 (20.09.2016): Acclimatisation day
    Day at your leisure in Govedartsi village. Lunch in mehana “Starata kashta” located in the
    nearby town Samokov. Samokov is a small mountainous town, but there is a few sites to be
    visited – mosque – museum; the museum of history; Sarafska house – museum: a traditional
    Balkan house from XIXc; Diner in the guest – house.
    Accommodation: Guest House Djambazki (http://www.house-djambazki.com) or similar
    Accommodation: guest  – house “Djambazki”
    Included meals: B (guest house), L (local restaurant in Samokov – Starata Kashta), D (guest
    house)
    Day 3 (21.09.2016): Hiking to Mt Musala 2925 m
    Today You will checkout early in the morning and do short transfer (30 mins) to the center
    of Borovets resort, where You will be met by the local Bulgarian leader (meeting point is the
    entrance of the gondola).
    You take the gondola, which brings you to Yastrebets area from where you start hiking
    towards the highest peak of the Balkan Peninsula. Dinner and overnight in Borovets.

    Accommodation: Borovets (Hotel Lion http://borovetz.hotelslion.bg) or similar
    Meals: B (guest house), L (pocket lunch), D (hotel/local restaurant)

    Day 4 (22.09.2016): Hiking to the Seven Rila lakes

    In the morning you checkout from hotel and get transferred to Panichishte area and take
    the chairlift which brings you to the area of the Seven Rila lakes. All of them are situated at
    different altitude with the last one at 2535m, so it is up to you and the guide to decide
    whether you are going to the top or make a loop in the lower parts of the circuit.

    Sapareva banya area is famous for its natural hot springs, so after the hike you can enjoy
    some of the pools in the town. Your guide can recommend the good ones. You will say
    goodbye to Your Bulgarian guide after the hike is finished. Dinner in the hotel.

    Accommodation: Panichishte (Hotel Magnolia http://goo.gl/mwIUb2) or similar
    Meals: B (hotel), L (pocket lunch), D (hotel)

    Day 5 (23.09.2016): Transfer to Macedonia / Monasteries of Rila and Joakim Osogovski

    Checkout and departure to Macedonia. Enroute sightseeing of the UNESCO world heritage
    site of Rila Monastery (founded in the 10th century; more info at:
    http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/216), and the Monastery of St.Joakim Osogovski (more info
    at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osogovo_Monastery). Lunch is arranged in the small town
    of Kriva Palanka, at local restaurant. Arrival at Shar Planina area in the late afternoon hours.
    Overnight at mountain lodge in Staro Selo.

    Accommodation: Shar Planina (Vila Ljuboten http://www.vilaljuboten.com/index2.php) or
    similar
    Meals: B (hotel), L (local restaurant), D (mountain lodge)
    Day 6 (24.09.2016) Hiking in Shar Planina – Mt. Ljuboten (2498 m)

    Today's hike is taking us to Mt. Ljuboten, one of the most famous peaks of the Shar Massif.
    Duration of the hike is 5-6 hrs, length: 15km, Ascent: 1400m/2500m ; Descent: 2500m-
    900m. Return hike is done via Kozja Stena. Lunch is arranged at the mountain lodge.

    Late afternoon transfer to the Popova Shapka resort, where we will settle in and enjoy local
    hospitality and traditional dishes typical for this part of Macedonia. If time allows, en route
    visit of the Painted Mosque in Tetovo will be arranged.

    Accommodation: Shar Planina (Scardus https://goo.gl/FC0oZl) or similar
    Meals: B (hotel), L (mountain lodge), D (hotel)

    Day 7 (25.09.2016) Hiking in Shar Planina – Mt. Titov Vrv (2748 m)

    Leaving our mountain hotel on foot we have an early start for a long but rewarding trek
    along the Vakafska trail. Over the next 20km our well-paced walk follows high scenic
    pastures, moorlands and panoramic rest points as we enjoy the ascent towards to the peak
    of Mt Titov Vrv (2747 m). With it’s steep sided slopes and narrow ridge summit, we can
    expect to be rewarded with glorious views across the Shar Mountains into neighbouring
    north-eastern Albania and into Kosovo on this demanding day of trekking.

    Our afternoon descent leads us back to the resort of Popova Shapka where we meet our
    vehicle and drive onto our hotel accommodation in Mavrovo national park. Dinner and
    overnight are at our hotel in the beautiful village of Janche.

    Accommodation: Mavrovo national park (Tutto http://www.tutto.com.mk) or similar
    Meals: B (hotel), L (pocket lunch / local bakery in Tetovo), D (hotel)

    Day 8 (26.09.2016) Hiking in Mavrovo national park – Mt. Golem Korab (2765 m)

    Early breakfast and checkout. We start the day with a transport from Janche to Volkovija,
    from where You will be transferred with local jeep to Strezimir, starting point of the hike to
    Golem Korab. The path takes us in deep forest, we cross small mountain springs, pastures
    and meadows. The views are breathtaking, especially in the long traverse before the peak,
    where we are in front of beautiful rocky pointy peaks. As we approach the peak we can feel
    the fresh air from the Adriatic sea drifting from the Albanian coast, and we can see valleys
    and peaks in both countries. We enjoy enroute picnic lunch, afterwards we descend along
    the same trail.

    Short transfer to the village of Rostushe where lunch is arranged, before we transfer to
    Ohrid. If time allows, enroute visit of the monastery of St. John Bigorski is arranged. Arrival
    in Ohrid in the early evening hours. Dinner is arranged at nearby restaurant on the lake
    shores.

    Accommodation: Ohrid (Villa Sveta Sofija http://www.vilasofija.com.mk) or similar
    Meals: B (hotel), L (pocket lunch / local restaurant in Rostushe), D (local restaurant)

    Day 9 (27.09.2016) Rest day in Ohrid / Transfer to Greece via Dihovo

    Breakfast and checkout. If You wish so, the guide will take You for short walking sightseeing
    tour of the UNESCO protected old part of Ohrid (amenities visited: Tsar Samuel’s Fortress,
    Plaoshnik and the ancient Amphitheater). Transfer to Greece, with enroute stops for lunch
    in the village of Dihovo, as well as coffee stop in the town of Edessa. Arrival in Litochoro in
    the evening hours. Dinner and overnight.

    Accommodation: Litochoro (Guesthouse Papanikolau http://goo.gl/3jqhRq) or similar
    Meals: B (hotel), L (homestay in Dihovo), D (guesthouse)

    Day 10 (28.09.2016) Hiking on Mt. Olympus / Litochoro & Walk to Refuge A – Spilios
    Agapitos, alt. 2.100 m –  Refuge Ch. Kakkalos, alt. 2,700 m

    Transfer with your vehicle to Prionia, from where we begin our hike, at an altitude of 1.100
    metres. The route from Prionia to Spilios Agapitos Refuge is the most frequented hiking
    path on Mount Olympus and makes up a part of the E4.  Prionia is the highest point which
    can be reached by car. Most of the hike is through a thick forest of pine, beech and fir trees,
    and the path is in good condition. We make our way up to 2.100m alt. and reach the refuge.
    From the refuge, we follow a short zig zagging path which will bring us just under the

    mountains main summits; soon we will see an alpine plateau at an altitude of 2700m where
    a small but friendly refuge will accommodate us. (Estimated Walking Time: approx. 8-9
    hours).

    Accommodation: Olympus (Kakalos Refuge)
    http://www.mountolympus.gr/en/index.php#.V5umwrh97IU) or similar
    Meals: B (guesthouse), L (pocket lunch), D (refuge)
    Day 11 (29.09.2016) Hiking on Mt. Olympus / Peak ascents – Gkortsia

    After an early wake up and breakfast, we have two options according to participants fitness
    and weather conditions: We either climb  first Skala at 2.882 meters and then crossing a
    narrow ridge climb to the summit of  Skolio at 2.911meters. Or if weather permits and there
    is no snow, we ascent to the main summit – Mytikas (2.917meters), Greece’s highest peak,
    following a narrow gorge ( it involves about 150 m of scrambling ) ! ( 4-5 hrs walking on
    narrow paths – some scrambling involved – altitude gain of 800m ). After reaching the
    summit we descend by the same way to the main path and crossing the spectacular
    precipice under the summit of Stefani – the throne of Zeus, we emerge to the plateau of
    Mouses. In about 2 hours we will reach the refuge of the Hellenic rescue team
    (Petrostrougka @ 1.940m) where we can have our lunch and relax. (Estimated Walking
    Time: approx. 8-9 hours)

    From this point the end of our tour is near, we continue to our final destination, Gkortsia (2
    – 3 hrs walking) from where with your vehicle we transfer back to Thessaloniki.

    Accommodation: Thessaloniki (Hotel Vergina http://www.vergina-hotel.gr/site/index.php)
    or similar
    Meals: B (refuge), L (pocket lunch), D (local restaurant in Ladadika)

    Day 12 (30.09.2016) Departure

    Checkout after breakfast, followed by transfer to the Thessaloniki airport for onwards flight.
    End of program.

    Meals: B (hotel)

    Included:

     Transportation (incl. airport transfers)
     Guidance (tour leader from ME, with local guides in Bulgaria and Greece)

     Accommodation in rooms as per program
     All meals as per program (beverages excluded)
     Entrance fees at national parks and archaeological sites
     Gondola transfers in Bulgaria (days 3/4)
    Not included:

     Flights
     Individual expenses
     Travel insurance
     Tips

    Packing list:

     Mid size, comfortable rucksack (35 litres) with padded straps and waist belt, internal frame
    preferred; waterproof liner recommended keeping clothing, etc. dry inside.
     Sturdy, worn in trekking shoes
     Good waterproof top with hood
     Warm clothes, both for windy / cold daytime conditions and for the cool evenings (fleece
    tops or similar)
     Shorts and long trousers for walking, preferably quick-drying material (cotton or polycotton
    not denim)
     Sweatshirts or T-shirts for walking, at least one with long sleeves and collar (against sun-
    burn)
     Sheet sleeping bag or similar (e.g. duvet cover), for the overnight in a refuge, although
    blankets will be available.
     Sunglasses, towel, sun hat or cap, sun block
     Penknife
     Water bottle
     Wash bag and simple first aid kit (plasters or blister kit, aspirin or similar, antiseptic and
    medicine for personal use)
     Photographers: bring your cameras
     Torch (head torch if you have one)
     Walking sticks

    Group size: suited for 6-12 People
    Best season is all Season – December – end of March/beginning of April we recommend January until 1. week of April for best conditions
    Duration: from 5-9 Days
    Difficulty: variable
    visiting countries: Macedonia | Albania | Kosovo | Montenegro
    Type of activity: ski touring

    Our guides have the right to change the program, cancel or choose a different tour due unexpected conditions in order to provide maximum safety and pleasure for the group.

    All participants must be reasonably fit and must have proper hiking equipment.

    Please contact us if you are unsure about any requirements.

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