Riding base "BALKAN"
You will find Riding base Balkan on the northern side of the Balkan Range in the outskirts of the mountain village Apriltsi – just in the heart of Bulgaria and with the most fantastic panorama to the highest peak Mt. Botev 2376 m. And the Central Balkan National Park is our neighbour.
Riding base Balkan is our stable and all the beautiful fields around and the little western bar where our riders can buy something to drink and enjoy the view over the mountains and the grazing horses. It is here we train our horses and taking care of them all the year round.
Riding base Balkan is placed in an incredible beautiful area and with a view in the background, you rarely will find somewhere else. Here you find the little creek and mountain lake behind the stables, the green and blooming meadows with wild flowers and old trees.
Central Balkan National Park
The National Park is one of the most valuable and among the biggest protected areas in Europe. It is over 716 km2 and was established in 1991 in order to protect the unique nature, flora and fauna. The brown bear is the symbol of the park and every season we have met or seen the tracks; but don’t worry – they are more afraid of us. Our “Balkan Trail” is following the old paths through the Central Balkan National Park and our “The Trail to Singing Rocks Reserve” is taking place as near as possible to one of the reserves in the park. Trail to Mount Botev and our Balkan Panorama Trail are also within the National Park. You can find more information about the rare and valuable flora and fauna of the National Park under our Links
Not long ago Apriltsi was four independent small villages. But now Apriltsi is a real town with almost 5000 inhabitants. It has a school with children, kindergartens etc. It is situated far away in the mountains and you don’t find any serious traffic, because the road is not going more far. At the end of Apriltsi the asphalt road is taken over by a gravel road, after that by two wheel tracks and here you find the real mountains - here you find the challenges and experiences. Many painters, musicians and writers have found the freedom to be creative in these surroundings and their houses are real active workshops. From Apriltsi you have the mountains in front of you – and here you find the exp0eriences and challenges. Together with our riding guides you will find a lot of possibilities to ride out and explore the nature and milieu and you will see many of the natural sights as the Paradise Hut, The Vidima Waterfall, a remote monastery or fantastic rocks. Every day has its own rides and not 2 days are the same.
Day by day program
||Arrival to Bulgaria. Meeting in the airport and transfer to Riding base ”Balkan”. Accommodation and dinner. Depending on the time of arrival you will meet the riding guide and talk about the program for the week.
||After breakfast we walk down to the stables and meet the horses for the first time. Our riding guides will introduce horse and rider to each other and explain how they ride in the mountains here, about the horses and about rules in the mountains. We start riding in the morning and lunch is may be a picnic or near to the stables and after lunch we leave Riding base Balkan for a horseriding – sightseeing for 3 hours around Apriltsi (12 km long).
||After breakfast we meet the horses and leave the village on a horseback for a ride to The Green meadows. Here we ride in all paces and for the very experienced riders there is a chance to have a good galop here. From the meadows we ride to the river and have our lunch. After the break we ride for 2 more hours back to Riding base Balkan.
||Today we ride up in the mountains and we’ll pass bates for the wild life in the area. The ride is taking place over 1000 m above sealevel and we will have our lunch in the mountains. In the evening you might ride out th see the wild life in the areas near Apriltsi.
||Over the hill top of Ostrets and Peperi – under the Black Peak (1500m) to a small monastery. Lunch in the monastery garden. Back to the riding base Balkan through fields and meadows and along the river.
||Today we ride into the National park. The ride will take us to Vidima, a small village, to the Vidima Waterfall, one of the biggest in Bulgaria (1350 m above sea level). A small eco-path is taking you up by feet and the horses will rest in the meantime. After lunch we ride in the park and will enjoy all the hidden treasures of the nature
||Now you know something about the area and we can choose between all the possibilities in the area: If you and the group prefer mountain riding we’ll ride in the mountains. If you’ll like to ride to one of the small villages, a monastery or other sights we do that. Whatever is chosen you will enjoy the picturesque landscape and in the evening we have the good bye dinner.
||After breakfast we pack the car and drive to the airport.
The riding examples here are just examples – you will experience all the possibilities on spot and we find new routes all the time. The area is so big that we cannot explore it in a lifetime.
A stay with us in Riding base Balkan is for all riders. There is a lot of natural riding pats in the beautiful valleys and in the mountains. Many of them are as created for galloping. For the experienced rider there are many possibilities for challenging riding in the mountainous terrains. We ride through mountain rivers, up and down steep mountains and all other kinds of areas. And the terrain is for all types of riders. Our riding guides know what to show you if you’re experienced but also if you don’t have the experience yet. The biggest difference between the trails and a one base week is exactly here: A stay in Riding base Balkan is giving the experienced rider a lot of possibilities. For the less experienced we ride for a while near the base and when you get comfortable with horses and the equipment we ride out in the mountains – and also in all paces if you are for that. It is important for us that the group is as homogeny as possible. We’ll do our utmost to secure that and you can help us before the arrival if you’re honest to yourself when you fill in the information about your experience.
In Apriltsi you can go to the swimming pools and you can rent a bike or hike in the mountains.
Nearest bigger town is Troyan – about 25 km from Apriltsi. Troyan is a nice town with shopping streets and cafés. Near Troyan you find the third biggest monastery in Bulgaria: The Troyan Monastery. It is possible to visit on a daytrip by car.
About 50 km from Apriltsi is the city of Gabrovo and here you find the famous ethnographical museum Etara with houses and buildings from medieval Bulgaria. And a little bit further in the northern direction is Veliko Tarnovo – once capital and now well known for its architecture and the fortress Tsarevets.
And by the way: If monasteries have your special interest this area is the right one to explore.
The weather in the mountains is changeable and even on the best hot summer day there might come a short shower and you’ll need your rain gear. The difference between day and night is quite big and you need a shirt or a fleece also in summer. During the winter there is a lot of snow. See more details in our galleries.
Comfortable riding clothes and helmet or hat. Windbreaker, rain gear, shirts. Remember it is cold in the mountains in the evenings. Water bottle. Don’t forget your sun protection, sun glasses and something against ticks. A good book, sudoku, playing cards for the evenings. In general a horse riding holiday is a relaxing way of spending your holiday.
How you stay and eat
When you choose a week in our Riding base ”Balkan” you’ll stay in the same house every day and you will have the possibility to follow the typical daily life in a small town, where the goats are still walking though the streets and the chickens live in the back yard. We have several possibilities: In our basic tour is included private accommodation. Usually you will stay in a house together with the other riders in double rooms and shower/toilet on the floor. Private accommodation in Bulgaria is to be compared with ”Bed & breakfast” in England or ”Zimmer frei” in Germany –and of course you have some privacy during the stay! The stay is with full board and all meals are enjoyed in the house or outside in the garden. During the daily rides a picnic is organized for lunch or you bring a lunch package.
Another option is to stay in one of the small hotels (additional fee), some of them with swimming pool. We can arrange the accommodation exactly the way you want it.
Price: EUR 760 – more details here
All seasons are riding seasons and you can ride with us in Riding base Balkan throughout the year. Depending on the time of the year and the weather conditions it will be possible to book and pay an additional stay on the top of the mountains in the Central Balkan National Park
Interested in winter riding or you want to book your horseback riding vacation? here