Amazing hiking route around the Balkans called "The throne of Gods', in Macedonia, Greece and Bulgaria, covering the most attractive hiking areas.

 

Overview

This is a truly exploratory and fascinating 16-day trip in the most spectacular mountains and national parks of the Balkans. The trip reveals the stunning mountain views of Shar Planina, Galicica and Pelister National Parks in Macedonia, Mt. Olympus National Park in Greece, and the Rila-Pirin National Park in Bulgaria. We will also feel the spiritual energy of one of the biggest and most important Balkan monasteries of St. Ivan Rilski; St. Naum Ohridski and Meteora Monasteries. And all this garnished with the folklore and the cuisine of the Balkans.

Itinerary

Tour itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Macedonia!

Arrival in Skopje, Macedonia, and direct transfer to the Popova Shapka resort in Shar Planina. Welcome dinner with traditional cuisine of the Tetovo region. Overnight.

Hotel: Popova Shapka
Meals: D

Day 2: Hiking in Shar Planina - Mt. Titov Vrv (2,747m)

Today we take the Vakafska trail. The trail length is 20km in total. The trail is relatively easy until before the peak, where it gets more steep. Total hiking duration: 9-10 hours (with breaks included). We return to Popova Shapka at around 16:00, and head for Ohrid – Macedonia’s UNESCO world heritage site. Check-in at hotel in Ohrid. Dinner and overnight.

Hotel: Ohrid
Meals: B/L/D

Day 3: Ohrid – the pearl of Macedonia

We will descent to the parking lot from where we will head to Ohrid Lake, UNESCO World Heritage Site. The setting of Ohrid town is simply sublime, with a dramatic mountain backdrop almost encircling the tranquil waters of Lake Ohrid. Ohrid itself has much to offer: we'll visit Tsar Samouil's Fortress and the Roman amphitheatre for sensational panoramic views, then stroll around the Old Town on cobblestone lanes. For those who wish, canoes and bicycles can be rented in town.

Hotel: Ohrid
Meals: B/L/D

Day 4: Boat Trip to St.Naum Monastery / Prespa – visiting the village of Brajchino

Today we will enjoy the beautiful scenery around Ohrid Lake. We will take a boat trip to St. Naum Monastery, founded in 10th century and situated the southern shore of the lake. Today we will walk in Galicitsa National Park, nested between Ohrid and Prespa Lakes. Later on our way to Brajchino village
we will pass through Livada pass (1,568 m) and Prespa Lake. Brajchino is an authentic village on the footsteps of Baba Mountain “Grandma” and just a few kilometers away from Greece. The village is famous for its architecture and wonderful mountainous scenery. This is where we have lunch. After Brajchino, we head for our next stop, the Pelister National Park. Accommodation in hotel in Pelister or Bitola.

Hotel: Pelister/Bitola
Meals: B/L/D

Day 5: Hiking in Pelister National Park

The hike in the Pelister National Park takes us via the location of Kopanki, and the tour duration is around 9 hours (5 hours to the summit, and 4 hours for the return hike). Starting point is at 1,450m, and the summit of Pelister is at 2,601m. There’s also other options for the hiking, one from Nizepole to Golemo Ezero (1,150m-2,200m), and the other one from Molika via Kopanki and Jorgov Kamen to Crveni Steni (2,000m, easier option). After finishing the tour, we head for Prilep for our next day of hiking to the monastery of Treskavec.

Hotel: Prilep
Meals: B/L/D

Day 6: Hiking to the monastery of Treskavec

Today’s hiking tour takes us to the monastery of Treskavec (duration 2:30-3 hours; easier option), or we hike to Zlatovrv summit (more advanced option). Lunch at the monastery. From there we head to Greece. Upon arrival, we check-in at our hotel in Kastraki.

Hotel: Kastraki
Meals: B/L/D

Day 7: Meteora Monasteries - Greece

Meteora is an area world-wide famous for its monasteries built atop impressive sandstone rock pillars. The hike takes us to the ruined Saint George Monastery (built in a cleft of a sheer rock face above Kastraki), and introduce you to the spectacular world heritage landscape of Meteora!

Hotel: Kastraki
Meals: B/L/D

Day 8: Meteora Monasteries - Greece

Enjoy a full day at Meteora. From Kastraki, follow old paths to the spectacularly situated Monastery of St. Barbara. Continue to the Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) Monastery, which crowns a massive rock pinnacle. Descend by footpath to the lively bustle of the town of Kalambaka for lunch. In the afternoon continue your exploration of Meteora with visits to the Grand Meteora and Varlaam Monasteries. Dinner and overnight in Kastraki.

Hotel: Kastraki
Meals: B/L/D

Day 9: Mt. Olympus

In the morning, travel by vehicle to Prionia, site of a former 15th century monastery on the slopes of Mount Olympus. Have lunch at Prionia in the local mountain bar. The climb of Mount Olympus begins from here. Ascend steadily through a forest of hardwoods that eventually gives way to Bosnian pine woodlands to reach the Spilio Agapitos Refuge. Enjoy a tasty meal, which may include fasolatha (bean soup), Greek salad, feta, olives – and settle in for a two-night stay.

Hotel: Spilio Agapitos Refuge
Meals: B/L/D

Day 10: Mt. Olympus – Skolio (2,911m)

Today we will ascend to the high ridge at Skala and attempt the summit of Skolio, the second highest summit in Greece. At the end of the hike we will descend to the village of Prionia. Accommodation at Litochoro. Overnight.

Hotel: Litochoro
Meals: B/L/D

Day 11: Rila Monastery

After breakfast, the guests check out and head for Bulgaria, via Thessaloniki and Sandanski (we have short breaks in these cities). On out 11th day we will visit the biggest Ortodox Sanctuary in Bulgaria – The Rila Monastery. It is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is major religious site in the country. It was founded in the 10th cenury by the saint hermit Ivan Rilski. In the middle of the complex is the church of the Holy Virgin – its painted frescos (dated 1847) and the wooden iconostasis are among the most impressive art works in Bulgaria. Accommodation in hotel in Bansko.

Hotel: Bansko
Meals: B/L/D

Day 12: “The Horse” Marble Ridge

Today will be our most challenging mountain hike. Starting from Yavorov hut we will climb to the White Marble Ridge of Pirin Mountains. The most stunning part of it is the “The Horse Ridge” - the narrowest part, where astounding precipices will force you to walk very carefully (it's not too dangerous – a strong rope is put there to help tourists feel safe). At the end of the ridge is the highest peak in Pirin Mountains – Mt. Vihren (2,914m). After a steep descent to Vihren Hut our hike for the day will be complete and we will have a short transfer to Bansko town for a deserved rest.

Hotel: Bansko
Meals: B/L/D

Day 13: Hiking to the seven Rila lakes

Today we will have the chance to visit one of the most sacred places in Bulgaria – the Seven Rila Lakes. The area is scientifically proven to be a place with high spiritual energy. Our hike will start with a climb to Malyovtisa Peak (2,729m) – known as the Bulgarian Matterhorn. We will continue to the main Rila Ridge with marvelous views to Rilska River Valley and Rila monastery to the South and the Urdina River Valley to the North. Finally we will reach the area of the Seven Rila Lakes. Return to Bansko in the afternoon hours. Overnight.

Hotel: Bansko
Meals: B/L/D

Day 14: Melnik Pyramids and Rojen Monastery

The views will be quite different – no more alpine peaks, today we will enjoy the pretty strange sandstone pyramid formations around Melnik! During our hike we will pass through Zlatolist village – small and authentic and the “St.George” Chapel. Towards lunchtime we arrive at Rojen Monastery (17th c.). Later we descend further through the bizarre sandstone rock formations called Melnik Pyramids. In the afternoon we will visit Kordopulova House-museum. It is a unique revival style house with colorful frescoes and Venetian glass. It actually presents the biggest Revival Architecture on the Balkans. Return to Bansko in the late afternoon hours.

Hotel: Bansko
Meals: B/L/D

Day 15: Mussala – On The Top of Balkans

Check-out from hotel and early transfer from Bansko to the village of Govedartsi. Today we attempt to climb the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula. We take a gondola lift, which brings us up to nearly 2370m. From there we ascend above the tree line. The trek to the peak is about 3.30 hours. Mussala is 2,925m high and the panorama is unbeatable. Next is a descent and again take the gondola lift. In the afternoon: transfer back to Govedartsi village.

Hotel: Govedartsi village
Meals: B/L/D

Day 16: Departure

Breakfast and morning transfer to Sofia airport. End of program.

Gallery

Hiking in Macedonia:

Hiking in Bulgaria:

Hiking in Greece:

Ohrid - UNESCO heritage site:

Prespa area:

Prilep area (Monastery of Treskavec):

Pelister National Park:

Monastery of St.Ivan Rilski - UNESCO heritage site:

 

What's Included

Included:

- Transportation

- Accommodation in hotels/rural accomodation (hotel category and meals can be chosen in accordance with Your request)

- Traditional Macedonian, Greek and Bulgarian cuisine throughout the journey

- Tour guide (English or other major European languages) 

- All tours and activities mentioned

- Taxes

Not included:

- Transfers to Macedonia

- Single room supplement

- Optional excursions and visits

- Insurance

Dates & Prices

Scheduled dates:

* This is non scheduled tour with flexible dates. 

Number of Participants:

2 - 14

Tour grade:

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Prices: 

Confidential prices for TOs available upon request. Price depends on the number of participants.

Additional information: 

- Season: April-October