Hiking in Bulgaria during Covid

Hiking the Marble Ridge – June 2020

 

Outdoor activities in the mountains of Bulgaria after the corona virus crisis. How the new Covid 19 situation affects the way we practice our favorite activities – walking, trekking, mountain biking, climbing, ski touring and snowshoeing. It definitely changed our life, but now we are looking forward to the upcoming summer season, to nature, mountains, guiding and we are ready to appreciate even more every single moment outside.

In the below article you`ll find our policy and understanding on how we work as a Bulgarian travel provider during the corona crisis, as well as an overview of the situation in Bulgaria and some useful links to check the current travel status of the country.

As a tour company and personally, as guides who are passionate about their job, we are really looking forward to meeting our foreign customers again. On the other hand we fully understand that the situation around the world is still dynamic, more or less unpredictable and emotional. As in mountain guiding, the future is uncertain and all we could do is to take all measures in order to avoid potential risks, so we take the corona as yet another risk we need to take care of during our trips. Our best message to the foreign travellers and all our efforts when organizing tours in future will be led by the principle “travel without contributing to the virus spread”.

 

 

Here is a list of rules we are going to implement in our work in order to comply to the above:

Groups – We would limit our group sizes up to 8 people travelling together and we would not build groups of strangers for the same tour. That means group travelling with us is possible only for you and maximum 7 of your friends, colleagues or family. We believe that travelling in a party where there is communication regarding everyone’s personal health status and history as well as a common view on the importance of applying certain rules is the best way to avoid spreading viruses. We would require personal statements/declaration from all travellers regarding absence of symptoms and understanding of the importance of complying to the personal and group health measures and restrictions.

Accommodations – we would avoid all accommodations that do not comply with the governmental requirements concerning hygiene and disinfection. We will avoid all common accommodations like dormitories and huts with shared facilities for our guided groups and we do not recommend such on our self-guided tours. The reason is that as per our understanding it will be difficult to apply effective health measures on most of these establishments, located in our country.

Transport – we would not offer shared and public transport options on our guided tours. All vehicles we use will undergo disinfection regularly.

Local staff – we would require daily reports from our guides, drivers and the hotel management of every accommodation we use regarding their personal health status and any possible threats for the health of the staff and the guests. Our staff is strict in complying to the personal health measures and sensitive about possible health risks. On demand, we can organize PCR-testing for the staff you are in contact with at additional charge.

Eating – we would avoid dining outside the accommodations, in restaurants where we have no previous communication on the health and hygiene conditions and rules.

Public events, common facilities – we will avoid all locations where preserving personal distance and/or regular disinfection of the environment are not always effective or are not well organized. This includes all kinds of indoor public gatherings, swimming pools, SPA facilities, gondola lifts, tourist sights.

Insurance – all our guests on multiday trips are obliged to possess travel insurance that covers medical care in case of coronavirus infection.

Our Cancellation policy – we stick to 100% total refund on all trips, cancelled due to the Coronavirus situation.

 

What is the current situation in Bulgaria?

Up to date info, news and statistics are available via Google Translate at: https://coronavirus.bg

Current travel restrictions for the citizens of different countries coming to Bulgaria as well as requirements to enter the country, like testing and quarantine requirements are described here: https://reopen.europa.eu/en/map/BGR

As for 26th of June 2020 there is no requirement to provide a PCR test in order to enter Bulgaria and there are no limitations for visiting for most EU citizens. Visitors, coming from Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom, are subject to 14 days of quarantine.

Please do not hesitate to email us if you need any info on the current situation.

 

Development of the Covid-19 crisis in Bulgaria during the period March-June 2020: The country registered its first case on 8 of March and implemented a rapid and proactive response to the increasing cases in several EU states. As a measure of prevention Bulgaria set restrictions upon entry as early as 13 of March, with only 23 cases within the country. A state of emergency followed with closing of schools, commercial centres and any non-essential business.

The period with most severe measures was from 14 of April till end May when intercity travelling was restricted, public gatherings were forbidden and leaving home was not recommended.

The above mentioned measures showed positive results. Thus till 15 of June Bulgaria had only 2727 registered cases. After the complete lift of travel restrictions locally and reopening business we are experiencing a minor increase in the newly registered cases. As of 21 of June, there are 3872 cases.