Location: Bansko, Bulgaria.
Professional experience: Works as a mountain leader since 2006, both with individuals and larger organized groups, mainly English speaking.
Experience in the mountains: Very often in the mountains of Bulgaria – Rila, Pirin, Balkan mountains and the Rhodopes. Been to the mountains of Turkey, Macedonia, Kosovo, Greece and Romania. Mont Blanc and Dufourspitze in the Alps, ski tours in Tirol, trekking in Caucasus Mountains and in the mountains around Baikal Lake in Russia. Mount Kazbek in Georgia, Mount Kinabalu on Borneo Island, Mount Rinjani on Lombok Island, Indonesia, trekking in the Ladakh region of India.
Travel experience: Long distance cycling trips to Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Macedonia. Been to Japan, SE Asia, India, Russia, Georgia and around Europe.
Interests: hiking, cycling, mountaineering, climbing, skiing, mountain rescue, travelling, photography.
2022 – Ski Instructor Award, C/ISIA Class – Bulgarian Ski School (ISIA Member);
2018 – MIAS Level 2 MTB instructor degree;
2018 – UIMLA International Mountain Leader, member of SGLM;
2015 – Ski Instructor Award, B Class – Bulgarian Ski School (ISIA Member);
2013 – Ski Instructor Award, А Class – Bulgarian Ski School (ISIA Member);
2010-2011 – Summer and Winter Mountain Rescue Training Courses, member of Sofia Mountain Rescue Squad;
2009 – Course in climbing and mountaineering – Vihren Alpine Club, currently member of the club;
2009 – Mountain Bike Leader Award, Mountains and People Association;
2009 – Ski Guide Award, Mountains and People Association;
2005-2006 – Mountain Leader Award, Mountains and People Association, Certificate № 032717/2006; Registered in the National Tourist Registry under Т-РД-17-6/14.03.2017;
2000-2004 – Bachelor degree in Bulgarian Philology, Sofia University, Bulgaria;
2001 – Driving license, active driver.
Languages: English, Russian.
Reviews for this guide:
Sagi Ronen, Israel:
Spectacular Bulgaria’s mountain experience
First – applause for Lyuben Grancharov. Trip plans, navigation assistance and aids, accommodations reservations, transfers = straight A for each of them.
The great outdoors of Bulgaria are really great.
My elders (25,21) and myself planed for a mountain hike and picked up Bulgaria’s Rila &Pirin.
We found out about self guided Bulgaria and Lyuben Grancharov from a Hebrew hiking site. This was a key into a perfect mountain vacation.
Lyuben was tailored us a seem less trip:
1. Trip plan – a very thorough questioning course led into a precise plan suitable exactly to our needs and abilities. Give the guide all needed info to get perfect plan.
2. Navigation – Supplied with perfect GPS plans for the whole route, detailed paper map, exactly routes descriptions we ended up with very small doubts about where should we go (no outdoor experience without it though…). Take seriously the OSMAnd Maps GPS app. Works greatly with some learning. Trails system of Bulgaria’s mountains is well developed and maintained.
3. Gear list – perfect! Don’t forget light blanket cover and light towel.
4. Reservations – perfectly done. Also the hotel recommended in Sofia (L’Opera) was excellent.
5. Transfers – comfortable, just in time, generous service attitude, very enriching conversations regarding Bulgaria’s nature, society and culture. It’s so important and overwhelming.
5. Availability – 2 months before the trip and along the trip week unbelievable responsivity. Lyuben used to supply us every detail we had to know and in time.
Great human relations, Professionalisms, pleasant attitude.
Many thanks Lyuben and SelfGuided Bulgaria
Nick Donohue, UK:
I have just returned from an excellent ski-touring trip with Lyuben, as one of a group of 8 British ski-tourers.
We spent 10 days on our trip, with half of our time in Bulgaria (in the Pirin and Rila ranges) and half in Macedonia and Kosovo (in the Sharri mountain range).
I was very impressed by Lyuben’s organisation (e.g. logistics, accommodation, employing other guides, transportation) and very confident in his guiding ability on the mountain. He has an easy going style and speaks very good English.
We enjoyed excellent ski-tours in Bulgaria and saw the potential for great free-ride in the Sharri mountains in Macedonia and Kosovo.
Food was really good and the standard of our accommodation was high. We enjoyed a good balance of skiing and ‘chill time’ including visits to Sofia and Skopje.
I highly recommend visiting and using Lyuben as your guide. We look forward to coming back to Bulgaria to explore more!
Nick Donohue (April 2018)
Johan and Jokke, Sweden – off piste in Bansko:
We had an amazing day, hiking up to the Todorka peak for some really nice freeride skiing!
Lyuben is a really nice guy, speaks exellent English, answers directly on email and wazzapp and is easy-going!
He knew where to find good snow even though it hadn’t been snowing for a couple of days and he brought the equipment we needed for the hike.
We highly recommend Lyuben and we’ll definately contact him again if we go back to Bulgaria for mountain activities.
Johan and Jokke from Sweden
Sadie Dann, UK – Mountain biking with Lyuben Grancharov:
My friend and I booked a day mountain biking with Lyuben. The scenery was beautiful and the hills perfect mountain biking terrain. Lyuben was very kind and friendly. We had a great time chatting with him when we weren’t I’m middle of challenging climbs! He was reliable and knew the trails extremely well. He was also flexible. When he found out we were driving from Plovidiv he changed the itinerary so that our drive wasn’t as long. He also planned a little local train ride that made the trip even more special. Anyone who loves mountain biking I recommending saving a day in Bulgaria to bike with Lyuben Thank you. Sadie and Mo.
Dror, Israel – a day skiing in Bansko:
I was in Bansko on January 2017 with my family but because I am the only advanced skier in my family I decided to take an advanced ski guide to join me, I found on the internet while looking for Off Piste guides in Bansko area.
Lyuben is very nice person, speak English fluently and was just on time.
It was very easy to communicate with him through Skype,WhatsApp phone,email as he was available on any of them which is very important while you are abroad.
Unfortunately the conditions were not good enough for off piste so we just skied together during the day.
He took me to the non crowded slopes and was a great partner,
I am highly recommend him.
Great time / Great guide.
לכל חבריי הישראלים
בנסקו נפלאה, היינו בבנסקו בינואר 2017, משפחה של זוג ו 3 ילדים.
מאחר ואני גולש ברמה טובה, חשבתי שיהיה נחמד למצוא מדריך מקומי ולשפר את הטכניקה שלי ולנסות ב Off piste
את לובן (ככה מבטאים את השם) מצאתי באינטרנט וקבעתי איתו דרך המייל ובאממצעות ווטסאפ.
הבחור חביב להפליא, דובר אנגלית מושלמת.
הגיע בזמן, לא היו “הפתעות” ממה שסיכמנו.
לצערי התנאים לא התאימו Off pise ולמעשה גלשנו באתר עצמו.
הוא מכיר הייטב את האתר ולקח אותי לאזור הפחות עמוס (ניתן לומר שהיינו כמעט לבד על המסלולים למרות שהאתר עצמו היה עמוס).
אני ממליץ עליו בחום.
Feeling exhilarated and energised 🙂 in the best possible way after a wonderful day snow shoe walking with Lyuben.
After reading other rave reviews I emailed before my trip to ask a ton of questions, all of which were answered promptly, fully and honestly.
Having booked the day Lyuben arrived promptly at the hotel whilst my partner headed to the slopes to ski.
Lyuben had checked info about me, stamina, fitness, health etc and had a trip planned in anticipation of my arrival.
He drove us to the next village (30 mins) and equipped with all we needed headed up the ski lift to the BezBog Hut. Gorgeous sunny but fresh day. Fitted with snow shoes Lyuben led the way paying tons of attention to how I was doing and guiding me carefully across icy patches, patiently stopping when I needed a drink!. And pointing out lots of interesting facts. he is full of really interesting information.
Didn’t think i was going to make it to the top but with his guidance – slowly but surely, I made it. Absolutely fabulous / spectacular views across 3 mountain ranges. Amazing
Headed back down for gorgeous bowl of bean soup at the Hut after walking across the middle of the frozen lake!
The day was finally rounded off by an impromptu trip to one of the thermal baths which Lyuben suggested and sorted and which was a fantastic remedy to aching limbs!
I would highly recommend Lyuben as a guide. In fact had he been free the next day I would have booked him for skiing lessons for my partner…maybe next year :-). Would most definitely book with Lyuben again. Thanks so much. Lynn
Nikole Walker, USA:
Snowshoeing at the Seven Rila Lakes – we had an amazing trip with Lyuben. He was easy to communicate with prior to the trip and was very flexible. Our snowshoe trip was beautiful and just as we expected. The huts were comfortable and welcoming. Would definitely recommend this trip.
Yannis Serafimides, Greece:
Fantastic experience, very knowledgeable and helpful guide, will definitely do it again and will recommend Lyuben to other foreign climbers interested in the unique beauty of Bulgarian mountains!
Thank you Lyuben!
Helen Micklethwaite, UK:
Hi Lyuben, I just wanted to say a huge thanks for an awesome weekend, it really was one of the best trips I’ve had so far in my life, although I still have black toes from my boots and a missing big toenail lol good times.
Tara Steward, UK:
Hey lyuben. Thanks so much for a wonderful week hiking in Bulgaria back in October 2012. We all had a superb time, your knowledge and commitment was impeccable. We would all like to come back and do another hike in the spring, maybe may/june 2013!!!! Can u let me know the best time for you and which weeks your free please. Thank you.
My sister and I are planning to go hiking in the Rila mountains next week. We would start at the the monastery and then walk for 3-4 days (from hut to hut). Can you you help us with choosing the right route and huts? We are both beginners.
Thanks in Advance.
My name is simone from Italy. I would like to pass a night in the seven lakes area next Thursday (16 May). Which hut do you reccomend me (Rila Lakes Hut, Seven Lakes hut, Skakavitsa Hut? are they open?)? Is there still lot of snow?
thank you so much for helping me!
I have had a lot of fun reading your posts on the Rila mountains, and they are very useful!
Myself and 3 friends are planning a trip to the Rila range based on the 7 day traverse that you have documented, we are going in 10 days (May 18th) – I was wondering if you have any advice given there are some tricky weather conditions at the minute.
We are planning for the Ribni Lakes, Granchar and Yastrebets huts to only be open as shelter with no food, do you think this is right?
Are there any areas on the route that should be avoided in bad weather (like avalanche zones, maybe Mount Musala peak is too dangerous), and are the path markings mainly posts or painted rocks?
It would be great to send you an email with some more questions if that possible?
Hello Ben, it is not the season for this trip unless you have experience in winter walking – dealing with avalanches, icy slopes, route finding, etc. It is also not a good period in terms of weather, terrain, huts are closed. So cannot really help. More info on the conditions here: https://bulguides.com/skylab1/spring-hiking-in-the-mountains-of-bulgaria/
Would recommend you to plan on Rhodope Mountains. We offer a self-guided service, more info here: https://bulguides.com/skylab1/self-guided-trips-bulgaria/
Thanks Lyuben, I will have a look into the self – guided tours and see what we can find.
Booked Lyuben’s guiding for a day trip skinning/snowshoeing in the Rila mountains. Relative novices at the activity and bad weather but Lyuben showed us a largely sheltered peaceful path and gave just the right amount of instruction (useful without being patronising). Great company and top-notch day out. Professional and quick in correspondence beforehand also. Would thoroughly recommend.
Thanks Dave, was pleasure to spend the day with you, guys!
We have done self guided inn to inn hiking at many locations around the world and are wondering if such a thing exists in Bulgaria. We would also consider a guide in Bulgaria if there are few English speaking local people. We prefer to hike 6-15 miles per day and carry only a day pack with water, lunch, and foul weather gear. Our overnight gear is transported for us between evening destinations. Our schedules are somewhat flexible and we would probably have 4-6 people in the party. We would like the hike to be in the 6-9 day range.
Does this sound possible for a Bulgarian vacation?
We traveled to Bulgaria without much knowledge of the country or expertise in hiking but great anticipation to spend time with friends and hike. Lyuben did an incredible job for us. The hiking was challenging and the scenery was breathtaking. Memories were made that we will never forget. We stayed at wonderful inns, we ate great food, and we met wonderful people. Lyuben helped us with all the aspects of our trip. Thank you Lyuben for your gracious services and the experience that we will always remember with pleasure.
Hi Mike and Denise, thanks a lot for the nice words, was pleasure to spend those days with you!
my name is Lee from Korea.
i will go to 2 Bulgaria mountains this June for a week.
i am looking for a great bulgarian mountain guide speaking English.
our team is 2 persons.
we have experiences including himalayas, Ladahk, south america trails and so on.
i leave my email here. reply please^^