“Musala – the highest of the Balkans”
Although born in Bulgaria, I first started mountaineering abroad….so to visit the highest peak of the Balkans was one of my biggest dreams. It came true on 5th May 2016. It would be perfect spring time, I thought, but no…..two days trip, bearable winter conditions, unstoppable snow fall, windy, -5oC/ -1oC, no view at all…….My guide and fellow companion Dimiter Samounev was just perfect. The entire trip was programmed by him according to the weather and my abilities. He gave me my first lesson with the snowshoes, some tips how to use my tools better, always watching cautiously if everything is alright. I heard a lot of stories about the mountain(s) and the place itself….a pleasant evening by the fire he managed to start up so that we could stay warm and dry with all that snow. Bulguides, in particular Dimiter, made these two days unforgettable experience and inspired me…..to go higher.Thank you guyes!!!
“Excellent day snowshoeing”
We had an absolutely great day out with Lyuben snowshoeing from Bezbog hut up to the peak. He was very knowledgeable, speaks fluent English and is good company too! Highly recommended for any outdoor activities in the area.
Visited April 2016
“Great day on a snowy mountain”
We had a wonderful snowshoeing day trip with Lyuben to the Bezbog mountain.
He is a great guide, very knowledgeable about the area and very easygoing. We organized the trip on a very short notice and it turned out to be the best thing I did in Bansko area.
Snowshoeing in the snowy mountains is a really special experience and I really recommend it (and of course Lyuben as the guide :-)) to everyone who loves hiking and wants to experience the area in a different way.
Visited February 2016
“Great trip of Rila Lakes”
We had an amazing 2 days snowshoeing 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.
Visited January 2016
“Excellence in mountain advice and snowshoe guiding”
The mountains of Bulgaria present attractive objectives in both summer and winter conditions, but there are virtually no guidebooks written in English apart from the excellent Cicerone guide to the summer long distance trails. However nothing is available on snowshoeing. My wife and I wanted to hire a guide for a couple of days and then do some routes on a self-guided basis as we were reasonably experienced snowshoers. Having trawled the net I decided to contact Lyuben at Bulguides about my ideas. He was very responsive and helpfully answered lots of my questions regarding the possibilities. In the event he was not available personally but put us in touch with fellow guide Dimiter (Mitko) Samounev. Both guides are fluent in English.
Mitko was equally helpful and after a series of e-mail exchanges we agreed on two possible less-visited day routes in the Rila. With warmer weather prevailing when we arrived in Bansko, Mitko suggested a change to starter higher in the Rila at the Treshtenik Hut with the aim of reaching the frozen Ribno Ezero, which we did. The next day we did a longer 8hr route from Semkovo resort up to the Rila main chain to reach Chemnerna and Svednia Vrah. The icy and narrow approach routes to the huts allowed Mitko to demonstrate his competent winter driving skills. On the mountain he was in his element and we both enjoyed his company, learning about the snow conditions, route selection, trees, animal tracks and much else.
Mitko’s navigation and route finding in the misty conditions was excellent and the trips were very relaxing. In conversation, we also learnt a lot about the history of Bulgaria and many other subjects from fishing and food to national music, as well as a tutorial on the Cyrillic alphabet! So all in all, a great couple of days out. Mitko set off as he was instructing aspirant mountain guides on a snowshoeing course, but before he did he provided some sound advice on the safest approaches to some of the Pirin peaks which we followed to reach the summits of Orelak and Bezbog later in the week.
I would highly recommend Lyuben and Mitko to anyone wanting guiding and advice on snowshoeing or walking in the mountains of Bulgaria.
“Incredible day of snowshoeing on Mt. Vitosha”
What a perfect winter day on Vitosha! My wife and I had essentially no prior snowshoeing experience, but with the mountain looking so big and beautiful over Sofia this winter, we wanted to give it a try. On very short notice, Lyuben arranged for Dimiter Samounev to be our guide the next day. It was just the two of us, plus our guide. Dimiter is a great guide, by the way. He’s really knowledgeable about the geology, the flora, and the fauna of the mountain and was a lot of fun to be with. He’s also an amazing driver, which really matters given the condition of the mountain road in the winter. His English is great too.
We were very lucky with the weather. There were clear, blue skies and very little wind on the mountain. To avoid the weekend crowds, we went to a less-visited part of the mountain and made our own trail up to a ridge with outstanding views of the Rila Mountains and the Balkan Mountains. From way up there we could see all the way to Macedonia and into Serbia. Looking down, we saw lots of tracks in the snow, including rabbits, foxes, a little deer, and a wild boar…plus snow-covered “stone rivers”. We eventually made a loop back to the mountain hut where we started. Altogether I think we were snowshoeing for 6 hours, and it was so much fun the entire time.
We highly recommend it!
Visited February 2015
“A truly memorable experience: snowshoeing in Rila”
Having a few free days coming up and a desire to try snowshoeing in a nearby locale, but no clear vision and not a lot of time to plan, I started researching options online. I then found Bulguides.com, which immediately appealed based on the types of trips on offer. So I contacted Lyuben, who promptly responded to my inquiry. He in turn put me in touch with Dimiter Samounev (aka Mitko), who presented a multi-day option in the Rila mountains that perfectly suited my needs and budget.
En route to Sofia to meet Mitko I was still not exactly sure what to expect, as I am an independent, DIY travel type guy generally. (This was my first time hiring a guide in fact.) However, my concerns were quickly put to rest: Mitko is affable, knowledgeable, and an all-around outdoorsmen. He took care of every detail, big and small, from accommodation to car travel to equipment use. It was such a pleasure to just focus on relaxing, enjoying the environs in the Rila area and snowshoeing. He also has an excellent command of English, and deftly manages to be attentive yet unobtrusive.
Moreover, Mitko has a genuine love of nature and the outdoors that is truly contagious. I really learned a lot from him (about snowshoeing, the local area, snow conditions, flora, fauna, animal tracking, and more) while he avoided being pedantic. Mitko was always the consummate professional yet friendly and personable. I could not have asked for more.
I will definitely consider using Bulguides.com again in the future, not only for snowshoeing but also for hiking. And I give the firm a strong recommendation to anyone who wants to discover the natural beauty of Bulgaria with an experienced local guide.
Visited January 2015
“Snowshoe adventure in Beautifull Bulgaria”
In februari 2013 we (my girlfrien an I) did a wonderfulll 8 day snowshoeing trip with our guide, Lyuben, from hiking guide Bulgaria. In the past we’ve done a lot of summer hikes on our own in the apls, but due to the winter conditions and the fact that we had no expierence with hiking in Bulgaria we decided to hire a guide for this trip.The scenery and local people in bulgaria where amazing and we really enjoyed these 8 days, Lyuben, our guide, really made the trip perfect for us, He had a good feeling for what we wanted and this resulted in beautiful, challeging hikes and interesting encounters with the local people that live in the mountains. One night he even improvised a stay with local people in a small village in the rhodope moutains which made the trip a real adventure for us. Due to his extended knowledge of all mountain area’s in bulgaria (Rila, Rhodope, balkan and Pirin) he could also improvise a perfect alternative plan in the rhodope mountians when the weather turned bad high up in the Rila mountains.
Lyuben tailored a program for us and gave a good overview of the costs, accomodations and alternatives at forehand. This resulted in a trip that was perfect for our budget and whiches. When plans changed during the trip, Lyuben also left enough options such that we could have our say in what type of accomodations to stay in.
Thanks to Lyuben we have seen parts of Bulgaria that we had never seen when we did the trip on our own. I’m certain that hiring a guide like this is definitely worth the money and thanks to Lyuben the trip was a great adventure for us!
Visited February 2013
Author: Lyuben Grancharov
“The World is a book and those who do not travel read only a page” (Augustine of Hippo). I enjoy filling up the page, called “Bulgaria”, both working as a guide and writing about the mountains of Bulgaria on this blog.