Joe Gabris, UK – 6 days Self Guided hiking in Rila and Pirin mountains:
We 3 reasonably experienced hikers were looking to explore the Bulgarian mountains this year. I came across the Bulguides website which was very informative but it very quickly became clear that this would be far more difficult to organise than other European countries we have visited. The key issues for us were language (both spoken and the written) and local knowledge.(bus timetables, water and food availability). We therefore decided to use Luyben’s services to create our self guided trip.
We have just returned and the trip could not have gone better. Language was still a major issue for us but we just about muddled through. However with all the information Lyuben had provided language difficulties were of the minor sort. I would go as far as to say that without Lyuben’s help, we could not have made this trip – the information required is not readily available and the written language just makes it impossible. If you are considering a self guided trip in Bulgaria and cannot speak Bulgarian or Russian, I would highly recommend you save yourself some anxieties and have Luyben help you also.
His services range from initial planning with help and advice about where to go and what to see, arranging transfers (if needed), providing bus timetables if you wish to make your own way and keep costs down, a written route guide for each days walking including information about where to get water and food, maps, GPS tracks for your phone (in case you wonder if you are going the right way), safety information about mountain rescue etc. It was also reassuring to know that we could have called him should anything have gone seriously wrong.
I should also mention that during the planning phase which stretched over about 9 months, Lyuben was always very quick to respond to our questions via email.
I can’t recommend Lyuben highly enough and we had a fantastic 6 stress free days hiking in Rila and Pirin. Thank you Lyuben.
Polina, Self guided tour:
We used Lyuben’s service for self guided tours in August 2017 for a spectacular 7-day hike in Rila and we can strongly recommend it!
The organization was really excellent. Lyuben made all necessary reservations for us (transfers from and back to Sofia Airport and for our stay in the huts in Rila and at Rila Monastery) and he also provided the instructions for each day of hiking. The instructions were very clear and easy to follow, and we never felt lost or confused during the entire trip.
All in all, if you are baffled by the prospect of organizing a hiking trip in Rila, hire Lyuben as he does a really fantastic job!
Mat Fleming, Rila and Pirin Mountains – Personalised Self Guided Trek:
I just wanted to send Lyuben a quick message to say how great our trek was. Lyuben was patient and keen to answer (lots) of my questions. He personalised a route for us -as we had time constraints and family to meet. The track notes and GPS were thorough, well presented and useful. The huts we stayed in were brilliant, great atmosphere and lovely hospitality. Thank you Lyuben for a memorable trek and time in Bulgaria. Thanks also for the extra advice and information in helping us decide on destinations to take our elderly parents on a tour of Bulgaria after our trek. We loved Bulgaria, it’s people and dramatic scenery. We’re keen to return soon!
Ton, Netherlands, 3-day tour in Pirin Mountains:
We wanted to make a 3 days hike in the Pirin mountains and while searching on the internet we came across this site.
Pretty interesting and full of information.
We wrote an email and the next day we had a reply from Lyuben with a nice proposal. Lyuben arranged the huts, taxi, map and gps tracks. All very swift and responsive.
A few days before the trip again a mail to verify whether there were maybe still open questions.
The trip itself very nice, everything was well arranged (and we had beautiful weather; i guess he also arranged that :-))
I would recommend him to anyone taking a trip in Bulgaria.
“Thank you Lyuben for a professional service”
We are a family with 3 children , we asked Lyuben to help us in planning our trip to Bulgaria – 25 days. we described the views we like to see, the difficulties of the routes, we asked to stay more than 2 nights in each place, etc.
Lyuben did an excellent job – he built a balanced itinerary (hiking, towns visiting and relaxing days), and he found for us many beautiful hikes, with superb views.
Lyuben sent us maps, detailed and accurate descriptions and GPX files for all the trails (which were very helpful) and he was available along the trip through e-mails and phone.
You can be sure that this man knows Bulgaria by heart while giving you a professional and kind service.
Thank you Lyuben!
Visited October 2016
“Lyuben planned great hikes for us!”
We are a family with 3 young children (8, 6, 2.5), and we needed help in planning hikes in the mountains with our kids (the youngest one in a baby carrier) . Lyuben did a great job – found for us many beautiful hikes, with superb views, suitable for our kids’ ability (5-7 km). We wanted to hike by ourselves, without a guide, so he sent us maps, detailed descriptions and gpx files for all the trails. We needed to change our plans several times during our 3 weeks’ visit, and he helped us a lot, through mail, to adjust our plans. He was very informative and flexible, and we had the best time! Thank you Lyuben!
Visited October 2016
“Amazing Vacation in Bulgaria”
We are a couple at the end of our 50s who love hiking. Since contacting Lyuben, he was quick to respond and offered us a great plan for our trip to Bulgaria. We had a 2 day hike in the Rila lakes with Nelly. The hike as well as Nelly, our guide, were great. Following Lyuben’s advise, our rented car waited for us with our extra luggage at the end of the trek and we continued hiking according to Lyuben’s detailed hikes. The information he gave us together with the maps he sent us, allowed as to adjust the hikes to our strength. When we were tired, or in case of bad weather, we could adjust the hikes accordingly. Lyuben came to meet us one evening during our trip and advised us face to face and helped us with the owners of the Guest house whose English is very poor. Already then, Lyuben, suggested alternative plan for bad weather. Once it was obvious that it is going to rain and snow on the mountains, Lyuben sent us an email, with more suggestions. We felt that someone really cares and takes care to help us enjoy and use well our time. In addition,all the places Lyuben recommanded for sleeping, the hotel in Sofia, Favorit Hotel, the guest house “Pri Deshka” near Bansko and the hotel in Goverdartsi, Krusharskata Kashta were great places. The plan of the trip allowed as to view both the highlights of the Rila and Pirin mountains. We highly recommend planning a vacation in Bulgaria with Lyuben!!!!
Visited September 2016
“5 Days Self Guided Tour in Rila and Pirin, Guided Mountain Biking in Pirin”
Lyuben suggested a great itinerary which matched our requirements perfectly. He sent us maps and truly excellent route descriptions, booked all the required accommodation (both mountain huts and a guesthouse in Bansko), booked taxi transfers for us, provided detailed information about bus transfers, and arranged for our non walking luggage to be transported from Sofia to Bansko ahead of us.
All the arrangements worked perfectly, and we had a fantastic time walking in very beautiful mountains.
The mountain biking day was again perfectly tailored to our needs, and was thoroughly enjoyed.
Visited August 2016
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.