Location: Gabrovo, Bulgaria.
Professional experience: Zhivko works as a mountain guide since 2012. Beside that, he does team building events, outdoor activities and summer camps for children, focused on mountaineering, rope courses, climbing and navigation for since 2009. Snowboard instructor since 2011, teaching ski since 2014.
Experience in the mountains: Zhivko is actively doing trekking, mountain biking, climbing, mountaineering and ski touring throughout all the mountains in Bulgaria since 2006; Backpacking and mountaineering in Glacier National park in USA, 2007; Hikes, Via ferrata and mainly climbing in the Dolomites, the region of Marmolada, Sella Towers and Langkofel. Also Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Greece; Crossing the Atlantic ocean on a sailing boat, part of a three men crew in 2008.
Interests: rock and alpine climbing; mountaineering; snowboarding and ski touring; mountain biking; ice climbing; fly fishing; photography.
2015 – Senior Mountain Rescuer;
2014 – Mountain Leader Award, Mountains and People Association, Certificate № 019730/2014; Registered in the National Tourist Registry under Т-РД-17-2/20.01.2017;
2011-2012 – Summer and Winter Mountain Rescue Training Courses, member of Gabrovo Mountain Rescue Squad;
2011 – Snowboard instructor degree;
2010 – Bachelor degree in Tourism, Veliko Tarnovo University “Sv. Sv. Kiril and Metodius”;
2007 – Alpine and climbing course with “Trapezitca Alpine Club” Veliko Tarnovo;
2005 – Driving license, active driver.
Reviews for this guide:
Family Hiking Trip with Zhivko:
Zhivko is an excellent guide with thorough knowledge of the Bulgarian mountains. But even before we met him, he made sure he knew what our wishes were and made suggestions for a custom-made family trip. Any questions or concerns we had were quickly addressed. The program was quite full, but left room for adjustments at any time. Which made for an adventurous but at the same time very relaxed 7 days in Rila and Pirin. At times Zhivko himself was disappointed because things didn’t turn out as he’d hoped: there would be too much fog to see the view, or the room we got in the hut wasn’t the one he’d specifically asked for. But we didn’t care, we had a great time! We knew we were in good hands and enjoyed every minute of the experience.
Our children really enjoyed the program Zhivko had composed, and they loved his company from day one. Zhivko turned out to be patient with the youngest (13 yrs old) when he found the climb difficult, and would spontaneously start motivating our son when he didn’t think he could make it to the top. On the other hand, Zhivko found ways to really challenge the eldest one (19 yrs old), who was up for some proper hiking, and provided alternatives for the not-so ambitious hikers amongst us.
Any questions we had about the country, the culture, the flora and fauna, up to the menu, Zhivko would do his very best to answer them.
He has a great sense of humor, and as he got to know us a bit better, we shared quite a few good laughs together.
We ended our 7 days by having a fabulous meal in a restaurant we would never have discovered on our own, which gave us some of the funniest and best memories of Bulgaria.
Tom, Roos, Simon, Julia & Louis
Amazing Hike of Rhodopes mountain!!!
We took ‘The Villages of Rhodopes’ four day tour. Lyuben was extremely helpful in organizing it, assisting with details and answering all the questions almost immediately. Our guide, Zhivko, was an excellent guide and company during the trip. Very well orginised hike, it took us through forests and valleys of Rhodopes mountains during the day, while we stayed overnight in lovely lodges in small villages with all the amenities and good local food selection.
The hike was a moderate level and I’m sure it is adjustable to any level and also it is easy to tailor it further e.g. adding extra areas or days. We cannot imagine organizing or doing this hike on our own as the path marking are sometimes confusing and even missing, getting lost or being constantly ‘wired’ to avoid missing the path can be frustrating, with Zhivko it was very smooth and enjoyable.
It exceeded all our expectations and made me fell in love with Bulgaria; we saw only a small part of Bulgarian’s nature and it is extremely beautiful, can’t wait for the next summer to explore it further and definitely with this group of guides.
Thank you Zhivko & Lyuben for this amazing hike, all the best and keep up with doing an amazing job, offering these amazing hikes over Bulgarian mountains!
PS: if you like good coffee and honey in the morning, bring them with you as these two are not the best in the lodges/guest houses. In addition since the starting point is Devin we highly suggest visiting Devin’s Struilitza Mineral water pools and hike the wonderful Lakata eco-trail that starts just beside the pools.
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.