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Call us on 01707 331133

  • Mon to Fri09:00 - 17:00
  • Saturday09:00 - 13:00
  • SundayClosed

Snowshoeing in the Bulgarian Mountains

Enjoy glorious winter routes and unique culture in the south east corner of Europe.

  • Bulgaria

  • 7 nights
  • Breakfast & Dinner
  • Winter Spirit

  • Feb



What does this mean?

Tour codes: 30500

Book now from £1,359

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Our holiday walking grades


Grade 5

Full day walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent.

The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground.

Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. Some walks will be less demanding.


Holiday Highlights

  • Rila Monastery - UNESCO listed and looking at its best in the snow
  • Take the train to the highest station in the Balkans for one walk
  • The Rila Lakes Circuit. One of the most beautiful walks in the country
  • A chance to immerse your self in natural hot springs
  • Dinner in guesthouse “Deshka”- with great, homemade food. The owners are members of the Slow Food Association

Our first three nights are spent in Bansko, magnificently set at the foot of the Pirin Mountains. Perhaps most well known as a ski resort town it has a lovely old town and none of the excesses one might find in alpine resorts. From here we will ascend into the mountains to enjoy some varied snowshoeing with walks above and below the treeline. We will use the local chair lifts where appropriate to gain height. One day we take the local train, with its local colour, to the highest train station in the Balkans. From here we walk out to Velitysa Peak (1711m).

The transfer day offers cultural as well as natural highlights. We stop at Rila monastery, UNESCO listed and of huge importance to Bulgarian culture, it is hard to imagine a finer building in a more stunning setting. We have time to explore before walking further up the valley to the cave of St Ivan Rilski. The more adventurous might like to explore the cave, bring a torch! We move on to Govedartsi, a small village with limited facilities. Our walking programme from here is equally varied and spectacular. On one day returning from our walk, we will stop at a natural thermal spa with a chance to take the waters. Bring your swim wear!

We are accompanied by a local winter guide throughout. All equipment and tuition on how to use it will be provided along with all manner of local cultural, and natural information.

  • Return flights from London to Sofia
  • Airport transfers
  • Half board en suite accommodation plus two lunches
  • All local transport costs to complete the itinerary
  • The services of a Ramblers Walking Holidays leader
  • English speaking local snowshoeing guide throughout
  • Hire of snowshoes and poles
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel Insurance

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.

Your Itinerary

Day 1





On arriving at Sofia Airport it is a scenic two hour journey south to Bansko. Our hotel is a short walk from the old town. We should have plenty of time to explore before dinner in the hotel tonight.

Day 2



Breakfast & Dinner


  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    6 miles

  • Ascent/Descent


After breakfast we transfer about 30mins to Gotse Delchev where we take a chairlift up through the trees to Bezbog (2236m). Here we have a short introduction on how to put on and walk with snowshoes. Those who have worn snowshoes before will know it is not a difficult skill to master. Most have the technique sorted in 5-10 mins. Depending on the conditions we will go around the (probably frozen) glacial Lake Popovo and up on to the peak behind. On arriving back at the chairlift there is a chalet where we can enjoy the view with a cup of tea.. Later, we take the descend  by chairlift enjoying more spectacular views on the way. We take our private transport back to the hotel. Tonight we will walk out from the hotel to have dinner in a local restaurant in Bansko.

Day 3



Breakfast & Dinner


  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    9 miles

  • Ascent/Descent


This morning we take the local train from the railway station in Bansko to Avramovo – the highest railway station on the Balkan Peninsula. Do not expect to get anywhere in a hurry! We pass through the village of Avramovo and walk out on the panoramic Veliysko-Videnishko ridge, part of the Western Rhodope Mountains. After about 3.5 hours we reach Veliytsa peak (1711 m). On the way down we will visit the new mountain hut Veliytsa, finished in 2020. After another 30 minutes we reach the village of Ortsevo (1500m) – the highest village in Bulgaria. From there we take the bus to back to Bansko.

This evening we drive out to the village of Gorno Draglishte for a traditional Bulgarian dinner with folklore performance. It is great fun and the food will be plentiful, simple and wholesome. Watch out for what might appear to be a jug of white wine on the table. It is more likely to be the local schnapps and should be treated with caution! Should anyone show the slightest interest in dressing up in local peasant regalia the lady waitresses will be delighted to provide the clothing!

Day 4



Breakfast & Dinner


  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent


This morning we leave Bansko and transfer to Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest orthodox sanctuary in Bulgaria. Nestled in a steep sided valley at 1150m, below snow capped peaks it is an impressive building. Before our visit we hike above the monastery to the cave of St. Ivan Rilski with time to explore. Bring a torch!. There is a reasonable chance we will not be walking on snow today in which case we just leave the snow shoes on the coach and walk in boots. We visit the monastery, where our guide will explain something of its history and its importance to the Bulgarian national identity. 

We continue by bus to the village of Govedartsi.

Day 5



Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner


  • Time

    4 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent


After breakfast we transfer about 90mins to Panichishte resort located at 1500m. We start with a chair lift to gain altitude. From the top station we head towards the Seven Rila Lakes. We will have an included lunch at Rila hut (2150m). After lunch we will continue around the lakes as time allows before descending to Panichishte. On our way back to Govedartsi we plan to stop in Sapareva Banya - home to the hottest spring in Europe and therefore considered a SPA & Wellness destination. There is a public complex which consists of a few pools we we can relax in the hot water. It is open all day around and it is the best place in the area to experience the healings powers of the natural spring waters of Bulgaria.  Bring your swimwear today!

Day 6



Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner


  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    8 miles

  • Ascent/Descent


After breakfast we have a short transfer up the road through Govedartsi to the mountains. We start climbing through pine forest towards Mechit Hut. Here we will have an included lunch and some traditional Bulgarian mountain hospitality before retuning to our start point by a different route.

Day 7



Breakfast & Dinner


  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    9 miles

  • Ascent/Descent


After breakfast we have a short transfer (10min) to the Central Mountain School. From here, we hike towards Maliovitsa Hut and depending on the conditions, we continue to the foot of Maliovitsa Peak reaching the second terrace. If time allows we can continue for another hour to Elenino lake before returning to the coach.

Day 8

Final day



After breakfast we depart for Sofia airport. Our plan is to drive through central Sofia, the capital city. It is unlikely we will have time to stop but we should have time to see some of the very impressive city centre buildings. The airport is short distance from the city.

From (GBP)£1,359

Departure dates for your selected tour

3rd Feb 2023 - 10th Feb 2023 (7 Nights)

10th Mar 2023 - 17th Mar 2023 (7 Nights)


Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

Hotel Martin

Close by the centre of Bansko the Hotel Martin offers comfortable rooms with telephone, TV, Internet, a mini-bar and a safe. The hotel has a breakfast room, restaurant and bar. The hotel is located in a quiet street but is only 200m from the start of Bansko old town and 5 mins from the centre of town. There are numerous bars, coffee shops and restaurants close by. The town of Bansko offers the facilities you might need including banks with ATM, pharmacies, supermarkets and tourist shops.

Family Hotel Djambazki

The Hotel Djambazki is located in Govedartsi, at an altitude of 1150m in the charming Valley of Iskrovete. Comfortable rooms offer en suite facilities and free WiFi. The hotel has a sauna and jacuzzi. Please note the rooms have en suite facilities but the bathrooms are wet rooms without a separate shower cubicle. It is easy to avoid getting everything wet but care is required.

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

This is a Grade 5 moderate holiday which includes full day walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent. The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground. Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. Some walks will be less demanding but equally rewarding. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' for more information.

Walks & Excursions

Local Transport Costs

All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.

Optional Excursions

A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.

Currency in Bulgaria

The currency in Bulgaria is the Leva. 

You can buy Leva from banks and foreign exchange offices in the UK. There are many exchange bureaux in Bulgaria that normally accept sterling and other major currencies. Check the rates of exchange before making a transaction. Where possible, change money in banks, large hotels, or exchange bureaux. Don’t use sellers on the street. 

There is a large network of ATMs that accept standard international credit and debit cards. Check with your UK card provider whether you will be able to use these machines to with draw Leva.


Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.

Your Travel Details

We fly from London to Sofia and return.

The transfer between Sofia Airport and Bansko takes approximately 2 - 2½ hours) by road. The transfer back to the airport from Govedartsi is shorter and should take just over an hour longer if we travel via Sofia city centre.

Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?

If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.

Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.

If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.

Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details. 

Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.

Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents

For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.

Personal Details Check

To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.

Entry Requirements

General Passport Advice

It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.

Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.

General passport advice for UK nationals on the UK Government website.

FCDO Travel Advice

You must ensure you check all entry requirements in good time by reviewing the official FCDO advice for your destination. Please take time to read and regularly check this website for changes to the entry requirements and any local restrictions.

Proof of Covid-19 Vaccination

You may be required to provide proof that you have been fully vaccinated when travelling or in your destination. Proof of vaccination can either be digital via the NHS app or a printed copy via NHS Hard Copy. We recommend allowing seven working days for your printed copy to arrive. Please note both the NHS app and printed copy are only valid for 30 days.

We anticipate that all travellers will need to be fully vaccinated including the booster jab and to carry proof of this with them at all times. Some indoor venues require, and may ask for proof of vaccination, as well as masks becoming mandatory for indoor public spaces, and we ask you to be prepared for this.

Face Masks

Some airlines or destinations are requiring the wearing of FFP2, FFP3, KN95 or N95 masks without a valve. You should check the FCDO advice for your destination and with your airline before you travel, although you may wish to have one of these masks on hand just in case.

Brexit Passport Advice

If you are planning to travel to an EU country (except Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, you must meet the Schengen area rules.

Your passport must meet 2 requirements. It must be:

  • less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’)
  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

The guidance for Schengen border guards may not be updated until the spring of 2022. Until then, for some Schengen countries your passport may need to be less than 10 years old during your whole visit, and the 3 months at the end of your visit may need to be within 10 years of your passport’s issue date.

Check both the issue date and the expiry date in your passport. If you renewed your passport early, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. This could affect the requirement for your passport to be less than 10 years old.

Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.


Breakfasts and dinners are included and will be taken in the hotels. In Bansko we also eat in a local restaurant on one night and have a special folkloric dinner in a local village on another.  The Bansko hotel offers a buffet breakfast with plenty of healthy choices as well cooked breakfast. In Govedartsi breakfast is cooked to order and might include pancakes with honey, porridge or other local warming treats.

Dinners will generally start with a large salad which might include leaves, olives, pepper or pretty anything else that can be eaten raw. Bulgarians are fond of grilled meats and these will be offered at many meals. However vegetarian options will always be available and will be filling and wholesome. The restaurant where we take the folkloric dinner prides itself on serving local seasonal produce in a simple way to bring out the best of the flavours. Whatever your dietary preferences there will be no need to go hungry on this holiday.

Footwear & Kit List


Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks. 

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Lightweight quick-drying trousers
  • Walking T-shirt/shirts
  • Walking socks
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
  • Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat

This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

Winter Walking

Paths can be very icy in certain conditions. We recommend that you use ice-grips on the sole of your boots. You can usually purchase these in resort.  Or you might like to purchase them in the UK for around £35-40,  and you can do so from the following website: Yaktrax ice grips are available from branches of Cotswold Outdoors.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
  • Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
  • Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
  • Your travel insurance details
  • Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
  • Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
  • A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Electricity in Bulgaria

Electricity in Burgaria is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at

Water To Go

An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

The Map Shop

If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:

The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs

Tel: 01684 593 146

If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.


Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.

Health Advice for Bulgaria

There are no compulsory vacinations for visits to Bulgaria. You may however wish to think about Hepatitis A, Diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis.

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Ramblers Walking Holidays that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the trip, including all optional activities.

Your travel insurance policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation. Please ensure your policy covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are walking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover are not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.

Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.

Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.

Covid-19 Cover

If you should have symptoms and test positive for Covid-19 whilst abroad, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative and you may have to seek treatment. We strongly recommend that you take out an insurance policy that covers you for this eventuality.

Looking for travel insurance?

If you have not already arranged cover, please visit SunWorld who offer travel insurance.

SunWorld policies include cover for COVID-19, subject to applicable terms and conditions.


From January 1st, 2021 UK travellers can continue to use their European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) – which can last up to five years, until its expiry date, to gain access to medical assistance during your holiday. However, you will no longer be covered in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Travellers without a valid EHIC can apply for a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replaces the EHIC once it has been phased out. Please note however that the EHIC/GHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.

For more information, please visit

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.

Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.

The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust

Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements. 

Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.  

As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.


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