The Colours of the White (Photo Winter in the Bulgarian Mountains)

The Colours of the White (Photo Winter in the Bulgarian Mountains)

This is a combination of a photo tour and winter trekking with snowshoes in the most beautiful Bulgarian Mountains - Vitosha, Rila and Pirin. From their Alpine tops are revealed splendid views, whose shooting will surely make your photo collections even more valuable and interesting!

This tour is designed for the mountain and landscape photography lovers. The trekking is not difficult or long, but a good physical condition is still required. The photography skills of the participants may be on various levels. The beginners will get instructions from the tour leader. A certain amount of time will be devoted to night photos of the most important places mentioned in the program (bring tripods!). The walking itself with people moving in the snow wasteland is another prerequisite for good photos. Having in mind the physical efforts, we would recommend that you bring as few pieces of photo technique as possible.
A visit in Rila Monastery is added to the program and a photo walk in Sofia. Thus you will combine wonderful mountain experiences with a touch of Bulgarian culture. And you will take home a variety of pictures!

The program may be subject to change on the spot due to the weather conditions!

Tour leader is Emil Danailov – a Bulgarian outdoor photographer and travel journalist. For many years he was editor-in-chief of "Odysseus" – the most popular Bulgarian magazine for tourism, travel and adventure. Emil loves travelling, adores the mountains and is experienced in many outdoor activities such as trekking, horse riding, biking and kayaking. His photographic interests range from landscapes through exciting outdoor action shots to spontaneous, natural portraits and lifestyle shots – unprepared photographs that particularly appeal to the reporter and journalist in him.
Emil has been a participant in dozens of photo exhibitions and also provides workshop training in Travel Photography. His articles and photos are regularly and widely published in the press. (Gallery)

Photo highlights:

Rila National Park with the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula – Musala (2925 m)
Pirin National Park
Vitosha Nature Park
Rila Monastery – a World Heritage Site
Sofia – Bulgaria’s capital


Day 1. Arrival to Sofia

Day 2. Vitosha
On the first day of this tour we will trek the high parts of Vitosha Mountain, where we will have the pleasure of our first photo shooting. Vitosha is considered one of the most precious treasures of Sofia that has a population of nearly 2 million people. There is no other European capital with such a high mountain situated so close to the city. There are numerous tourist paths in Vitosha, while the roads and the lifts offer easy and quick access to its Alpine parts. From the highest top – Cherni Vrah (2290 m) a panoramic view is revealed in all directions but the view to the Rila Mountains is probably the most beautiful. And we will enjoy a view of all of Sofia from Kamen Del peak (1862 m) – a view that deserves not only to be seen but also photographed at nightfall. Between the two peaks lies a vast plateau – Torfeno Banishte reserve, crossing its territory will give us a unique sense of space and distance.
The trekking starts and ends at Aleko tourist center (1810 m). We will get there by car from Sofia (40-50 min). Ascent/descent: about 500 m. Usually you can buy some food at Cherni Vrah station, but you cannot rely on that. That is why we recommend that you bring sandwiches with you. Overnight in Sofia.

Day 3. Rila
Transfer from Sofia to Borovets ski resort (70 km, about 1,5 hrs), from where we will use the cabin lift, which will spare us 1000 m ascent of the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula – Musala (2925 m). It will take about 4-hour trekking from the upper lift station to the peak. A weather station was built there in the beginning of the 1930s. Its stone building is a great item complementing the pictures, which can be taken from the peak. To the north you will see Vitosha, behind it - the Balkan Mountains, in the other direction you will see Pirin. About 30-40 minutes from the top is situated Ledeno Ezero (Ice Lake) shelter (2710 m), where we will overnight. Its proximity to the top will give us the opportunity to stay longer on Musala in order to take evening and night pictures – with a starry sky above the snow-covered tops.
The trekking starts at the upper lift station of Yastrebets (2369 m). Ascent/descent: 600 m/200 m. You have to bring your own lunch, dinner and breakfast. There are blankets in the shelter, but you can bring your own sleeping bag. Bring a head lamp as well for the night trekking from the peak to the hut.

Day 4. Rila Monastery
We will return from the shelter to the upper lift station and go down to Borovets resort. Transfer to RIla Monastery (120 km, about 2 hrs). Rila Monastery is the largest and the most beautiful Bulgarian monastery, under UNESCO’s protection since 1983. It was founded in the 10th c. by a hermit named Ivan Rilski, who is the most famous Bulgarian saint. The beautiful architecture of the monastery corresponds perfectly with the surrounding high peaks of Rila Mountains. The oldest preserved building is from 14th c. – Hrelyo’s Tower that served as a defense tower during the Turkish invasion.
We will have lunch close to the monastery, and dinner – in the resort town of Bansko, situated at the foot of Pirin Mountains. The transfer from Rila Monastery to Bansko will take about an hour and half (90 km)

Day 5. Pirin
Pirin is the Bulgarian beauty. In summer time its sharp Alpine peaks and numerous glacial lakes are an irresistible magnet for every photographer and nature lover. In winter the mountain is even more beautiful – the snow is shimmering in all the colours of the rainbow especially at sunset. We will also try at this time of day to be at one of the most iconic peaks in Pirin - Polezhan (2851 m). The ascent to the top starts at Bezbog hut (2240 m), to where a short transfer from Bansko (20 km) and a chair lift will take us.
The trekking up to the peak is about 3-4 hours (600 m ascent/descent). On our way back to the hut, where we will overnight, it will already be dark so don’t forget your headlamps. Put enough food in your backpack for lunch.

Day 6. Sofia
We will use the lift to get to where the car is waiting for us. Transfer to Sofia (3-4 hours). We will spend the afternoon taking pictures in the Bulgarian capital. We will tour the landmarks of the city photographing the most iconic buildings – Alexander Nevski cathedral, St. Sofia and St. George brick churches – built IV-V c., National Theater etc.

Day 7. Departure

The price includes: 3 nights with breakfast at a hotel in Sofia; 1 night with dinner and breakfast in a hotel in Bansko; 1 night with breakfast and a dinner at a hut, 1 night at a shelter; lift tickets; transport according to the program; transfer from/to the airport; rent of snowshoes; English speaking guide.

The price does not include: flight tickets; insurance; drinks and meals not mentioned; personal expenses; entry fees, tips.

Necessary equipment (beside the photo gear): clothes suitable for the high winter mountain – thermo underwear, polar jackets, windstopper, waterproof trousers, shoes for winter trekking, gaiters, hat and gloves, headlamp, sunscreen cream and sunglasses, lip balm, a suitable backpack, sleeping bag.

Group size:
Min 2 – Max 8 persons


The Colours of the White (Photo Winter in the Bulgarian Mountains) (Rated 4.81 / 5 Based on 250 Reviews.)
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