Photo Tour in Pirin Mountains (Bulgaria)
Trekking photo tour in the most beautiful Bulgarian Mountains. With its sharp Alpine peaks and tens of glacial lakes Pirin is a true dream photo model! Pirin Mountains are declared a national park, which is under UNESCO’s protection.
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 a various level. The beginners will get instructions from the tour leader. Certain amount of time will be devoted to taking photos of the most important places mentioned in the itinerary. The walking itself with people moving in the rocky 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 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)
Pirin National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Rila Monastery – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Sofia – capital of Bulgaria
Day 1. Arrival to Sofia
Day 2. Polezhan
About 3-hour drive (180 km) to Pirin, then we take the seat lift to Bezbog hut (2240 m). So, we are high up in Pirin Mountains. Our 4-day trekking starts from here. In the afternoon we will climb the iconic Polezhan Peak (2851 m) – one of the peaks here with the best views. We will enjoy the sunset at the top and we will make the first for this tour photo session. Northwest you will be able to see Vihren (2914 m) and Kutelo (2908 m) peaks, to the south are Samodivski (2730 m) and Kamenitsa (2822 m) peaks, in southeast direction lies the largest glacial lake in Pirin - Popovo lake (124 dka), as well as Ostrets peak (2591 m), further to the north you can see the highest mountains on Balkan Peninsula – Rila, and to the east are the mighty Rodopi Mountains. After we finish with the picture taking we will descend to the hut, where we will overnight.
It will take about 3 hours to climb the peak (600 m ascent/descent), the descent will follow the same path (2 hours), but it will already be dark, so don’t forget your head lamps. A sandwich or another snack in your backpack is highly recommended.
Day 3. Bezbog – Tevno Lake
The route for the day is in the inner parts of the mountain. Our first stop will be at the shores of Popovo Lake. Afterwards we will have a stop by the beautiful Samodivski Lakes. It is not possible to visit all the beautiful places at a time when there is suitable light to take photos, but even in the middle of the day it will be possible to shoot a nice landscape! By the evening we will reach Tevno Lake shelter, where we will overnight for 2 nights.
The trekking itself (without all the stops for picture taking) is about 4 hours. Ascent/descent: 500 m/200m.
Day 4. Tevno Lake
Tevno Lake is situated in the heart of Pirin Mountains at 2500 m a.s.l. The area is rich in beautiful views, revealing the lake from the top of the surrounding peaks. That is why we will stay for 2 nights here, so we will have two mornings and two evenings for taking pictures of the area. We will actually take the first pictures on the evening of arrival – around the lake or from one of the peaks nearby – Valyavishki Chukar (2664 m), Momin Dvor (2725 m), Kralev Dvor (2680 m) or Kamenitsa (2822 m). So high up in the mountains the stars look brighter and closer, so we can take some night photos (bring tripods!)
Day 5. Tevno Lake – Vihren
Today the trekking is longer but surely it deserves the effort! Part of the route passes along the central ridge of the mountains with vast views in all directions. By the evening we will descend to Banderishki cirques passing by several photogenic lakes - Dalgoto, Zhabeshkoto and Ribnoto. Our final aim for the day is Vihren Hut (1950 m), but we will not spend the night here. Our vehicle will wait for us to take us to Bansko – a resort town in the foot of the mountains, where we will overnight.
Trekking: 7-8 hours. Ascent/descent: 300 m/850 m
Day 6. Rila Monastery and Sofia
The climbing efforts are already behind our back. The last day of our photo adventure will be dedicated to the Rila Monastery and Bulgaria’s capital – Sofia. 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. It is about an hour and half drive from Bansko to the monastery (90 km). In the afternoon we will continue to Sofia (2 hrs, 120 km). By the evening we will have our last photo walk, but this time our object is the city architecture and life in the capital.
Day 7. Departure
Price includes: 2 nights with breakfast at a hotel in Sofia; 1 night with dinner and breakfast at a hotel in Bansko; 1 night with a breakfast and dinner in a hut (shared bath and WC); 2 nights at a shelter with 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts and 1 lunch; a lunch pack for day 5, tickets for the lift; transport according to the program; transfer from/to Sofia Airport; English speaking guide.
The price does not include: flight tickets, drinks and meals not mentioned in the program, insurance, personal expenses, entry fees, tips.
Necessary equipment (beside the photo gear): clothes suitable for the high mountain – thermo underwear, polar jackets, windstopper, waterproof trousers and jacket, trekking shoes, headlamp, sunscreen cream and sunglasses, lip balm, a suitable backpack.
Group size: Min 2 – Max 8 persons