Guided butterfly, botanical & birdwatching holidays
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Butterflies & Flowers of Bulgaria

Dates & Prices


Dates: 21 – 29 June 2018 Guaranteed departure!

Price: £1,245

Single Room Supplement: £100

Deposit: £150 per person

Price Includes: All meals, accommodation, ground transport, services of guides + printed & bound holiday report

Not Included: Flights, travel insurance, drinks and any other personal items

Conservation Donation: 10% of profits to Butterfly Conservation

Leader(s): Simeon Gigov & Yiannis Christofides

Group Size: Minimum of 4 and a maximum of 12 guests plus 1-3 leaders.

Grade: Gentle pace and generally short walks in a mix of terrains

Holiday Highlights

  • See 100 – 120 species of butterflies 
  • Visit the stunning Rila and Pirin National Parks with their lofty peaks & wonderful wildlife
  • Special butterflies such as Apollo, Balkan Copper, Little Tiger Blue, Higgin’s Anomalous Blue, False Eros Blue, Common Glider, Balkan Fritillary, Cynthia’s Fritillary, Freyer’s Grayling, Bulgarian Ringlet, Dewy Ringlet and Eastern Large Heath
  • Explore the rich wildlife of the area with one of the most experienced and dedicated naturalists in the area, accompanied by our expert botanist Yiannis Christofides
  • Explore various habitats from 150m to at least 2,600m
  • Enjoy the variety of birds that occur in the area from Griffon Vultures, Levant Sparrowhawks, Black-eared Wheatears and Rock Nuthatches in the lowlands to Alpine Choughs, Spotted Nutcrackers, Alpine Accentors and Ring Ouzels in the high mountains
  • Leisurely pace, ideally suited to photography and full enjoyment of the wildlife and scenery
  • Contribute to Butterfly Conservation

We return to beautiful Bulgaria for a 9 day butterfly and flower tour in 2018! From the river valleys of Struma and Mesta, influenced by the Mediterranean Sea, to the alpine zones of Pirin and Rila mountains, Southwest Bulgaria offers a great variety of habitats to be explored.

The southwestern region of Bulgaria is one of the most diverse and rich in flora and fauna on the Balkan Peninsula. Here are located its first and third highest mountains, respectively Rila with Mount Moussala towering to 2,925m and Pirin with Mount Vihren – 2,916m. The rich biological diversity of these two mountains are protected with the designation of Rila National Park and Pirin National Park, Pirin is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The third mountain that we will visit during our trip is Slavyanka, which is a Nature Reserve extremely rich in butterfly species. The area also features three of the biggest rivers in Bulgaria – Struma, Mesta and Iskar, whose valleys we will also explore during this trip.

We will use three different hotels to enable us to cover the maximum amount of different habitats and sites with the minimum amount of driving. The first base will be in Predela area, in the foothills between both Rila and Pirin mountains. The second base is in the foothills of Slavyanka mountain and the third is in the northern foothills of Rila mountain and not far from Sofia airport.

With more than 180 species of butterflies recorded, the area is one of the richest in Europe. The highlights amongst those on the wing at this time of the year includes Apollo, Mountain Small White, Krueper’s Small White, Eastern Greenish Black-tip, Eastern Wood White, Blue-spot Hairstreak, Balkan Copper, Little Tiger Blue, Eastern Short-tailed Blue, Eastern Baton Blue, Mountain Argus, Higgin’s Anomalous Blue, False Eros Blue, Nettle-tree Butterfly, Freyer’s Purple Emperor, Poplar Admiral, Southern White Admiral, Common Glider, Hungarian Glider, Shepherd’s Fritillary, Balkan Fritillary, Lesser Spotted Fritillary, Cynthia’s Fritillary, Eastern Rock Grayling, Balkan Grayling, Freyer’s Grayling, Dils’ Grayling, Great Sooty Satyr, Bulgarian Ringlet, Almond-eyed  Ringlet, Nicholl’s Ringlet, Ottoman Brassy Ringlet, Water Ringlet, Black Ringlet, Dewy Ringlet, Eastern Large Heath, Lattice Brown, Dusky Grizzled Skipper, etc.

The Bulgarian flora is also rich and diverse with a many local and Balkan endemics, most being found in the mountains we shall be visiting.  Some of the species we shall encounter will be familiar from the Alps, such as Nigritella nigra, Armeria alpina, Allium schoenoprasum, Aster alpinus, Campanula alpina and Scutellaria alpina. Others such as Campanula trichocalcyna, Campanula lanata, Campanula moesiaca, Sideritis scardica, Sedum atratum, Jovibarba heuffelii, Sempervivum marmoreum, Saxifraga exarata, Swertia perennis, Allium cirrhosum, Veratrum lobelianum, Thalictrum minus, Verbascum davidoffii, Pedicularis orthantha, Dianthus microlepis, Dianthus petraeus, and Silene roemeri are Bulgarian or Balkan endemics. We may even see Paronychia argentea, a plant that makes its way up from the Mediterranean.

The birdlife in the area is also rich with more than 200 species recorded so far. In the mountains we will look out for Hazel Grouse, Golden Eagle, Pygmy Owl, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Horned Lark, Water Pipit, Alpine Accentor, Ring Ouzel, Crested Tit, Wallcreeper, Spotted Nutcracker, Alpine Chough and Serin. In the lowlands we may encounter Little Bittern, Black Stork, Griffon Vulture, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Black Kite, Long-legged Buzzard, Levant Sparrowhawk, Turtle Dove, Hoopoe, Bee-eater, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Great Reed Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Sombre Tit, Rock Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Lesser Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Golden Oriole, Hawfinch, Black-headed Bunting, Cirl Bunting and Rock Bunting.

Our local guide will be Simeon Gigov, who has more than ten years’ experience in guiding natural history trips in Bulgaria. He is also a dedicated conservationist and has participated in numerous ornithological studies and conservation projects, such as the establishment of the ecological network Natura 2000 in northwestern Bulgaria. With his experience and expertise Simeon has also contributed to numerous scientific publications with a practical conservation focus.

Despite the large number of butterfly species to see we will not be rushing from place to place to build as large a list as possible. Our emphasis, as with all our holidays, is to take things leisurely and spend a reasonable amount at time at locations. We believe this is the best way of enjoying the wildlife and just soaking up the atmosphere and culture of the Country. So we will keep driving to a minimum and spend as much time as possible outside, on easy paced walks and relaxing, sociable picnics. For those that wish to bring cameras, there will be ample time and opportunity for photography and to capture those special moments – of which we are sure there will be many!


Day 1: Transfer to Bio-Hotel Moravsko Selo (~2 hours transfer from Sofia airport)

Day 2: Pirin National Park (Vihren area ~2000m)

Day 3: Struma River Valley at Kresna Gorge

Day 4: Mesta River Valley and transfer to ecozone Belite skali (~1 hour transfer from Predela)

Day 5: Southern Pirin Mountain

Day 6: Slavyanka Mountain

Day 7: Transfer to Samokov Area (~ 3 hours transfer) via Western Rila Mountain (Belmeken area ~ 2000m)

Day 8: Rila National Park (cable lift to the foothills of Moussala Peak ~2500m)

Day 9: Transfer to Sofia Airport (~1 hour transfer)

New holiday for 2017 so testimonials to follow.

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Telephone: 01473 254658 (Mon - Sat 9am - 6pm)


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