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9 days exploring the high mountains of Bulgaria, plus a visit to Mount Phalakron in Northern Greece. The mountainous south west of Bulgaria provide excellent habitat for many butterflies, some of them restricted to the region. The beautiful scenery, combined with comfortable accommodation and the delicious Bulgarian food are additional highlights on this trip.
Day 1: Arrive at Sofia airport and drive to Gotse Delchev in the foot of Pirin Mountain. Depending on flight times we may stop on the way at Kresna gorge for Little tiger blue, Nettle tree butterfly, Large tortoiseshell, Common glider and Balkan marbled white.
Day 2: Short drive to the foot of Slavyanka mountain, near the Greek border to look for – Sandy grizzled skipper, Grecian anomalous blue, Meleager’s blue, Escher’s blue, Southern grayling and Dil’s grayling.
Day 3: Short drive to Popovi livadi pass, from where we’ll set off for a 3-4 hours walk to the top of Orelek peak, our main target being Bosnian blue, occurring only at the high altitudes in Southern Pirin. On the way we’ll see many other mountain species like Apolo, Clouded apolo, Blue argus, Higgins anomalous blue, Balkan copper, Balkan Gavarnie blue, False eros blue, Bright-eyed and Ottoman’s brassy ringlet.
Day 4: A day trip to Phalkron mountain in Greece, where we’ll be looking for Phalakron blue, Higgins anomalous blue, Dil’s grayling, Grizzled, Yellow-banded and Safflower skipper.
Day 5: Drive to Dobursko for two night stay, stopping at Mesta valley for Purple and Freyer’s purple emperor, Eastern rock grayling, Eastern baton blue, Twin-spot fritillary, Dusky meadow brown and Nickerl’s fritillary.
Day 6: Belmeken. Today we’ll go to the Rila mountain, where we’ll explore a high altitude valley for several interesting butterflies, mainly Balkan and Shepherd’s fritillary, Bulgarian and Nickol’s ringlet, Water ringlet (depending on the season), Dewy ringlet, Dusky grizzled skipper.
Day 7: Pirin. Today we’ll explore the high parts of Northern Pirin, our main goal being several species of ringlets Black ringlet, Common and Ottoman brassy ringlet, Wood and Bright-eyed ringlet, Scotch argus. In the afternoon move to South west Rila for one night stay.
Day 8: Rila. Today we’ll take a cable car up to 2200m to explore the alpine zone for Cynthia’s fritillary, Shepherd’s and Balkan fritillary, Dewy, Bulgarian and Nickol’s ringlet, Bright-eyed and Ottoman brassy ringlets, Dusky grizzled skipper.
Day 9: Drive to Sofia and departure.
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