A 9-day wildlife holiday to Bulgaria’s south-western mountain ranges in search of the most desirable species of butterflies on the Balkan peninsula.
The tour starts from Sofia, at 14.00 h in the afternoon at the latest. The tour participants will be picked up either from Sofia Airport or from their accommodation within the city of Sofia if they have arrived in the previous day(s).
We will first explore an area around Sofia, which is the only site in Bulgaria, where the Dusky Large Blue occurs. Then we will have a transfer south (about 1 ½ hours) to the northern foothills of the Pirin Mountain, where we will be staying for two nights. Day 2
Today we will be exploring the high mountain conifer forests composed mainly of Macedonian and Bosnian pine trees, the high mountain grasslands and the subalpine zone of the Pirin National Park. Butterfly species of interest here include Clouded Apollo, Sloe Hairstreak, Balkan Copper, Scarce Copper, Purple-shot Copper, Idas Blue, Mazarine Blue, Small Blue, Ripart’s Anomalous Blue, Meleager’s Blue, Turquoise Blue, False Eros Blue, Purple Emperor, Poplar Admiral, High Brown Fritillary, Weaver’s Fritillary, Heath Fritillary, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Balkan Fritillary, Eastern Large Heath, Arran Brown, Ottoman Brassy Ringlet, Common Brassy Ringlet, Large Ringlet, Northern Wall Brown, etc. Day 3
Transfer further south to the town of Melnik along the Struma river valley. We will spend most of the day in Kresna Gorge, where we will be looking for Eastern Wood White, Southern Small White, Krueper’s Small White, Lesser Fiery Copper, Long-tailed Blue, Lang’s Short-tailed Blue, Little Tiger Blue, Chequered Blue, Eastern Baton Blue, Southern White Admiral, Common Glider, Southern Comma, Lesser Spotted Fritillary, Balkan Marbled White, Eastern Rock Grayling, Freyer’s Grayling, Lattice Brown, Oberthuer’s Grizzled Skipper, Oriental Marbled Skipper, etc.
Our accommodation for the next two nights will be in Melnik. Day 4
Whole day in the area of Melnik. Here we will be searching for Cleopatra, Mountain Small White, Blue-spot Hairstreak, Long-tailed Blue, Lang’s Short-tailed Blue, Large Blue, Eastern Baton Blue, Reverdin’s Blue, Balkan Zephyr Blue, Chapman’s Blue, Anomalous Blue, Phalakron Anomalous Blue, Meleager’s Blue, Chalk-hill Blue, Nettle-tree Butterfly, Southern Comma, Woodland Grayling, Balkan Grayling, Great Banded Grayling, False Grayling, Oriental Meadow Brown, etc. Day 5
Transfer to the eastern foothills of the border Slavyanka Mountain, where we will be staying for two nights. On the way we will explore the Southern Pirin Mountains. Our targets here will be the Apollo, Mountain Small White, Reverdin’s Blue, Balkan Blue, Mountain Argus, Mazarine Blue, Escher’s Blue, Higgin’s Anomalous Blue, Turquoise Blue, Meleager’s Blue, False Eros Blue, Phalakron Blue, Woodland Grayling, Great Sooty Satyr, Tufted Marbled Skipper, etc. Day 6
We will spend the whole day in the Slavyanka Mountain, where we will be looking for the Mountain Small White, Purple-shot Copper, Lesser Fiery Cooper, Sloe Hairstreak, Anomalous Blue, Rippart’s Anomalous Blue, Large Blue, Eastern Short-tailed Blue, Reverdin’s Blue, Cardinal, Weaver’s Fritillary, Lesser Spotted Fritillary, Great Banded Grayling, Balkan Grayling, Dils’ Grayling, Hungarian Skipper, Sandy Grizzled Skipper and others. Day 7
Morning transfer (for about an hour and a half) to the Eastern Rila Mountains. Our targets here will be the Large Grizzled Skipper, Poplar Admiral, Balkan Copper, Mazarine Blue, Balkan Fritillary, Heath Fritillary, High Brown Fritillary, Chestnut Heath, Eastern Large Heath, Arran Brown, Large Ringlet, Bright-eyed Ringlet, Ottoman Brassy Ringlet, Water Ringlet, etc.
In the late afternoon we will continue further to the northern part of the Rila Mountain (about 1,5 hours drive), where we will be accommodated for the last two nights of this trip. Day 8
We will spend the day in the subalpine and alpine areas of the Rila National Park. Using the cabin lift we will reach about 2500 m a.s.l. and look for species like the Cynthia’s Fritillary, Balkan Fritillary, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Bulgarian Ringlet, Nicholl’s Ringlet, Ottoman Brassy Ringlet, Water Ringlet, Black Ringlet, Balkan Copper, Sooty Copper, etc. In the late afternoon we will explore the foothills of the mountain looking for Poplar Admiral, Lesser Purple Emperor, Purple Emperor, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, High Brown Fritillary, etc. Day 9
In the morning we will drive for a couple of hours to the mountains and foothills around Sofia. There we can spend a few more hours searching for butterflies.
The tour will finish in the early afternoon and the tour participants can be dropped either at Sofia airport or anywhere in the city of Sofia.