The Great Balkan Trail - Kom-Emine

Guided Walking Tour, difficulty 4 of 5

Prices and Departure Dates

Date 05-08-2017
Price: 1050 €, 22 Days

 With its 650 km. Kom-Emine is Europes longest high mountain uninterrupted hiking trail.
Starting from the westernmost peak in the Balkan mountain - Mt. Kom (2016 m) it follows the main ridge to the East right to the Black Sea and Cape Emine.

The trail's average elevation is 770 m. with more then 29 peaks with an altitude of above 2000 м .The highest point on the trail is Botev Peak at 2376 m.

The daily walking distances vary from 20 to 40 km (5-8 hours walking). The trail is waymarked in white-red-white with the initials E-3 but waymarking is of poor quality and almost impossible to follow particularly on the Eastern part of the trail.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Transfer from Sofia to Kom Hut for overnight – 77 km/ 2 hours

Day 2: Kom Hut (1620 м) – Kom Peak (2016 m) – Proboinitza Hut (1000 м).
Our trek begins with the highest peak of West Balkan mountains – Mt.Kom (2016 m). From there you can see Berkovitsa and the surrounding fields, as well as Montana town and the Ogosta Dam. We continue on the main grassy ridge east to Proboinitza Hut for overnight. +400m/-1020m, 8 hours

Day 3: Proboinitza Hut (1000 м) – Leskova Hut (1340 m).
The trail follows the main ridge and soon we cross the Iskar River, near the famouse Lakatnik rocks
Made of red sandstone and limestone, the rocks make the landscape extraordinary colorful. Amid the rocks stand entrances to two caves – Temnata Dupka (the Dark Hole) and the Razhishka cave. +340m/- 0 m,  6 hours.

Day 4: Leskova Hut (1340 m) – Murgash Peak (1687 m) – Murgash Hut (1400 m).
Today we pass through the spectacular Iskar Gorge and climb the Murgash Peak. After enjoing the amazing mountain view from the summit we hike east to the hut for overnight. +340/-280m., 7 hours.

Day 5: Murgash Hut (1400 m) – Vitinia Pass (970 м ) – Chavdar Hut (1450 m) .
After crossing the Vitinia Pass the trail ascends through old beech forest  following the main ridge.
+480m/-430m,  8 hours

Day 6: Chavdar Hut (1450 m) – Kashana Pass (1365 m - touch point) – Benkovski Hut (1540 м)
After crossing the Kashana Pass, our first touch point on the trail, the trail continuesthrough the Central Balkan National Park +180/- 90m,  7hours.

Day 7: Benkovski Hut (1540 м) – Koncheto Ridge (1907 м.) – Vejen Peak (2198 м) – Echo Hut (1675 м).
Ascending the main ridge again we pass the famous rocky ridge Koncheto, then we climb the highest peak of the Teteven Balkan - Vejen Peak (2198 m) and enjoying the breathtaking views to the Steneto Nature Reserve we see the Echo hut ahead. +685m/- 550m., 7 hours

Day 8: Echo Hut (1675 м) – Kozya Stena Hut (1562 m).
Today we take a day off with short hike to the next hut.  +0/-110 m.  2 hours.

Day 9: Kozya Stena Hut (1562 m) – Kozya Stena Reserve (1600 м) – Beklemeto Pass (1525 м - touch point) – Dermenka hut (1504 м).
Today the trail offer us the Kozya Stena Reserve, located in a very steep section of the mountain. The rocks rise up vertically from the aged beech and silver fir-tree forests.  Kozya stena shelters the habitats of a number of  rare plants. +150 m/-208m,  8 hours

Day 10: Dermenka Hut (1505 м) – Vassil Levski Hut (1450 м).
We approach the Botev Peak area and Djendema Reserve. The karst terrain is dotted with numerous caves and the forests primarily contain beech (average age: 250 years) and spruce. 0 m/-55m, 7 hours

Day 11: Vassil Levski Hut (1450 м) – Botev peak (2376 м) – Tuza Hut (1510 м).
Standing at 2376 m above sea level, Botev is the tallest peak in Stara Planina. It lies within the boundaries of national park “Central Balkan” – a beautiful natural reserve protecting 72 000 hectares of natural beauty. After climbing the peak a steep descent follows to Tuza Hut for overnight. +1000/- 850 m,  8 hours

Day 12: Tuja Hut (1510 м) – Uzana Hut (1240 m).
We follow the main ridge to the east,  reaching the spectacular hut Uzana after another long walking day.
+0 m./-270 m..  7 hours

Day 13: Uzana Hut (1240 m) – Shipka Peak (1326 м - touch point) – Buzludzha Peak (1441 m) – Buzludzha Hut (1280 m) .
Today we visit the Shipka memorial to those who died for the Liberation of Bulgaria during the Battles of Shipka Pass in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. Then we pass by Buzludza Monument raching Buzludza hut for overnight.
+240 m/-200 m, 7 hours

Day 14: Buzludzha Hut (1280 m) – Predela Pass (770 m ) – Chemic Hut (850 m).
The trail starts to descent as we leave Central Balkan National Park and enter the Easter Balkans.
+0 m/-430 m, 7-8 hours

Day 15: Chemic Hut (850 m) – Chumerna Peak (1536 m) – Chumerna Hut (1446 m) .
Passing through old pine forests and quiet mountain pastures we climb Chumerna peak and after enjoyng the views from the summit we descent to the hut nearby. +690/-100 m,  8 hours

Day 16: Chumerna Hut (1446 m) – Kotel Town (643 m - touch point)
Another long day walking, descending through  oak and beech forests to the old town of Kotel.
+0 m/-780 m,  8 hours

Day 17: Kotel Town (643 m) .
Today we enjoy the Old Town of Kotel - a picturesque architectural reserve situated on the outskirts of the mountains. Kotel is an emblematic place for the Bulgarians - it is a symbol of the Bulgarian Revival and the 19th c. Liberation movement. (dayoff)

Day 18: Kotel (643 m) - Vurbishki Pass (570 m) – Vurbishki Pass Hut (470 m).
The main ridge is getting more and more difficult to follow, the path  cutting through century-old forests and highmountain pastures. +0 m/-160 m, 5 hours.

Day 19: Vurbishki Pass Hut (470 m) – Luda Kamchia Hut (300 m) .
We countinue our trip passing by Luda Kamchiya reservoir along the river Kamchya.
+0 m/-170 m,  5 hours.

Day 20: Luda Kamchia Hut (300 m) – Topchiisko Hut (430 m).
Walking through thick bushes we can feel the smell of the sea already.
+130 m/-0 m,  5 hours

Day 21: Topchiisko Hut (430 m) – Kozichino Village (410 m).
Another 6-7 hours walking before we reach the small  village of Kozichino for overnight.
+0 m/- 20 m, 7 hours.

Day 22: Kozichino Village (410 m) – Emine Cape (250 m), transfer to Burgas (1,5 hours)
Our last but also one of the longest day hikes.   8-9 hours after we have left Kozichene and having crossed the main Varna-Burgas road  we reach our final destination  – Cape Emine - the end of the European walking route E3.
+0/-160 m, 8-9 hours

Luggage: On the trail you can "meet" the rest of your luggage on days 6, 9, 13, 16 and 22. On these days we will get some extra supplies of dry fruit, sweets, biscuits and other food which is scarce in the huts where we overnight,

Accommodation: Mountain huts with rooms with 2, 3, 4 and more beds; shared facilities, hotel in Kotel 2 nights db;. room with private facilities.

The price includes: ►group transfers from Sofia and back to Burgas ► airport transfers on arrival and departure days as set by the itinerary (Day 1 and Day 22)   ► 19 nights in mountain huts, 2 night nights hotel►halfboard (breakfast and dinner) all days ►luggage transport on touch points days ►English-speaking mountain guide.

Clothing and equipment: Checklist