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Bulgarian mountain flora

12 days botany tour - Best period:  June – July 2021

Day 1. Arrival at Sofia. Sightseeing walk in the centre of Sofia. 2 night stay on Vitosha Mountain.

Day 2. Visit to Bistrishko Branishte Biosphere Reserve, looking for Aquilegia aurea, Lilium jankae, Campanula velebitica, Pinguicula balcanica, Geum coccineum, Campanula patula ssp. Epigeia. Some orchids are possible – Dactylorhiza cordigera, Pseudorchis albida, Gymnadenia, fryvaldskyi, Traunsteinera globosa.

Day 3.  Drive about 90 kms to Malyovitsa valley in the Rila Mountains for a 2 night stay. Explore somemeadows where we expect to see Dactylorhiza saccifera, D.pindica, Dianthus turcicus, Telekia speciosa, Cirsium appendiculatum.

Day 4.  Today there is a moderate to steep walk. We expect to see the impressive Primula deorum, growing only in the Rila Mountains. Other spectacular plants are Gentiana pyrenaica, Bartsia alpina, Silene roemeri, Genista depressa.

Day 5.  Travel towards Bansko in the Pirin Mountains (about 120 kms) for a 5 night stay. Stop on the way to look for impressive plants such as Achillea pseudopectinata, Onosma heterophylla, Silene frivaldskyana, Dianthus pinifolius, Scabiosa argentea.

Day 6.  Today there will be moderate to steep walking to Yavorov chalet in the Pirin Mountains, to see the rich and colourful vegetation on marble, and some impressive endemic plants, such as Carum graecum, Arabis ferdinandicoburgi, Genista subcapitata, Saxifraga stribrnyi, Verbascum davidoffii, Chondrilla urumoffii, Sedum kostovii, Linum capitatum.

Day 7.  We visit the marble peak of Vihren, the third highest in the Balkans (2914m), where the greatest diversity of species unique to Pirin is found. We should be prepared for some steep walking (for about 8 hours). We should see Aubrieta gracilis, Arabis ferdinandi-coburgi, Potentilla appenina ssp. stojanovii, Viola grisebachiana, Carex pirinensis, Oxytropis urumovii, Papaver degenii.

Day 8.  We shall travel west (about 40kms) back to Yakorouda in the Rila Mountains, where we visit the high mountain area, hoping to see Armeria rumelica, Rhodiola rosea, Senecio carpathicus, Cryptogramma crispa, Veronica bellidioides, Pseudorchis frivaldii.

Day 9.  Drive west (about 100 kms) to the interesting area near Rila monastery, which we shall also visit. Looking for endemic plants such as Viola orbelica, Verbascum jankaeanum, Silene velenovskyana, S. heuffelli, S. lerchenfeldiana, Dianthus turcicus.

Day 10.  Drive to the town of Kyustendil (about 80 kms) for a one night stay. In the afternoon we take a short walk to explore the meadows around the hotel.

Day 11. July Today we shall spend part of the day walking to the top of the mountain (moderate), expecting to see Viola gracilis, Silene asterias, Sibbaldia parviflora, Achillea chrysocoma, Campanula trojanensis, Dianthus microlepis. Midafternoon return drive to Sofia. Farewell dinner.

Day 12.  Return flight to UK.

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