• Fjellvandring langs kysten av Montenegro

    Oslo-Gardermoen (OSL) Airport

    Fjellvandring langs kysten - er det mulig? Ja! Vi skal gå gjennom vakre nasjonalparker, passere flere flotte utsiktspunkter der vi kan se utover mot Adriaterhavet og Sckodërsjøen. Vi skal spise mat hos en lokal familie, dra på båttur og oppleve sjarmerende gamlebyer. Reisen for deg som liker å vandre, være i vakker og urørt natur, liker å oppleve lokal kultur og et spennende kjøkken. Montenegro er ennå en destinasjon i Europa som for mange ikke er så kjent som en feriedestinasjon. Her får du fortsatt mye for pengene! Høydepunkter: Oppdag Montenegro fra majestetiske fjelltopper med utsikt over Adriaterhavskysten og Kotor Bay Besøk til UNESCO stedene Kotor og Perast 6 dager med vandring Nasjonalparkene Sckodërsjøen og Lovcen Byvandring i de historiske byene Cetinje og Kotor Norsk leder; Elisabeth Eriksen Vandringsnivået Vandringen er klassifisert som medium og passer for deg som har gått litt i fjellet fra før og er i grei turform. Du må kunne klare å gå opptil 16 km på en dag og være forberedt på opp og nedstigning på opp mot 1000 høydemetre. I snitt skal vi gå ca 4 timer hver dag (pauser kommer i tillegg), men 2 av dagene er dagsetappene oppe i effektiv gangtid på 6 timer. Slik bor vi: De første 3 nettene skal vi bo i en gammel bygning fra 1600-tallet som tilhører en del av et stort klosterkompleks. Alle soverom har privat bad. Her nyter vi frokosten fra terrassen til dette gamle klosteret. Terrassen er bygget i barokkstil og har nydelig utsikt over bukten og Perast. Ukens siste fire netter skal vi tilbringe på Hotel Monte Rosa hele 1240 meter over havet. Personlig hotel, fantastisk beliggenhet i nasjonalparken og en magsik utsikt. Stort og lekkert spa og velværesenter som er deilig å benytte seg av etter endt dagsturer. Tips og råd for reisen: Det anbefales gode og høye fjellstøvler. En lett vindjakke er alltid kjekt å ha i tillegg til caps, solbriller og solkrem for å beskytte deg mot solen. Til dagsturene trenger du en lett dagstursekk, drikkeflaske og gjerne gåstaver. Husk badetøy om du vil kjøle deg ned i sjøen. Her er det deilig å bade i det rene klare vannet! Turen kan bestilles gjennom Jomfrureiser. Klikk på linken under og du kan lese et detaljert turprogram og få info om påmelding! NB! Kun få plasser igjen! https://www.jomfrureiser.no/montenegro/fjellvandring

  • Skiing and thermal spa trip to Borovetz in Bulgaria

    Sandefjord Torp Airport

    Would you like to experience real winter and improve your skiing skills? Treat yourself and join us for a trip to Borovetz where you can enjoy an outdoor thermal spa while watching the snow fall. Borovetz is situated in Rila mountain in Bulgaria and at the end of February it is not crowded, thus our trip is perfectly timed for maximum enjoyment of the slopes. It is surrounded by hot mineral springs and open air spas which we will be visiting. We are staying in the exclusive, recently refurbished Rila hotel which is at the foot of the skiing slopes. For more details please go to http://www.rilaborovets.com/en To see photos from one of our previous trips please click below: https://www.meetup.com/London-European-Club/photos/26652108/ On this trip we will be joined by a group of British skiers looking to improve their downhill skiing skills, for which the terrains in Borovetz are perfect. Having visited all main ski centers in Bulgaria and many more in the Balkans, Borovetz is the place we'd like to share with friends again and again. This winter we will spend 7 days in a the most exclusive hotel, the recently refurbished Rila which has a 25m Olympic size swimming pool, Turkish bath, jacuzzi and saunas where we'd spend the long winter afternoons, right before hitting the Bulgarian "mehana" (local word for bar). During the day, we'll be renting equipment to go skiing on our own or with an instructor. Ski pass and rental of skis, boots and poles start at 400 NOK per day. Amazingly this price includes a group ski instructor. We will have a van and a driver for optional day-trips: within the range of 40 km from Borovetz, there are cute little village hotels that are built on hot mineral springs pampering both body and soul. One of them, Sapareva Banya has the ONLY geyser in the Balkans. The temperature of the water is 103 Celsius. One of the highlights of this trip is a half-day visit to Rila Monastery. Founded in the 10th century, the Rila Monastery is regarded as one of Bulgaria's most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments and is a key attraction for both Bulgaria and Southern Europe (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Europe). This skiing trip is for skiers of all levels, but especially for beginners and intermediate skiers who want to improve their skiing skills. The trails within Borovetz are equipped with snow cannons and few of them also offer night skiing. Recommended flights with Wizz air to and from Skopje, Macedonia: o Oslo Sandefjord Torp (TRP)→Skopje (‏SKP) W6 7706 25/02/[masked]:20 - 13:30 209 kr o Skopje (‏SKP) →Oslo Sandefjord Torp (‏TRP) W6 7705 04/03/[masked]:20 - 09:50 279 kr We encourage you to book your flights while the total is 488 kr. Cost of the trip is 9000 NOK which include: Accommodation in a 5 star hotel in Borovetz 6 nights and 1 night in 4 star hotel in Skopje, two sharing in twin rooms. We will stay at Mirror hotel near Skopje International airport. To see more details about the hotel please go to http://www.hotelmirror.mk/en Minivan and driver from and to Skopje airport for recommended flights. All breakfasts and dinners are included. Not included in the price: Flights and Travel insurance are not included in the price of the trip. Make sure your insurance covers the type of activities you'd like to do during this holiday. Lunches are not included in the price. Ski passes and ski instruction is not included in the price. All optional activities are not included in the price. The price of these varies between 100 and 200 NOK based on the number of participants. If you want to join this trip please email Maja or Elisa. To secure a place on this trip you need to pay 2000 NOK when you RSVP and the remaining sum of 7000 NOK is due by the 31st of January.

  • Vil du bli med på fjellvandring langs kysten av Montenegro?

    Oslo-Gardermoen (OSL) Airport

    Bli med på fjellvandring langs kysten av Montenegro i oktober. Her skal vi gå gjennom vakre nasjonalparker, passere flere flotte utsiktspunkter der vi kan se utover mot Adriaterhavet og Shkodërsjøen. Vi skal spise mat hos en lokal familie, dra på båttur og oppleve sjarmerende gamlebyer. Dette er turen for deg som liker å vandre, være i vakker og urørt natur, liker å oppleve lokal kultur og et spennende kjøkken. Montenegro er ennå et land i Europa som for mange ikke er så kjent som en feriedestinasjon, så bli med nå før det blir like populært som nabolandet Kroatia. Montenegro ligger i Sørøst-Europa ved Adriaterhavet. Montenegro deler grense med hele 5 land; Kroatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia, Kosovo og Albania. Hovedstaden er Podgorica. Montenegro har tidligere vært en del av Jugoslavia, og i årene 2003 til 2006 inngikk de i unionsstaten Serbia og Montenegro. Fra 2006 har de vært et selvstendig land. Det offisielle språket er montenegrinsk, men de fleste snakker serbisk. Andre språk i landet er albansk, bosnisk og kroatisk. I oktober reiser jeg ned til Montenegro og jeg håper du vil bli med meg! Les videre for detaljert beskrivelse av turen. Høydepunkter på turen: Oppdag Montenegro fra majestetiske fjelltopper med utsikt over Adriaterhavskysten og Kotor Bay Besøk til UNESCO stedene Kotor og Perast 6 dager med vandring Nasjonalparkene Shkodërsjøen og Lovcen Byvandring i de historiske byene Cetinje og Kotor Dato for turen: 13. – 20. oktober 2018 Pris: 9.200,- Hva dekker prisen? 7 netter i delt dobbeltrom, inkludert frokost Lunsj på en lokal fiskerestaurant i nasjonalparken Sckodërsjøen Piknik lunsj Engelsktalende lokal fjellguide Norsk turleder Byvandring i Kotor med lokal byguide All transport i Montenegro inkl. flyplasstransfer 2 båtturer på Boka Kotorska og Shkodërsjøen Inngangsbilletter til de aktuelle attraksjonene Hva må du betale utenom? Flybillett tur/retur Oslo-Dubrovnik lunsj og vinsmaking med lokal familie middag alle dager drikke tips personlige utgifter reiseforsikring Flyreise tur/retur fra Oslo Gardermoen – Dubrovnik. Direkte flight med Norwegian. Prisen ligger på 1.711,- NOK (inkl. innsjekket bagasje), sjekket 28. august 2018. Flybilletter bestilles direkte på Norwegian sine hjemmesider. NB! Turen kan bare gjennomføres med et visst antall påmeldte, så ikke book flybilletter før du får bekreftelse fra meg. –> Turen kan gjennomføres hvis vi er 6 påmeldte, så ikke nøl med å melde deg på! Find the 'day by day' program here: http://www.globetrotterelisa.com/fjellvandring-langs-kysten-montenegro/

  • Greece and Macedonia: hike the mountain of Gods and visit UNESCO site Ohrid

    We are taking you to mount Olympus where Aphrodite flashed her beauty and mighty Zeus and his wife Hera had their famous arguments accompanied by thunderstorms. In September the weather is perfect for hiking here, warm but not too hot, which is important because we will be going to heights of almost 3000 meters (10000 ft). This is a trip for mountain lovers who are curious and fit and would like to visit the Balkans. During eleven days we will visit three national parks, UNESCO city of Thessaloniki in Greece and UNESCO site lake and city of Ohrid in Macedonia, swim in lakes and in the Aegean Sea. So this trip has it all and if you can only do one trip with us next year, this would be a perfect choice. Day 1 (21st September) We are starting the trip in Skopje, the Macedonian capital and after the arrival we will have lunch and a tour of the centre. We will visit the Old Town which has been buzzing since 15th century. Cobbled streets with crafts shops and restaurants with delicious food are all around. We will also see the old fortress which towers above the city. Day 2 (22nd September) After breakfast we will head to Stobi winery which is located next to the Roman city of Stobi, the capital of the Roman province Macedonia Salutaris. It existed continuously between 197 BC and 518 AD when it was struck by a devastating earthquake. We will visit the site and learn about the Paeonian and Roman contribution to the history of this wine growing area. After the lunch in the winery, we’ll head to our last destination Thessaloniki. Day 3 (23rd September) The next day after breakfast we will have a guided tour of Thessaloniki, including the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments. You can also enjoy one of the many cafes in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece which has a very vibrant coffee culture and is widely known for its attractive sites for street photography. We’ll then have a transfer to Prionia at 1,100 m – the entrance point of the first national park that we visit on this trip - Olympus. The route from Prionia to the Refuge A is through a thick forest of pine, beech and fir trees, and the path is in good condition. Our main luggage will be left at Litochoro, where we return the day after. We will spend this night in a mountain hut with shared rooms and facilities and we’ll carry only the essentials with us. We’ll hike for about 5 hours to make our way up to an altitude of 2,100 m, and reach the hut we’ll have dinner and spend the night there. Day 4 (24th September) On day four we wake up early to greet the morning and enjoy the stunning views. After breakfast we will head towards the second highest peak, Skolio, at 2,912 m. Our path runs beneath the Throne of Zeus (Stefani Peak, 2,902 m) and the highest peak in the range, Mytikas (2,915 m), both of which require technical equipment and climbing skills to be reached. We do not consider either of these peaks suitable for the whole group, but if any participants want to have a shot at Mythikas or Zeus’s throne, we can arrange that option at the start of the tour. This will entail a detailed briefing about those two options, booking another local guide and renting technical equipment for an extra charge. After reaching the summit we’ll go down to the hut at the Plateau of the Muses, where we’ll have lunch break. According to Greek mythology, this is the place where the muses live. This is the most demanding and strenuous day of the trip. We will have about 11 hours of effective hiking. Starting at 2100m, reaching a peak of 2912m and descending lightly to a level of 1100m. Our hosts have promised some amazing greek food once we're back in Litochoro. If any participants of this trip want to skip doing this part of the hiking activities, they can spend the day back down in Litochoro and at the warm sandy beaches below it. Ancient Greeks never tried to climb the peaks of Olympus – Partheon and the Throne of Zeus, (currently called Mytikas and Stefani respectively) – because they considered them to be the home of the Gods and thus inaccessible to people. However, they reached the summit now called Aghios Antonios, from which they had a view of the two peaks and where they left offerings to the Gods, as recent archaeological findings indicate. Day 5 (25th September) Day five is a day for rest, so after breakfast we’ll have a leisurely stroll in the historical town of Litochoro. We can choose one option for lunch: in a local tavern or in a fish restaurant on the beaches of Plaka – 20 minutes away. After lunch, we’ll have a longer crossborder transfer to Bitola in Macedonia, where we will have an evening stroll down the city centre before we reach our base for the next two days – hotel Molika within the National park Pelister. We’ll have an early night in to get some rest for our next hiking challenge the next day. Day 6 (26th September) We’ll have an early breakfast and start hiking straight from the hotel, at an altitude of 1420 meters to attempt to conquer the highest peak of the mountain by which the National park was named – peak Pelister at 2601 meters. Pelister National Park covers an area of[masked] hectares - at altitude of 927 to 2601 m. It is abundant with unique natural resources and is home of rare and endemic animal and plant species, beside the especially significant five-needle pine molica, and the diverse wildlife: bears, roe deer, wolves, chamois, deer, wild boars, rabbits, several species of eagles, partridges, red-billed choughs, and the endemic Macedonian Pelagonia trout. Day 7 (27th September) After breakfast, on day seven, we’ll check out from Hotel Molika - which is named by the greatest natural asset of the park – the endemic pine tree Molika (lat. Pinus Peuce). We’ll once again directly start the hike at altitude of 1420m and hike for 4 hours the 9 km trail with ascent 300m and descent 900m to the village Dihovo at 850m altitude, where we’ll taste organic Slow food® branded dishes and drinks. We will have a late lunch in a family farm house where we will also try some organic honey they produce. We’ll reach Ohrid later in the afternoon with a 1 hour transfer from Bitola. In the evening we’ll explore the cobble streets of Ohrid and it’s urban cafes at a slow pace. Day 8 (28th September) Another full day of hiking is ahead of us –a moderate hike will take we over the Galichica Mountain, the National park between Lakes Ohrid and Prespa, climbing from 1,600 m to 2,255 m and going along the mountain ridge for 8 km (3-5 hours). We will be picked up by our minibus to go for lunch at Lake Ohrid via a picturesque mountain road. We’ll taste local grilled trout while sitting on a white pebble beach, where we can also go for a dip in the lake. We’ll introduce you to the best of the indigenous wines of Macedonia during the late lunch on the shore – so opt in for a guided wine-tasting session featuring our favourite sparkling, white, rose and “black” (red) wines produced by 4 different Macedonian wineries. Day 9 (29th September) On day nine we’ll hike mountain Jablanica – a gorgeous mountain on the Macedonian Albanian border overlooking Ohrid lake, whose trails are amidst lush forests and springs and meadows with butterflies. The trail is 12 km long with height difference of 920 meters. It is a round tour starting and ending at village Gorna Belica (1359m) and reaching the peak Crn Kamen (Black Stone, 2212m). We’ll have a late lunch in the village of Vevchani, famous for its winter carnival, the rebellious tradition and the stunning springs we will see during a stroll in the village later that day. We’ll be back at our hotel in Ohrid in the evening. Day 10 (30th September) Day 10 of this amazing trip is reserved for a leisurely day around Ohrid. You can stroll along the cobbled streets among Byzantine churches, and hear about three millennia of continuous history with the help of our guide. There is a short walk up to the top of the hill where we will be rewarded with a stunning view of the lake. Swimming in the lake is a great idea, as the water is warm in September although the deepest point of the lake is almost 300 meters. We’ll have a guided sightseeing tour and some time for shopping at the fresh food market and the craftsman jewellery stores right after our farewell lunch on the coast of the lake. After the lunch we will continue to Skopje where we can have a free night time and be prepared for the early flight to the next day. Day 11 (01st October) we are leaving Skopje in order to catch the 06:00 flight to Oslo Sandefjord Torp. Price: A full payment of[masked] NOK will secure your spot. The deadline for payment for this trip is 5th of June 2018. Included in the price: • 10 overnights based on B&B - Accommodation in 3 star hotels, family hotels and 1 night in a mountain hut, based on two sharing in twin rooms. Single room supplement is available (except in the mountain hut) on request and the supplement is 1.900 NOK. • all transfers - Minivan and driver from and to airports for recommended flights, as well as for local transfers according the program. • English speaking certified mountain guide and local guide for all hikes included. • One lunch in the Stobi winery and three lunch packs on hiking days when there is no alternative for lunch You must arrange your own: • Insurance (you can only join this trip if you produce insurance details prior to the trip) Make sure your insurance covers the type of activities you'd like to do during this holiday. • Travel to and from Macedonia (airfare) • Lunches and dinners in restaurants • Personal expenses for drinks or souvenirs • Other optional activities and visits. Recommended flights: Oslo Sandefjord Torp - Skopje[masked] Departs at 09:45 AM and arrives at 12:55 AM flight W6 7706, Price: 649 at http://www.wizzair.com Skopje - Oslo Sandefjord Torp[masked] Departs at 06:00 AM and arrives at 09:10 AM flight W6 7705, Price: ​839 NOK at http://www.wizzair.com This trip is open to members of Hiking the Balkans. The total number of participants will not exceed 18 people. Contact Maja or Marija via Meetup to confirm your place before purchasing your flights. We don't like mass gatherings so the trip has a limited number of spaces, once full it is full. These trips are organised with the intention of discovering new countries and destinations in Europe. We are not a travel agency nor are we holiday reps. You will be expected to be a good team player and look after yourself and the members of your group. Join us if you are up for an adventure of a lifetime!

  • Conquer the highest peak between the Alps and the Caucasus

    Sandefjord Torp Airport

    How about climbing the highest peak between the Alps ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alps ) and the Caucasus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasus )? We are going to climb Musala, which at 2925 meters is the highest peak in the Balkans. Late summer is the perfect time to do it, as the snow has melted and the mountain is most accessible and welcoming, so if this is your idea of a well spent holiday at mid September, than RSVP Yes to this event. This is an 11 day trip, planned for 14.09 -[masked], but you can extend it by joining our trip to Mount Olympus and Lake Ohrid ( https://www.meetup.com/Hiking-the-Balkans/events/243802448/ ) and finish your journey on the 28th of September, reaching the highest peaks of the Balkans. We will meet in Skopje, the Macedonian capital and after the arrival we will have lunch and a tour of the centre. We will visit the Old Town which has been buzzing since 15th century. Cobbled streets with crafts shops and restaurants with delicious food are all around. We will also see the old fortress which towers above the city. In the evening we will had towards the Bulgarian capital Sofia where we will stay overnight. After breakfast we will have a tour of Sofia. We will visit the Alexandar Nevski cathedral, one of the most recognizable Sofia landmarks and then head straight for the mountains. Although the temperature in Sofia will be around 30 degrees centigrade at this time of the year, the average temperature in Rila mountain is 10 degrees during the day and can be below 0 at night so you will need to bring warm clothes. My first attempt to climb this peak was in May and it failed because the mountain was covered in snow and there was a snow storm. To see what the mountains we will be climbing look like, please click on the video below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmEfrczx3-M&feature=youtu.be Snow is not expected in September, but never the less please be prepared for cold weather in the mountain. Musala Peak (2925 m above sea level) is practically the top of the Balkan Peninsula. The name derives from Turkish, because Bulgaria was under Ottoman rule when it was first reached and means close to Allah/God. Aside from climbing Musala in Rila mountain we will also climb Vihren peak in Pirin mountain which is 2914 meters high. So needless to say, you need to be fit and ready for some serious hiking. But this trip is not just about climbing peaks, we will enjoy some stunning scenery, going through huge national parks with broad alpine meadows and serrated summits, glacier lakes, stone rivers and we will encounter rare plant and animal life. After leaving Sofia we will head to Panichishte Resort, where time permitting we may visit the Skakavitsa Waterfall (70m/230ft) before supper. The next day we will go by cable car to the foot of the Seven Rila Lakes Cirque. Trekking past the Lakes (each named after their most characteristic feature, like The Kidney Lake, The Twin Lake, The Trefoil Lake etc). Passing the Malyovitsa Summit at 2729m height we descend into the valley of the same name and settle into a family hotel at the village of Govedartsi. 6-7hrs of walking, climbing 800m descending 1000m. On day 3 we climb the Balkans’ highest summit: Musala, a unique experience as we ascend through stone rivers and past glacier lakes and alpine huts. We plan to stay in the mountain hut Everest at 2725m for the evening, after descending from Musala. Expect to do at least 7-8 hours of effective walking during this day. After descending to Borovetz, we will be transferred to Bansko at the foot of mountain Pirin, where we will have a well deserved break from all that hiking before exploring this mountain the next day. In the afternoon we can take a cable car to see the terrain for our hikes in the next two days. On day 5, we visit one of the most picturesque parts of the Pirin: the Banderishki Lakes Cirque. We pass some of the 16 glacial lakes, revealing one by one as we climb the terraces. We will walk through the Todorina Porta (Todora's Gate) which takes us directly to the Yulen Nature Reserve, from where, by way of the Todorini Ochi (Todora's Eyes) Lakes, we descend into virgin fir groves to the Demyanitsa Hut. From here, we will descent along Demyanitsa River. Expect 6-8hrs of effective walking, climbing 800m and descending 900m. On day 6 we will attempt to climb Vihren: Bulgaria’s second-highest and the Pirin’s highest summit. Breathtaking views offer themselves to us as we climb through the Golem Kazan (The Giant Cauldron) area bounded by the 400m tall northern face of Vihren. Today you will explore the Karst parts of Pirin, which are also home to the endangered Edelweiss, the elusive Wallcreeper and the shy Balkan Chamois (wild goats). (6-7hrs of walking, climbing and descending 1000m). In the evening we will have a well deserved dinner and share the stories of our adventure. Bulgarian cuisine is an inventive mix of Mediterranean, Slavic and Oriental influences. After dinner we have an hour and a half transfer to Sandanski, a town with thermal spas. We will stay in a hotel with its own thermal spa pools where we can recuperate from the strenuous hiking the next day. Optional short hikes are possible as the town of Sandanski is located near beautiful forests. On the morning of day 8 we will head towards Melnik, a town which has preserved the 19th century architecture and is also in the middle of a wine region. There are natural pyramid like formations with hiking trails, which we could visit. Alternatively we could have a wine tasting stop before heading to Berovo in Macedonia. We will stay in Hotel Manastir, ( http://www.hotelmanastir.com.mk/en ) a Hotel with a swimming pool which serves organic food and is nestled on the hills of Maleshevo mountain. After breakfast we having a 15km hike going past a lake where we will have a picnic. Today we will have ascent and descent of 500m to enjoy the rolling hills and the beautiful scenery. In the afternoon we will watch a movie about the region and discuss it before having a farewell dinner. After breakfast we will have 2h hike to the sheep farm which provides food for the Hotel so we can see how the food is produced. We will have lunch there before heading for Skopje. The legend of Pirin and Rila People in the Balkans love their legends so here is the one about Pirin and Rila. According to locals Rila mountain was once a woman, called Rilka who against the wishes of her parents married a man from the higher lands, called Pirin. Rilka was a pretty girl but very rebellious and she always did as she pleased. So she ran away and married Pirin without a wedding or her parent's blessing. They soon had two children, a boy, name Iskar and a girl, called Mesta. Pirin was hunting and Rilka was looking after the children who were very naughty. They were always fighting and arguing and not listening to their mother who pleaded with their father to reason with them and help her with their upbringing. But he was always busy hunting and was mostly away from home. One day the children got into a very serious fight and the angry Rilka cursed them. "May God separate you so you never see each other again. Let people be afraid and run away from you and may I turn into a stone so I can not hug you or speak to you any more. The trees will be my children and may my tears of anger will turn into springs and lush rivers. And God, please if you exist, turn Pirin into a mountain, so people won't laugh at him because of his naughty and damn children. " As the legend goes, bright lightening went through the sky and Rilka's curse became true. The two children turned into rivers. She and Pirin, who was away at that moment turned into mountains. Mesta who wasn't so naughty turned into a calm river, but Iskar who was wild, took his turbulent waters across the Balkan and entered the Danube river. Since then Iskar and Mesta can not see each other. Their mother Rila, watches them but then looses them from her sight. And their father Pirin never sees Iskar and constantly grieves for the boy, which is why his north side is always dark and green. But he can see Mesta, which pleases him and he lures people with his beauty to come and see her too. The price of[masked] NOK for this trip includes: Renting a minibus and driver for the duration of the trip which offers great flexibility. All hotels&accomodation (3 and 4 star) and breakfast during the trip, based on two sharing a room. Shared accommodation in mountain huts where there is no alternative. A single room supplement is available at 1500 NOK extra. English speaking certified mountain guides at Rila Mountain, Pirin Mountain and Maleshevo Mountain. The price DOES NOT include flights or travel/health insurance. It doesn't include tickets for cable cars. A 2000 NOK deposit is required when you RSVP and the remaining[masked] are due by the 1st of August. Useful information: Bring your hiking shoes, swimsuit and camera! Poles come in very handy on this trip! Local concurrency in Bulgaria is Lev (BGN) 100 NOK = лв 20.03 Most of the local exchange offices accept EUR. There ARE a lot of cash machines in the places we visit, except during hiking in the mountains, of course. Recommended flights: Oslo Sandefjord Torp - Skopje[masked] Departs at 09:45 AM and arrives at 12:55 AM flight W6 7706, Price: 739 NOK at http://www.wizzair.com ( http://www.wizzair.com/ ) Skopje - Oslo Sandefjord Torp[masked] Departs at 06:00 AM and arrives at 09:10 AM flight W6 7705, Price: 1.019 NOK at http://www.wizzair.com ( http://www.wizzair.com/ ) This trip is open to members of Hiking the Balkans. You would enjoy this trip if you want to learn about different European cultures and are respectful of nature and other people's customs. We do not accept people who behave in ways that may endanger the safety of the group and the organiser reserves the right to exclude participants from hikes if they have displayed such behaviour. If you are interested in joining this trip contact Marija (https://www.meetup.com/members/242853460/)

  • Explore the natural beauty of Macedonia, 6 day hiking trip

    Oslo-Gardermoen (OSL) Airport

    The rugged mountain terrain and the lack of crowds in Macedonia’s largest National park Mavrovo, make it a perfect place for hikers that value the beauty of nature and discovering the less visited areas of this part of Europe. The hike is technically easy, however you have to be reasonably fit to hike 6-7 hours. Price per person: 6.620 NOK What’s included: • 6 bed&breakfast overnights (2 in Ohrid, 3 in a village Hotel in Janche and 1 in Skopje) • All transfers according itinerary and an English speaking professional driver; • 5 guided hikes with an English speaking certified mountain guide; • Lunch packs on Days 5 & 6 • Entrance fees for the National Park Day 1 – 23 May We’ll meet you at Skopje airport upon arrival and our transport will take us to the UNESCO historic old town - Ohrid, arriving around 11 pm. Day 2 – 24 May After breakfast our minivan will take us to the village of Gorna Belica at 1350 meters above sea level, hike up to the peak Crn Kamen at 2257m and descend down to amazing water springs deep in the forest at around 850 meters. We will be following a Roman road, the Via Ignatia, to reach the village of Vevchani, passing the remains of a Roman tower. After the hike, we will go for lunch in a traditional restaurant to try typical local delicacies such as stuffed peppers and baked beans. Traditional Macedonian food is influenced by Turkish cuisine, and there are many vegetarian dishes. All salads are seasonal and are made with vegetables produced in the village. We will head back to Ohrid for a night out. Day 3 – 25 May In the morning we will depart from Ohrid after breakfast and we’ll drive for about 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach the historical village Lazaropole, our starting point for both of today’s hikes. The hike to the peak Sokolica is situated deep in pine and beech forest. Before the peak we pass a small church dedicated to the Holy saviour. The view from the peak is breathtaking. You can see Radika valley and the highest range of the Macedonian mountains. It will take us about 45 minutes to reach the peak and about the same time to return to the village for lunch. The next hike takes us from Lazaropole (1350m) down toward Elen Skok bridge (692m), one of the few remaining traditionally made bridges in Macedonia, standing since medieval times. The duration of the hike will be around 3 hours. We’ll than head on to the village of Janche which is our base for the next four days. 'Ecological Building is a design process and the structures are designed to create and sustain mutually beneficial relationships with all of the elements of its local ecology. I believe that buildings should come back to their origins in a deeper relation with the environment around them. This way they are more sustainable and merge contemporary solutions with ancient traditions.' says Tutto, the owner of the hotel. Day 4 – 26 May We start today’s hike from our hotel, and we enter the deep pine and beech forest located above it. We hike on a historically significant trail, connecting the village of Janche and the old trade road along Radika river, with the historical village of Galichnik. Galichnik was one of the wealthiest villages in the mid 19th century in Macedonia, with most of its wealth coming from the production of sheep cheese, and our trail was the link to the market. We start the hike at the altitude of 900 meters, and hike up to 1450 meters, to the village. The hike will give us amazing views of the Radika valley, and from the village of Galichnik we will see as far as Debar Lake, and the peaks that are on the border with Albania. We’ll take a tour through the village and visit the only two remaining inhabitants in the village, who will greet us with a fine traditional lunch, that includes the organic sheep cheese. After lunch, we continue from the village of Galichnik toward the peak Medenica, the highest peak on Bistra mountain (2163 m, 8km long hike). We will descent through amazing meadows to a point where our minibus will pick us up and drive back to Janche. Day 5 – 27 May Today we start with a short drive to the village of Bitushe at 1.150m. The 15km trail starts from the village and ascends through rich woodland before it opens out into an alpine landscape. The final ascent is to the summit of Mt Golem Krchin (2345m), which proudly sits on the border between Albania and Macedonia. The view from this dramatic peak is breath-taking, stretching as far as Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. After taking in the views we'll descent via a different route towards the village of Rostushe and enjoy a packed lunch on the trail. Our footpath winds through meadows, alpine pastures and beech forest to where we meet our minibus. On the way back we will visit the famous St. Jovan Bigorski monastery, where we will learn more about the monastic life in Macedonia. We’ll get back to our hotel after a stroll of the village Janche and its lush riverside. Day 6 - 28 May After breakfast and a 45 minutes of transport, we start the hike in the middle of the village of Nikiforovo, at the altitude of 1100 meters. Shortly after, we enter a deep pine and beech forest and a well-marked trail that is of historical significance. It was used mostly by the local partisans, fighting the occupying forces in World War 2 and we will come across a monument dedicated to them on our trail. When we exit the forest, we find ourselves surrounded by beautiful meadows that offer us a very nice view over Mavrovo Lake. The duration of the hike will be around 3-4 hours, we’ll have picnic lunch with a view and get picked up by our minivan and head to Skopje. On our way back we can stop at Canyon Matka where we can go kayaking, or alternatively have a stroll in the 15th century old bazaar in Skopje. We’ll have a farewell dinner and get to our hotel close to the airport. Day 7 – 29 May We will leave our hotel at 7 AM for a 09:20 AM departure. Arrival to Oslo, Gardermoen Airport is at 16:55 PM. Price per person: 6.620NOK The price is based on two people sharing a room. Single room can be booked for an additional fee of 1.500NOK Flights: May 23, Wednesday: Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL) - Skopje Airport (SKP) 12:00 - 20:00 Price: 1.081NOK, Note: one stop in Istanbul (OSL-IST flight: TK1752 and IST-SKP flight TK1005) May 29, Tuesday Skopje Airport (SKP) - Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL) 09:20 - 16:55 Price: 1.054NOK Note: one stop in Istanbul (SKP-IST flight: TK1004 and IST-OSL flight: TK1753) Total flight costs: 2.135NOK for early booking What’s not included: • Travel insurance; • Airfare; • Other meals and optional expenses. The total number of participants will not exceed 16 people. Please contact Marija ( https://www.meetup.com/members/242853460/) via Meetup to confirm your place before purchasing your flights. We don't like mass gatherings so the trip has a limited number of spaces, once full it is full. We are not a travel agency nor are we holiday reps. You will be expected to be a good team player, drink responsibly and look after yourself and the members of your group. Join us to hike and explore this beautiful region of the Balkans!

  • Hiking and spa trip on the Danube river in May

    Oslo-Gardermoen (OSL) Airport

    Are you ready for a new Balkan adventure? Imagine yourself cruising the Danube river during early May in 2018. We have been researching this trip in the spring and we're taking you to a very special place on the border between Serbia and Romania, to hike and explore nature and history, including prehistoric settlements from 9500 bc. Although we love to hike, we also like to enjoy ourselves and to relax, so one of our bases is the thermal spa town of Baile Herculane in Romania. If the healing properties of the thermal waters were good enough to relax Hercules, it should do the trick for the tired people from Oslo. You will also be able to see the hip capital of Serbia, Belgrade, one of the four European capitals that lies on the Danube river, which has its source in the mountains of Germany and ends in the Black Sea in Romania. So if you want to experience two different countries, see the first ever settlements in Europe, hike and relax in thermal spas, eat amazing food an drink the wines that Romans appreciated, this is the rights trip for you. Here are more details in our day by day itinerary. Day 1- Saturday 5th of May We arrive at Belgrade airport at night to meet our guide Mio who will take us to Holiday Inn hotel at the center of Belgrade. If you have never been to this part of the world, click the video below to see what you can expect. https://youtu.be/fJ2NlCRcIq0 Day 2- Sunday 6th of May After a late breakfast at 9am we are leaving Belgrade to head towards the town of Donji Milanovac. This transfer will take about two and a half hours but we will stop at Golubachka fortress (Dove fortress) and have a short walk around it. We will also stop for a lunch at a fish restaurant as we are now close to the Danube river and there are many good fish restaurants. Our next stop is Lepenski Vir (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lepenski_Vir), a neolithic site from 9500 bc., said to be the "first city in Europe" by archaeologists. We will arrive in Donji Milanovac in the afternoon and we will go on a mini cruise on the Danube to the village of Tekija. This is the most attractive part of the Danube in the area between Romania and Serbia, called the Iron Gate, a name given by the Ottomans because of the natural formations around the river. We will have dinner on the bank of the river and then check into our hotel. Day 3- Monday 7th of May Breakfast and then a short transfer to the starting point of our hike. Our hike today is a circular one, and the highest point is the peak Strbac, a viewpoint overlooking the Danube river and the Iron Gate. The total walk today is 14km with 750m ascent and 750 descent. We will have a packed lunch and a picnic during this hike. In the evening we will go to the Eco village "Captain Misin Breg" (http://www.kapetanmisinbreg.rs/)which is 6km away from Donji Milanovac. Day 4- Tuesday 8th of May After breakfast we are taking our luggage to the van as we are leaving our accommodation and continuing towards the spa town of Baile Herculane in Romania. We will be ready for a hike when we leave the accommodation. The transfer will take an hour and a half and we will be crossing the border over the dam on the river Danube. Today we are hiking to the peak of the mountain Domogled which is also a national park. This is a circular walk and we will be joined by a ranger from the national park who will tell us more about the indigenous plants and animals that live there. We will be doing 11km and 1020m of ascent and 1000m of descent. We will stay overnight in the hotel Aphrodite, which used to be an elite hotel during the communist era. The exterior of the hotel has stayed just like in communist times, but the interior has been modernised and the hotel is now offering spa services and has one of the best restaurants in the town of Baile Herculane. Day 5- Wednesday 9th of May After breakfast we will go hiking, this time to the peak of Valea Lui Stan in the national park Domogled, a circular walk with 1100 m of ascent and descent which can be extended to 20km. Today we will have lunch with a local family, to meet Romanians who live in this border area and taste their local cuisine. In the evening, we will go to the hotel Roman which has a Roman style spa and swimming pool. After relaxing in the spa we will have dinner and go back to our hotel. Day 6- Thursday 10th of May Today we are hiking in the national Park Domogled again, accompanied by a ranger. This national park is nested in the southern Carpathian mountains and in the basin of the river Cerna. It has many waterfalls and caves, but the section where we are hiking is ideal for spring because it is lower in altitude and very pleasant in May. We will have a circular walk, 16km long and with 750m of ascent and descent. We will have dinner in one of the many restaurants in the spa town. Day 7, Friday 11th of May After breakfast we will be leaving for Belgrade and we will stop for lunch along the way. We will arrive to Belgrade in the afternoon, as this is our longest transfer on this trip. We are staying in the same hotel, the Holiday Inn, which has recently been refurbished and is in the center of Belgrade. Our hotel is perfectly located for us to have a short stroll and get to know the city better before dinner. We will have dinner in the old bohemian part of Belgrade, called Skadarlija which has many authentic restaurants. Belgrade literally translates as “White City” and is often described as adventurous, outspoken and audacious. While it hurtles towards a brighter future, its chaotic past unfolds before your eyes: socialist blocks are squeezed between art nouveau masterpieces, and remnants of the Habsburg legacy contrast with Ottoman relics. “Kafana’s” coffee houses, sidewalk ice-creameries and smoky dens all find rightful place along Knez Mihailova, a lively pedestrian boulevard flanked by historical buildings all the way to the ancient Kalemegdan Citadel, crown of the city. Day 8, Saturday 12th of May After breakfast we will have a guided tour of Belgrade and visit the fortress Kalemegdan, a fortress with amazing views on the rivers Sava and Danube. Belgrade is one of the four European capitals that lies on the river Danube, and its citizens enjoy spending their free time around the river. We will have lunch in the restaurant Question Mark, which is almost 200 years old. After the lunch, you will have free time to explore Belgrade at your own pace and meet at Holiday inn before 5.30pm to catch our flight at 09:00pm. This week long trip costs 8.420 NOK. The price includes: Shared accommodation in a twin room including breakfast. A single room is available for additional 1400 NOK. Airport transfer and all transfers from and to the cities/sites and spas that we will be visiting. Packed lunches during hikes. All guided hikes with an English speaking Serbian and Romanian mountain guide/ranger A boat cruise on the Danube river A deposit of 2500 NOK is required to confirm your place. Not included: The return flights Oslo - Belgrade Travel insurance covering all described activities Lunches and dinners in restaurants. Prices for a lunch/dinner would vary from 60 NOK to 170 NOK Spa entrances Museum entrances Lunch with locals which costs 110 NOK per person. Single rooms can be booked for an additional 1400 NOK Recommended flights https://www.norwegian.no Saturday, 5th of May Oslo-Gardermoen - Belgrade 17:35 - 20:20 (DY1976) Price: kr 691 Saturday, 12th of May Belgrade - Oslo Gardermoen 21:00 – 23:45 (DY1977 ) Price: kr 712 The total number of participants will not exceed 18 people. Please contact Marija (https://www.meetup.com/Hiking-the-Balkans/members/6934588/)via Meetup to confirm your place before purchasing your flights. We don't like mass gatherings so the trip has a limited number of spaces, once full it is full. We are not a travel agency nor are we holiday reps. You will be expected to be a good team player, drink responsibly and look after yourself and the members of your group. Join us to explore this beautiful region of the Balkans and visit two countries, Serbia and Romania!

  • Visit two Balkan capitals, go skiing and enjoy a thermal spa

    Sandefjord Torp Airport

    Would you like to discover new destinations this winter? Treat yourself to a week long trip in February, generally known to be one of the best months for skiing in he Balkans. Join us for a trip to see the capital cities of Macedonia and Bulgaria– Skopje and Sofia, and go skiing in Borovetz where you can enjoy an outdoor thermal spa while watching the snow fall. If you are a beginner who just wants to try out if you like skiing and don't want to spend a fortune, read on. Also if you are a pro or an intermediate skier who would like a few days of snow and sun in the end of February this is a trip for you because Borovetz has it all and has hosted European championships in skiing. *All photos here are taken on one of our previous trips* This holiday is for those who want to find out something about less explored parts of Europe, enjoy skiing and want to pamper themselves in the middle of winter. Researching the slopes of Bulgarian mountains and national parks, in the most western part of Bulgaria, within the National park Rila, we discovered what is most certainly a jewel and a very under-exploited skiing resort. Having visited all main ski centers in Bulgaria and many more in the Balkans, Borovetz is the place we'd like to share with friends again and again. We’ll start our journey from Sandefjord Torp airport on the 22nd of February. Next day will have a full day to discover Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia. We’ll have a guided walking tour around the city center, and enough time to explore the authentic old bazar, a place that’s buzzing since the 15th century. On the 24th we’re departing towards Borovetz, Bulgaria to a 4 star hotel that has indoor pool, Jacuzzi and saunas where we'd spend the long winter afternoons, right before hitting the Bulgarian "mehana" (local word for bar). During the day, we'll be renting equipment to go skiing on our own or with an instructor - more info about the terrains here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borovets). Ski pass and rental of skis, boots and poles start at 40 euro per day. Amazingly this price includes a group ski instructor. The trails within Borovetz are equipped with snow cannons and few of them also offer night skiing. February is the month when Borovets has the highest average of snowfall, data provided by the Ski Club of Great Britain can be found here. (http://www.igluski.com/ski-resorts/bulgaria/borovets/snow-history) We will have a van and a driver for optional day-trips: within the range of 40 km from Borovetz, there are cute little village hotels that are built on hot mineral springs pampering both body and soul. One of them, Sapareva Banya has the ONLY geyser in the Balkans. The temperature of the water is 103 Celsius. One of the highlights of this trip is a half-day optional visit to Rila Monastery. Founded in the 10th century, the Rila Monastery is regarded as one of Bulgaria's most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments and is a key attraction for both Bulgaria and Southern Europe. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Europe) Here's a video from some London adventurers visiting Borovets recently: https://youtu.be/kSDBcq73CQM You could be one of those lucky people, getting a boost of sunshine in February and enjoying the slopes. We are a very friendly group of skiers of all levels and we normally get together in the evenings and have a lot of fun. We would most definitely watch and discuss a movie about Bulgaria on one of the evenings, play a game of consequences and taste the local wines. And if you think that you will have energy to do more after days of skiing you can continue into the night and choose one of the many bars, pubs or restaurants where you can hear authentic Bulgarian music. Don't forget that one can always accept the challenge of a pursuit for the ultimate Bulgarian dish, ultimate massage, ultimate local Rakia (walnut, honey and plum flavour are my personal favourites)... We’ll leave Borovetz on the 26th in the evening, and after less than an hour we’ll reach Sofia, where we’ll stay overnight to explore the city the next day with a guided tour of the centre. We will visit the Alexandar Nevski cathedral, one of the most recognizable Sofia landmarks. There are archaeological findings that indicate the city of Sofia was continuously inhabited with human settlements since 5000 years BC, now it’s a home of 1.5 million people. On the 1st of March, we’ll depart back to Skopje for our afternoon flight and we'll have a farewell lunch in a traditional restaurant on the way. Recommended flights: Return flights with Wizzair (https://wizzair.com) ​ 22 February Oslo Sandefjord Torp - Skopje 21:35 – 0:45 (W6 7706) Price: Kr 199 01 March Skopje - Oslo Sandefjord Torp 17:40 – 21:05 (W6 7705) Price: Kr 239 We encourage you to book your flights while the total is ​Kr 438 as the prices do tend to go up. Cost of the trip is kr 9550 which include: Accommodation: 4 nights in 3 star hotels in Skopje and Sofia, 3 nights in a 4 star hotel in Borovets, two people sharing in twin rooms (gender based). Single room supplement is available on request and the supplement is kr 1770. Minivan/car and driver from and to airports for recommended flights. All group transfers according the program (excluding optional activities). All breakfasts are included. Three dinners in Borovets hotel are included. Transfer and entrance to the spa centre in Sapareva Banya. Not included in the price: Flights and Travel insurance are not included in the price of the trip. Make sure your insurance covers the type of activities you'd like to do during this holiday. All lunches and few dinners are not included in the price. Ski passes and ski instruction is not included in the price. The trip to Rila is not included in the price. The price of excursions vary between kr 330 and kr 440 based on the number of participants. If you want to join this trip please email Marija (https://www.meetup.com/Hiking-the-Balkans-Oslo/members/242853460/). To secure a place on this trip you need to pay kr 2750 when you RSVP and the remaining sum is due by 15th of January. We are a friendly international group that likes exploring new destinations. You will be expected to look after yourself and your fellow travellers, to drink responsibly and be respectful towards the locals as well as your fellow travellers. Join us if you would like to have an amazing experience of the Balkans!