At Natures Images, we always select the right time and the right locations, working with the best wildlife photographers and guides in the business.
Although not technically a Mediterranean country, Bulgaria is recognised as a concentrated hotspot for much of the insect, floral and bird life in southern Europe as well as enjoying many of its own specialities given its diversity of habitats in a relatively small area. This makes it an ideal destination for this macro and bird focussed trip with morning trips to remote meadows in search of Apollo’s alongside an array of Coppers, Blues, Skippers and Fritillaries on the butterfly front interspersed with days searching for orchids and lilies, beetles and crickets, checking our overnight moth traps and scouring streams for terrapins, tortoise and toads. The birdlife is just as impressive with focus being on the stunning European Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, Lilac-breasted Roller, Crested Lark and Black headed Bunting. If you love the close-up photographic world and would like to combine it with bird photography which is special to the area, then this will be your ideal trip in a series of tranquil settings that haven’t changed for decades and are alive with opportunities as a result.
Itinerary Open +Close -
Day 1: Our flight recommendations will get us into Sofia for early afternoon local time where we will be met by our Bulgarian guide. We will then travel to our first base, the small town of Bratsigovo, which is located between the Rhodope Mountains and a dry hilly area crossed with several rivers. This area offers many different habitats and we can expect a good variety of insects and reptiles as well as different bird photography opportunities during our time here and we will look to get straight into a first late afternoon/evening of photography if time allows. Over dinner we can discuss what to expect over the coming days as well.
Days 2 – 3: We plan to spend 2 full days working in the Bratsigovo area as it offers us excellent bird photography opportunities using a combination of mobile hides and at a nearby drinking pond with Bee-eaters, European Rollers various Buntings, and Wheatears among the many options. The meadows here offer potential for many different species of fritillary, blues and coppers amongst the butterfly and insect opportunities and so it will be a full couple of days with lots of variety
Day 4: After a final early morning’s photography we will head to the village of Borovo set in the Rhodope Mountains and specifically our hotel for the night, which is very close to our favourite meadow where we expect to find the Apollo butterfly. We will spend a late afternoon/evening session with these beautiful butterflies and establish their precise roosting spots ahead of an early morning session the next day. This area also a good place to find interesting wildlife, which is active during the night like moths, frogs and beetles.
Day 5: After returning to the Apollo butterflies for sunrise we will travel eastwards to the village of Trigrad in the Western Rhodope Mountains where we will base ourselves for two nights.
Day 6: We will have a full day in and around the Trigrad Gorge, an area that has superb meadows for butterflies, orchids and other plants as well as a stunning location generally. In the past we have photographed Wallcreeper here, as it is the perfect environment for them to breed.
Day 7: Following a further morning photographing in the Trigrad area, we will start travelling to the next destination, stopping on the way we will stop and spend an afternoon in some beautiful mountain meadows full with flowers and butterflies. In the evening we will arrive in the village of Rozhen near Melnik in the sub-hills of the Pirin Mountains with its cooler climate and our base for the next two nights.
Day 8: We will have a full day in the area around Melnik which will allow us to not only concentrate on some of the butterfly specialities of the region but also cast our macro net wider for Egyptian scarab beetles, crickets and dragonflies, terrapins, tortoises and lizards. The beautiful natural sandstone pyramids of the area make for a stunning landscape setting and additional photographic opportunities.
Day 9: After the option of a very early morning session in the meadows near the famous Rila Monastery en route, we will sadly travel to Sofia airport to catch our return flights back home.
What our customers say
“It far exceeded my expectations. Ellie is a wonderful leader and worked so hard for us. I would happily do another trip with her and a bonus would be if she was teamed with Miro.”
“Ellie and Miro were an absolute joy. They took us to some wonderful locations and some additional ones that were not on the itinerary. The help was not just down to the photography, they also helped with luggage etc. Their knowledge was incredible and they worked so hard to see that we saw everything. When the weather turned nasty they made changes to the itinerary to try to give us the best opportunities. I would rate them at 100%”
“Ellie couldn’t have been more helpful. She was always prepared to give us one to one time and I personally am thrilled with the improvement that this has made to my photography.”
“Both Ellie and Miro are a delight to travel with, down to their organisational skills, expert knowledge and considerate treatment of clients such as supplying picnic treats (especially chocolate!). Their good humour helped to keep us going when we were squelching in our boots”
“With the skills of Miro and Ellie juggling the itinerary, making the most of windows in the weather and being great company, it was one of the best Natures Images trips we have been on.”
“Ellie and Miro provided ample guidance as to what we should be doing in order to achieve something approaching the standard they themselves maintain. A very significant amount of work by both our trip leaders was taken up in getting settings right for each shot.”
“I couldn’t be more impressed with the effort both Ellie and Miro put in to make sure we got what we came for and this was done with the very best by way of attitude and humour from both of them.”
“Ellie and Miro were excellent as usual. They work well together as a team.”
“I enjoyed all the locations and subjects, especially the Butterflies”
“The guides really knew where to find things and I liked the fact that the itinerary was flexible to allow us to do so”
“The trip was extremely well run, with plenty of variety and good use of time. Despite all the early starts (essential for good photography) there was plenty of time to relax.”
“Far exceeded! Bulgaria is a beautiful country with fantastic scenery and the wildflower meadows were a pure delight. The food was also excellent! I was impressed by the amount of insect life and the variety of subjects we got.”
“Without exception. Ellie continues to be lovely and we’d be happy to join any trip she leads. Miro was a definite bonus and added reptiles to the photographic mix which suited me.”