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Winter Birding Tour in Bulgaria - 8 Days

Winter Birding Tour in Bulgaria

Late Year Birdwatching Tour in Bulgaria

An 8-day Winter Birding Bulgaria Tour which is leisurely paced and available as a set departure. The main objective of this special winter excursion to the western coast of the Black Sea is to marvel at the thousands of Red-breasted Geese that nest here for the winter. There are also a lot of White-fronted Geese and a few of the very rare Lesser White-fronted variety, as well as numerous waterfowl such as Shelducks, White-headed Ducks, Ferruginous Ducks and Smews.

This trip also gives you the opportunity to observe Pygmy Cormorants, Bitterns and raptors like the White-tailed and Spotted Eagle, Merlin and Rough-legged and Long-legged Buzzards, not to mention the elusive Pallas's, or Greater Black-headed Gulls. If the weather is good, we will also visit the Srebarna Biosphere reserve on the Danube River to see Dalmatian Pelicans in their breeding plumage. There is also a good chance of spotting an Eagle Owl.

Woodpeckers such as the White-backed, Grey-headed, Black, Syrian and Middle-spotted varieties are a common sight on this Bulgaria trip. Other birds you are likely to encounter include Sombre Tits, Crested and Calandra Larks, Great Grey Shrikes and, if you're lucky, Lapland and Pine Buntings.

For this tour, the main places to visit along the Romanian Black Sea coast are the brackish lagoons at Sinoe, Zmeica, Histria and Vadu, which are in the southern part of the Danube Delta. We also explore Durankulak and Shabla lakes in the north, Vaya and Atanasovsko in the south and the steppes of Cape Kaliakra and the riparian forests of Kamchia in the Bulgarian wetlands.

Aside from birds, mammals are also active in this area, including three varieties of dolphin, as well as Jackals, Raccoon Dogs, Marbled Polecats and Steppe Polecats.

Winter Birding Bulgaria Tour highlights include:

  • A trip to the winter nesting site of thousands of Red-breasted Geese
  • Visits to Lakes Durankulak and Shabla
  • Travelling south to the ancient city of Sozopol
  • Visit the great wetlands around Lakes Vaya and Atanasovsko, the steppes of Cape Kaliakra and the riparian forests of Kamchia
  • A possibility to spot the very rare Pallas's Gull and Lesser White-fronted Goose

Please note: this set-departure tour is also available as a private or custom tour on request. Please submit an enquiry with your preferred dates and group size.

Do you like the look of this tour but would prefer to visit in a different season? Have a look at our Spring Birdwatching BulgariaTour

Alternative Tour Name: Winter Birdwatching in Bulgaria
Day 1
Day 1 - Arrival

After your flight to Varna (or, if you choose, to Burgas), you'll be met by a knowledgeable local guide. Then, you'll take a minibus for 40 miles to our very comfortable lakeside accommodations at Branta Birding Lodge, near Durankulak, where we'll enjoy its beautiful view and exclusive exhibition, which includes detailed photos and maps.

Day 2
Days 2 to 4 - Lakes Durankulak and Shabla

Lakes Durankulak and Shabla, two brackish wetlands surrounded by arable lands, present impressive gatherings of overwintering waterfowl. The spectacle of flying and feeding Red-breasted Geese is the main attraction, with Black-throated Diver, Black-necked Grebe, Pygmy Cormorant, Great Egret, Bittern, White-fronted, Greylag and possible Lesser White-fronted Geese, Ferruginous Duck and Smew also present. Three species of swans (including Bewick if you are lucky) should be seen. Spotted Eagle and Saker Falcon are among the top raptors looked for, Rough-legged and Long-legged Buzzards and Merlin also on the cards.

If the weather is good, a day trip to Romania is a great way to see Dalmatian Pelicans, Red-breasted Geese, Long-legged and Rough-legged Buzzards, and White-tailed Eagles, among other birds.

We might see the very rare Pallas's Gull in addition to the species we've already seen. Branta Tours is now giving people in Bulgaria and Romania a great chance to see this impressive and rare Asian species right in their own backyards.

Day 3
Days 5 to 7 - Travelling South and to the Ancient City of Sozopol

On our way south to our next base, we stop in the alluvial forests of Kamchia. Goshawk, Grey-headed, Black, and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers are the most interesting birds there, but Howfinch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Nuthatch, and Long-tailed Tit should also be seen.

We also go to places where Sombre Tit lives, and as we get closer to Pomorie, we see a variety of waders in the salinas (salt pans).

From this base, you can visit the great wetlands of Lakes Vaya and Atanasovsko, where you can see Dalmatian and White pelicans, Pygmy Cormorants, White-headed Ducks (possibly 1,000 or more), Ruddy Shelducks, Gadwalls, and other wildfowl. We hope to see raptors like the Pallid Harrier, Spotted Eagle, and White-tailed Eagle. We go to Strandja Natural Park, which is farther south, to look for the White-backed Woodpecker.

We will also go to the ancient city of Sozopol as a cultural diversion.

Day 4
Day 8 - Departure

After breakfast, we go straight to the airport for your flight home.

Wildlife species expected to see:

Red-breasted Geese, White-fronts,  Lesser White-fronted Geese, grebes, ducks, waterfowl Shelduck, White-headed Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Smew Pygmy Cormorant, the Bittern, White-tailed, Spotted Eagles, the Merlin, the Rough-legged  Long-legged Buzzards, Dalmatian Pelicans,   Eagle Owl,  Greater Black-headed Gull, Woodpeckers,  White-backed, Grey-headed, Black, Syrian, Middle-spotted, Sombre Tit, the Crested  Calandra Larks, the Great Grey Shrike, the Lapland Pine Buntings, brackish lagoons Sinoe, Zmeica, Histria, Vadu,

Mammals: three kinds of dolphins, Jackal, Raccoon Dog, Marbled Polecat, and Steppe Polecat.

What is included?

  • Accommodation
  • B & B in twin rooms;
  • Seven nights dinner;
  • Packed lunches days 2 and 6
  • Drinks: mineral water, fizzy drinks including Coca Cola, tea/coffee
  • Transportation by 7 or 14-seater minibus (4WD);
  • All excursions plus transfers in Bulgaria;
  • Guidance;

What is not included?

  • Lunch on days 1 & 8;
  • Alcoholic drinks and tips;
  • Transport to and from Bulgaria;
  • Single Room Supplement (Euro 65)
  • Anything that is not mentioned in the itinerary and "what is included"

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Why should I book with Branta Tours?

1. Small groups and 4WD vehicles make it easy to explore even the most remote and hidden places. 2. Location-related content: visits to very unique places, very comfortable hotels, bird lodges and guesthouses in good spots, good food, and good company. 3. Choice of birding spots: Our tours include stops at the best places to see birds, where we are always on the lookout for unexpected things. So, we see as many species as possible, and we often see more than even the most ambitious birders had hoped for. 4. Flexibility: We can change the dates in our program to work at any time you want. 5.Quality of observations: Our goal is to have high-quality birdwatching in terms of how long we watch, how close we get to the birds, and how we think about the direction of the light. We are happy to see the same species again and again if they show their behavior, sex, age, or plumage in different ways. 6. A network of people who work together: We work with local rangers and experts who keep us up-to-date on what's going on with birds. This saves us a lot of time when we're looking for rare birds. 7. Exchange of information: When we meet other birdwatchers on our trips, we share information with them. 8. Pavel Simeonov is a professional guide and ornithologist. He leads most of the tours himself. As your full-time escort and driver, he keeps a sharp eye out to make sure nothing gets missed. This adds to the impressive total on the final checklist. Also, we are happy to say that Birdwatch readers chose Branta Tours as the top-ranked tour company that gives its customers high-quality service and vacations (cf. Birdwatch Magazine, February 2010, Issue 212).

Who is your leader?

Most of the tours are led by Pavel Simeonov himself. He is one of the best naturalists and bird experts in Bulgaria. Swarovski recommends him as a bird guide. Pavel is involved in national and international conservation programs, so he can give a lot of background information about wildlife issues and even cultural ones. As a bird guide and trip leader, he has taken many groups on trips. He is an international expert on projects to protect the environment and biodiversity. He also started the non-profit group Le Balkan-Bulgaria. He is involved in different studies of the "Via Pontica" flyway, which runs along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. He is also involved in several monitoring and management projects for globally threatened species, mid-winter counts of water birds and raptors, and many other international programs for the development of ecotourism.

Promotional statement

We offer a 5 percent discount to anyone who books a place (and sends deposit) by 30 November.

How is the accommodation?

We offer a very comfortable accommodation for individuals or small groups at : Branta Birding Lodge (4 nights), our exclusive fledgling base, located just close to the Lake Durankulak - the world's most important wetland habitat for the globally threatened Red-breasted Goose and many other notable ducks, waders and raptors. Breakfast and dinner will be taken at our base that offers Bulgarian and pan-European cuisine, and packed lunch as a picnic or either at local restaurants. *** Byalata Kashta Hotel (2 nights) near Burgas, which is a highly attractive and recently restored, private establishment with 15 en suite twin-bedded rooms complete with TV. You will have breakfast and dinner at a folk-tavern offering traditional Bulgarian cuisine.

How is the transport?

We provide 4WD vehicles that will allow penetrating into the best-concealed and isolated spots.

Join Our Fixed Tour Starting Date

Tour Dates Tour Availability From Price Spaces Left
04/01/2023 - 11/01/2023 available EUR 789
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11/01/2023 - 18/01/2023 available EUR 789
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08/02/2023 - 15/02/2023 available EUR 789
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16/02/2023 - 23/02/2023 available EUR 789
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You can send your enquiry via the form below.

8 Days

Price & Availability

EUR789 / per person
Based on twin/double room
Single Supplement EUR 75
This tour is operated by: Branta Tours

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Tour Facts

  • Bulgaria
  • Set Departure
  • Multi-Day Tour
  • Birds
  • 4 to 10 people
  • 8 Days
  • January and February
  • Leisurely
  • No
  • English
  • Varna Airport
  • Varna Airport