Crocus Mini Tour


  • Accommodation & Meals

  • Tuition & Transportation

  • All site entry fees


  • Airfare

  • Visas

  • Insurance

This intensive mini-tour is aimed at seeing and photographing as much as possible in only a few days. You will not only get the unique opportunity to photograph the Rila Lakes when the crocuses* are in bloom, but also an opportunity to visit some of the most important highlights in the area. Every sunrise and sunset is an extraordinary photoshoot, so this isn’t a tour for the faint-hearted: Early starts, late-ish nights, mountain hikes and a considerable amount of travel in a short time are points to consider before booking. However, the food is wonderful, the beds comfortable, the company great fun and the whole experience wildly exciting…you won’t want it to end!

Departure/return location | Sofia, Bulgaria

Departure date | 17 May

Return date | 20 May

Price | 700 euro

what to bring

photography gear

The following gear is essential:

  • Good solid camera bag (preferably as backpack)
  • Digital SLR camera
  • Extra memory cards
  • Camera battery charger and international adaptor (all sockets are European 2-pin 120volts)
  • Laptop with photoshop or lightroom—we will teach these programs if you haven’t used them before
  • Lens cleaning kit including several lens cloths
  • Small light weight absorbent towel for drying camera in wet conditions
  • Wide angle lens preferably with zoom and/or additional lenses
  • USB flashdrive for passing in images to instructors


  • Variety of additional lens (35-70, 70-200, 18-24/50’s)
  • Flash, preferably off camera (Spare AA batteries if needed)
  • Back-up storage device/solid state hard drive for image back-up
  • Sturdy Tripod
  • Cord release or remote control release
  • Rain cover for camera


Temperatures are cool lows of 5-7℃ (40-45℉) and highs of 12-16℃ (55-60℉). Please bring appropriate clothing.

  • Good pair of comfortable walking shoes with ankle support water resistant if possible (already broken in)
  • Good quality warm socks for walking shoes
  • Sufficient undergarments for the length of your tour
  • Warm underlayer tops and bottoms–quick dry, non-cotton, breathable
  • Breathable, light-weight, quick-dry  long-sleeve shirts
  • Breathable, light-weight, warm long trousers (eg. fleece or lined)
  • Fleece or light-weight jacket/hoodie, perhaps down vest
  • Windproof /waterproof top and bottom layer for warmth and rain
  • Gloves and warm hat (fingerless gloves or thin synthetic gloves are good for handling the camera)
  • Sun glasses, sun hat, sunscreen


  • Spare camera
  • ND and NDGrad filters and Polarizing Filters
  • Sensor cleaning device/kit
  • Photo vest (with pockets)
  • Swim suit
  • Casual clothes for around hotel
  • Small basic first aid kit
  • Additional snacks or treats
  • Pens, pencils notepad

where you’ll stay

One of the most delightful treats of travelling through Bulgaria is the charming guesthouses that are quite readily found throughout the country. In many cases these guesthouses are historical buildings that have been refurbished and updated to provide an old world feel with all the modern conveniences of ensuites and high speed wifi. Guesthouses such as these are our preference and, where possible, this is where you will be staying. As a result, each new location is a unique experience… be it stunning carved wood ceilings or characterful low doorways and twisty hallways or maybe old galvanized pots repurposed as bathroom sinks. Some are obviously more charming than others and there are, of course, the occasional drawbacks, such as the need to climb a staircase or two or duck your head to avoid cracking your skull on ancient beams…however, all are very clean and comfortable and welcoming. If we are staying in Sofia, then we stay in 3 star hotels that are central to the vibrant Vitosha Boulevard, which is home to many fabulous restaurants and also within easy walking distance of Sofia’s main attractions such as Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Although not as old-world charming as the guesthouses, they offer all necessary amenities from A/C, to mini bar, to wifi, to television… everything you would expect from a 3 star hotel. And of course they are clean and well-maintained and managed by incredibly friendly hosts.

fresh, wholesome cuisine

You will eat so well in Bulgaria. In fact, probably one of the most repeated comments we hear from the clients on our tours is their surprise at the sheer flavourful experience of traveling through Bulgaria. The food here is fresh. It is wholesome and tasty and quite simply wonderful. Sadly, a tomato will never taste as flavourful again, or a pepper as sweet, or a peach as juicy when you return home. Bulgaria is world-famous for its yogurt. Not only are they credited as the inventors of yogurt, Bulgaria is also said to be the producer of the healthiest (and tastiest) yogurt in the world thanks to a particular species of bacteria, which is native only to Bulgaria. The yogurt is often served with fresh honey, another heavily exported product of Bulgaria due to the diverse plant life and temperate climate, which is ideal for beekeeping.

There is a strong movement of “slow food” (as opposed to fast food) in Bulgaria, dedicated to preserving traditional and regional cuisine and encouraging the farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. Subsistence farming is standard and trade among farmers of organically grown “real food” is common. Thus Bulgarian cuisine tends to be seasonal and the ingredients fresh and plentiful. In addition to being prepared from fresh, naturally-grown produce, the cooking relies on the usage of many diverse spices, herbs and aromatic vegetables like garlic and onions during its preparation, making Bulgarian cuisine one of the tastiest in all of Europe. In fact, Bulgarian herbs are considered to be of the highest quality in Europe, which has been attributed to high quality soil fed by mineral rich rivers and streams. Bulgarian peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, eggplant, zucchini and potatoes are all known to be some of the best produce in Europe, thus it is little wonder that the food is so flavourful. This fresh produce suffuses their cuisine. It is not uncommon for menus to have at least two pages of only salads. Then there are the hearty pots of sizzling meats, the famous white-brine cheese in every dish—even the French fries–and the fresh baked flatbreads, a staple at every meal. There is something for every kind of foodie. And then there is the delicious, softly-flavoured home-grown wines and perhaps a shot or two of the famous home-brewed Brandy, known as Rakia. In Bulgaria you eat well, you can eat healthily, and you will eat a lot.