Spring Botany (and Birds)

Day 7: Strandja / Veleka

After breakfast we set off to explore the mouth and the lower stretches of the river Veleka and the Silistar protected area. This will take us into the coastal section of Strandja Nature Park, close to the Turkish border.
Here the vegetation is predominantly psammophytic with species like Otauthus maritimus, Pancratium maritimum, Calystegia soldanella, Euphorbia paralias etc.
The coastal vegetation is characterised by Cistus incanus, Cistus salvifolius, Serapias vomeraceae, Orchis papilionaceae, Scorpiurus subvillosus, Hymenocarpus circinalis, Iris sintenisii, Geranium asphodeloides, Geranium sanguineum, Silene copmacta etc.
The oak woods - the dominant habitats encountered in the Strandja complex - comprise primarily Quercus polycarpa, Q. frainetto and Q. hartwissiana. Herbaceous species here include Cyclamen coum, Primula sibthorpii, Fritillaria pontica, Celsia bugilifolia, Heptaptera triquetra, Trachystemon orientale, Salvia forskaohei etc.
Return to our guesthouse for dinner.

Day 8: Strandja : Silkosia Reserve

Further exploration of the Strandja range, now in the botanical reserve of Silkosia. Here, forests of Eastern Beech (Fagus orientalis) hold a shrub floor of Rhododendron ponticum, Daphne pontica, Ilex colchica, Laurocerasus officinalis etc.
The oak groves are the home of: Hypericum calycinum, Pyracantha coccinea, Stachys thracica, Epimedium pubigerum.
Return for dinner and last night at our guesthouse.

Day 9: Strandja - Kamchiya - Varna

Drive back north, visiting an exceptional village-museum for a cultural diversion.
After lunch we will explore the Kamchiya Biosphere Reserve, with its remarkable alluvial or Longoz forest, one of the most northerly of its kind in Europe. The reserve complex, totaling about 1500 ha., includes dunes, beach, estuary and small freshwater pools. Dominant trees in the alluvial forests are Ulmus minor, Quercus pedunculiflora, Acer campestre, A.tatataricum and Ulmus leavis. In the dune area are found species as Silene euxina, Alyssum borsaeanum, Crambe maritima, Cardamine tuberosa (near the mouth of Kamchiya river) and Lepidotrichum uechtritzianum. The rare Nuphar lutea and Nymphaea alba grow on the marshy parts of the reserve.
In the evening we return to Kavarna and make a tour of the town before dinner. Final night at our hotel.

Day 10: Varna Airport

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your return flight.