Birding & Wildlife Tours

Bears, birds and bees tour Romania and NE Bulgaria

6 – 15 May 2019


10 days/9 overnights

Bear in Romania

6 – 8 May
Varna to coastal Dobroudzha
We will start our tour by exploring the northern Bulgarian coast north of Varna including the two wetlands of Shabla and Durankulak that lie close to the border with Romania. There we can expect all species of European herons and Pygmy Cormorant. Pallid Harrier, Red-throated Pipit and Citrine Wagtail are also possible. We will enjoy breeding birds such as Ferruginous Duck, Syrian Woodpecker and Paddyfield Warbler. Our presence during NE Bulgaria’s peak spring passage period, should produce migrating White Pelicans, Little, White-winged, Black and Whiskered Terns, Bee-eaters and Turtle Doves along with various migrating and summering species of waders and gulls. European Ground Squirrels (also known as Sousliks) should provide some entertainment in the short grassy areas.

The colourful wild steppe, spreading up to the cliff edge of Cape Kaliakra, provides exciting birdwatching opportunities. This long, narrow headland is a magnet for migrants and we should encounter endless flocks of gulls, terns and herons. The shrubs around produce and abundance of passage migrants and we should locate scarce species such as Red-breasted Flycatcher and Thrush Nightingale. The Isabelline Wheatear finds refuge in the steppe vegetation along with Montagu’s Harrier, Stone Curlew, Tawny Pipit, Greater Short-toed and Calandra Larks and Black-headed Bunting, while the coastal cliffs are animated by the European Shag (ssp. desmarestii), Eurasian Eagle Owl, Long-legged Buzzard and Alpine Swift. Around the cliffs, we may encounter the rare Eleonora`s Falcon along with Pied Wheatears breeding on the cliffs and flocks of Yelkouan Shearwater and Black-throated Divers offshore.

We will spend two nights in the seaside hotel at Kavarna enjoying sea views from the balcony, so pre-breakfast sea-watching opportunities for all. Late afternoon on 8th May we cross the border into Romania and stay for three nights in the beautiful Sinoe Hotel.

9 – 10 May
Sinoe and Dobrogea Region

In these two days, we will explore the Dobrogea region, the easternmost part of Romania – a mix of dry, gently rolling steppes and farmland, dotted with woodland hills, a wealth of lakes, marshes and lush meadows along the Black Sea coast, picturesque villages and medieval castles. We will look for various water birds, including magnificent Pallas’s and Caspian Gulls in the coastal lagoons and marshlands. Purple and Squacco Herons, Collared Pratincole, Kentish Plover, a variety of warblers inhabiting the reedbeds, like the Paddyfield and Great Reed Warblers. 

There will be a good chance to encounter the elusive European Golden Jackal in this area, plus a lot of butterflies and dragonflies. While in the area, we will stop at the Greek and Roman ruins of Histria Fortress, where apart from the cultural aspects we will have an opportunity to explore the wildlife of the wetlands surrounding the ruins.

11 May
Travel Day – Dobrogea to Transylvania

There will be an optional pre-breakfast birdwatching opportunity in and around Sinoe before we set off on the long drive to Transylvania, about 7 to 8 hours.  We will stops en route for general birding as we pass through the mountain range in Sinaia-Brashov area (north of Bucharest) and wetland areas to the north of Brashov.

Three or four nights in Hargita area (depending on the flight time in the last day)

12-14 May
Transylvania – Bears and birds

A visit to Romania would not be complete without enjoying an unbroken vista of the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, the country’s highest mountains. This is a long chain of mountains in the southern, eastern and northern parts of Romania, with vast stretches of spruce, beech and oak forests, holding with large populations of Brown Bear and Wolf and a rich diversity of birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and plants.

In the following two days we will be exploring the beech and conifer forests zones of the Hargita Mountains – part of the Carpathian mountain chain. White-throated Dippers and Grey Wagtails will be frequenting mountain streams and there should be a good variety of forest birds, including Hazel Grouse, Black and Grey-headed and White-backed Woodpeckers, Willow and Crested Tits and Bullfinch. The most sought-after mammal in the region will be the bears so each evening we will station ourselves in the bear hide and await the arrival of Brown Bears that should be foraging directly in front of us – the stars of the tour. 

Depending on our flight times, we will stay overnight in a hotel close to Bucharest Airport.

15 May
Fly home from Bucharest


£1,280 per person for 10-day (9 overnights) tour

The tour price includes:

  • The ground transport by a 15-16 seated bus, including the transfers from and to the airport
  • Accommodation in small middle-standard hotels (hotel Venera in Kavarna and hotel Grindul Lipulor in Sinoe) in *twin bedded en-suite rooms
  • All the breakfasts and dinners (half-board)
  • Minko (English speaking guide) for the whole trip
  • Accommodation and meals of the driver of the bus and English-speaking bird guide
  • Use of the Bear hide for two evenings
  • Entrance fees in the protected sites.

* Single room supplement: £140

Your Guide

Steve Piotrowski is an accomplished tour guide and has birded The Balkans on many occasions.  He is familiar with the best wildlife sites and will be able to locate key species that inhabit the mountains and marshes.

Click images to enlarge