With its 68 dragonfly species on record, Bulgaria boasts a remarkable Odonata diversity, given that the registered dragonfly species in Europe are 130. Here we come across dragonflies from the sea level to the high mountain zones.
We will start our tour from the southwestern part of Bulgaria, where we will be staying for three nights in the picturesque town of Melnik. We will explore the Struma valley and some small wetlands in the foot of the mountains around, looking for Small Emerald Damslfly (Lestes virens), Goblet-marked Damselfly (Erythromma lindenii), Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridulum), Green Clubtail (Ophiogomphus cecilia), Balkan Goldenring (Cordulegaster heros), Sombre Goldenring (Cordulegaster bidentata), Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), Banded Darter (Sympetrum pedemontanum), Spotted Darter (Sympetrum depressiusculum).
On the next day we will cross the border with Greece and go further down the Struma valley to Lake Kerkini, where we will look for Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridulum), River Clubtail (Gomphus flavipes), Bladetail (Lindenia tetraphylla), Yellow-spotted Emerald (Somatochlora flavomaculata), White-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum albistylum) and Black Pennant (Selysiothemis nigra).
Then we will drive eastwards via the spectacular Trigrad Gorge in the Western Rhodopes, which is in fact the Bulgarian Wallcreeper stronghold, and the Smolyan lakes where we could find Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum), Northern Damselfly (Coenagrion hastulatum), Balkan Emerald (Somatochlora meridionalis) and Yellow-winged Darter (Sympetrum flaveolum).
Our base for the next two days will be in the Eastern Rhodopes.There we will expect to find Turkish Goldenring (Cordulegaster picta), Bulgarian Emerald (Somatochlora borisii), Eastern Specter (Caliaeschna microstigma), Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum), Scarce Emerald Damselfly (Lestes dryas) and Odalisque (Epallage fatime).
On the seventh day of the tour we will reach the Black Sea coast, where the first area to explore will be the wetlands around the city of Bourgas. En-route we will stop at riverine habitats in search of River Clubtail (Gomphus flavipes) and Odalisque (Epallage fatime).
In the wetlands around Bourgas we will look for Goblet-marked Damselfly (Erythromma lindeni), Southern Darter (Sympetrum meridionale), Eastern Willow Spreadwing (Lestes parvidens), Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Dark Spreadwing (Lestes macrostigma), Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea), Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles), Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridulum), Small Emerald Damselfly (Lestes virens), Blue-eyed Goldenring (Cordulegaster insignis) and other more common species.
While in the area we will dedicate a day to the rivers, ponds and marshes of the Strandzha Mountain. Some of the key species to be seen there include Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo meridionalis), Balkan Emerald (Somatochlora meridionalis), Bulgarian Emerald (Somatochlora borisi), Southern Emerald Damselfly (Lestes barbarus), Turkish Goldenring (Cordulegaster picta) and Eastern Spectre
The transfer for departure on the last day could be either to Varna/Bourgas or Sofia Airport.
Arrival at Sofia Airport and transfer to Melnik Day 2
Melnik region Day 3
Kerkini Lake Day 4
Transfer to Trigrad area in the Western Rhodopes Day 5
Transfer to the Eastern Rhodopes with a stop at the Smolyan lakes Day 6
The Eastern Rhodopes Day 7
Transfer to the southern Black Sea coast via Maritsa river valley Day 8
The Bourgas wetlands Day 9
The Strandzha Mountain Day 10