An 8-day macro photography holiday focused on butterflies, other insects and flowers in the mountains of Bulgaria.

Butterflies and Macro Photography

Wednesday 21st - Wednesday 28th June 2023

Bulgaria in summer offers excellent macro photography opportunities due to its rich biodiversity and variety of habitats. Our main targets will be the butterflies, but the summer season and the various sites we shall visit will provide numerous other insects - dragonflies and damselflies, grasshoppers, spiders, beetles etc, as well as flowers and orchids. We will have early starts and late evenings in order to take advantage of the best light and it is also the time when butterflies and other insects are normally motionless. Early afternoons we may have siestas to rest, avoiding the harsh midday sun.
Our tour will start with a two night stay in a small village east of Sofia, where we will explore the areas around for fritillaries, the first blues, gliders and emperors. After which, we will be based in Koprivshtitsa for the next two nights, a nice traditional village. One of the very few in Bulgaria designated as architectural reserve, situated in the heart of Sredna Gora Mountain. These days we will explore the immediate surroundings, having only short transfers. At the end we will move to the beautiful Dobrostan Ridge in the Western Rhodopes Mountain, where we will stay for three nights, exploring the butterfly rich surroundings. We will also have a moth trap with us which will allow us to photograph a good number of moths, additional to the many butterflies we will get.


Day 1 Arrival at Sofia airport and transfer to the village of Mirkovo, about an hour drive, for two nights stay. If time permits, we will have an afternoon session along a small river, not far from the hotel, where we can find Map Butterfly, Spotted, Niobe, Twin-spot and Marbled Fritillaries.

Day 2 A very short drive, less than 10 kilometers will bring us down to a big river and we shall explore two of its small tributaries entering it east and west through a small village. Beside the butterflies we will also find dragonflies and damselflies, praying mantises, grasshoppers and other insects. If too hot, we can return to the hotel for a lunch and siesta, otherwise the whole day will be spent our and we shall have a picnic lunch.

Days 3 and 4 Short transfer will bring us to our next base, the picturesque village of Koprivshtitsa, where we will stay again for two nights. Both days will be spent in local meadows, having only short transfers.  Here we will find Chequerred, Large, Alcon and other blues, Balkan and Scarce Coppers, Black-veined White, White Admiral, many fritillaries and skippers, as well as dragonflies and damselflies. That is our main site for the Purple Emperor and we shall secure enough time to make sure we take good pictures of this really most fascinating and not easy to photograph European butterfly. A late Poplar Admiral can also be seen, depending on the recent weather and the whole area is very suitable for another special butterfly – the Camberwell Beauty. We will also have a walk in the village as many of the houses and its six museums (these were houses of historical heroes or wealthy traders at the time with unique architecture).

Days 5 to 7 We will have morning session, followed by a transfer to our last base for the holiday - the beautiful Dobrostan Plateau, in the Western Rhodopes Mountains. Here we will stay for three nights in a lovely hotel, situated in a tiny village, providing excellent panoramic views. En-route we will take a longer road that will lead you to another village where we may find a late Eastern Festoon – again one of the most beautiful European butterflies and Bulgarian specialty. There will be several excellent opportunities to stop and photograph Purple Emperor, Silver-washed Fritillary, Scarce Copper, Shady Hawker, Large Tortoiseshell and many more. Arrival late in the afternoon, check-in and dinner in the garden out in the open. Red-rumped Swallow, Black Redstart and Swifts will add to the atmosphere of the Rhodopes.
Next two days we shall visit several lovely meadows full of flowers. As at the previous places we will have the options to make early starts when the butterflies are motionless and hopefully covered in due. We will then return for a breakfast and afterward we shall drive to the meadows where we spend the rest of the day. Here is the home of the stunningly beautiful Apollo butterfly, a species you cannot resist photographing it again and again. We will try to get on various perches and backgrounds and in different light. Exploring the meadows around we will also find and photograph Balkan and Scarce Coppers, Niobe, High Brown, Dark Green, Twin-spot and other fritillaries, Yellow-banded Skipper, many blues, hairstreaks, Swallowtail and some late orchids. A moth trap in that area can also provide a lot of very good subjects for good quality macro photography.

Day 8 Option for another early session, time permitting, followed by three hours transfer to the airport for your flight back home.


Photo and video gallery

Butterflies and Macro Photography Tour

Butterflies and Macro Photography Tour

Butterflies and Macro Photography Tour Gallery