About Us

Team

Hristo Nikolov – Icho was born at the foot of the Balkan mountain. Since his childhood he has spent a lot of time in his native mountain, touching every detail of it. Later on he leaves to Sofia where he graduated urban and regional planning. Still a student he joins the “Bikearea” association, which has been developing the mountain biking in Bulgaria for more than 10 years, focusing on route marking, travel guides and maps, exploring tours and bike expeditions. Being an active guide, Icho keeps on discovering new routes across the mountains in Bulgaria and neighboring countries. He also visited twice the Nepali Himalayas, Atlas Mountains in Morocco and the Canary Island La Palma. Next to mountain biking he enjoys kayaking, rock climbing, trekking and sailing.

With Balkanche he shares his guiding experience and love for Bulgarian mountains.

He just… „Never stop exploring“

Manuela is a native Bulgarian and has been living in Germany since 2001. She successfully graduated in Printing and Media Technologies. Her passion for the mountaineering and biking turned to be stronger than the common sense of the stable office work. So she started working as a mountain bike guide and trainer. Her small backpack carries experience from long distance ridings like Transalp or Super Marathon Kom-Emine. She started mountain biking in Let Get’s, France. And downhill riding and racing are still her favourites. Being known for her addiction to new locations and trails she landed on the Canary Island La Palma. It was love at first sight and now there is a strong connection between her and every single trail on that magic island.

For Balkanche Manuela is the founder and the motor, that brings people and mountains together.

“Safety and truly unique vacation for you, as our customers are my priority and motivation.”

Ivan Penchev is born and raised in Sofia. Nevertheless, the seek for unknown places and mountains, thrills of nomad activities and the joy of biking characterize his way of life and inspired him in the last 15 years as a mountain guide. While looking for new challenges he traveled with his bike to the Alps, Morocco, Ladakh, Pamir, Nepali Himalaya and the mountains of Greece and Macedonia. During the last years he has been taking part in developing and reopening old mountain paths in the Bulgarian mountains.

Christoph was born in Munich, Germany. If he doesn’t guide you through technical trails, you can usually meet him on the downhill tracks, racing or training. With his background from the Mountain Bike World Cup as a professional mechanic he has academic understanding on bike technologies and can tell you all about the insiders’ tips and tricks for the perfect set-up on your bike. Racing since 2002 he can show you how to ride fast and also how to handle rock or root gardens and big drops. Moreover, ambitious beginners or even experienced riders can check with him about training plans and techniques. Nowadays he is also a passionate rock climber with ambitions in the eight grades up.

“Mountain biking is a physical challenge, an experience on the edge and beyond. The key part of it is to have fun.”

Philosophy

What we do …

Balkanche offers guided hiking and biking adventures in Bulgaria. Our multi-day trips are powered by pristine nature, with flair of native traditions and culture. Creating your active sport vacation we combine physical challenge, discovery through the most impressive places and stunning nature landscapes, and experience Bulgarian history and folklore.

How we do it …

Doing outdoor activities, we from Balkanche put our heart and soul in it. Every year we set out for new adventures, in order to improve our program and offer you trips besides the guiding books and marked paths.We believe that the best way to discover the essence of the destination is to be active part of it. We aim for wild nature, picturesque mountains, and enchanting villages, where life is still, authentic and natural. Depending on the existing infrastructure we use sometimes shuttles or lifts. Above the asphalt zone, higher in the mountains we rely on our personal physical strength and skills. Those of us carefully selected accommodations are family hotels and small guesthouses, where the ancient spirit of Bulgarian traditions has been sustained for the years. You will meet our friends, who tell us more about the unique culture and its history. Significant part of the experience is a group atmosphere based on friendship and relationship. Therefore we limit our group size to 7, where everybody’s voice is heard. This allows us to react more flexible and also easily assimilate into local life. We respect the nature and wild life in the mountains like our own home.

Why we do it …

Bulgaria is a very small country but rich like an universe. It has been home to different civilizations and cultures. With its mild climate, breathtaking landscapes and pristine nature, rich variety of plant and animal species, abundance of mineral water-springs, ancient historic places, it offers a great variety for an amazing vacation. With passion for our home country and the people living there we want to inspire you from all over the world to come with us and experience the magic of Bulgaria. Come with us to Bulgaria, discover the mountains, the local culture and share our passion for this magical country.