Nadya Karastoyanova


Location: Sofia, Bulgaria.

Professional experience: Works as an archeozoologist in National museum of Natural and as a professional mountain leader and explorer of National Geographic Channel since 2014. As a doctor of zoology in the Bulgarian Academy of Science and professional archaeologist, Nadia has been working on archaeological excavations for the last 11 years. Her explorations include sites all over Bulgaria, caves, peaks, sea coasts, etc. She leads Bulgarian and foreign trekking groups in the Bulgarian high mountains during the summer and winter (snowshoeing trips). Also in cultural and natural places – archaeological and historical sites, waterfalls, rocks and caves.

Experience in the mountains: Nadia would spend her summers in the high mountains of Bulgaria – Rila, Pirin, Rhodopes. She has climbed Mont Blanc in the French Alps, Vignemale in the Pyrenees, Monte Rossa massive in Italian Apls, Grossglockner via Studlgrat ridge in Austrian Alps, Toubkal in Atlas mountain (Marocco) . She spends a lot of time rock climbing or digging in excavations, climbing at sites in Bulgaria and other countries and caving. In the winter she practices snowshoe trekking and alpinism.

Travel experience: hiking trips in French Alps – Mont Blanc, Pyrenees, Italian and Austrian Alps, Marocco. Rock climbing in Bulgaria, France and Greece. Cultural and archaeological trips to Italy, France, Scotland, Czech Republic, Turkey, Greece, France, Macedonia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Hungary.

Interests: Rock and ice climbing, mountain hiking, alpinism, speleology, archeology, zoology, horse riding, diving.



2018 – PhD in zoology – Bulgarian Academy of Science, National Museum of Nature and History;
2018 – Diving license BULF01/P1/18/000065, one star – CMAS;
2014 – IML (International Mountain Leader), member of Mountains and People Association, UIMLA (Union of International Mountain Leader Associations) member;
2014-2017 Explorer at National Geographic Channel, production Explore Bulgaria;
2013-2014 – Mountain Leader Award, Mountains and People Association, Certificate No 019725/2014; Registered in the National Tourist Registry under Т-РД-17-2/20.01.2017;
2013 – PhD student in Bulgarian Academy of Science, National Museum of Nature and History;
2012 – Masters degree in Archeology and Prehistory;
2012 – Driving License, active driver.

Languages: English, French.

Reviews for this guide:

Mark – Rhodopes, Pirin and Rila Mountains:

We have recently returned from a group tour of the Rhodopes, Pirin and Rila mountains and it is true to say that Nadia made the tour. She is that good.
We were all very impressed by Nadia’s knowledge and passion for Bulgaria and how she imparted that knowledge to us. She is so hard working, we do not know where she gets her energy from.
She was also constantly attentive, always trying to ensure everyone was having the best tour experience as possible. It is so obvious she loves her job.
It is also important to point out that Nadia was not all work and no play. She has a lovely smile and a great sense of humour.
All in all we would recommend Nadia without a moments hesitation and thank her for showing us her Bulgaria.

Chris Felstead, 7 Day Rila, Pirin and Rhodope Mountains:

It is hard not to simply endorse the previous outstanding review of Nadya but that would still not adequately describe how we both felt about her and our trip.
We started out not really knowing what we wanted and what Bulgaria had to offer.Over a period of two months Nadya patiently suggested what a seven day itinerary  might look like and supported her suggestions with links and great background information.This meant that by the time we began our trip we had a good idea of what to expect and confidence that we were dealing with someone who knew what they were doing.This turned out to be an understatement! Not only is Nadya academically knowledgeable about her country and its history but she is articulate and passionate in the way that she describes it to the newcomer.She has a great sense of humour as well as  a competency in the outdoors which meant that we saw things we might have missed.She made sure that all of the hikes we did were well within our capabilities but were challenging enough to make us feel as though we had achieved something by the end of the day.

As for the itinerary, Nadya had selected all the guest houses we stayed in which were without exception spotlessly clean, comfortable and staffed by people who were welcoming and eager to please.
She also ensured that each day we were presented with a fresh and different aspect of the Bulgarian south-west with just the right amount  of walking driving and rest time.At meal times she was happy to ensure that we understood what was on offer and to highlight the local specialities
To be honest by the end of seven days we both felt an attachment to Nadya that we have rarely felt with other guides.A rare combination of humour, information, sensitivity to our needs and passion for her country and its physical beauty,An outstanding trip with an outstanding individual!!

Lucy, Geneva – Autumn Hiking with Nadia in the Rila Mountains:

I spent three three incredible days in the Rila Mountains with Nadia as my guide. Lyuben and Nadia developed an itinerary for the dates I was in Bulgaria and devised a personally tailored trip based on what I wanted to see and the time I had available. Nadia was an incredible guide – she provided the perfect balance of independence, flexibility and was an unexpected bonus to my trip and time. Nadia was extremely attentive to details and as a PHD in archaeology she was an endless source of information and even told some Bulgarian folk tales that always ended with one lover or another throwing themselves over a mountain. All and all – I did not want this trip to end. I would highly recommend this service for their custom hikes, their excellent characters and their knowledge.

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