Rodopi Cycle Tour: Bulgaria
Come along on an incredible cycling adventure through the mystical Rhodope Mountains, the fabled home of the legendary singer Orpheus. Located in the oldest region of the Balkans, the Rhodope Mountains boast some of the most breathtaking evergreen forests in the area. The landscape is characterized by gentle, rounded terrain, with towering ridges and deep river valleys. During our tour, we will climb to an elevation of approximately 2,000 meters (6,561 feet). The majority of our route will take us along scenic mountain roads with minimal traffic. Along the way, we will be welcomed by the legendary hospitality of the local people, gaining insights into their way of life and indulging in the idyllic rural ambiance.
Day 1. Sofia. Arrival at Sofia airport and transfer to our hotel.
Day 2. Belmeken dam - Velingrad. Our day begins with a brief drive to Sestrimo village, located just a few kilometers away from the starting point of our cycling tour. We will traverse dense coniferous forests before arriving at our first destination of the day, the Belmeken dam, which sits above 2000 meters (6,561 feet) in altitude. Following a brief respite, we will proceed towards the Iundola region, well-known for its expansive mountain meadows. Afterward, we will begin our descent towards the renowned spa town of Velingrad, where we will spend the night in a hotel. There, we will have ample free time to take a dip in the mineral water pools and unwind after a long day of cycling. *For those who prefer to avoid the strenuous uphill climb at the start of the tour, it is possible to initiate the journey from the Belmeken dam.
Day 3. Batak dam - Beglik Dam - Dospat. Our journey begins a few kilometers outside Velingrad, where we will embark on a picturesque cycling route through the Tsigov Chark area and along the shores of the Batak Dam. We will enjoy breathtaking views of the blue-green waters of the Goliam Beglik and Shiroka Poliana dams before arriving in Dospat, where we will spend the night at a hotel in town.
Day 4. Yagodina cave - Devil's Throat Cave - Trigrad. After breakfast, we will embark on our cycling journey towards the beautiful Buinovsko Gorge, passing through the charming town of Borino. We will take a brief pause to take in the stunning view before proceeding to our next destination – the Yagodina Cave. We will have ample time to explore this fascinating cave, which is well-known for its stunning cave pearls. Following that, we will continue our journey towards the village of Trigrad, passing through the narrow and awe-inspiring Trigrad Gorge. This gorge is surrounded by towering 250-meter-high cliffs on both sides. In Trigrad, we will visit the second cave of the day – the Devil's Throat Cave, which boasts one of the highest underground waterfalls in Europe. For the night, we will stay in a family hotel in Trigrad.
Day 5. Shiroka laka - Smolyan lakes - Smolyan. We will begin today's cycling adventure with a delightful descent along the Trigradska River. Upon reaching the village of Grohotno, we will visit the natural rock wonder known as "The Elephant". Following this, we will cycle along the Shirokolushka River and arrive at the charming village of Shiroka Luka, where we will take a break to immerse ourselves in the spirit of this architectural reserve, renowned for its well-preserved houses from the Bulgarian Revival Period (19th century). Our journey will then lead us to the stunning Smolyan lakes. Finally, we will make our way to the town of Smolyan, where we will spend the night.
Day 6. Smolyan - Rozhen - Borovo. We will start today's cycling tour with a visit to the National Astronomical Observatory in the small mountain town of Rozhen. From there, we will cycle uphill to a picturesque meadow situated at an altitude of 1700m, marking the beginning of a gentle descent towards the town of Laki. Along the way, we will pass through the beautiful protected area of "Momina Voda" and explore the charming village of Borovo, located just a few kilometres away. We will also visit the famous Krastova Gora religious site, renowned for its healing mineral water. We will spend the night in Borovo.
Day 7. The Wonderful bridges - Bachkovo monastery - Sofia. Today's itinerary takes us downhill along the Jugovska River valley. Once we reach the Smolyan-Plovdiv main road, we will meet our driver for a short transfer to a nearby junction. From there, we will cycle about 16km uphill to the incredible rock formation called the Wonderful Bridges. Our next stop is the Bachkovo Monastery, the second largest monastery in Bulgaria, comprising several buildings. Finally, we'll transfer to Sofia for our overnight stay.
Day 8. Departure. After breakfast, you will be transferred to Sofia airport for departure.