Bike tour of Rodopi mountains in Bulgaria
The Rodopi mountain range is situated in the oldest part of the Balkans in Bulgaria and boasts some of the most beautiful coniferous forests of the country. The landscape is a combination of high ridges and deep valleys, with gorges intertwining with river basins. Here you can find 70% of all the minerals in the world and there are around 600 caves. Flora and fauna include animal and plant species that are extinct in other European countries.Read more
The Rodopi mountain range is situated in the oldest part of the Balkans in Bulgaria and boasts some of the most beautiful coniferous forests of the country. The landscape is a combination of high ridges and deep valleys, with gorges intertwining with river basins. Here you can find 70% of all the minerals in the world and there are around 600 caves. Flora and fauna include animal and plant species that are extinct in other European countries.
This bike tour of the Balkan mountains will take you 2,000 m high and most of the trip will be on major paved roads, with low traffic, particularly fit for cycling, Along the way you might come across some old-fashioned transport vehicles, such as wooden carts drown by horses, donkeys or cows. You might also meet some nomads or some Muslim inhabitants that grow tobacco and potatoes, or herds of sheep and goats descending from the mountains at the end of the day.
The highlights of the tour include:
Arrive in Sofia or Plovdiv and transfer to the hotel.
The cycling path starts a few kilometers before Sestrimo village and takes you to Belmeken dam (2000 m), crossing old coniferous forests. In the afternoon you'll ride along Iundola road, among mounatin fields, before descending to the thermal town of Velingrad. Overnight in a hotel with hot thermal pool.
Riding distance: 76 km uphill/ downhill 1400/1300 m.
You'll start riding a few kilometers before Velingrad, crossing the picturesque countryside landscape of Tsigov Chark, from Batak dam to Dospat town. You'll ride on the road that runs beside the green-blue waters of Goliam Beglik, Shiroka Poliana, before reaching Dospat town and its dam. Overnight in a hotel.
Riding distance: uphill 71 km/ downhill 600/700m.
The ride starts from Dospat, crosses Borino town to Buinovsko gorge, next stop is Yagodina cave. Panoramic tour of the cave before continuing on to Trigrad village, riding amidst rocks which are 250 m high and reaching a frightening gorge called Devil Gorge, where you can admire one of the highest subterranean waterfalls in Europe. Overnight in a hotel in Trigrad.
Riding distance: uphill 50 km/ downhill 700/800 m.
A nice descent along Trigradska river will take you to Grohotno village, famous for its rock called "The elephant". You'll continue along Shirokolushka river to Shiroka Luka village.
Short stop to breathe in the atmosphere of this architectural reserve, famous for its well preserved houses, dating back to the Bulgarian Renaissance period. Continue on to the beautiful Smolyan lakes ending the journey in Smolyan town. Overnight in a hotel.
Riding distance: uphill 66 km/ downhill 950/800 m.
Cycle route from Smolyan to the historic place of Rozhen. After a short rest, you'll tackle the climb to a large picturesque meadow at 1700 m marking the start of a sweet descent toward Laki town. In the vicinity lies the quaint village of Borovo and a famous religious place with chapels and healing spings such as Kristova Gora. Overnight in Borovo.
Riding distance: uphill 39 km/ downhill 400/1300 m.
The descent continues along the valley of Jugovska river to Smolyan - Plovdiv main road. A short transfer takes you to the natural phenomenon of the Miracolous Bridges. The next stop is Bachkovo monastery (the second largest in Bulgaria). Transfer to Plovdiv for the night.
Riding distance: upjill 80 km/ downhill 100/1250 m.
Breakfast and transfer to Sofia or Plovdiv airport for departure.