From Rodopi mountains to Halkidiki seashore (Bulgaria & Greece)

Departure Date: 02-06-2018 Status: Open for booking Price: 650 Duration: 9 days
Departure Date: 15-09-2018 Status: Open for booking Price: 650 Duration: 9 days

Enjoy a great cycling trip combining mountain and seashore cycling in charming Bulgaria and sunny Greece.

This cycling tour will take you on a memorable adventure in the lands of the Rodopi mountains in Bulgaria, the central parts of Northern Greece and Halkidiki peninsula (Sithonia and Athon). You will bike among pristine landscapes of old coniferous forests, gorges, caves, big dams and beautiful meadows in the mythical Rodopi mountains Then you cross the border with Greece and start exploring the lands of Drama prefecture typical for their karst relief housing 2 of the most beautiful caves in Greece Aggitis and Alistrati. The tour ends with three days of exciting cycling in the middle peninsula of Halkidiki – Sithonia full with sun, numerous secluded beaches, stunning cliffs, rich island vegetation, olive gardens, palms and peaceful small villages and towns. This tour will show you the changing of the landscape, culture and architecture  going from North to South to the Augean sea while you cycle, experience the local village life, swim in the crystal clear sea waters and flavor your senses with local traditional food.

Tour highlights:

♦ Rodopi Mountains - are the oldest mountains on the Balkan Peninsula, housing 2 of the most beautiful caves in Bulgaria - Devil's throat and Yagodina cave. 
♦ Ognyanovo - famous spa resort with thermal mineral water and numerous swimming pools.
♦ Alistrati cave – with its length of 3000m is one of the most beautiful and biggest caves in Greece with rare cave formations and fauna. Nearby is the stunning canyon of Aggitis river.
♦ Athos Holy mountain - set in an area of outstanding natural beauty it is the centre of Eastern Christian Orthodox Monasticism with more then 20 monasteries. It is also an Unesco World heritage site
♦ Sithonia – it is the middle part of Halkidiki peninsula known for its pristine nature and beautiful sandy beaches. It was named after Sithonas, son of Poseidon (god of the sea in the Greek mythology).
 

Itinerary:
 
Day 1. Sofia - Trigrad

Arrival in Sofia and transfer (3.30h) to Trigrad village in Rodopi Mountains.

Day 2.
Devil's throat cave - Yagodina cave - Dospat dam
Today we bike through the stunning cliffs of Trigrad and Buinovo gorge and visit the Devil's Throat cave, housing one of the highest underground waterfalls in Europe and the beautiful Yagodina cave. After lunch we continue cycling through some small villages, potato fields, coniferous forests and picturesque meadows with great panoramic views. We end up in Dospat town situated near one of the biggest dams in Rodopi mountains – Dospat. Cycling distance: 50 km

Day 3.
Dospat - Kovachevitsa - Ognyanovo spa
Today we continue cycling westwards to the hot spring resort Ognyanovo with optional stop in the architectural reserve of Dolen village. The road goes mainly downhill on nice meadows and coniferous forests and we finish cycling in the hot mineral swimming pools of Ognyanovo. Optional visit of the famous architectural reserve Kovatchevitsa. Cycling distance: 56 km

Day 4.
Ognyanovo - Aggitis cave
We pass the border with Greece in the bus (1h transfer) and start cycling from Granitis village at 800m. From there we go downhill and visit the interesting Aggiti’s river cave (11 km long). After that we continue cycling on isolated mountain roads in secluded country regions surrounded by vast pastures with sheep herds, vineyards, cotton fields, meadows and high mountains. The cycling day ends in Alistrati village famous for the nearby cave and canyon. Overnight. Cycling distance: 57 km

Day 5.
Alistarti cave - Aggitis canyon - Athos
Relax day. After breakfast we visit the beautiful Alistrati cave (1 hour tour) and the Aggiti’s river canyon nearby. Then we get on the bus for a transfer (2.30 hours) to the Athon peninsula (the most eastern finger of Halkidiki peninsula). We stay at Ouranoupoli village near the border of Athos holy land and enjoy the rest of the day for relaxation – walking, swimming in the sea or lying on the beach. We also recommend a boat trip to the nearby island Amoliani. Overnight.

Day 6.
Ouranoupoli - Vourvourou
Cycling on mountain and coastal roads via small towns and villages from Ouranoupoli to the nice coast village Vourvourou with great beaches and views towards the Diasporos island. The route goes all the way from Athos peninsula to the middle finger of Halkidiki peninsula - Sithonia. Overnight. Cycling distance: 69 km

Day 7.
Vourvourou - Kalamitsi beach - Porto Kofu
Cycling from Vourvourou to Porto Kofu on the main coastal road with nice views towards the sea and the interior mountains. You pass by several small villages and have a rest for a swim on the beautiful beach of Kalamitsi. After some 12 km cycling over the mountain you reach the beautiful bay of Porto Kofu village, where you stay overnight. Optional bike trip on dirt roads among olive gardens and farmlands to the top of a rock with splendid view over rocky coves. Cycling distance: 54 km

Day 8. Porto Kofu - Nikiti 
Today is one of the prettiest cycling routes of the whole program. You follow mainly isolated roads very near the sea passing by secluded beaches and small sea villages set in rich green vegetation. Enjoy the splendid views of the small islands nearby, the rocky coast and the dense green coniferous forests while you cycle, swim and sunbathe on one of the many lonely beaches en-route. Option for visit the secluded mountain village of Parthenonas. The cycling ends in the region of Nikiti where we stay overnight.Cycling distance:50 km

Day 9.
 Transfer 
Transfer back to Thessaloniki / Sofia airport for departure.

Included in the price:  ►accomodation in family run hotels and pensions with private facilities►3 days on Halfboard (Bulgarian stage) and 5 dyas on BB (Greek stage) ►English-speaking guide/driver with a supporting vehicle►map► all ground transportation ►group transfer from/to Sofia airport (09.00 - 19.00) ►technical support of the bikes

Not included: Bike rentalflights►travel insurance►all lunches and 5 dinners►entrance fees►tips►alcohol drinks and other personal expenses ► Private transfers: Sofia APT - Sofia center: 15 EUR (per vehicle); Plovdiv APT - Plovdiv center: 15 EUR (per vehicle); Sofia-Plovdiv or vv. 60 EUR (per vehicle), helmet: 5 EUR (per week)

Other expenses: single room supplement: 110 euro; rent of a rear saddlebag: 10 euro/week;

Good to know:

♦ Roads: we use mainly village asphalt roads with little traffic, road conditions are relatively good with some exceptions (bumpy sections, potholes, rough asphalt), In Halkidiki peninsula we use main quality coastal roads with low traffic in the tour’s active season. Short off road sections can be added.
♦ Guide/driver: The guide with the supporting vehicle and the luggage inside checks several times a day if everything is OK with the group, waiting by crossroads, accompanying them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and giving them talks by the most interesting sites en-route

How to get there: Wizz AirGermanwings; Penguin Travel;  Airberlin; Ryan Air

Recommended period of travel:   April - June; September - October

Necessary equipment: All riders must wear a helmet at all times riding. We encourage riders to bring their own helmets or rent one of ours. Cycling gloves, breathable clothes, waterproof gear, cycling shoes/trainers, swimming suit sunscreen lotion; sunglasses with UV protection, (For the full list with recommended items see “General” in the trip dossier).