|Departure Date: from 01-05-2019 to 31-10-2019||Status: Open for booking||Price: 490 €||Duration: 8 days|
Amazing cycle trip in the heart of the mystic Rodopi mountains - home of Orpheus.
The Rodopi Mountains are situated in the oldest part of the Balkans and boast some of the loveliest coniferous woods in the country. The landscape is gentle and rounded, consisting of high ridges and deep river valleys with gorges intermingling with river basins and valleys. In contrast with our tour of the Balkan Mountains, this tour will take you even higher, to around 2,000 m, or 6561 ft. Most of the mileage is done on mountain roads, with relatively little traffic. Along them cyclists can see some old-style means of transportation: wooden carts pulled by horses, donkeys or cows. You may also meet some nomadic gypsies, picking mushrooms and berries in the woods, as well as some local Muslim inhabitants growing tobacco and potatoes, or herds of sheep or goats coming down from the mountain at the end of the day.
♦ Velingrad is the largest Bulgarian spa resort famous for its healing hot mineral waters.
♦ Yagodina cave is among the longest caves in Bulgaria (more than 10 000m mapped so far), considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe with its outstanding stalactites, stalagmites, columns, ponds and cave pearls in them.
♦ Shiroka Luka - numerous houses preserving the typical Rodopean architecture, speech, songs and customs of local people have given the village the status of an architectural, ethnographic and folklore reserve.
♦ The Miraculous bridges are 2 unique natural rock arches (about 40 m. high).
♦ Bachkovo Monastery is the second largest Bulgarian monastery.
Day 1. Arrival
Arrival to Sofia airport and transfer to the hotel.
Day 2. Belmeken dam - Velingrad spa town
Drive Sestrimo. The cycling starts few kilometers before the village of Sestrimo and up to Belmeken dam (2000 m) through old coniferous woods. In the afternoon the road passes the Iundola's mountain meadows before descending to the spa town of Velingrad, where we stay overnight in a hotel with mineral water swimming pool.
Cycling specifics: distance: 76 km; time: 6 hrs; uphill cycling: 500m (1,640 ft); downhill cycling: 1,300 m (4,265 ft)
Day 3. Batak dam - Beglik dam - Dospat
We begin few kilometers from Velingrad, passing through the picturesque landscape of Tsigov Chark countryside by Batak dam to the town of Dospat. On the way we go round the blue-green waters of Goliam Beglik and Shiroka poliana dams before reaching the town of Dospat and its dam, where we stay overnight in a hotel.
Cycling specifics: distance: 71 km; time: 5.30 hrs; uphill cycling: 600m (1,968 ft); downhill cycling: 700 m (2,296 ft)
Day 4. Yagodina cave - Devil's throat cave - Trigrad
The biking starts from Dospat via Borino town to the Buinovsko Gorge, which is also a gate to the next stop - the Yagodina Cave. Here we make a cave tour before going further to Trigrad village, passing among the 250 m high cliffs of the Trigrad Gorge. Here another sinister cave is expecting us - The Devil's Throat Cave, housing one of the highest underground waterfalls in Europe. Overnight in Trigrad in a family hotel.
Cycling specifics: distance: 50 km (31 miles); time: 4 hrs; uphill cycling: 700 m (2,296 ft); downhill cycling: 800 m (2,624 ft)
Day 5. Shiroka laka - Smolyan lakes - Smolyan
A pleasant descent along Trigradska River brings you to the village of Grohotno and the natural rock phenomenon "The Elephant". Then we continue upstream Shirokolushka River to the village of Shiroka Luka. We stop here to savour the spirit of this architectural reserve, famous for its preserved houses dating back from the Bulgarian Revival Period. We pass by the beautiful Smolyan lakes and finsh cycling in Smolyan town, where we stay overnight.
Cycling specifics: distance: 66 km; time: 4.30 hrs; uphill cycling: 950 m (3116 ft); downhill cycling: 800 m (2,624 ft)
Day 6. Rozhen - Borovo
Cycling from Smolyan to the historic place Rozhen. After a short rest you go uphill to a big picturesque meadow at 1700m which marks the beginning of a gentle downhill ride in direction to Laki town through “Momina voda” protected area. Nerby is the picturesque village of Borovo and the famous religious place with chapels and healing springs – Krastova Gora. Overnight in Borovo.
Cycling specifics: distance: 39 km (24.2 miles); time: around 4 hrs; uphill cycling: 700 m (1,312 ft); downhill cycling: 1300 m (4265 ft).
Day 7. The Miraculous bridges - Bachkovo monastery - Sofia
The downhill ride continues along Jugovska River valley to the main road Smolyan-Plovdiv. Short transfer brings you to the Miraculous bridges rock phenomenon for short walk and sightseeing. The next stop is Bachkovo Monastery (the second largest in Bulgaria). Transfer to Sofia for overnight.
Distance: 59 km (50 miles); time: about 5 hrs; uphill cycling: 100 or 650m (depending on the group’s mood); downhill cycling: 1,250 m (4,100 ft)
Day 8. Departure
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for departure.
Good to know:
♦ Roads: we use mainly isolated village asphalt roads with little traffic, road conditions are relatively good with some exceptions (bumpy sections, potholes, rough asphalt), we do not go off road.The traffic might be a little bit heavier at some sections but only for a short while.
♦ 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
♦ Dress code in monasteries and churches - men are not allowed to enter in shorts and women should not expose their legs and shoulders.
Recommended period: May - October
Necessary equipment: We strongly recommend you wearing a helmet during the cycling. You can bring your own helmet or rent on of ours. Cycling gloves, breathable clothes, waterproof gear, cycling shoes/trainers. (for list with recommended items see “General” in the trip dossier).