Rodopi Cycling (Bulgaria)

Departure Date: from 01-06-2020 to 31-10-2020 Status: Open for booking Price: 520 Duration: 8 days
Departure Date: from 01-05-2021 to 31-10-2021 Status: Open for booking Price: 560 Duration: 8 days
Departure Date: from 01-05-2022 to 31-10-2022 Status: Open for booking Price: 580 Duration: 8 days

Join us on this amazing cycling trip in the heart of the mystic Rhodope Mountains - home of the legendary singer Orpheus. The Rhodope Mountains are situated in the oldest part of the Balkans and boast some of the loveliest evergreen woods in the region. The landscape is gentle and rounded, consisting of high ridges and deep river valleys. During the tour, we will reach a height of around 2,000m (6561 ft.). Most of the mileage is done on mountain roads, with relatively little traffic. Along the way, we will have the chance to experience the legendary hospitality of the local people, learn more about their lifestyle and indulge in the idyllic rural atmosphere.

Tour highlights:
♦ Velingrad - a prominent SPA resort in Bulgaria, famous for its healing hot mineral waters.
♦ Yagodina cave - one of the longest caves in Bulgaria (more than 10 000m mapped so far)with its outstanding stalactites, stalagmites, columns, ponds and cave pearls in them.
♦ Shiroka Luka - an architectural, ethnographic and folklore reserve.
The Miraculous Bridges - a unique natural rock formation, consisting of two 40-meter-high arches.
♦ Bachkovo Monastery - the second largest Bulgarian monastery.

 

Itinerary:

Day 1. Arrival
Arrival in Sofia airport and transfer to the hotel.-/-/-

Day 2. Belmeken dam - Velingrad spa town
We start the day with a short drive to the village of Sestrimo. The starting point of the cycling tour is just a few kilometres outside the village. We will cycle through thick coniferous forests before reaching our first stop for the day- the Belmeken dam (above 2000m a.s.l). After a short break, we continue toward the Iundola area, known for its vast mountain meadows. Afterwards, we start descending to the renowned spa town of Velingrad, where we stay overnight in a hotel. Here we will have some free time to swim in mineral water pools and relax after a full day of cycling. * For those of you who would like to avoid the long and challenging uphill at the beginning, it is possible to start the tour from Belmeken dam.
Cycling distance: 60km. Uphill/downhill: 1420/1450m
Cycling distance (starting from the dam): 42km. Uphill/downhill: 140/1440m
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Day 3. Batak dam - Beglik Dam - Dospat
Today's starting point is a few kilometres away from Velingrad. We will cycle through the picturesque landscape of Tsigov Chark area and along the shores of Batak dam. We will enjoy the views of the blue-green waters of Goliam Beglik and Shiroka Poliana dams before reaching the town of Dospat. We will spend the night in a hotel in the town.
Cycling distance: 71km. Uphill/downhill: 1320m/830m
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Day 4. Yagodina cave - Devil's Throat Cave - Trigrad
After breakfast, we start cycling towards the scenic Buinovsko Gorge, passing through the town of Borino. We will take a short break to enjoy the breathtaking view and then continue to the next stop - the Yagodina Cave. We will have some time to explore the cave. known for its impressive cave pearls. Afterwards, we continue to the village of Trigrad, passing through the narrow Trigrad Gorge, surrounded by 250-meter-high cliffs on both sides. Here we will visit the second cave for the day - The Devil's Throat Cave, housing one of the highest underground waterfalls in Europe. Overnight in Trigrad in a family hotel.
Cycling distance: 48km. Uphill/downhill: 1200/1250m
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Day 5. Shiroka laka - Smolyan lakes - Smolyan
We start today's cycling with a pleasant descent along the Trigradska River. We will reach the village of Grohotno and visit the natural rock phenomenon "The Elephant". We will then continue cycling along the Shirokolushka River before reaching the village of Shiroka Luka. We will take a break here to savour the spirit of this architectural reserve, famous for its preserved houses dating back to the Bulgarian Revival Period (19th century). Our next stop is the beautiful Smolyan lakes. Afterwards, we are heading to the town of Smolyan, where we will spend the night.
Cycling distance: 64km. Uphill/downhill: 1440/1560m
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Day 6. Smolyan - Rozhen - Borovo
The first stop for today is the small mountain town of Rozhen, where the National Astronomical Observatory is located. Afterwards, we are cycling uphill to a big picturesque meadow situated at 1700m. a.s.l. The meadow marks the beginning of a gentle downhill ride towards the town of Laki. On the way there, we will pass through the scenic protected area - “Momina Voda". We will explore the picturesque village of Borovo, located just a few kilometres away, as well as the famous religious site Krastova Gora, known for its healing mineral water. Overnight in Borovo.
Cycling distance: 58km. Uphill/downhill: 1480/1420m
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Day 7. The Wonderful bridges - Bachkovo monastery - Sofia
Today we continue riding downhill along the Jugovska River valley. Upon reaching the main road Smolyan-Plovdiv, we will meet our driver for a short transfer to a junction nearby, from where we will ride about 16km uphill to the rock phenomenon Wonderful Bridges. The next stop is Bachkovo Monastery - the second biggest one in Bulgaria, consisting of several buildings. Transfer to Sofia for overnight.
Cycling distance: 54km. Uphill/downhill: 1040/1570m
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Day 8. Departure
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for departure. B/-/-

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 wear a helmet when cycling. You can bring your own helmet or rent on of ours. Cycling gloves, breathable clothes, waterproof gear, cycling shoes/trainers are recommended. (for list with recommended items see “General” in the trip dossier).

Our bikes