Highlights of Bulgaria by Bicycle

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141
09 Nights /10 Days
Sofia
Sofia

The storied and beautifully weathered city of Sofia, one of the oldest cities in Europe, welcomes us to Bulgaria. Riding starts in the northern foothills of the Balkans, alongside the Beli Vit River, before climbing up to the Bogoi Pass en route to the village of Chiflik – where a tasty local plum brandy, or two, awaits.

Once over the highest Balkan Mountain pass, the Beklemeto, cruise downhill through the gorgeous forests of the Sredna Gora Mountain and into southern Bulgaria. The sparklingly preserved town of Koprivshtitsa invigorates road-weary legs and sends us on the way across rolling roads to the thermal spa town of Hisarya. For our rest day, we transfer to Plovdiv, “The City of the Seven Hills”, where a walk will take us back to antiquity as we discover its Roman amphitheater. A wander along the town’s cobblestone streets will lead us to St. Marina Church and an Ottoman Empire mosque.

Day 01: Arrive in Sofia
We will meet you at Sofia airport and transfer you to the hotel. In the late afternoon, soak up the sights and sounds of historic Sofia on a walking tour. Overnight at hotel.

Day 02: Yablanitsa – Ribaritsa Village
Today, we transfer from Sofia to start our ride at Yablanitsa town, famous for producing Turkish delight. From the north foothills of the Balkan mountains we slowly wind upwards to the small village of Malak Izvor and on to the picturesque Glozhene Monastery. After lunch, we ride downhill and then on to a rolling road with a gradual ascent bringing us to charming Teteven town. After a short rest in town, we keep on biking upstream alongside the Beli Vit River to our overnight stay in the charming mountain village hideaway of Ribaritsa. Overnight at hotel.

Day 03: Bogoi Pass – Chiflik
A stimulating morning of riding as we ascend from Ribaritsa (630 m) to the highest point for the day – the Bogoi pass (1,185 m). It’s a challenging 12-km ascent to the summit, but the riding is through idyllic countryside making for a scenic climb. Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: Chiflik – Koprivshtitsa
After breakfast, a short transfer takes us to the highest pass in the Balkan Mountains: the Beklemeto Pass at 1,500 m. This was the ancient Roman Via Trayana (Trajan road), and some Roman remains can still be seen. We make a short ascent to see the Arc of Liberty, symbolizing the liberation of Bulgaria in 1878 from the Ottomans during the Russian-Turkish War, then it’s time to freewheel down into South Bulgaria and the Valley of Roses. In May, the fields are blooming, and the petals are picked early in the morning and distilled into rose oil. We take a short off-road section along a stream for some variety. After a picnic lunch next to a river, it’s on to Koprivshtitsa, the best preserved 19th century Bulgarian town studded with characteristic architecture and a vivid revolutionary past. Overnight at hotel.

Day 05: Koprivshtitsa – Hisaraya
After breakfast, we visit two famous ‘house museums’ to learn more about this Bulgarian town, steeped in literary, political, and philosophical history. We then saddle up and pedal through rolling terrain among the vast meadows that frame this land. A long descent into Strelcha town passes the ”Crooked Beech Tree” and some interesting rock formations once used by ancient Thracians for their sacred rituals. On the way, we visit an ancient Thracian cult temple from the 5th century B.C. and have lunch at a local winery. From here on, the road rolls calmly all the way to our next destination – Hisarya, famous for its thermal springs and Roman ruins. End the day with a relaxing soak. Overnight at hotel.

Day 06: Plovdiv City Rest Day
A day for rest and sightseeing as we transfer to Bulgaria’s second city – Plovdiv. “The City of the Seven Hills” is one of the world’s oldest cities and has a fascinating history incorporating Thracian, Greek, Roman, and Ottoman rule. Plovdiv is among the few cities with two ancient theatres; remains of the medieval walls and towers; Ottoman baths and mosques; a well-preserved old quarter from the National Revival period with beautiful houses, churches, and narrow paved streets. There are numerous museums, art galleries, and cultural institutions. After our lunch, we take a tour of Plovdiv’s old town, visiting the Ethnographic Museum and the Ancient Roman Theatre: probably the best-known monument from antiquity in Bulgaria. Overnight at hotel.

Day 07: Plovdiv – Rodopi
An amazing day awaits us! We transfer up to the Pamporovo Ski Resort in the Rodopi Mountains, stopping on the way to visit Bachkovo Monastery, the country’s second largest, with its unique 17th century dining room. We jump on our bikes at Pamporovo and ride down to Shiroka Laka, a village with many authentic Rhodopean houses. These two-storey homes feature a small cellar with a hiding place and thick white walls to conceal its courtyard from outsiders. We have lunch in this quaint town before we continue our ride upstream along the Trigrad River and the stunning marble rock gorge it cuts through. Once we reach the famous Rodopi village of Trigrad, we can enter the thrilling Devil’s Throat Cave, featuring a 40-m high underground waterfall. Overnight at hotel.

Day 08: Rodopi – Dospat Dam
Today will be nothing short of spectacular! Back on our bikes for a descent back through the 300-m high walls of the Trigrad Gorge, before a gradual incline takes us up into and through Bulgaria’s longest gorge, Buinovo. Known by locals as the The Wolf’s Leap, the 10-km long gorge narrows to several metres at some points as the river cuts through the marble rock. You’ll spot entrances to many caves along the way, and we’ll stop to visit the beautiful 5-story tall Yagodina cave, filled with fascinating formations. We end our ride today at Dospat village located picturesquely on the shores of a dammed lake. Overnight at hotel.

Day 09: Dospat Dam – Velingrad
Today, we ride among three beautiful dams, a centuries-old coniferous forest, and vast meadows, finishing in Velingrad, Bulgaria’s spa capital . After riding on so many quiet back-roads, the last 10 km into town are a bit busier than we are used to, so we have the option to transfer, if we wish. There are over 90 curative and preventative springs and another natural phenomenon as well as the Kleptuza, the biggest Karst spring in Bulgaria, with an average discharge of 1,200 litres of ice-cold water per second.

Day 10: Sofia Departure
Transfer back to Sofia for your departure flight or for another night exploring Sofia.

City Night (s) Hotel / Camp
Sofia 01 Grand Hotel Sofia
Ribaritsa Village 01 Hotel Reneissance
Chiflik 01 Spa Hotel Fairy
Koprivshtitsa 01 Wine & Spa Complex Starossel
Hisaraya 01 C Comfort
Plovdiv 01 Grand Hotel Plovdiv
Rodopi 01 Tourist Guesthouse
Dospat 01 Hotel Romantika
Velingrad 01 Maxi Park Hotel & Spa

– Meeting and assistance by our representative.
– Welcome with fresh flower garlands.
– 09 Nights accommodation
– Daily Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners.
– 06 days centre-based walking
– Local English-speaking guide
– All transfers, sightseeing, excursions as per the program by private vehicle.
– Entrance Fee
– Transport, Parking, Gasoline & Toll ways.
– All present government taxes.

– International Airfare.
– Tips, gratuities, Portage, laundry, telephone calls, table drinks, camera/ video camera charges, or any other expenses of a personal nature.
– Visa fees, personal insurance.
– Any item not specified under cost includes.

– Accommodation in good hotels.
– Check-in / out time is 12 noon at most of the hotels.
– Extension to other places is also possible with a minimal extra cost.
– Additional nights are available at each place with minimal supplement.
– A visa is required and must be obtained prior to your departure from your Country.
– If quoted hotel is not available, we will provide one of a similar category and standard.
– Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability.
– In case the government changes presently applicable taxes, increase in airlines prices, fuel surcharge our rates will need to be adjusted accordingly.
– Sometimes, there is no relevance between the distance and time of travelling, as it depends upon the condition of the roads and congestion of the traffic.
– While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of local strikes etc that are beyond our control all schedule and itineraries are subject to last moment changes.
– Clients must be fully insured, as the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage to client’s property, medical emergencies or any other loss suffered by them whilst on tour.
– In Case of issuing Domestic or International air tickets, SGV is not responsible for any refund if the flight is delayed or cancelled, as it is the responsibility of airline.

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