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Cycling in Rodopi Mountains - Cycling Trip

1 week: Bulgaria to Bulgaria (CYCROD)

The Rodopi Mountains, being the oldest land on the Balkans, house also some of the loveliest coniferous woods in the country. The landscape is soft and oval and consists of high ridges and deep river valleys with gorges taking turns with river basins and valleys. Here one can also find 70 % of the world minerals as well as 600 caves. Flora and fauna contain species that have become extinct in other European countries. In comparison with our tour in the Balkan Mountains, this one will take you even higher, at about 2000 m a.s.l. Most of the mileage goes along main, asphalt roads with relatively little traffic, that are well-suited for biking. Along them bikers can see some old-time transportation means: wooden carts pulled by a horse, a donkey or a cow. You can also meet some nomad gypsies, picking mushrooms and berries in the woods, some local Muslim minorities living in tobacco and potato cultivation or herds of sheep or goats coming down from the hills at the end of the day.

Accommodation

We stay in family-run hotels (day 4) and 3-star hotel (days 2, 3, 5 & 6) with private facilities and in guesthouses (days 1& 7) with shared facilities on HB (breakfast & dinner included).

Kitty Notes

n/a

Itineraries

Day 1

Arrival at Sofia or Plovdiv Airport and accommodation in Sofia or Plovdiv depending on the arrival time. Please note that the staring point of the trip is between these two cities so you may meet the rest of the group in the morning of day 2 for the first stage of the tour.

Day 2

The cycling starts few kilometers before the village of Sestrimo and up to Belmeken dam (2000 m.a.s.l. ) through old coniferous woods. In the afternoon the road passes the Iundola\'s mountain meadows before descending to the town of Velingrad, where we stay overnight. Biking distance: 76 km, taking about 5,30 h. Uphill/downhill cycling - 500m/1300 m.

Day 3

We begin from Velingrad, passing through the picturesque landscape of Tsigov Chark coutryside by Batak dam to the town of Dospat (1200 m a.s.l.). 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.
Biking distance: 71 km, taking about 5 hours. Uphill/downhill cycling - 600m/700 m.

Day 4

After breakfast the biking starts from the centre of 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 (1450 m a.s. l.). Here another sinister cave is expecting us - The Devil\'s Throat Cave, housing one of the highest underground waterfalls in Europe. We stay overnight in Trigrad. Biking distance: 50 km, taking about 4 hours. Uphill/downhill cycling - 700m/800 m.

Day 5

From Trigrad village we cycle back and down to Trigrad Gorge and further down to the village of Nastan. Then we follow the Vucha River to the village of Mihalkovo. The guide is waiting in a restaurant by the beautiful Vucha dam to take you to the town of Devin for a refreshing mineral swimming pool and overnight in a hotel (distance - 57,5 km ). Biking distance: 58 km, taking about 3, 30 hours. Uphill/downhill cycling - 250m/700 m.

Day 6

In the morning we start biking from Devin and upstream Shirokolushka River to the village of Shiroka Luka (1060 m a.s.l), where some time on sightseeing will be spendt. From there the road continues rising through the village of Stoikite, then through some wonderful coniferous forests with awesome views over the Rodopi Mountains. You finally reach Smolian lakes, where the supporting vehicle waits to take you to Pamporovo resort (1650 m a.s.l.). You stay overnight in Pamporovo. Biking distance: 47 km, taking about 3,30 hours. Uphill/downhill cycling - 950m/300 m.

Day 7

Cycling from the hotel in Pamporovo (1650 m a.s.l.), following Chepelarska River to the town of Chepelare (1100 m a.s.l.). Some 15 km further you start cycle up (or the guide takes you with the supporting vehicle ) to the unique nature phenomenon \"The Miraculous Bridges\". After that you take again your bikes and start cycle only downhill back to the road to Plovdiv. The next village on the way is the spa center Narechenski Bani. In 5 km you will get to the second largest monastery in Bulgaria - the Bachkovo Monastery. Here we have lunch before proceeding with the car further to Plovdiv (160 m a.s.l.). Biking distance: 87 km, taking about 3,30 hours. Uphill/downhill cycling - 650m/1650 m.

Day 8

After breakfast you will have transfer to Sofia or Plovdiv Airport for departure (transfer time: 20 min to Plovdiv Airport or 2 h to Sofia Airport)

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