Across the Balkans

Mountains Bulgaria: (ZZ-BGBK01)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/cycling_bulgaria_balkan_mountains.aspx

Introduction
Mountains Bulgaria
Exciting cycling trip in the heart of the Balkan mountains.
On this tour we bike along the north and central parts of the Balkan Mountains, famous for their unspoiled nature, green valleys with sheep peacefully grazing on lush grass, precipitous cliffs and gentle, rolling hills offering plenty of unique biking opportunities. We start the trip from the tiny Goliam Izvor village, passing by the Central Balkan National Park and ending up in Veliko Tarnovo – the Old Bulgarian capital and one of the most charming Bulgarian towns. The narrow roads meander through picturesque villages that look as they have been untouched for the past 200 years. You’ll see wooden carts pulled by a horse or donkey and villagers making hay the old-fashioned way.

Tour highlights:
♦ Troyan Monastery “Assumption of Virgin Mary”, being the 3rd largest in Bulgaria, is built in the style of the Bulgarian Renaissance.
♦ Etura Open-air Ethnographic Museum presenting the Bulgarian customs, craftsmanship, architecture and way of life in the the region during the Bulgarian National Revival period.
♦ Bozhentsi village - an architectural reserve consisting of some 100 houses from The Bulgarian National Revival Period.
♦ Veliko Turnovo - the old medieval capital of Bulgaria

Accomodation

Accommodations
Overnights are in family hotels and guesthouses.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Guesthouse in Sofia
Night 2: Hotel in Ribaritsa
Night 3: Guesthouse in Apriltsi
Night 4: Hotel in Etura
Night 5: Guesthouse in Bozhentsi
Night 6: Hotel in Elena
Night 7: Hotel in Veliko Turnovo

Sofia - Family Hotel "Zdravets" 
This small hotel is run since 1995 by friendly hosts. The hotel has a beautiful garden with lots of flowers, a reception and a small restaurant with a veranda. There are 15 spacious rooms and apartments with TV, telephone and bathroom with toilet, shower or bath. Internet is also available at this property.

Ribaritsa – Park Hotel Ribaritza or similar
The hotel offers views of the surrounding Balkan Mountains. All rooms features a cable TV as well as a private bathroom with shower, hairdryer and free toiletries. Guests can relax in the outdoor swimming pool. WiFi is available in common areas and is free of charge.

Apriltsi – Family Hotel Tihiat Kut
The hotel is situated in the quarter Ostrets. It offers 40 beds (double, triple and quadruple rooms). Each room is equipped with a TV-set, WC/shower and a balcony. The hotel offers great views of the surrounding mountain. Free Wi-Fi is provided in public areas.

Etura – Hotel Strannopriemnitsa
Picturesquely situated at the foot of Stara Planina right next to the river Sivek, the hotel is a part of the Open Air Ethnographic Museum Etar.
Built and furnished in unison with the entire pattern of the museum, the hotel combines the unique charm of the national architecture with modern needs.
The hotel provides 61 beds (5 single rooms, 22 double rooms and 2 family rooms). Each room has its own bathroom, TV set with satellite program and phone.

Bozhentsi - Parlapanova guest house
Built with respect to the local, traditional architecture and offering views of Stara Planina Mountain, the Guest House is immersed in the countryside. Fitted with parquet floor and satellite TV, rooms have simple furnishings and a fully equipped private bathroom. In the summer, guests have free use of the small outdoor pool and the barbecue which are located at a sister guest house, 20 m away. Free WiFi is available in all areas.

Elena – hotel Eleni palace
Offering an indoor pool, this hotel is located in the center of Elena. Free WiFi and a fitness center are available as well. The accommodation consists of 26 rooms – 19 of them double; 2 single; 2 twins; 1 triple; 1 apartment and 1 VIP room. All rooms here will provide you with air conditioning, a private bathroom and a TV with cable channels.

Veliko Tamovo – Hotel Silvestar
Enjoying a quiet location, this hotel is ideally located only 100 m away from the Tsarevets Fortress. There are 12 double rooms including and all of them are comfortably furnished. The guests have at their disposal individual bathrooms with all necessary appliances including a hairdryer, air conditioning with local thermostat, a plasma TV and a telephone set. Free internet access is available.

Triple and single occupancy
In case you are willing to share but we are unable to find another person of the same sex willing to share a room with you, a single supplement fee will apply.
Triple occupancy might be possible depending on the time of the year, please inquire.


Meals:
Breakfasts and dinners are included except for dinner on day 1 and 7. Lunches are to be paid extra.
The food is usually composed of home-cooked dishes and Bulgarian specialties.

Special diets and dietary restrictions
We can cater to special diets and dietary restrictions - please, let us know at the time of booking.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

BIKES:

Drag - Grand Canyon TE 2017

 

Suitable for

Road cycling

FORK

SR Suntour NEX 60mm with hydraulic lockout

FRONT HUB

Front Alloy QR Loose Bearings

RIMS

Aluminum double wall 32H

FRONT DERAILLEUR

Shimano FD-M310

CRANKSET

Shimano Altus FC-M371

BOTTOM BRACKET

VP-73 sealed cartridge bearings

CHAIN

KMC

STEM

COX 6061 Stem

GRIPS

Cox Dual Comp

SEAT POST

Cox QR

FRAME

A6+ Alloy Hydro formed Double butted

TIRES

Schwalbe Delta Cruiser 37-622

REAR HUB

Rear Alloy QR Loose Bearings

SHIFTERS

Shimano Altus SL-M370 3×9

REAR DERAILLEUR

Shimano Alivio RT-T4000

CASSETTE

Shimano CS-HG300 11/32T

PEDALS

Alloy Platform

HANDLEBAR

COX 6061 630mm Rise: 25mm

BRAKES

Promax Hydraulic Disk

SADDLE                              Cox StrikePro

 

 

Drag - Grand Canyon TE

 

Suitable for

Road cycling

FORK

SR Suntour CR-8 60mm

FRONT HUB

Front Alloy QR Loose Bearings

RIMS

Aluminium double wall 32H

FRONT DERAILLEUR

Shimano TX-FD51

CRANKSET

Shimano FC-M131 48/38/28

BOTTOM BRACKET

Thun GO sealed cartridge bearings

CHAIN

KMC

STEM

Alloy +25 Degree

GRIPS

Cox Dual Comp

SEAT POST

Cox 6061 27.2

FRAME

Lightweight A6+ Alloy

TIRES

Kenda 622×37

REAR HUB

Rear Alloy QR Loose Bearings

SHIFTERS

Shimano ST-EF41 3×7 speed

REAR DERAILLEUR

Shimano Altus RD-M310

CASSETTE

Shimano CS-HG20 11/28T 8

PEDALS

Alloy Platform

HANDLEBAR

600mm Rise: 30mm

BRAKES

Aluminium V-brake

SADDLE

Cox Speed

SEAT POST CLAMP

Cox QR

 

 

Drag - Grand canyon Lady

 

Suitable for

Road cycling

FORK

SR Suntour CR-8 60mm

FRONT HUB

Front Alloy QR Loose Bearings

RIMS

Aluminium double wall 32H

FRONT DERAILLEUR

Shimano TX-FD51

CRANKSET

Shimano FC-M131 48/38/28

BOTTOM BRACKET

Thun GO sealed cartridge bearings

CHAIN

KMC

STEM

Alloy +25 Degree

GRIPS

Cox Dual Comp

SEAT POST

Cox 6061 27.2

FRAME

Lightweight A6+ Alloy

TIRES

Kenda 622×37

REAR HUB

Rear Alloy QR Loose Bearings

SHIFTERS

Shimano ST-EF41 3×7 speed

REAR DERAILLEUR

Shimano Altus RD-M310

CASSETTE

Shimano CS-HG20 11/28T 8

PEDALS

Alloy Platform

HANDLEBAR

600mm Rise: 30mm

BRAKES

Aluminum V-brake

SADDLE

Cox Speed

SEAT POST CLAMP

Cox QR


♦ Bikes: hardtail mountain bike or hybrid bike
♦ 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
♦ 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.
♦ Extension at the Black Sea coast - relax at the seaside - more information upon request

Luggage transportation:
Luggage is taken care of throughout the whole trip.

Additional tour info:
All bikers receive a detailed road book and map. 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, giving them talks by the most interesting sites en-route. The guide is also responsible for the technical support of the bikes. Bikers can always skip some harder stages using the supporting vehicle.

Itinerary

Sample itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1. Arrival
Arrival at Sofia airport and transfer to our hotel.
Meals included: none
Overnight in Sofia


Day 2. Goliam Izvor to Ribaritsa
Early transfer brings us to Golyam Izvor village where the cycling starts. We start cycling towards the town of Teteven as we have an optional detour to the Glozhene monastery. As we reach Teteven we can have a short stop for a walk and visit of the local historic museum and church or go for a short bike and hike to a nearby eco trail with 2 beautiful waterfalls. Then you continue cycling to Ribaritsa village where we stay for the night.
Cycling distance: 47km; Ascent: 370m; Descent: 220m.
Detour to Glozhen monastery - Distance: 27km; Ascent: 510m; Descent: 520m.

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight in Ribaritsa


Day 3. Ribaritsa to Troyan monastery & Apriltsi
Ascent from Ribaritsa village to the highest point for the day - Bogoi pass (1185m). From this pass the road goes all the way down to the town of Troyan passing through the village of Shipkovo where you can take a refreshing bath in the mineral water swimming pools. After lunch in Troyan town centre we visit The Pottery and Craft Exhibition "Oreshaka" nearby and the famous Troyan monastery. We spend the night in Apriltsii village.
Cycling distance: 77 km; Ascent: 970m; Descent: 1060m.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight in Apriltsii


Day 4. Apriltsi to Gabrovo or Etura
Cycling on isolated village roads from Apriltsi to Gabrovo. Enroute you pass by numerous small villages set in green landscapes and river valleys. After an ascent followed by a nice downhill ride you reach Gabrovo town and continue to "Etura"- an open-air ethnographic museum, where you can add and additional 6km of cycling reaching the nearby Sokolski Monastery.
Cycling distance: 61 km; Ascent: 700m; Descent: 800m.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight in Etura


Day 5. Gabrovo to Tryavna & Bozhentsi
After breakfast you start cycling from Gabrovo. After an ascent followed by a descent, you arrive in Tryavna. There you can spend some time on sightseeing and lunch in the centre of this beautiful National Revival town. Ups and downs through open terrain will lead you to the final stop for today - Bozhentsi architectural reserve.
Cycling distance: 50 km; Ascent: 900m; Descent: 890m.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight in Bozhentsi


Day 6. Dryanovo monastery to Elena
A transfer in the morning brings you to the Dryanovo monastery where you can also visit the local cave. You start cycling from the turning for Yalovo village to the town of Elena passing by several villages and the blue waters of Iovkovtsi dam.
Cycling distance: 53 km; Ascent: 800m; Descent: 800m.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight in Elena


Day 7. Elena to Arbanassi & Veliko Turnovo
From Elena we continue cycling to the last point of the trip – Arbanasi architectural reserve. The landscape includes meadows, pastures, cultivation lands, shrubby hills and finally a beautiful plateau over Veliko Tarnovo. After some free time for rest and walks among the old houses of Arbanasi we go for a lunch and sightseeing tour in Veliko Turnovo - the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. Afternoon transfer to Sofia where we spend the last overnight.
Cycling distance: 42 km; Ascent: 600m; Descent: 730m.
Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight in Veliko Turnovo


Day 8. Departure
Transfer to airport after breakfast.
Meals included: Breakfast



Rates and Dates for Across the Balkans

Rates include:

Accommodations, Most meals, 6 cycling days with support vehicle and English-speaking guide/driver, Map and road book, Technical bike support & All scheduled transfers

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20208 day trip, MAP€510$580
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.13

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2020 Pick-up/ drop off from Sofia Airport included at set times 0 $0
2020 Single supplement 100 $115
2020 Helmet rental 5 $10
2020 Bike rental- please inquire for prices ~ 70 $80
2020 Small group supplement (2-3 pax), price pp 90 $105
2020 Private transfers to/from Sofia Airport to city centre or Plovdiv Airport to city centre, one-way, per vehicle 15 $20
2020 Private transfer to Sofia Airport on Day 8, per car 60 $70

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 06/20 - 06/27 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 4 /12 Expired
A 2020 07/18 - 07/25 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 4 /12 Expired
A 2020 08/15 - 08/22 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 4 /12 Reserve
A 2020 09/12 - 09/19 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 4 /12 Reserve
A 2020 10/10 - 10/17 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 4 /12 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Some meals (all lunches + meals on Day 1 and dinner on Day 7), Alcoholic drinks, Bike/Helmet/Basket rental, Travel insurance, Entrance fees, Gratuities & Private transfers

Other Info
Meeting: Goliam Izvor
Airport: Sofia
Transfer: Included from Sofia Airport

Climate:
                                                   Sofia area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

38

43

52

61

70

77

82

82

74

63

50

40

Average Low Temperature (°F)

23

26

32

40

48

54

58

57

51

42

33

26

Average High Temperature (°C)

3

6

11

16

21

25

28

28

23

17

10

5

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-5

-3

0

5

9

12

14

14

10

6

1

-3

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

5

5

6

8

9

8

5

4

4

5

5

6

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Temperatures expected during the time we operate our trips are mild to warm. Rainfalls can happen, but they are usually short. However, heavy showers are possible and can be more prolonged during spring and late autumn.

Spring (March to May)
During this season, it is warm but can be rainy.

Summer (June to August)
These months are usually pleasant and can get quite hot. August can also be a month of high rainfall.

Autumn (September to November)
This time of the year is mostly dry with mild temperatures.

Winter (December to February)
Winter is chilly with temperatures around the freezing point, and snow is common.

The most pleasant months to visit are May, June and September. At that time, it is usually warm enough to enjoy the outdoors and most tourists are gone.

What To Bring:
Equipment and clothing:
Cycling gloves, breathable clothes, waterproof gear, cycling shoes/trainers. No other special equipment needed for this tour (for full list with recommended items see “General”).
Biking without helmet is not advisable. We strongly recommend you to bring your own helmet or use one of ours.

Recommended items:
good quality padded cycling shorts (baggy style); cycling helmet; cycling shoes; fleece headband; fingerless biking gloves; lightweight windproof biking jacket; waterproof trousers; fleece windstopper jacket; sunglasses with UV protection; sunscreen lotion and lip balm.

NOTE: men are not allowed to enter churches or monasteries in shorts and women should not expose their legs and shoulders.