Mystic Rhodope Mtns

Mountains Bulgaria: (ZZ-BGBK02)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/cycling_bulgaria_rhodope_mountains.aspx

Introduction
Mountains Bulgaria
The Rhodope 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. Here one can also find 70% of the world minerals, as well as some 600 caves. Flora and fauna contain species that have become extinct in other European countries. 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 asphalt main roads, with relatively little traffic, that are well-suited for biking. 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.

Special highlights:
♦ 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.

Accomodation

Accommodations
We stay in family-run hotels and guesthouses with private facilities.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Hotel in Sofia
Night 2: Hotel in Velingrad
Night 3: Hotel in Dospat
Night 4: Guesthouse in Trigrad
Night 5: Hotel in Smolyan
Night 6: Hotel in Borovo
Night 7: Hotel in Sofia

Sofia - Family Hotel "Zdravets"
Family hotel Zdravetz 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. The hotel has 15 spacious rooms and apartments with TV, telephone and bathroom with toilet, shower or bath. Internet is also available at this property.

Velingrad – Spa Hotel Elbrus or similar
Offering mineral water indoor and outdoor pools, Spa Hotel Elbrus is sited in a quite location in Velingrad. The rooms have a cable TV as well as a private bathroom with bath or shower and free toiletries. Free WiFi access is available.

Dospat – Family Hotel Tihiqt Kat
Set in Dospat, Tihiqt Kat offers a garden as well as free WiFi. The units are all fitted with a flat-screen TV with cable channels and private washrooms.

Trigrad – Guest House Zdravec
Nestled in the foothills of the Rhodope Mountains, this guesthouse offers you a beautiful panoramic view of Trigrad. The house has 6 rooms with private bathrooms, TV and internet access.

Smolyan – Hotel Uzunski
This 3 star Hotel offers a traditional accommodation with 23 rooms. Rooms at all feature complimentary wireless internet, heating, a balcony, and a private bathroom with shower, hairdryer and bathrobes. Guests also have free access to the indoor swimming pool.

Borovo – Hotel Varnentsi
This Hotel is located at the entrance of the village of Borovo, at an altitude of 1,000m above sea level. The hotel was opened in June 2009 and offers all amenities for a pleasant stay. The hotel has double and triple rooms, each with private bathroom, cable TV and wireless internet.

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:
7 breakfasts and 5 dinners are included. 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
Arrive Sofia airport and transfer to our hotel.
Meals included: none
Overnight in Sofia


Day 2. Belmeken dam to Velingrad
Drive to 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: 42 km; time: 3.5 hrs; uphill cycling: 140m (459ft); downhill cycling: 1,440m (4,724 ft)
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight in Velingrad


Day 3. Velingrad to 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: 6-7 hrs; uphill cycling: 1300m (42,65 ft); downhill cycling: 810m (2,657ft)

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight in Dospat


Day 4. Dospat to 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.
Cycling specifics:
Distance: 48 km; time: 5 hrs; uphill cycling: 1200 m (3,937 ft); downhill cycling: 1250m (4,101 ft)

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight in Trigrad


Day 5. Trigrad to 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 savor 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 finish cycling in Smolyan town, where we stay overnight.
Cycling specifics:
Distance: 66 km; time: 6-7 hrs; uphill cycling: 1260 m (4134 ft); downhill cycling: 1510m (24954 ft)

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight in Smolyan


Day 6. Smolyan yo Rozhen
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. Nearby is the picturesque village of Borovo and the famous religious place with chapels and healing springs – Krastova Gora.
Cycling specifics:
Distance: 58 km; time: around 5 hrs; uphill cycling: 1480m (4856 ft); downhill cycling: 1420m (4659 ft).
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight in Borovo


Day 7.  The Miraculous bridges & Bachkovo monastery
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.
Distance: 56 km; time: about 5 hrs; uphill cycling: 1310m (4298ft); downhill cycling: 860m (2822ft)
Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight in Sofia


Day 8. Departure
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for departure.
Meals included: Breakfast


Rates and Dates for Mystic Rhodope Mtns

Rates include:

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

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20218 day trip, MAP€560$670
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.19

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2021 Single supplement 90 $110
2021 Helmet rental 5 $10
2021 Bike rental- please inquire for prices ~ 70 $85
2021 Private transfers to/from Sofia Airport to city centre or Plovdiv Airport to city centre, one-way, per vehicle 15 $20
2021 Small group supplement (2-3 pax), pp 100 $120

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
A 2021 05/01 - 10/30 8d / 7n 8 day trip, MAP 4 /12 Reserve

Dates Note: Daily departure from May to October.

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, Gratuities, Entrance fees & Private transfers

Note:

Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Mystic Rhodope Mountains - Road Cycling (ZZ-BGBK02):
We do have safety protocols but they will updated from April 1-st 2021

For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

Other Info
Meeting: Plovdiv
Airport: Plovdiv / Sofia
Transfer: Included from Plovdiv or Sofia

Climate:
                                            Plovdiv area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

41

47

56

65

75

83

87

87

79

67

53

44

Average Low Temperature (°F)

27

30

36

43

52

59

63

62

55

46

37

29

Average High Temperature (°C)

5

8

13

19

24

28

31

30

26

19

12

7

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-3

-1

2

6

11

15

17

17

13

8

3

-1

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.