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Discover Bulgaria on a bike

Route: Sofia - Veliko - Turnovo - Arbanassi - the Preobrajenski Monastery - Dragizevo - Kmetovzi - Architekturdorf Bozjenzi - Tryavna - the Troyan Monastery - Oreschak - Chiflik - Hissar -  Plovdiv - Bachkovo Monastery - Velingrad  -  Avramovo -  Bansko  - Dobarsko -  Rila Monastery - Sofia
Transport: Coach/ Bike
Price from: T/A


Snow-capped peaks and soft green slopes, cool forests carrying the aroma of herbs and wild fruit, quick-flowing rivers and crystal-clear blue lakes, mineral springs and bio-reserves, rare plants and game, large ski resorts and small picturesque villages with living traditions and folklore - every Bulgarian mountain has its own characteristic appearance, fascination and beautiful name.
Explore the unique biking opportunites 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.
Riding through the dramatic gorge of the Maritsa River between the mystic Rhodope Mountain and the mighty Rila Mountain will surely remain as an unfading memory from this trip, since it provides one of the most spectacular sceneries there are on the Balkan Peninsula!
The bike ride through the most majestic of all mountains in Bulgaria, the Rila Mountain will take us through a National reserve that has over 219 lakes, over 2000 plant varieties and over 500 representatives of the animal kingdom and features the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula – Moussala. With its 2925 meters above sea level the peak is higher even than the Olympus Mountain in Greece.

The narrow roads we will take meander through picturesque villages that look as they did 200 years ago. You’ll see wooden carts pulled by a horse or donkey and villagers making hay the old-fashioned way, but you will also experience a country with renewed energy, a vision for tomorrow, and unsurpassed natural beauty.

Day- to- day- Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Bulgaria – Sofia, Arbanassi
Our guide will meet you at the Sofia Airport upon your arrival and accompany you throughout the whole trip. Then we will take you on a relaxing walk around the capital’s highlights – the imposing golden-domed St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the ancient St.Sofia Church, the National Art Gallery and many more, situated in the heart of the city. We will leave some time to enjoy a refreshing cup of coffee, a perfect time for you to get to know your fellow travellers and discuss your first impressions from tour vibrant capital. Next we will enjoy a scenic drive towards the mountainous village of Arbanassi peacefully nested on the North side of the Balkan Mountain. Here we will enjoy a delicious welcome dinner and discuss how the tour will unfold.
Overnight in Arbanassi. (D)

Day 2:
By bus: Arbanassi – The Preobrazhenski Monastery
Bike ride: The Preobrazhenski Monastery – Veliko Turnovo – the Peter&Pavel Monastery – Arbanassi (Distance: 20 km, altitude difference: 200/220m, start at 500m, easy descending ride)
After breakfast we will travel with the bus to the beautiful Preobrazhenski Monastery situated within 5 km from the village of Arbanassi. The monastery is impressive with its architectural complexity and historical significance. It has been crucial for the preservation of the Bulgarians’ faith and cultural heritage in the highest part of the Balkan mountain region throughout the centuries of Muslim dominance in our country (14th – 19th century). Here we will start our bike ride today. We will follow the valley of the Yantra river until we reach Veliko Turnovo – The capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. We will take a walk around the picturesque Tsarevets Fortess and learn about the bravery and pride in the history of this glorious Medieval capital.Then we will leave some time for a stroll and a cup of refreshing aromatic coffee in the city’s preserved authentic market and craft-shop street “Samovodka charshia”. Next we will ride to the St. Peter and Paul Monastery from where we will enjoy the splendid panoramic view towards the wine fields of the Veliko Turnovo surroundings. Our last destination today will be the unique “Rojdestvo Hristovo” church in Arbanassi, which fascinates with its intricate woodcarvings and ancient frescoes. For dinner we will enjoy local Bulgarian specialties.
Overnight in Arbanassi. (B,L,D)

Day 3:
By bus: Arbanassi - Dragizevo; Kilifarevo-Kmetovzi
Bike ride: Dragizevo - the Merdanski Monastery - the village of Kapinovo and the Kapinovski Monastery „St. Nikolai Tschudotvorets„ - the village of Kilifarevo - the village of Kmetovtsi
(Distance: 31km, altitude difference: 240/300m, easy ride)
Today we will go totally off-the beaten track and away from the popular tourist routes. We will explore the picturesque Bulgarian countryside and the mighty Balkan Mountain range. Our bike route features lush green landscapes, dense forests and cosy little villages where we will once again experience the local people’s hospitality and learn about their everyday live in places that feel a world away from the hectic-paced big cities.
Our bike ride will start from the village of Dragizevo and finish in the village of Kilifarevo. Then we will travel take a short bus ride south towards the village of Kmetovtsi where we will spend the night.
Overnight in Kmetovtsi. (B,L,D)

Day 4:
By bus: Tryavna - Kmetovzi
Bike ride: the village of Kmetovzi - the Architectural reserve Bozhenzi - the town of Tryavna - Kmetovtsi
(Distance: 13km, altitude difference: 300/320m, start at 500m – easy ascending and descending ride)
After breakfast we will set off for a scenic bike ride in the heart of the Balkan Mountain. We will reach the Architectural reserve of Bozhenzi which has preserved the authentic Midlevel atmosphere of the mountainous village until the present day. The village is famous for the mouth-watering homemade yoghurt which we will try in one of its welcoming taverns. Then we will continue our bike ride towards the small town of Tryavna famous for its charming Old Town, where some of the most impressive woodcarvings in Bulgaria that date back to the Middle Ages can be seen. We will have some time to stroll around the authentic Medieval houses and buy some handmade souvenirs. Then we will return to the village of Kmetovtsi on the bus.
Overnight in Kmetovtsi. (B,L,D)

Day 5:
By bus: Kmetovtsi-Troyan - the Troyan Monastery
Bike ride: the Troyan Monastery – the village of Oreshak – the village of Chiflika
(Distance: 29km, altitude difference: 300/400m, start at 400m – easy descending ride)
We will start the day with a scenic bus ride towards the town of Troyan famous not only because of the beautiful Troyan Monastery situated nearby, but also because of  the delicious local cuisine and the popular Bulgarian homemade plum brandy known as “Slivovitsa”. We will visit the enchanting Troyan Monastery founded in the late 16th century and home of one of the holiest icons in Bulgarian Orthodoxy - the Three-Handed Virgin. Being among the biggest monasteries in the country, it boosts intricate woodcarvings, splendid frescoes and impressive architecture. Then we will begin our bike ride along the valley of the Beli Osam River which picturesquely cuts through the central part of the mighty Balkan Mountain. In the late afternoon we will reach the village of Chiflika where we will wash down our dinner with a glass of the Troyan “Slivovitsa”.
Overnight in Chiflika. (B,L,D)

Day 6:
By bus: Chiflika – Hissar; Kaloyanovo - Plovdiv
Bike ride: the town of Hissar – Starosel – the village of Kaloyanovo
(Distance: 40km, altitude difference: 50/60m, start at 347m, easy descending ride)   
We will start the day with an hour for relaxation in the SPA centre of the hotel. Then we will travel south through the Beklemeto pass, the highest pass in the Balkan Mountain (1320m). We will make short stop to take some photos of the breathtaking panorama of the Rose Valley, situated at the south foot of the mountain. Then we will travel through the unspoiled beech forests and pass the tiny towns of Sopot and Karlovo to reach Hissar – once a flourishing Roman town, today - a cozy resort attractive with its natural beauty, the hot thermal springs and the multitude of SPA hotels. From here we will ride our bikes towards the Thracian Cult Complex Starosel following a pleasant paved lane. At Starosel we will learn more about the Thracian art and culture, which flourished here in the antiquity. We will also take tame for a lunch break in the beautiful surroundings of Starosel. In the afternoon we will continue our bike ride and reach the village of Kaloyanovo. From here we will take a short bus ride to the city of Plovidiv dubbed as the most beautiful Thracian city that existed. Today it fascinates the visitors with its splendid Old Quarter. Among the specialties we will try for dinner will be the traditional Shopska salad.
Overnight in Plovdiv. (B,L,D)

Day 7:
By bus: Plovdiv - Bachkovo - Plovdiv
Bike ride: no
This morning we spend in The Old Town of Plovdiv - among the most magnificent places in Bulgaria famous for its  spectacular  Roman Theatre, the multitude of tiny art galleries, churches and authentic cobbled streets lined with Revival period houses most of which open for public. In the afternoon we will set off for a short scenic drive towards the Rhodope Mountain to visit the situated nearby second in size and importance monastery in Bulgaria - Bachkovo Monastery which is home to some of the most impressive medieval frescoes and woodcarvings you can see in Bulgaria. In the late afternoon, we will return to Plovdiv  to enjoy some free time in the city centre before dinner.
Overnight in Plovdiv. (B,D)

Day 8:
Today we have two options for a bike and bus ride:
Option 1:
                Easy descending bike ride in the Undola pass between the Rila and the Rhodope Mountains
 
                Bus ride: Plovdiv-Velingrad-the Undola pass through the West Rhodpe Mountain-Avramovo
              
  Bike ride: the village of Avramovo – the town of Yakoruda – the village of Belitsa
           
     (Distance: 29km, altitude difference: 315/370m, start at 1267m, easy descending ride)
           
     Bus ride: Belitsa - Bansko 
Option 2:

                Moderate bike ride in the Undola pass between the Rila and the Rhodope Mountains                                          Bus ride: Plovdiv-Velingrad 
                Bike ride: the town of Velingrad – the village of Avramovo – the town of Yakoruda
                (Distance: 44km, altitude difference: 370/500m, start at 755m, ascending and descending                             moderate ride)
                Bus ride: Yakoruda – Bansko
The biking route of both Option 1 and Option 2 features the highest train station in Europe “Avramovi Kolibi” at 1267 m from where a breath-taking panorama of the surrounding mountains is displayed. We will bike through beautiful pine forests and indulge in the unspoiled natural beauty of the Rhodope Mountain, where according to the legends the mythological hero Orpheus was born.  In the small villages that we will pass by, we will be able to naturally chat with the locals and learn about their way of life far away from the big cities. We will return to Bansko for a nice dinner and a relaxing evening.
Overnight in Bansko. (B,L,D)

Day 9:
By bus: Bansko - Dobarsko
Bike ride: the village of Dobarsko – the village of Gorno Draglishte – the village of Dolno Draglishte – the town of Bansko
(Distance: 20km, altitude difference: 150/200m, start at 927m, easy ride)     
This morning we will dedicate to the Old Town of Bansko where we will drift back in time and explore the beautiful medieval houses tucked behind the high stone walls and spare some time to peek into the numerous welcoming galleries where the local artists present their works. Then we will travel to the nearby village of Dobrasko, where we will visit church “St. St. Theodor Tiron & Theodor Stratilat” built in the remote 1614 and undoubtedly the most interesting and extremely well-kept historical monument not only in the village of Dobarsko. We will also enjoy listening to some traditional folklore songs performed by the local women’s choir in the church’s cozy yard. Then it will be time for us to start our bike ride from the village of Dobrasko to the town of Bansko. The route goes through tranquil mountainous villages and lush green fields along the foot of the Pirin Mountain. In the evening, we will try some local specialties from the region of Bansko.
Overnight in Bansko. (B,L,D)

Day 10:
By bus: Bansko – Rila; the Rila Monastery - Sofia
Two options for a bike ride:
Option 1:
                The town of Rila – the Rila Monastery
                (Distance: 19km, altitude difference: 500/600, start at 600m, moderate descending ride)
Option 2:
                The town of Rila – the Rila Monastery – the Kirilova Polpyana area
                (Distance: 24km, altitude difference: 500/600, start at 600m, moderate descending ride
​The bike ride today is in the heart of the Rila Mountain, the highest mountain on the Blakan peninsula with its mount Musala at 2925m. We will ride through centuries old pine forests and flower-flecked mountain meadows. We will also visit one of the holiest snactuaries of Bulgaria - the Rila Monastery - a true architectural masterpiece of its time fascinating with its distinguished works of art. In the afternoon, the bus will pick us up either from the Rila Monastery or the Kirilova Polyana area (depending on which option for a bike ride we choose ) and we will travel to Sofia, where we will spend the night.
Overnight in Sofia. (B,L,D)

Day 11: The trip finishes after the guided Sofia sightseeing tour
Today  we will explore the Bulgarian capital – Sofia! Our guided sightseeing tour will reveal to us the colorful blend of numerous ancient sites and modern city landmarks that make Sofia so special. Then it will be time for us to say “Goodbye” with the promise to keep forever all the beautiful memories we have created together! (B,L)

If you like the suggested program, ideas, services and this is really your kind of holiday please send us your request for further details! We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and give you our professional advice. Thank you!

Highlights

  • Biking in three of the most spectacular Bulgarian Mountains – The Rila Mountain, The Rhodope Mountain and the Stara Planina Mountain
  • The tranquil mountain villages - cornerstones in the preservation of the Bulgarian history, traditions and cuisine
  • Veliko Turnovo – the Medieval capital of Bulgaria
  • The intricate Thracian art in the Starosel Thracian Cult Complex
  • The charming Old Quarter of the city of Plovdiv with its spectacular Roman amphitheatre
  • The picturesque region of Bansko
  • The Rila Monastery - an architectural masterpiece of its time with a significant role in the Bulgarian history
  • The Bulgarian capital Sofia - a blend of ancient historical heritage and modern-day landmarks

Route

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What Is Included

  • 11 days / 10 overnights
  • 10 breakfasts (B), 9 Lunches (L), 10 dinners (D)
  • 6 nights 4 - star hotel accommodation on a twin-share or double basis
  • 4 nights 3 - star hotel accommodation on a twin-share or double basis
  • Guided sightseeing tours of all visited cities and sights
  • Escorted services of a professional mountain biking guide in the requested language for the whole tour
  • Group Size: T/A
  • Modern, reliable mountain bikes and equipment
  • Transport: Modern air-conditioned coach
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