8 days
Duration
Moderate to Challenging
Difficulty
Bulgaria
Location
May-October
Availability

  Discover the wilderness of Bulgaria’s Rhodope mountains

  Beautiful walking trails among tranquil pine forests, dramatic steep gorges and remarkable caves

  Stay in charming mountain villages and experience the warm hospitality of rural Bulgaria

  Visit the magnificent Bachkovo Monastery and admire its fresco-covered walls

  Explore the old town of Plovdiv, European Capital of Culture for 2019


Hiking the Rhodope mountains

Self-guided walking holiday with luggage transportation

A memorable walking itinerary through the Rhodopes – Bulgaria’s most lyrical mountain range, famed as the birthplace of the legendary musician Orpheus. Along with a wonderful walking climate, the Rhodopes offer the perfect setting for gentle hiking amid pastoral landscapes, valleys dotted with picturesque villages, verdant meadows with grazing flocks of goats and sheep, ancient deciduous forests, Roman roads and bridges. You will discover natural phenomena like the Trigrad Gorge, the Yagodina and Devil’s Throat caves, and the Chudni Mostove (wonderful bridges). A visit to Bachkovo Monastery (the second largest in Bulgaria) and options to join the free walking tours of Sofia and Plovdiv cities are also included.

This hiking tour includes all transfers, including those to and from Sofia Airport. Walking treks are moderately strenuous. Paths are well-marked and you will receive a map and detailed route notes in English to guide you along the route.

8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS From €620 per person sharing*

*A supplement will apply for solo walkers.

ACCOMMODATION
  • You will stay in a combination of three‐star hotels (days 1 and 7) and family-run pensions/guesthouses (all other days).
  • All accommodations have en‐suite rooms.
  • Breakfast and dinner are included except for day 7, when you will have a wide choice of restaurants in the capital, Sofia.
  • Luggage transportation is provided between accommodations.
AVAILABILITY You can start your trip on any day of the week (subject to availability) from May to October.
INCLUDED
7 overnight stays (2 x 3* hotels and 5 x family-run pensions/guesthouses)
7 x breakfasts
5 x dinners
Transfers from and to Sofia Airport
All other transfers as per the itinerary
Luggage transportation
All local taxes
Detailed route notes and maps
Pre-departure information pack
24/7 telephone support
NOT INCLUDED
Flights & travel insurance
Lunch packs
Dinner on day 7 in Sofia
Drinks and snacks
Cave entry charges (appr. 7 euros/pp total)
Anything else not mentioned in the “included” section
OPTIONAL EXTRAS
Additional nights
Single Room Supplement(s)
1

Day 1: Arrival

You will be met at Sofia Airport and transferred to your overnight accommodation in the tranquil mountain town of Devin (3 hrs drive).

Overnight: Devin

2

Day 2: Devin – Yagodina – Trigrad

You have two options on your first walking day in the Rhodopes;

Option 1

Distance: 9.5 km | Ascent: 565 m | Descent: 355 m

A 40 min transfer takes you to the entry of the Yagodinska Peshtera Cave: one of Bulgaria’s longest caves, which you can opt to view. Once finished with the cave tour, proceed for Trigrad village through idyllic landscapes of rolling crests, forests, and valleys.

Option 2

Distance: 16/21 km | Ascent: 1070/1385 m | Descent: 750/1065 m

A 30min transfer takes you to the trailhead where a moderate but nice ascent through gardens and woods brings you up at the crest of the mountain. Enjoy the breath-taking views from the famous Eagle’s Eye observation platform. You then descend to Yagodina village, from where you can make a detour to visit the Yagodinska Peshtera Cave or head straight for Trigrad village.

*For those who choose the shorter walk, there is also an option to extend the hike with a visit to the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge (with its 350m high vertical cliffs) and the Dyavolskoto Gyrlo (The Devil’s Throat) Cave (housing the highest underground waterfall in the Balkans, 42m high), both near Trigrad. These are both must-see attractions, and they can also be done in the afternoon of Day 3 or Day 4 by those who opted for the longer treks on Day 2.

Overnight: Trigrad

3

Day 3: Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge and Zhrebevo village

Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 700 m | Descent: 700 m | 5½ hrs approx.

Magnetic sights follow each other on another circular hiking tour around Trigrad, with the authentic village of Zhrebevo at its distant end. Legend has it that the village was named after a stallion which shielded it from trouble and strife. Along your route, you will observe the entry to the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge and enjoy wonderful panoramic vistas.

Overnight: Trigrad

4

Day 4: Circular walk via Vodni Pad and the Trigradska valley

Distance: 17 km | Ascent: 670 m | Descent: 760 m | 5½ hrs approx.

Today, starting with a 10-minute transfer to the trailhead, you enjoy a particularly pleasant walking trek to the village of Vodni Pad right by the Greek border. Here you will see remains of barbed wire fences which were erected to prevent people escaping into Greece during the 45 years of communist rule following WWII.

A circular trail takes you over panoramic crests, through pine forests, sheltered valleys and green meadows dotted with smallholdings and traditional stone houses. The valley of the Trigradska River takes you back to Trigrad.

Overnight: Trigrad

5

Day 5: Beden to Lyaskovo

Distance: 21 km | Ascent: 500 m | Descent: 850 m | 6 hrs approx.

A transfer to the village of Beden takes you to the start of today’s particularly panoramic trek. The views over the Rhodopes’ green crests change at each turn. The day ends at the village of Lyaskovo, one of the most distinctive local communities, with unforgettable charm and unique atmosphere. Your stay will leave you with wonderful memories of Rhodope hospitality.

* There is an option to extend the tour with extra night in Lyaskovo village, incl. a circular trek along the nearby mountain ridges.

Overnight: Lyaskovo

6

Day 6: Forest walk to Chudni Mostove

Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 950 m | Descent: 550 m | 5½ hrs approx.

A picturesque hiking route through the dense Rhodopes’ spruce forests takes you to the majestic marble bridges of the Chudni Mostove (‘wonderful bridges’), an impressive natural rock phenomenon in the karst valley of the river Erkyupriya. From here, you will be transferred to the village of Kossovo: a unique mountain community where you overnight in a traditional stone house.

Overnight: Kossovo

7

Day 7: Bachkovo Monastery and optional tours of Plovdiv and Sofia

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Bulgaria’s second‐largest monastery at Bachkovo. The church is decorated with 1850s frescoes by renowned artist Zahari Zograf and houses a much-cherished icon of the Virgin Mary.

Another transfer then takes you further to Plovdiv and the starting point of the free Plovdiv tour (starting at 11:00), which will show you the main sites of interest of the Old Town, the centre and the pedestrian area of the city. Time on your own until early afternoon in Plovdiv (14:00) and transfer to Sofia in order to make it on time for the free Sofia tour, starting at 18:00 (similar service, meant to show you the most famous tourist attractions in the centre of Sofia).

Overnight: Sofia

8

Day 8: Departure

Transfer after breakfast to Sofia Airport.


Arrival and departure info

  The closest airport is Sofia International Airport (SOF).
Transport is provided from and to Sofia Airport at the start and end of your trip. The drive from Sofia Airport to Devin on day 1 takes about 3 hours.
Walking holiday in the Rhodope mountains
Hiking in the Rhodope Mountains
The Eagle's Eye viewing platform (Orlovo Oko) (c) Gen4o via Wikimedia Commons
View from the Eagle's Eye platform
Mountain scenery in the Rhodopes
The Trigrad Gorge in Bulgaria
Riverside boardwalk in the Rhodopes
Mountain stream, Bansko
Rhodope mountains shepherd
Rhodope mountain village
Local villagers in Bulgaria's Rhodope mountains
Mountain stream in Bulgaria's Rhodopes
Chudnite Mostove, the 'Wonderful Bridges'
Bachkovo Monastery, Bulgaria
Plovdiv Roman ruins
Plovdiv
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia

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