Mountain Biking in the Rhodope, Pirin and Rila Mountains
This mountain biking itinerary is suitable for tourists of all ages and levels of experience, and allows you to experience the history and virgin nature of the Rhodopes. Each day takes you to different altitudes with landscapes that shift constantly as you travel through them. The itinerary will let you discover Rhodopes' own folklore, architecture and delicious cuisine. This trip also takes you to the historical city of Melnik, situated in the beautiful Middle Pirin mountain, then to Rila and its famous Rila monastery – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Climb up to Asen’s Fortress
• See the impressive Elephant rock formation
• Take a tour of Yagodina cave and it’s unusual mineral formations
• Bike through the beautiful Trigrad gorge
• Explore the Devil’s Throat cave
• Enjoy the picturesque area around Dospat dam
• Visit the Rozhen monastery – one of the best preserved medieval monasteries in the country
• Try the exquisite wine produced in Melnik Town
• Experience the Rila monastery – the largest monastery in in Bulgaria and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
• Tour the famous Boyana church – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Over the course of 7 days, we’ll take you on a journey to the Rhodope and Pirin mountains’ biggest natural attractions, and finally to the biggest monastery in Bulgaria – Rila monastery – in the Rila mountain. The group will be transferred across the longer distances by bus, and and we’ll be biking through the most picturesque and interesting parts of the mountains, through quaint villages, beautiful landscapes at varying altitudes. After your individual arrivals at Sofia airport, you’ll be transferred by coach to Plovdiv.
The first day is dedicated to its historical and cultural sights.
You’ll be transferred to the starting point of the biking trail by bus. The route takes you through wide meadows and thick forests, past breathtaking scenery and all the way to Asen’s Fortress, which marks the end of the biking trail for the day. Here you may look around the medieval fortress and the church inside of it. After lunch you’ll be transferred to the second biggest monastery in Bulgaria – Bachkovo Monastery.
The tour of the monastery is followed by a transfer down the picturesque valley of the river Chaya to the starting point of the next day’s trail in the Southern Rhodopes.
Day three’s trail leads through Prevala pass to several picturesque villages that are notable for their architectural style. Some of the houses are in a style typical of the 19th century. You’ll be visiting the rock formation called “the Elephant" – a cliff, shaped by the elements to resemble the body and trunk of an elephant. You’ll be transferred to the hotel in Yagodina.
The fourth day continues from there. You’ll be riding to the first stop for Yagodina cave, which has, along with its fantastic stalactites and stalagmites, so called “pearls” formed out of the minerals contained within drops of water that fall on small rocks. The route takes you through the narrow and imposing Buynovsko gorge, through rocky terrain full of vertical cliffs reaching towards the sky. You’ll be riding down the steep slopes of the Trigrad gorge a deep canyon that cuts through the mountain, with sections where the opposing vertical cliffs are so close to each other, there are barely 10 meters between them, and the path is carved into the cliff itself.
The Devil’s Throat cave is one of the Trigrad Gorge’s most notable features. Inside its so called Rumbling Chamber is the tallest subterranean waterfall on the Balkans (60 m). From then on, the terrain becomes gentler, the landscapes peaceful, and you’ll be passing through a beautiful river valley. You’ll be transferred to the next section of the mountain biking route – Borino and the fields and meadows beyond it. Overnight in the town of Dospat.
On the next day, the trail begins a bit further from Dospat itself. You’ll be transferred to the starting point by minibus. With their tranquil pine forests and gorgeous open landscapes, biking through Sarnitsa and Dospat is an unforgettable experience to which the entire day is dedicated. Dospat dam and its clear waters are a particular attraction.
Day six begins with a transfer to the start of the day’s trail. You’ll reach it by lunchtime. After lunch begins the biking, up and down the steep terrain leading to a several villages that beautifully represent this ethnographic region and allow you to really feel the local culture. At the end of the trail you’ll be transferred to the scenic Rozhen monastery in the Pirin mountain. Overnight in the nearby town of Melnik.
There is no mountain biking scheduled for this day. Melnik is a historical and architectural reserve known for its 96 buildings which are official cultural monuments and the winemaking tradition seeped into its culture. You’ll be touring the Kordopulov museum-house – the largest Revival Period house on the Balkans that has been preserved to this day – and degustating traditional wines. From there you’ll be transferred to the Rila monastery – the biggest monastery in Bulgaria and one of the country’s most emblematic cultural landmarks. After a tour of the monastery, you’ll be transferred to Sofia where you’ll have enough time to visit a couple of its most notable sights before dinner.
On the eighth and final day, it’s time to part ways. All members of the tour group will be accompanied to the airport, coach station, train station or sent-off individually.
Inclusions / exclusions
The price includes
• Accommodation in comfortable hotels or rural houses with private facilities
• Full board treatment from the first day's dinner to the last breakfast
• Minibus transport throughout the stay and luggage transport during hotel transfers
• A map of the itinerary
• A professional English-speaking tour guide
The price does not include
• The trip to / from Bulgaria
• Alcoholic beverages
• Entrance fees
Level of difficulty: easy to moderately difficult (the most difficult day being the third day)
The full itinerary is available on request.
A total of 8 days / 7 overnight stays / 5 days МТВ
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